Category: <span>Council</span>

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 22 June 2021

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 22 June 2021

Thank you, Speaker, and thank you to all Councillors, colleagues and those listening to me via our Zoom platform.

May I please propose that we first start with the issuing of the long service award and afterwards continue with the business of the day? Today, we are very fortunate to hand over this award. I don’t know how our staff manages to do this. However, today, our colleague, Mr Nicolas Oosthuizen, has finished 40 years of service at this municipality. This is indeed a lifetime, and I think I might have still been in my diapers when Mr Oosthuizen started working here.

Mr Speaker, this handover is making us proud because there’s a belief that the longer staff remains within an institution, it is a sign that they are enjoying what they’re doing. It also indicates that Management is good. Of course, we know that the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is not the perfect institution, but this is indeed an institution of knowledge with staff like Mr Oosthuizen.

Mr Speaker and colleagues, today is also another milestone for Council, as this is our last meeting for the financial year, and we’ve reached this point under very prying and challenging circumstances.  However, today, I can proudly announce that this municipality is in a good financial state, and administratively and politically in good hands in terms of cooperation and how we do things jointly, regardless of our different political parties – we have worked as a unit.

As you all know that every year during the month of June, we commemorate the devastating Knysna/Plettenberg Bay fires and all other fires that follow that.  We do not want to go back in terms of all the bad memories, the lives we’ve lost, property damaged, and everything that went with that historic fire, but we do have to reflect and had the commemoration event a couple of weeks ago.

Currently, our firefighters are out there, fighting wildfires, which could be similar or even worse than these fires. However, we want to acknowledge all efforts by the different municipalities and firefighters dealing with these matters.

We also want to recognise the communities for playing a crucial part in donating whatever assistance to the firefighters.  There has been an announcement on Eden FM this morning regarding drop-off points for donations such as energy bars, drinks, etc. A special word of gratitude to the community members with the necessary fire training, who volunteer and thus assisting our firefighters in fighting fires. We want to call for people to be vigilant and careful with anything that can course a fire.

When speaking about lives that changed forever, we as the Garden Route District Municipality have recently joined efforts to contribute to the Walk-A-Child to School campaign in partnership with Eden FM, Vodacom and the George Museum, a project of donating school shoes to vulnerable kids in our region.  We have almost reached the due date, and I would like to urge and remind those who have forgotten about this or who have budged to buy some shoes to please do so before the end of this month.   As we lead by example, I want to thank the Garden Route District Municipality’s professional staff who has already donated shoes to this cause.   We are all looking forward to seeing more donations come in as salaries are paid at the end of this week. May God bless those who because the Word of God says that “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and that is exactly what I want to speak over the lives of those who are part of this project.

A few months ago, I announced in Council that we are busy upgrading our resorts, particularly the Calitzdorp Spa.  We are now in the final part of phase one, whereby the roofs of the bigger buildings at our Resort are being replaced. I am as excited as I see some pictures of the turnaround and the new facelift of the Resort.  Today, I want to give a particular word of thanks to the Municipal Manager and his officials who are playing a special role in these upgrades. I am impressed with what I’m seeing, and I plan to visit the Resort tomorrow to feel it.  What I see is indeed a remarkable turnaround. Hopefully, it will go with a higher occupancy in the future. These kinds of things attract people. The more beautiful and comfortable a resort is, the more people it will attract.

As I keep on referring back to what we said in the past, this is an indication that we do not just talk, but we walk the talk as the Garden Route District Municipality. A couple of months ago, I announced that 19 students were enrolled as part of the Cater Care Hospitality project. It has come to my attention that on 10 June 2021, Alderlady Wolmarans and GRDM Officials witnessed these students graduation. I was also informed that the hospitality industry, hotel schools, and restaurants have already shown an interest in many students. Once again, Speaker, this is a small part of the puzzle of us wanting to become a Skills Mecca.  We are building all these skills required to make this happen, so Skills Mecca is definitely on its way. Yes, it will take some time, but we see the signs of starting small steps that will finish this marathon.  I want to congratulate all the students.

