Get to know your Knysna councillor
Full name, your ward, and your political party.
Levael Vincent Davis, Ward 1, DA.
How long have you been in Knysna?
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