Media release: Get your vaccine now for a safe summer season
Those who have not yet received their vaccine should do so now. If you want to be fully vaccinated by 1 December, the start of the festive season, you will need to:
Receive your first dose of Pfizer by no later than 20 October 2021.
Receive your second dose 42 days after. This means that you will have received your second dose by 1 December 2021 latest.
It takes approximately two weeks from full vaccination (after your second jab) for you to develop maximum immune protection. This means if you get your second jab on 1 December, you will have the best possible protection from around 14 December – just around the time that many people have planned to start their festive season plans.
Western Cape Government Health has set December as the target to ensure that residents have a summer that they can look forward to and aims to fully vaccinate 70% of those over 50 years old by December and 70% of the eligible population with at least one dose.
The recently held Vooma vaccination weekend drive saw 59 429 vaccines administered in the Western Cape of which 1104 were administered in the Garden Route.
“Although the turn-out was much less than anticipated, we commend every person who came for their vaccination, despite rainy and very cold weather. We want to encourage our communities to take up the offer of vaccination as it has been demonstrated to offer significant protection against severe COVID related disease and death”, said Mr Zee Brickles (Health Director: Garden Route and Central Karoo).
“We all want to enjoy the festive season which is why I have also launched the jabs b4jol campaign to encourage especially young people to get vaccinated. Vaccines are safe and very effective. We are seeing a lot fewer hospitalisations and deaths in people who get vaccinated. While some people have minor reactions after getting vaccinated like headaches or fever, these are often easily managed at home, and the benefit of getting vaccinated is much greater than being unvaccinated and getting COVID-19. Please use any one of our vaccine sites. Many who are 18 years and older, who received their jabs from 20 August, are now eligible for their second shot. Please do not hesitate, fully vaccinate”, said Minister of Health, Dr Mbombo.
Caption: Walk-about at Harry Comay Hospital’s Vooma vaccination site from left front: Mr Jewel Jonkers (Director Education Garden Route), Mr Memory Booysen (Garden Route mayor), Sr Linda Geweld (Nursing Manager Harry Comay Hospital), Back: Dr Terence Marshall (Health), Mr Zee Brickles (Health Director: Garden Route and Central Karoo District), Mr Leon van Wyk (George mayor), Dr Zilla North (medical manager George subdistrict)
Media Release: Government stakeholders plant trees at the Provincial Launch of National Arbor Month in George
8 September 2021 For immediate release
“Your presence at this event, is an indication that you care, that you embrace what nature can give to us,” were the opening words of Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Alderman Memory Booysen, to the stakeholders at the Provincial launch of National Arbor Month celebrations in George.
The event took place at the Garden Route Botanical Gardens on Friday, 2 September 2021.
Representatives from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the Department of Water and Sanitation, GRDM, the South African National Parks (SANParks), Cape Nature, the Garden Route Botanical Garden, Breede Gouritz Catchment Management Agency and George Municipality, attended the occasion.
Alderman Booysen, during his opening remarks said that Arbor Month should be a continuous awareness programme, “a continuous initiative that sets the tone for the whole South Africa, on how we balance nature with what people want”.
Mayor Booysen also shared an idea with the audience which he came across in Morocco, where a fruit tree is planted adjacent to every indigenous tree. These trees are planted within the communities where people are in close proximity to it. He further stated: “We need to start debating the issue on how we can deal with food security while planting indigenous trees at the same time”.
“We also have to determine how it can be managed as a job creation initiative because if we do not deal with humanitarian issues, people will put pressure on the issues,” Booysen emphasised. Referring to the involvement of the youth, he said that it is evident that they show interest in the well-being of the environment, but “we need to lay the foundation for such initiatives where jobs can be created while dealing with food security simultaneously”.
During his keynote address, Acting Regional Head for Western Cape DFFE, Mr Masithandaze Falitenjwa, shared this year’s Arbor month theme, ‘Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and well-being’. With this theme he said that the campaign encourages the celebration of South African trees. It also aims to create awareness of the importance of trees. He furthermore encouraged every person to “protect our indigenous forests, to help prevent veld and wildfires”. He further emphasised that planting a tree to green our country will help mitigate climate change.
