Author: Herman Pieters

Speech by Mayor Booysen at the 20th Council Meeting of Garden Route DM


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Before I start with my formal speech, I would like you to allow me to present a long-service award here. I don’t know how people have managed to do this, but me, I’ve never worked for more than 5 years at a place. I’m going to complete another 5 years next year and I’m going to move on again. What’s amazing is that some people just stick it out. Some might even stick it out because there is no alternative. I’m fully aware before I call this person to the front, that he stuck it out because of the atmosphere in this place. I think we’re going from strength-to-strength and people are really living it up.

The following gentleman worked here for 34 years – started off as a handy man and ended up at head office. I have also read the reasons why he’s going to retire this year – even those reasons make perfect sense.

Edward Hatches receives a certificate for his 34-years of service to the District, Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Booysen (left), did the handover.

Mr Speaker, I must say there are a lot of spiritual Councillors amongst us. I must confess that something is happening spiritually within the Garden Route District Municipality. Just today, this is probably the 3rd spiritual message (referring to a spiritual message by Mercy James, Integrated Development Officer at GRDM), I’ve received two earlier too today – they are all intertwined and all point to the same thing – the District is going from strength-to-strength – we are indeed a sleeping giant.

In Afrikaans they say: “jy kry die wind van agter” – I believe we’re getting the wind from behind at Garden Route District Municipality. I’m going to continue to hammer on the good things we do, regardless of the nature of the game that we’re in. We’ve just had a successful launch of our regional waste landfill site, which means we will start doing our thing. I’m also aware Councillors that it’s human nature – there are already people standing in a que about where this thing was approved, where was it advertised, who are going to work at the site? We need to engage these people who are asking these questions. We can’t fold our arms and leave it. We must be aware who is doing what and where. We’ve inherited this waste project – when we were constituted in 2016. We’re just rolling out what we’ve inherited. Now is the time for us to engage with these people and the communities so that we have the same answers.

It also gives me pleasure that we some students graduate at the Francois Ferreira Academy. Without food, you’ll never be a happy man. Seventeen (17) chefs graduated and sponsored by GRDM.

We had a lot of engagements, summits and skills summits. The time has come where we need to list what came out of these engagements – I think we are going to list some of the things that aren’t listed yet, because it has not yet happened but in the pipeline.

Councillors, my office has been approached by a special adviser of Dr Blade Nzimande. They’re planning to build a new Technical College in the Garden Route. They’ve approached us at the district and they want us to engage with them to see how our ideas can be incorporated – once again, I remind you that we had a skills summit. We’re at the beginning where we will be bearing the fruits out of that.

We’ve also been approached (but not agreed to anything on paper), by an international company and this company said they’ve watched us – they love our ideas, thinking and everything we stand for and aim to achieve. They like to invest in this area. They’ve also been to the Premier’s office in Cape Town to inform the Western Cape Provincial Government that they like what they’re doing. They’re going through all our legislation that deals with approval of developments, Environmental Impact Assessments, etc. and they identified a lot of hick-ups that would hamper investments. Because of these hick-ups, they’ve asked if GRDM can accompany them to the Union building to see the President and all his Ministers. If I can go and sell what we’re trying to achieve here – I need to go. It indicates again and again that our potential has been recognised. We must grab these opportunities.

Apart from all of that – again, we’ll be recognised by the United Nations. We’re currently hosting the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

We’re also known for our way in which we deal with climate-related disasters, including health epidemics. Our team is ready – they’re dealing behind the scene in case there’s any incidence of Corona breaking out in our region.

So Mr Speaker, I’m chuffed – I want to say to everybody here I am chuffed to be the Mayor of GRDM. Spiritually all the signs are there. On that note, I want to say: Councillors please continue what you’re doing, continue debating in a constructive way. I thank you.

My apologies. Let me add on and put more meat to the bone. Councillors, you’ll remember earlier this year or starting late last year, I started using a new term. The buzzword – district model. I said the time will come where I will have to go to the union building to find out what this model is all about and what is expected of District Municipalities. It so happens that we’re the only district in the whole of the Western Cape that have been approved to be a district to pilot this model from a national and provincial perspective. Ladies and gentlemen we need to give ourselves an applause for that because it says a lot. I’m going to need your back-up.

Cape Town Weather Office Alert – Damaging Winds

A severe weather alerts issued by the Cape Town Weather Office today, 25 February 2020.

Hazard Alert Level Valid From (SAST) Valid To (SAST)
Damaging Winds Watch 27/02/20 00h00 29/02/20 00h00

1. Strong to gale force SE winds (55 to 65km/h) are expected between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas, as well as Cape Metropole Thursday (27/02/2020), spreading along the south coast to Mossel Bay on Friday (28/02/2020) until Saturday (29/02/2020).

2. Strong interior winds (55 to 65km/h) are expected over the Central Karoo (Western Cape) Thursday (27/02/2020) and Friday (28/02/2020).



