Category: <span>Covid-19</span>

Media Statement: Weddings allowed under the current lockdown regulations (under specific conditions mentioned in this statement)

Media Statement: Weddings allowed under the current lockdown regulations (under specific conditions mentioned in this statement)

For Immediate Release
16 February 2021

According to the National Department of Cooperative Governance, weddings are allowed under the current lockdown regulations. This was communicated earlier to the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Command Centre, however, specific directives still apply for those intending to hold such events.

According to the GRDM Head of Disaster Management, Gerhard Otto: “The regulations must be interpreted as a whole, which requires comparing Regulations 33, 36, 39 and 45 with one another.” Otto says it was confirmed that the wedding industry was not mentioned specifically as an exclusion in Regulation 45, however social gatherings at nightclubs are.

It was explained by the Department of Cooperative Governance that the act of getting married at a place of worship, dining out and celebrating a wedding at an entertainment facility is allowed – “within the applicable restrictions,” said Jurgens Dyssel, Director: Policy Development and Regulatory Frameworks at the Department of Cooperative Governance. “As such, an established wedding venue (as a business) can host those parts of a wedding ceremony at their restaurant, ‘chapel’ and entertainment facility that clearly fall within the ambit of the regulations but should refrain from those ‘social’ aspects that do not fall within the permissible components,” he explained.

A summary of the key points applicable to weddings are mentioned below:

  • The regulations must be interpreted in its entirety;
  • The regulations do not define the term ‘social gathering’ and this limits interpretation of the regulations to the general use of the term;
  • Regulation 33(3) sets a 22h00 closing time for certain facilities;
  • Regulation 36(1) imposes health requirements on a person when attending a gathering;
  • Regulation 36(3)(a) does not limit the reason for a gathering at a faith based institution but limit the number of persons to gather to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors (or less), whilst maintaining social distancing measures etc. A person may therefore get married at a faith based institution;
  • Regulation 36(3)(b) prohibits all social gatherings;
  • Regulation 36(7) does not limit the reason for a gathering at a casino but limit the number of persons to gather to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors (or less), whilst maintaining social distancing measures etc. A person may therefore get married at a casino;
  • Regulation 36(9) does not limit the reason for a gathering at beaches, dams, lakes and rivers, inclusive of recreational facilities at those places within curfew and within social distancing measures. A person may therefore get married at a beach, dam, lake and river;
  • Regulation 36(10) does not limit the reason for a gathering at swimming pools inclusive of recreational facilities at those places within curfew and within social distancing measures. A person may therefore get married at a swimming pool;
  • Regulation 36(12) does not limit the reason for a gathering at botanical gardens, aquariums, zoos and game parks, other than time of operation and within social distancing measures. A person may therefore get married at a botanical garden, aquarium, zoo and game park;
  • Regulation 36(13) does not permit gatherings at public parks for any reason. A person may therefore not get married in a public park;
  • Regulation 36(15)(a) does not limit the reason for a gathering at a restaurant, but limits the number of persons to gather to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors (or less), whilst maintaining social distancing measures etc. A person may therefore get married at a restaurant;
  • Regulation 36(15)(b) does not limit the reason for a gathering at a conferencing, dining and entertainment facility, but limits the number of persons to gather to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors (or less), whilst maintaining social distancing measures etc. A person may therefore get married at a conferencing, dining and entertainment facility;
  • Regulation 36(15)(c) does not limit the reason for a gathering at a business premises, but limits the number of persons to gather to 50 percent of the available floor space, whilst maintaining social distancing measures etc. A person may therefore get married at a business premises;
  • A wedding has religious, cultural, business, social, legal and other components;
  • Regulation 45 deals with the operation of an economic sector (Table 2), which sets out the specific (economic) exclusions but not specifically exclude weddings or wedding venues; and
  • Regulation 39 deals with places and premises closed to the public, which only lists night clubs as the Minister has not defined others by means of a Direction.

The above-mentioned directives, therefore, provide clarity about weddings and unpacks why they are allowed.

ADDED CLARITY TO STATEMENT

The exclusion of social gatherings, night clubs etc. impact on the ‘social’ components of hosting a wedding ceremony. As such, an established wedding venue (as a business) can host those parts of a wedding ceremony at their restaurant, ‘chapel’ and entertainment facility that clearly fall within the ambit of the regulations but should refrain from those ‘social’ aspects that do not fall within the permissible components.