In response to the scenario shared by Mayor Booysen, he confirmed that planting fruit trees is part of the programme of the Department of DFFE. He also mentioned the significance of community involvement in their plans by saying: “If we do not include the community in our campaigns and plans, we will be fighting a losing battle. In terms of the initiatives of the DFFE, he admitted that partners and government institutions should become involved in these initiatives. He confirmed that DFFE sourced 200 trees for municipalities of the Garden Route as part of their “Tree for Life” Programme. In closing he highlighted: “Let us ‘green’ the Garden Route and turn it into a “Garden of Eden”.
Mrs Vuyiswa Thabethe, Regional Manager of SANParks in the Garden Route, left some ‘food for thought’ with all delegates when she shared that over the years of celebrating Arbour Month by planting trees, it provides for a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management. She then asked what the impact of our Arbor Month is when we are planting these trees and conducting awareness campaigns. “Does our society understand the value of the initiative?” In response to her question, she commented that if this answer is “yes”, we can pat ourselves on the back and say: “We are doing a good job”. She emphasised that we need to see the impact of similar initiatives, because “if one takes care of the trees, they will definitely take care of us in the future”.
During his address, the Acting Director of Water and Sanitation Services Support, Mr Zolile Simawo, explained the history of Arbor Month and their Department’s relevance in the the month’s activities. He encouraged communities, government departments, non-governmental organisations, non-profit organisations and communities, to plant indigenous trees. He said that planting trees would aid in sustaining the environment, sustain biodiversity (fauna and flora), provide clean air, given the major industrial activities and the pollution it creates, beautifying South Africa and conserve water.
Ald. Leon van Wyk, Executive Mayor of George, extended a word of appreciation to all departments for their contributions. He further said: “We need to continuously look at initiatives to maintain the green within our Garden Route and to maintain the sustainability thereof”. After the formal programme, both Executive Mayors, Ald. Booysen and Alderman Van Wyk, along with the stakeholders present, planted a tree at the Garden Route Botanical Garden as a symbol of their commitment to mitigating climate change.
The event was organised by GRDM Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation Practitioner, Dr Nina Viljoen, in collaboration with participating departments. The programme was directed by Corne Brink from the Garden Route Botanical Garden.
Qolweni sod-turning is the start of improved living conditions
Today, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers conducted a sod-turning to officially launch the Qolweni 169 Phase 3A Project in the Plettenberg Bay community.
This project, which has a budget allocation of R 33,5 million excluding professional fees, was approved in October 2019. Construction of the 169 units had to commence in January 2021. Due to various challenges between the Bitou Municipality, the contractor appointed by them, and community dynamics, this could not occur.
After numerous community protests, the Bitou Municipality handed the project over to the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCDoHS) on 18 June 2021. Regrettably, the WCDoHS could not immediately commence with the project, as the contractor that was appointed by the municipality threatened the Provincial Department with legal action and an interdict, should the WCDoHS start with the project.
Minister Simmers said: “Today’s sod-turning is an exciting moment for the people of Qolweni. Now the most vulnerable, particularly the elderly and those living with medically certified disabilities, will have an opportunity to live in improved and safer conditions. This is only the start of our commitment we made to the community in June when this project was handed over to us. The entire Plettenberg Bay can undoubtedly celebrate this joyous occasion.
I call on all stakeholders to ensure that there are no further hindrances or delays in this project. As the provincial and local sphere of government we’re working together and trust that the community will fully participate in this development. This is particularly important in the protection and safeguarding of the site and all materials. Since taking the project over, we’ve had regular and transparent engagements with all stakeholders. We therefore call for dialogue, should any issue for any reason arise.”
This project is expected to be concluded towards the end of 2022.
“As the Western Cape Government we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, safe, resilient and sustainable human settlements in an open society,” added Simmers.
