This will make a significant contribution when dealing with other, similar catastrophes
“The first thing that we’ve done differently is to establish a project management office outside of the three municipalities, but with the participation of officials from those municipalities.
“Secondly, we’ve developed a partnership with the private sector, which has raised money for the disaster – and representatives of the donor fund are intimately involved in the GRRI: they attend our steering committee meetings and our work stream meetings, and they’re part of the planning process, which means that they already understand the vision for projects for which we need funding.
“And the third thing we’ve done differently is the way we’ve approached the concept of disaster recovery – which previously meant restoring the status quo to what it was before the disaster struck.
“We’re saying, no: we want a different, better Bitou and Knysna, where people are more prosperous, more integrated, and better housed than they were before.”
“Under our motto to ‘Build Back Better’ we have, for example, developed a new vision for the region as a skills hub, and we’ve also developed a strategy to improve the housing situation – a strategy that the three mayors and their municipal managers and officials will ratify when they meet on the 11th of December,” said Dr. Fast.
She said that the rebuild strategy – with its six pillars of tourism, light manufacturing, local business, skills development, urban planning, and environmental management – has been presented at community meetings in Knysna and Bitou, where the strategy has been warmly supported.
Premier Zille congratulated everyone involved with the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative.
“I’m very excited about the GRRI because it’s showing us how we can turn the corner in a crisis, and that – despite frustrations and challenges – it is possible to come up with new, innovative solutions to turn disaster into opportunity,” she said.
More information: www.gardenrouterebuild.co.za
View Premier’s keynote speech at the SCLI seminar on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LGniX83Pdso