Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality paid tribute Alwin Fuller’s life at a special Memorial Service
For immediate release
4 December 2023
On 29 November 2023, Councillors, Management and Staff from the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) paid tribute to the life of Alwin Fuller during a special Memorial Service, after his passing on 25 November 2023 at the age of 38.
The Council Chamber was left in a sombre atmosphere when his wife, children and family members walked through the guard of honour formed by the GRDM Firefighters to attend the service. Messages of support were delivered by his colleagues. Pastor Kevin van Wyk delivered a touching biblical message for all present and affected by Alwin’s passing.
Fuller was appointed on 1 September 2022 in the Planning and Economic Development Department and was in tenure of the organisation until he took his last breath. He fulfilled the role of Project Administrator for Projects and Bulk Infrastructure and became intricately involved with Energy projects driven by the organisation.
When comforting all present in his welcoming address, Portfolio Chairperson of Planning and Economic Development, Cllr Jobieth Hoogbaard, stated: “This time of year is usually a period for family to spend more time with one another and having family reunions”. Adding to these words, Hoogbaard encouraged all to use the sudden passing of Alwin as an opportunity to learn how precious time on earth is. “We need to also make time throughout the year to enjoy and create precious moments with others.”
Described by a few colleagues as a passionate and dedicated official, many also felt that his other side portrayed more humour and others described him as a person who frequently challenged red tape that stood in the way of projects. Almost all officials alluded to the fact that Alwin wanted to get things done. Passmore Dongi, his former manager, during his virtual message, reiterated Alwin’s stubbornness for the better good of the organisation. Dongi said: “I liked his stubbornness because I don’t like a colleague working so closely with me that portrays the same characteristics as I have – because of these different characteristics we made a great team”, he said. He also highlighted that Alwin left behind a huge legacy with key projects he spearheaded. One such project is the Energy Efficient program where GRDM received an Energy Efficient Certificate as the 1st District Municipality in the Western Cape and in the country.
Integrated Development Planning colleague of Alwin, Ayakha Magxotwa, while directing the programme, shared memorable tales about his experiences and moments with Alwin. He remembers and experienced Alwin also in a more personal manner.
Executive Deputy Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk summed Alwin up as a shy, reserved person. He said: “Alwin played a crucial role within the Infrastructure, Projects and Resorts Management Units of the Planning and Economic Development Department. Alwin also worked closely with Communications to ensure awareness was created about Green Energy”. In closing his speech Ald. van Niekerk said that in the face of loss, “let us celebrate the life of a man that left us too soon; but left behind a legacy. We are all fortunate that God borrowed Alwin to us”. In concluding Alwin’s journey with the organisation, Ald. van Niekerk handed over a token of appreciation to Alwin’s wife, Mrs Lorna Fuller at the event, for the dedicated and loyal service her husband rendered to the organisation.
Through his message of comfort, Pastor Kevin van Wyk urged all present to “reflect on potential obstacles hindering our path to achieving goals”. Pastor van Wyk made an example about a person receiving a gift leaving it unopen. He said: “By leaving the gift unopen, has the same meaning as not receiving the gift”. He encouraged the family and officials to, much like Alwin, stand firm in preserving the essence of what he represented, resisting any attempts to diminish his legacy”.
Pastor van Wyk also emphasised the importance of embracing love and accepting the invitations extended to us. “The time for acceptance is now,” he said. “We must ensure that the love bestowed upon us is received wholeheartedly. In times of turmoil, he compared God to an anchor, a steadfast presence amid life’s unpredictable winds. Him resonating with Alwin’s life, as he also grew up in the area where Alwin was born, during the event multiple times requested all present to put their hands together in celebration of Alwin’s life. He said: “This creates energy which is also symbolic to the role fulfilled by Alwin in this organisation. He said: “Every time we clap our hands let us remember Alwin in the energy we create”.
Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, extended a special vote of thanks, specifically to the family of Alwin you borrowed their husband to the organisation. Mr Stratu said that Alwin was well-aware of what his mandate He understood the vision of the organisation and his role within his Department, because he took his mandate seriously.”
To the staff, Mr Stratu shared words of appreciation to all GRDM colleagues who worked closely with Alwin and who spoke fondly about “our brother” during the service. “I am also thankful to those colleagues that made his life bearable within the institution. Thank you for your humanity in which you interacted with Alwin and that you treated him with dignity”. To these words, Stratu emphasised: “Thank you for your interaction with Alwin, we are grateful for the demeanour that you treated him with dignity. Evidence is showing us that life is too short, for that we must love each other.”
“We come from different homes, families, homes, coming with different agendas etc, but after all we are all children of God and in God’s eyes, we are all equal. Love each other and appreciate one another. ”
Alwin was laid to rest from the VGK Church in Rosemoore, George, on Saturday, 2 December 2023 at 9:00.
Rest in Peace Alwin Fuller – Garden Route District Municipality’s Council and Staff will miss you dearly.