Drakenstein Municipality and SU working together for sustainability
“The agreement takes the strengths of Stellenbosch University and Drakenstein Municipality and combines them into a single strategy for success in the drive to improve the lives of our people. Jointly, we can achieve more than on our own, which is why this agreement is so important – it establishes a partnership for progress.”
This was how Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University (SU), described a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed in Paarl with the Drakenstein Municipality on Wednesday (26 January 2011). The MOU is the result of a process between the two parties to launch the Drakenstein Sustainability and Learning Initiative (DSLI). The municipality plans to utilise this initiative to promote sustainable development in the Drakenstein area through local knowledge partnerships.
The MOU was signed by the Executive Mayor, Councillor Charmaine Manuel, and Prof Botman at a full council session in the Paarl Town Hall.
The initiator of the strategic partnership, Dr Pravine Naidoo, Drakenstein Municipality’s Executive Director: Strategic Services, stated that the two institutions will collaborate on joint research projects. Emphasis will be placed on agricultural development, food security, addressing farm worker evictions, rural development, waste water treatment, waste management, bio-fuels, SMME development and entrepreneurship skills. This will benefit the people of Paarl, Wellington, Saron, Gouda and Simondium, as well as everyone attached to and served by Stellenbosch University.
“This kind of collaboration provides Drakenstein Municipality with a tremendous advantage. It ensures that sustainability is central to our service delivery planning, implementation and execution”, Councillor Manuel said.
Human resource development will also be a focus area of the collaboration between the Municipality and the University, with specific emphasis on leadership, town and regional planning, geographical sciences, civil and electrical engineering, financial and management accounting, as well as development economics.
Drakenstein Municipality has been an important partner in many local and international networks. This agreement with Stellenbosch University will strengthen its strategic role and establish Drakenstein as a learning and sustainable municipality. Sustainable development is linked to such principles as good governance, the eradication of poverty, economic prosperity, accountability, transparency and adequate attention to better service delivery in the fields of water, housing and electricity provision.
Dr Jerome Slamat, Stellenbosch University’s Senior Director: Community Interaction, said that as a relevant institution of higher learning, the University focuses on the discovery of new knowledge through scientific research, sharing that knowledge with others, and applying it to the benefit of the community. Through its HOPE Project, the University is using its excellence and expertise to address societal problems. In aid of rural development, Stellenbosch has a similar memorandum of understanding in place with Stellenbosch Municipality, which covers Stellenbosch, Pniel and Franschhoek. The University is also collaborating with the Western Cape Provincial Government, and with local authorities and structures in other towns in our region, such as Worcester, Ceres, Robertson, Caledon, Hermanus and Swellendam.
- Enquiries Drakenstein Municipality: Ms May Carolissen, tel 021 807 6390, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enquiries: Stellenbosch University: Mr Martin Viljoen, tel 021 808 4921, e-mail email@example.com