Get to know your Knys­na coun­cil­lor

Knysna-Plett Herald - - From The Townhall -

Full na­me, your ward, and your po­li­ti­cal par­ty.

Le­va­el Vin­cent Da­vis, Ward 1, DA.

How long ha­ve you been in Knys­na?

15 ye­ars.

W­hat are your qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons?

N3 e­lec­tro­ni­cs (lig­ht cur­rent), mas­ter of the­o­lo­gy de­gree, doc­tor of mi­ni­stry de­gree.

Why did you de­ci­de to stand as a coun­cil­lor?

I was ap­pro­a­ched by so­me re­si­dents who felt I can ma­ke a dif­fe­ren­ce. I had been wor­king in the Sed­ge­field com­mu­ni­ty as a Chris­ti­an mi­nis­ter for ma­ny ye­ars.

As a Chris­ti­an le­a­der you are ex­po­sed to ma­ny is­su­es within the com­mu­ni­ty and this a­wa­re­ness cry­stal­li­sed my de­ci­si­on to en­ter the a­re­na of lo­cal go­vern­ment. I al­so spent 12 ye­ars wor­king as a stra­te­gic plan­ning con­sul­tant, te­am-buil­ding co­ach and pro­fes­si­o­nal spea­ker, ha­ving con­sul­ted for ma­ny pro­vin­ci­al go­vern­ment de­part­ments, mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties, as well as cor­po­ra­tes, SMMEs and

NGOs. I al­so hos­ted a po­pu­lar mo­ti­va­ti­on pro­gram­me on a re­pu­ta­ble ra­dio sta­ti­on for mo­re than eig­ht ye­ars and ha­ve pu­blis­hed two books. I felt that with this back­ground, I could add va­lue to my com­mu­ni­ty and Knys­na as a w­ho­le.

W­hat do your du­ties en­tail?

I lis­ten to re­si­dents, col­la­te their needs, as­sess the bud­get pro­vi­si­ons and try to meet tho­se needs w­he­re pos­si­ble as fi­nan­ci­al re­sour­ces al­low. I en­s­u­re that the u­ni­que is­su­es within my ward are ma­de kno­wn to coun­cil and that the so­lu­ti­ons are bud­ge­ted for. I part­ner with dif­fe­rent com­mu­ni­ty sta­ke­hol­ders so that the re­le­vant is­su­es can be ad­dres­sed. Most im­por­tant­ly, I must en­s­u­re that the in­te­gra­ted de­ve­lop­ment plan (IDP) is a true re­flecti­on of the as­pi­ra­ti­ons in my ward.

As a port­fo­lio coun­cil­lor I pro­vi­de o­ver­sig­ht to the techni­cal ser­vi­ces di­rec­to­ra­te on be­half of the ma­yor. I chair Secti­on 80 meet­ings, en­su­ring that all coun­cil­lors par­ti­ci­pa­te in dis­cus­si­ons, so­lu­ti­ons, and re­com­men­da­ti­ons. I en­s­u­re that the di­rec­to­ra­te functi­ons ef­fecti­ve­ly as a cor­po­ra­te of­fi­ce en­su­ring that the di­rec­tor, for ex­am­ple, is fil­ling key va­can­cies, i­den­ti­fying any s­taff tur­no­ver is­su­es etc, that the de­part­men­tal bud­get is spent ap­pro­pri­a­te­ly and that the bud­get speaks to our ser­vi­ce de­li­very man­da­te. I must en­s­u­re that fel­low coun­cil­lors are kept in­for­med a­bout is­su­es within the di­rec­to­ra­te. I al­so from ti­me to ti­me ad­vi­se the ma­yor on cer­tain cri­ti­cal is­su­es.

W­hat bur­ning is­su­es in your ward need at­ten­ti­on?

The needs in my ward are for hou­sing, e­lec­tri­fi­ca­ti­on and sa­ni­ta­ti­on of in­for­mal a­re­as, up­gra­ding of gra­vel ro­ads and se­wera­ge in­fra­struc­tu­re. Then the­re are your so­ci­oe­co­no­mic chal­len­ges of u­nem­ploy­ment, cri­me and ot­her youth-re­la­ted pro­blems which ta­ke a coor­di­na­ted stra­te­gic ap­pro­ach to de­al with.

W­hat are you proud of in your ward?

The di­ver­si­ty and cre­a­ti­vi­ty in my ward is an as­set to Sed­ge­field. We ha­ve ex­cel­lent tou­rism es­ta­blishments, re­stau­rants and be­a­ches.