ENDS

Herman Pieters
Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality
Email: communications@gardenroute.gov.za
Website: www.gardenroute.gov.za

Media Release: Community Economic Recovery Project injects R3 million into the informal economy; provides food relief in Covid-19 hotspots

 

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

Date: 15 February 2021

Release: Immediately

Community Economic Recovery Project injects R3 million into the informal economy; provides food relief in Covid-19 hotspots

Today Premier Alan Winde and Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, visited Lingelethu Cash Store and Mpumi’s Kitchen, a spaza shop and community kitchen in Khayelitsha that are participants in the Community Economic Recovery Project.

Launched in September 2020, the Community Economic Recovery Project has provided 225 community kitchens in Covid-19 hotspots with digital vouchers every two weeks that are then spent at nearby participating spaza shops. To date over 135 spaza shops have participated in the project.

As a public-private partnership between the Western Cape Government, the DG Murray Trust and the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP), the project supports vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 pandemic by injecting R3 million into the local economy between community kitchens and spaza shops.

Funding for the project has been jointly provided by the Western Cape Government who contributed R2 million and the DG Murray Trust who contributed R1 million, of which 100% will be distributed to the beneficiaries by the end of the project.

After meeting with those who have benefitted from the Community Economic Recovery Project, Premier Alan Winde said: “This project is an innovative way to support local businesses and ensure that we are responding to the humanitarian need in communities at the same time. Throughout the pandemic, the Western Cape Government has always balanced saving lives, with saving livelihoods, and this is just one of a number of ways we have helped to support businesses to continue to operate. This project encompasses two of our key priorities – supporting jobs and dignity and wellbeing.  In my SOPA address on Wednesday, I will be outlining more steps that this government will be taking in response to Covid-19, and to support businesses and grow the economy, and to promote dignity and wellbeing.”

In addition to benefiting communities in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, this initiative has also been implemented in other areas of Cape Town such as Atlantis, Elsies River and Mitchells Plain, and in other municipalities across the Western Cape including Breede Valley, Langeberg, Witzenberg, Drakenstein, Overberg, George and Mossel Bay.

Minister David Maynier thanked all the partners involved in the Community Economic Recovery Project, “This project is a great example of how the public and private sector, together with civil society, can partner quickly, effectively and innovatively in a time of crisis. I look forward to our continued efforts to work together to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy so that we can save businesses and save jobs in the Western Cape.”

Andrew Boraine, CEO of the EDP, said: “By focusing on an urgent social need, this programme has not only supported the retention of jobs in spaza shops by injecting cash into some of the neighbourhoods hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it has also provided food relief to vulnerable communities.  Working in collaboration with community kitchens and spaza shops has led to the creation of a dynamic network of entrepreneurs and civil society, from whom we have been able to learn valuable lessons about what is possible for future township economy programmes.”

Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

Cell: 071 087 5150

Email: francine.higham@westerncape.gov.za

Click here and download the Fact Sheet_Community Economic Recovery Project_210214

Media Release: Garden Route Health Platform Update

5 February 2021

The Garden Route District has recorded a 35% decrease in active COVID-19 cases the last 7 days compared to 7 – 14 days ago.

The latest stats for 5 February 2021.

Sub-district Total Active Recovered Died
Hessequa 1 901 83 1 723 95
Mossel Bay 7 140 125 6 811 204
George 11 475 261 10 806 408
Knysna 4 721 63 4 501 157
Bitou 2 653 35 2 514 104
Kannaland 811 42 733 36
Oudtshoorn 3 771 150 3 391 230
TOTAL 32 472 759 30 479 1 234

Vaccine

The first of 1 995 vaccinators from all corners of the health system in the Western Cape have started with training towards administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

The training will equip them with adequate knowledge and skills to ensure safe and efficient COVID-19 vaccine administration. These vaccinators are the backbone of our vaccination programme and will be a major asset in ensuring that as many people as possible are reached within the shortest possible time, with safety and due process at the heart of the roll out.

The number of vaccinators that need to be trained is determined by the NDOH – one vaccinator can vaccinate between 40 to 50 people per day. It is estimated that 414 vaccinators are required for phase one. As the number of people needing to be vaccinated increases in phases 2 and 3, our number of vaccinators will also increase.

Healthcare workers have years of training, experience, and knowledge on administering vaccines. Therefore, the focus of this training will be on specific information related to the COVID-19 vaccine – including the handling, storage, research, product information, data management and reporting aspects of this vaccine.

Healthcare workers are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and illness. That is why they have been prioritised to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it will be administered in the coming months. Information sessions will continue at health facilities to equip health workers with all the relevant information regarding the vaccine in order for them to make an informed choice.

