Community engagement: Building bridges

Community engagement: Building bridges

ByWillie van der Schyf, Director: Grey Power

For the past two years, the management of Grey Power has been focussing on building bridges between communities in both urban and rural settings. We are convinced that to address the social, service and safety challenges of our country, we need to utilise the expertise of our senior citizens.

Local government, as the third level of government (in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996) is responsible for the delivery of basic services such as water, electricity, refuge removal and sewerage to communities. Sadly, many local governments (municipalities) across the country are dysfunctional (Auditor-General report, 2024) which results in frustration, tension and relationship problems between the local authorities and communities. It also hampers economic growth, job creation and investment by the private sector.

With this as background, Grey Power has started to mobilise our senior citizens to get involved in structured turn-around strategies in their local communities. This is being done in conjunction with churches, non-governmental organisations, agricultural organisations, provincial governments and the national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

The contribution made by our senior citizens include the following:

– Sharing of life experiences
– Providing expertise that can make a difference on local government level
– Sharing of stories around the dinner table or fire.

Grey Power is involved with various local governments in the northern Free State; the Beyers Naude Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape (Graaff-Reinet); and Murraysburg in the Western Cape. In those areas our senior citizens play a key role in liaising with local municipal structures and provide input relating to economic development and job creation.

We invite you to help us to promote the interaction with our fellow citizens and to add some value at these government levels by sharing your experience and expertise, especially since we have now entered a new era with a government of national unity.

Wisdom comes with age, and we have no doubt that our senior citizens can play a vital role in the reconstruction of our beautiful country.

We will share more information about how you can get involved in Graaff-Reinet, Pretoria-East, Merweville, Keimoes, Kroonstad, Viljoenskroon, Parys, Bloubergstrand and Pofadder.

For more information, contact Willie van der Schyf via e-mail:

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