Category: <span>Council</span>

UPDATE: Eden DM delegation’s visit to China and Hong Kong: 21-29 JUNE 2018

Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) was invited by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to attend the Belt and Road Summit on the 28th of June 2018. The Belt and Road Summit is an initiative that drives the global economy by fostering the development of regional infrastructure and connectivity, as well as, investment and economic co-operation.

This summit was attended by the following Eden DM delegates:
Executive Mayor: Cllr Memory Booysen;
Municipal Manager: Mr Monde Stratu;
Executive Manager Planning and Economic Development: Mr Lusanda Menze;
Manager in the Office of the Executive Mayor: Mr Siphiwe Dladla; and
Manager District Economic Development and Tourism: Ms Melanie Wilson.

During the summit, Eden DM Representatives interacted with various businesses with regards to investment opportunities in the region and in collaboration with WESGRO, promoted the region as an investment destination. The aim of this was to sell the potential the district has, as it was tabled by various B-Municipalities during the Garden Route Investment Summit, held at Oubaai in March 2018. The region as a tourism destination was vigouriously promoted, not only to the Chinese and Hongkong representatives at the summit, but also to other internationals who attended the summit.

Eden DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen and Ms Rehana Boolay, WESGRO Investment Specialist facilitation for China Trade.

An Africa Investment Round Table discussion was also hosted and facilitated by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.   During this session,  African representatives were given the opportunity to present their investment potentials to various companies in China and Hong Kong.  The purpose of these discussions were to promote possible collaboration and partnerships, especially relating to Infrastructure and Tourism opportunities.

The Eden Team, led by the Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booyson also met with the South Africa’s Consul-General to Hong Kong, Mr Madoda Ntshinga, who linked up the District with possible investment opportunities, in Hong Kong and China mainland. The Consul-General further committed to invite the District, together with businesses to various marketing platforms in Hong Kong.

Furthermore, a range of meetings and site visits took place from the 22nd  to 26th of June 2018 in Shanghai.  This included a visit to an indigenous and traditional medicine laboratory, owned by a Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holdings Co.  The Eden DM representatives was hosted by Dr Hongbin Cheng from the China-South Africa Bridge (CSA), who facilitated business meetings with the Shanghai Business Chamber representatives. The Eden Team was joined by the Trade Commissioner from South Africa’s Consulate-General’s Office in Shanghai, Mr Thulani Mpetsheni who provided support in the several meetings held. The businesses included in these meetings were:
•    CSA Business Platform;
•    Shanghai Golden Up Technology Company;
•    Realmax;
•    Huiyne;
•    China Travel Service co. Ltd; and
•    Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co. Ltd.

The meetings with the above-mentioned companies were also attended by Ms Rehana Boolay, Investment Specialist for China Trade and Investment Facilitator between China and the Western Cape.

It is envisaged that an extended business delegation from China will visit the Garden Route in September 2018 in follow-up discussions, and to also concertize the various bilateral agreements.  The purpose of the visit is also for Chinese to familiarise themselves with the region, investment opportunities and to meet the local municipalities and relevant private sector stakeholders.  More information will be made available as progress takes place.

 

Acting Speaker unanimously elected by Council

During a Special Council meeting which was held on 13 June 2018, Cllr Barend Groenewald was unanimously elected as the Acting Speaker of Eden District Municipality. Cllr Groenwald’s appointment follows the resignation of Cllr Mark Willemse on Monday, 11 June 2018.

Cllr Mark Willemse has recently been elected as the Executive Mayor of Knysna Municipality.

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Chairing his first Eden District Municipality Special Council meeting is Cllr Groenewald (middle), with Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu (left) and the Executive Manager of Corporate Services, Ms Trix Holtzhausen.

Fencing subsidies provided by Eden DM

Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) has made funds available to assist landowners neighbouring rural roads with fencing of their properties.

The funding will only be applicable on a subsidy basis.  It effectively means that a 60% subsidy will be contributed towards the material on completion of the fencing.  The subsidy has been determined by an average price for material to the Fencing Subsidy Policy of the Eden DM.

New fences must adhere to the specifications of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape: Roads Infrastructure Department. Minimum specifications will be made available to successful applicants.

Application process

  1. Application forms can be obtained from Ms Bernadene Prinsloo from the Roads Services Department.  Contact numbers:  Office 044  803 1506;  Cell: 082 800 1263;  E-mail address:  bernadene@edendm.gov.za.
  2. Closing date for submission of applications is 31 May 2018.
  3. All applications will be verified and successful applicants will be notified by 30 June 2018.
  4. All fences must be fully completed by 31 January 2019 for payment before 28 February 2019.
  5. Payments will be made after inspection have been completed.

Eden DM pilots a ‘paperless’ system

Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) piloted its first ‘paperless’ agendas and minutes for all Committee meetings on 10 May 2018. This additional step to ‘go green’ has been one of the 2016/17 – 2021/22 Council’s proposals since their term in office started. The Corporate Services Department at Eden DM has been hard at work strategising, designing and now, after blood, sweat and tears, rolled out a promising concept an unique ‘paperless’ model. According to the Executive Manager, Corporate Services, Ms Trix Holtzhausen: “This digitised working environment will resolve logistical issues (time driving, delivering and printing agendas and minutes), lower our carbon footprint, ensure that a seamless digital system is implemented.”

