Newly appointed MEC of Transport and Public Works visits the Garden Route District
This morning, the newly appointed Western Cape Government Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works, MEC Daylin Michell, visited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and region, to conduct an introductory meeting with all the Executive Mayors and Municipal Managers in the district.
During his opening remarks, a confident MEC Michell assured local municipal representatives that service delivery to citizens is not new, although he might be new to the position. He also said that the concerns raised during the meeting might not be unique. His department will try and find solutions in the system to best address emerging and old challenges. He further mentioned that his visit to the Garden Route District would not be from something new but that today’s process aimed to kick off his predecessors and continue in that fashion.
The GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, introduced the discussions by explaining that the GRDM has the biggest road network compared to other district municipalities in the Western Cape. Alderman Booysen further explained how roads in other districts, especially the West Coast, are used as economic networks for farmers getting their harvest to airports and harbours in Cape Town and that those critical roads are tar. He stated that he believes that there should be no difference in the Garden Route District. Alderman Booysen concluded by requesting that the upcoming Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the Western Cape Government Transport and Public Works and the GRDM address the previous years’ learning curves.
Afterwards, the different local municipal representatives raised their areas’ concerns and welcomed the visit of the Minister of Transport and Public Works.
As part of his visit, MEC Michell and his delegation, joined by Alderman Booysen and some of the other Executive Mayors, visited several sites in the George Municipal area.
Media Release: New Quarantine and Isolation facility to relieve pressure in the Garden Route
For Immediate Release 17 August 2021
On Wednesday, 4 August 2021, a new Quarantine & Isolation facility has been open at the Gateway Lodge, 6km outside of George.
The Gateway Lodge site and PetroSA sites are the designated quarantine and isolations facilities in the Garden Route district. In terms of proximity, people from George, Knysna, Bitou and Oudtshoorn will first be accommodated at Gateway Lodge, which has a 28-bed capacity; if this site becomes full, those in quarantine and isolation, will be moved to PetroSA. People from Mossel Bay, Hessequa and Kannaland will be accommodated at the PetroSA facility which has a 150-bed capacity.
Both these sites are operational seven days a week and accept persons between 09h00 and 17h00 daily. The process for any public member requiring either quarantines or isolation facilities is to contact the local Provincial Department of Health sub-district health representative, who will assess the request and make the necessary arrangements.
It is important to note that if a person tested positive for coronavirus, they need to isolate. And if you have symptoms or have come into close contact with someone who has coronavirus, they are required to be in quarantine. If you can isolate or quarantine safely at home, do so, but if it is not possible, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the local Provincial Department of Health sub-district health representative.
Weather Alert: Impact Based Weather Warnings for Western Cape and Namaqua: Damaging Winds, Damaging Waves and Disruptive Snow
Please find included the Impact Based Warning for the Western Cape and Namaqua Region of Northern Cape
“This warning from SA Weather Service must be communicated as received and may not be altered under any circumstance.
It must be forwarded or communicated in its entirety and no portion hereof may be replicated or copied and distributed.”
Valid from (SAST)
Valid to (SAST)
Beaufort West, Hantam, Karoo Hoogland, Laingsburg, Bitou, Cape Agulhas, Cape Agulhas, City of Cape town, George, Hessequa, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay, Swartland, Table Bay, Prince Albert
Discussion: Northwesterly winds associated with the cold front, will reach average speeds of 55-60km/h gusting up to 65-70km/h over the Namakwa District and the Western Cape eastern interior from mid-morning through into early Tuesday morning. Over the offshore areas between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas, These wind northwesterly winds (55-60km/h gusting 70km/h) are expected from Monday morning, becoming west to southwesterly and spreading to Plettenberg Bay in the afternoon, persisting into Tuesday afternoon.
Impact: Localised damage to formal and informal settlements is possible. Fallen trees may affect properties and road travel. High sided vehicles may be at risk of falling over as result of strong crosswinds (particularly on N1, N2, N7, R321, R43). Strong north-westerly winds over the eastern parts of the province may fuel runaway fires. Offshore: difficulty in navigation for small vessels and personal water craft can be expected. Disruption of beachfront activities is possible as well as danger to rock anglers.
Instruction: Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines. Ensure that all temporary structures are well anchored. Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.
Valid from (SAST)
Valid to (SAST)
Bergrivier, Bitou, Cape Agulhas, Cape Agulhas, Cederberg, City of Cape town, George, Hessequa, M_Kamiesberg, Knysna, Matzikama, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay, Swartland, Table Bay
Discussion: The cold front is expected to affect the Western Cape on Monday. South-westerly swell with wave heights between 4.5-6.0m and wave periods of 16 seconds are expected along the south and southwest coastline behind the cold front persisting into Tuesday afternoon. The area of concern is between Hondeklip Bay and Cape Agulhas from Monday morning, and through to Plettenberg Bay in the afternoon.