We are in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic to the people of the Garden Route District.  We must guide ourselves against covid-19 fatigue and still need to adhere to all the protocols at hand by being constantly careful to curb the spread of the virus.  I am proud to say that again, as a District Municipality, we are leading by example by still using our zoom platforms for meetings and keeping our social distances in the Council Chambers.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, people might not understand this, but it is incumbent upon us as leaders, whether political or religious, being in an election year to encourage people, especially our youth, to go and register. Our youth is not registered, and this is a plea to the youth to go and register, so that you can go and raise your voice, represent your interest and become part of tomorrow’s decisions.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 25 May 2021

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 25 May 2021

Thank you, Speaker

As always, I remain a very competitive person, so I do not like to be outdone by the opposition party. The opposition party has welcomed a new member of their team. Still, at the same time, I am taking this opportunity to introduce and welcome my newly appointed Mayoral Committee member, Cllr Bernardus Van Wyk. Please take note that he replaces one of my previous Mayco members, Cllr Joslyn Johnson. Cllr Van Wyk is a competent member of my party, and I know that we will hit the ground running.

In terms of those listening to us on Youtube and Facebook, I am also proudly announcing and challenging everybody who forms part of the Garden Route District Municipality to be reminded of a campaign we are running in collaboration with Eden FM Vodacom and George Museum. The drive we are collaboratively working on is coined as the “Walk a Child to School” campaign. Through this campaign, we’ve identified schools where the most vulnerable and most impoverished kids are schooled. We mainly focus on learners at farm schools and low fee schools, etc. Those participating in this campaign can donate shoes to these schools by dropping off shoes to these kids at all our Garden Route District Municipality offices in the region, Eden FM, Vodacom or George Museum offices. We need kid-sizes of 10 to 7 for this specific campaign. Please come on board because we would like to have this campaign finalised before the end of June 2021. 

It also gives me pleasure to announce here that last Friday, I visited a small business with Councillors in Oudtshoorn, specifically De Hoek Mountain Resort, where the Western Cape Honeybush Co-operative is currently stationed. There is massive potential for the demand for Honeybush tea, especially on an international level. They plan to broaden their scope by expanding their business model to a tourism attraction near the Cango Caves. They have big plans, and this will have spin-offs for De Hoek Mountain Resort. People must watch this space.

In the same vein, we also visited the Calitzdorp Spa because we were in that area. I would like to extend a word of gratitude to the Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu and officials. They are involved in these type of projects. As it stands, we are currently upgrading Calitzdorp Spa with our funding, and the first phase is to replace the thatch roofs. The second phase would be to upgrade the interior of the resort. We need to explore more ways to up the standards of the resort.

I also want to take a moment to acknowledge what our officials are doing, particularly the Human Settlements Unit. We are aware that we signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements in terms of us getting into the human settlements space. I know that there are still some unanswered questions or clarity about what role we will play in terms of that. I want to say thank you to Joel and Shehaam for going from municipality to municipality to outline this draft integrated human settlements plan. The Municipal Manager and I remain on standby if we are required to outline our role if we are required to do so. We do not want any miscommunications or misunderstandings in this regard. I want to emphasise again – we are not trying to take over the Breaking New Ground projects from local municipalities; we are here to fill the gap and enhance what they are doing.

Two weeks ago, I congratulated and encouraged participants who formed part of the peace officer and learner and drivers license programmes. During this event, which took place at the Rosemoor Stadium in George, I also recognised the achievements of the youth. We also committed that that would not be the end of those projects, especially not in the Garden Route. The skills funding we funded filled the gaps for many of the job requirements currently in the market. We are clear that we will continue with those kinds of projects.

Ald. Groenewald, because of the massive unemployment in South Africa and the Garden Route, we will continue to get the youth on board and skilled to become employable. I want to see more entrepreneurs, partners in terms of what our vision is for the region. Based on that Alderman Groenewald, we have approached the National Skills Fund. They paid us a due diligence visit to verify the training organisations and clarify contractual issues for when funding is approved. This will be a significant injection to youth development skills in our region. This will be of benefit to women and differently-abled Garden Routers too. 

Mr Speaker, we will remember that we’ve had two skills summits, and we are also well on our way to becoming a skills mecca. There is also a new skills summit envisaged for the near future. At that skills summit, it will be a list of dreams that we want to achieve and an overview of what has been achieved from the other skills summits. We will be dealing with concrete numbers during the next meeting.

We are also due for a State of the District Address; what were the achievements since we took office in 2016 to date. The SODA is set for 17 June 2021. The identified hosting municipality is Bitou Local Municipality’s Piesang Valley Hall. Logistics will be communicated in due time – the whens and hows. I also want to call all councillors in terms of their attendance; please indicate as soon as possible who will be attending. We will also ensure that Councillors will be able to invite their partners to the SODA.

