Category: Disaster Management

Forum to commemorate the Knysna fires of 7 June 2017

“The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), incorporating the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), is looking at the establishment of an annual commemoration event for the 2017 Knysna fires. The forum is currently planning to host a seminar on Friday June 7 to review the environmental preparedness of the Southern Cape regarding risks associated with fire and drought,” says Nina Viljoen, Manager: Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation at the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and a spokesperson for the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

The countryside near Vermaaklikheid resembled a lunar landscape following the devastating wildfire in 2018. The recovery of vegetation in the Southern Cape – following the devastation of some 100 000 hectares in 2018 – is a matter of concern where black wattle and other invasive alien plants are making an unwelcome appearance on the landscape.

“Much has happened in terms of regional disaster prevention and management since the widespread destruction caused by the 2017 Knysna and Plettenberg Bay fires, not to mention the 2018 devastation of some 100 000 hectares along the Outeniqua Mountains, Still Bay and Vermaaklikheid, claiming still more lives and causing untold damage to the regional economy,” says Viljoen.

At a recent workshop hosted at the Nelson Mandela University’s (NMU) Saasveld Campus, options were discussed to generate funds sufficient to address and reduce risks associated with invasive alien biomass in the Southern Cape landscape. In dealing with the aftermath of the respective fire disasters, the Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Councillor Memory Booysen, was quoted as suggesting a tax on landowners to generate funds for invasive alien plant biomass reduction on the landscape. This was merely a discussion point and what was meant by his point-of-view was that we should be open for a debate on how we, as a collective, can become more prepared for future disasters.

Booysen pointed out that there was general agreement that much more must be done by both landowners and authorities to reduce risks if we were to safeguard the region from a recurrence of the 2017 and 2018 fires.

Fire-risk reduction is but one of several environmental matters hitting the GREF spotlight

The proposed 7 June Fire Commemoration seminar will look at the overarching research and strategy development that has taken place over the past two years regarding environmental risk reduction in the region, and the physical measures that have been implemented. The seminar will also provide a roadmap of what is planned for the region in the coming months.

Further announcements on the seminar will be made in due course and information will be published on the GREF website: https://www.scli.org.za/GREF/ closer to the event.

** The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. The forum aims to coordinate regional conservation efforts, serve as a catalyst to drive climate adaption practices in the Southern Cape and strive to establish a better-coordinated approach to environmental management.

Executive Mayor of GRDM donates 850 potable water containers to Zoar

The residents of Zoar in Kannaland will now be able to store their potable water in proper containers, after the Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Cllr Memory Booysen, handed over 850 x 20 liter water containers to Kannaland on Friday, 15 March 2019 at the Library Hall in Ladismith.  Assistance to Kannaland by GRDM was supported by the full Council of GRDM.

Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Memory Booysen, addressing the delegation and officials during the handover ceremony.

The potable containers were handed over to the Executive Mayor of Kannaland, Cllr Magdalene Barry, in the presence of the Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Ms Beverly Shafer, officials from GRDM and Kannaland Municipality, as well as farm owners and community members of the area.

The delegation and officials during the discussions prior to the handover ceremony.

Mr Gerhard Otto, Manager of Disaster Management of Garden Route DM, during the event, also sketched the dire situation of the dams in Kannaland and thereafter a farm owner raised concerns on how the situation resulted in job losses and affected food security. Mr Willem Burger from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, delivered a summary of how the Department assisted Kannaland through support programmes and projects rolled out in the area during the past years.

GRDM Manager of Disaster Management, Mr Gerhard Otto, Portfolio Chairperson of Properties and Asset Management at GRDM, Cllr Joslyn Johnson, Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell, Western Cape MEC for Agriculture, Minister Beverly Shafers, Speaker of Kannaland Municipality, Ms Aletta Theron, Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of Kannaland, Cllr Magdalene Barry and GRDM Councillor, Cllr Albertus Rossouw, in front of the truck, with three tanks, that delivers water to the Zoar Community.

