Category: <span>Local Economic Development</span>

Media Release: Garden Route Coastal Resorts Perform Exceptionally Well Over the Festive Season

Media Release: Garden Route Coastal Resorts Perform Exceptionally Well Over the Festive Season

For Immediate Release
12 January 2022

The 2020 festive season was very bleak for most of South Africa and other countries. Tight lockdown restrictions, which included the beaches being closed, as well as longer curfews and a ban on the sale of alcohol, placed a damper on everyone’s holiday spirit. In 2020, people had no choice but to cancel their holiday plans. However, the recent festive season was a stark contrast compared to a year ago because restrictions were almost completely lifted. Holiday-goers flocked in their thousands to the Garden Route.

Like many other resorts, Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) coastal resorts benefited from this. Victoria Bay and Swartvlei Caravan Parks reported a bumper holiday season, which started with a visit from the Berg-en Toerklub (BTK) from Stellenbosch University in early December. The group started their journey at Swartvlei Caravan Park, stayed there for one night and then hiked to Victoria Bay Caravan Park along the coast. There they enjoyed another braai, swimming and a well-deserved night’s rest.

As for the rest of the season, Marelize Claassen, Resort Manager, reported that Victoria Bay was at full capacity since early December. According to her, bookings are now decreasing slowly.

Swartvlei bookings increased from 12 December and reached capacity between 18 December 2021 and 2 January 2022. Holidaymakers are now heading home to tackle the new year.

It was a very busy season, and it was as if people waited two years to have this holiday – Marelize Claassen

On behalf of GRDM and its coastal resorts, the Municipality would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support and looks forward to seeing return visitors throughout the year.

Visit and to book your spot. Remember to like our social media pages on Facebook by searching for our resorts on the platform.

25 November 2021 Media Release: Quarterly Skills Mecca Forum draws experts from LGSETA

Quarterly Skills Mecca Forum draws experts from LGSETA

Media Release 
25 November 2021

On Friday, 19 October 2021, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) hosted a virtual Skills Mecca forum attended by the general public, public and private sectors. The forum served as a platform to discuss matters relating to skills development in the Garden Route.

The meeting was chaired by Aneeka Jacobs, Provincial Manager of the Western Cape Local Government Seta (LGSETA). During her opening address, Jacobs emphasised that LGSETA wants to work with all stakeholders, partners, local and district municipalities, as well as training colleges to “bring business and people closer to the table”. She further stressed the importance of synergy between all involved to ensure that the process is collaborative.

Ineeleng Molete (Chief Executive Officer of LGSETA) explained the implications for Garden Route stakeholders on the support from LGSETA and how it aligns with the District Development Model (DDM).

During his presentation, Molete discussed the following:

District Development Model (DDM)

The DDM was launched in 2019 and is an integrated strategic framework that allows the three different spheres of government (national, provincial, and local) to function in unison. The framework promotes:

  • synergy;
  • cooperation;
  • coordination;
  • collaboration; and
  • integration of service delivery areas.

According to Molete, the DDM forms a basis for a single joint plan that will address skills gaps at district and metropolitan levels, which – in turn – will help alleviate and eventually eradicate poverty, inequality and unemployment. Furthermore, the model will look at the needs of local communities, including youth development, whilst improving the management and support for integrated planning, addressing gap areas or blockages.

“The Skills Mecca places Local Economic Development (LED) as a central component for Skills development Job Creation.”

Investing in skills development will help:

  • Enhance good governance, leadership and management capabilities;
  • Promote sound financial management and financial viability;
  • Enhance infrastructure and service delivery; and
  • Promote spatial transformation and inclusivity.

Garden Route Skills Mecca

Dr Florus Prinsloo (GRSM Coordinator) and Reginald Salmons (GRDM Skills Development Coordinator) presented the latest news of the GRSM.

Prinsloo announced that the construction of the GRSM website is almost complete, and it should go live early January 2022. The website aims to centralise information, facilitate communication and serve as a portal for employers, service providers and trainee candidates to interact using databases. Further announcements and dates will be communicated on social media in due course.

GRDM is hoping to get approval from the LGSETA in the next funding window to employ 17 graduates on a candidacy programme to work as Garden Route Skills Mecca Technicians.

