Category: Disaster Management

COVID-19 awareness sessions in the Bitou area

In an effort to prevent the spread of the corona virus, the Plettenberg Bay based Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from Garden Route District Municipality continue to raise awareness about the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

On 20, 23 and 25 March 2020 officials visited KwaNokuthula, Crags and Kranshoek areas in Bitou to distribute flyers to the residents.  During these visits officials educated residents about the pandemic and asked them to also share all essential messages to their respective households, family members and friends to prevent the virus from spreading widely among communities.  Proper hygiene practices, regular hand-washing, keeping a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between oneself and others were shared.  Spaza shops, taxi ranks, informal settlements, petrol stations, police stations and clinics, were among the sites/spots that were visited – some were revisited. Members of these communities welcomed and appreciated the visits from the EHPs.


Op 20, 23 en 25 Maart 2020 het die Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns van Plettenbergbaai gemeenskappe van KwaNokuthula, Crags en Kranshoek in Bitou besoek, om pamflette aan die inwoners te versprei. Tydens hierdie besoeke is inwoners oor die korona pandemie opgevoed en versoek om alle noodsaaklike boodskappe met hul onderskeie huishoudings, familielede en vriende te deel, om sodoende te verhoed dat die virus wyd onder gemeenskappe versprei.  Behoorlike higiëne praktyke, gereelde handewas gewoontes, en die handhaaf van ‘n minimum afstand van 1,5 meter tussen jouself en ander is bespreek . Inwoners van hierdie gemeenskappe het die besoeke van die Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns verwelkom en waardeer.

MEDIA RELEASE: Health System’s response to physical distancing #STOPTHESPREAD OF COVID-19 GEORGE SUB-DISTRICT


Western Cape Government Logo


22 March 2020

Health system’s response to physical distancing #StopTheSpread of COVID-19

George sub-district

Thousands of people visit public health facilities on a daily basis and, as the Western Cape Health Department, we need to be responsible and #StopTheSpread to especially protect vulnerable people.

To protect our community, we promote avoiding all situations where human bodies are in contact and reducing the times and places when people come together – including going to a public health facility when it is not necessary.

By keeping your distance from crowded places such as clinics and hospitals, you protect the vulnerable, including the sick and elderly, and safeguard our facilities against the spread of the virus.

Western Cape Government Health therefore requests that unless you require emergency treatment that you please stay at home and seek advice first if unsure. If you need emergency medical care, you must urgently go to your closest health facility.

George sub-district

Primary health care clinics will remain open for essential services.

Chronic patients: Patients with 6-monthly Doctor or Sister appointments to renew their scripts will be able to collect their medication at their clinic but they will not have to draw a folder or have observations done if they are well. A fast lane will be set up at all clinics to ensure limited time in the waiting area. Please check with security on arrival at clinic where the fast lane is situated at your specific facility. Patients are requested to please keep to their appointment times as this will help with decongestion of the waiting rooms.

Dental services: Only management of pain and sepsis with medication will be offered, no extractions or any fillings will be done.

Allied services: Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy, Audiology, social work and Dietician services will be stopped.

Only persons who meet the current NICD screening criteria will be tested for COVID-19 at hospitals and select clinics.

No persons who are well (i.e. those with no symptoms) will be tested.  Members of the public are encouraged to complete an online-self assessment form or call either the National hotline: 0800 029 999 or Provincial Hotline 021 928 4102. For those who do need testing: do not  just present yourself at a health facility for the test. Contact the facility beforehand to arrange for a date and time to arrive at the facility to be tested.

The main three facilities for testing in your area are:

Conville Clinic: 061 683 4312

Pacaltsdorp Clinic: 0670991719

Thembalethu Clinic: 081 392 4130

Uniondale Hospital: Sr Makok & Sr Du Preez 044 814 1410

Uniondale Provincial Hospital will divert all resources to essential and emergency services:

  • All non-urgent surgery has been cancelled.
  • Specialist clinics will be postponed.
  • Women’s health services and services to pregnant women will continue.
  • Limited ultrasound/sonar services will continue.
  • All non-emergency x-ray appointments will be rebooked.

George Regional Hospital will divert all resources to essential and emergency services:

  • All non-urgent surgery has been cancelled.
  • All Outpatient Department visits will be rescheduled for a later date except high-risk antenatal clinic, dialysis treatment and chemotherapy. The hospital will be in touch with clients who had appointments. If we have not made contact with you, kindly phone the Outpatient Department on 044 802 4408 or 044 802 4455.
  • All day-theatre cases, and planned surgery will be rescheduled.


