Alderman Barend Groenewald
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Alderman Barend (Barnie) Groenewald, the third elected Speaker of the 2016/2021 term of the Garden Route District Council, during a Council meeting on 27 June 2019.

Alderman Groenewald married Daleen during 2012.  He has one son, Bern and two grandchildren, Zarah and Nielen.

Speaker Groenewald has a passion for people.  His motto in life is – “do unto others, what you want others to do unto you”; and “I am what I am because of others”.

Proof of his “people passion”, is his role in politics. He believes that one can never live only for oneself, but that a person should embrace, love, protect and uphold the dignity and well-being of all human beings.  “Madiba as well as Dr Martin Luther King inspired me when he shared the famous speech titled: ‘I have a dream’,” he said.

According to Alderman Groenewald the following quote from William Ernest Henley, titled “Invictus”, guides him in serving others: “It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

As Speaker of the Garden Route District Municipality, Alderman Groenewald endeavours to promote and accommodate constructive debate, which will lead to actions that shall improve the lives of others.  He furthermore undertook the responsibility to ensure maximum care and support to councillors and staff in fulfilling their daily duties.

Alderman Groenewald has a vast array of knowledge and understanding of the functions and structures of Local Government.  His career started as a Town Clerk at the Ikageng Town Council in 1983 and years later, he moved from City Secretary to Acting Director Corporate Services. He also fulfilled the role as Manager in the Office of the Speaker at Potchefstroom Town Council.

For more than 12 years he held the position of MEO Municipal Electoral Officer for the Independent Electoral Commission, while subsequently acted as Legal Advisor during disciplinary hearings at the Mossel Bay Municipality. Lastly, he was employed on a 3 year contract with the George Municipality as member of the Disciplinary Council for matters relating to serious financial misconduct.

Among all his political and community work, he still facilitated short courses in Local Government Law and Governance Administration at the Nelson Mandela University.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step, start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and then suddenly you are doing the impossible! You are not your past – God is your future!”