Media Release: GRDM continues its efforts to collaboratively address Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
For immediate release 23 April 2021
Media Release: GRDM continues its efforts to collaboratively address Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
Stakeholders from various government departments, municipalities in the Garden Route district and community representatives, gathered as a collective in Mossel Bay on 20 April 2021 to continue to strategise and discuss methods to prevent GBV in the Garden Route.
The Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide Prevention Summit was the second of its kind to be hosted by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Western Cape Department of Community Safety. The event’s primary purpose was to tackle the issues women and children are challenged with to claim and retain their rightful place in society. The aim of the event was thus for representatives to identify future actions to safeguard communities. These were done through four commissions. The entire room of attendees was split into four groups to discuss the following topics: Pro-Active and Preventative; Re-Active and Response; Rehabilitation and Re-integration and GBV in the context of Covid 19 lockdown.
The shortcomings in our communities identified by these groups were, among others, the lack of mentors and role models and moral values, access to services, to name a few. Some of the proposed actions identified include establishing victim support programmes, the empowerment of non-governmental organisations and non-profit organisations to drive awareness programmes relating to GBV. Furthermore, safe houses should be established in all local municipal areas of the Garden Route district. It was also proposed that government organisations such as the Department of Correctional Services should provide a 24/7 service to assist victims with domestic violence-related crimes.
During his welcoming address, GRDM Executive Mayor Ald. Memory Booysen said: “I tend to look at the big crimes when it comes to violence, the crimes SAPS are trying to resolve. But there are other issues; sometimes, men do not realise that they have abusive habits. For example, when a woman arrives at home after a day’s work and the partner/husband asks her to see what messages she had received during the day and from whom, or why are certain messages deleted from her cell phone – these are the type of abuse women are faced with”. Adding to this, he said: “Most of the times women are happy at work because being at work is a distraction from what is happening at home or what is waiting at home. When business close, they start to realise that they still need to go home to the monster waiting for them at home – these are the fears women have to deal with,” he said.
Major-General Oswald Reddy, Eden Cluster Commander, provided a message of support to the initiative and explained the structure in place to defeat the issue of GBV. He said:” SAPS has worked on the GBV programme on a national level which is an integrated Sexually Offences and Gender-Based Violence Action Plan”. According to Reddy, a forum is further launched on the Provincial level with all clusters in the Western Cape Province. On the cluster level operations, he said: “We have appointed chairpersons for all streams working on issues of GBV, which is going to filter down to each police station. And during our next Community Police Forum (CPF) meeting, we will discuss how we get the CPF on board to take ownership of the plan so that their six focus areas can be given serious attention”.
Advocate Leslie Morris, a passionate lawyer who educates vulnerable victims of domestic violence, as well as assisting and educating them when they experience difficulties relating to their cases, referred to the reality of how crimes are classified according to categories. He made an example of a woman killed in a luxury hotel or upper-class area and how it is categorised differently from a woman being killed in an informal settlement.
He highlighted that no one is above the law, “whether you stay in an upmarket area or an in an informal settlement. When addressing the men in the room, he said: “We will never get rid of gender-based violence as long as we want to be seen as the superior of women – we need to understand and remember that all of us have equal rights and we are all equal before the law”.
According to Siphiwe Dladla, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Executive Mayor and co-driver of the project, all inputs and proposed actions by the various commissions will be circulated to all participants with the main aim that it be implemented by the relevant stakeholders in the various municipal areas (constituencies) of the district.
As the attendees left the event, the GRDM Council is optimistic that participants will remember and convey the messages of advice and hope to their respective community representatives and implement the proposed resolutions, because as Justin Lottring, Deputy Director: Community Safety in the Western Cape at the event said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
In the video:
Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen, sharing his thoughts while welcoming all representatives from government departments, municipal officials in the district and non-governmental organisations who acknowledged and attended the importance of the event.
Request for Assistance: Urgent appeal for breast milk donations
For Immediate Release
31 March 2021
A little breast milk can go a long way in improving the overall health of an infant whose mother may be unable to produce enough milk or is in isolation. The George Hospital’s milk bank has run out of donor milk and calls on breastfeeding mothers for their kind donations.