Reginald Salmons explained that these technicians would hopefully be employed on a three-year term contract, during which they will be developed against the competencies for professional designations as determined by the professional body in South Africa, namely the Association of Skills Development of South Africa. Once their contracts end, each technician will be able to apply for formal designations that will enhance their employability.

During his closing remarks, Prinsloo said: “We hope to see employers approach us, asking for help to complete SETA applications, as they pay levies to SETAs every month.”

The final presentation was presented by Melanie Wilson (GRDM Manager: Economic Development and Tourism) and Mr Paul Hoffman (Project Manager at GRDP). They discussed the following during their presentation.

The GRDM Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) provides a framework strategy for the Garden Route for the next 20 years. The strategy is long term risk-based and takes the impact of COVID-19 into account through a GRDM Economic Recovery Plan. A Garden Route Development Partnership was established between the government and private sector to implement both plans.

GDS focus areas were identified and aligned to DDM. They are:

  • A water-secure future;
  • A circular economy;
  • Resilient agriculture;
  • Sustainable tourism;
  • Supporting well-being and resilience;
  • A connected economy: transport and rural-urban integration and ICT; and
  • Sustainable local energy transition.

Hoffman added that the private sector would be more involved, as this cannot be done without them.

The next forum meeting, taking place on 25 February 2022, will be communicated via the Garden Route District Municipality’s social media pages, stakeholders like the business chambers, local economic development officers from local municipalities and others.

To view slides that were presented at the forum, click on the links below:

Captions:Feature Image: Stakeholders who attended the forum (from left to right);Lerato Tshefu, Trix Holtzhausen, Bertus Hayward  Ineeleng Molete, Stephen De Vries, Aneeka Jacobs, Florus Prinsloo, Reginald Salmons



28 October 2021 Media Release: Another 22 students to reap fruits from Garden Route DM Cater Care Programme

Media Release: Another 22 students to reap fruits from Garden Route DM Cater Care Programme

For Immediate Release
28 October 2021

A successful partnership of approximately ten (10) years between the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and the Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) continues as GRDM recently appointed them for three (3) more years until 2023. Youth continue to be equipped with vital skills in the hospitality industry after Council availed R450 000.00 for this programme for the next 12 months.

With plenty of opportunities offered by the hospitality and tourism industry, previously disadvantaged youth are the core focus of the programme.

The FFA received 300 applications, of which 63 were shortlisted for interviews. After that, 22 youth were selected to be part of the programme.  The interview panel consisted of officials and lecturers from the FFA and GRDM Tourism and EPWP representatives.

Three (3) weeks into the programme and students already completed their theoretical training. They started practical cooking classes on 25 October, which will end on 17 November 2021. Students will apply this knowledge in the kitchen. Towards the end of November 2021, students will be given the opportunity to enter the industry to get on-job training and experience. The training programme will end in December 2021, and the certificate handover ceremony will take place during mid-January 2022.

Today, during a ‘meet-and-greet’ by the GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Alderlady Rosina Ruiters and Cllr Erica Meyer, Alderlady Ruiters encouraged students to seize every opportunity they are given in life and to grab it with both hands.  She wished them well with the training programme and all their future endeavors.

6 September 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM commits an additional R 2.5 million towards export hub

Media Release: Garden Route DM commits an additional R 2.5 million towards export hub

For Immediate Release
6 September 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) reaffirmed its commitment recently for developing the Klein Karoo economy when Council approved R2 520 000.00 towards laying a pipeline from borehole fields near Calitzdorp. This project also forms part of the Joint District Metro Approach (JDMA), which was endorsed on the same day, with this funding approval in August 2021.

Alderman Memory Booysen showing “thumbs-up” to the project during his visit to one of the sites where borehole activities were underway in March 2021.

According to Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for GRDM, “the project will see an Agri Village established in the future, with 600 homes for community members – they’ll have the rights to their own titles too”. “It is projected that 1 800 permanent jobs and 2 000 seasonal jobs will be created through this initiative. Furthermore, this initiative will promote Agri-Tourism, as there are planned events and programmes linked to this activity to bring people into the Karoo” said Booysen.

GRDM initially funded R600 000 to carry out a water study in the area, which turned out to be successful. From this, the Municipality received two desalination plants for reverse osmosis, capable of cleaning 60 000ℓ of water per hour. After laying pipelines, the project will be ready to increase its ‘slice of the cake’ in the export market. Offtake agreements are already in place with SAPEX EXPORTS.

