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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 Municipality Council adopted the mission below. With Garden Route District Municipality being a category C local authority, it strives to deliver on its 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.


Jou roete na vooruitgang
Indlela yakho eya empumelelweni
Your route to prosperity

Core Value 1: Integrity

Core Value 2: Excellence

Core Value 3: Inspired

Core Value 4: Caring (Ubuntu)

Core Value 5: Respect

Core Value 6: Resourceful


Growing an inclusive district economy
Bulk infrastructure coordination
Sustainable environmental management
Skilled workforce and community
Financial viability and sustainability
Good governance
Healthy and socially stable communities

The Garden Route District is a place of opportunities.

We are characterised by our excellent service to communities and our influence on society. Although we might not always get it right the first time, we undoubtedly improve every step of the way. Our efforts keep in mind that we strive to create an environment that allows society to thrive; a socio-economic environment that meets society’s development goals. Simultaneously, we leverage the strengths and opportunities presented by our region and our citizens, with the end-goal in mind – growing our economy.

Our region, located in the Western Cape of South Africa, is ideal for the integration of road networks, the expansion of recreational ports and domestic and foreign investment. It is no secret that we boast with pristine beaches and an unspoiled environment. In summary, “Garden Route” is without a doubt a clean and safe region offering a high quality of life for its citizens.

An overview about us and other spheres of government can be accessed on our website. If you would like to make contact with us, do browse to our contact page.

Overview of Garden Route District Municipality 

Broadly speaking, Garden Route District Municipality forms part of Local Government. It 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. Apart from this, the municipality comprises of seven local municipalities, all which fall within the boundaries of Garden Route District municipality. Local Government institutions within the boundaries of Garden Route District Municipality, include Bitou, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, Kannaland and Oudtshoorn municipalities.

It should be noted that Garden Route District Municipality exists because of  Section 84 of the South African Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998. As a result of this Act, the district is responsible for 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; and

—(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; and

—(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 district.

(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.

The three spheres of government explained

Garden Route District Municipality forms part of Local Government, which forms part of the three spheres of government known as National, Provincial and Local Governments. Altogether, Local Government in South Africa consists of 9 A-Municipalities (Metro Municipalities), 205 B-Municipalities (Local Municipalities) and 44 C-Municipalities (District Municipalities).

Overview of Local 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.

Local Municipalities in the Garden Route District, comprise of the following towns:

1. Bitou  – Plettenberg Bay, Keurboomstrand, Kurland, Krantzhoek, Kwanokuthula, Nature’s Valley and Wittedrift.

2. George – George, Wilderness, Hoekwil, Kleinkrantz, Waboomskraal, Herolds Bay, Victoria Bay, Haarlem, Uniondale, Herold and Noll.

3. Hessequa – Albertinia, Still Bay, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Gouritsmond, Jongensfontein, Slangrivier and Witsand.

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

5. Knysna – Sedgefield, Karatara, Buffalo Bay, Rheenendal, The Brentons, Belvidere, Knysna and Noetzie

6. Mossel BayBoggoms 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 and Volmoed.

Overview of the Western Cape Provincial Government

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 WC. An overview of the functions of Garden Route District Municipality was provided above.

The Western Cape Government is inclusive of 13 sector departments, namely:

Overview of National Government

The national sphere of government is responsible for several functions that affect the entire country.

National government’s responsibilities include, among other things, safety and security, foreign affairs, defence and home affairs. This sphere is also tasked with developing 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. They also provide an overview of why Local and Provincial government exists, which includes Garden Route District Municipality.

There are 34 other Departments on a National Level which are charged with implementing legislation and providing services to the public. These departments include:

Last updated: 2022/06/07