17 SEPTEMBER 2020
The Stellenbosch Council has approved the lowering of parking tariffs for on- and off-street public parking in the Stellenbosch Central Business District. Parking tariffs will be reduced by 20% from Monday, 21 September 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, residents and businesses have faced severe economic hardship. That is why, in an effort to aid and support speedy economic recovery, the Executive Mayor and the Council considered it prudent to lower parking tariffs in the CBD area.
Even though parking tariffs were not increased for the current financial year, it was felt that as a caring local government even more must be done to assist residents and businesses. Due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown, many of our local businesses suffered severe economic losses and council thus proposed that the parking tariff should be reduced to increase local business activities and encourage economic growth.
The proposed lowered tariffs were made available for public inputs and comments. Following the public participation process, largely positive comments and feedback were received. The reduction in fees was then officially approved by Council on 11 September 2020 and the reduced tariffs will come into effect from Monday, 21 September 2020.
It is impossible to provide a free public parking service because funds are needed to maintain an efficient parking system and parking facilities. Many businesses approached the municipality to request that the paid parking service resumes after the initial levels of the “hard lockdown” as the system leads to a much higher turnover of available parking spaces close to their businesses. Without any form of payment, parking spaces are often occupied for hours on end (even the whole day) and clients, customers and diners struggle to find parking close to businesses, restaurants, etc.
WE WILL NOT BE HELD HOSTAGE BY A SMALL GROUP OF WORKERS ON AN ILLEGAL STRIKE
30 JULY 2020
A group of workers at the Beltana municipal depot are still refusing to work as they are aggrieved about not receiving a salary increase. Some workers have also started participating in illegal actions such as sabotage and the destruction of property. We condemn these acts in the strongest possible terms, will take appropriate disciplinary action against anyone found guilty of destroying municipal property and call on the SAPS to arrest any person who breaks the law. The municipality is urgently obtaining an interdict to prevent these individuals from further destroying any property. A shutdown notice has also been distributed – locking down the depot with immediate effect.
The 3 year salary and wage agreement concluded in 2018 provides for a 6.25% increase for the 2020/21 financial year, which started on 1 July 2020. Given the economic situation in the country and the impact of the COVID pandemic on all local governments across the country, the municipality submitted an exemption application in terms of the collective agreement. In the collective agreement the dispute resolution mechanism provides for any of the parties to the agreement to apply for exemption in a situation where unforeseen circumstances happen. Whilst this is still being negotiated between SALGA and the SALGBC at a national level, National Treasury has recommended that no increases be paid until the negotiations are finalised.
However, several workers are refusing to accept this and have continued with illegal strike action. To ensure that services such as the refuse removal service can continue, the services of a private contractor has been secured and the contractor has commenced with work across various areas. Due to intimidation and violence by some aggrieved municipal workers who are deliberately sabotaging the refuse removal service, the service had to be suspended for the rest of the day. The safety of workers and residents as well as the safeguarding of assets are the top priorities. Areas will be serviced once it is safe for trucks to operate. We will also work into the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday if necessary, to ensure that all areas are serviced.
Stuart Grobbelaar T: 021 808 8172 | C: 084 036 1395
Mart-Marié Haasbroek T: 021 808 8024 | C: 072 910 3724
WEBINAR FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES
COVID-19 and the national lockdown has had a devastating effect on many big and small businesses across South Africa. Stellenbosch Municipality invites all local entrepreneurs and business owners to participate in a webinar on the realities, remedies and road ahead.
The webinar will be hosted by the Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch Network and The Launchlab (a locally based start-up incubator).
Our local businesses are the beating hearts of our towns and its people. Now more than ever, we need to work together and support local businesses. There is an alphabet of people waiting for your support – artists, bakers, chefs, drivers, electricians, florists, graphic designers, handymen…you get the picture. So whatever you need, buy local, live local and love your locals!
📅 Date: Thursday, 23 July
⏰ Time: 13h00 – 14h30
Follow this link to register: bit.ly/3fCwk7U
15 JUNE 2020
Stellenbosch Municipality wishes to inform all staff, residents and other stakeholders of a second official who sadly passed away due to Covid-19 on Sunday, 14 June.
Municipal Manager, Geraldine Mettler offered the administration’s sincere condolences to the family and colleagues of the deceased. The MM added that “it is always a sad day when we have to say farewell to a colleague and a friend who was a treasured part of our organisation.” Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer also offered condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the official on behalf of Council. “We keep the family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, especially the two children that have been left behind.”
This is the second COVID-19 related death recorded at Stellenbosch Municipality. The number of active cases under officials is currently at 12. Most officials who test positive make a full recovery and are in good spirits.
The municipality requests that the privacy of the official and that of the family is taken into consideration at all times during this difficult period.
Stuart Grobbelaar T: 021 808 8172 | C: 084 036 1395
Mart-Marié Haasbroek T: 021 808 8024 | C: 072 910 3724
29 May 2020:
MESSAGE BY EXECUTIVE MAYOR GESIE VAN DEVENTER
By now we have all become somewhat accustomed to our new normal. Everywhere I go, I see residents being vigilant about wearing masks and sanitising their hands as often as possible. From Monday there will be less restrictions on our movements and the majority of employed residents will be returning to work. The easing of restrictions however require us to be more vigilant and take greater care of ourselves than ever before.
LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS
President Ramaphosa has announced that the entire country will move to level 3 lockdown from 1 June and I welcome this announcement. As restrictions start to ease, we will inevitably be coming into contact with more people. This increases the risk of infection. Our best way to prevent the spread of this virus is to wear a mask at all times when you are in public, sanitise or wash your hands as often as possible, sanitise all office and home surfaces regularly, avoid touching your face and maintain social distancing in public. This is really a sneaky virus and it demands constant vigilance from all of us to curb the spread!
I want to implore all our residents not to start socialising with friends and family too soon. I know this is hard and it has been one of the greatest challenges for all of us during lockdown. If we start visiting and socialising too soon, the virus will spread more quickly than ever before and all our efforts would have been for nothing. Stay at home as much as possible and travel only when it is essential. Try to restrict your contact with people as much as possible - it is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe.
SERVICE DELIVERY CONTINUES
We have been very busy at the Municipality. Essential service delivery, which is the core function of any municipality, has continued unabated throughout the lockdown period and I would like to salute the essential services officials for their heroic work during this time. Other municipal officials who have been working from home, have started to return to our offices in a phased approach and are rotating shifts.
IMPACT ON OUR ORGANISATION
As an organisation, we have not escaped the effects of COVID-19. Several staff members and two councillors have tested positive and are currently recovering. As we are made aware of positive cases within our organisation, we follow all protocols and decontaminate the affected work spaces. The Health Department then takes over as they are the body responsible for tracking and quarantine protocols. Please join me in wishing these individuals a speedy recovery.
From 1 June, Traffic Departments across the country will start reopening. Our safety measures have been put in place and we are ready to go but we are awaiting the approval of Province to reopen our Traffic Department. All residents who missed learner or driver licence appointments during the first phases of lockdown, will be contacted to reschedule their appointments. The lockdown has caused a backlog at certain departments and I want to assure you that we are working hard to clear this backlog and tend to all the needs of our residents.
We have implemented strict measures to ensure the safety of officials, councillors and residents who visit our municipal offices. These include:
As far as possible, I would like to encourage residents to continue contacting us electronically via our social media platforms, email, telephone, WhatsApp lines or through our brand new Citizen Mobile App, instead of visiting councillors and officials in their offices. The safety of our staff and residents is our top priority.
Like many companies across the world, we have had to embrace technology to help us perform our work in a safe and transparent manner by making use of streaming services to conduct our first ever virtual Mayoral Committee Meeting and Council Meeting. We will continue to make use of this technology for the time being so that councillors can safely take part in council meetings. We also put measures in place to have our meetings streamed to the public and I was happy to learn that more than 150 people tuned in to view our first ever virtual council meeting this week.
IDP & BUDGET
During this meeting, we approved the IDP and Budget for the 2020/2021 financial year. Although we were all looking forward to the launch of various new and exciting projects, we have had to re-evaluate and plan very carefully. This is a budget year like no other, as we have had to take into account the enormous and disastrous impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on the lives of our residents as well as our local, national and international economy. We therefore had to postpone some projects and make cuts to others in order to compensate for the decrease revenue stream we are anticipating in the coming financial year. We also expect cuts in government funding when National and Provincial Departments present adjustment budgets in June and July. We will however be addressing this by means of an adjustment budget in September, which will also give us the opportunity to better anticipate the effect of COVID-19 and the lockdown on our own budget.
Our focus is therefore driving efficiencies and doing more with less. Our core purpose remains service delivery and therefore the majority of our capital budget is invested in the maintenance, upgrading and expanding of our critical infrastructure like waste water treatment works, electricity networks, roads and water infrastructure to ensure quality service delivery to all our residents. This is also critically important to support our local economy. We further made provision for critical security and safety services and have budgeted significantly for street lighting, the lighting of public spaces and CCTV cameras.
We have made every effort to keep our rates as low as possible, especially in these difficult economic times. The cost of electricity is however out of our hands as it is determined by NERSA and ESKOM. My budget speech and the full budget document is available on our website and I encourage you to have a look at our plans and proposals for the next three years.
COVID-19 RELIEF FUND
As we are facing harsh economic times, I decided to take an item to council that will give all councillors the option of donating to the Mayoral Fund for COVID-19 relief efforts. This in line with recommendations made by SALGA who advised municipalities to create a Section 12 fund for COVID-19 relief efforts. I am happy to report that the majority of councillors approved this item aimed at assisting the most vulnerable members in our community.
The item speaks specifically to the 4% increase that is applicable to all councillors across South Africa. The 4% increase is determined by the National Department of Cooperative Government and must also still be approved by the MEC for Local Government. Councillors are also able to contribute whatever they feel they can – this can thus be more than the 4% increase or less – it is entirely up to each individual councillor. The donation to the fund is voluntary and contributions can also be done anonymously. The “Mayoral Fund” is an established fund in terms of Section 12 of the MFMA that is managed by the Municipal Manager and Chief Financial Officer and audited by the Auditor General of South Africa. It is often colloquially referred to as the “Mayoral Fund” as I partake in various fundraising initiatives throughout the year to raise money and donations for this fund. If you want to donate to this fund, you can contact my office or the Municipal Manager’s office who will gladly assist you.
I want to thank all our residents who have continued to pay their monthly accounts despite these difficult financial times. It allows us to continue delivering services to all. Please stay safe and take every precaution necessary.