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Introduction: A Letter to the People of Worcester

The simplest way to explain the reasoning behind the formation of a public-private partnership, is to read the letter to the people of the community, asking for their support upon its inception…

The Partnership – You, Your Town, Your Future

For many of the people of Worcester, this will be the first time you have ever read of this. What Partnership you may ask? Partnering with whom? Partnering for what?

What Partnership? This is a public-private partnership, where the private sector and the public sector work together for the greater good of the town; a collaboration to build a brighter future together.

Partnering with whom? The public sector is the local government and the private sector is civil society in any form, whether they’re rate-payers, businesses, non-governmental organisations, charities, institutions or private citizens.

Partnering for what? It is partnering for a better Worcester, a growing Worcester, a prosperous Worcester and an attractive Worcester. Gone are the days where one institution can do it all alone. Government cannot do it all alone, business and citizens cannot keep on complaining about services, infrastructure and the town without playing a role in helping to uplift the town. It is Worcesterites, non-governmental organisations and local government working together, pooling resources and sharing skills to take Worcester to the next level.

We only have to look as far as Cape Town’s central business district to see the success of these partnerships. What we see there is a prosperous area that is safe, clean and caring; a place where people of all shapes, shades and sizes come together in safe and attractive surroundings. June and July of 2010 showed us the images of what can be; during the World Cup, Cape Town showed its feeling of togetherness and showcased its successes.

A partnership takes effort from all, commitment from citizens and commitment from government. However, this commitment pays off handsomely for all. For government, it means more rates and taxes entering their coffers, this means more service delivery, this means more spending for areas that have little, a more successful town makes for a wealthier government. For citizens, it means more security, it means cleaner streets, it means their children can play outside again, it means they work and play in more beautiful surroundings, it means their assets are worth more, their businesses make more and their quality of life improves. Mostly, it means more jobs, better services and a world-class town.

Problem with any major change is that it comes both with small compromises and some major criticism. Some may try to play shortsighted politics to stop it. Some may play on the fears of people. Some may try to say a partnership is a parallel government. Some may say it belongs to one group or one entity. This is not the case, in any sense of the word. The Cape Town Partnership was an asset to the City of Cape Town under the ANC and under the DA local governments and worked hand-in-hand with any government of the day; not to co-govern, but to aid and assist in urban management for the good of the people. The Cape Town Partnership is not politically aligned; it is a partnership for Capetonians, by Capetonians. The Cape Town Partnership has a diverse board representing the beautiful tapestry of all people that live in the Cape.

This is what is proposed for Worcester. A Partnership that draws people from all walks of society, from the private sector and from local government to build a Worcester that is the envy of the Western Cape. We want people in Robertson, Paarl, Ceres and even Stellenbosch or Franschhoek to say, “How did Worcester do it; how did Worcester build such a successful town based on togetherness, accountability and growth. I wish I was a Worcesterite.”

We can build it if we put aside what we were and work together because of who we are: Citizens of Worcester. I am not Esselen Park. I am not Panorama. I am not Zwelethemba. I am not Worcester West. I am not Johnsons Park. I am not Langerug. I am not Avian Park. I am Worcester. I’m not my skin colour, my language, my history or my fears. I am my hope for the future and I will change this town for the better, together with my fellow citizens!

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