According to George Hospital Operational Manager at Ward B3 and B3 Neonatal Unit, Sr Allida Portland there is a constant need for breast milk donations as there is a possibility that a mother may need to go into isolation and her baby will have to be dependent on donor milk.
What is needed to become a donor?
You can become a breast milk donor if you are a healthy breastfeeding mother who are able to express enough milk. You will have to fill out the necessary paperwork and be willing to undergo a rapid HIV blood test.
Who will benefit from donor milk?
Babies weighing less than 1,5kg at birth; babies of mothers with limited breast milk as well as premature twins and triplets of mothers who are unable to meet their infants’ nutritional requirements.
Why is breast milk preferred over formula milk?
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants as it improves their health; helps them to recover faster when ill; it ensures good growth and development; protects them against infections and prevents other health problems.
If you are interested in becoming a donor, please contact the hospital’s Neonatal Unit on 044 802 4577/ 4578.
Containers will be made available for mothers to express milk either at the hospital or in the comfort of their homes. Milk can be dropped off at the hospital or alternatively, contact the hospital’s Neonatal Unit for a driver to collect the milk.
Young mother, Tamlin Scheepers seen with her son Luciano, who is currently in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Luciano was born last month at 24 weeks old. He is one of the many babies who will benefit from donor milk as his mother struggles to produce enough milk.
Media Release: GRDM holds its 4th IDP, Budget and Performance Management System Representative Forum
3 December 2020
Last week on 24 November 2020, the fourth Garden Route District Integrated Development Planning, Budget and Performance Management Systems Representative Forum took place, since Council took office in 2015. The event took the form of a webinar as a result of the rapid increase in Covid-19 active cases in the region.
The purpose of this event was for all municipalities in the Garden Route District to provide an overview, scope, services delivered and challenges relating to planned capital projects and services to be rendered by the respective municipalities to their communities. The municipalities also provided status quo assessments and reflected on their 2019/2020 Annual Performance. They furthermore had to indicate what support they require to ensure that service delivery in their respective municipal areas can indeed take place.
The event was opened by Councillor Rowan Spies, Portfolio Chairperson for Roads and Transport Services at Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) who welcomed all participants to the webinar including: Mayors, Deputy Mayors from B-municipalities and Councillors, as well as Sector Department representatives. He also reminded participants that they remain part of this winning plan during these times.
Mr Monde Stratu, the GRDM Municipal Manager, during his address cautioned participants and the public to take extra care during this time as the Garden Route experience a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic. With reference to the event and its purpose, he emphasised the concept of public participation and said that the forum forms a structural link between municipalities and the public by informing the interest groups of relevant planning activities and outcomes. “It is also a platform for analysing integrated issues affecting various sectors to determine priorities, strategies, projects and programmes and to identify budgets,” Stratu said.
Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen, during his address, spoke about the district’s 2019/2020 plans and projects. He also gave an overview and shared the highlights of the 2019/2020 Annual Performance Report, as well as the current status of projects that are already underway. He referred to the vision of the municipality and said that the municipality uses its vision to directly take the lead and support and/or enable B-municipalities in terms of their needs in the form of partnerships. He concluded by saying that it also provides the projection for the municipality while ensuring that residents of the district have a high quality of life and that there are equal opportunities for all. He further stated that by achieving this, the municipality proves that it works hand-in-hand with B-municipalities of the district. The current focus is on the following programmes including: community safety programmes, food security, potential district food bank that are under currently discussions, as well as programme that focuses on the priority of the health of the residents. By ensuring inclusiveness in the roll-out of projects, he stated that the GRDM has good working relations with the Western Cape Government and National Government Departments.
Mayor Booysen also mentioned the influx of residents of the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape, hence the increase in the population of the Garden Route, according to the projections,” he said. With job losses being a big concern, when referring to the 15,6 % unemployment rate of the region’s citizens, he said that the youth are being the hardest hit by unemployment.