“I will definitely take the vaccine, particularly because I’ve previously had COVID and I really don’t want to get it again. Also, both my parents are older than 60 years and are on chronic medication and therefore I  rather want to be safe than unnecessarily put their lives at risk”, said Allinda Van Blerk, Assistant Director: Support Services at George Hospital.

Professional Nurse, Asekhona Matinise from Kwanokuthula community day centre will also be getting a COVID-19 vaccine. “I need to protect myself”.

Sr Roslyn Broster is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Virus Testing Unit (VTU) at the George Hospital, and is a COVID-19 survivor herself. She says that she will definitely get the vaccine as she does not want to get sick with COVID again. Broster mentioned that at first she was a bit sceptical about the vaccine, but after speaking to a friend who is a health care worker in Canada who got immunized, aside from the usual flu, experienced no side effects. This has convinced her to also get the vaccine. “  As health care workers we have to do everything in our power to protect ourselves as there is still a long way to go”.

Feature photo: Sr Asekhona Matinise will get the vaccine to protect herself.

END

Nadia Ferreira
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
Town Clinic, Plettenberg Bay
Tel: 076 379 5423
Email: Nadia.Ferreira@westerncape.gov.za
Website: www.westerncape.gov.za

Our roles and responsibilities at a residence where someone died of COVID-19

News Release: Our roles and responsibilities at a residence where someone died of COVID-19

For Immediate Release
4 February 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) plays a key role in the collective response after a person succumbs to COVID-19 at home. Role players such as the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP), funeral undertakers, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responders, the South African Police Service (SAPS), as well as private and public sector health representatives are involved in this response.

According to Johan Compion, GRDM Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services: “The process of handling suspected or positive deceased is not as complex as many may have thought, but it is still a time-bearing process. This does however requires strict adherence to health and safety protocols by all role players,” he said.

When a member of the community passes away from COVID-19 at home, an EHP receives a notification from either the Western Cape Government (WCG) Provincial Health Department or a funeral undertaker to inform them of who, where and when the person is that passed away. During this time, the EHP also confirms if an EMS responder or any other  medical  practitioner from i.e. Netcare 911, ER24 etc.) declared the person clinically dead. Once all the relevant data is checked and confirmed, an EHP is tasked to conduct health surveillance at the residence where the deceased is located.

During such time, all safety protocols are observed and additional information and guidance is provided around the disinfection of bedding, clothing and the handling of household waste that was generated by the person who passed away.

A funeral undertaker who arrives on the scene has to wear the prescribed personal protective gear. An EHP is responsible for not only monitoring this, but also to ensure that funeral undertakers wrap the deceased in a single polythene bag prior to transporting the body to a mortuary. This is followed by ensuring that those who handled the deceased are also disinfected. After all such protocols have been adhered to, the funeral undertaker safely transports the deceased to a funeral parlour where the process of dressing, preparing and storage of the body will take place under more strict prescribed health protocols.

Once the body has been placed in a casket and the outer surface disinfected, it is not deemed necessary to wrap or seal the casket because the deceased does not pose an infection risk to those handling the casket.

It remains of utmost importance for EHPs to be involved in the entire monitoring process as described to ensure the that no additional public health nuisance occurs during any of the steps being followed by all relevant role players.

Read more about the responsibilities of EHPs here.

Picture: Pexels

ENDS

Media Release: Procurement Disclosure Report reveals R1.85 billion spent on Covid-19

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

Date: 01 February 2021

Release: immediately

 Procurement Disclosure Report reveals R1.85 billion spent on Covid-19  

We are pleased to publish the seventh edition of the Procurement Disclosure Report by Provincial Treasury which affirms our commitment to transparency and clean government in the Western Cape. This edition of the Procurement Disclosure Report confirms that to date R1.854 billion has been committed towards Covid-19 related expenditure across departments and public entities in the 2020/21 financial year in the Western Cape.

For the period 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020, provincial departments’ total Covid-19 expenditure was R1.851 billion, while provincial public entities’ spent R2.980 million.

A total of R869.660 million, or 46.89%, of all Covid-19 expenditure by provincial departments and public entities was spent with small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs), which exceeds the national target of 30%.

Total Covid-19 procurement expenditure for December 2020 amounted to R78,119 million, of which R78,055 million was spent by provincial departments and R64 332,61 by public entities.

