Garden Route District Municipality, the leading, enabling and inclusive district, characterised by equitable and sustainable development, high quality of life and equal opportunities for all.


In order to achieve its vision, the Garden Route District Council accepted the mission below. The Garden Route District Municipality as a category C local authority strives, to deliver on our mandate through:

  • Unlocking resources for equitable, prosperous and sustainable development.
  • Provide the platform for coordination of bulk infrastructure planning across the district.
  • Provide strategic leadership towards inclusive / radical / rigorous socio-economic transformation to address social, economic and spatial injustice.
  • Redress inequalities, access to ensure inclusive services, information and opportunities for all citizens of the district.
  • Initiate funding mobilisation initiatives/ programmes to ensure financial sustainability.
  • Coordinate and facilitate social development initiatives.

The three spheres of government explained

Garden Route District Municipality forms part of Local Government, one of three spheres of government (National, Provincial and Local Government). Local Government consists of 9 A-Municipalities (Metro Municipalities), 205 B-Municipalities (Local Municipalities) and 44 C-Municipalities (District Municipalities).

Local Sphere of Government: Metro, District and Local Municipalities

Local Government in South Africa consists of municipalities of various types (A, B & C). The largest municipal areas are governed by metropolitan municipalities, while the rest of the country is divided into district municipalities, each of which consists of several local municipalities. There are eight metropolitan municipalities, 44 district municipalities and 226 local municipalities in South Africa.

The three categories of municipalities in South Africa:

  • Category A: Metropolitan Municipalities
  • Category B: Local Municipalities
  • Category C: District Municipalities

Within these categories, there may be significantly different circumstances between municipalities across the country. Hence, a further set of subcategories have been developed for analytical and statistical purposes. These subcategories have been widely-used in assessments and previous policy initiatives by the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG), National Treasury, the Municipal Demarcation Board and others.

For examples of how the subcategories are used, please see:

Municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are elected every five years. The councils of metropolitan and local municipalities are elected by a system of mixed-member proportional representation, while the councils of district municipalities are partly elected by proportional representation and partly appointed by the councils of the constituent local municipalities.

Garden Route District Municipality Overview

GRDM is located in the South Eastern part of the Western Cape, borders with district municipalities that include the Central Karoo to the North, Cape Winelands and Overberg to the West, and the Cacadu to the East. The Garden Route District comprises of seven local municipalities, which include Bitou, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, Kannaland and Oudtshoorn.

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), according to Section 84 of the South African Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998, is responsible for: (1) A district municipality has the following functions and powers:
(a) Integrated development planning for the district municipality as a whole, including a framework for integrated development plans of all
municipalities in the area of the district municipality.
(b) Potable water supply systems.
(c) Bulk supply of electricity, which includes for the purposes of such supply, the transmission, distribution and, where applicable, the generation of electricity.
(d) Domestic waste-water and sewage disposal systems.
(e) Solid waste disposal sites, in so far as it relates to-
—(i) the determination of a waste disposal strategy;
—(ii) the regulation of waste disposal;
—(iii) the establishment, operation and control of waste disposal sites, bulk
waste transfer facilities and waste disposal facilities for more than one local municipality in the district.
(f) Municipal roads which form an integral part of a road transport system for the area of the district municipality as a whole.
(g) Regulation of passenger transport services.
(h) Municipal airports serving the area of the district municipality as a whole.
(i) Municipal health services.
(j) Fire fighting services serving the area of the district municipality as a
whole, which includes-
—(i) planning, co-ordination and regulation of fire services;
—(ii) specialised fire fighting services such as mountain, veld and
chemical fire services;
—(iii) co-ordination of the standardisation of infrastructure, vehicles,
equipment and procedures;
—(iv) training of fire officers.
(k) The establishment, conduct and control of fresh produce markets and
abattoirs serving the area of a major proportion of the municipalities in the
(l) The establishment, conduct and control of cemeteries and crematoria
serving the area of a major proportion of municipalities in the district.
(m) Promotion of local tourism for the area of the district municipality.
(n) Municipal public works relating to any of the above functions or any other functions assigned to the district municipality.
(o) The receipt, allocation and, if applicable, the distribution of grants made to the district municipality.
(p) The imposition and collection of taxes, levies and duties as related to the
above functions or as may be assigned to the district municipality in terms
of national legislation.

Local Municipalities in the Garden Route District, comprise of the following towns:
1. Bitou 
Plettenberg Bay, Keurboomstrand, Kurland, Kwanokuthula, Nature’s Valley, Wittedrift.

2. George
George, Wilderness, Hoekwil, Glentana, Herolds Bay, Victoria Bay, Haarlem, Uniondale, Herold, Noll.

3. Hessequa
Albertinia, Still Bay, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Slangrivier, Witsand.

4. Kannaland
Calitzdorp, Zoar, Ladismith, Van Wyksdorp.

5. Knysna
Knysna, Sedgefield, Brenton, Buffels Bay, Krantzhoek, Rheenendal.

6. Mossel Bay
Boggoms Bay, Brandwag, Buisplaas, Dana Bay, Glentana, Fraaiuitsig, Friemersheim, Great Brak River, Hartenbos, Herbertsdale, Hersham, KwaNonqaba, Little Brak River, Outeniqua Beach, Reebok, Ruiterbos, Southern Cross, Tergniet and Vleesbaai.

7. Greater Oudtshoorn
De Rust, Dysselsdorp, Oudtshoorn, Volmoed.

Provincial Sphere of Government: Western Cape

The provincial sphere of government has the primary responsibility for social service delivery. As such, provincial governments plan, budget for and implement programmes aimed at delivering a broad range of services directly to people. These include, for example, the provision of health services, education, housing and social development.

Provincial governments also develop policy on issues where there are regional differences. Each province has to develop a Provincial Growth and Development Strategy (PGDS) that spells out the overall framework and plan for developing the economy and improving services. Provinces also have a Spatial Development Framework (SDF) that says where and how residential and business development should take place and how the environment should be protected.

Garden Route DM is one of five C-Municipalities that form part of the Western Cape Government (WCG). WCG consists of 13 departments, namely:

National Sphere of Government

The national sphere of government is responsible for several functions that affect the country as a whole and/or require uniformity. National government’s responsibilities include, among other things, safety and security, foreign affairs, defence and home affairs. The national sphere also develops policies that guide service delivery in the Provincial and Local spheres of government. Broad education policies – such as the school curriculum and school admissions age, are developed at national level for implementation at provincial level.

National government monitors and supports the implementation of these policies. It also has the duty to deal with issues arising between provinces. There are 34 other Departments on a National Level which are charged with implementing legislation and providing services to the public. These Departments include:

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Department of Arts and Culture
Department of Basic Education
Department of Communications
Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Department of Correctional Services
Department of Defence and Military Veterans
Department of Economic Development
Department of Energy
Department of Environmental Affairs
Department of Health
Department of Higher Education and Training
Department of Home Affairs
Department of Human Settlements
Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Department of Labour
Department of Mineral Resources
Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Department of Police
Department of Public EnterprisesDepartment of Public Service and Administration
Department of Public Works
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
Department of Science and Technology
Department of Social Development
Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa
Department of State Security
Department of Tourism
Department of Trade and Industry
Department of Transport
Department of Water Affairs
Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
Independent Police Complaints Directorate
National Planning Commission
National Treasury
Public Service Commission
Statistics South Africa
The Presidency