George Municipality conducted an Open Day Integrated Development Plan (IDP) feedback session with Ward Committees of all 28 Wards within its jurisdiction this past week; these sessions served as a platform for Ward Committee members to voice their concerns, aspirations and expectations, while also providing an opportunity to assess progress on projects that fall under municipal, provincial and national mandates.
Integrated Development Planning is a cornerstone of effective local governance. It involves the systematic assessment of the municipality’s development needs, the formulation of clear objectives, and the allocation of resources to meet these objectives. George Municipality recognizes the pivotal role that community input plays in shaping the IDP and ensuring that it aligns with the needs and desires of its diverse population.
According to Dr Kosie Haarhoff, Deputy Director: Strategic Services, the IDP feedback sessions held with all 28 wards were marked by a robust spirit of community engagement. Residents, community leaders, and stakeholders gathered to discuss their priorities and concerns with municipal officials. This inclusive approach allowed for a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities unique to each ward.
Progress on National and Provincial Projects:
One of the standout features of George Municipality’s approach to IDP feedback sessions is its recognition of the importance of projects that may not fall within its direct purview but are instead the responsibility of national or provincial departments. These projects, often arising from community requests, serve as vital infrastructure and services for residents.
The recent sessions saw George Municipality engaging with representatives from these national and provincial departments to provide updates on the progress of such projects. This collaborative effort ensures that community requests do not languish but are actively pursued at the appropriate levels of government.
Key Takeaways from the IDP Feedback Sessions:
- Community Empowerment: The IDP feedback sessions reinforced the municipality’s commitment to empowering its residents by actively involving them in the development process. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among community members.
- Accountability: By involving national and provincial departments in the sessions, George Municipality demonstrated its dedication to accountability. It ensures that projects requested by communities continue to be prioritized and advanced, even when they are beyond the municipality’s direct control.
- Transparency: Transparency was a core value throughout the sessions, as municipal officials shared updates and addressed community questions and concerns openly. This transparency builds trust and confidence in local governance.
- Collaboration: The collaboration between local, provincial, and national entities exemplified the interconnectedness of government structures. This synergy is crucial for delivering effective and efficient services to the people of George.
Whitney Prins, Manager IDP and Ward Committees, said the George Municipality, in terms of its public participation programme, decided to take a two-part approach. The first leg of the approach was to have engagements with Sector Departments that deal with projects that are not a municipal mandate. The IDP team also provided feedback on operational and capital projects highlighted in the IDP. All six Directorates of the George Municipality had service desks at the open day in the George Civic Centre and George Banquet Hall.
The Executive Mayor of George, Ald Leon van Wyk, was also at the Open Day and said it was an informative session. He said the IDP is a 5-year plan influencing the budget of the Municipality and the purpose of the day was to give feedback to the Ward Committees on the projects stipulated in the IDP. Ward Committees also had an opportunity to raise additional issues that were not captured in the IDP.