Mayor Booysen rides the world’s longest Zipline in Mossel Bay

Just under a month after its official opening which took place on 25 January 2020, Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Cllr Memory Booysen, faced his fear of heights (and hard adventures) by riding the world-renowned Mossel Bay Zipline. He was joined by supporters from Mossel Bay Municipality and onlookers from the town.

Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Memory Booysen and his wife, Elethu Booysen geared-up before riding the Mossel Bay Zipline.

Before his Zipline-ride, Mayor Booysen said: “This is a big thing, not only for the Garden Route but also for the Western Cape and I truly believe this should be the attraction for South Africa.” He further added “I am going to tell my peers to also come and experience it”.

According to Mayor Booysen, his wife Elethu convinced him to do it. “He is scared of heights and especially hard adventures, but we do these activities as long as I do it with him. I also gave him the option to pull out if he feels too scared,” she said. This was his also the first time Mayor Booysen did a hard adventure activity, he has only done some soft adventure activities like “hiking at Robberg in Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness,” said Elethu. The next adventures she plans to convince him to do include bungee jumping at Storms River and whale watching in Plettenberg Bay.

After the ride, Mayor Booysen said: “This is the best adrenalin-shot you can ever have, anywhere in the world – this was fun!”

Mossel Bay Zipline

This one-of-a-kind activity happens over the ocean in Mossel Bay. It is the longest over- ocean zipline in the world at 1.1km. The Zipline construction was approved by Mossel Bay Municipality in 2017. It is 90m above sea level and those doing it can reach a speed of up to 90km/h. The cost for a ride is R450 per person. More information about this adventure activity is accessible here:

Mayor Booysen coming down the 90m high Zipline in Mossel Bay, which offers views of the beautiful ocean.

Regional Tourism

The Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism is a central point for people visiting the region to find out what’s on offer in the region in terms of activities and experiences – visit to find out more and click on the “Explore” button to see what each town in the region offers.

Editor’s note:

Hard Adventure

Hard adventure refers to activities with high levels of risk, requiring intense commitment and advanced skills. Hard tourism includes the activities like climbing mountains/rock/ice, trekking, caving etc.

Hard adventure activities are highly risked in nature. Professional guide, advance level skills are required to perform these activities. Many tourists died during climbing mountains, caving every day. There is an interesting fact that is for K2, world 2nd highest mountain, for every two people who submit one dies.

Soft Adventure

Soft adventure refers to activities with a perceived risk but low levels of risk, requiring minimal commitment and beginning skills; most of these activities are led by experienced guides. Soft tourism includes the activities like backpacking, camping, hiking, kayaking etc.

Soft adventure activities are low risk in nature. These activities are led by professional guides. Soft adventure is a popular category in adventure tourism. On average, 25% trips taken from North America and Europe are soft adventure trips.




Veldt Fire Conditions 24/02/20 08h00 – 25/02/20 18h00

Hazard Alert Level Valid From (SAST) Valid To (SAST)
Veld Fire Conditions expected over the West Coast District interior (Western Cape) today and tomorrow (24-25/02/2020),including the Central and Little Karoo, as well as Cape Winelands tomorrow(25/02/2020). Warning 24/02/20 08h00 25/02/20 18h00


Description: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Whenever there are prolonged periods of little and no rain coupled with warm dry winds, veldt or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spread rapidly in strong winds.

Precautions: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Don’t make fires in the open and/or leave fires unattended. Don’t throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the open veldt. Don’t throw bottles in the veldt as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires. Prepare and maintain fire breaks in controlled manner. In the case of a large fire report it immediately and move away from the area to let the professionals deal with it. Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Description: Extremely High Temperatures

When temperature and the humidity is high at the same time or when the temperature exceeds a certain threshold, human’s ability to cool their bodies through sweating is reduced. This can be a real threat that leads to hyperthermia.

Precautions: Extremely High Temperatures

Stay indoors in a cool room near a fan if possible. The old and infirm must take extra care to stay hydrated and cool. Avoid strenuous outdoor activity, playing excessive sport and hard labour. Dress in light weight clothes and drink plenty of liquids NOT alcohol. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers

GRDM and DHET meet to discuss upcoming Garden Route Skills Summit

From left to right, are: Mr Stratu (GRDM: Municipal Manager), Mr Lumka, Ms Naidoo (GRDM: HR Practitioner: Training), Cllr De Vries and Mr Loliwe (GRDM: Strategic Manager).

Discussions revolved around the upcoming Garden Route District Municipality Skills Summit which will take place in Knysna on 19 and 20 March 2020 and how the DHET and SETA can add to the success of the outcomes of the summit. Added to this, outcomes in terms of the implementation of learnerships, skills programmes and multiple access routes onto A21 Apprenticeships, were also discussed.