During his address at the handover ceremony, Mayor Booysen emphasised and specifically highlighted to all present about negotiations for a district wide developmental project, which the GRDM is currently busy with.  Mayor Booysen said that the project will generate approximately R100 million for the Garden Route district. Although it will mostly affect the coastal areas, he added: “As soon as we receive the accreditation as water service authority, we will then be able to change the focus of the negotiations to address the needs of the Kannaland community, especially the drought and food security, amongst others”.

To the farming representatives and all officials present, Mayor Booysen said:  “We will need your skills and knowledge to assist us in leading the negotiations into a direction required to address these challenges”.

During the event, Minister Bredell, also announced his plans and what his Department has in store for the community of Kannaland. Bredell admitted: “The only solution to address poverty is job creation”. He added:  “With the resealing of the road between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, as well as the building of a new clinic, jobs will be created – these projects amount to R 38 million.” To address the drought in the area, he added: “We plan to drill two boreholes (R3.4 million) and  plan to rehabilitate the waste water treatment plant that will amount to R195 000”. The Zoar waste water treatment works (R745 000) and also the Calitzdorp waste water treatment works (R1.5 million) is also on the priority list. “Through these initiatives, it is important that we prioritise job creation as part of these projects,” Bredell added.

As part of their itinerary, the delegation then visited farms in the area to witness the current situation and affects of drought in the area. Ms Aletta Theron, Speaker of the Kannaland Council, directed the hand-over programme and extended a word of appreciation to the delegation and representatives who attended the ceremony.

Severe Weather Alert

A Severe Weather Alert was issued by the Cape Town Weather Office as follows:

Hazard: Heavy Rain
Alert Level: Advisory
Valid From (SAST): 10/03/19 – 00h00
Valid To (SAST): 11/03/19 – 00h00

An intense cut-off low is expected to affect the Western Cape on Sunday into Monday. The public is advised that heavy rain and flooding is expected over the Garden Route, Overberg District and Breede River Valley.

Hazard: Flooding
Alert Level: Advisory
Valid From (SAST): 10/03/19 – 00h00
Valid To (SAST): 11/03/19 – 00h00

An intense cut-off low is expected to affect the Western Cape on Sunday into Monday. The public is advised that heavy rain and flooding is expected over the Garden Route, Overberg District and Breede River Valley.

Hazard: Damaging Winds
Alert Level: Advisory
Valid From (SAST): 10/03/19 – 00h00
Valid To (SAST): 11/03/19 – 00h00

An intense cut-off low is expected to affect the Western Cape on Sunday into Monday. Strong to gale force winds are also expected along the south and south-western coastal areas on Sunday into Monday.

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: Flooding / Heavy Rain

Flooding occurs when water overflows its normal channels such as streams and storm water drains. It can occur with prolonged period of rain, with continuous heavy falls or in the form of flash floods which are usually associated with severe thunderstorms. Heavy rain may also result in river flooding causing damage downstream to areas that may receive no rainfall at all during the flooding event.

Precautions: Flooding / Heavy Rain

If possible stay indoors and off the roads, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles. If trapped in flooding in a vehicle, abandon it and climb to higher ground. In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level. Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building. In rural areas protect/relocate animals to a safe place on higher ground. Abandon your home immediately if evacuation is recommended, before access is cut off by flood water.  NEVER drive on a road covered by water. You do not know how deep it is or if the road has been washed away. If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to recognize flood dangers. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Severe Weather Alert

A Severe Weather Alert was issued by the Cape Town Weather Office as follows:

Hazard: Veld Fire Conditions
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 06/03/19 – 10h00
Valid To (SAST): 06/03/19 – 18h00

WARNING:  Expected in places over the Central Karoo and Little Karoo (Western Cape) tomorrow (Wednesday).

Description: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

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

Precautions: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions

Do not make fires in the open and/or leave fires unattended. Do not throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the open veld.  Do not throw bottles in the veld 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.

