Category: Garden Route

Garden Route Business Impact and Continuity Survey March 2020

Recently our lives and specifically our businesses have been affected and disrupted by droughts, crime, energy issues / load shedding and now the Corona COVID -19 virus.

We wish to gather information from you as business owners and leaders as to the impact the disruptions are having on your business. Hence the survey is designed to gather a high-level insight into the impact on businesses and measures taken to ensure sustainable business operations. Read more…

Please click on the link below to complete the survey.

The survey consists of 12 questions and should not take you more than 10 minutes to complete.

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 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 Municipal Health Services conducts Corona COVID-19 awareness at St Pauls Primary School

According to Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996,  “Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being and to have the environment protected through reasonable legislative measures”.

In a quest to join forces with the rest of South Africa and to curb the rapid spread of the COVID-19, also called Coronavirus by many, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently embarked on a district-wide intervention by rolling-out a personal hygiene and coronavirus awareness campaign.

To start off the campaign, EHPs of the George office visited the St. Paul’s Primary School in George, where they explained the importance of good hygiene practices to learners.  In a very simplified way, officials engaged with children about COVID-19, focusing on what the disease is; the symptoms; how the virus spreads and methods to prevent the virus.  A practical illustration on proper hand-wash techniques was demonstrated.  This kept learners attentive from beginning to end.

By the end of the session, the Executive Manager of Community Service, Mr Clive Africa thanked the Principal, Mr Baron Calvet for availing learners and teachers to attend the session.  Mr Africa extended a special word of gratitude to the caretakers of the school for keeping the learners bathrooms, which he visited unexpectedly, in such a clean condition.

Through this campaign, the GRDM acknowledges the power of children in helping to educate and inform parents, families and members of the community.  More sessions are underway at primary schools all over the district.

The Portfolio Chairperson of Community Services, Councillor Khayalethu Lose in his address encouraged learners to wash their hands regularly and to live responsibly in order to prevent the virus from spreading.

Mr Clive Africa – Executive Manager of Community Services inspired learners to apply everything they have learned at home.

Learners were very eager and enthusiastic to take part in the discussions.

Garden Route sprekers bemagtig Parkie-prefekte

Die Garden Route Distriksmunisipaliteit het Saterdag 25 Januarie 2020 by die prefekte kamp van Parkdene Primêr ‘n leierskapsopleiding sessie behartig.

Me Mercy James van die Geïntegreerde Ontwikkelingsplan-afdeling het die prefekte aangemoedig om in hulself te glo en met selfvertroue hul funksie as leiers uit te leef. “’n Leier moet n visie hê, beheer neem oor hom of haar lewe en verantwoordelikheid neem vir keuses en besluite”. Sy het verduidelik dat leiers nie probleme sien, maar eerder geleenthede sien vir ontwikkeling en bemagtiging.

Me Mercy James (middel), saam met hoofleiers, vlnr: me Keisha Jantjies (Onder-hoofdogter), me Chaynique Du Plessis (Hoofdogter), mnr Sedwin Gysman (Hoofseun) en mnr Suleiran Dolf (Onder-hoofseun)

Volgens me James moet leiers ‘n lus vir leer ontwikkel, sodat hulle relevant en ingeligte leiers  kan wees.  Tydens ‘n interaktiewe groep sessie het leerders ook sinvolle  oplossings voorgelê vir die rommelstrooiing kwessie en vroe skoolverlaters in ons gemeenskappe.

Na afloop van me James se praatjie het Senior Kommunikasiebeampte van Garden Route Distriksmunisipaliteit, mnr Herman Pieters, leerders se kennis verryk deur eienskappe van Spekbome mee gedeel. Leerders het self uit twee groepe die top-bydraers tot antwoorde identifiseer. Teagan Arendse en Carmelita Hedenrycht is as wennners aangewys.

Ter afsluiting van die sessie het leerlinge hul dank en waardering uitgespreek teenoor die Distrik vir hul bereidwilligheid om 40 prefekte te verryk met kennis.

Garden Route District Municipality presented a talk about leadership to prefects from Parkdene Primary School on 25 January 2020. Integrated Development Planning Officer, Ms Mercy James, urged learners to believe in themselves and to strive to be leaders filled with self-confidence. “A leader must have a vision, take control and responsibility for his or her life choices,” said Ms James.

According to her, leaders should not see problems but solutions to transform issues into approaches of developmental and empowerment.

She also said that “leaders must develop an eagerness to learn, in order for them to become informed leaders.” Later during the session, learners were given the opportunity to present workable solutions for littering and learners who drop-out from school.

