Category: <span>EAP</span>

10 September 2021 Media Release: GRDM continues extensive Covid-19 Vaccination awareness

GRDM continues extensive Covid-19 Vaccination awareness

For Immediate Release
10 September 2021

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.


9 August 2021 Media Release: Progressive steps towards gender equality and mainstreaming by Garden Route District Municipality

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.

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.

Written by: Nomkhita Mhlontlo


22 July 2021 Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners donate essentials in celebration of Mandela Day

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.

Officials from the Oudtshoorn office, including (fltr) Elizna Cairncross, Johan Smith, Desmond Paulse, Georg Hendriksz, Maxweline Fatuse, Willie Plaatjies and Elizabeth Verwey (front), with the essentials donated to the Rin-Tin-Tin Crèche in Kruisrivier,  Calitzdorp.

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


18 January 2021 Media Release: Cedric Buys’ passing still mourned by GRDM

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.

GRDM lost a jewel in Expanded Public Works.

Rest in peace Cedric Buys.

GRDM employees start 2020 on a healthy note

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.

Officials during the information session conducted by representatives from Virgin Active.

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.

GRDM employees commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month in pink “and green”

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.

Garden Route District Municipality and stakeholders celebrate Mandela Day

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.

Wellness day for Garden Route District and George Municipalities

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.

Garden Route District Municipality's CANSA Relay for Life supporters

Garden Route DM attends ‘CANSA Relay for Life’ and donates R15 100 to the cause

For the fourth year in a row, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has participated in the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) Relay for Life. Employees from various GRDM Departments worked together to sell sausage rolls, cool drinks, water, pancakes and one employee even set up a photo booth to raise funds for the cause.

The municipality’s comprehension of the importance of corporate social responsibility and compassion for others remain the driving force behind why the municipality attends community-focused events. The employee coordinating the municipality’s CANSA Relay for Life attendance and activities, Human Resources Practitioner Employee Assistance Programme of GRDM, Shandré Abrahams said “We are incredibly thankful for our colleagues volunteering their time, effort and financial resources to take part in this initiative and showing their whole-hearted support towards the CANSA Relay for Life.

Megan Cunningham, Task Administrator said Cancer is an illness that affects many of our relatives and friends, and by supporting this initiative we ensure the continued support to all cancer patients that are assisted by CANSA.” Megan also set up a photo booth at the event to raise funds.

Services rendered and goods sold on the day amounted to a profit of R5 100, which has been paid to CANSA. GRDM Speaker, Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies also donated R10 000 from her budget to CANSA.

Speaker Bouw-Spies also committed to continue supporting the ‘Relay for Life’. During her message of support to participants at the event, she explained that although she in attendance on behalf of the District, she was also attending it in her personal capacity. Cllr Bouw-Spies lost a cousin to cancer in 2018 and this year one of her best friends is fighting the battle with cancer.

During her address, she pleaded to the CANSA supporters to support those affected by the illness in any way possible, be it “physically, emotionally or financially.”

“To those who have decided to isolate themselves after being diagnosed with cancer – it cannot be that this approach of dealing with the illness is the best thing to do. We must support those who are going through such a traumatising time – at all costs,” she said. 

In conclusion, Cllr Bouw-Spies shared the following: “For me, this event is symbolic to pushing through the darkness and throughout the toughest hours, reaching out a helping hand, supporting one another, until the darkness turns into light.”

A video of Speaker Eleanore Bouw-Spies during her message of support can be viewed by clicking here:


Garden Route Distriksmunisipaliteit het vanjaar vir ‘n vierde keer aan die ‘KANSA Relay for Life’ deelgeneem. Die munisipaliteit het R5 100 ingesamel tydens die program, wat die groottotaal van fondse bedoel vir kankernavorsing bring tot op R15 100. GRDM amptenare het worsrolletjies, koeldranke en water tydens die program verkoop. Een amptenaar het ‘n foto-hoekie opgestel wat gehelp het met addisionele fondsinsameling.

Speaker van GRDM, Raadslid Eleanore Bouw-Spies, het die program bygewoon en ‘n boodskap van ondersteuning oorgedra aan deelnemers en gaste.   Rdl. Bouw-Spies het verlede jaar ‘n familielid verloor aan kanker, en tans veg een van haar beste vriendinne die stryd teen kanker. Sy het ‘n pleidooi gelewer dat familie en vriende kankerleiers finansieel, emosioneel of fisies moet ondersteun en dat daar nie toegelaat moet word dat enige kankerleier in isolasie moet verkeer nie. Vriende en familie moet kankerleiers tydens elke stap van die stryd ondersteun.

The group of Garden Route District Municipality employees who took part in the CANSA Relay for Life in George.
Megan Cunningham (GRDM TASK Administrator) takes a photo of the Bouw-Spies family, fLTR: Cllr Rowan Spies (Garden Route DM Portfolio Chairperson, Roads Services), Elrin Bouw-Spies, Lendell Bouw-Spies and Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies (Garden Route DM Speaker and Knysna Ward 5 Councillor).
Nocwaka Ndabeni, GRDM Disaster Management Intern, is to thank for the sales of sausage rolls and drinks because of her carnival dance moves and sales pitches to participants at the event.
: Lizelle Uithaler (Personal Assistant to the Deputy Executive Mayor of GRDM), Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies (GRDM Speaker), Ayvah Saayman, Ilse Saayman (GRDM Manager: Performance Management) and Elrin Bouw-Spies.


Let’s talk about Mental Health

The month of October brings to the fore a much-thought about topic, but not much of a talked-about topic – mental health. During October, the objective of not only educating the public about mental health is important, but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that a person with a temporary or chronic mental illness is often subjected to.


These also include disorders related to alcohol and drug abuse.

Like physical disorders mental and brain disorders vary in severity. There are those that are:

– Transient (like an acute stress disorder)
– Periodic (like bipolar disorder, characterised by periods of exaggerated elation followed by periods of depression)
– Long lasting and progressive (like Alzheimer’s disease)
– Other conditions include:
• Schizophrenia
• Dementia,
• Depressive disorder
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Panic disorder
• Post-traumatic stress disorder

So, when we talk about health, we can’t just focus on heart health, or liver health, or brain health – what about “whole health”. You have to see the whole person and make use of the tools and resources that benefit minds and bodies together.

A 23-minute interview with Oprah shows that people from all walks of life can experience something that many of us might think only affect a certain race, age, social or economic profile.