WARNING -Veld Fire Conditions

Hazard Alert
Level
Valid from
(SAST)
Valid to
(SAST)
Veld Fire Conditions Warning 28/01/19 – 09h00 29/01/19 – 18h00
Veld fire conditions expected in places over the northern West Coast District and Peninsula of the Cape Metropole (Western Cape) today (Monday), but only in places over the Namakwa District (Northern Cape), Central and Little Karoo (Western Cape) tomorrow (Tuesday).
Description: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions
Whenever there are prolonged periods of little and no rain coupled withwarm dry winds, veld or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spreadrapidly in strong winds.

Precautions: Dangerous veld/bush fire conditions
Do not make fires in the open and/or leave fires unattended. Do not throw cigarette butts out of cars or in the open veld. Do not throw bottles in the veld 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 beused 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 theirbodies through sweating is reduced. This can be a real threat that may 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.

Update on the Kannaland water shortages and the region’s water status

Most of the southern towns of the Garden Route District have bulk water in storage to address their current water demand, at least until the first winter rains. The northern parts of the Garden Route District are not looking good at the moment. Currently, the towns Calitzdorp and Zoar in the Kannaland Municipal area do not have a secondary water supply apart from their bulk storage dams.

In July 2018 the Raubenheimer dam, which is the main water source for Oudtshoorn, was at an extremely low level of 31%. Fortunately, rain over this area and a drop in the daily consumption lead to an increase in this dam’s level to 53,54% (measured at the end of December 2018). In addition to the Raubenheimer dam, Oudtshoorn has access to the Blossoms Wellfield that could still be connected to provide groundwater that would be able to sustain the basic water needs of about 50 litres per person, per day, should the town face a “day zero” scenario.

Unfortunately, the Kannaland municipal area is in a less fortunate position in terms of their main water supply at Nel’s Dam, which is located in Calitzdorp. The dam is at an alarmingly low level of 11%, leaving the town with approximately five months of water. In Zoar, the main source of water, the Tierkloof Dam ran dry after Christmas and their alternative source the Jongmansland dam on an farm Amalienstein which is at a 12% level. The water demand in this area is 1.4 megalitres of water per day, at the current rate of abstraction water in storage would last only for the next month.

The average water usage per household in the region is as follows:

  • The smallest amount of water on average being used by households is in Oudtshoorn @ 121 litres per person per day;
  • George 126 litres per person per day;
  • Knysna 156 litres per person per day;
  • Hessequa 168 litres per person per day;
  • Bitou 180 litres per person per day;
  • Mossel Bay 189 litres per person per day; and
  • The most water being used per household is in Kannaland @ 314 litres per person per day.

Background on the situation in Kannaland

On 28 December 2018, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Disaster Management Centre was contacted by Kannaland Municipality, who raised concerns that Zoar could run out of water due to the Tierkloof Dam level dropping to 10%. The Jongmansland dam, which is also an emergency augmentation dam in Kannaland was at a 20% level of water.  Another issue is that the municipality has been experiencing serious challenges at their water purification works. The water treatment works are not equipped to deal with the poor quality of water supplied from both these dams. At the Calitzdorp water, purification works pose a similar problem, but added to this, the quality of water fed to town from the Nel’s dam had to include additional purification measures to ensure that the water quality stays fit for human consumption.

The GRDM Disaster Management Centre advised the Kannaland Municipality’s Technical Services to lower the pressure from the main water reservoirs that are supplying water to Zoar. The goal is to lower usage to 70 litres per person per day.

GRDM Disaster Centre also provided 3 x 5000-litre water tanks to be placed at the higher situated areas in Zoar, as these areas would be first to be affected due to the pressure reduction in the system. In addition, 1 980 x 5 litre bottled water (9 900 litres) and 7 992 x 2-litre bottle water (15 984 litres) were provided to be distributed to affected residents.

On the 17th of January 2019 the GRDM Head of Disaster Centre, Mr Gerhard Otto, joined the Kannaland Mayor, Cllr Magdalene Barry and Kannaland Municipal Manager, Mr Reynold Stevens in a meeting with Zoar community leaders to discuss the urgency of the town’s water situation as well as to inform community leaders that drastic steps would have to be taken to reduce the town’s water demand. Later on the same day, the GRDM Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu and GRDM Executive Management met with the Kannaland Municipal Manager and his team to discuss the assistance required from the GRDM.