Monthly reporting on all Covid-19 procurement expenditure transactions is available via the National Treasury Covid-19 dashboard with a summary report provided by the Provincial Treasury in the Procurement Disclosure Report.

To access the dashboard and the Procurement Disclosure Report, visit: www.westerncape.gov.za/provincial-treasury/procurement-disclosure-report.

For more information and to submit feedback or suggestion on improvements to the Public Disclosure Report please email to our Supplier Helpdesk.

 Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

Cell: 071 087 5150

Email: francine.higham@westerncape.gov.za

If you do not want to receive future media releases from Minister David Maynier then please reply directly to this email requesting to be removed from our mailing list.

News Release: GRDM delegation led by Executive Mayor visits Garden Route Food Pantry 

28 January 2021
News release
For immediate release

GRDM delegation led by Executive Mayor visits Garden Route Food Pantry 

Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Alderman Memory Booysen, and officials visited the Garden Route Food Pantry in George to view the progress made so far before the facility’s launch in February this year.

The Food Pantry is owned by the Non-Governmental Organisation, Eden Community Hope Outreach (ECHO), and is operated in collaboration with GRDM and local municipalities in the district with the purpose of alleviating hunger.

During the visit, Carl van Blerk, Managing Director of ECHO, spoke about the progress made so far and what has been achieved thus far. He said:  “We are working together with Government (Municipalities) and private sector companies and do this hand in hand.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Ald. Memory Booysen (middle) and Managing Director of the Garden Route Food Pantry, Carl van Blerk (left) with Clive Africa, GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services (right) during discussions at the Garden Route Food Pantry.
Executive Mayor of GRDM, Ald. Memory Booysen (right), Managing Director of the Garden Route Food Pantry, Carl van Blerk (left) and Siphiwe Dladla, GRDM Chief of Staff in the Office of the Mayor (middle), during the visit.

“The idea is to get all local municipalities in the Garden Route involved in the Food Pantry to assist with the running cost of the facility”. He added that private sector businesses already donate essential food items to struggling communities through the NGO, while many other businesses also pledged their support to the initiative – discussions are ongoing with all those interested in bringing a positive change to people who need aid,” he added.

Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, said: “We have to lead by the example and this initiative is what we need for this district. It can only be successful if it is run in partnership will all businesses and community members,” he added.

Mayor Booysen highlighted: “This is the first joint initiative of its kind in the Western Cape, therefore we will prove to everyone that this type of strategic partnership is not only important, but much needed to restore the well-being of our friends, families and neighbours. Through this initiative, we hope that other municipalities throughout South Africa will duplicate our approach to assist struggling communities,” Booysen concluded.

The Garden Route District Municipal Council in May 2020 resolved that an investigation needed to be conducted into the joint initiative of a district foodbank. Following meetings with relevant stakeholders in the district, it was resolved that one strategy for the District should be formulated, with clear objectives and targets to address poverty and hunger within the Garden Route district.  Due to the urgency of the current situation, exacerbated by the knock-on effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic,  the Eden Lions Club secured funding for the establishment of a District Food Pantry. In September last year, the GRDM Council indicated their interest in joining the initiative and made a decision to share the operational costs with all local municipalities in the Garden Route. However, according to Clive Africa, GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services who was also present during the visit, the National Covid-19 fund will stop by the end of January, which will have a negative impact on food security within the Garden Route district.

Planning to get the facility ready for the launch are now underway, while engagements with local municipalities not yet forming part of the initiative, continue. The private sector businesses in the Garden Route involved is one of the cornerstones of this initiative and will ensure the successful roll-out of it in the fight against hunger within the district.

Feature Photo:  The GRDM delegation with the Garden Route Food Pantry team in front of the Kevin van Niekerk mural, depicting the entire Garden Route inside the Food Pantry.

END

Garden Route Covid infections continues to decrease – we need to save jobs urgently

Garden Route Covid infections continues to decrease – we need to save jobs urgently

28 January 2021

The reduction in the number of covid infections in the Garden Route is a clear demonstration that the current hotspot declaration of the area should be lifted.

After a short period where cases plateaued, the Garden Route is once again on a downward trajectory, with a  49% drop in the last week. Since 1 January the weekly number of new cases reduced from 1 975 to 296 between 22 – 26 January 2021, resembling those seen around 11 November 2020.

As the Western Cape Government’s lead in response to covid-19 for the entire Garden Route, I therefore call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently repeal this declaration, while also taking heed of Premier Alan Winde’s submissions to him.

