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Sarah Baartman District Municipality bids farewell to long-serving staffer, Danie de Lange

By Marc Jacobson - Feb 1, 2016
Sarah Baartman District Municipality bids farewell to long-serving staffer, Danie de Lange

The Sarah Baartman District Municipality on the 29th of January bade farewell to one of its long-serving staffers, Danie de Lange, who was with the municipality for 14 years. At the time of his departure, de Lange, 64 years old, was the municipality’s Director of Finance and Corporate Services.

“People asked me why I’m resigning and not retiring. They asked me if I was unhappy. I want to make it quite clear that I am not unhappy,” de Lange told the Saran Baartman District Municipality Council at its first 2016 meeting, which was also his official farewell ceremony.

“Thirty-three years is a long time and there are lots of memories. Working here, I was probably the happiest in my life and I was very fulfilled in my career. I would like to thank all of you for every experience shared, friendships made and for all the good times. Thinking back now, even the bad times were good.”

Long career

De Lange said that he had learnt from everyone he had worked with at the municipality.

“I had a policy throughout my career that I will learn from anyone. It doesn’t matter where you are in the institution, whether you are at the bottom or at the top tier, we can all learn from each other in various ways. That’s what this institution has showed me,” he explained.

De Lange started his career as a premier accountant at a central news agency and between 1971 and 1975. He was later promoted three times to a managerial post, which transferred him to Gauteng.

Unhappy there, de Lange took up the opportunity to join the then East Cape Administration Board in Port Elizabeth. There he was promoted four times in quick succession and in March 1983, he was appointed as the Deputy Treasurer of the then Diaz Divisional Council.

In 1987, de Lange became the Deputy Director of Finance at the then Algoa Regional Services Council and was appointed as Director of Finance in November 1995.

It was in 2001 that he joined the newly established Cacadu District Municipality (now Sarah Baartman District Municipality) as the Director of Administration and Finance. During his years in that position, he contributed in making the Sarah Baartman District a strong example in financial management among municipalities in the Eastern Cape and elsewhere - resulting in a Clean Audit in the past financial year after years of positive Unqualified Audits.

In 2015, de Lange received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Municipal Finance Officers Information.

Prioritised learning

Even while his career blossomed, de Lange continued to enhance his knowledge through study at various universities. His first qualification was obtained in 1982 at the Institute of Administration and Commerce, which was a Local Government Finance Diploma.

De Lange then followed that up with a Bachelors Administration degree in Local Government Finance from UNISA, which he obtained in 1989. Nine years later, in 1998 at the age of 47, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and then 14 years later at the age of 61, he obtained a certificate in Municipal Finance Management.

Subsequently, he has received many invitations to serve on many professional associations; participating in strategy teams and made presentations at many universities and conferences.

“Danie has become a piece of furniture in this institution. Arguably, one of his greatest attributes is his true honesty. He is a person of real integrity and is a person who works hard and produces results, which has led him to success,” praised Ted Pillay, Sarah Baartman District Municipal Manager, at the farewell ceremony.

“People used to ask me; ‘what I am going to do when Danie is gone and how the institution is going to perform going forward’. His departure is a great loss to this institution, but he is leaving it in great hands,” exclaimed Pillay.

This sentiment was also shared by the Executive Mayor of Sarah Baartman District Municipality, Khunjuzwa Eunice Kekana.

“Over the past few years, that we have known you in the institution, Danie, you have taught us success. You showed tremendous patience and when we needed help, you were there. Your loyalty has taught me something,” she added.

“It is painful to lose someone that you know is so reliable and responsive. The dedication that you have shown to this municipality, where ever you go, will never go uncredited.

“After I asked him in December ‘where to from here’, he responded, ‘not too far, just a call away and if you need me, I will be there for you’,” the Mayor said.  

De Lange, who is certainly not slowing down at his age, has since joined EOH, a large firm with an annual gross turnover of around R10 billion and has a footprint in the whole of Africa with over 11 000 staff members. His new position is to be a Senior Manager in one of their business units.