Shortly after Ms James’s presentation, Senior Communicator, Mr Herman Pieters, educated learners about Spekboom plants and the impact they have on the environment. Two Spekbome were donated to the top-performing groups, who then chose the top-contributor in their respective groups as the overall winners to receive a plant each.

In conclusion, learners thanked Garden Route District Municipality for availing themselves to share their wisdom and knowledge with all 40 prefects.

Severe Weather Alert: 17 – 18 January 2020

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

Hazard: Flooding
Alert Level: Warning
Valid From (SAST): 17/01/20 – 12h00
Valid To (SAST): 18/01/20 – 23h00

Significant rainfall leading to flooding over the coastal regions of the Garden Route today into tomorrow.

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

Annual Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) hosted in George

The annual Garden Route Environmental Forum’s (GREF) key stakeholder event took place in George on 11 December 2019 under the theme: “Reflecting on regional environmental initiatives and planning ahead for 2020”. Mandated by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), the GREF is the premier environmental platform in the Garden Route during which stakeholders collaborate about topics for conservation, environmental adaption and community interaction.

GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, during the welcoming address during which he urged attendees to take hands, ‘speak one language’ and determine the way forward

At the Forum, GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen officially welcomed  stakeholders and guest from around the Western Cape and reminded them of the four major challenges the district faced, namely, “Invasive alien plants, water scarcity, electrical shortages, and unemployment’’.  Cllr Booysen highlighted the importance to link ‘Invasive Alien Plants Eradication to Renewable Energy and Water Security, in an essence to address unemployment in the Garden Route District.

Western Cape Government (WCG) Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell, presented the keynote address and stated that the Garden Route is the crown jewel of the Western Cape, and that stakeholders need to understand the science of planning for the future.  Mr Bredell announced that the Western Cape faced 17 000 wildfires during 2017, including the devastating Knysna and Plettenberg Bay fires the same year. He continued by saying that the current drought situation causes havoc and a major concern for our future sustainability, as it is predicted that by the year 2030, the demand for fresh water will exceed 40% of supply.

Mr Bredell acknowledged and brought it to the attention of Councillors that the correct decisions may not always be the popular ones or the ones communities or councillors would prefer. In conclusion he emphasised that Government cannot address the environmental challenges on its own, “It is our responsibility to take action for our future generations – we have to take hands and be more proactive. As a collective we would have to work with landowners so that they can be held accountable for their legally mandated responsibilities.”

During his speech, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, captivated attendees with an insightful speech.

Speakers from various specialised fields of environmental management, for example, Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), Biodiversity and Coastal Management, SANParks and Agriculture, to name just a few, followed.

Delegates eagerly participated in discussions to find lasting solutions for prevailing regional problems, and a myriad of new challenges were identified and discussed. Discussions also took place on what the agricultural production scenario will reflect in two decades from now, what are the vulnerabilities of our coastline given the slight rise in ocean levels, stronger storm surges and floods, as well as to look at the fire risk to ever-expanding communities and the rural/urban interface.

For decades authorities and private landowners have dealt with the same problems, including non-sustainable land-use and land management best practice, increased fire risks and water security issues, a rapid decrease in natural habitat and biodiversity conservation, and compliance with environmental and agricultural legislation.

FLTR: Mr Cobus Meiring – GREF Secretariat, Cllr Memory Booysen – GRDM Executive Mayor, Mr Gerhard Otto – GRDM Manager: Disaster Manager, Ms Nina Viljoen – GRDM Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation Practitioner, Mr Clive Africa – GRDM Executive Manager: Community Services, Cllr Rosina Ruiters – GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor and Mr Anton Bredell – Western Cape Government Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

An all-out effort to ensure a climate-ready future, and a mind shift in the way we adapt and manage our environment, is urgent and should dominate the social and political narrative if the region aims to develop sustainably. An environment free of invasive alien plants and cleared waterways and catchments, will take the region a leap forward in risk reduction, and all authorities, landowners and land managers must heed the call.

With climate change, the spread of invasive alien plants and the intricate and long-term effects these environmental threats bring to the region, regional and local authorities, land managers and conservationists will have little choice but to plan around what nature will impose upon the region in years to come.

Editor’s Note:

GRDM and partners established the overarching Garden Route Environmental Forum, with the aim to coordinate regional conservation efforts, to serve as a catalyst to drive climate adaption practices in the Southern Cape, and to establish a better-coordinated approach to environmental management in the district. The Garden Route Environmental Forum aims to play a leading role in taking on environmental challenges, and to develop partnerships, in order to ensure and encourage a cohesive approach to find sustainable solutions.

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.