It is no secret that the delivery of printed agendas cost municipalities an exuberant amount of money. Eden DM Agendas and minutes have always been distributed from its Head Office, which is based in George, to 35 Councillors who reside in a wide geographic area (23 331 Km²). This resulted in employees required to deliver agendas over weekends and late at night. Councillors are not often at home due to their ongoing community-based projects, which resulted in many instances where delivery receipts for agendas could not be signed. Those responsible for delivering agendas were left with no option but to ask Councillors’ neighbours to keep agendas with them until their return.

During a meeting with the Corporate Services Committee members, the Eden DM Speaker, Cllr Mark Willemse shared a vote of appreciation and gratitude to employees who worked tirelessly to make the lives of Councillors easier. “We appreciate your effort, the system that you have created and the paperless route which will make us prudent and fiscally aware. We aim to make this a ‘best practice’ model for other municipalities in the Western Cape and South Africa,” said Cllr Willemse.

Eden DM Councillors and employees during the Corporate Services Committee meeting showcasing their new Samsung tablets.

Eden DM Firefighters shown dignity and respect by Council and Management

Even before the June 2017 fires struck the Garden Route, a need for an upgrade of basic capital items that would create a “home away from home” for more than 40 Firefighters after a long day of work, was identified by Council. This commitment by Council signifies an understanding of the importance of not only the hard work performed by Firefighters, but also the dignity and comfort that is deserved by the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for communities 24/7, 365 days a year. While Firefighters can attest to the fact that their jobs require excessive hours of work, they also make mention of how important it is to relax after working shifts of up to 16 hours when a life-threatening fire is ignited at one or multiple locations in the district.

Firefighters, Mayoral Committee Members and Executive Managers shortly after the official handover of capital items took place at the Eden DM Fire Station in George.

This year during the adjustment budget, an amount of R5 500 000.00 was approved by Council for expanding the firefighting function of Eden DM. During the planning of the 2017/18 budget in February 2017, capital items to the amount of R150 000.00 were identified and purchased a year later.

On 23 March 2018, the official handover of the capital items took place when the Eden DM Mayoral Committee and Executive Managers addressed Firefighters at their firebase in George.

Eden DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen reminded the media and audience that the engagement with Firefighters wasn’t the first or the last and that he will continue to see to it that the needs of Firefighters are met. “We have raised the issue of your welfare, your circumstances, the future of Firefighters at Eden DM – it hasn’t been an easy road for any of us, but this is only the beginning of great things to come,” said Booysen. At a Skills Summit hosted by Eden DM, it was decided that the District should become a Skills Mecca, which means that the District will also invest in a training academy where firefighters will be trained and where other possible municipal-specific skills will be taught.

Eden DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen is pleased with what was purchased to date and said that there are more good things to come.

Booysen also shared that he sees Firefighters of Eden DM as the ‘flagship’ of the organisation that forms part of one of the hardest working and effective Departments of Eden DM, namely Community Services. He explained that it has been extremely difficult for him to get to where Firefighters are working, predominantly in the mountainous areas of the District because of the type of mayoral vehicle that Council owns. He then went on to say that, this would “soon change” because he supports “purchasing an SUV”, especially to support Firefighters. “Even when I go to the Western Cape Government Parliamentary meetings or engagements and firefighting is spoken of, I always stand out because they know very well how good of a job we are doing,” said Booysen.

Eden DM Executive Manager of Community Services, Mr Clive Africa, also shared a background of where Eden DM was ten years ago and where it finds itself today and how much things have changed for the better.

During an interview by the Communication Unit, with the Executive Manager of Community Services, Mr Clive Africa was asked to explain how he feels about where the District is today, compared to previous years. He answered by saying that he is proud of the progress which has been made to date. “When I look at where we were about ten years ago and where we are today, I can only be thankful to Council for their commitment to Firefighters. Firefighters had to sleep under firetrucks in the past or on the back of trucks at fire scenes; conditions have thankfully changed drastically to date. We are also looking into expanding our team of firefighters because in 2006 a study was conducted about how many firefighters were needed for the Eden District to roll out its function. The study showed that we would need 60 Firefighters to effectively safeguard the entire district, but because of budget constraints we have only been able to appoint 40 Firefighters – they have done an excellent job under the circumstances by delivering a quality, dedicated service to the district for years,” said Africa.

Mr Africa also confirmed that Eden DM plans to purchase more fire trucks on an annual basis for the next few years, which will cost an estimated R5.5 million over the next three years. Africa also boasted about the fact that we have been winning the Toughest Firefighter Award for the past five years, which is more evidence that Firefighters have proved their worth year-by-year, and therefore deserve excellent working conditions.

Chief Fire Officer, Mr Freddy Thaver also thanked Mayor Booysen and Council for “taking an interest in the working conditions of Firefighters”.