The approach following the SODA will offer opposition parties to pose questions, raise their concerns and provide inputs on 18 June 2021 during a Special Council meeting. Ald. Groenewald, I would still like your inputs about this before we set it in stone. The idea will then be at the next Ordinary Council meeting to respond to all the questions posed by Councillors. Ald. Booysen, we will take your guidance on how exactly to approach this going forward.

Lastly, Ald. Groenewald, we are concerned about the 3rd wave of Coronavirus. We know the Western Cape is still on high alert, and we are monitoring what is happening in terms of it in our area. We cannot take anything for granted and remain on high alert – in particular, because of the fact that we are planning a SODA. I would like to reiterate that we are monitoring what is happening in terms of COVID-19. We remain flexible on how we will deal with the SODA if positive cases increase.

Thank you.

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 28 April 2021

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 28 April 2021

Mr Speaker

I greet those online, at home and the significant listenership on Eden FM – I welcome you. 

Once again, we are known and prone to disasters, no matter the size of it. We are in the season when we see many fires, like the Cape Town wildfire recently. Mr Speaker, the Garden Route were not recently spared when a wildfire spread through parts of the Greater Oudtshoorn area. Fortunately, no lives were lost. I want to convey our gratitude to our firefighters, our Garden Route team, George and Mossel Bay Municipalities, and all the other role players who helped us contain this wildfire. We appreciate you. 

Let us remain vigilant about fire emergencies and continue to share notices and warnings as and when required. 

Also, Mr Speaker gives me great pleasure to share that we recently visited the Cater Care facility where nineteen (19) students are currently being upskilled. We noted that they are excited about their experience, and we are looking forward to them completing this training. Of equal importance is the event we recently hosted, whereby we officially donated external bursaries and grant-in-aid assistance. These are all signs that we practice what we preach.

In the same vein, curbing Gender-Based Violence remains one of our critical commitments as Council. We will continue to try to curb GBV. Last week we hosted another summit with the relevant stakeholders and role players. My call is for everyone to step up again and fight GBV daily.

To our colleagues, this is going to be a very busy week as Garden Route District Municipality. The Honourable Deputy President David Mabuza will be in our region on 30 April 2021 to hand over land to the residents of Covie. In addition, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde will also be in the area and accompanied by his entourage. It is indeed an indication that all eyes are on the Garden Route – we paved a path for ourselves and the Garden Routers we have been elected to serve. We want to see that people are given what is rightfully theirs and their dignity to be restored.

As the Garden Route, we will be hosting those dignitaries and being our best behaviour; we do not play politics during these events. 

Thank you.

‘A servant of the people, a library containing a wealth of knowledge’ – GRDM Cllr Klaas Windvogel passes away

Obituary: ‘A servant of the people, a library containing a wealth of knowledge’ – GRDM Cllr Klaas Windvogel passes away

It is with sadness that the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council was recently informed about the passing of Cllr Klaas Windvogel on Wednesday, 7 April 2021. The late Cllr Windvogel was a Proportional Representative from Oudtshoorn at the GRDM Council since 2016 and passed on as having served Council till the age of 60. Also read the statement issued by Oudtshoorn Municipality on Thursday, 8 April 2021.

After his passing became public, various tributes and messages of comfort poured in from different groups, communities and individuals who were known to him, including the political and church communities, family and friends. Many used social media platforms to share their fond memories of him, and his colleagues at GRDM shared tributes and condolences at a special prayer session hosted from the Municipality’s head-office in George on Thursday, 8 April 2021.

Cllr Windvogel is described as a servant of the people, who was also a member of the Community Services Portfolio Committee, one of the service delivery departments of GRDM.

Saddened and devastated by the loss of a great leader – “one of us,” ANC Chief Whip at the GRDM, Cllr Piet Van der Hoven, described the late councillor as a servant of the people.   Van der Hoven said: “We met almost 30 years ago, but even far beyond that, we both were involved in the struggle for democracy. He was a true cadre of his political party and served as regional chairperson of the South Cape region from 2015 to 2018”. Van der Hoven further recalled how Cllr Windvogel was one of the most reliable and humble souls. He further said: “He was also a conceivable person, but extremely scarce in words, although extravagant in wisdom.  He deliberated on issues in a well-thought through manner”. Van der Hoven further emphasised that Cllr Windvogel added immeasurable value to the caucus and that he served his constitution to the best of his ability with distinction. “He will be remembered as a real and committed cadre. Our deepest condolences to his wife, children, family and loved “many(ies),” – instead of loved ones, because he was dearly loved by many”.

