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Stellenbosch Municipality channels R1.2 million towards food relief programme

STATEMENT BY EXECUTIVE MAYOR GESIE VAN DEVENTER

During this challenging time of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent national lockdown, our poor communities have been particularly hard hit.

As a caring local government, we are making every effort to provide support to our residents in need within our legal government framework. Out of this, #StellenboschUnite was born. It  is a collaborative aid action purposed to provide social support to vulnerable community members during the COVID-19 pandemic and brings together Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch University, Visit Stellenbosch (civil society), Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network (representing the non-profit sector) and the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust (administrators). To date, this initiative was largely funded by private donors, which we are extremely grateful for.

Letter from the Mayor: More Relief

Dear Resident

This is a strange and difficult time for all South Africans and indeed for many residents of our municipality. The economic impact of the national lockdown can be seen and felt across the country and many of our residents are struggling to make ends meet as most businesses are closed and incomes are affected. For this reason, my administration has continued with its efforts of finding smart ways of helping our communities.

Council already adopted a number of financial relief measures on 25 March 2020, including the deferment of payment of rates under certain circumstances, an increase in free water allocation to indigent households and the suspension of all credit control measures until the end of the lockdown period. Yesterday, I approved another financial relief item that the interest rate set out in our Credit Control and Debt Collection Policy be changed to 0% for April, May and June 2020.

This means that no interest will be charged on accounts that have not been paid for April, May and June 2020. This is an important relief measure towards our residents who are struggling financially. It will also ensure that anyone who does not receive their municipal account on time, due to delays in printing and challenges with the South African Post Office, will not unfairly be charged interest. We encourage all residents and businesses with the means to pay accounts on time, to continue to do so as these funds are needed to continue with service delivery.

COVID-19: Stellenbosch Implements Several Steps to Help Communities and Flatten the Curve

Cleaning and disinfecting public areas - Stellenbosch CBD. Other areas are to follow.

THE FOLLOWING IS A LETTER ISSUED TO STELLENBOSCH COMMUNITIES BY MAYOR GESIE VAN DEVENTER TODAY, 06 APRIL 2020

Dear Resident

It is sad but indisputable that we have been hit very hard by the outbreak of COVID-19.  I know however, that we are a resilient, courageous and caring community who tackles all challenges with innovation and determination. I have no doubt that our community will therefore make it through this crisis, more resilient and stronger than before.

#FlattenTheCurve: Stellenbosch Municipality COVID-19 update

The Stellenbosch Municipality is working hard to prevent and combat the spread of the Corona virus. With this in mind we already took the first essential steps on Monday, in accordance with the President’s decision to declare a national state of disaster. Every decision we make is in the interest of PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY.

The Stellenbosch Municipality has taken the following steps:

  • Community and Protection Services have cancelled all event and gathering applications where 100 people or more are expected.
  • All municipal halls, sport grounds, multipurpose centres, picnic sites, community halls, swimming pools, nature reserves and other municipal amenities will be closed until further notice.
  • Driver License Testing and Learner License Testing will go ahead as scheduled for now. All necessary safety precautions have been put in place.
  • Residents are being encouraged to phone, email or send a WhatsApp to engage with the Municipality or their local councillor instead of visiting a municipal office in person, to limit direct physical contact (all relevant contact information is on our website).
  • Library operating hours will be reduced incrementally and these facilities will provide only basic services, namely, taking out and returning reading material. The number of persons allowed into the library will be controlled. Needless to say, this might change at short notice.

All non-essential travel for all spheres of government to areas outside of the Republic is stopped and domestic travel is restricted.

The municipality will provide hand sanitizers or wipes at building entrances to be used to disinfect hands when entering facilities.
Public meetings that were scheduled to begin next month, have been cancelled. Electronic, written and telephonic submissions will be encouraged. We are also currently exploring alternative electronic platforms for public participation.
These emergency measures have also forced us to postpone several events, including a title deed handover ceremony as well as the annual Mayoral Golf day.

We will continue to work with our National and Provincial partners to ensure that measures are in place to curb the spread of the virus. Limiting physical and social contact is essential in curbing the spread of the virus. I therefore urge residents to help us curb the spread of the virus by doing the following:

  • Limit social gatherings and meetings wherever possible. If you meet with friends or family, please limit the number of people gathering.
  • ocial distancing is imperative – keep a distance of at least 1 meter between you and the next person, especially in public spaces; do not shake hands or hug when greeting one another, minimize physical contact.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Sanitize your hands and surfaces with an effective sanitizing product.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it away after use
  • Take additional vitamins to boost your immune system·
  • Avoid crowded areas.

Please be aware of scammers posing as health practitioners to gain unlawful access to properties. There have been several reports of criminals approaching people, claiming to be health workers from various institutions pretending to conduct home testing for COVID-19.

We encourage residents to please pay attention to official announcements, and follow the instructions being given. Fake or inaccurate information remains a challenge. We urge all residents not to participate in the distribution of inaccurate, unverified or false information. Spreading fake news on The Corona is now a punishable offence and if found guilty you can spend up to 6 months in jail, as detailed in the Government Gazette, published yesterday. Please consult official sources if you have any doubts or concerns. For official COVID-19 advice, updates and queries:

National Hotline 0800 029 999
WhatsApp 0600 123 456
Provincial Hotline 021 9284102

We are aware that the outbreak of COVID-19 will present a challenging time for our region as it will have an adverse effect on our thriving tourism and hospitality industries. We urge every business owner to act in the best interest of our community and to adhere to the restrictions and guidelines outlined by national government.

“I call on all residents to stay calm during this time of crisis. Please act with kindness and consideration towards all citizens, and be mindful that social isolation will be challenging for many people. Please check in on your loved ones via electronic communication, and please do not panic buy as it contributes to a stressful environment during this difficult time.” – said Mayor van Deventer

We will continuously share information and updates on our municipal website and social media pages.

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