COVID-19 and the national lockdown measures have impacted on all communities, organisations and businesses. It has changed the way we live and has affected many families who have lost loved ones. At Stellenbosch Municipality this has also been true.
It is with great sadness that we have to report that our municipality has lost a total of two councillors and six officials since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Councillor Manie Petersen (DA), Mayco member for Youth, Sport and Culture and Councillor Derrick Hendrickse (EFF) were dedicated and diligent councillors who were well-known in their communities. These two sudden losses, mere days from each other, sent shockwaves through the municipality and indeed the entire community.
Further to these losses, a total of six municipal staff members have sadly passed away with the first COVID-19 related death being recorded in May 2020.
A virtual memorial service will be held at 10:00 on 27 January 2021 at the start of the first council meeting for the year. The service will include an address by the Mayor, Municipal Manager, Speaker, a representative of each political party in council as well as a moment of silence and reading by a Chaplain.
The municipality continues to take this pandemic very seriously. Safety measures introduced to protect our councillors, staff and residents include:
· The issuing of personal protective equipment such as masks and face shields;
· Hand sanitizers at all entrances to municipal buildings;
· Temperature checks at all entrances to municipal buildings;
· Safety screens erected at entrances and reception areas;
· The closure of ward offices to minimise direct contact with stakeholders;
· A 50% rotational system of working from home for all non-essential employees;
· Daily screening forms to be completed by all departments;
· Sanitizing of public spaces such as the main taxi rank continues on a weekly basis;
· A move to more online and digital forms of communication to minimise face-to-face contact with stakeholders – this includes contacting the municipality via our dedicated WhatsApp service lines, logging a request via the revamped municipal website and contacting us via the Stellenbosch Citizen app, email or social media.
· All Mayco and Council meetings continue to take place virtually and most other municipal meetings also take place online to ensure the safety of all participants.
Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer, Municipal Manager Geraldine Mettler, Speaker Wilhelmina Petersen and all councillors of Stellenbosch Municipality convey their sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the councillors and staff that we have lost. We ask that you please keep their families in your thoughts and prayers. Members of the public are invited to join the virtual memorial service on 27 January. A MS Teams link will be published on all online platforms in the coming days.
Link to the live event: bit.ly/3sU9EXO