COVID-19 Multi-Agency Command Centre Established for the Garden Route

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), yesterday, 19 March 2020, established a COVID-19 Multi Agency Command Centre (MACC) at its head office in George. This follows Western Cape Government’s call on all districts to do the same to ensure that the various clusters share what is happening closer to grassroots level. Clusters are categorised into the following stakeholder groups: Transport; Social Services and Education; Health; Safety and Security; and Communications.

“We are one of the first Districts to act proactively in ensuring that our clusters are up-and-running,” said Cllr Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality.

“I am thankful for our Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu’s leadership and quick response to the pandemic,” said Booysen. “Stratu meets with his Senior Management on a daily basis to discuss the organisation’s readiness and receives feedback from Disaster Management about the status of agencies and communities. Our GRDM Manager: Municipal Disaster Management, Mr Gerhard Otto’s also acted swiftly in getting all stakeholders together. He keeps key stakeholders in the Garden Route up to date on developments from a provincial and national level since the onset of COVID-19 in South Africa. In terms of communication, our organisation’s Communication Unit continuously communicates with communicators at a national, provincial and b-municipal level. A group for staff members have been created where awareness is filtered to all levels of employees, who are then tasked to communicate messages to contacts in their phone books. We also use Facebook and Twitter to share information,” said Booysen.

Otto yesterday confirmed that there are 47 cases of COVID-19 in the Western Cape at the moment, and 150 in South Africa on 19 March 2020.

Dr Terence Marshall (Department of Health) who leads the Health Cluster, during the first MACC said that they are currently starting on phase two of responses for COVID-19. “Additional sites are being identified for testing and we are possibly also getting a mobile testing station.” He explained that they are already also “planning for phase three, which relates to large scale community transitions of the virus, and facilities for isolation”. One of the next important interventions that need immediate attention, is the “decongestion of public services”. Western Cape Government will shortly communicate the plan of action going forward to address this.

Dr Marshall also said: “A decision was taken that no visitors should be allowed at vulnerable sites (e.g. Old age  homes, correctional serviced and hospitals).”


The COVID-19 MACC acknowledges the major challenges businesses are experiencing right now. Many are taking innovative steps to allow for social distancing, like ensuring their employees not to use public transport and digitising more of their operations, but there is always more that can be done.

An appeal is, however made, to all employers to do what they can, to let employees work from home. Every business should develop a social distancing approach that means staff should not be forced to be in close proximity to each other.

A best practice guide together with other FAQs on COVID-19 is being developed to assist businesses to stop the spread and will be published at


There were about 35 stakeholders present at the first meeting, which was raised as a concern due to social distancing. Consequently, it was requested that only one or two people per cluster form part of the COVID-19 MACC which will take place on Monday – Friday mornings.

The list of stakeholders who were present at the first JOC, include: The National Department of Correctional Services, South African Police Services, Western Cape Department of Health, Western Cape Department of Health for Garden Route and Central Karoo, GRDM Economic Development and Tourism, George Pop, George Municipality, Go George, Emergency Medical and Ambulance Services, Provincial Traffic, South African Health Monitoring Survey, Life Bayview Hospital, Western Cape Department of Trade and Tourism, Airports Company of South Africa and George Fire and Rescue Services.


It is advisable for you to stay at home and self-isolate if you display the symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, sore throat) combined with the international travel history or came into contact with a confirmed case. Contact the Hotline on 0800 029 999. They will advise you on the next steps. For Western Cape citizens struggling to get through to the Hotline an alternative number has been set up to assist local citizens with health related information on COVID-19– 021 928 4102.

There are certain basic things the public can do to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Wash hands regularly, every 30 minutes for at least 20 seconds
  • Cover you cough and sneeze, in the crook of your arm or tissue and throw it away
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Reconsider or avoid non-essential international travel to affected areas
  • Keep a distance of at least one metre from people who are sick
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell


If a person develops flu-like symptoms, do not panic. Community members should isolate themselves at home. This means one must limit contact with others.

Please call the National Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999, the Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102 or WhatsApp “Hi” to 060 012 3456. A person can also call your health practitioner for further advice on what to do next. If unwell, stay home, except to get medical care as directed by the hotline or advice of health practitioner – do not go to work, school or public areas.


COVID-19 Health and Hygiene Awareness Sessions in the greater Oudtshoorn and Kannaland area

As part of the district-wide intervention to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19, also called Coronavirus, personal hygiene and coronavirus awareness sessions were held in the greater Oudtshoorn and Kannaland areas.

People were informed about the following aspects:

  • What the coronavirus is;
  • How the virus is spread;
  • Symptoms;
  • Treatment;
  • Prevention;
  • Measures that should be in place; as well as
  • The importance of hand washing.