The people of the Garden Route have clearly shown that they are adhering to all the regulations, and I am certain President Ramaphosa does not want to replace the health pandemic with an economic disaster.

I’d like to take this opportunity and thank all our health and other frontline workers who are steadfast in their commitment to assist and support our people. Your work is not going unnoticed and we applaud your tireless efforts. Further to this, I also thank our partners across the various sectors and particularly our communities at large for diligently playing their part in combatting the spread of covid and ensuring that the infection rate could be reversed.

Since our collective call to adhere to all the regulations the entire Garden Route demonstrated their resilience, and this along with the behaviour change is commendable.

I’d like to urge President Cyril Ramaphosa to be rational and take this opportunity to show the people of this region that he acknowledges our efforts and therefore agrees with the various proposals which Premier Alan Winde’s has placed before him. Amongst others, these include opening our beaches, relaxing the curfew time and allowing liquor trading within a limited period. This will bring about an immediate economic boost, which is desperately needed in the area.

In order for us to continue saving lives, I also encourage all citizens of the Garden Route to wear a mask, regularly wash or sanitise our hands, keep a safe distance of at least 1,5m and at all cost avoid gatherings where space can be an issue.

The onus remains on us if we’re to continue reducing the infection rate.

Media Enquiries:

Marcellino Martin
Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers
Marcellino.martin@westerncape.gov.za
021 483 3397 (o)
082 721 3362 (m)

or

Nathan Adriaanse
Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 021 483 2868
Mobile: 083 2631720
Email: Nathan.Adriaanse@westerncape.gov.za

Media release: Garden Route Health platform update

25 January 2021

The Garden Route District has shown a 43% decline in new COVID-19 cases the past 7 days compared to 7-14 days previously as well as a decline in hospitalisations.

“We are optimistic about the decline in numbers but remain vigilant in order to contain any cluster outbreaks through responding as early as possible. We have to maintain our momentum of surveillance and monitoring as a Department but also rely on the community to keep up with the protective behaviours (wearing a mask at all times in public, avoiding crowded spaces, avoiding spaces with poor ventilation and maintaining social distancing) that has brought about the gains which we now see”, said District Director of Health Mr Zee Brickles.

Sub-district Total Active Recovered Died
Hessequa 1 806 239 1 483 84
Mossel Bay 7 041 347 6 498 196
George 11 322 549 10 400 373
Knysna 4 680 163 4 363 154
Bitou 2 624 119 2 402 103
Kannaland 768 109 631 28
Oudtshoorn 3 687 286 3 179 222
TOTAL 31 928 1 812 28 956 1 160

Increasing our protection through vaccination                                                           

It is estimated that 1 000 000 vaccines will be made available for all frontline workers in South Africa in January, including those in the public and private sector, care workers, community health workers, etc. A further 500 000 vaccines will be made available in South Africa in February.

The roll-out will be executed in a phased approach, with the first phase targeting healthcare workers. The second phase will target essential workers, people in congregate settings, persons older than 60 years, and persons older than 18 years with comorbidities. The third phase is envisioned to target people older than 18 years who has not been vaccinated during the first two phases.

Western Cape Government will play a stewardship role. Administration of these vaccines forms part of the vaccine roll-out strategy. The Department is working on this strategy, including the logistics thereof, with the input of private sector roleplayers. More engagements on the finer details of this plan will be made available once finalised. This is a massive operation that requires a multi-sectoral approach and the support of public, private and all parts of civil society.

END

Nadia Ferreira
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
Town Clinic, Plettenberg Bay
Tel: 076 379 5423

Email: Nadia.Ferreira@westerncape.gov.za
Website: www.westerncape.gov.za

News Release: Climate Change likely to blindside RSA on the back of Covid-19

25 January 2021
News Release
For immediate release

Climate change likely to blindside RSA on the back of COVID-19

“Disaster management is the name of the game going forward in a rapidly changing world. In as much as COVID-19 is a wake-up call to the South African Government’s ability to deal with the pandemic, affecting everyday life in complicated layers, climate change will have a much deeper-cutting and lasting effect. Climate change will most likely blindside countries such as South Africa if we fail to heed the warning signs that are already there for all to see,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

“Regional natural disasters, such as persistent drought and tropical storms in neighbouring countries, have brought the implications of climate change to South Africa’s doorstep.”

“More focused public awareness efforts, education and re-directing public finances, coupled with better planning and more advanced abilities to proactively deal with natural disasters, –including the way we nurture and protect our environment – are vital for those living in South Africa.”

