Media Release: Inspiring hope – Garden Route District Municipality supports ‘Slipper Day’ initiative
For Immediate Release
6 May 2022
Slipper Day is the Reach for a Dream Foundation’s most successful annual fund-raising campaign. Last year, over R6 million was generated through donations. Each cent was used to help fulfil the dreams of kids battling life-threatening illnesses. This fun initiative is geared toward every person in South Africa!
“The Garden Route District Municipality encourages everyone to participate, if not this year, next year, by purchasing a sticker of R20 at Wimpy, Baby City, Dis-Chem, Toyzone and Pick n Pay,” said Shandré Abrahams, Employee Assistance Practitioner of the GRDM.
With the help of all South Africans this year, Reach For A Dream plans to fulfil even more dreams by reaching a target of R8 million. ”Our call to action this year is simple. We ask all South Africans to rally behind us and play their part in being visible agents of change. The Foundation’s biggest goal is to have every single South African in slippers on 6 May,” said Julia Sotirianakos, Chief Executive Officer of Reach For A Dream NPO.
Don’t forget to share your Slipper Day selfie using #slipperday2022 and #Reach-foradream on your social media channels on Friday, 6 May, to encourage everyone to get involved. Let’s help Reach For A Dream inspire more hope and make the dreams of children battling life-threatening illnesses come true.
Media Release: Employees offered health checks on World AIDS Day
For Immediate Release 2 December 2021
With 1 December that marked World Aids Day, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Unit arranged voluntary HIV testing and HIV/AIDS awareness sessions for GRDM employees. Each employee received a red ribbon seeing that the red ribbons are a symbol of support for those living with HIV and wearing them creates awareness about World AIDS day. The main focus of the day was to increase awareness and knowledge around HIV/AIDS. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day – End inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.
Testing is also a primary way of ending the spread of HIV. Only those who know their HIV status will be able to take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their partners.
Employees were also presented with the option to get tested for blood sugar and blood pressure. Tests were done by representatives from the Western Cape Government (WCG) and Bethesda. These stakeholders also facilitated family planning and health-related education sessions.
According to Ms Shandré Abrahams (EAP Practitioner), When sharing her plans for the 2022 calendar year, Ms Abrahams said: “Sessions will be arranged annually during March (Tuberculosis), August (Women’s Month), November (Men’s Health) and December (HIV, etc.)”.
Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen, also had some tests done at the mobile clinic from WCG, and with his permission, Jacoleen Feed, a Health Promoter from WCG, shared the test results of the Mayor: “Mayor Booysen’s tests looked great for his age group”.
“He had his blood pressure tested twice because the first results were a bit high, but his second result turned out great – he was probably a bit nervous when he had his first test done,” said Ms Feed.
WCG’s rollout of mobile clinics brings diagnostic healthcare closer to communities, and in this case, a workplace. It is therefore convenient for those getting tested to access mobile units. At a workplace, like GRDM, it is an easy way to roll out consultations and examinations without arranging transport or requesting all employees to go to a clinic for testing.
All employees were also invited to a candle-lighting ceremony in remembrance of those who have died of AIDS-related complications.
The GRDM encourages the public to have health checks done frequently. On World AIDS day, GRDM encouraged those living with HIV to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. It helps a person live a full, healthy, and productive life by suppressing the virus and ensuring it is not transmitted to others.
Editor’s note: The EAP is designed to assist the identification and resolution of problems associated with employees impaired by personal concerns, but not limited to health, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress or other personal matters and addictions, which may adversely affect employee’s performance.
Feature image caption: Seated is Ms Jacoleen Feed (WCG Health Promoter) with Ald. Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor). At the back (fltr): Mses. Maymoonah Abrahams (Intern: EAP), Shandré Abrahams (EAP Practitioner), Leana Hartzenberg (Bethesda), Nomkitha Mhlontlo (Intern: Communications), Thabisa Nqoza (HIV Counsellor from WCG), Patience Shipalane (WCG Nurse) and Bareniq Klase (Bethesda)
The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Employee Assistant Programme (EAP) unit approached Dr Zilla North from the Western Cape Department of Health to conduct ‘Questions and Answers’ sessions with GRDM employees. These weekly virtual or contact sessions are held to address any concerns raised by employees regarding the Covid-19 vaccines.
So far, three (3) sessions took place; the first session took place on 13 August 2021 at the Conville clinic, where approximately thirty-one (31) Roads employees were in attendance. On 20 August, nearly fifty (50) participants logged into the virtual session; and on 27 August again, approximately fifty (50) employees participated.