Impact: Difficulty in navigation at sea for small vessels and person water craft (e.g. kayaks) can be expected. This may lead to vessels taking on water and capsizing in locality. Disruption to beach front activities is likely.
Instruction: Be aware of large unpredictable waves along the coast. Small vessels are advised to seek shelter in harbours, bays or inlets.
Valid from (SAST)
Valid to (SAST)
Breede Valley, Cederberg, George, Hantam, Karoo Hoogland, Oudtshoorn, Witzenberg
Discussion: Forecasts indicate a spread of 05-10cm with some parts receiving 15cm of snow over the mountains of the Cape Winelands and the West Coast District (Cederberg mountain range), as well as the southern high ground in the Hantam and Karoo Hoogland municipalities (N. Cape) from Monday afternoon. The snowfall will spread to the Garden Route mountain ranges during Monday evening, persisting into Tuesday afternoon with significant impacts expected in the Outeniqua and Swartberg mountains.
SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE
Cape Town Weather Office
2nd Floor: Oval Office Park
Cape Town Int airport
Media Release: “We are two weeks ahead of schedule” – upgrades at Calitzdorp Spa
For immediate release 30 June 2021
After almost a month of hard work, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) owned Calitzdorp Spa is gradually transforming into a new magical mountain retreat, reclaiming its rightful space in the magnificent mountain vistas of the Klein Karoo. Construction work, which was planned to be executed a number of phases, is currently well on track. “We are at least two weeks ahead of schedule,” Medron Bussack, Acting Manager for Calitzdorp Spa.
The roofs of the swimming pool chalets and mountain chalets have already been repaired. As of now, the reception area and main building’s roofs are being replaced with new steel-based, light roof thatch tiles. The contractors also replaced the roofs’ hip and ridge flashings with treated timber battens and related accessories. Amongst the work done has been a new face of the resorts Roman bath. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Spa, the ‘mineral-rich hot spring bath’ is known for its healing and curative properties. The windows in the Roman bathing room were also replaced.
The next phases will commence as soon as funding becomes available in the new financial year, beginning on 1 July 2021. These phases will mainly focus on more repairs and upgrades of the mountain chalets, as well as the ablution facilities at the four (4) camping sites and the four (4) pool lapas.
With the construction works currently underway, the GRDM wants to assure the public that the resort is still in full operation and looks forward to welcoming visitors to the resort!
Media Alert: Western Cape Human Settlements budget heads to Garden Route
For Immediate Release 28 June 2021
Dear Editors & Members of the Public
Kindly note the reminder below. Also, note due to the adjusted alert level 4 as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 27 June 2021, all Municipal Council engagements will now be virtual.
Further to this, the planned Qolweni site visit and Slangrivier title deed handover have been postponed until further notice. Minister Tertuis Simmers and the team from the Provincial Department of Human Settlements will also no longer be based at the Garden Route District Municipal Chambers.
Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
MEDIA ALERT: WESTERN CAPE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS BUDGET HEADS TO GARDEN ROUTE
28 June 2021
Today, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers will commence with his Ministerial outreach to the municipalities across the Garden Route District. Along with presenting the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements’ budget for the 2021/22 financial year, various other critical human settlements matters will also be discussed.
Joined by his senior executive officials, Minister Simmers will meet with full Municipal Councils. A virtual meeting with the Kannaland Municipality will kick-off the engagements.
On Tuesday, 29 June 2021, virtual engagements will occur with the Oudtshoorn and Knysna Municipalities.
On Wednesday, 30 June 2021, virtual engagements will occur with the George and Mossel Bay Municipalities.
On Thursday, 1 July 2021, a virtual engagement will occur with the Hessequa Municipality.
Media Release: release: Increased vaccine allocation to Rural areas
For Immediate Release
25 June 2021
Increased vaccine allocation to Rural areas
The Garden Route district will receive a larger vaccine allocation as from next week. The increased vaccine allocation will address the slow roll-out experienced to date, due to limited vaccine supply from National Government.
With the increased allocation of vaccines we will be able to open more appointment slots at our vaccination sites and therefore vaccinate more people. We understand the frustration and anxiety experienced at large to be vaccinated, especially with increasing COVID-19 cases in our District.
“We are pleased to confirm that the Garden Route district is earmarked to receive an additional 7948 doses on top of the confirmed 12 157 that we expect to receive for the week 28 June – 2 July. This is significantly more vaccines compared to our allocation for the past 2 weeks”, said District Director, Mr Zee Brickles.
Updated testing criteria
We have revised our testing criteria and the following categories will be eligible for COVID-19 testing.
All those with coronavirus symptoms AND at least 1 of the following:
Needing hospital admission.
