Category: Garden Route

Awareness: Interventions by EHPs of the Garden Route District Municipality in prevention of the Cholera

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) fulfil their responsibilities by working in accordance to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the National Health Act.  In conducting their day-to-day tasks, EHPs are responsible to render services in line with the nine (9) key performances areas of Municipal Health Services, which include: water quality monitoring, food safety management, waste management, health surveillance of premises, surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases, environmental pollution control, disposal of dead, chemical safety and vector control.

In the execution of the abovementioned and in ensuring that communities have the opportunity to live in an environment that is not harmful to their health and/or environment, the EHPs of the Garden Route District Municipality constantly perform Moore pad sampling in a quest to prevent the outbreak of the Cholera disease.  Through this ongoing monitoring and assessments, these officials play a major role in the prevention of disease outbreak or sudden environmental health threats.

EHP, Ms Nokuphiwa Mbali, putting “Moore Pad” sample at Piesang River; one of the sampling points of Garden Route District Municipality.

What is Cholera?

Cholera is an endemic disease, and the Vibrio Cholera bacteria is often found in the aquatic environment, where it can remain dormant for long periods of time as part of the normal flora of brackish water and river estuaries.  It flares up under favourable conditions associated with algae blooms (plankton), which is influenced by the temperature of the water.  Infected humans, who are temporary carriers, are one of the main reservoirs of the pathogenic form of Vibrio cholerae. Cholera is spread, as most other viral and bacterial diarrhoeal diseases, by contaminated water and food, i.e. the faecal-oral route.  The ever-present role of flies and other vectors in the faecal-oral route must be kept in mind. Cholera is rarely transmitted by direct person-to-person contact.

Critical factors which influence the spreading of cholera

There are three main factors that are critical in their influence on the epidemic spreading of cholera, namely:

  • lack of access to medical treatment facilities;
  • lack of access to safe water supply and sanitation services; and
  • socio-economic living conditions.

The process of “Moore pad” sampling

Place sterile surgical gauze swab tied with a length of 1 meter string into the flowing river or sewage so that the pad hangs below the surface of the water. This pad should remain in place for 72 hours, after which it should be pulled out, into a pre-prepared sterile bottle containing double strength alkaline peptone water.  The labeled specimens must be sent to the laboratory at room temperature for analysis.

The sampling rate is higher during season periods where water from the rivers and the lagoon are running into the ocean.  Vibrio cholera bacteria is often found in the aquatic environment where it can remain dormant for long periods as part of the normal flora of salt water.

Tourists welcome in George, Wilderness and Uniondale

The George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism Offices confirm and assures business travellers and tourists that we are open for business.  Communities along the Garden Route have been affected by devastating wildfires, but the situation is under control and service delivery has not been affected.

Our towns are fully functional and ready to assist with tour groups and visitors to the areas.  The George Airport is operational, and all the major roads including  the N2, Montagu Pass, Outeniqua Pass and N9 from George to Uniondale are open.

For more information about things to do in the area, please contact our Tourism Offices:

George Tourism                   044 801 9295

Wilderness Tourism            044 877 0045

Uniondale Tourism              044 752 1076

For official updates about the recent wildfires in the region, visit the following page: www.facebook.com/gardenroutedm or www.facebook.com/george.municipality

Press Release issued by George Municipality

Photograph Credit: Cloudbase Paragliding.

No hiking or feeding of Wildlife allowed after fires in the Garden Route

Media Release – urgent notice
Issued by CapeNature

02 November 2018

Due to the recent fires in the Garden Route, CapeNature is requesting that communities living adjacent to the burnt areas support the recovery of wildlife by monitoring the condition of species and to report any injured animals to CapeNature as soon as possible. It would be very helpful if the following information can be provided to CapeNature when an injured animal is found:

– Exact locality of where the injured animal has been found/spotted (GPS position if possible)

– Correct species identification (as far as possible)

– Brief description of the injuries to the animal

– If possible photographic evidence or video footage should be taken so that the correct information is made available to the Official for the most appropriate treatment.

Do not approach an injured animal or put yourself in any danger, the public can rather contact the CapeNature George Regional Office (044) 802 5300 for any wild animals found or the Outeniqua Nature Reserve on 087 087 4151 if animals are found inside Outeniqua Nature Reserve.

No feeding of wild animals

The residential areas that border the Outeniqua mountains have experienced human-wildlife conflict for many years (especially with baboons) and therefore CapeNature is not supportive of placing out feeding stations as this will enhance conflict situations in the future.

A habitat assessment will be undertaken to determine the availability of remaining habitat for wildlife as soon as the Garden Route District Disaster Management has given clearance to CapeNature to enter the burnt areas. At this stage the area is still ‘a no go zone’ due to areas still smouldering and deep hot ash.