In further highlighting the achievements of the GRDM, which include the Garden Route being one of best film destinations, Alderman Booysen said: “The GRDM have contributed R200 000 to make sure that we deal with the basics of the film industry”. He further highlighted that the district has one of the biggest Roads Services Departments of the Western Cape; therefore construction plays a major role in terms of the vastness of the Garden Route district.
While sharing possible solutions for job losses and unemployment, he said: “To be able to create jobs, we need to deal with infrastructure projects that have the potential to create jobs and put food on the table. “District projects include the roofing of the municipality’s resort (Calitzdorp Spa Resort), the Regional Landfill Facility project, although discussions are still ongoing, etc” he said. Mayor Booysen further confirmed that more than R10 million have been spent on projects such as Law Enforcement; assistance with Early Childhood Development to help get children to get off the street; and Expanded Public Works Programmes, e.g. disinfecting of public areas in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Drivers Licence Programme was also mentioned; however he raised his concern relating to some learners who dropped out of the programme, even though the municipality carries all the costs relating to the programme. He therefore encouraged the youth that are enrolled to these programmes to make a success of the opportunities and put all their energy into it.
Programmes such as the Cater Care Programme to train the youth to fill up spaces in the Hospitality Industry, the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) Programme which the municipality invested R500 000 towards identifying and assisting struggling SMMEs in the area, were also highlighted. In conclusion he said, that communication with all stakeholders during the pandemic is open and the municipality encourages members of the public, businesses and stakeholders to use these platforms to communicate their experiences, “advise us, so that we can tap into other resources to ensure that the Garden Route is open for business”. Mayor Booysen further acknowledged that none of the projects can be implemented without the support of stakeholders. ”If we all do what is expected from us, then we will definitely change the livelihoods of the people of the Garden Route.
Mayor Booysen further referred to the Illegal Dumping Project which is currently rolled out in George with the rest to all the areas to follow. “With this, we are extending the hand of the local municipalities to change people’s lives.” Mayor Booysen further admitted that approximately R32 million would be needed to assist all towns, but the GRDM is starting on a small scale by reaching out to George. One of the most ground-breaking projects that are currently under discussions, according to Mayor Booysen, is a level-1 housing accreditation which the municipality applied for. He admits that there is a shortage of middle income housing “and with our available land we want local municipalities to work hand-in-hand with us to provide middle income housing to residence of the area”. Student accommodation is also under discussion,” he said. Learnerships, internships and apprenticeships are rolled out to which Alderman Booysen added that with these programmes the GRDM is training the youth of thr district to be ready for when opportunity knocks on our doors and so that we have the relevant skills in our area. “We can only achieve all of this, if we work together, share information, we assist each other, partner with Non-Governmental and Faith Based Organisations, as well as partners at provincial and national level to make sure that whatever we do, we put the lives of our people first,”. Mayor Booysen concluded.
Most presentations made by local municipalities, revolved around concerns relating to businesses that closed down in their respective municipal areas and as a result thereof, many people were retrenched or lost their jobs or earn reduced wages. Municipal revenue collection was also negatively impacted by the national lockdown and drought still poses a threat to water security in the Klein Karoo and Kannaland municipal areas, to name a few.
Hospitals or 24/7 health facilities, high schools and primary schools, old age homes and rehabilitation centres, were amongst the critical support needed by municipalities as presented by municipal officials. Assistance with land for agriculture purposes and assistance to small farmers, as well as vegetable gardens were also made mentioned of. With the ongoing crime in the district, some municipalities also indicated their need for satellite police stations to increase police visibility and improved services. With the new normal as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the less fortunate are still the most vulnerable because it demands fibre connectivity and mostly the vulnerable can’t afford data and are unable to work from home.
Municipalities now rely on and anticipate that large infrastructure projects will turn the district economy around. Various projects have already commenced with others in the pipeline and in progress. More information regarding these identified projects can be viewed on the GRDM website.
