Author: Marillia Veldkornet

LOCKDOWN: Transport of essential services workers



 29 March 2020

LOCKDOWN: Transport of essential services workers

Since the Covid-19 lockdown commenced last week, we have received numerous reports of essential services workers, including healthcare and retail staff, being stranded and unable to get to work.  Disturbingly, we have also received reports of minibus taxi operators refusing to allow their usual passengers to use alternative transport and, in some cases, violently attacking alternative means of transport for essential services workers. This is unacceptable and is happening despite our commitment to work together to address the challenges of the lockdown.

Many of the essential services workers that have been left stranded would ordinarily have used minibus taxis.  Fewer minibus taxis are operating than normal, with some operators being unwilling to do so due to the new restrictions placed on their operating capacity by the public transport lockdown regulations. Minibus taxis are now only permitted to carry 8 people, rather than the usual 16 (i.e. 50% capacity). During the lockdown, all public transport operators are restricted to two daily operating slots: from 05:00 (5 am) to 09:00 (9 am), and from 16:00 (4 pm) to 20:00 (8 pm).

It goes without saying that it is critically important for essential services workers to be able to get to work at the time they are needed.  This is especially important in the healthcare sector, who are at the frontlines of the fight against Covid-19.

At this difficult time, we implore the minibus taxi industry to continue transporting essential workers, where possible, and to stop intimidating other transport providers or passengers looking for alternative means of getting to work.  We understand and are sympathetic to the challenges that the capacity restrictions impose on the industry, and would welcome immediate dialogue to develop a way forward.

At the same time, my Department has requested that Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) increase its services to provide an immediate alternative for those left stranded.  We have also urgently requested that hospitals and other essential services provide us with the details of their stranded employees so that we can develop an appropriate response, working with GABS and the minibus taxi industry.

We all need to pull together at this difficult time to ensure that our essential services workers can get to where they need to go.  This is critical for the broader fight against Covid-19.

To this end, we urge all essential service employers who are experiencing problems to contact the Department on, stating the nature of their transport challenge. Please provide specific details, including number of people that need to be transported, from where, to where, at what time.

It has always been my intention to work with the minibus taxi industry to find the best responses to the challenges to the Covid-19 pandemic and the operating challenges that have arisen during the lockdown. However, the events of the last few days has shown this is not possible. The Department of Transport and Public Works is actively engaging to find solutions to the problems that face the citizens of the Western Cape. We appeal to the minibus taxi industry not to interfere with these arrangements.

Media Queries:              

Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka

Spokesperson for Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela

Tel: 021 483 8067

Cell: 082 953 0026


Press Release: Temporary closure of all Garden Route District Municipality Resorts

Press Release

For Immediate Release

23 March 2020

After careful consideration, and under the advisement of public health experts regarding the current risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) spread, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has decided to temporarily close all its resorts, namely: Calitzdorp Spa, De Hoek Mountain Resort, Swartvlei Caravan Park and Victoria Bay Caravan Park. This will be effective from Tuesday, 24 March 2020 until further notice.

The District has made this decision so as to safeguard the health and safety of guests, resort employees and community members.

GRDM looks forward to re-opening at the earliest opportunity and will keep the public informed when the resorts will re-open again.


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

GRDM Council remembers Cllr Nomhiki Jacobs as passionate public representative

It is with great sadness that the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) was informed about the passing of Councillor Nomhiki Jacob on 18 March 2020.

Councillor Jacob was an African National Congress (ANC) Councillor at Bitou Municipality. She also served on the GRDM Council since 2016 and as a member of the GRDM Strategic Services Portfolio Committee during this time.

While describing her as a humble human being and team player, the Council of GRDM have to say goodbye to a team player who made an impactful contribution in making a difference in the lives of many.