At high risk of severe disease (age > 45 years, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, cancer, tuberculosis, HIV).
clusters in group settings such as old age/care homes, hospitals, schools, workplaces, hostels, prisons, etc.
health care workers.
Allowing patients to be visited by their loved ones during their stay in hospital is an essential part of their recovery and wellness. Having an escort present during a visit to an emergency unit and an outpatient clinic, is reassuring for many patients and essential for other patients such as young children. Similarly, the pain and anxiety of labour can be eased by having a partner present. Despite the benefits of having visitors and escorts, the increased risk of spreading COVID-19 infection during the high prevalence of a third wave, outweighs the benefits of having loved ones present, and hence visitors and escorts have to be severely restricted.
Western Cape Government Health can confirm that the visitation policy at public hospitals was amended on 21 June to accommodate the changes in alert levels in the Covid-19 pandemic in the province. The restrictions on visitors and escorts, are aimed at ensuring that our patients, families, visitors and staff are protected against transmission during the third wave. Depending on the nature of the service of particular facilities, specific arrangements have been put in place. Should you or a family member need to visit a hospital, please establish which specific arrangements are in place at that facility. We urge the public to please respect these new arrangements. Although we know it is challenging for many visitors and patients we must be responsible and protect one another.
Keep your bubbles small
Now is not the time to socially interact with people outside of your immediate family bubble (those living in the same household). The more interactions you and your immediate family members have outside of your immediate family bubble, the greater the risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others. If you have to meet someone do so outdoors or indoors where there is good ventilation. Remember to always wear your mask when in public.
The Garden Route District had a 110% increase in new cases over the last 7 days compared to 7-14 days ago.
All sub-districts had large increases except for Oudtshoorn with a minimal increase and Kannaland which remained unchanged.
The new cases are widespread with some household clusters. It is important that we all play our part in curbing the spread. All situations are being actively monitored.
Stats as of 14 June 2021.
A total of 20 653 vaccines have been administered since the start of the vaccine program. This includes healthcare workers, old age homes and public sites.
The Department received a lesser allocation of vaccines this week from the national government, which has impacted the number of people we will be able to vaccinate this week.
We are however still planning to open more sites after which more appointment slots will become available, and hence more system generated SMSs will be sent to assign registered people to specific sites with available appointment slots.
We have noted a lot of queries regarding the appointment system. Appointments for vaccinations are automatically scheduled by the National Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). The system checks in a sequential manner who registered first in a specific area, and assigns appointments to them based on available slots at sites close to that area. If you would like to confirm your registration or make changes to your details please visit http://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za. You can also access this link on our website, www.westerncape.gov.za.
What to bring with you when going for your vaccination
Please remember to bring along your ID, passport, or asylum document when coming for your vaccine.
If you belong to a medical aid, please take your medical aid card or details with you.
At the vaccination site, there will be signage directing you where to go. You will be screened according to COVID-19 protocol.
Once inside, your details will be confirmed. The health workers at the vaccination station will ask you for consent, will explain what they are going to do, and will ask if you have any allergies or medical conditions. This is an important part of the process.
After your vaccination, you will be asked to wait in the observation room for 15 to 30 minutes so that staff can make sure you do not experience any severe allergic reactions. If you received the first jab of a 2-dose vaccine, you will get a follow-up appointment via SMS. You will also receive a proof of vaccination card.
The following sites in the Garden Route District will administer vaccinations on the following days for week 14 – 18 June.
D’Almeida Community Hall
14, 15, 17 ,18
Wolwedans Community Hall
Mossel Bay Town Hall
Plettenberg Bay Town Clinic
Harry Comay TB Hospital
14,15, 17, 18
14,15, 17, 18
George Central Clinic
14,15, 17, 18
15, 17, 18
Riversdale Civic Centre
15, 17 ,18
Witsand de Duine Hall
Heidelberg Duivenhoks Hall
Albertinia Theronsville Hall
Stilbaai Civic Centre
15, 17, 18
Slangrivier Satellite Clinic
Ladismith DRC Church Hall
Calitzdorp DRC Church Hall
Knysna Town Hall
De Rust(Blommenek) Clinic
Please remember that we prioritise those who are registered and have received their appointment. No active sites on the 16th which is a public holiday.
Media Release: Garden Route Climate Change Indaba to coincide with the United Nations World Oceans Day
For Immediate Release 4 June 2021
The Garden Route Fire Commemoration Event and Climate Change Indaba will this year coincide with World Oceans Day, taking place on Tuesday 8 June 2021. The Indaba is hosted by the Garden Route District Municipality and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).
The theme for the 2021 United Nations World Oceans Day is Life and Livelihoods. It is a day for humanity to celebrate and support the life and the livelihood that the ocean sustains and puts the spotlight on biodiversity and the interconnectivity between the ocean and its ecosystems.