Support by Sector Departments has also been presented by representatives at the Forum. These departments include: the Western Cape Government Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Government Department of Community Safety, Western Cape Government Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Western Cape Government Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning, Western Cape Government Department of Health and the Western Cape Government Department of Human Settlements. National Departments Water and Sanitation and ESKOM also presented their projects and plans for the Garden Route. Detailed information about these projects is also available on the municipality’s website.
The event was successfully directed by the Executive Manager for Planning and Economic Development, Mr Lusanda Menze, and organised by the IDP and Public Participation team of GRDM.
2021/2022 IDP/Budget and PMS Process Plan including Time Schedule
Notice is hereby given that the 2021/2022 Integrated Development Plan IDP/Budget/ Performance Management System (PMS) Process Plan including the Time Schedule to review the 2017/2018-2021/2022 IDP and Budget has been adopted in terms of Section 28 of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) and Section 21 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (Act 56 of 2003) by the Garden Route District Municipal Council, at a Council meeting held on 25 August 2020.
Media Advisory: Minister Madikizela to visit Garden Route district (07 August to 11 August)
For Immediate Release 7 August 2020
This weekend, the Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Minister Bongikosi Madikizela, will be visiting the Garden Route district to assess compliance to Covid-19 regulations at various sites in the area.
The programme will commence in Bitou on Friday (this afternoon) at 16h00, with Knysna that will follow from 8h00 to 12h30 on Saturday. The George area will be next on the programme starting on Sunday from 9h00 to Monday 12h30. MEC Madizikela will conclude with his visits on Tuesday from 9h00 to 11h30 when he visits Mossel Bay.
Madikizela will focus on compliance adherence regionally, in particularly long distance transport and taxi ranks, including road blocks. Taxi ranks need to adhere to 70% loading capacity.
As part of this initiative, Minister Madikizela also plans to meet with transport stakeholders and officially open a government vehicle pool facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in George.
Councillors and management from Garden Route District Municipality, together with representatives from labour unions and various government stakeholders, on 7 and 11 May 2020, convened through a virtual platform, a Strategic Planning Session, to review all operations of the municipality since July to March 2020 and also to discuss the strategic direction that the municipality aims to undertake over the short- and long term.
This annual engagement, as described by the facilitator, Dr Florus Prinsloo, allowed all participants to share their inputs with regards to the damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the economy of the district and also the district’s readiness and the interventions of the municipality to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
When describing the objective of the session, Executive Mayor of GRDM, Councillor Memory Booysen, emphasised the importance of all stakeholders, especially representatives from the various political parties, around one table to discuss strategic issues of the municipality.
With reference to the COVID-19 pandemic that also affects the rest of the work, including Garden Route,, Executive Mayor Booysen said: “Nobody foresaw that by this time, we would all be affected by this pandemic”. He said: “We all have had to change our lifestyles; we now have to change our management styles as well as our political approach to provide direction to the management in our collective fight of this pandemic. We must use this time as an opportunity to prepare ourselves for change. All the initiatives we are busy with are all enforced by COVID-19. Some would not be sustainable and affordable, but we know that some initiatives have to be adjusted. We now have to realign how we use to do business and how we are going to adapt to the new norm,” Mayor Booysen added.
Municipal Manager of GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu, acknowledged that the pandemic has revealed the levels of poverty in South Africa, e.g. hunger, inhumane settlements etc., but also at the same time how the pandemic brought to the fore that government indeed works. He said: “As we plan for the new financial year, it will not be the same going forward. We have to re-look and review our strategies”.
Mr Stratu also provided feedback about the compliance of all committees from July to date and reported that all Council meetings that were scheduled to take place have been executed, all reports that were prepared to serve at oversight committees were processed and the annual report was approved in time. He furthermore provided an update on the application for GRDM to be registered as a Water Service Authority as well as an update regarding the catalytic projects such as the fresh produce market ,Renewable Energy Projects, Development Agency etc. which are still in its planning phases.
