Category: Garden Route

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.

Garden Route District Municipality on Springboks winning Rugby World Cup

Embed from Getty Images

Garden Route District Municipality congratulates the national rugby team, the mighty Springboks, for winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Equally, we extend our congratulations to the technical support team that worked with the Boks that led to the magnificent win.

The #StrongerTogether team powered ahead in Yokohoma, beating England with a score of 32-12.

This is our 3rd World Cup victory in just 25 years. As a young nation, we pride ourselves in the strides we have made in developing our sporting fraternity. We are particularly proud of our captain, Siyathanda Kolisi who is our first African captain to lead the team to a world cup victory.

The euphoria created by the sterling performance of the Boks has brought together people of different races, cultures and walks of life and united them for a common purpose. Once again, sport has proven to be a critical part of knitting together the social fabric of our nation. Transformation in our sporting codes and at grassroots levels are vital to strengthening sports in the country.

GRDM thanks the fans and all South Africans, especially those from the Garden Route and across the globe for their continuous support to the South African team throughout the various stages of the World Cup. The united spirit displayed during this World Cup shows us that South Africa can overcome any challenge through determination and by working together. We are indeed #StrongerTogether.

World No-Tobacco Day 2019

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with George Municipality, Department of Health, Breede Gouritz Catchment Agency, CANSA and Cape Nature will embark on a silent march this Friday, 31 May 2019 in celebrating World No-Tobacco Day. The march will start at 10H00 at GRDM (Head office), proceeding up York Street, right at Hibernia Street, and then a turn will be taken at Cradock Street, marchers will proceed towards Engen garage, from there, those marching will move back to GRDM (Head office).

World No-Tobacco Day is held across the world every year on 31 May.  The theme from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for 2019 is “Tobacco and Lung Health”.  It highlights the link between the use of tobacco products and lung diseases.

The campaign will increase awareness on:

  • the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease,
  • the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.
  • implications of second-hand exposure for lung health of people across age groups

Each year, the WHO selects a theme for the day in order to create a more unified global message for World No-Tobacco Day. The focus this year is on the harmful effects that all tobacco products have on the health of lungs and even more so, the undeveloped lungs of babies and children.

According to WHO, globally an estimated 165 000 children die before the age of five (5) of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adulthood.

The poisons in tobacco smoke inhaled by pregnant women or second hand smoke exposure experienced by them, will affect an unborn baby which may result in low birth weight, a cleft lip or palate. Babies also risk being born prematurely.

“Looking after little lungs” is a call-to-action to raise awareness that active and passive smoking of those around children can affect their underdeveloped lungs so increasing their chances of getting pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma and continuous ear infections. Pregnant women should never smoke a hookah (water pipe) as that is the same as inhaling 100 cigarettes in one session.  Parents and other caregivers should smoke outside the house and never in a vehicle if there is a child under 18 years present. Smoke stays on the breath of a smoker so parents should take a few deep breaths before going into the house.  Smoke particles can also stick to clothing which the child can inhale causing lung damage.

People who have tuberculosis should not smoke at all because of the double burden placed on the lungs, which will increase the risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.  Those who have diabetes should not smoke either as it can restrict blood-flow to the legs, which increases the risk of gangrene and amputations.

Tobacco smoke can hang in the air for up to five hours, exposing those passing through to an increase in respiratory diseases, cancers and reduced lung function.

It is better never to start smoking because it is known to be difficult to end the cycle. Smoking cessation is possible and it has huge health benefits.


Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism office is currently exhibiting at the World Travel Market Africa

Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism Office is currently exhibiting at the World Travel Market Africa show in Cape Town. The Regional Tourism Office is exhibiting on stands P24 and Q23, together with the Local Tourism Offices: Plett Tourism, George Tourism, Oudtshoorn Tourism, Hessequa Tourism and Calitzdorp Tourism.

The following products are also exhibiting on the stands, namely: De Rusta Estates, Redberry Farm, Oubaai Hotel Golf and Spa, Destination Garden Route, Gourikwa Reserve, the Knysna River Club, Hog Hollow Trails and the Ocean Sailing Charters.

EPWP Grant Allocation Workshop

On Tuesday, 26 March 2019, the National Department of Public Works in collaboration with the Provincial Department of Public Works and Transport held an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) grant allocation workshop. EPWP officials from all seven b-municipalities in the Garden Route and Central Karoo districts attended the event.

The objective of the engagement was to inform municipalities about the methodology utilised for the 2019/20 allocation of grants as per the Discover, Offer, Request, Acknowledge (DORA) framework.  The conditions of grants were presented to workshop attendees.