“Policy failure, or the failure to implement sound existing policies due to a lack of political will or the competence to do so, rather than an absolute lack of resources, will have consequences that will haunt South Africa in generations to come. Most likely the consequences will include reduced quality of life for most, increased levels of poverty and social unrest, and the inability to bounce back from climate-change-induced natural disasters imposed upon us by wildfires, floods and droughts,” says Meiring.

“In recent times, the northern parts of Mozambique, including the city of Beira, were completely obliterated by tropical Cyclone Idai. The very same region is now again suffering the devastating effects of Cyclone Eloise, without having recovered from the devastation of Cyclone Idai some three years ago.”

“In addition to the effects of a changing climate on northern Mozambique, the very same region is becoming inhospitable through extremely violent political instability, displacing some 500 000 people, who have no choice but to migrate elsewhere fast if they are to physically survive another year.”

“RSA, despite experiencing a sharp and constant decline in governmental management capacity and the resultant general socio-economic decay, coupled with the devastation of COVID-19 that will set back potential economic revival by decades, South Africa remains the ultimate safe haven for displaced, destitute and desperate refugees from many Sub-Saharan countries, most notably from neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”

“Already grappling with service delivery and skyrocketing unemployment, South Africa can ill afford to accommodate millions of people who have no choice but to leave their country of origin because of the realities brought about by climate change.”

“Dealing with COVID-19 no doubt draws away attention and resources in government’s response and ability to focus on dealing with climate change. However, we simply have to wake up to the bigger challenge posed by a changing climate that is already on our doorstep and shouting to be heard,” warns Meiring.

“Environmental management in the context of climate change, and the management of precious natural resources, such as water and agricultural capacity to adapt and feed a fast-growing nation, must take centre stage if South Africa is to survive intact. Planning and sensible political leadership, based on sound policy, is what is required.”

Based in George, the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a public platform for climate change and adaptation. The forum is supported by the Disaster Management Centre of the Garden Route District Municipality.

Feature Photo: Informal settlement, Garden Route

“Regional natural disasters, such as persistent drought and tropical storms in neighbouring countries, have brought the implications of climate change to South Africa’s doorstep, and fast-growing populations in new and expanding informal settlements are testimony to that, posing a much bigger political and socio-economic challenge than COVID-19,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).  (Photo: Cobus Meiring)

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Cobus Meiring: Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Secretariat

Cell: 083 626 7619

Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

We will continue to extend a helping hand to small businesses

Media Release: We will continue to extend a helping hand to small businesses

For Immediate Release
18 January 2021

Since August 2020 the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with Western Cape and National Governments, rolled out a vast spectrum of unprecedented government interventions support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME). This was not only done as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to ensure that businesses continue to receive the support they need to keep their doors open.

The draft Garden Route District Economic Recovery Plan is in process of being approved by the GRDM Municipal Managers Forum (MMF), District Coordinating Forum (DCF) and the District Council. It includes interventions relating to various business relief programmes and proposals geared towards assisting the private sector to recover and build back a better society.

One of the exciting initiatives of the GRDM is a Support and Development Programme for SMMEs. The GRDM Council availed half a million Rand to this programme which intends to assist a selected number of businesses with equipment and material before the end of June 2021. A list of recipients will be made available as soon as the selection process has been finalised.

During the first quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year, the Western Cape Government (WCG) Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) COVID-19 Business Relief Fund was rolled out. This fund provided financial support SMMEs from all corners of the Western Cape, including the Garden Route. This fund was geared towards alleviating the negative economic impact caused by COVID-19 on SMMEs. Relief in the form of financial grants were provided to a number of enterprises.

The Western Cape Department of Economic Department of Tourism also availed R5 million for businesses who form part of the Tourism Industry through an initiative known as the Tourism Product Development Fund. This fund will support the development products and experiences linked to food and beverages, travel and tourism, lodging, and recreation tourism segments. The end goal is to increase visitor trends all over South Africa. The Tourism Product Development Fund offers support to new or existing tourism products and experiences to address gaps and opportunities identified by the draft Tourism Blueprint 2030. GRDM is waiting in anticipation for a list of recipients of the fund.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has also provided support to SMMEs in collaboration with the National Department of Small Business Development. Specific industries such as Spaza shops/general dealers, bakeries and hair dressers continue to receive support from them.

GRDM continues to provide as much support and assistance to businesses as possible through strategic partnerships and structures in collaboration with other spheres of government to ensure that businesses remain able to operate and thrive during these unprecedented economic times.

ENDS