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Water Restrictions Lifted: Statement by Executive Mayor Adv. Gesie van Deventer

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I am pleased to announce that Stellenbosch Municipality will be lifting all water restrictions. This follows an announcement that the City of Cape Town will lift water restrictions in the metro, which places us in a position to do the same.

From 1 November 2020 Stellenbosch Municipality will therefore move from level 2 water restrictions to no water restrictions, meaning that our normal water tariffs will apply. It will be the first time in 5 years that we are in a position to lift water restrictions, following two years of excellent seasonal winter rains.

Stellenbosch Determined To Shed Loadshedding

At its council meeting on 27 January 2021 Stellenbosch Municipality gave the first step to possibly becoming the first municipality in the country to turn the tables on loadshedding. The council authorised an investigation into both the use of alternative sources of electricity and the self-generation of electricity through alternative sources.

The door for this move was opened with the promulgation of the Electricity Regulation Act Regulations in October 2020.

“While there is still a long road ahead in the battle against loadshedding, today’s decision marks the official start of a journey for Stellenbosch Municipality that may culminate in energy independence and long-term energy sustainability. The adoption of this report by Council paves the way for an investigation into the need, viability and opportunities to be conducted,” said Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer.

The mayor added that “We will be able to make use of brilliant internal research entities, experts at the University of Stellenbosch, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Western Cape Government as part of our joint investigation.”

According to a press statement, this joint investigation will focus on various potential sources of energy production, including rooftop solar panels, methane mining, allowing the public to generate electricity and sell this to the municipality, purchasing electricity directly from registered IPPs, and the possible selling of electricity to willing buyers from outside the municipal area.

The announcement was welcomed by Western Cape MECs David Maynier (Finance and Economic Opportunities) and Anton Bredell (Local Government). They said in a joint statement that the Western Cape Government will support the municipality through its Municipal Energy Resilience Project.

Bredell added that “The national challenges with electricity won’t disappear soon and town councils know that without guaranteed electricity supply there are risks for job security and economic growth.”

Text: Editorial Desk | Image: Pixabay

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.

Council Role Reversal – Again!

FLTR: Deputy Mayor Nyaniso Jindela, Mayor Gesie van Deventer and Speaker Wilhelmina Petersen.

At an urgent council meeting held in the Stellenbosch Town Hall on Monday, 02 November 2020, a new speaker and deputy mayor were elected. This followed the resignation of Councillor Nyaniso Jindela as Speaker effective from 31 October 2020.

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.

Waste Material Recovery Facility Commissioned

Mayor Gesie van Deventer recently opened the municipality’s new waste material recovery facility which will dramatically cut the amount of waste going to landfill.

Mayor Gesie van Deventer launched a brand new waste material recovery facility (MRF) in Stellenbosch on 25 March 2021. The facility will service the entire municipal area.

This state of the art facility will serve as a place where recyclables are taken to, grouped, baled and provided to companies for use as raw material in the manufacturing of new products. The sorted recyclables have a much higher value than mixed recyclables and will be easily accepted into the booming recycling market. The facility also features a public drop-off area, which will allow residents to bring garage and recyclable waste to dispose of responsibly.

Clean Audit for Stellenbosch Municipality a Beacon of Hope, Says DA

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) announced on Monday, 28 June 2021, that “Stellenbosch Municipality, under the leadership of Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer, her DA caucus and a team of capable administrators, has obtained a clean audit from the Auditor-General of South Africa for the 2019/2020 financial year.”

The DA said in its press release that “This outcome confirms that taxpayer money is honestly and transparently managed by the DA-led Stellenbosch Municipality. It illustrates what is possible when voters elect a DA government that does not tolerate cadre deployment and corruption, and instead appoints officials on the basis of merit and their ability to get things done.”

The release continues “what makes this audit outcome particularly remarkable is the fact that, when the Covid pandemic struck in early 2020, DA-led Stellenbosch implemented one of the most comprehensive financial relief packages of any municipality in South Africa. This encapsulates the DA difference: not only do we run the most honest and financially sustainable governments in South Africa, but we also use resources to benefit citizens rather than political cronies.”

DA Stellenbosch Constituency Head, Dr Leon Schreiber, added: “While ANC-led municipalities crumble, DA-led Stellenbosch has already set its sights even higher by becoming the first municipality in the country to begin eliminating load-shedding. With the support of voters during the October municipal elections, the DA in Stellenbosch Municipality is ready to get even more done in service of the people of this region.”

Text: Editorial Desk

No More Organic Waste to Landfill – by 2027

compost
Composting is the preferred solution for most organic waste

Local authorities have had headaches because of a lack of landfill space for several years. Stellenbosch Municipality currently transports its waste to a private landfill site, while a high voltage powerline is moved that bisects the Stellenbosch landfill site to make way for another cell to extend the life of the site. (It will reopen in 2024.) Increasing emphasis on recycling saw a state-of-the-art material recovery centre being opened in 2021, household recycling programmes implemented and building rubble being separated, crushed and turned into bricks. Organic waste is the next target in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.

At the January 2022 Stellenbosch Town Council meeting an Organic Waste Diversion Plan (OWDP) which aims to reduce the volume of organics waste that goes to landfills was approved for public participation.

Municipality Serious About Safety

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Safety and Security is a priority for the Stellenbosch Municipality, according to Mayor Gesie van Deventer. During the tabling of the 2021/22 budget, the mayor allocated funding to two new policies geared towards providing more visible policing on the ground. A third externally funded policy was also approved by Council.

These policies are the Auxiliary Law Enforcement Officers Policy, the Rewards for Criminal Information Policy and the Law Enforcement and Traffic Officer Policy.

The Auxiliary Law Enforcement Officers Policy will allow the municipality to invest in public safety, train members of the community and open career paths for residents who want to serve their communities. R400 000 has been allocated for the 2021/2022 financial year to train and equip up to 20 auxiliary officers. These officers will serve in a voluntary capacity and will not receive any compensation. They will however be fully trained and equipped to serve.

Provision has also been made in the budget for the Rewards for Criminal Information Policy. This policy establishes guidelines for the management of confidential information and for the compensation of persons who provide information leading to an arrest, confiscation and the recovery of stolen goods.

Starting on 1 July 2021, the municipality will also be implementing it’s externally-funded Law Enforcement and Traffic Officer Policy. This will enable private businesses to contribute financially to the recruitment of additional Law Enforcement and Traffic Officers. Private business and other interested organisations will be able to secure a predetermined level of law enforcement services within defined areas at a determined fee, allowing for an increase in visible policing across the region.

Through this policy, private entities will essentially be able to rent a law enforcement and/or traffic official to work in a specific area. The partner will bear the costs of equipment, uniforms, training and salaries by paying a pre-determined, fixed annual amount. The Directorate of Community and Protection Services will provide trained, equipped and capable law enforcement and traffic officials to serve these institutions.

Although policing is not a municipal function, the mayor says the municipality is committed to doing everything within its legal framework to create safer communities for residents.

Text: Editorial Desk

Another 48 Residents Become Homeowners

Ms Anna van Wyk was one of the residents who received her title deed from Mayor van Deventer.

On 18 March, just before the Human Rights Day longweekend, Stellenbosch Municipality handed over another 48 title deeds to beneficiaries in Mooiwater, Franschhoek today.  The Executive Mayor, Gesie van Deventer, was joined by members of the Mayoral Committee to hand over these title deeds.

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