At this meeting, it was agreed that at this point in time both the towns, which include Ladismith and Van Wyksdorp, are not of immediate concern, but that the focus should be on Zoar and Calitzdorp’s.  Steps will now be taken to ensure that water augmentation is prioritized and in place for the latter mentioned two towns. In order to address these urgent needs, a meeting with Provincial as well as National stakeholders was scheduled for Friday the 18th of January 2019.

On Friday, 18 January 2019’s meeting, the following action steps were resolved:

Due to immediate capacity constraints, the Provincial Department of Local Government will deploy a full-time engineer to assist Kannaland to develop and implement both short-and medium-term drought interventions;

  • Groundwater consulting firm GHT has recently completed a groundwater augmentation study for both the towns Calitzdorp as well as Zoar. The findings of this study will form the basis of emergency interventions and will not only include drilling but equipping and linking of these groundwater augmentation sources to these towns;
  • The Provincial drought awareness team would be called upon to assist with the immediate roll-out of a drought and water conservation awareness campaign in the greater Kannaland area;
  • The irrigation of the bulk of the Lucerne at the farm Amalienstein will be stopped in order to conserve the water available in the Jongmansland dam. The Provincial Disaster Management Centre, as well as the Provincial Department of Local Government, will meet with the Department of Agriculture and the management of the Amalienstein farm (CASIDRA) in order to come to a suitable agreement in terms of the purchase of fodder for the animals at Amalienstein due to the foreseen loss of lucerne production;
  • From Monday the 21st of January 2019 the Kannaland Technical team will implement water shedding in Zoar as the demand needs to be reduced from the current 1 400 000 million litres of water per day to less than 350 000 litres per day;
  • The Kannaland Municipal Disaster Management Centre have requested  20x additional 5000-litre water tanks from the GRDM to be placed in Zoar as well as at water-stressed communities in the rural Kannaland Municipal areas.

At the GRDM Council Meeting on 21 January 2019, the following was resolved:

  • The GRDM Council has approved the purchasing of 20 x 5000-liter water tanks and cement retainer blocks to be used to erect platforms for these tanks at a cost of R120 000.00.
  • Rent of 34 000 litre water tanker for a period of three months to assist with the filling of these tanks as well as tanks previously placed at water-stressed communities in the rural Kannaland Municipal areas will be paid at a cost of R240 000.00.
  • The purchasing of 20-litre water containers will be distributed to households in Zoar to be used during water shedding at a total cost of R140 000.00.
The Nel’s Dam in Calitzdorp is currently at an alarming 11% of its capacity.

Environmental management is key to the Garden Route future

15 January 2019

“At the launch of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), launched in December 2018 in Mossel Bay, the event programme was packed by national and regional environmental scientists and specialists,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Secretariat.

Addressing various subjects relevant to the Garden Route environment, there was a common thread throughout all the presentations, namely that unless we take note of the various factors changing our environment, and plan well ahead in accordance, we are heading for an uncertain future.

Poor in infrastructure and resources, including fresh water, the Garden Route is not suitable nor capable of sustaining large populations.

Climate change is partly to blame for the drying out of the western and northern parts of the Garden Route, and the demise of agriculture in badly-affected areas are real and seemingly irreversible, as farmers and those dependent on making a living off the land are forced to make a new start elsewhere.

“Compounding the situation, over the past two decades we saw exponential growth in regional population, as well as a steady increase in tourists and holidaymakers,” says Meiring.

The steady economic demise of the Eastern Cape is not doing the Southern and Western Cape any favours as rural populations move south in the hope of finding a better life.

Cities such as East London and Nelson Mandela Bay are much better suited to accommodate vast populations in coming years, but continued political uncertainty, regional mismanagement and failure to increase economic growth options leave rural communities no choice but to leave the province.

According to Meiring, migration to cities is a worldwide phenomenon, and the RSA Government is well aware of the challenges lying ahead in managing the seemingly non-reversible trend. 

“True to RSA politics, the national discourse does not recognise the imminent dangers to the population brought about by climate change and urban migration, and the inability of the government to plan for, and address the demands of the future, is alarming.”