The awareness campaign was rolled-out in the form of one-on-one sessions, poster and pamphlet distribution and group sessions.  During the sessions, emphasis was placed on proper hand wash techniques and the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. The following premises and audiences were reached:

  • Municipalities;
  • Libraries;
  • Community Halls;
  • Hospitals;
  • Clinics;
  • Schools;
  • Crèche’s;
  • Barbers’ and Hairdressers;
  • Food Premises;
  • Police Stations and Courts;
  • Churches;
  • Resorts;
  • Old age homes; and
  • Public Facilities.

Ongoing sessions and outreaches programmes are schedule for weeks to follow.

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.




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

Garden Route DM hosts United Nations experts on Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience

The group of representatives from 20 institutions from Sub-Saharan Africa, some from as far as Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania and Kenya, are currently attending training at Garden Route District Municipality’s Head Office in George.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Technical Centre for Disaster Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience (DiMSUR) are piloting the participatory planning tool for building urban resilience, known as CityRAP, in three South African cities.  George was identified as one of the ideal cities to implement the pilot project (the other two cities are Port Alfred and Potchefstroom). George is also the host of the training workshop for all three cities and a number of international University partners, during which 45 participants are being trained for 5 days, ending 28 February 2020. After the training, each city will implement CityRAP, which will be a 3-4 month process.

 The main objectives of CityRAP are to develop local, national and sub-regional capacities for reducing vulnerability and building resilience of communities to natural and other hazards by making use of a participatory approach. According to Mr Gerhard Otto, Garden Route District Municipality Manager: Disaster Management, who is attending the training this week, he sees “CityRAP as an enabling tool, which puts us in the driver’s seat of urban resilience planning to ensure capacity retention and use”.

Over the past 5 years, CityRAP has already been conducted in 31 locations in 11 African countries.

Mathias Spaliviero [Senior Human Settlements Officer, Regional Office for Africa (ROAf), United Nations Human Settlements programme (UN-Habitat)] presenting the CityRAP Tool.
Through the successful implementation and training of this tool, city managers and municipal technicians will be able to roll-out participatory urban resilience planning. It comes at a time when the District Coordination Service Delivery Model (DCSDM) has become a talking point among Local Governments. The DCSDM is expected to narrow the distance between citizens and municipal/ district authorities, an approach complemented by CityRAP in terms of participatory governance, which will give rise to active participation by communities in development, and enable long-term planning as well as responses to immediate “burning” issues.

Stakeholders from the following organisations are in attendance

Garden Route District Municipality, Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management and Fire Rescue Services, Ndlambe Local Municipality, Stenden South Africa, JB Marks Local Municipality, City of Mutare (Zimbabwe), National Disaster Management Centre, North West Provincial Government, National Department of Human Settlements, City of George, University of Botswana, Malawi University of Science and Technology, Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique), University of Antananarivo (Madagascar), ARDHI University (Tanzania), Comoros University (Comoros), North-West University, Rhodes University and Stellenbosch University.

Editor’s note:

This workshop is being implemented in the context of the project, “Building Sustainable Urban Resilience in Southern Africa”, which was funded by the World Bank as part of the ACP-EU NDRR Program, with the support of the European Commission Directorate-General Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).

National Minister of Health – Update on Novel Coronavirus (2019-nC0V)

Date: 2 February 2020

The Department of Health, South Africa, continues to closely monitor the rapidly evolving developments surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak.

We confirm that there is no case of Novel Coronavirus in South Africa.

We continue to intensify screening at all ports of entry with a particular focus on our major air ports of entry. Evidence continues to support this approach as the vast majority of cases are introduced into territories outside of China by air travelers.

Evidence continues to suggest that asymptomatic individuals are highly unlikely to transmit the virus.
There has been some emerging developments in the past twenty four hours that will need to be investigated in detail to inform our state of preparedness:
Germany has reported the first case of third generation transmission of the virus.
The first death outside of China was reported in the Philippines- the 44-year-old gentlemen was a resident of Wuhan city who had travelled to the Philippines.

The virus has been cultured from stool for the first time from a patient who only presented with diarrhoea and no other symptoms. This has raised the possibility of feaco-oral transmission. The best way to prevent any infection that can be transmitted by the faeco-oral route is regular handwashing – in particular for breast or bottle feeding mothers. Therefore the message of regular hand washing cannot be stressed enough. We will very closely follow the emerging academic literature on this development.
There have been false claims that experts are encouraging people to get flu-shots to prevent Novel Coronavirus. I wish to stress that there is, at this stage, no vaccine for Novel Coronavirus although there is a lot of work going into developing a vaccine.

There is still no recommendation to restrict travel or trade with China. We have not put any restriction on travel or trade between China and South Africa although we do continue to advise that non-essential travel should be delayed until the situation abates.

