Category: <span>Local Government News</span>

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 22 June 2021

Executive Mayor’s Speech – GRDM Council Meeting on 22 June 2021

Thank you, Speaker, and thank you to all Councillors, colleagues and those listening to me via our Zoom platform.

May I please propose that we first start with the issuing of the long service award and afterwards continue with the business of the day? Today, we are very fortunate to hand over this award. I don’t know how our staff manages to do this. However, today, our colleague, Mr Nicolas Oosthuizen, has finished 40 years of service at this municipality. This is indeed a lifetime, and I think I might have still been in my diapers when Mr Oosthuizen started working here.

Mr Speaker, this handover is making us proud because there’s a belief that the longer staff remains within an institution, it is a sign that they are enjoying what they’re doing. It also indicates that Management is good. Of course, we know that the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is not the perfect institution, but this is indeed an institution of knowledge with staff like Mr Oosthuizen.

Mr Speaker and colleagues, today is also another milestone for Council, as this is our last meeting for the financial year, and we’ve reached this point under very prying and challenging circumstances.  However, today, I can proudly announce that this municipality is in a good financial state, and administratively and politically in good hands in terms of cooperation and how we do things jointly, regardless of our different political parties – we have worked as a unit.

As you all know that every year during the month of June, we commemorate the devastating Knysna/Plettenberg Bay fires and all other fires that follow that.  We do not want to go back in terms of all the bad memories, the lives we’ve lost, property damaged, and everything that went with that historic fire, but we do have to reflect and had the commemoration event a couple of weeks ago.

Currently, our firefighters are out there, fighting wildfires, which could be similar or even worse than these fires. However, we want to acknowledge all efforts by the different municipalities and firefighters dealing with these matters.

We also want to recognise the communities for playing a crucial part in donating whatever assistance to the firefighters.  There has been an announcement on Eden FM this morning regarding drop-off points for donations such as energy bars, drinks, etc. A special word of gratitude to the community members with the necessary fire training, who volunteer and thus assisting our firefighters in fighting fires. We want to call for people to be vigilant and careful with anything that can course a fire.

When speaking about lives that changed forever, we as the Garden Route District Municipality have recently joined efforts to contribute to the Walk-A-Child to School campaign in partnership with Eden FM, Vodacom and the George Museum, a project of donating school shoes to vulnerable kids in our region.  We have almost reached the due date, and I would like to urge and remind those who have forgotten about this or who have budged to buy some shoes to please do so before the end of this month.   As we lead by example, I want to thank the Garden Route District Municipality’s professional staff who has already donated shoes to this cause.   We are all looking forward to seeing more donations come in as salaries are paid at the end of this week. May God bless those who because the Word of God says that “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and that is exactly what I want to speak over the lives of those who are part of this project.

A few months ago, I announced in Council that we are busy upgrading our resorts, particularly the Calitzdorp Spa.  We are now in the final part of phase one, whereby the roofs of the bigger buildings at our Resort are being replaced. I am as excited as I see some pictures of the turnaround and the new facelift of the Resort.  Today, I want to give a particular word of thanks to the Municipal Manager and his officials who are playing a special role in these upgrades. I am impressed with what I’m seeing, and I plan to visit the Resort tomorrow to feel it.  What I see is indeed a remarkable turnaround. Hopefully, it will go with a higher occupancy in the future. These kinds of things attract people. The more beautiful and comfortable a resort is, the more people it will attract.

As I keep on referring back to what we said in the past, this is an indication that we do not just talk, but we walk the talk as the Garden Route District Municipality. A couple of months ago, I announced that 19 students were enrolled as part of the Cater Care Hospitality project. It has come to my attention that on 10 June 2021, Alderlady Wolmarans and GRDM Officials witnessed these students graduation. I was also informed that the hospitality industry, hotel schools, and restaurants have already shown an interest in many students. Once again, Speaker, this is a small part of the puzzle of us wanting to become a Skills Mecca.  We are building all these skills required to make this happen, so Skills Mecca is definitely on its way. Yes, it will take some time, but we see the signs of starting small steps that will finish this marathon.  I want to congratulate all the students.

We are in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic to the people of the Garden Route District.  We must guide ourselves against covid-19 fatigue and still need to adhere to all the protocols at hand by being constantly careful to curb the spread of the virus.  I am proud to say that again, as a District Municipality, we are leading by example by still using our zoom platforms for meetings and keeping our social distances in the Council Chambers.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, people might not understand this, but it is incumbent upon us as leaders, whether political or religious, being in an election year to encourage people, especially our youth, to go and register. Our youth is not registered, and this is a plea to the youth to go and register, so that you can go and raise your voice, represent your interest and become part of tomorrow’s decisions.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

News Release: GRDM Roads employee receives 40-year long-service award

News Release: GRDM Roads employee receives 40-year long-service award

For immediate release
22 June 2021

This morning at the Council Meeting of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Nicolas Oosthuizen (better known as Nico) was awarded a long-service certificate for his work rendered to date, to the GRDM. Nico has been employed at the GRDM Roads Services Department for a forty (40) year period.

Oosthuizen joined the GRDM Roads team (Divisional Council at the time) in January 1981 and was initially appointed as General Worker. Today, Oosthuizen is a qualified Diesel Mechanic who specialises in earth moving and construction.  He started his training at the Western Cape Provincial Government in 2000 and obtained his qualification as a Diesel Mechanic in May 2003.