In respect of intergovernmental relations and public participation all forums took place including IDP forums. Mr Stratu furthermore reported that the Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan and all planning processes to review the IDP and Budget have been undertaken and that all required financial reports have been submitted to the relevant structures. He therefore extended a word of appreciation to the political leadership for their role to ensure that the municipality complied with these legislative requirements. Mr Stratu also remembered and acknowledged the late Cllr Nomhiki Jacobs who participated in all these initiatives to ensure that Council adhered to all legislative requirements, however she sadly passed away on 18 March 2020.
In going forward, Mr Stratu highlighted the municipality is in a financially stable position, however, he said: “We now have to make serious changes in terms of the long term sustainability of the municipality”. He also acknowledged that the Cost Containment Regulations contributed to various strategies that had to be reviewed as many tourism and other projects came to a halt due to the lockdown. He concluded with the following words: “As a Council we do have the political will and we are confident to do everything possible to reignite the economy of the Garden Route in order to take our rightful place as a district municipality and lead as our vision reads”.
Dr Michael Sutcliffe, former City Manager of eThekwini Municipality made a presentation on the Municipal functions as outlined in section 84 of the Structures Act. He shared some findings on the research he has done on this functions and the recommendations that will be made with regards to possible review of Section 84 and 85 of the Structures Act. He acknowledged that the Garden Route District Municipality is capable of performing the functions of the district as outlined in Section 84. Dr Sutcliffe made an example that a district fresh model idea would address the needs of both the most impoverished communities to the richest of the rich.
Mr Walton Carelse from the Western Cape Government presented the Joint District Approach that started in July 2018. The model was developed in conjunction with Local Municipalities and was introduced at the Garden Route Municipal Managers Forum on 4 December 2018. The model included the identification and assessment of Municipal priorities throughout the district and developing a consolidated approach in achieving those priorities. Through these platforms the following themes were created to group the challenges of the municipalities, namely: climate change and water security, local economic development, immigration and urbanisation, infrastructure management, institutional governance, data management, intergovernmental planning alignment, partnering, partnerships and shared services, financial sustainability, citizen interface, political, administrative and social instability and waste management. Each district municipality had to identify their two/three top priorities from the five top priorities identified across the Western Cape namely: community participation, infrastructure management, urbanisation, climate change and water security, as well as waste management. All these were identified prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now the municipality may have to review the priorities, in light of Covid-19 pandemic. Currently the District has identified the following priorities from the broad themes:
Growing the Regional Economy
Developing Resilience as a Region
Integrated Management for Good Governance
Liveable Cities/Towns Social Cohesion
Sustainable Human Settlements
When presenting the COVID-19 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) support programme, Mr Rashid Teofy, Head of the Western Cape Government COVID-19 Economic Cluster, together with members of the Cluster, explained the role of the Cluster since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. These include the access to incentives, the collating of information on all support measures to ensure that these are available to SMMEs etc. Furthermore, together with Provincial Treasury, a database has also been developed to deal with personal protective equipment, which municipalities and government departments can access for procurement of personal protective equipment such as cloth masks. Together with this, WESGRO created a platform for the private sector where suppliers and buyers can interact with one another regarding Covid 19 PPE. The unit also engages with businesses and banks on a bi-weekly basis to discuss the challenges of SMMEs. Another initiative that is also in its planning phase is to transform spaza shops into mini supermarkets which will allow a more sophisticated shopping experience for the community.
The concept of a digital economy was furthermore presented, whereby various components and services have been brought into one platform that can be accessed by SMMEs as a guideline or a digital support tool. The platform, known as Jump for Entrepreneurs, furthermore seeks to assist small businesses to become more competitive and have access to more markets. This tool can be accessed via www.bizjump.co.za. The platform is updated on a regular basis and businesses are therefore encouraged to upload their profiles to interact with other businesses and remain competitive in this digital age.
The second day’s activities were in the form of presentations presented by the different Head of departments within the municipality. Executive Managers used the opportunity to reflect on the past financial year’s achievements as well as the challenges experienced. Councillors were enlightened with departments’ objective and strategies for the next financial year. The impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on service delivery was also discussed. These presentations outlined various exciting projects that the Municipality will be engaged in to ensure self-sustainability and improve the regional economy.