Buffalo City Metro mayor Xola Pakati is part of a high-level delegation which will be spending the next two weeks in China, as part of an exchange programme.
This part of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bilateral programme, is only between municipalities of China and South Africa
The Brics group of countries are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development.
The partnership among the quartet was launched in 2006, being nations which currently represent about 18% of the world economy.
The first group led by the Corporative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen left for Chengdu in China last Sunday. Mayoral committee member Ncedo Kumbaca and the metro’s general manager for international relations, Darby Gounden, formed part of the South Africa’s eight-member delegation.
Pakati, along with his office manager Sitembiso Khanyile, newly-appointed head of growth strategy Andrew Murray, councillor Luke Quse as well as local economic development’s special projects head, Noludwe Ncokazi, are scheduled to join the eight-member SA team when they leave for China on Saturday. The main event this week is the 2017 Brics friendship cities and local government cooperation forum which will be held in Chengdu today. The two-week visit kicked off with a dialogue between SA and China, “to reflect on partnership that various municipalities from both countries have had,” Kumbaca said. He said the focus would be on how to strengthen such partnerships through the what is dubbed “Friendship Cities” programme.
“Over the next two days we will be engaging municipalities from Brics countries to share experiences and put forward SA’s position of repositioning our cities through several programmes.”
These will include re-industrialisation, green energy, waste management, urban transportation, building infrastructure, disaster management , urbanisation management as well as building of safer cities.
Other members of the SA delegation include the SA Local Government Association’s deputy president councillor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali; Polokwane mayor Thembi Nkadimeng, KwaZulu-Natal finance MEC Belinda Scott, as well as Harry Gwala district mayor Mluleki Ndobe.
Kumbaca said ICT, tourism, urban governance, skills development, as well an exchange programme would also form part of the discussions.
“Agriculture, agri-processing, logistics as well as oceans economy dominated yesterday’s discussion. We will then move to other municipalities once the BCM mayor arrives with the other delegates and continue with our exchange programmes to areas such as Yiwu.
“What is clear, we won’t come home empty-handed because there is a lot in common between BCM and some of these cities,” Kumbaca said.