Wild animals will naturally move to alternative habitat if there is available habitat, by feeding wild animals you are firstly keeping them from a natural evacuation of the area and secondly make them dependent on feeding stations. As soon as the habitat assessment is completed, the situation will be reassessed.

Help by assessing and reporting – not feeding!

It is therefore advisable that the condition of wildlife be monitored rather than fed by the public. We should support wildlife by allowing corridors in order to allow them to move freely, driving carefully along public roads, and ensuring that our pets do not get the opportunity to chase wildlife that graze/browse closer to residential areas.

Please drive carefully, road verges also provide food for wildlife such as small antelope and primate species as these areas are often intact and are good for grazing/browsing and will be feeding close to the road.

Please stay out of natural areas – no hiking

We ask that the public refrain from accessing any natural areas in the George/Knysna region where there are still active or smouldering fire lines. These areas continue to have a high fire danger risk so please help us keep everyone safe!

Issued by CapeNature

Severe Weather Alerts issued by the Cape Town Weather Office

Hazard: Damaging Winds

Alert Level: Warning

Valid from (SAST): 29/10/18, 01h00 – Valid to (SAST): 30/10/18, 11h00

WARNING: Gale force W/SW winds of 65-75km/h is expected along the coast between Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay tonight (Monday), into tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

ADVISORY: Strong interior winds (50-65km/h) are expected over the Matzikama Municipality, Breede River Valley, Central and Little Karoo today (Monday), into early tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

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 the Disaster Management Officers.

Description: Storm surges / High Seas

Generally heavy seas or damaging waves are a result of strong winds blowing over a large area called a fetch combined with low pressure systems. Long period swells are often very dangerous to tankers as they may literally snap them in half. Dangerous waves or surges may also be caused by storm surges and tsunami’s resulting in widespread coastal damage and loss of life.

In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change.

Precautions: Storm surges / High Seas

Ships should “idle” into the swell and wind so that the bow of the ship always faces the oncoming swell. If in a small sailing vessel reduce the sail area and steer into the oncoming swell. If along the shore-line stay well back from the highest high water mark as Secure all hatches, doors, windows and ports. Secure all loose items in the interior.

Pump the bilge’s dry and keep pumping them dry at regular intervals. Stow away all loose gear and lash down any large items that cannot be stowed. Break out your life preservers and inform your crew that everyone will be putting them on well in advance of their necessity.

Break out emergency gear like flares and first aid kit, sea anchor, safety harnesses, etc.  Check your position and update your course as plotted on your chart. Prepare alternative routes to more protected areas. If you think you will be in for relatively long haul prepare some hot soup, coffee or stew freak waves may run up beyond the normal high water mark.

If the sea recedes exposing rock and sea bed normally not exposed immediately seek higher ground at least 50m above your current position. Do not try swimming or fishing or other marine recreation during these events. Only extremely experienced surfers will temp their fate under these conditions.

Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from Disaster Management Officers.

Fires in the Garden Route

Since the end of October 2018, various wildfires started raging through the Garden Route District. The Joint Operations Centre (JOC) has, because of this, been activated. Coordination of firefighting resources and all logistical arrangements are dealt with by the Garden Route DM JOC.

The municipality’s website will be changed from green to orange while the JOC is activated.

For official information about wildfires in the Garden Route, follow our Facebook page: www.fb.com/gardenroutedm

The Emergency Communications Centre can be contacted at 044 805 5071.

Informal Food Traders from Mossel Bay receive training

 

The informal food trading sector in South Africa has a positive impact on micro businesses which contributes to job creation, poverty alleviation and establishment of breadwinners in communities.   The sector plays a critical role in food security, facilitating access to food by poor people living in urban areas and has the potential to expand the economic viability of the region.

To address the Key Performance Areas set for Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), the EHPs of the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Mossel Bay office, facilitated an awareness training session, focusing on informal food traders selling offal on 3 October 2018, at the Asla Park Community Hall.   The aim of this type of training is to educate traders on basic food hygiene practices, as outlined in legislation and also to ensure that food being consumed does not pose health risks. The importance of safe, hygienic food handling and selling in the prevention of food poisoning outbreaks, are always emphasized during these events.

The thirteen Informal Food Traders from KwaNonqaba and Asla Park in Mossel Bay, after the training session conducted by the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners, Mr Lukanyo Mafuduka (left) and Ms Neo-Lay Britz (right).

Fifteen Informal Food Traders from Mossel Bay attended the session. The following aspects were covered during the training:

  • registration of food stalls
  • food safety
  • food poisoning
  • how does one contract food poisoning
  • signs and symptoms of food poisoning
  • five keys to safer food, which entail:
  • keeping clean;
  • separating raw food from cooked food;
  • cooking food thoroughly;
  • keeping food at safe temperatures; and
  • using safe water and safe raw material.

