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Buffalo City Municipality hosts Swedish delegation from its sister city

By Yolanda Palezweni - Oct 7, 2017
Buffalo City Municipality hosts Swedish delegation from its sister city

The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) on Thursday hosted delegates from its sister city – the City of Gavle in Sweden, at the East London International Convention Centre.

This follows a visit to the City of Gavle by a Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality delegation in May this year for the launch of a partnership in a youth and vulnerable groups programme.

Both the BCMM and the Gavle Municipality are seeking ways to enhance and create opportunities for youth development, participation and benefaction within society, the education system, the economy and local government processes - irrespective of gender, disability or where they live.

The twinning relations between the two Cities were initiated in 2002.

According to Galvale Municipal Commissioner, Jan Myleus, the partnership was for the both cities to get to know each other and share experiences as well as expertise in the sphere of local government and in managing societies.

“We’ve shared lot of experiences, and now we are engaging our youth into political processes, which is the main thing. It has been a good partnership, and the connection between the two cities has raised a good friendship, which I think it’s something to look further on and build other partnerships with other municipalities,” said Myleus.

The sister cities have since cooperatively implemented projects with the fundamental objective to address underlining issues amongst others, that focus on; local democracy, governance and administration, technical municipal services, environmental/climatic issues, sustainable urban development, social welfare operations, education, youth projects and health and medical care operations. 

Addressing the media, BCMM Executive Mayor, Xola Pakati, said that the BCMM has exchange programmes that we’ve undertaken over the time with the Swedish with intention to encourage young people to participate in the process of governance particularly putting youth issues in the municipality’s agenda.

“We have Buffalo City Youth Council working with the youth of Sweden on how young people can find expression in the day-to-day operations of the municipality,” said Pakati.

He added that they want to also encourage young people to raise their issues and also to take care of their social environment as well.

“The young people of today use social media and technology and we have ward based social labs that were introduced to us by the Swedish and such the BCMM youth are benefiting in that programme,” he said.

During the session, presentation was done by the BCMM’s Youth engagement project, Commission for Gender equality and Human Rights Commission.

It was also announced that the BCMMM, together with City of Gavle, is currently working to produce a mobile app, Thetha Nathi, that will help the youth engage and interact with the municipality.

According to Youth Engagement Project leader, Shaun Petzer, the BCMM special programmes unit commissioned the app will also help youth the to be current with BCM news and raise their community issues through it.

“Through this app, we want the youth of BCMM to engage in daily activities of the Metro, post about events they attend and also share issues that are relevant to the metro using the mobile app,” said Petzer.

He added that the app will help youth grow in their understanding of politics and encourage them to be part of local community activities.

Executive Mayor Pakati echoed him and said that the BCMM needs to interact more with the youth to their level as they constitute majority of people living in the city.

Projects so far

The City of Gavle and BCMM have also jointly implemented a Steering Group Project, which was initiated in 2016 and is expected to carry over to 2018, focusing on matters of discrimination in both cities.

Also implemented is a Youth Project, which was also initiated in 2016, and expected to carry over to 2018. It is aimed at enhancing and creating youth development opportunities for youth in both cities.

Furthermore, the Metro has since piloted six Social Labs, which are a ward-based multi-stakeholder response for vulnerable groups to proactively engage in Integrated Development Planning Processes (IDP). 

As part of the proceedings, the BCMM took the delegation on a visit to the East London Harbour, Nahoon Point Boardwalk, East London Museum and the Masimanyane Women’s Centre.