News Release: GRDM Executive Mayor and Mayoral Committee visit three key projects in the Greater Oudtshoorn and Kannaland areas
For immediate release
26 May 2021
On Friday, 21 May 2021, the Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Alderman Memory Booysen, together with his Mayoral Committee members, first visited the Western Cape Honey Bush Tea Co-operative (PTY) Ltd in Oudtshoorn and later, two other projects in the Kannaland region where the GRDM is involved.
The Cape Honey Bush Tea Co-operative (PTY) Ltd leases land from GRDM to produce honeybush tea for domestic consumption and international markets. The land is situated adjacent to the GRDM’s De Hoek Mountain Resort in Oudtshoorn. According to Lusanda Menze, GRDM Executive Manager for Economic Development and Planning, the Cape Honey Bush Tea Co-operative (PTY) Ltd is currently leasing the property from the municipality for nine years. However, he further explained: “It will take an extended period for the farm to reach a level of sustainability and to provide the Co-operative ample time to achieve all the objectives they have set out to achieve”.
During the visit, members of the Co-operative shared essential information with the delegation, including their background, the progress of the farming operations and what plans they have in place to attract tourists to the farm and Greater Oudtshoorn area. The plan also includes a training facility for those interested in this unique honeybush product and other related products that could be produced in the area.
As part of the programme, the delegation was accompanied to the Nooitgedagt Farm where honeybush plants will be grown and harvested. Currently, small-scale farmers harvest honeybush in mountainous areas, but in a sustainable manner. Honeybush is pruned for optimal regrowth and more are cultivated for planting during the growing season.
Mayor Booysen and his Mayoral Committee members welcomed the presentations made by the members of the Co-operative and Ald. Booysen said: “This initiative and partnership has the potential to add value to families, the Garden Route and Western Cape economies”. When referring to De Hoek Mountain Resort and its activities, Mayor Booysen said: “When GRDM Council took office in 2016, the following questions came to mind: How the municipality fits in as government and as landlords of the property and how the project fits in with us in becoming a partner of with small business”. In explaining his statement, he said: “One leg of government rest on the community which we operate in and of which you form part of”. He then highlighted: “The time has come to formally put this initiative on the map; however, we are now first navigating through red-tape and we need to follow the relevant processes,” he emphasised.
In conclusion, he said: “Let us make this initiative work – this has to work, it needs to be on the map of the Garden Route, on the map of the Western Cape and the map of the entire Republic of South Africa.
The municipality is now in the process of requesting the Council to withdraw its previous Council resolution relating to the lease period and consequently seeking approval from the Council to proceed with the legislative processes to extend the current lease contract to twenty (20) years.
As soon as the item is approved, both parties and the communities of Greater Oudtshoorn will be able to look forward to mainstream Honeybush tea production activities in their area. Together with this, the initiative will address the issue of unemployment in the area and the training facility where formal training can become a reality and economic spin-offs for the Klein-Karoo and the Garden Route district.
Subsequently, the delegation also visited other projects while in the Klein-Karoo, namely the borehole/pomegranate project in Calitzdorp, as well as the municipality’s resort, Calitzdorp Spa, to view the progress made regarding the installation of new roofing for chalets.