Subsequently to the training session, interviews were conducted with participants who indicated that the training was significant. The session also confirmed that they were not familiar with some of the opportunities in Mossel Bay, and how it could benefit them. Attendees also indicated that they would appreciate if more training could be rolled out to them. Incentives such as cooler boxes, storage containers, meat trays, hairnets and aprons, were given to all the participants who attended the training

More training sessions will be conducted by the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners throughout the year to ensure that safety and hygiene standards are met in order to protect the public.

Building Smart Cities in a Smart Region

The concept of Smart Cities is gaining momentum in the Garden Route region and to unfold this theory, the Planning and Economic Department of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in collaboration with the South Cape Economic Partnership (SCEP), hosted a Smart City – Smart Region Summit on Wednesday, 3 October 2018 in Bitou (Plettenberg Bay).  Representatives from all the municipalities in the Garden Route, in particularly, Local Economic Development, Tourism;  Infrastructure;  Waste Management;  Planning and ICT Specialists, as well as Private Sector Smart City experts; Town Planners; Technology experts and Tertiary Institutions Subject Specialists, attended the one-day event.

Councillor Peter Lobese, Executive Mayor of the Bitou Municipality welcomed all summit attendees and expressed his appreciation towards the GRDM for organising the Summit for the region.

During the workshop, very exciting and informative presentations were done by Subject Specialists, i.e. Dr Warren Burns from Brilliance;  Dr Nancy Odendaal from the University of Cape Town;  Ms Emiley Vollmer from ISC Bank and Mr Josiah Lodi from the Western Cape Department of Cooperative Governance.

Guided by the experts in attendance, municipalities of the region worked on defining what the concept Smart Cities means for them, and how best to maximise the benefits of smart thinking, to build a Smart Region.

One of the breakaway sessions during the summit with the facilitators, Mr Paul Hoffman (far left) from the SCEP and Ms Rushka Ely (right) from the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, Cape Town.

The afternoon’s programme was divided into two (2) sets of three (3) breakaway sessions, under the following topics:

First Session:  Smart living, Smart Waste Management and Smart Technology; and

Second Session: Smart Green, Smart Design and Smart Tourism

Some outcomes of the sessions include:

 Smart Living:

  • A pilot project in one community in the region to demonstrate all the 7 principles of “Smart Living”;
  • Increase density, accessible public transport and making the region cycle-friendly;
  • Develop a network of small-scale organic agriculture to supply local restaurants and retailers;
  • Integrated efforts for safety and security by the police, neighbourhood watches and private security companies;
  • Invite businesses to provide innovative solutions through existing forums to current smart living challenges; and
  • Spatial development for poor communities which will allow activities like gardening, etc.

Smart Waste

  • Regional programme for sensitizing residents and incentives for recycling;
  • Continue with the integrated approach between municipalities for alternative technologies; and
  • Waste-to-energy initiatives.

Smart Technology

  • An audit needs to be done on what exists that could be expanded or developed further;
  • Wayleave and trenching policies to be put in place; and
  • Coordination in terms of free Wi-Fi to be coordinated by die district- and local municipalities.

Smart Green

  • Lack of skills within municipalities to interrogate green solutions. Will be addressed through Green Cape Municipal Capacity Building Initiatives;
  • Interrogate current policy to create a more conducive/enabling environment; and
  • Inter-governmental approach to green solutions.

 Smart Design

  • Ensuring values, visions and policies that underpin smart city design, are in place;
  • Increase the focus on GIS skills and resources for smart cities;
  • Integration of data collection and maintenance processes and systems; and
  • Data access protocols that enable access across municipalities.

Smart Tourism

  • Wi-fi hotspots;
  • Regional public transport e.g. Uber;
  • Data collection and analytics for smart tourism; and
  • Smart training for the hospitality and tourism industry.
The organising team behind the successful and well-attend Smart Cities – Smart Region Summit. Fltr, Mr Denver Johnson, Tourism Officer, Mr Paul Hoffman, Project Manager of SCEP, Ms Melanie Wilson, Manager: Economic Development and Tourism, Ms Natalie Raubenheimer, Senior Economic Development Officer, Ms Amagene Koeberg, Co-ordinator: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism, Ms Raylene Meyer, Administrative Officer: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism, Ms Nadia Boumeester, Administrative Assistant: Economic Development and Mr Lusanda Menze, GRDM Executive Manager: Planning and Economic Development.

In his concluding remarks, the Municipal Manager of the GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu, expressed his appreciation to everyone who participated and who are willing to take the process forward in partnership with the Garden Route District Municipality.  “Let us adopt a vision to do things differently, collaborate and try to work together as a family of municipalities in building a smart region,” said Mr Stratu.

World Environmental Health Day celebrated

Statistics from the Department of Health showed, that many children and adults are suffering from diseases, such as diarrhoea, which can be easily prevented or cured, but sometimes result in very sad consequences.

