Makhanda Circle of Unity stakeholders spring into action to advance city

Makhanda stakeholders meet at Nombulelo
Makhanda stakeholders meet at Nombulelo

Resolution on cardinal values and appointment of suitably qualified Programme Manager adopted

“The time for fine words and eloquent speeches is gone,” declared Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, at the second Makhanda Stakeholder Imbizo that took place at Nombulelo Senior Secondary School on Monday 16 September 2019. Dr Mabizela was opening an action-focused follow-up session to the inaugural Imbizo on 30 July.

“I will be approaching the Rhodes University Council for funding to appoint a suitably qualified individual to oversee the programme of this multi-stakeholders Forum, to work with all of us here, including the municipality. Failure is not an option,” he vowed.

The Grahamstown Business Forum pledged to work to fundraise for the position, while Kagiso Trust pledged to provide overall support to the work of the Programme Manager. The Eastcape TVET Midlands College will provide two interns to assist the Programme Management Office once established.

The Stakeholders’ Forum adopted several cardinal values to guide the actions as set within the seven Clusters of the Circle of Unity Action Network. Interim Chairs were selected to facilitate the creation of operational plans based on a standard implementation tool developed by the Rhodes University Planning and Quality Assurance Unit.  

Brief presentations at the session included an assurance by the Chairperson of the National Arts Festival, Ayanda Mjekula, to “keep the Festival in Makhanda. Initiatives like this only serve to cement our faith in this unique city. This is a good initiative,” he said

Makana Municipality Executive Mayor, Mzukisi Mpahlwa shared several key strategic plans for the city, including the Central Business District Regeneration Business Plan, Makana Sanitation Improvement Plan and the Makhanda Airport Concept. The Executive Mayor said the plans have been professionally researched and feasibility studies have been carried out.

Six of the seven envisaged work streams were constituted as follows:

  1. Process Cluster: To develop a constitutive framework for the Forum. This includes the basis for consensus building and to formalise structures and provide for a governance system;
  2. Accountability Cluster: To address monitoring and reporting for citizenship campaigns and to improve citizens monitoring and oversight over the municipality;
  3. Local Economic Development Cluster: To enable an effective marketplace for ideas, products and services and find the best options for job creation;
  4. Community Engagement and Marketing Cluster: To create and sustain platforms for messaging, promotion of cohesion, Makhanda brand development and community involvement;
  5. Safety and Security Cluster: To focus focuses on bylaws, prevention and education;
  6. The Big City Project Cluster: To strengthen Makhanda as the heartland for education, creativity and tourism.

The seventh work stream for Operations Management will be consolidated within the other six clusters.

The Stakeholders’ Forum adopted the following values to guide collaborative effort:

  • To promote mutual recognition and mutual respect among role players.
  • To be civic-driven and not politically-aligned
  • To aim for diversity and inclusivity
  • To seek complementarity and partnerships and not duplicate existing efforts and initiatives
  • To be action driven and results oriented
  • To work for evidence-based solutions
  • Accountability and ownership of the role of the Forum

A deadline of 30 September 2019 was set for the submission of all operational plans.