The EAP unit furthermore facilitates the employee vaccination activities of the municipality. Apart from the question and answer sessions with Dr North, the Unit also sent out weekly vaccination information to the employees and they created “Toolbox” talks with staff members employed at the various depots, in collaboration with the Occupational Health and Safety Unit. The team distributed vaccination posters at all satellite offices of the municipality and organised a vaccination site for its employees at the AFM Church situated in Pacaltsdorp. Additionally, a vaccination webinar with Dr Nellis van Zyl-Smit was scheduled on 8 September 2021 to continue creating awareness and educating the employees about the importance of taking the Covid-19 Vaccine.
HR Practitioner: Employee Assistance Programme, Shandre Abrahams said: “The GRDM (EAP unit) is dedicated to continuously keeping and educating its employees about safety precautions to prevent getting infected by the virus and the spread thereof”. Abrahams added: “Employees get screened, and their hands get sanitised on their arrival at the office every morning. Sanitising stations are also placed at every corner within the various buildings for their easy access and they are continuously advised to wear their face masks at all times.
The Communication Unit conducted interviews with some of the staff members to determine their take on the vaccine. Ms Nontokozo Dladla responded by saying, “I have always been pro-vaccination, but I haven’t gone for my jab yet, as I recently contracted Covid-19 and must wait for 30 days till I can get it. As for encouraging other people, getting vaccinated is a sensitive subject – not everyone is for it. At this moment, I keep my opinion to myself. I do not want it to seem like I am imposing my opinion on other people”. Mr Johannes Jafta responded: “After being vaccinated, I would encourage anyone else to go and get their jab. We need to be responsible communities and to act responsibly. Taking the jab is for their own safety, and it is the right thing to do”.
Employees are encouraged to contact the EAP officer, Ms Shandre Abrahams, for more information about the programme at 044 801 1307/082 428 1984.
Progressive steps towards gender equality and mainstreaming by Garden Route District Municipality
For immediate release 09 August 2021
The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) seeks to bring change as we are looking at Women’s Month. This year marks 65 years since the watershed 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings. The year 2020 also marks the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, which created a platform for greater gender equality. This district sees the importance of a formal structure like a District Gender Forum to promote change in terms of gender equality and women empowerment within the region. The forum held its first meeting on Friday, 25 June 2021.
The Gender forum was created to team up with key role players like the Commission Gender Equality (CGE) and the Western Cape Department of Local Government (DLG). During the first engagement, stakeholders were present at the forum gave their full support and encouragement. Each Municipality is tasked to appoint a Gender Focal person-that is important because they will be institutionalising gender mainstream activities in order to balance out gender inequalities and to promote gender empowerment beyond the workplace.
In its policies, GRDM took the initiative and developed “The Stop Gender- Based Violence Policy,” as well as the “Gender Mainstreaming Policy”. These policies are being reviewed after consultation with Local Government and the CGE. In addition to these, a Sexual Harassment Policy and the Employment Equity Policy are already in place to attempt to address gender sensitive issues within the municipality.
A number of workshops will also be held during August 2021 (Women’s month) under the theme – Gender Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future.
LEAD DEPARTMENT/ FACILITATORS
17 August 2021
Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future
Commission for Gender Equality representatives
18 August 2021
Human Trafficking Awareness Session
Western Cape DLG representative
24 August 2021
Human Trafficking Awareness Session
Western Cape DLG representative
31 August 2021
An overview of the National Strategic Framework on Gender Based Violence and Femicide
Western Cape Provincial Community Liaison Officer (Social Development)
GRDM believes the empowerment of women is key to our nation’s advancement and they play a key role in rebuilding a peaceful region. It is therefore important to note that peace and security must remain a priority for all in their diversity.
Media Release: GRDM EHPs donate essentials in celebration of Mandela Day
For immediate release 22 July 2021
Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) based in the Klein-Karoo and Mossel Bay recently visited and donated essentials to two establishments in Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, respectively.
The Mossel Bay team, according to Shandré Abrahams, Employee Assistance Practitioner at GRDM, visited the Creating Effective Families (CEF) establishment in Mossel Bay. CEF is an organisation that caters for the abused mothers and children where temporary shelter for these individuals from abused relationships are provided for. The team donated toiletries, clothes, baby goodies and other essentials to the facility.
On Monday, 19 July 2021, the Klein Karoo Municipal Health Section based in Oudtshoorn donated gift packs to toddlers of the Rin-Tin-Tin Crèche in Kruisrivier, in Calitzdorp. Each packet contained a face cloth, soap bar, toothpaste, toothbrush, chips and a sweet.
The principal of the crèche, Inge Ewerts, expressed her appreciation towards the GRDM officials for showing commitment towards caring for the community, primarily due to the basic necessity needs that exist within the community.
Members of the community appreciated the gesture and extended a word of appreciation to both teams, who prioritised them as beneficiaries of their initiatives. The officials contributed from their personal funds to make a success of this outreach.