“Enhanced populist policies, increased racial tension and economic divisions are drawing attention away from ensuring a resilient environment where the RSA population may stand a better chance for survival.”

As a mere example, by allowing the implosion of raw sewage management systems feeding into the Vaal River, and the resultant demise of freshwater systems, including exponential growth rates of invasive alien plants in catchments, will no doubt impact on the ability of Gauteng to sustain its burgeoning population.

Similarly, the Garden Route population must realise the value of its natural resources and the importance of the protection and management thereof. Ensuring that mountain catchments, rivers and seep lines are clear of invasive alien forests depleting freshwater resources and posing severe fire risks, are perhaps the most important environmental management challenge.


The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) was launched on 11 December 2018. GREF is an environmental coordinating body, mandated by the Garden Route District Municipality.

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. The forum aims to coordinate regional conservation efforts, serve as a catalyst to drive climate adaption practices in the Southern Cape and strive to establish a better-coordinated approach to environmental management.

WEBSITE: http://www.scli.org.za/gref

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Cobus Meiring: Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Secretariat

Cell: 083 626 7619

Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

GRDM’s Climate Change Team visits the Klein Karoo Sustainable Dry lands Permaculture Project

Ms Alex Kruger is explaining to the group the different types of natural clay that can be used as building material.

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is committed to investigating adaptive climate change initiatives and successes. It is for this reason that the climate change team late last year visited the Berg-en-Dal Farm in Ladismith, which is the home of the Klein Karoo Sustainable Dry lands Permaculture Project (KKSDPP), founded in 1999. During the visit, the municipality’s climate change team was taken on an interactive and eye opening tour by Ms Alex Kruger, who passionately explained each step of their many diverse examples of sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation examples. The KKSDPP provides a dynamic training environment on the concept of permaculture and its positive impacts on environmental sustainability within an uncertain future. The project team is providing working examples of a wide range of natural building approaches, waste and water recycling, sustainable energy generation and food production, amongst others, to illustrate climate change adaptation and mitigation as part of a sensitive yet dynamic socio-ecological system.

The severe and disastrous impacts of climate change calls for Municipalities to think differently about adaptation. Climate change is no longer a hypothetical future possibility, but an inescapable fact of everyday life. As climatologists become more certain about human effects on global atmospheric composition and their consequences, extreme weather events become ever more common and slower trends such as sea level rises and changes in seasonal weather patterns continue. The most recent summary report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reaches some stark conclusions. It predicts, with high levels of certainty, continued rises in global mean surface temperatures if greenhouse gas emissions are not abated, and alongside this, greater and more frequent extremes of heat, global increases in precipitation, and continued loss of Arctic sea ice. It also suggests that continued changes in many aspects of global climate systems are likely even if temperatures stabilise, and raises the possibility of abrupt shifts in some of these. As our understanding of the significance of climate change deepens, the view that responses will involve a transformation in human relationships with nature becomes increasingly widespread. It is an invitation to re-assess humanity’s place in the world, and to transform global society in ways that allow our continued survival. The concept of permaculture originated in just such a re-assessment, and has become a significant impetus for such a transformation.


Permaculture is the conscious design of human living environments that are reflections of the ecological principle that underlies nature. It includes a diversity of concepts, knowledge, strategies, tools, techniques and practices that are reshaping the world and providing compelling visions of what is possible. The permaculture principles are clear examples of how we can restructure, regenerate, restore, and renew, as part of the necessary tools for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

The KKSDPP is offering a wide diversity of services, courses, events and consultations to the public. They form a dynamic component of a network of permaculture and alternative living practitioners and organisations that spans the globe. The Garden Route District municipality appreciated this new and refreshing view of climate change adaptation – one that is exciting, inspiring, and engaging, and one that calls on us to step up to the adaptive challenge of climate change adaptation.

For more information on the KKSDPP or their various courses and initiatives on offer, please contact Ms Alex Kruger at kruger.alex@gmail.com or 072 241 1514.  