During the insightful and interactive working session, municipalities reflected on their 2018/19 Integrated Grant Performances, EPWP Phase III performance reports and the targets and expansion areas for the EPWP Phase IV. The different municipalities’ spending performance were highlighted, challenges experienced during the past phase discussed and general concerns and suggestions shared.

Garden Route DM EPWP Manager, Mr Richard Dyantji during the workshop.

One of the key concerns raised by officials during the sessions was that it has not been feasible to provide training to all the big numbers of EPWP participants due to limited funding. It was agreed that targets set by public bodies were unrealistic and many public bodies did not have the capacity to implement and report EPWP projects, and it was suggested that the targets should be linked to grant allocations provided by the national department.  Mr Richard Dyantyi also raised concerns that district municipality does not receive a Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) which hampers them to meet their targets in terms of work opportunities and FTE (Full Time Equivalent), as outlined in the protocol agreement.   During a robust discussion by representatives of all three spheres of government, it arose that the EPWP Phase IV process will come-up with strategies to address most of these challenges.

A few presentations were presented on the following subjects, which were presented by National and Provincial offices-bearers:

  • The EPWP Integrated Grant Model, calculations, DoRA framework and Technical Support;
  • The 2018/19 EPWP Integrated Grant projects on the System and Evaluation Reports;
  • National Skills Fund Training;
  • An update on the EPWP Phase IV; and
  • The National EPWP Policy.

According to Ms Lindiwe Kuna from the National Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP does not have a national formal policy in place – a need to formulate a policy will be prioritised.  According to Ms Kuna, the 1st phase of the policy formulation process started last year, 2018, after a consultant was appointed. “Today, we are here to continue with the process and start with phase 2, whereby we give an opportunity to EPWP representatives to also provide input to be considered for incorporation into the policy,” she said.

Mr Mzimkulu Gusha, Programme Manager at the National Department of Public Works facilitated the programme.

The audience then formed plenary session, after which each group had to discuss and present their feedback to the entire audience at the event.

The session was attended by 60 delegates and was facilitated by Mr Mzimkulu Gusha from the National Department of Public Works











First Youth on the Move event for the district

The Minister of Economic Opportunities, Ms Beverley Schäfer and the Minister of Social Development, Mr Albert Fritz, visited George to launch the first ever, ‘’Youth on the Move: Gateway to Opportunities” programme on 4 and 5 March 2019.

This two-day pilot youth initiative was hosted by the Western Cape Government in collaboration with the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), George Municipality and the Garden Route Skills Mecca steering committee.  The “Youth on the Move” programme is a step towards achieving the commitment made by Minister Schäfer to create 250 000 new job opportunities Local Government level, and aimed at connecting youth who are looking for opportunities with employers and organisations.

GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen during his keynote address about the Garden Route Skills Mecca and Skill Summit Resolutions.

On Monday, 4 March 2019, Minister Schäfer and her delegation met with the executive mayors of the GRDM and George Municipality, representatives of the local business chambers, potential employers, educational institutions and local stakeholder groups working with the youth.  During this jam-packed gathering, the GRDM Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, explained the district’s vision of becoming a skills mecca, not only for those residing in the Garden Route or Western Cape Province, but for the entire South Africa.  He enlightened the audience about last year’s Investment Conference and the two Skill Summits hosted by GRDM as well as the resolutions taken and spearheaded by the GRDM.  Mayor Booysen continued by saying: “In order for people to invest in our region, we need to have the relevant skills to drive investment and because of this, the GRDM took a conscious decision to up-skill our people in the district.  Today I am here to declare that we are ready for business, we are committed and with the limited funds that we have, we want to drastically lower unemployment, up-skill the youth, and do whatever is necessary for this district to be one of the best”.

On Tuesday, 5 March 2019, Minister Schäfer met with over 200 unemployed young people from the region.  During the event, youth were placed into various working groups where they answered questions about barriers faced when trying to access opportunities. The youth also shared their views on how technology is used nowadays to advance skills and opportunities, and how they go about finding work and opportunities.

During her keynote address, Minister Schäfer said: “Too many young people in South Africa do not have access to opportunities. Our job as government is to open the gateway between employers and young people looking for jobs. You need to walk through that gateway and get that first job. Once you’ve got that first job, you’ve got the experience to put on your CV, which allows you to show that you’ve got skills,” she said.

In conclusion Minister Schäfer said: “Over the past two days we’ve heard from employers that they’re not finding the best people with the right skills and we’ve heard from young people that transport, safety and the cost of printing out a CV, are some of the barriers that they’re experiencing. By growing digital skills in our province, and encouraging youth to use technology like online job searches, apps and to make use of services like youth cafés and the ICAN Learn programmes, we can start to make headway in addressing the concerns expressed by both employers and the youth,” she said.