Speaker of GRDM, Cllr Barnie Groenewald (Democratic Alliance) said he will remember her as the sweetest, kindest and warm person. He further described her as a “disciplined councillor who always presented herself in a professional and neat manner – always stylishly dressed”. Speaker Groenewald continued:  “I will, and we as Council, will surely miss her and her presence in our Council meetings.  Cllr Virgill Gericke (Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners) referred to the late Councillor as a person with a humble spirit. He said: “It was indeed a pleasure to work with her and to be in the presence of such a humble human being.  I remember her as team player who always did her part to ensure that the work got done”.  Cllr Teresa Fortuin (Indepent Civic Organisation of South Africa) expressed her sincere sadness for the loss of her ‘neighbour’. “Her place was next to me in Council. I never heard her complain about anything. Only in the last few months I could see she was unwell to a point when she told me that she was not well”.  She added: “Through all these years up until the last few months she gave her all and worked hard to serve the community she loved so dearly”.

When talking about Cllr Jacob as people’s person, Cllr Piet Van der Hoven (ANC) said:  “She was a committed councillor, however in the last six months she faced some health challenges, but she continued to do what was expected from her and did it with the utmost passion.   Although we were not fully aware what she went through, in retrospect, her contribution and efforts were even more appreciated and valued.”

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen, specifically remembers her love for the communities she served, especially the Kwanokuthula community. “I knew the late Councillor Jacob long before we became public representatives”.  He added:  “We were together in community politics and she took me as a brother during that period. We would frequently discuss community issues at her house.  When we both started to serve as Councillors we still maintained a good working relationship”. When describing the time they both started to serve on the Council of GRDM, Mayor Booysen stated:  “Although our ideology changed politically along the way, we continued with our good and professional working relationship. We never allowed our different ideologies to stand in our way.

In conclusion Mayor Booysen said:  “Councillor Jacobs’ passing is a great loss to her family, as well as to GRDM, Bitou and the community of Kwanokuthula which she passionately served”.

The GRDM Council, Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu and the employees of GRDM hereby wish to extend their heartfelt condolences to the Jacobs family and friends of Cllr Nomhiki Jacob. “We wish them sufficient strength to get through this difficult period in their lives – may her soul rest in peace.”

GRDM EHPs continue with the Coronavirus COVID-19 Campaign

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from Garden Route District Municipality, continues with a Coronavirus COVID-19 campaign by visiting various schools and other groups in George.

The campaign kicked off on Friday, 13 March 2020,  to create awareness about the Coronavirus disease – how it spreads, symptoms relating to it and how to prevent transmission, among others. Although no positive cases have been confirmed in the Garden Route yet, officials used the little time left before closing of schools on 18 March, to reach as many audiences as possible.

Teachers and learners at schools, toddlers and Caretakers at Crèches, EPWP workers in the district and elderly persons at Old Age Homes were among the audiences who were visited during the campaign. GRDM EHPs from Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland, George, Hessqua and Mossel Bay also distributed posters and pamphlets to residents and members of the community within their respective areas of service.  These sessions continue to be well-received.

Road Closure: Swartberg Pass

Due to rockfalls the Swartberg Pass will remain closed for the weekend. A huge boulder can be seen in the pictures, which is close to Eerstewater, smaller rocks and sand also spread out sround the area. More damage to the road adjacent to Tweedewater and just past the Malvadraai.

Road users would need to make use of alternative routes.

Pictures by Arno Botha

Nedbank educates and advises GRDM staff on their financial well-being

On Friday, 6 March 2020, a team from Nedbank in the Garden Route, conducted a financial awareness session with staff members of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) at the municipality’s Head-Office in George.

Garden Route District Municipality employees (FLTR) Mss Sphosethu  Nqolo, Zintle Buma, Amanda Booysen and Mr Siviwe Nyoka with Ms Marcelle Field, Sales Support Manager at Nedbank (right) during the role-play.

