THE FOLLOWING IS A LETTER ISSUED TO STELLENBOSCH COMMUNITIES BY MAYOR GESIE VAN DEVENTER TODAY
In line with the level 4 restrictions for lockdown that kicked in on 1 May 2020, our officials are starting to work from the office again. All officials will not return to the office at once and we are following the guidelines of a phased approach as set out by President Ramaphosa. This means that we will restrict the number of people in office spaces and our officials will be coming into the office on a rotational basis. Working in the office on a rotational basis will help us restrict the contact between officials and reduce the risk of any possible infection. Officials who are not in the office, will continue to work from home. We continue to do our very best to ensure that our day-to-day operations continue with as little disruption as possible. Our front-line workers have been doing an excellent job in ensuring that our towns remain clean and all our basic services continue uninterrupted every day.
Under level 4 lockdown regulations we are allowed to open our offices to serve the community. That is why we have put all the necessary safety measures in place for staff and residents. Our cashier’s offices opened to the public on Wednesday, 6 May. They will be open from 08:00 to 15:30 every weekday. We have implemented stringent safety measures including social distancing, screening and regular sanitizing of our offices. Thank you to each and every resident who continues to diligently pay their municipal account.
Residents who want to pay municipal accounts can make use of the electronic platforms for payments. Electricity purchases can be made at Easy Pay and Pay@ points (Checkers, U-save, Woolworths, Spar, Pick ‘n Pay etc.) Some banks also facilitate easy electricity purchases. Any debtor account enquiries can be sent to:
- WhatsApp to 082 356 8371
In an effort to make access to local government and public participation easier, especially during the time of lockdown, we launched our new cell phone app on the 1st of May. The new Stellenbosch Citizen app has allowed residents to submit their inputs on the Draft Budget and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) remotely via cell phone or computer. In this time of lockdown it is vital that residents still have easy access and opportunity to communicate their needs and priorities to us for inclusion in the final Budget and IDP.
The app is available to download from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Windows Store. The app also works on feature phones such as Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson devices. It uses very little data and will allow greater access for public participation than ever before. The new app is a great platform on which we can build and include more functions in future. Please download and install it on your phone. We have made every effort to make it as user-friendly as possible. Your experience and feedback will help us improve this platform in future and I am very excited to hear what you think of it.
I have spoken to you about #StellenboschUnite on previous occasions. 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.
In order to better assist our vulnerable communities, Stellenbosch Municipality will be making available R100 000.00 to Stellenbosch Unite on a monthly basis for three months. The funds will be drawn from Grant-In-Aid funding in terms of our Grant-In-Aid Policy. The policy stipulates that grants be restricted to R40 000 per organisation per annum. As we are dealing with a unique global pandemic that is impacting on the lives and livelihoods of many of our residents, this stipulation was amended in terms of the emergency powers vested in the Executive Mayor for a one-off increase in this amount.
Further to this, additional funding of R900 000.00 was sourced from the Provincial Government. This will also be allocated towards Stellenbosch Unite over the next six months. This is in an effort to aid and accelerate food distribution to those in dire need across our region. We will also be rendering in-kind services to Stellenbosch Unite. We have already made premises available as a collection and distribution point and make staff, drivers and vehicles available if and when necessary. Please visit the Stellenbosch Unite website (www.stellenboschunite.org) if you would want to make a contribution.
The humanitarian crisis caused by this virus will be with us for some time and we are making every effort to assist our most vulnerable residents.
As we settle into level 4 restrictions I want to remind all our residents of the regulations during this time:
- Masks must be worn at all time when you leave your house
- A strict curfew has been implemented meaning that no one is allowed outside between the hours of 8pm and 5am (20:00 to 5:00) ever evening;
- You are only allowed to go to work, or shop for essential goods – no visiting with friends or family;
- Public gatherings and meetings (including religious services) are still prohibited;
- The sale of alcohol and cigarettes (including any and all tobacco products and e-cigarettes) are still prohibited;
- Exercise is allowed only between 6:00 to 09:00 daily and within a 5km radius from your residence. NO GROUPS ARE ALLOWED.
Please wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol based sanitizer. Regularly clean all surfaces and avoid touching your face. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to stop the spread of COVID-19. It can be done if we cooperate and work together.
I urge all our residents to please adhere to the national government regulations. Residents who are found not adhering to these regulations will face fines and even a prison sentence. These are challenging times for all of us and we are making every effort to ensure the health and safety of our residents. You are precious to me and we want to make sure you are protected.
Stuart Grobbelaar T: 021 808 8172 | C: 084 036 1395
Mart-Marié Haasbroek T: 021 808 8024 | C: 072 910 3724