Ms Nina Viljoen Manager: Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation
Nina@gardenroute.gov.za
Tel: +27 (0)44 803 1318 | +27 (0)67 035 9203

Wilderness beach awarded “Pilot Blue Flag” certification

The Garden Routers, more specifically residents of the George municipal area, can be proud of their beach in Wilderness after the beach was awarded a certificate as “Pilot Blue Flag Beach” for this year 2018/2019. Executive Mayor of George, Cllr Melvin Naik, proudly hoisted the Wilderness Pilot Blue Flag on 3 December 2018, during an official ceremony in celebration of this prestigious symbol of quality.

GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services, Cllr Khayalethu Lose (left), and Executive Mayor of George, Cllr Melvin Naik (right), after the flag has been hoisted.

“Blue Flag’ recognition is regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known international eco-label and gives local and foreign visitors the assurance that beaches are clean, environmentally sound and adhere to international safety, as well as other tourism standards. The voluntary eco-label is given to beaches that meet strict criteria, spanning four aspects of coastal management:

  • water quality;
  • environmental education and information;
  • environmental management; and
  • safety and services.

Furthermore it includes excellent life-saving standards, top-rate parking, facilities for the disabled as well as sparkling ablution facilities. A “Blue Flag” status will ensure that the Wilderness beach achieves effective coastal management and improved service delivery through tourism-generated job creation, education and development opportunities.

Portfolio Chairperson of Community Services at GRDM, Cllr Khayalethu Lose, addressed all stakeholders soon after the “Pilot Blue Flag” was hoisted.

In his keynote address Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services at Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Khayalethu Lose, said:  “One of the ways in which we are working hard to improve the overall quality of our beaches, is by achieving the standards required for the “Blue Flag” eco-label. Striving to achieve this status will also provides us with an added incentive for the safeguarding of the environment of our beaches and for the safety of all those who make use of them.” Cllr Lose continued by saying that he is confident that the beach can achieve the full Blue Flag status, however, “all relevant organisations and officials must work together to make a success of it.  This would require commitment to the environmental sustainability and to further raise the quality of services at the Wilderness beach”.

Mr Clive Africa, Executive Manager for Community Services at GRDM, extended a word of appreciation to all stakeholders who contributed to this achievement and that he looks forward to the continued support from all parties to ensure that the next level as full “Blue Flag” status for the beach, is accomplished.

From left are: Mr Johan Compion (GRDM), Ms Nina Viljoen (GRDM), Mr Clive Africa (GRDM), Cllr Khayalethu Lose (GRDM), Executive Mayor Melvin Naik (George Municipality), Deputy Mayor Charlotte Clarke (George Municipality), Mr Neels Barnard (George Municipality), Mr Walter Hendrikz (George Municipality), Mr Radie Loubser (George Municipality) and Mr Jonathan Britton (SANParks).

Wilderness beach was awarded the full “Blue Flag” status during the 2016/17 season, and with the commitment and true dedication of all the stakeholders, including the Garden Route District Municipality, George Municipality, the South African National Parks (SANParks), the Salinas Restaurant, and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), as well as members of the  community and visiting tourists, it is possible for the beach to again achieve full “Blue Flag” status for the coming season.

What does a Pilot Blue Flag Beach certification mean?

A pilot Blue Flag beach status is proof to the World Tourism Organisation that the beach is striving towards the highest quality of service, and if achieved, the beach will be awarded full “Blue Flag” status for the next 2019/20 season. Some of the strict standards to comply with is the water quality of the swimming area, which is monitored by the Garden Route District Municipality’s environmental health practitioners. All the authorities and stakeholders are committed to stand together to ensure that the strict Blue Flag standards are achieved in order to once again have a full “Blue Flag” status beach next year.

Severe Weather Warning

A Severe Weather Warning was issued by the Cape Town Weather Office as follows:

Hazard – Veld Fire Conditions
Alert Level – Warning
Valid From (SAST) – 06/12/18 – 06h00
Valid To (SAST) – 06/12/18 – 18h00

WARNING: Extremely high fire danger conditions are expected over the Central Karoo and northern parts of the Garden Route District Municipality, Western Cape, tomorrow (Thursday).

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.