According to Cobus Meiring, chairperson of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), entities tasked with environmental management in the Garden Route are increasingly emphasising the importance of restoration and rewilding of natural ecosystems and habitat in the region, which serves to highlight the interconnectivity between a healthy ocean and terrestrial environment.
“A point in case is the drive to reconnect the Indian Ocean with the Outeniqua mountains and the creation of biodiversity conservation and migration routes through the restoration of Garden Route forests, streams, wetlands, rivers and catchments in collaboration with private landowners.”
Stretching from Mossel Bay to the Storms River mouth, the Garden Route is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world.
Says Meiring: “The scenic splendour of the Garden Route is a precious resource. Celebrating a healthy and vibrant ocean and dependent ecosystems is an opportunity to boost the conservation of the region’s very special natural environment.”
“Climate change, and the challenges and opportunities it offers, is no doubt worth reflecting upon. We dare not wipe out the memories of events like the 2017 and 2018 wildfire disasters which wreaked havoc in the Garden Route, nor the perpetual drought which decimated much of the agricultural capacity of the regional interior – much of which can be ascribed to slight climate changes with significant effects.”
“As the world celebrates World Oceans Day, South Africa in general, and the Garden Route in particular, will do well to use the opportunity to show respect for what remains of what nature blessed the country with, and even as we focus all our energy and resources to survive Covid-19 and its socio-economic impact, we have to plan to conserve our oceans and natural environment, as therein lies our ultimate survival as a species,” says Meiring.
Climate Change Indaba, Wilderness
The theme for this year’s Garden Route Fire Commemoration Event and Climate Change Indaba is “Adapt to a Sustainable Future”. The keynote address will be delivered bythe Deputy Minister of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), Ms Makhotso Magdaline Sotyu.
Professors Christo Fabricius and Hervé Fritz will present the latest findingson global change research in the Garden Route. Professor Fabricius is Lead, CARMa-Afrika: Capacity for African Resource Management at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and Professor Hervé Fritz is Director of the ECO REHABS International Research Lab, CNRS France, together with the Nelson Mandela University.
The challenges of climate change and invasive alien species in Africa will also come under the spotlight in a presentation by Dr Arné Witt, Invasive Alien Plant Specialist and Regional (Africa, Asia and the Caribbean) Invasive Alien Species Coordinator for the international science-based development organisation, CABI.
Other presentation topics include disaster management, water resource management, freshwater ecology, and sea-level rise and its impact on coastal infrastructure along the Mossel Bay coastline.
A field visit, hosted by Knysna Municipality, the Garden Route Trail Park and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) will also be taking place on Wednesday 9 June 2021. The focus of the field visit will be on methods for killing blackwood including herbicide mixing and application, as this remains one of the most difficult weeds to control.
Interested organisations or individuals who would like to attend the indaba and/field visit can send an email to Louise Maré, email@example.com for more information. Due to Covid-19 regulations, is it essential to register in advance for the Indaba.
The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum and public platform for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. It is a think tank for national, regional and local government, conservation bodies, academics, the media, landowners and land managers, active in the full spectrum of environmental matters in the region. Website: https://www.scli.org.za/gref/
Cobus Meiring: Chairperson of Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)
Media Release: Fencing subsidies available – call for applications
For Immediate Release 21 May 2021
On an annual basis, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) provides fencing subsidies for a selected number of landowners on neighbouring provincial rural roads with fencing of their properties.
This is subject to a budget as received from the Western Cape Government.
The funding will only be applicable on a subsidy basis. It effectively means that 60% subsidy will be contributed towards the cost of the fencing. The subsidy is determined by an average price for the material. The material is deemed as 60% of the total cost. Labour cost is deemed as 40% of the total cost and must be carried by the applicant. All initial costs must be carried by the applicant and a subsidy will be paid out after the successful completion of the fence. For more information refer to the Fencing Subsidy Policy of Garden Route District Municipality.
The new fences must adhere to the specifications of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape: Roads Infrastructure Department. Minimum specifications will be made available to successful applicants.
Application forms can be obtained from Mr Qamani Nkebana at the Roads Transport & Planning Department. Contact numbers at the office are 044 803 1506 or email Qamani@gardenroute.gov.za. Alternatively, download from www.gardenroute.gov.za.
Application period: 21 May 2021 to 18 June 2021.
Applications will be audited and evaluated according to risk analysis by a panel. Risk factors include: Status of road, traffic count, operating speed of vehicles, type of farming, condition of current fence, etc.
The panel outcome will be decided by 19 July 2021. All applicants will be informed. A fencing subsidy contract will be signed with successful applicants. Unsuccessful applicants can apply again in the next financial year.
All fences must be fully completed by 10 December 2021 for payment before 28 February 2022.
Payment will be done after an inspection and approval for the fence has been made.