Primary exports will be pomegranates, and even though this type of export business from Southern Africa is a minuscule industry, there is scope for this market to grow exponentially. Currently, only 1% of world pomegranate production is exported from South Africa because exports only started a few years ago. At the moment, the total plantings in Southern Africa are less than 1000ha. “At least 10% of this hectarage will be reserved for previously disadvantaged groups (BEE) farmers,” Ald. Booysen said.

This creates an ample opportunity for exports from the Southern Hemisphere to markets in the Northern Hemisphere in their off-season, and to the Far East because there is no production there.

Feature image: Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality with his Mayoral Committee members and municipal employees at Celebratio, a company that successfully grows and exports pomegranates.


30 August 2021 SMME Support and Development Programme – Call for Business Proposals

SMME Support and Development Programme
Call for Business Proposals

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is embarking on a Small-, Medium- and Micro Enterprise (SMME) Programme to help dynamic and committed entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. A broad scope of non-financial assistance will be provided, including compulsory business development interventions and training.

Only serious applicants with a workable business concept or business profile should apply.


Applicants MUST complete an application form (obtained from either the District Economic Development Office, 54 York Street, George, 6530 or email with the following IMPORTANT supporting documents attached:

  • Company Profile/ Business Proposal or Business Plan;
  • Six (6) months Profit and Loss Summary or (recent Financial statements, if available);
  • Business registration document.


  • Must be a registered business operating for ±2 years;
  • Must have a viable business idea/proposal with clear directions/deliverables;
  • Must be available to present to a selected panel and attend the compulsory business development interventions and training identified by the panel;
  • SARS registered;
  • 100% South African owned;
  • Formally registered for ±2 years or incorporated, e.g. with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC); and must be in operation for the mentioned period;
  • Operating and residing within the Garden Route;
  • It is classified as a micro or small enterprise in terms of the National Small Enterprises Act.

All applications must be in an envelope, stated “2021/2022 SMME Support and Development Programme – Garden Route District Municipality” and be dropped off at 54 York Street, George, 6530 or at any Garden Route DM Offices for attention Mr Johannes Jafta or emailed to Enterprises that benefitted from the previous programme (2019/2020 and 2020/2021) will not be considered. NO LATE APPLICATIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED. Please provide us with a detailed outline of your business proposal, together with all required proof. If you don’t adhere to the set criteria, your application will be unsuccessful. Only shortlisted enterprises will be contacted to present their business concept to the adjudication panel virtually or in person. Only the top business concepts concerning the set criteria will be selected.

Closing date: Friday, 10 September 2021 by 13h00.

All enquiries can be directed to the Garden Route District Municipality Economic Development Office at

30 August 2021 Notification: Cater Care (Food Handler) Training Programme

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), through its 3-month Cater Care (Food Handler) Training Programme, aims to train previously disadvantaged individuals and unemployed youth in the hospitality sector. This programme serves as a stepping stone to Garden Routers who are interested in developing culinary skills and strengthening the local hospitality industry. Each student will be given an opportunity to gain a theoretical understanding of food handling and be allowed to gain practical experience at a business too.

This year the course takes place from September 2021 till December 2021.


Must be a SA Citizen; Aged 18-30; Unemployed; School Qualification Grade 10 to Grade 12; Must have a bank account; Must have a Tax number; Eager to shape a career in the hospitality industry; Reside in the Garden Route DM area.


Prospective learners must apply in person at the Francois Ferreira Academy by completing an application form.

All applicants must bring their CV, certified ID Copy, and school results. Certification of documents must not be older than 3 months. Letter from the bank confirming their account. Must have a contact cell phone number plus an alternative number.

Address: Francois Ferreira Academy, Mount View Resort, 1 York Street, George. Office hours: 08:00 – 16:30 (Mon-Thu); 08:00-15:00 (Fri). Contact Ms Veronica Mekile if you have any questions or e-mail or call 044 884 0765.


*All successful candidates are responsible for their own accommodation arrangements and transport and only serious and committed applicants will be considered for this opportunity.

12 June 2021 Media Release: The world is your oyster, and nothing can keep you back!

Media release: The world is your oyster, and nothing can keep you back!

