15 November 2021
The Drakenstein Municipal Council’s inaugural meeting took place on Monday, 15 November 2021, at the Paarl Town Hall. Alderman Conrad Poole was elected as the Executive Mayor of Drakenstein Municipality for a second term, Alderman Gert Combrink as the Deputy Executive Mayor for a second term, and Alderman Koos le Roux as the new Speaker.
Looking back at the previous five years, Executive Mayor Poole said in his inaugural address: “Guided by our values of transparency, excellence, responsiveness, accountability, accessibility and integrity, we have made significant progress, worked hard to keep our promises, and made sure that every Rand goes towards quality service delivery - especially for those who need it most.
“Now, with a renewed sense of urgency, focus and energy, we will ensure that the needs and challenges of the Drakenstein community are being addressed at an accelerated pace. It is our responsibility, as a council and an administration, to create an enabling environment that supports local democracy and enhances service delivery.
“Together with our community, we will continue to realise our vision of building a city of excellence in Drakenstein – in a focused and steadfast manner. With our past successes forming the foundation for the next five years, our manifesto is simply: Solution-driven innovation; Essential economic and social development; Continued excellent service delivery; Steadfast good governance and financial management; and Integrated communication that not only informs and empowers our community, but promotes Drakenstein as a business, investment, tourism and sport destination,” said Executive Mayor Poole.
The inaugural Council meeting was attended by dignitaries such as Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, and Senior Magistrate Diane Blaauw.
Of Drakenstein’s 33 wards, the Democratic Alliance (DA) controls 26 wards (79%), and the African National Congress (ANC) 7 wards (21%). For the full list of ward councillors, click here. The locations of the wards can be found here.
The political parties represented in the new Drakenstein Municipal Council are:
|Democratic Alliance (DA)||36|
|African National Congress (ANC)||13|
|Vryheidsfront Plus (VF PLUS)||3|
|Concerned Drakenstein Residents (CDR)||3|
|African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)||1|
|Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)||1|
|Patriotic Alliance (PA)||1|
|Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (ICOSA)||1|
|Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC)||1|
|Al Jama-Ah (ALJAMA)||1|
Let the numbers speak for themselves
Drakenstein Municipality, the largest municipality in the Western Cape after the City of Cape Town, is steadily growing into a beacon of local government excellence with continual clean audits, recognition for sound financial management, a growing list of service delivery achievements and infrastructure accolades.
Good governance, sound financial principles
Drakenstein Municipality has achieved 12 consecutive unqualified audit opinions and is currently the largest municipality in the Western Cape to receive a clean audit.
As a well-governed and financially sustainable municipality, it applies zero-based budgeting and constantly looks at ways to improve efficiencies and increase revenue. Drakenstein Municipality has established a culture of good governance and accountability, and pays all its creditors within 30 days.
All of this is achieved while operating with a smaller staff component than most municipalities in South Africa. Its employee-related cost to total expenditure is only 24.5%, which is below the National Treasury norm of between 25% to 40%.
Service delivery excellence
Drakenstein Municipality reports some of the lowest water- and electricity distribution losses in the Western Cape and South Africa. Its water losses is 14.89%, while National Treasury’s benchmark for water losses is between 15% and 30%. The Municipality’s electricity distribution losses is 7.53%, while the national norm is between 7% and 10%.
As on 30 September 2021, the percentage of Drakenstein households receiving the following services was:
• water: 99.8%
• sanitation: 99.5%
• electricity: 94.9%
• refuse removal: 100%
[This information is submitted monthly in the form of a Section 71 Report to the Auditor-General, National Treasury, and the Drakenstein Municipal Council - in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). The information also forms part of the Back to Basics Report, which the Municipality submits to the national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).]
The reality of indigents
It is important to note that Drakenstein Municipality is burdened with one of the highest number of poor and unemployed residents, 57% of its consumers are poverty-stricken and in need of financial assistance.
A recent analysis of all Western Cape municipalities by the Provincial Government and Treasury highlighted that, when comparing municipal contribution in terms of access to basic services (water, sanitation, refuse removal, and more) to the poor, Drakenstein Municipality’s stands out every time.
A growing list of accolades
Earlier this month, Drakenstein Municipality was awarded first prize in the Environment Climate Change category in the prestigious 2021 Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa (IMESA) and the Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Excellence Awards. These awards recognise outstanding achievements in municipal infrastructure and the best of civil engineering.
The particular category looks at environment rehabilitation, renewable energy, drought solutions, coastal initiatives for rising sea levels, pollution control, and educational initiatives. The award-winning project is Drakenstein Municipality’s Boy Louw and Parys Sport Boreholes and Water Treatment Plants.
In 2019, the Municipality’s Leliefontein Pump-As-Turbine (PAT) Station, deemed the first of its kind in South Africa, was named the CESA National Winner. Leliefontein uniquely uses the same set of pumps to pump water and generate electricity by reversing flow through the pumps. The Leliefontein project is the perfect example of how municipalities can use low-cost, off-the-shelf equipment - such as centrifugal pumps and induction motors - to generate clean power using potential energy in their existing infrastructure.
Also in 2019, Drakenstein Municipality walked away with the Greenest Municipality Award in the Western Cape for consistently trailblazing smart sustainable practices. In addition, it won awards for the Most Improved Municipality for Climate Change, and the Most Improved Municipality for Waste Management.
With Cape Town and its outskirts becoming more and more congested, developers and investors are increasingly looking to locations that are still in close proximity to the city while offering a basket of services and conditions that is conducive to growth and the bottom line.
The Drakenstein region (covering Paarl and Wellington) is perfectly located - a convenient 60km from Cape Town, its international airport and port. Drakenstein features excellent infrastructure and services, transport networks and road access. The region is politically stable and rarely sees any municipal service delivery protests. It also has a good offering of local labour.
Over the last five years, Drakenstein Municipality has taken the bold step of investing R1.55 billion in infrastructure. This include R454 523 290 on roads and electricity infrastructure; R408 727 779 on water networks, water treatment works and reservoirs; and R689 938 125 on wastewater treatment works, sewer network upgrades and solid waste infrastructure. Investing in infrastructure helps drive development, job creation and growth in the region.
The Municipality goes to great lengths to cut red tape for developers and investors. It has a one-stop development desk for potential developers, businesses and investors, which is situated in the City Manager’s office. The Municipality offers ease of doing business and has extended its bouquet of automated approval processes.
Drakenstein is also a sport mecca, home to some of South Africa’s top schools and estates, a preferred tourism destination and in line to become Africa’s first Fairtrade City. Centuries-old wine farms, historical architecture, and exquisite natural splendour all guarantee a good quality of life here.
Issued by: Communication and Marketing, Drakenstein Municipality