Beware scammers pretending to raise funds for an Eden Municipality Sports Tour

Garden Route District Municipality has been informed by various members of the public of a scam doing the rounds by a person requesting random community members to donate funds to an “Eden Municipality Sports Tour”.

As a result of this, a case has been opened by the South African Police Services and the matter is currently under investigation.

We urge the public to be vigilant about these type of fraudulent activities and to always contact organisations to confirm if such donation requests are, in fact, true. Please do report such scams to your nearest SAPS office.

Third Annual Skills Summit will take place on 19 and 20 March 2020 in Knysna

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in collaboration with the B-municipalities in the district and the Western Cape Provincial Government, will be hosting its annual District Skills Summit on 19 and 20 March 2020 in Knysna (as per the 2019 Summit Resolutions).  The overarching objective of the summit is: “Bridging the skills gaps in order to position the district towards investment and economic development opportunities” with the following added – “while gearing all sectors to make the most of the fourth industrial revolution”.  The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. Advances are merging the physical, digital and biological worlds in ways that create both huge promise and potential peril.

According to the Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen, “Progress is only possible through collaboration across all stakeholders with the Business community leading, supported by all spheres of Government, Organised Labour, the Community sector as well as the LGSETA and other SETA’s and the National Skills Fund. International best practice shows where employers are willing leaders and other stakeholders willing partners, success is achieved in the overall planning and implementation phases of skills development projects. All these progressive ventures take place under the ‘umbrella’ of the Skills Mecca concept for the region.”

This year’s summit follows a resolution taken at the 2018 Garden Route District Skills Summit held on 01 February 2018 in George, during which it was resolved to take the concept of a Garden Route Skills Mecca forward and review progress on an annual basis.   The idea of a Skills Mecca originates from the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative (GRRI), which followed the devastating fires that hit the district (Knysna/Plettenberg Bay) in June 2017.  Since last year’s summit, municipalities in the district, in collaboration with various stakeholders, among others, the local Business Chambers and Provincial Government,  progressively worked together in order to bring about and implement the Garden Route Skills Mecca concept.

The 2020 Skills Summit will focus mainly on the achievements of the previous year’s implementation of the summit resolutions. The “show and tell” (presentation/competition) will give municipalities an opportunity to showcase a project that was implemented within their respective municipal areas. The 2020 Skills Summit will also be focused on how to accelerate the district-wide Skills Mecca, and also to evaluate the resolutions determined in 2019 towards making the Garden Route a preferred pristine destination for learning in the country and continent.

Other role-players involved are:

  • Local Businesses
  • Garden Route Business Chambers
  • MECs
  • District Mayors
  • District Municipal Managers
  • Corporate Services Managers
  • LED Managers
  • Tourism Managers
  • Skills Development Facilitator
  • Youth Coordinators
  • Various government departments
  • Western Cape Government
  • Local NGOs

The following resolutions were taken during the 2019 Skills Summit:

  • Continue and accelerate collaboration and cooperation among all District skills development role players.
  • Ensure that the Skills Development leverages digital infrastructure as far as possible to ensure learning and processes methods are and remain cutting edge.
  • As far as possible link Skills Development to Investment and Economic Development opportunities to the advancement for all.
  • Ensure that all Skills Development processes in the Garden Route ALWAYS proactively considers renewable energy.
  • Engage with all willing partners, in particular the SETAs and the National Skills Fund, to explore the development and implementation of projects across the District.
  • Consider and leverage local skilled people, including retired people, within the District, to accelerate the growth of the Skills Mecca.
  • All public and / or private skills development projects and/or programmes in all municipalities are acknowledged, recorded on Skills Mecca on line solution and supported within resource limitations.
  • Progressively support the development of the new apprenticeship of 21st Century (A21) in the District
  • Budget, plan and implement an annual Skills Summit that is held in a different local municipality rotationally and alphabetically….2020 – Knysna – proposed on 5 March 2020.

Municipalities are expected to prepare and present a case study of an actual skills development project implemented within their municipality at this year’s Summit. A ten minute presentation will form part of a competition to determine the annual Garden Route Skills Mecca Champion for 2020.  Presentations will be evaluated by the delegates on the day of the event through a simple ballot system.  Each case study will be judged against three criteria:

  • Did the partnerships in the project add value? – Yes or No?
  • Did the project support transformation in a creative way? – Yes or No?
  • Did the project make learners more employable? – Yes or No?

The envisaged outcome of the Summit is to ‘’fine-tune” the resolutions from 2019 and develop ideas on how to accelerate implementation of the Skills Mecca in the Garden Route. The Skills Summit will be an annual event on a rotational basis; municipalities therefore also need to budget and plan towards this purpose. The 2019 Skills Summit attracted approximately 180 people in Stilbay, while arrangements are in place to accommodate 200 – 250 people this year.

For more information contact the GRDM’s Training and Development Section, Mr Reginald Salmons at 044 803 1363.