For Immediate Release
17 June 2021

”You determine your future, and you have now been equipped with the necessary skills in the culinary arts. So, decide to choose prosperity to enrich your lives and build on the stepping stones provided to you through this programme.”  With these words, Alderlady Georlene Wolmarans, a Councillor at Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), encouraged students during their Cater Care graduation ceremony.

On Friday, 10 June 2021, 20 students who attended the Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) Cater Care programme received recognition for triumphantly completing a three (3) month-long training programme. This year’s Cater Care programme officially kicked off on 01 March 2021.

With many opportunities offered by the hospitality and tourism industry in the region, the GRDM, in collaboration with the Francois Ferreira Academy, identified a skills development programme to help youth step into the job market.  This programme aims to train previously disadvantaged youth in the hospitality field. The district’s hospitality sector needs are incrementally addressed through this initiative, with more youth becoming upskilled to expedite economic growth in the area.

During the graduation ceremony, Chef Francois Ferreira, founder and Principal of the Academy, refers to the current intake of students as the most energetic group they trained to date.  He said: “This is the first group in the Cater Care Food handler programme whom we’ve received calls from all the Executive Chefs from the various restaurants; commending them on their attitudes and good work ethic”.  He further elaborated that most Executive Chefs indicated that they would like to employ these students down the line. “You made us proud,” Chef Ferreira concluded.

The GRDM Tourism Unit is responsible for coordinating funding alongside the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Unit, which arranges learners’ stipends. The Francois Ferreira Academy is the appointed service provider who provides the training for these students and also ensures that students are placed in hospitality establishments to gain practical work experience whilst attending the course.

Alderlady Wolmarans concluded her speech by encouraging students with a quote from the late President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. “To the youth of today, I also have a wish to make – be the scriptwriters of your destiny and feature yourselves as stars that showed the way towards a brighter future.”

3 May 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM: Nineteen (19) youth being up-skilled for Food Handling

Media Release: Garden Route DM: Nineteen (19) youth being up-skilled for Food Handling

For Immediate Release
3 May 2021

Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor, and Ald. Rosina Ruiters, Deputy Executive Mayor for GRDM, recently visited nineteen (19) Cater Care students at the Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) in George. Between the ages of 18 and 35, these students are currently busy studying a 3-month Food Handler Qualification (level 2). GRDM’s goal with this Programme is to address the high unemployment rate of South Africa and the Garden Route.

Ald. Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor (wearing a chain) and Ald. Rosina Ruiters, Deputy Executive Mayor (left of Ald. Booysen) with Cllr Rowan Spies (member of the Education, Training and Development Committee) with students and representatives from the Francois Ferreira Academy.

Alderman Memory Booysen also has a history of working in the hospitality industry and said: “The hospitality industry remains one of the key drivers of the Garden Route economy, and we will continue to fund these types of training initiatives to complement the industry”.

He further added: “The proof is in the pudding – we have supported the up-skilling of 82 youth since starting at this Council in 2016.”

“More than R1 million has been spent since 2016 on the Cater Care Programme,” Booysen said.

The Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO) accredited SAQA Course (110644) consists of the following subjects:

  1. Introduction to Professional Cookery
  2. Personal Safety
  3. Workplace Safety
  4. Food Safety
  5. Numeracy and Units of Measurement
  6. Preparation Methods
  7. Production Methods

In addition to the seven (7) modules, each student will be allowed the opportunity to gain in-service training at a restaurant or hotel for ten (10) days. After that, students will officially graduate by the end of May 2021.

Feature Image Caption: Ald. Memory Booysen is shown how to safely handle a knife when cutting vegetables. With him is Mr Lwandile Green (left), Ms Siyamthanda Mahe (2nd from right) and Chef Jean-Marie Basson from Francois Ferreira Academy.

Editor’s note:

  • The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is a Quality Council established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act (Act 97 of 1998) as amended in 2008.
  • The Department f Higher Education and Training (DHET) oversees this part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
  • The QCTO is one of three Quality Councils (QCs) responsible for a part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). 


