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Media Release

31 October, 2007

Western Cape to benefit from provincial government visit to Shandong Province in the People's Republic of China

A delegation of the Western Cape Provincial Government, headed by Premier Ebrahim Rasool and including five MECs, is in the Shandong Province of the People's Republic of China this week to strengthen ties between the Western Cape and Shandong.

The visit stems from a direct result of relations established in March 1998 when a memorandum was signed between the respective governments. The focus areas include cultural affairs, sport, education, health, tourism, transport and public works.

The Cultural Affairs and Sport assignment will include a study of sport schools, sailing, disability sports and a visit to a centre of excellence (academy) dealing specifically with disability sport.

The education study will include developing teacher exchange programmes for maths and science, FET colleges and mari- and aquaculture.

The health study will include collaboration with regards to Tuberculosis (TB) and Chinese Traditional Medicine, a visit to a Jinan Hospital and the Shandong Provincial Hospital, as this facility seems to have synergies with our central and provincial hospitals.

It will also cover aspects such as traditional healing and support for clinics in Qingdao; a visit to the Qingdao Centre for Disease Control with specific emphasis on HIV prevention and community empowerment, which are their areas of expertise.

The tourism study will include looking at best practice exchanges with regard to skills development; development of language proficiency with concerning tourist guiding; and acquiring insight from Shandong on the "supply side" and applying it to the labour intensive activities in the tourism industry, which will assist the Western Cape in sustainable job creation.

The Transport and Public Works study will include looking at their bus system and other modes of transportation; project management skills transfer (expertise); minibus manufacturing plant; fleet automation or management system; light-rail project (eg. tram system); transport intelligence issues; cement plant (infrastructure); alternative construction methods; funding for emerging entrepreneurs; and technical skills for accelerated service delivery.

The Premier and his Chinese counterparts will initiate further developments on these collaborative activities and appraise the Shandong representatives of the undertakings of the Western Cape Provincial Government.

The Premier has emphasized the need for identified collaborative activities to now mature to a point where these could be visible to both provinces. The various agreements have the potential to demonstrate a real exchange of value for both Shandong and the Western Cape citizens.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

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