The purpose of the session was to inform staff regarding the importance of their financial well-being and how to make a mind shift to ensure meaningful and effective financial decision-making. The following topics were covered, namely: saving, budgeting, credit and the implications thereof, as well as why customers are turned down for credit related transactions.

Ms Marcelle Field, Sales Support Manager, advised that the first most important aspect to look at one’s lifestyle and budget, is to differentiate between what the needed items and wanted items on a budget are. “And for staff who does not have a budget in place, draft a budget immediately, it is not too late,” she said.  During this part of the session, employees participated in an exercise, where the Nedbank team provided them with a simulated budget, for them to identify the “needs” and “wants” on the budget, as well as what expenses were fixed, variable expenses or part of unforeseen expenses.

More topics, namely: the importance of a will, housing bonds, how to build a good credit history, as well as the importance of saving for a child’s education and future, were shared. During this part of the session more questions were raised of which the Nedbank team responded well by using practical examples to convey a clear message to all employees present.

In conclusion, five staff members participated in a role-play and acted as financial advisers to the simulated budget, to advise the budget owner on better decisions to make for an effective budget. The result of the role-play was an indication of how well participants grasped the information and tips provided to them by the team.

Ms Shandre Abrahams, the GRDM Employee Wellness Practitioner extended a word of appreciation to the team, including, Mss Marchelle Field, Melissa Vermaak, Joanne Ross and Larissa Olivier, for their insight and for the important information shared with the GRDM staff. The next session will be conducted for staff members at the municipality’s depot in Oudtshoorn, with the Knysna, George and Riversdale depots to follow.

The top financial tips shared at the event:

  • In terms of budgeting, identify “Wants” and “Needs”, as well as the “fixed”, “variable” and “unforeseen” circumstances, write down income and expenses and mark the items that were already been paid. Also, start to save as little as R50 per month (stop order if not sufficiently disciplined).
  • In order to maintain or build a good credit record, do not skip any payments and make payments on time. Do not be afraid to borrow money, but never borrow more than what you can afford. Open a current account as it helps to build up a credit profile and do not draw excessive amounts of cash, rather swipe your card as it leaves a paper trail.
  • Always ask for a statement and scrutinise your statements thoroughly and make arrangements to pay off debt before you are handed over.
  • Good credit is regarded as an investment e.g a house. These investments add value to your life and contribute to your financial well-being and stability.
  • Bad Credit is used to buy items that can be consumed e.g. food or clothes and if abused, can lead to financial instability because food and clothes do not increase in value over time.




This morning, Thursday, 5 March 2020, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive.

The patient is a 38-year-old male who traveled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020.

The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough. The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab.

The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children.

The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor. The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well.

This media briefing is to ensure that the public is immediately kept abreast. A press briefing will be held later after the parliamentary debate this evening to shed more light on this issue.

Dr Zweli Mkhize
Minister of Health

Knysna Road roadworks and road closure – 20 February 2020

Knysna Road will be temporarily closed at the Mission Street intersection from 09:00 until 16:00 on Thursday, 20 February 2020 due to construction work.

Road repairs and resurfacing in Knysna Road, from First to Fourth Streets, are continuing as part of the road resurfacing project in Knysna Road George.

The general public is urged to make use of alternative routes. Meyer, Stander, Sauer, Gelderblom and Third Streets can be considered for alternative access to areas. Site access will be managed and communicated with residents and businesses to ensure that minimum disruption is caused.

There will be height differences occurring in the road where repairs are being constructed. Caution will be required when driving or walking in the area, especially under wet and dark conditions. Low profile vehicles and motorcycles are to take extra care. The George municipality apologises for the inconvenience and appeals to road users to be patient and exercise caution during the upgrade. Please look out for and adhere to temporary road signage and roadworks personnel.

We want to assure the general public that all businesses in Knysna Road are open for business and are accessible at all times during the construction process.

PROJECT ENQUIRIES: iX Engineers Representative – 082 944 3654

Issued by George Municipality