To address this problem, the Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Klein Karoo municipal health office developed a drama production aimed at creating awareness among community members, especially school children.

The aim of the drama production was to:

  • promote good food safety practices;
  • educate learners and the community, on how germs and infections are transmitted;
  • improve hygiene behaviour; and
  • prevent the spread of diarrhoeal and other hygiene-, sanitation- and water related diseases in communities.

A local actor and four (4) peer educators were approached to assist with the performance.  The drama piece was also developed in commemoration of World Environmental Health Day, on 26 September 2018, themed – “Food Security and Sustainability”.

Actors and Environmental Health officials with some of the community members from Hoeko (Ladismith) who attended the information session.

On 24 and 25 September 2018, the drama production was performed respectively in Hoeko (Ladismith area) and in Dysselsdorp.  Approximately 216 households were reached through the initiative. Educators and community leaders were impressed by the informative messages that were conveyed. The actors demonstrated the relationship between good hygienic practices and health status towards a positive impact in community health and quality of life.

According to the organisers of the events, the initiative surely increased the self-esteem of community members, promoted health and hygiene awareness practices and empowered the community with knowledge, in order to take responsibility for their own health and life.

Mr Desmond Paulse, Manager Municipal Health: Klein Karoo (left) with the Peer Educators who performed in the drama production.

The drama production forms part of an ongoing health and hygiene education programme performed by the GRDM municipal health section.

GRDM Leadership’s visit to Indonesia

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently received an all-expenses-paid invitation (accommodation and flights) from the ISCC Group of Companies in Indonesia to visit them. It was decided that the Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Councillor Memory Booysen; the Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu; the Executive Manager: Planning and Economic Development, Mr Lusanda Menze and the Manager in the Office of the Executive Mayor, Mr Siphiwe Dladla, to travel to Indonesia from 6 to 11 September 2018.  GRDM came to know of the ISCC Executive Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer earlier this year during the Garden Route Investment Conference.

Based on a concern raised by the Cllr Booysen, about presentations being made by companies who, not often return with tangible outcomes, the Chairperson and CEO of the ISCC Group, Mr Jean Bilala, extended an invitation to the GRDM, to visit their infrastructure projects in Indonesia in order to gain insight on the level and quality of what they are involved in.

The Group of Companies includes Ithuba Savings and Credits, LetsCoin $C and the ISC Bank.  These companies have a footprint in Germany, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, as well as South Africa. Their South African branch is situated in Cape Town.

Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between GRDM and Ithuba Savings and the ISC Bank eBanking and Investment Solutions. Signing the MoU is Mr Jean B. Bilala, President of Ithuba Savings, Cllr Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor (middle) and Mr Monde Stratu, GRDM Municipal Manager, were also signatories to the MoU.

The Group of Companies mainly focuses on technology, artificial intelligence and investment, and is a member of the prestige Bloomberg, as well as a lifetime member of International Securities Identification Number (ISIN).

The ISCC Group of Companies made the following proposal to GRDM:

  • To develop a sustainable smart town for industrial, commercial and residential development within the Garden Route District Municipality; and
  • The possible establishment of a manufacturing plant for electric cars of which the prototype was already developed and build in Germany (ISC Bank), within the Garden Route District.

During the visit, the delegation met with various business representatives in Indonesia, including businesses from India and Singapore, who indicated their intention or expanding and opening business in Africa.  The visit was concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ithuba Savings and Credit; Len24 GmbH ISC Bank; E-Banking and Investment Solutions and the GRDM. The purpose of this MOU is to facilitate collaboration between the different parties in matters of common interest, as well as working arrangements necessary, for the implementation of the memorandum.

The priority areas which forms part of this understanding as outlined in the MOU are:

  • Cooperation in establishing and identifying land and infrastructure required to implement investment goals; and
  • To exchange information and identification of business opportunities to enhance mutual interests for the Garden Route and Western Cape Province.

GRDM is committed to positioning itself as a destination of choice for national and international investment and has recently embarked on various high-level engagements to realize these objectives.

Severe Weather Alert (7-8 September 2018)

Significant rainfall and intense downpours are expected on Friday, 7 September 2018, where flooding may be a risk. Thunderstorms are also possible. At this point, rainfall amounts expected 20-40mm along the South Coast (Riversdale to Plettenberg bay) and 50mm in the mountains. Also to note is that light rain is expected from Wednesday through to Saturday morning along the South Coast, which will act to saturate the ground.

Less snowfall expected, compared to the initial assessments done on Monday.  Although snowfalls still very likely for both Thursday and Friday over the Langeberge, Swartberge and Nuweveld berge, the snowfall will be lighter for the Outeniqua mountains than initially expected. Very cold weather will be persisting from today through to the weekend though.

However, please note that the models have not been consistent over the last few days in terms of amounts and locations, and thus the SAWS will monitor further.