On 24 Jan 2013, I met with the Executive Mayor of George, Mr Charles Standers, and some members of his council. The George municipality has been performing well in terms of its financial and non-financial human settlements delivery, and is projected to spend 100% of its R52.9 million human settlements allocation for the 2012/13 financial year in delivering 874 service sites and 148 top structures.
There have, however and in spite of its good performance, been concerns raised by some community leaders that they have not been effectively communicated with in the service delivery process.
One of the roles of government is to show leadership in addressing gaps and providing solutions for any issues relating to service delivery, and in this case, the concerns of effective communication with the community. I committed to return to George in the third week of January 2013 to address this perception of a breakdown in communication.
After meeting with Mayor Standers about this issue on the morning of the 24 Jan 2013, he informed me that the Municipality has structures in place to enable communication between themselves and the community groups. We have then agreed that the Municipality will forward my office details of the communication structures, and we will then make suggestions, and recommend where we feel there is a need to improve the existing arrangements.
It is very important that we look at what communication measures are currently in place, and to see if there are any gaps, in order to ultimately ensure that communication is adequate for all the communities. The meeting with the Mayor, and the subsequent analysis of current communication methods, is the beginning of a process to respond to the concerns raised by the community organisations, in order to ultimately find a common ground on how the communication should be conducted to the satisfaction of all parties. I look forward to a continued warm and co-operative working relationship with the George Municipality.