Western Cape’s best: Swellen­dam

CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­press.co.za

Wel­come to Swellen­dam, where 98.5% of its 36 000 res­i­dents en­joy piped wa­ter in their homes. Of those homes, 88% are for­mal houses – a stark con­trast to Mbizana’s 1.1%, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that re­search and ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion Good Gov­er­nance Africa has de­scribed as the coun­try’s worst.

The lay­out of Swellen­dam, which is 220km in­land from Cape Town on the N2, re­flects apartheid plan­ning, with the coloured town­ship of Rail­ton si­t­u­ated across the N2 from the town’s cen­tre.

Khyle Rodgers (19), who ma­tric­u­lated at Swellen­dam High School last year, is a waiter at the Tredici farm stall, with its choco­late brown­ies, bil­tong and blue-cheese quiches. The youngest of five chil­dren, Rodgers plans to study for a BCom de­gree at ei­ther Stel­len­bosch or Cape Town Univer­sity next year.

“Ja, like most small towns, we have plenty of churches and al­co­hol shops,” he says. “But we also pride our­selves on the beauty, es­pe­cially be­cause of the tourists who stop here on their way to the Gar­den Route. Res­i­dents make an ef­fort to keep it pretty. For ex­am­ple, there’s a com­mu­nity gar­den in Rail­ton that peo­ple care for vol­un­tar­ily.”

The pop­u­la­tion of Swellen­dam, which is led by a DA and African Chris­tian Demo­cratic Party coali­tion, is 68.8% coloured, 17.4% white and 12.4% African. Most peo­ple speak Afrikaans. Of the 6 579 eco­nom­i­cally ac­tive youth in Swellen­dam, 15% is un­em­ployed.

The town ranked highly on gov­er­nance, ob­tain­ing a clean au­dit for the 2014/15 fi­nan­cial year from the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral.

Re­gard­ing crime and polic­ing in the area, the lo­cal Lange­berg Bulletin news­pa­per con­tains a crime wrap in this week’s edi­tion, com­mend­ing lo­cal of­fi­cers for con­fis­cat­ing man­drax, tik and dagga, and ar­rest­ing two peo­ple in con­nec­tion with a so­lar panel that dis­ap­peared two months ago.

In­side the Groen­temark cor­ner shop, “sis­ter friends” Natasha Con­radie (29) and Jolandie Mathysse (31) take turns be­hind the till. Mathysse says there are pros and cons to liv­ing in Swellen­dam.

“The farm roads around town are re­ally bad, with lots of pot­holes. But as you can see, the roads in Swellen­dam it­self are good and they are very clean. The streets are swept ev­ery day, even on Sun­days.”

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