19 April 2021 Weather Alert: Weather forecast

Weather Alert: Weather forecast 19 April 2021

Rain: There is 60% chance of light rain along the south-coast from today morning, spreading to the adjacent interior and the Central Karoo District from this afternoon. The rainfall is expected to be cleared by the mid-morning tomorrow along the western parts of the south coast, but remaining everywhere else until in the afternoon. Light rain is also expected on Wednesday morning along with the eastern parts of the south-coast, spreading throughout the south-coast by the evening until the early hours of Thursday morning. No significant weather expected from Thursday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. A weak cold front approaching the Western Cape Province is expected to make landfall on Saturday evening, resulting in light rain over the south-western parts of the province, spreading to the south-coast by Sunday morning while clearing from the west, remaining only along with the extreme eastern parts of the south-coast by the evening.

Winds: are expected to be strong easterly to south-easterly over the Cape Metropole and along with the south-western coastal areas today until tomorrow in the afternoon. A Yellow level 1 warning for WINDS has been issued with possible impacts such as possible runaway fires over these areas and other possible impacts. Otherwise, light to moderate southerly to south-easterly winds are expected throughout the province for the most part of the week.

Temperatures: are expected to be cool to warm along the coastal areas, but warm to hot over the interior.

Coastal winds:  Winds are expected to be moderate to strong easterly to south-easterly for the most part of the week, moderating along the West-Coast by tomorrow afternoon where it becomes south-westerly, spreading to the south-coast by Friday afternoon.

Sea state: Mostly 2.0 to 3.0m wave heights, reaching 4.0 to 5.0m along the south-western coastline from Sunday afternoon, mostly south-westerly swells but easterly along the south-coast.

Most recent spring tide date: 12 April 2021

Issued by the South African Weather Service.

Report any severe weather-related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at telephone number 044 805 5071.

30 March 2021 Media Release: 2021–2040 Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy approved by Council

Media Release: 2021–2040 Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy approved by Council

For Immediate Release
30 March 2021

The Garden Route, similar to other parts of South Africa, continues to illustrate stark contrasts of spatial and economic circumstances. In fact, the haves and the have nots are still living worlds apart, although in many instances, spatially less than a kilometre away from one another. It is for this reason that the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) spearheaded the process of changing, not only the trajectory of the Garden Route economy, but also to build prosperity with equity. At the centre of this vision is a finalised and approved long-term strategy known as the Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy (GDS). This key document has been successfully developed in collaboration with the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP) and was finalised today when the GRDM Council approved it.

According to Executive Manager for Planning and Economic Development at GRDM, Lusanda Menze, “COVID-19 delayed many of the consultative engagements, but this was expected in the formulation of the strategy because such a strategic document has to be consistent with internal resources and external environments”.

“The first stakeholder workshops took place on 29 and 30 October 2019, while the draft Garden Route GDS was presented to all Garden Route Local Government Mayors and Municipal Managers on 11 February 2021,” he said.

Executive Mayor, Ald. Booysen elaborated, the Garden Route GDS encompasses a few objectives, including: “A shared 20-year vision for the regional economy stretching until 2040; how to do things differently; developing a common economic agenda to improve the economic development and system relating to it.”

“What makes this strategy different is that it is intended to be a ‘living strategy’ and a ‘risk-driven strategy’”. Ald. Booysen explained: “By the descriptions we mean that the implementation, monitoring and evaluation forms part of our collective ongoing learning and ability to adapt, while at the same time the Garden Route GDS requires a collective approach in order to efficiently navigate through challenges and changes.”

The strategy is shaped by the profile and regional priorities of the district, which are divided into themes such as; water secure future, circular economy, resilient agriculture, sustainable tourism, support for well-being and resilience, sustainable local energy transition and a connected economy.  The document is further grounded in several core-principles such as being people-centred; valuing cultures; preserving ecological heritage; approaching change collaboratively; recognising uncertainties of innovation and responsiveness; being conscious of sustainable and resilient factors directly impacting the region; good governance; being mindful of constraints; and open to a changing yet interconnected and interdependent region.

The GDS for the Garden Route articulates the region’s development path. This Garden Route GDS would not have been possible without broad consultation, which greatly assisted the GRDM to build a collective and shared strategy for the Region/District. It is an aspirational strategy, which would need to align to the GRDM five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) going forward. This means that the Garden Route GDS frames the IDP and ventures the GRDM’s long-term ambitions, strategies and overarching decisions that will bring to effect that change the region wants to see by 2040.

Access the Garden Route District Growth and Development Strategy here.
Access the Garden Route Investment Prospectus here.