An 18-man Chinese delegation visited the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) to scout for potential projects in which they could invest, as a means to establish a sister city relationship between the two towns.
The delegation was led by the mayor of Linfen City, Dong Yibing, who was accompanied by Chinese business people who showed interest in tourism, education and agriculture, among other fields.
CHDM mayor Wongama Gela made a presentation about some of the projects that exist in the district, including the Shiloh Winery in Whittlesea, crop production schemes in Ncora and the coal mine in Emalahleni municipality.
Gela said his presentation focused on the opportunities available in the agriculture and tourism sectors in which the Chinese could potentially invest.
“Our objective is for them to listen to what we have to offer. The second part of the visit is to take them to the several projects we mentioned to entice them even further.
“This visit will bring massive spin-offs for the district and the province as a whole, especially in Komani as an economic hub. Government has invested money to establish an industrial park. Parallel to that process we do not want the infrastructure to exist and not have anyone to occupy it. Hence we are looking for companies to invest even while it is still under construction. Occupants of the park and the investors will require them to be in partnership at a percentage, and their value chain needs to benefit the people of the district.”
The two mayors signed a an “intention” document to establish a sister city relationship between CHDM and Lifnen City and agreed to carry out exchanges and cooperation in culture, tourism, education, agriculture, trade and sister city projects in accordance with the principles of equality and mutual benefit.
“Both parties shall conduct high level exchanges and drive practical cooperation in areas to promote joint developments in both municipalities. Regular contacts are to be established between the relevant departments of the two municipalities to facilitate consultation on exchanges and cooperation and matters of common interest. The document is written in Mandarin and in English and both copies are valid with equal effect,” read the document.
The Chinese also extended an invitation to Gela and local business people to visit their city and scout for potential investments for their mutual benefit.
Gela said the business people who would accompany him would be chosen by local business forums to ensure fairness in the process.
Linfen City mayor Yibing said he appreciated the presentation and was looking forward to the two municipalities working together in establishing business networks to benefit both nations.