Mayor’s newsletter for George Herald on 9 September 2021
George Municipality recently held an engagement with the George Business Chamber to discuss collaboration between business and local government.
The Municipality is improving systems to reduce “red tape” in the processing of building plan and town planning approvals as one example and is addressing other aspects of services affecting business decisions. The Chamber in turn will collate instances where improvements could be made and share these with the Municipality.
It is crucial that we constantly simplify and encourage investment into George.
One of the questions we were asked relates to the Vision that we have for George. In our response, we put forward the following themes of what such a vision should encompass:
• Inclusivity: to ensure that all our citizens could participate in a future covering all facets, one of which would be economic activities that added jobs;
• Best secondary / small city: George is part of the “league” of 19 secondary cities (outside of the 8 metropolitan areas) where it competes against the likes of Emfuleni, Mbombela, Rustenburg, etc and we need to position ourselves as the best managed, most attractive, most sought after small city;
• Sustainability: we need to ensure that we are sustainable in terms of finances, economy, environmentally, energy and infrastructure;
• Lifestyle: George offers attractive features such as access to nature, outdoor activities, safety, relaxed, quality of life with good schools and health care;
• Service Delivery and Infrastructure: we need to maintain a high standard of services to enable development;
• Communication: it is critical that two-way communication channels exist in our connected world to ensure collaboration and team effort benefits all our stakeholders;
• Economic growth: George is a city with substantial infrastructure and a population that needs an enabling environment to attract investment that will increase economic activity and levels of employment to improve the lives of all citizens;
• Environment: being part of the Garden Route we need to actively protect our green environment and manage invasive vegetation; and
• “Producing” economy: We consciously need to advocate the importance of being a “producing” economy (i.e. producing products and services for “export” out of George such as berries, cheese, vegetables, tourism, BPO services, etc) rather than simply being just a “consuming” economy (e.g. buying products and services produced elsewhere in the country).
The “economic engines” driving the George economic sectors also have their visionary requirements of key success factors to drive successful growth. A collaborative discussion is needed to formulate the future George Economic Development Strategy in the coming months. Partnership between business, local government and other key stakeholders in collectively driving a converging vision is the ultimate objective. Thoughts on necessary factors and on such a conversation can be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org