The Human Resources Unit of GRDM are planning further Mandela Day activities towards the end of this month. The entire GRDM also participated in the Walk-A-Child to School campaign which ended at the end of June 2021. Donations will be distributed to various less fortunate schools within the next two weeks if the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.
Feature Photo: The Mossel Bay team (fltr) including Neo-lay Britz, Jenay van Niekerk, Analize Fuzani, Monique Anthony, Marlene Losper, Rinay Cloete, Delmarie Lewis and Sam Bendle, with the essentials donated to the Creating Effective Families facility in Mossel Bay
Media Release: Cedric Buys’ passing still mourned by GRDM
For immediate release 18 January 2021
Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) councillors and staff are still shocked by the passing of one of its Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) contract workers recently. Cedric Buys passed away at the age of 48, a few days before his birthday.
He was appointed as EPWP worker in July 2018 and worked in the Kleinkrantz area until his passing. He worked alongside two other EPWP workers to provide security services at one of the GRDM properties.
He was described not only as a colleague, but also as a friend, family man, reliable and caring community leader and pastor in the community he served. During an interview with one of his co-workers, Irisha Kleinhans, she admitted that Cedric was one of the early birds at the workplace. “He was also the joker – the one who shared stories and funny tales and he always had a smile on his face. He could make us laugh at any moment in time, during good and challenging times,” she added. Cedric was furthermore regarded as the trustworthy colleague. Irisha said that there were times when she forgot her key at home, but the moment she contacted Cedric she knew that the problem would be solved.
“He was also well known in this area for his contribution in uplifting the community, she highlighted” and further stated that he was always keen for the Word of God – he had a passion for the church, the Bible and church activities. “Worshipping God and singing hymns were some of his favourite activities during lunch time; he was an inspiring, caring and cheerful soul who we will dearly miss,” she concluded.
On Friday, 17 January 2020, the Western Cape Department of Health and Virgin Active visited the Garden Route District Municipality Head Office to share various health-related information with management and employees to kick the year off on a healthy note.
Early in the morning, representatives from Virgin Active presented the following topics to the staff included: How to find time for your health, exercise guidelines, nutrition and how to improve your eating habits, as well as benefits of exercise for your well-being. Soon after, health-screening tests followed, which staff who were present could fully utilise. Tests included: weight & measurements, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, voluntary HIV tests and pap-smears.
To conclude the activities of the morning, Virgin Active continued by facilitating a 30 minute Zumba session of which more than 50 staff members participated in. The session left employees with soaking-wet faces and soggy clothes, while feeling revitalized and motivated. To conclude the activities of the day, various prizes were awarded, fruits and health beverages handed out. The event was successfully organised by the District’s Wellness Section’s Employee Assistance Practitioner, Ms Shandré Abrahams.
Officials from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) on Friday, 18 October 2019, showed their support towards Breast Cancer Awareness Month, by wearing a pink ribbon and/or a pink t-shirt on the day.
Breast cancer is known as one of the most common cancers among South African women and the initiative is commemorated annually during the month of October, to create awareness about the illness.
On their arrival at the office in the morning, each employee was welcomed with a breast cancer awareness pamphlet, a packet of sweet treats and the pink ribbon. Later the morning, Breast Cancer information sessions were conducted by the representatives from the Department of Health, where after staff members used the opportunity to either consult with the health professionals or underwent clinical breast examinations and were taught how to do breast self examinations. This does not only apply to females, but also men. Although male breast cancer is rare, the Breast Health Foundation recorded that in South Africa, 1-3% of all breast cancers happen in men.
Signs of the illness may include: swelling of all or part of the breast, skin irritation or dimpling, breast pain, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, redness, “scaliness” or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, a nipple discharge other than breast milk, and a lump in the underarm area.
However, with all these signs evident, early detection of this cancer can result in the effective treatment of the disease. The following advice are also provided to patients or all women around the world, to change their lifestyles, follow a healthy diet, do regular exercise, stop smoking, if using alcohol, lessen the use thereof. Women are also advised to have their children before the age of 30 and to breastfeed their babies.
According to Ms Shandré Abrahams, Employee Wellness Practitioner of GRDM, a total of sixty-two officials participated in the day’s programme to either attend the session for breast cancer-related consultation and/or inspections, blood pressure screening, screening of sugar levels and HIV tests.
Ms Abrahams extended a word of gratitude to all health practitioners including: Ms Patience Shipalone (awarded “Best Caring Nurse” at the Western Cape Department of Health), Jacoleen Fred and Katrina Elbrecht (Department of Health), Ms Leachia Lee (George Municipality), Ms Julia Maki (FAMSA) and Ms Charlene Herniel (Registered Nurse) who dedicated their time and effort to assist with the awareness programme.
