Speech by Mayor Booysen at the 20th Council Meeting of Garden Route DM


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Before I start with my formal speech, I would like you to allow me to present a long-service award here. I don’t know how people have managed to do this, but me, I’ve never worked for more than 5 years at a place. I’m going to complete another 5 years next year and I’m going to move on again. What’s amazing is that some people just stick it out. Some might even stick it out because there is no alternative. I’m fully aware before I call this person to the front, that he stuck it out because of the atmosphere in this place. I think we’re going from strength-to-strength and people are really living it up.

The following gentleman worked here for 34 years – started off as a handy man and ended up at head office. I have also read the reasons why he’s going to retire this year – even those reasons make perfect sense.

Edward Hatches receives a certificate for his 34-years of service to the District, Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Booysen (left), did the handover.

Mr Speaker, I must say there are a lot of spiritual Councillors amongst us. I must confess that something is happening spiritually within the Garden Route District Municipality. Just today, this is probably the 3rd spiritual message (referring to a spiritual message by Mercy James, Integrated Development Officer at GRDM), I’ve received two earlier too today – they are all intertwined and all point to the same thing – the District is going from strength-to-strength – we are indeed a sleeping giant.

In Afrikaans they say: “jy kry die wind van agter” – I believe we’re getting the wind from behind at Garden Route District Municipality. I’m going to continue to hammer on the good things we do, regardless of the nature of the game that we’re in. We’ve just had a successful launch of our regional waste landfill site, which means we will start doing our thing. I’m also aware Councillors that it’s human nature – there are already people standing in a que about where this thing was approved, where was it advertised, who are going to work at the site? We need to engage these people who are asking these questions. We can’t fold our arms and leave it. We must be aware who is doing what and where. We’ve inherited this waste project – when we were constituted in 2016. We’re just rolling out what we’ve inherited. Now is the time for us to engage with these people and the communities so that we have the same answers.

It also gives me pleasure that we some students graduate at the Francois Ferreira Academy. Without food, you’ll never be a happy man. Seventeen (17) chefs graduated and sponsored by GRDM.

We had a lot of engagements, summits and skills summits. The time has come where we need to list what came out of these engagements – I think we are going to list some of the things that aren’t listed yet, because it has not yet happened but in the pipeline.

Councillors, my office has been approached by a special adviser of Dr Blade Nzimande. They’re planning to build a new Technical College in the Garden Route. They’ve approached us at the district and they want us to engage with them to see how our ideas can be incorporated – once again, I remind you that we had a skills summit. We’re at the beginning where we will be bearing the fruits out of that.

We’ve also been approached (but not agreed to anything on paper), by an international company and this company said they’ve watched us – they love our ideas, thinking and everything we stand for and aim to achieve. They like to invest in this area. They’ve also been to the Premier’s office in Cape Town to inform the Western Cape Provincial Government that they like what they’re doing. They’re going through all our legislation that deals with approval of developments, Environmental Impact Assessments, etc. and they identified a lot of hick-ups that would hamper investments. Because of these hick-ups, they’ve asked if GRDM can accompany them to the Union building to see the President and all his Ministers. If I can go and sell what we’re trying to achieve here – I need to go. It indicates again and again that our potential has been recognised. We must grab these opportunities.

Apart from all of that – again, we’ll be recognised by the United Nations. We’re currently hosting the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

We’re also known for our way in which we deal with climate-related disasters, including health epidemics. Our team is ready – they’re dealing behind the scene in case there’s any incidence of Corona breaking out in our region.

So Mr Speaker, I’m chuffed – I want to say to everybody here I am chuffed to be the Mayor of GRDM. Spiritually all the signs are there. On that note, I want to say: Councillors please continue what you’re doing, continue debating in a constructive way. I thank you.

My apologies. Let me add on and put more meat to the bone. Councillors, you’ll remember earlier this year or starting late last year, I started using a new term. The buzzword – district model. I said the time will come where I will have to go to the union building to find out what this model is all about and what is expected of District Municipalities. It so happens that we’re the only district in the whole of the Western Cape that have been approved to be a district to pilot this model from a national and provincial perspective. Ladies and gentlemen we need to give ourselves an applause for that because it says a lot. I’m going to need your back-up.