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Quality of life and sustainable development in the Cape Winelands District

Executive Mayor Alderman (Dr) Helena von Schlicht outlines some of the unique advantages that make the Cape Winelands District such an attractive destination for tourists and for business investment.

What is the CWDM focus as a District Municipality?

The goal of the Municipality is to deliver on the mandated functions as specified in the Municipal Systems Act. However, in order to achieve our vision of a unified district of excellence for sustainable development, the council’s focus remains firmly in identifying and growing opportunities for social and economic development. The Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) fulfills its mandate in a way that enables our citizens and visitors to travel and eat safely and to enjoy the biodiversity of the area.

We are a highly functional municipality, this is confirmed by the number of awards we have won.

These include four consecutive clean audits, national accolades for our Municipal Health Services Division for their role in the prevention of listeriosis in the district as well as Fire Services for protection of property during the last fire season.

How does the organisation address local economic and social development?

The planning and funding of our projects is determined by our Integrated Development Plan (IDP). This plan is compiled after consulting with communities and service organisations. We will not develop economically if we do not have an efficient, healthy and resilient community. Our self-funded programmes include projects that support Early Childhood Development, skills development and sport. Sport development is a large function of the unit. The Municipality hosts a variety of sports events, soccer, rugby sevens, dominoes and tug-of-war and even indigenous games. Other programmes include seed funding for young entrepreneurs and activities for disabled persons.

Economic development depends on the social health of our citizens, to ensure success we need to address both issues at the same time. We want to empower people and enable them to enter the economy, create jobs, support their families and contribute to the overall prosperity of society. When someone has a strong and healthy sense of social cohesion, it’s easier for them to participate in the economy.

Dr Helena von Schlicht

Dr Helena von Schlicht honed her skills during a 24-year career in higher education. After earning her doctorate, she worked as Head of Department, Social Work, at the Huguenot College in Wellington. In this capacity, she was involved in the writing and implementation of policies. 

She transferred to the political arena in 2009 and became a member of the Mayoral Committee in 2011. She has been Executive Mayor since the election of September 2016.

How important are the functions of the various divisions?

The Technical Services Division is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 3 700 km of rural and gravel roads, while Fire Services, in partnership with Cape Nature and the Fire Protection Association, ensures that fauna, flora, human and animal life and property are protected from fires. Approximately 1 500 wild or veld fires are extinguished per fire season.

The division of Municipal Health Services deploys environmental health practitioners (EHPs) to ensure that all food and drink suppliers are certified and comply with regulations at all stages of the manufacturing process.

Tell us about the annual Mayoral Tourism Awards.

One proven method of developing economic opportunities is through the tourism industry. To acknowledge the valuable inputs of the tourism sector, the CWDM issues a Mayoral Tourism Award to tourism entities that welcome guests in a way that keeps them returning.

The 2018/19 winners included wine destinations like La Motte, Val du Charron and the home of the Wellington Park Run, Imbuko Wines. In the category Service Excellence, @FourCousins (Robertson), Wolseley’s Big Sky Cottages and the Cape Dutch Quarter in Tulbagh walked away with the accolades. The Route 62 Craft Beer Brewery and Waffle House in Montagu was recognised for entrepreneurial spirit, while the University of Stellenbosch Museum received an award for its role in sustainable development. The South African Cheese Festival and the Montagu Makietie were Festival winners.

The Mayor’s Discretionary Award was issued to the Protea Farm Tractor Rides.

This destination offers a unique experience to visitors, including those in wheelchairs, by taking a tractor to the top of the Langeberg, from where, on a good day, one can see the ocean. After a fun trip down the mountain, visitors enjoy award-winning ‘potjiekos’ prepared by 10 local ladies.

What makes the CWDM so special?

The quality of life. We are proud to say that this is one of the most visited regions for domestic and international tourists. There is something for everyone here in the beautiful Cape Winelands. There are 1 000 things to do… and then some wine!

Visit the Cape Winelands District Municipality website:



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