Ekurhuleni metro strengthen ties with its China counterparts

Leader of the City of Ekurhuleni’s delegation MMC Dora Mlambo presents a token of appreciation to the leader of the Harbin delegation Jiang Gouwen during the two cities’ meeting in Germiston.

The cities of Ekurhuleni and Harbin in China have agreed to work together in uplifting their socio-economic profiles.

According to Themba Gadebe, metro spokesperson, the two cities, who already have a memorandum of understanding (MoU), met at the Germiston headquarters of the City of Ekurhuleni.

“They agreed that the time for action on their long standing agreement was now. This part of the plan will be realised on the back of a working programme, which is in the process of being developed,” said Gadebe.

MMC for Sport, Heritage, Recreation, Arts and Culture Dora Mlambo said: “Our City is on the verge of rolling out a spatial framework that will make us compatible and livable with easy access to work opportunities. Realising this MoU could, therefore, not have come at a better time.

“We are also eagerly looking forward to working with Harbin in the education space so that we can develop an exchange programme that will allow both cities to benchmark against each other and share best practice.”

“We’re also extremely keen to learn how to use tourism and culture for effective social cohesion and to create wealth.”

In response, leader of the Harbin delegation Jiang Gouwen, lamented the time already wasted to realise the 2004 MoU, but committed to changing the status quo.

He gave an undertaking that the City of Harbin will be revisiting all the focus areas of the agreement and urgently revert back with ways to actualise them, adding that Ekurhuleni was his City’s leading sister city in Africa and that China’s Consular General fully supports the relationship.

Gouwen extended an invitation to Ekurhuleni for the Ice Festival in 2019, a platform which will be used to celebrate Harbin’s first international twinning. The event will also be used to discuss ways of making Harbin’s sisterhoods work better.

“This friendship (Ekurhuleni/Harbin) needs a stronger bond, hence the need for visitations. If relatives do not visit each other, they become strangers,” Gouwen concluded.

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Riaan Engelbrecht
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