The following items were bought for two firebases, the George Firebase: Fridge/Freezer, Lounge set, Microwave, table with chairs, two televisions, two open-tv decoders and a DVD player, six mattresses and mattress covers. Hessequa Firebase: Fridge/Freezer, Lounge set, Microwave, table with chairs, one television, one open-TV decoder and a DVD player, six mattresses and mattress covers. Televisions and DVD players will also be used for watching firefighting training and educational videos.

Editor’s note: It is public knowledge that due to climate change, the environment has changed drastically, which now requires Firefighters to work in conditions which is more physically and emotionally draining. This was seen during the June 2017 fires when six people lost their lives and many more all their belongings. Approximately ten years ago firefighting services were rendered from a tent; today the Firefighters have a fixed structure where all their efforts are coordinated from.

Eden District Municipality name to change to Garden Route District Municipality

On 5 December 2017, the Eden District Municipality Council approved the name change of Eden District Municipality to Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM). The decision came after the entire Eden DM Council took note of the rigorous Public Participation process followed by Eden DM and all role-players since the onset of the name-changing process. The next step of the name change will be to inform the Western Cape Government, MEC for Local Government, Mr Anton Bredell, of Council’s decision and request to publish a notice about the name change in the Government Gazette.

During a debate in Council, Cllr Memory Booysen – Eden DM Executive Mayor explained the reasoning behind the name change, by saying: “The Regional Tourism brand will still be known as Garden Route and Klein Karoo and will continue to be marketed in that way. By changing our name to Garden Route District Municipality does not mean that we see less value in the name Klein Karoo, we see the Klein Karoo as part of the Garden Route. When looking at the name “Eden”, it never included the name “Klein Karoo”, but people were still aware of it.”

Cllr Mark Willemse – Eden DM Speaker also shared his personal views about the name change. He explained: “The name Eden is not familiar to people outside the region and it also did not add any value to tourism in the region – it only created confusion. If a person does a Google search for the word “Eden”, it does not even mention anything about the Garden Route or Klein Karoo, but once a person searches for the phrase “Garden Route”, the words “Klein Karoo” ends up with the search results of Garden Route.”

The Public Participation and awareness of the proposed name change included: 

  • Website: Online comment submissions
  • Social media: WhatsApp messages, Facebook posts, Tweets
  • Broadcast media: Radio interviews (Algoa FM, Eden FM)
  • Print media: Newspaper notices in the Group Editors regional newspapers
  • Public Participation sessions: All B-Municipalities (Bitou, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, Kannaland and Oudtshoorn).

Outcome of public and council opinions:

  • Municipal Councils in favour of the proposed name change:
  • Eden, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, George, Bitou and Knysna.
  • Municipal Councils opposed to the proposed name change:
  • Oudtshoorn and Kannaland.
  • Public in favour of the proposed name change: 28
  • Public opposing the propose name change: 26
  • Other proposals: 7

The Communication and Graphic Design Section of the municipality will design the GRDM logo and a brand guide to ensure that the organisation transitions smoothly into a new identity.

2016/17 – 2021/22 Councillors inaugurated

The 2016 – 2021 Eden District Municipal Council was inaugurated on 31 August 2016 at the Eden District Municipality’s CA Robertson Council Chambers, George. Thirty Five (35) Councillors from various towns in Eden district attended the first statutory meeting that was held in terms of Section 29(2) of the Municipal Structures Act, 117 of 1998. Also present at the inaugural meeting, were Executive Mayors from B-municipalities throughout the district.

The top three Councillors, elected by Councillors, are as follows:
•    Executive Mayor, Councillor Memory Booysen
•    Executive Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rosina Ruiters
•    Speaker, Councillor Mark Willemse

In his acceptance speech, Cllr Memory Booysen acknowledged Women’s month and honored his mother, wife, daughters and sister. He also echoed that “the people of the Eden district have spoken”. Cllr Booysen promised that the elected Council will ensure that Eden DM is run in an effective and efficient manner, bearing in mind what the district municipality’s responsibilities are in local government. Cllr Booysen has over 26 years experience in politics and served as the Executive Mayor of Bitou Municipality for 5 years from 2011 till 2016.

Top three Eden DM political office bearers appearing with the Accounting Officer, Mr Godfrey Louw, (fltr) are: Cllr Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor; Cllr Rosina Ruiters, Executive Deputy Mayor, Mr Godfrey Louw, Municipal Manager and Cllr Mark Willemse, Speaker.

The Executive Mayor also announced the Mayoral Committee members after his inaugural address, these Councillors include:

  • Cllr Rosina Ruiters (District Economic Development and Tourism)
  • Cllr Jerome Lambaatjeen (Financial Services);
  • Cllr Khayalethu Lose (Community Services);
  • Cllr Tertuis Simmers (Roads and Transport Planning Services);
  • Cllr Isaya Stemela (Corporate Services);
  • Cllr Joslyn Johnson (Property Management and Development); and
  • Cllr Erica Meyer (Strategic Services).