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Last modified: 29 Mar 2018
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Kouga signs development deal with Canadian municipality

28 March 2018
Celebrating the new partnership between Kouga and Prince Edward County are Kouga Speaker Horatio Hendricks, Clr Virginia Camealio-Benjamin, Todd Davis and Neil Carbone from Prince Edward County, Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen, Steve Ferguson and James Hepburn from Prince Edward County, and Kouga Portfolio Councillors Frances Baxter and Bryan Dhludhlu.

Celebrating the new partnership between Kouga and Prince Edward County are Kouga Speaker Horatio Hendricks, Clr Virginia Camealio-Benjamin, Todd Davis and Neil Carbone from Prince Edward County, Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen, Steve Ferguson and James Hepburn from Prince Edward County, and Kouga Portfolio Councillors Frances Baxter and Bryan Dhludhlu.

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen and Clr Steve Ferguson

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen and Clr Steve Ferguson

Kouga Municipality and their Canadian counterparts Prince Edward County signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Jeffreys Bay on Friday, confirming their commitment to work together on matters of Local Economic Development

The Canadian delegation, which included the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), spent last week in Kouga to discuss areas of collaboration with the local municipality.

The FCM represents 90% of Canadian municipalities and they are funded directly by their national government to conduct developmental programmes in their country.

The South African Local Government Association (Salga), a representative body of all municipalities in the country, facilitated the sessions between the parties.

The visit forms part of the Building Inclusive Green Municipalities (BIGM) programme, an initiative between Salga and FCM aimed at identifying mutually-beneficial development opportunities between South African and Canadian communities.

It was borne out of an agreement between the governments of the two countries, signed in 2015, and is financed by the Canadian government.

Kouga is one of six South African municipalities participating in the programme. The others are Mbizana, Port St Johns, King Sabata Dalindyebo, Ngqushwa and Ndlambe Municipalities.

Odette Gauthier from the FCM said the original concept was to focus on asset management, climate change and capacity building, but that after thorough discussions, the parties agreed that Local Economic Development should be central to the partnership between Kouga and Prince Edward County.

“We will be able to share the successes and good experiences we derive from this partnership with other municipalities, both here in South Africa and in Canada, so this is a very important exercise,” she said.

Salga Eastern Cape Chairperson Mxolisi Koyo said it was important that the collaboration would be a success, as it would serve as a benchmark for other similar projects.

“We must not be inward-looking but understand that Kouga in this instance actually represents 257 municipalities nationally and 39 in the province. The failure or success of the programme will have a direct impact on how we move forward,” he said.

Councillor Steve Ferguson, representing his Mayor, Robert Quaiff, said Prince Edward County was also dependent on agriculture as an economic driver and also had a modest population during the year which increased drastically during the summer holiday seasons as people flocked to the coast.

“We hope to learn about your community as you learn about ours,” he said.

Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said Kouga looked forward to sharing local experience with the Canadians and learning from them in return.

The two municipalities will now work on specific projects that will be implemented over the next two-and-a-half years.

A Kouga delegation visited Canada in October last year.