George Municipality’s Youth Development Officers who assisted with the ‘peace-keeping’’ and logistic arrangement during the 2day event.

Subject to the outcomes of the initiative, the “Youth on the Move” programme will be adjusted and progressively rolled out across the Western Cape Province with an event scheduled every three months as district and local municipalities come on board.  Through this project, the Western Cape Government together with the district- and local municipalities in the Garden Route strive to create a pathway for unemployed youth to access opportunities, to match the demand of employers for suitable qualified persons in the district and in that way sustain industries and support economic growth within the district and Western Cape.


Upcoming Garden Route DM Skills Summit – 7 February 2019

The Garden Route District Municipality, in collaboration with the B-municipalities in the district and the Western Cape Provincial Government, will be hosting the annual District Skills Summit on Thursday, 7 February 2019 in Stillbaai, a coastal town within the Hessequa Local Municipal region. 

This year’s summit follows a resolution taken at the 2018 Garden Route District Skills Summit held on 1 February 2018 in George, during which it was resolved to take the concept of a Garden Route Skills Mecca forward and review progress on an annual basis.   

The idea of a Skills Mecca originates from the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative (GRRI), which followed the devastating fires that hit the district (Knysna/Plettenberg Bay) in June 2017.  Since last year’s summit, municipalities in the district, in collaboration with various stakeholders, among others, the Provincial Government,  progressively worked together in order to bring about and implement the Garden Route Skills Mecca concept.

The 2019 Skills Summit will focus mainly on the achievements of the previous year’s implementation of the summit resolutions. The “show and tell” (presentation/competition) will give municipalities an opportunity to showcase a project that was implemented within their respective municipal areas.

Another objective of the 2019 Skills Summit will be to discuss the progress of establishing the district-wide Skills Mecca made thus far,  and also to evaluate the resolutions  determined in 2018 towards  making the Garden Route a preferred pristine destination for learning in the country and continent.   

Other role-players involved are:

– MECs

– District Mayors

– District Municipal Managers

– Corporate Services Managers

– LED Managers

– Tourism Managers

– Skills Development Facilitator

– Youth Coordinators

– Various government departments

– Western Cape Government

– Local Businesses

– Garden Route Business Chambers

– Hessequa Business Chambers

– Local NGOs

The following resolutions were taken during the 2018 Skills Summit:

  • Continue and accelerate collaboration and cooperation among all district skills development role- players born out of the GRRI;
  • Become involved and add value to the Garden Route Skills Development Strategy for a Skills Mecca across the district;
  • Ensure that the Skills Mecca concept leverages digital infrastructure as far as possible, to ensure learning and processes methods are and remain cutting edge;
  • As far as possible, link Skills Development to Investment and Economic Development opportunities to the  advancement for all;
  • Ensure that all Skills Development processes in the Garden Route ALWAYS consider and proactively
  • considers Water – a Shared Resource.
  • Ensure that all current and emerging skills development intervention in each municipality is supported and built into the Skills Mecca concept;
  • Consider and where possible; efficiently and effectively include the skills needs of Municipality in the Garden Route District, in the development and roll out of the Skills Mecca;
  • Engage with all willing partners, in particular the SETAs and the National Skills Fund, in order to explore the development and implementation of projects across the District as an integral part of the Skills Mecca.
  • Consider and leverage local skilled people, including retired people, within the District, to accelerate the growth of the Skills Mecca; and
  • Within the next six months a new skills project is started within each of the six focus areas within at least one local municipality

Municipalities are expected to prepare and present a case study of an actual skills development project implemented within their municipality at this year’s Summit. A ten minute presentation will form part of a competition to determine the annual Garden Route Skills Mecca Champion for 2018.  Presentations will be evaluated by the delegates on the day of the event through a simple ballot system.  Each case study will be judged against three criteria:

  • Did the partnerships in the project add value? – Yes or No?
  • Did the project support transformation in a creative way? – Yes or No?
  • Did the project make learners more employable? – Yes or No?

The envisaged outcome of the Summit is to ‘’fine-tune” the resolutions from 2018 and develop ideas on how to accelerate implementation of the Skills Mecca in the Garden Route. The Skills Summit will be an annual event on a rotational basis; municipalities therefore also need to budget and plan towards this purpose. The 2018 Skills Summit attracted approximately 350 people and for this year, arrangements are being made to accommodate 250 – 300 people.

For more information contact the GRDM’s Training and Development Section, Mr Reginald Salmons at 044 803 1363.