As the Mandela Day celebrations are still in progress throughout the world today, 18 July 2019, the respective departments of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) used their 67 minutes to celebrate the life of former and the late President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, throughout the entire Garden Route district. The aim of this year’s initiatives was to put smiles on the faces of the most vulnerable, but more importantly – the faces of youngsters affected by tough living conditions. Here are some of the special moments captured during these events today:
George Herald annual Sandwich Jam
The first initiative of the day started with the GRDM Mayoral Committee members and officials who participated in the eighth annual Sandwich Jam of the local media house, George Herald. For this year’s initiative, George Herald’s goal was to prepare 10 000 sandwiches in 67 minutes, however to their surprise, they reached their target in 53 minutes! During the event, all participants prepared sandwiches for identified areas and members of the community. The event took place at the George Herald premises in Ring Road, George. “We hope that the beneficiaries who include: St Paul’s Primary School, Life Community Services, ACVV, Conville Clinic, George Hospital, Child Welfare, Badisa, Eden Lions, Seven Passes Initiative, Touwsranten, George Night Shelter, New Dawn Park Primary School, Pacaltsdorp Clinic and Mzoxolo Primary School enjoyed the sandwiches, prepared straight from our hearts,” Ms Shandré Abrahams, GRDM Wellness Officer said.
Ethembeni Day Care Centre for Disabled Children
Still, in George, the GRDM officials from the Human Resources Section visited a non-governmental organisation, Ethembeni Day Care Centre for Disabled Children, in Thembalethu. Each official within the Section contributed funds and donated toiletries, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, facecloths and soap, as well as a snack bag for each child at the Centre. Leaving each child with a smile and a happy heart was purely what the team intended to achieve. A total of 17 children benefited from this initiative.
Karmenaadjie Crèche in Oudtshoorn
The GRDM Municipal Health Section in Oudtshoorn visited the Karmenaadjie Crèche in Buffelsdrift. On their arrival, they provided soup and bread rolls to each toddler. Approximately 51 children and educators enjoyed the warm, tasty soup and bread rolls that were prepared specifically for them. In closing the visit, the principal of the Crèche expressed her sincere appreciation towards the GRDM team for the gesture, but most of all for caring for the children and their educators, as well as the community. Members of the Buffelsdrift community and the educators also welcomed the initiative.
More initiatives to follow
More activities in celebration of Mandela Day are envisaged to take place, such as a collaborative school visit by the GRDM Municipal Health teams of Knysna and George to the Lancewood Primary School in Woodville is also expected to take place on Friday, 19 July 2019 and a visit to a school in Calitzdorp by the Disaster Management and Fire Services officials.
While all activities are coming to a close, us as residents of the Garden Route should always strive towards changing the living conditions of the community for the better by how we think, act and respond. “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same” – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Employee Assistant Practitioner, Ms Shandré Abrahams, in collaboration with George Municipality’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) section hosted a joint Wellness event earlier today at the George Civic Centre. GRDM’s EAP section partners with George and Oudtshoorn municipalities on an annual basis to provide such a platform where employees in from their northern and southern offices can engage with professionals in the field of finances, health, social well-being and emotional advice. Joint sessions like these also provide a substantial cost-saving for all those involved.
During today’s event, the official welcoming was done by Cllr Raybin Figland, a Councillor who serves on both the Garden Route District and George Municipal Councils. During his address, he said: “We understand that in life it is not always as simple as we think to share one’s vulnerabilities, many might feel embarrassed. We must, however, put our trust in EAP officers as they have to keep all information confidential.”
Comments from GRDM employees at the session:
“I am here today to check my health – it is a time that our employer gives us to check our fitness, wellness, medical aids, pension funds and insurance. I work out of town most of the time so this platform provides a perfect opportunity for me to check up on all these matters” – Mr Patrick Masongo.
“Ek is vandag hier om uit te vind of oor gesondheid en ek beoog om vrae te vra aan die verskillende organisasies wie hier is vandag.” – Ms Gail Bekeer.
“I am here to find out more details from the banks about investment opportunities, our provident fund and women’s health issues” – Nocwaka Ndabeni.
This session catered for countless employees from both municipalities, who engaged with the following stakeholders: Absa, Nedbank, Capitec, Standard Bank, Old Mutual, Medical Aids (Bonitas, SAMWUMED, HOSMED, LA Health), Aloe Vera, Assupol Life, Metropolitan Financial Solutions, AVBOB, Sanlam, Herbalife, Liberty Life, HRMA ministries, Law for All, Cook for Life, Western Cape Department of Health, ASSEPOL, Virgin Active, Wellness World Gym, South African Narcotics Association and the Cancer Association of South Africa.
Editor’s note: The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is designed to assist the identification and resolution of problems associated with employees impaired by personal concerns, but not limited to health, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress or other personal concerns and addictions which may adversely affect employee’s performance.