The Chinese authorities keep us and the World Health Organization (WHO) regularly appraised of developments around the outbreak itself and the situation pertaining to our citizens living in China. Our Mission in China is well supported: a 24-hour telephone and online contact has been established. Food security for Wuhan City continues to be protected. We understand that the Chinese holiday and school and university holidays have been extended to limit movement between Chinese districts. Therefore we would encourage all our citizens who have been planning to go back to work or school in China to delay their return until further notice.

We wish to congratulate Universal Safety Products for their pledge to assist China to replenish their face mask stocks. We call on the private sector at large to follow this example as nations come together to fight the spread of Novel Coronavirus in the wake of the WHO proclamation of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

African countries outside of South Africa will make their own pronouncements on their response to the Novel Coronavirus and we expect that, should there be a confirmed case, we will hear from the affected country’s authorities or the WHO.

Basic health prevention strategies remain the mainstay of controlling the spread of the Novel Coronavirus: avoid contact with someone that exhibits flu-like symptoms; regular hand washing; do not sneeze or cough into your hand – rather use another barrier; hygienic food preparation and not consuming undercooked or raw meat.

Reliable, credible information on the Novel Coronavirus can obtained from the WHO website and social media pages, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) website and social media pages and the Department of Health website and social media pages. We continue to receive a high number of calls through the designated hospitals and the clinicians 24-hour hotline.

The Emergency Opening Centre remains activated.


For further information:
Dr Lwazi Manzi
MLO Minister of Health
082 678 8979

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 Disaster Management Graduate Internship Programme

Garden Route District Municipality is fully committed to Employment Equity.
Applications are invited for the following;                                     

 Disaster Management Graduate Internship Programme

(In collaboration with Western Cape Government Department Local Government)


Garden Route District Municipality in partnership with the Western Cape Government – Local Government is proud to present a Disaster Management Graduate Internship Programme opportunity for youth residing within the Garden Route District area.

The aim of this programme is to provide opportunities for practical local government work experience to unemployed young graduates who have completed their qualifications.


  • Young persons who have completed an NQF level 7 qualification (Degree) in the last three years (2017– 2019), from a registered Higher Education Institution.
  • The applicant must reside within the municipal area.


  • Disaster Management


 DATE OF ASSUMPTION OF INTERNSHIP: (On or before 01 February 2019)

STIPEND: R 6 666.67 per month

Interested applicants who meet the abovementioned criteria should apply using the prescribed application form obtainable from HR Development & Training Section (during normal office hours 07h30 – 16h30), as well as from our website For any enquiries contact Reginald Salmons at 044-803 1363, Angeline Naidoo at 044-803 1420 during office hours.

Certified copies of the following documentation must be attached:

  • A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae
  • Proof of qualification / latest examinations results
  • Certified copy of Identity Document (not older than 3 months)
  • Proof of residential address (municipal account)


Application forms and further information:

Please forward a completed application form with a comprehensive Curriculum Vitae, accompanied by a certified copy of your Identity Document (not older than 3 months) and certified copies of highest qualifications to Garden Route District Municipality, Registration Section, 54 York Street or P.O. Box 12, George, 6530. The application forms are available at the offices of Garden Route District Municipality or visit our website at

Failure to submit the required documents will result in the application not being considered.  No faxed or emailed documents will be considered. 

If you have not heard from us by the 01 March 2020 then consider your application unsuccessful.

Contact Person: Angeline Naidoo @ 044 803 1420 during office hours.

Closing date: Closing date: 31 January 2020

Notice no: 12/2020

Candidates with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Severe Weather Alert: 17 – 19 December 2019

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued the following severe weather alert:

Hazard: Damaging Winds
Alert Level: Watch
Valid From (SAST): 17/12/19 – 12h00
Valid To (SAST): 19/12/19 – 00h00

WATCH: Gale force (65-75km/h) north-westerly interior winds are expected over the Breede Valley, Laingsburg and Beaufort West municipalities (Western Cape) this afternoon (Tuesday).

ADVISORY: Strong (40-62km/h) north-westerly interior winds are expected over the Breede Valley, Langeberg, Central and Little Karoo (Western Cape) this afternoon (Tuesday), and tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday).

ADVISORY: Strong to gale force (45-70km/h) north-westerly winds are expected along the coastal region from Cape Agulhas and becoming westerly to south-westerly along the south coast spreading to Mossel Bay (Western Cape) during Thursday.

Description: Strong damaging winds
Strong damaging winds often occur along coastal regions, but also often occur during thunderstorm activity. These winds are sudden and can cause much damage.

Precautions:  Strong damaging winds
Stay indoors where possible away from the windows that open towards the severe winds. Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines and flying debris.
Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.
Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

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: High Discomfort Values

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: High Discomfort Values

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.

For more information or to report incidents, contact the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at 044-805 5071.