Call for focus on youth in Winelands
Voters are ready to use the ballot for good governance
YOUTH development, jobs, crime and housing are among the hot-button issues for voters in the greater Cape Winelands district.
The district is roughly at the centre of the Western Cape and comprises the Witzenberg, Drakenstein, Stellenbosch, Breede Valley and Langeberg local municipalities.
Known for its vineyards and orchards, the area is also condemned for the poor living conditions of farm dwellers which have caused strike action and evictions.
In May, Weekend Argus reported residents of Kreefgat, an informal settlement near the R44 in Stellenbosch, were embroiled in a legal battle with Blaauwklippen Wine Estate.
The estate had bought the land on which the settlement is situated. The residents could be moved to a temporary relocation area pending a mediation process.
According to the last census statistics, the Cape Winelands is home to 787 489 people, 62 percent of whom are coloured, 24 percent African and 13 percent white.
At least 78.3 percent of the people in the district municipality indicated they have access to water from a local or regional supplier while 93.4 percent have access to electricity.
Toilet facilities are accessible to 91.8 percent of the population and at least 16 percent of people live in informal settlements.
The district municipality is run by the DA with coalitions with Cope in Witzenberg and Langeberg.
Residents who spoke to Weekend Argus this week said they were registered to vote and would use it to choose who governed them.
Nomvuyiseko Mtiya, a finance manager in Stellenbosch, said townships in the area were lacking in facilities such as sports fields and community halls.
Finding proper housing, particularly in Stellenbosch, was difficult because “as young professionals we cannot afford to pay rent in town, we do not qualify for government hous- ing and we are often forced to move to other areas or rent a shack in someone’s backyard”.
For Nomonde Gxagxisa, a teacher in Kayamandi, crime and education were the main issues she wanted addressed. “We do not have a fully fledged police station here. Crime is rife and police response is slow at times,” she said, add- ing that local schools needed upgrading.
Another Kayamandi resident, managing director at NGO Lokxion Foundation Paul Khambule, said youth were not catered for within municipalities.
“There are no youth desks where youth structures will be encouraged.
“Youth development is not budgeted for and the role of the district municipality and that of the local municipality are not communicated to the youth, hence the needs of the youth are not known,” he said.
A general view of vineyards at Babylonstoren wine farm in Franschhoek.
Paul Khambule is the managing director at Lokxion Foundation, a youth empowerment NGO in Stellenbosch.
Nomonde Gxagxisa is a teacher in Kayamandi.