Bergrivier Local Municipality

Bergrivier Local Municipality is a local municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It governs the towns of Piketberg (the seat of the municipal council), Velddrif and Porterville, as well as the surrounding villages and rural areas. As of 2011 it had a population of 61,897.[2] It is located within the West Coast District Municipality and has municipality code WC013.

Official seal of Bergrivier
The Cederberg Local Municipality is located on the West Coast of South Africa, in the Western Cape, north of Cape Town.
Location in the Western Cape
Coordinates: 32°45′S 18°45′E / 32.750°S 18.750°E / -32.750; 18.750Coordinates: 32°45′S 18°45′E / 32.750°S 18.750°E / -32.750; 18.750
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceWestern Cape
DistrictWest Coast
 • TypeMunicipal council
 • MayorRay van Rooy (DA)
 • Total4,407 km2 (1,702 sq mi)
 • Total61,897
 • Density14/km2 (36/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
 • Black African11.3%
 • Coloured70.9%
 • Indian/Asian0.4%
 • White16.9%
First languages (2011)
 • Afrikaans90.7%
 • Xhosa3.8%
 • English2.5%
 • Other3%
Time zoneUTC+2 (SAST)
Municipal codeWC013


Topographic map of the Bergrivier Municipality
A wheat field near Porterville in the Bergriver Municipality. Wheat is a common crop in the area.

The municipality covers an area of 4,407 square kilometres (1,702 sq mi) stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Groot Winterhoek Mountains in the east. Much of its southern border follows the Berg River, while to the north it stretches as far as the Olifants River Mountains. The Piketberg mountain occupies the middle of the area. To the north it abuts on the Cederberg Municipality, to the east the Witzenberg Municipality, and to the south the Drakenstein, Swartland and Saldanha Bay Municipalities.

According to the 2011 census the municipality has a population of 61,897 people in 16,275 households. Of this population, 70.9% describe themselves as "Coloured", 16.9% as "White", and 11.3% as "Black African". The first language of 90.7% of the population is Afrikaans, while 3.8% speak Xhosa and 2.5% speak English.[4]

The municipal headquarters are in the town of Piketberg, which is situated slightly north of the Berg River on the eastern slope of the mountain also known as the Piketberg. According to the 2011 census, Piketberg has a population of 12,075. The other principal towns in the municipality are Velddrif (pop. 11,017) on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Berg River, and Porterville (pop. 7,057) on the edge of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains.

There are smaller agricultural villages in the vicinity of Piketberg at Goedverwacht (pop. 1,979) and Wittewater (pop. 848), and in the northern parts of the municipality at Aurora (pop. 578), Eendekuil (pop. 1,530), and Redelinghuys (pop. 574). Dwarskersbos (pop. 670) is a fishing village and coastal resort near Velddrif.


At the end of the apartheid era, in the area that is today the Bergrivier Municipality there were municipal councils for Piketberg, Velddrif, Porterville, Eendekuil, Aurora, and Redelinghuys. These councils were elected by the white residents, while the coloured residents of the towns were governed by management committees subordinate to the white councils. Dwarskersbos was governed by a local council, and the remaining rural areas were served by the West Coast Regional Services Council.

While the negotiations to end apartheid were taking place a process was established for local authorities to negotiate voluntary mergers. Some towns in the Bergrivier took part in this process, which resulted in the municipalities merging with their respective management committees to form new non-racial municipalities: Piketberg and Aurora in August 1992, and Eendekuil in January 1993.

After the national elections of 1994 a process of local government transformation began, in which negotiations were held between the existing local authorities, political parties, and local community organisations. As a result of these negotiations, the existing local authorities were dissolved and transitional local councils (TLCs) were created for each town and village.

  • Porterville TLC replaced Porterville Municipality and Porterville Management Committee in October 1994.
  • Piketberg TLC replaced Piketberg and Eendekuil Municipalities in December 1994.
  • Velddrif TLC replaced Velddrif Municipality, Velddrif Management Committee and Dwarskersbos Local Council in October 1994.
  • Redelinghuys TLC replaced Redelinghuys Municipality and Redelinghuys Management Committee in October 1994.
  • Aurora Municipality was declared to be a TLC in October 1995.

The transitional councils were initially made up of members nominated by the various parties to the negotiations, until May 1996 when elections were held. At these elections the West Coast District Council was established, replacing the West Coast Regional Services Council. Transitional representative councils (TRCs) were also elected to represent rural areas outside the TLCs on the District Council; the area that was to become Bergrivier Municipality included most of the Piketberg TRC.

At the local elections of December 2000 the TLCs and TRCs were dissolved and the Bergrivier Municipality was established as a single local authority incorporating both rural and urban areas. In 2006 the boundary of the municipality was extended slightly to take over a strip of land on the left bank of the Berg River adjacent to Velddrif, which had previously belonged to the Saldanha Bay Municipality.


The municipal council consists of thirteen members elected by mixed-member proportional representation. Seven councillors are elected by first-past-the-post voting in seven wards, while the remaining six are chosen from party lists so that the total number of party representatives is proportional to the number of votes received. In the election of 3 August 2016 the Democratic Alliance (DA) obtained a majority of nine seats on the council.

The following table shows the results of the 2016 election.[5][6][7]

Party Votes Seats
Ward List Total % Ward List Total
Democratic Alliance 10,450 10,405 20,855 64.1 7 2 9
ANC 5,324 5,295 10,619 32.6 0 4 4
Freedom Front Plus 326 290 616 1.9 0 0 0
EFF 185 195 380 1.2 0 0 0
The Peoples Independent Civic Organisation 48 47 0.1 0 0
Independent 29 29 0.1 0 0
Total 16,314 16,233 32,547 7 6 13
Valid votes 16,314 16,233 32,547 99.1
Spoilt votes 118 175 293 0.9
Total votes cast 16,432 16,408 32,840
Total voter turnout 16,433
Registered voters 26,310
Turnout percentage 62.5

The DA subsequently lost one seat to the African National Congress (ANC) in a by-election on 23 August 2017.[8] However, the DA won the ward back in another by-election held on 16 January 2019.[9] The 2016 council composition was thus restored.

The local council sends two representatives to the council of the West Coast District Municipality: one from the Democratic Alliance and one from the African National Congress.[10]


  1. ^ "Contact list: Executive Mayors". Government Communication & Information System. Archived from the original on 14 July 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Statistics by place". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Statistics by place". Statistics South Africa. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Bergrivier Local Municipality". Census 2011.
  5. ^ "Results Summary – All Ballots: Bergrivier" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Seat Calculation Detail: Bergrivier" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Voter Turnout Report: Bergrivier" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  8. ^ "By-elections 23 August 2017 Comparison Report" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  9. ^ "DA takes ANC ward in Western Cape by-election". The Citizen. 17 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Political composition of councils February 2017" (PDF). Western Cape Department of Local Government. February 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.

External linksEdit