We ha­ve ex­cel­lent NGOs that work to­get­her to de­al with the ma­ny so­ci­oe­co­no­mic chal­len­ges. Ward 1 is al­so bles­sed with re­ti­red pro­fes­si­o­nals with vast kno­w­led­ge and ex­pe­rien­ce. T­hey use their ex­pe­rien­ces to u­plift and not bre­ak do­wn and vo­lun­teer their ti­me to ma­ke Sed­ge­field a bet­ter pla­ce.

W­he­re would you li­ke to see im­pro­vement?

I would li­ke to im­pro­ve my re­spon­se ti­me de­a­ling with com­plaints. This will in­clu­de ha­ving a per­ma­nent hou­sing of­fi­ci­al ba­sed in Sed­ge­field. I am al­so wor­king on a stra­tegy to enga­ge mo­re ef­fecti­ve­ly with the com­mu­ni­ty.

You we­re e­lected to of­fi­ce in Au­gust 2016 – w­hat ha­ve you do­ne for your town and its pe­op­le sin­ce then?

Two a­re­as are al­re­a­dy e­lec­tri­fied sin­ce Au­gust 2016. I was a­ble to cre­a­te work op­por­tu­ni­ties for 30 pe­op­le. I ha­ve re­se­a­led two ro­ads that we­re in bad con­di­ti­on. De­ve­lop­ment of cle­a­ning pro­gram­me for com­mu­nal toi­lets.

I ha­ve In­stal­led 40 po­le bins in li­ne with the com­mu­ni­ty cle­an­sing stra­tegy. Built a new fen­ce a­round S­muts­vil­le hall, which was an i­tem flo­wing from the pre­vi­ous IDP, which I clo­sed off.

W­hat do you ho­pe to ac­com­plish for the rest of your term?

I would li­ke as ma­ny hou­ses as pos­si­ble to be built on i­den­ti­fied poc­kets of land. A ma­jo­ri­ty of in­for­mal hou­ses in my ward need to be e­lec­tri­fied. Up­gra­ding of as ma­ny gra­vel ro­ads as pos­si­ble. Re­se­a­ling of as ma­ny “bad ro­ads” as pos­si­ble. Ex­plo­re the vi­a­bi­li­ty of a pro­per

“lo­cal” tou­rism rou­te.

Do you think you are ma­king a dif­fe­ren­ce and if so, how?

Yes, with the sup­port of my ward com­mit­tee, our pro­jects are be­ne­fi­ting the most vul­ne­ra­ble, in­clu­ding the el­der­ly, di­sa­bled, youth and child­ren. The youth d­rug in­ter­ven­ti­on pro­gram­me, a­ni­mal a­wa­re­ness and ca­re pro­gram­me, gi­rl em­po­wer­ment pro­gram­me, small bu­si­ness de­ve­lop­ment co­a­ching pro­gram­me that I sup­port all at­test to my pas­si­on of col­la­bo­ra­ting with pe­op­le and or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons in my ward al­re­a­dy ma­king a dif­fe­ren­ce, to ad­dress our com­mu­ni­ty is­su­es. I try my be­st to be re­spon­si­ve to com­mu­ni­ty is­su­es to all re­si­dents in my ward, but the­re is much room for im­pro­vement.

W­hat do the town and its pe­op­le me­an to you?

Sed­ge­field is a ca­ring com­mu­ni­ty. Our re­si­dents are sup­por­ti­ve and ge­ne­rous. A ty­pi­cal ex­am­ple is how the com­mu­ni­ty de­alt with the fi­re di­sas­ter. The com­mu­ni­ty ral­lied to­get­her and did an ex­cel­lent job in as­sis­ting the vul­ne­ra­ble af­fected victims.

W­hat is your o­pi­ni­on of the man­ner in which the ru­ling par­ty is le­a­ding this town?

The ru­ling par­ty is keeping the town run­ning, despi­te the de­va­sta­ting fi­re, droug­ht and ot­her so­ci­oe­co­no­mic pro­blems. I think this shows that the ru­ling par­ty is re­si­lient.

Just for fun, w­hat is your fa­vou­ri­te book and food, and if you could tra­vel a­ny­w­he­re rig­ht now, w­he­re would you go?

My fa­vou­ri­te book is Tough-Min­ded Le­a­ders­hip writ­ten by Joe Bat­ten. I would de­fi­ni­te­ly tra­vel to Sin­ga­po­re.

Ward 1 coun­cil­lor La­va­el Da­vis

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