Speaker of the GRDM Council, Ald Barnie Groenewald, extended a special message of comfort to the family and said: ”Our sincerest condolences to the family,  friends and the African National Congress (ANC) on the loss of a soft, loving person who was a true comrade and colleague. He will be sorely missed”.  Ald Virgill Gericke from the Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners (PBI) shared the following words with the family: “Our deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife, children and broader family. Also heartfelt condolences to the ANC on the loss of a dear and committed cadre. May God comfort us all in this bereavement – Amen,” he said.

During the prayer session, GRDM Executive Mayor, Ald Memory Booysen, said: “Once again we are hit by a tragedy, hit by an incident that we are never getting used to. Cllr Windvogel was not a man of many words, but every time he engaged us, he was constructive. Things will never be the same, especially from a political perspective, as it is not the first time since 2016 that the ANC has lost a member,” Mayor Booysen added.  He concluded by saying:  “Our prayers are with the family and with the caucus. We are all affected by the passing of Cllr Windvogel and we must hold hands under these difficult circumstances. He encouraged his colleagues at GRDM by saying: “words will never be enough, the pain will always be there, but fortunately if we work together we can comfort each other to a certain extent. We hope and pray that God will give us comfort and strength during these difficult times”.

After delivering a prayer at the session, GRDM Councillor, Cllr Ivan Mangaliso, also extended a heart-warming message with the family, friends and colleagues of the late Cllr Windvogel.  He said: “Today is a sad day, because we have lost a library, a wealth of knowledge and experience that could have impacted so many lives in the future to come.  Our loss is difficult, because we saw and regarded Cllr Windvogel as a chairperson, a friend, comrade, as confidant – we have seen him as someone who we could depend on when we needed advice and guidance. We could communicate with him in very challenging times”. To these words, he added: “I thank God that we had the opportunity to engage with him and that he had formed part of our lives”. ICOSA’s GRDM Councillor, Cllr Wilbur Harris also shared a encouraging message with the family, stating that, “we want to encourage the family of our dear colleague, to have faith and trust in God that he departed to his eternal home with Jesus.  What Cllr Windvogel did for the community of Oudtshoorn will not go unnoticed – rest in peace,” he said.

The prayer session was concluded by GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Roads and Public Transport, Cllr Rowan Spies, who delivered a vote of thanks. During his speech, he also shared some of his memories of Cllr Windvogel.  To the Oudtshoorn community he said: “The capacity that ‘Oom Klaas’ brought to your community was outstanding and what he did for Oudtshoorn will never be forgotten. Also, what he did for the youth and to those who will continue in his footsteps from now onwards, is highly appreciated”.

To the Windvogel family Cllr Spies said:  “Our appreciation to you is enormous. Cllr Windvogel’s footprints are deep and will last long and therefore we thank you for what he sacrificed for our communities. We wish you strength for the next few days, weeks and grieving months ahead,” he concluded.

Details of a memorial services which will be hosted by GRDM will be made available on various platforms in due course.

Rest in Peace Servant of the People, Cllr Klaas Windvogel.

GRDM Council, Management and Staff

PUBLIC NOTICE: 2019/2020 Annual Report &  2019/2020 Oversight Report

Notice No. 24/2021

NOTICE: 2019/2020 ANNUAL REPORT and  2019/2020 OVERSIGHT REPORT

Notice is hereby given in terms of Section 129(3) of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act 56 of 2003) that the Garden Route District Municipal Council hereby makes public the Oversight report on the Annual Report of Council for the 2019/2020 financial year.

The Oversight Report and 2019/2020 Annual Report were approved by Council on 30 March 2021.

The Oversight Report and 2019/2020 Annual Report are available at the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) unit of the Garden Route District Municipality and can also be viewed on the Garden Route Municipality’s website www.gardenroute.gov.za.

For further enquiries, please contact:
Mrs M James (IDP Unit)
Tel no: 044 803 1431

M STRATU
MUNICPAL MANAGER
GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY