African mayor wants to collaborate on local government
Jodi-ann Gilpin, Staff Reporter
Governance, sustainable development and culture are issues Kgosientso Ramokgopa, mayor of Tshwane, a city in South Africa, announced collaboration with Kingston on, during his five-day visit to the country.
Speaking at the launch of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) Inaugural Civic and Community Awards Ceremony held at the Corporation's offices Tuesday, Ramokgopa pointed out that issues of local government must be taken seriously in order to enhance development.
"We took the initiative to visit because we believe a lot can be achieved through collaboration. We have identified many areas that can be used as a springboard to cement the foundation of the relationship of our cities," he declared.
"Governance is one such area. We (Tshwane) have made significant strides in making sure that local government gets the recognition it deserves. The truth is, services are best delivered at the point of need and that area is local government," the mayor said.
Declaring that many government policies are built at the local government level, he said, "We are expected to know everyone; we are expected to solve every problem, but yet we are the least recognised and it is something that, as a country, we have struggled with but we have improved, and I intend to share it."
The South African mayor, however, noted that he intends to learn great lessons from Jamaica's rich culture as well.
"The raw talent that exists here cannot go unnoticed. You are definitely an icon when it comes to sports, and it is only fitting that we learn from the best, to see how best we can collaborate to ensure that we are able to transfer that raw talent into a global phenomenon," he said.
Angela Brown Burke, mayor of Kingston, also shared that she expects that there will be improvement in local government.
"Since my visit to the city a year ago, we have been having discussions about collaborative mechanisms between the two cities. One of the things that struck me when I went to Tshwane was their experience with governance and some of their models, and these are some of the things we expect to explore," she declared.