During an interview with Oosthuizen, he recalls that when he was appointed at the municipality, he was “very young and inexperienced during that time”. However, soon plenty of responsibilities started to rest on his shoulders. Due to his passion for his job, he has been able to persevere and push through, overcoming every obstacle in his way to achieve success. He said: “This is not a ‘clean job’, however, the best feeling I get while working for GRDM is when I am able to repair a vehicle and see it driving on the road again”. He further said:  “I am thankful to the Garden Route District Municipality for my years of tenure and that I can live my passion and contribute strongly to the services that the municipality renders to the Garden Route”.

Gerald Sinkfontein, Deputy Manager of Mechanical Services at GRDM, describes Oosthuizen as an exceptional individual and as a person with good interpersonal skills. His characteristics, respect and helpfulness towards others in the workplace, makes it a pleasure to work with him.

Dirk Krohn, Superintendent: Workshop for the George and Riversdale depots and supervisor of Oosthuizen,  remembers that when he started at GRDM Roads in 1999, Nico was already employed at the municipality.  “The two of us have good working relations. Reason being, he is a willing employee since he is optimistic about his work. For that, I’ve developed the greatest respect for him,” he said.  Lastly, Krohn noted that it is an honour to have Oosthuizen as part of their team as he is one of the longest-serving employees at the Roads Department, “and this is the reason why his colleagues have the highest respect for him!”

Congratulations Nico Oosthuizen!

We thank you for your loyal services to the Roads Department of GRDM.

Feature Photo: GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen (right), hands over the 40-year long service certificate to Nico Oosthuizen (2nd, right), in the presence of the GRDM Executive Manager for  Roads and Transport Planning, John Daniels (2nd, left) and Portfolio Chairperson for Roads and Transport Planning, Cllr Rowan Spies (left).

ENDS

Garden Route COVID Update

Media Release: Garden Route COVID Update

21 June 2021

The Garden Route District has seen a 105 % increase in cases the last 7 days compared to 7 – 14 days ago.  All sub-districts had large percentage increases.

None of our district hospitals are currently under pressure, but we are seeing an increase in admissions.

George Hospital is not under pressure, but has had a big increase in admissions. Harry Comay Hospital is commissioning a 20-bed Covid ward to provide support for step-down patients from George Hospital.

COVID-19 stats as of 21 June 2021

Sub-district Total Active Recovered Died
Bitou 2917 74 2 742 101
George 12835 526 11 851 458
Hessequa 2088 80 1 900 108
Kannaland 924 11 867 46
Knysna 5015 105 4 750 160
Mossel Bay 8237 543 7 476 218
Oudtshoorn 4281 81 3 900 300
TOTAL 36297 1420 33 486 1 391

What follows a social gathering

Without being aware of it you may have picked up the virus after spending time with friends and family. As you then return home, back to work, back to school, or visit an elderly and vulnerable person – all these people who you have come into contact are now also at risk of being infected. They in turn continue with their daily routine – return back to their primary environment which could be there homes or workplace.

Here they then can pass on the virus to their household members. And so the transmission chain continues to grow, and spreads faster.

We can avoid a transmission chain from setting in by protecting our air space. We need to break the chain of transmission – here is how:

  • Avoid large gatherings;
  • Also, avoid social gatherings which are outside your immediate household;
  • If you need to go out, always wear your mask;
  • If you need to meet up, keep it outdoors, small and short;
  • When gathering indoors, dress warmly and ensure the windows are open so your space is well ventilated with fresh air;
  • If sick, stay home

 Vaccination roll-out

A total of 26 878 vaccines have been administered since the start of the vaccine program. This includes healthcare workers, old age homes and public sites.

 Over the last few weeks, we have come across several misconceptions about being vaccinated. We would like to remind the public that the vaccine gives great protection against severe illness and death.

However, it does not offer a guarantee that you will not contract (or transmit) Covid-19. So even if you have been vaccinated, and do not practice the necessary safety measures, you can still contract the virus, albeit a mild disease. It is therefore crucially important that we continue to adhere to the golden rules of keeping safe as set out above.

 The following sites in the Garden Route District will administer vaccinations on the following days for week 21 – 25 June.

Knysna sub-district Knysna CDC 23, 24
Knysna sub-district Knysna Town Hall 25
Knysna sub-district Karatara Satellite Clinic 21
Bitou sub-district Plettenberg Bay Clinic 25
Bitou sub-district Kranshoek clinic 22
Bitou sub-district Kwanokuthula CDC 24
Bitou sub-district Crags Clinic 23
George sub-district Harry Comay TB Hospital 21 – 25
George sub-district Thembalethu CDC (Sandkraal road) 21 – 25
George sub-district George Central Clinic 21 – 25
George sub-district Uniondale Hospital 21 – 25
George sub-district George Mobile Routes 21 – 25
George sub-district Touwsranten Clinic 25
George sub-district Pacaltsdorp Clinic 24, 25
Hessequa sub-district Riversdale Civic Centre 23,24
Hessequa sub-district Heidelberg Duivenhoks Hall 23
Hessequa sub-district Albertinia Theronsville Hall 24
Hessequa sub-district Melkhoutfontein Satellite Clinic 23
Hessequa sub-district Still Bay Civic Centre 24, 25
Hessequa sub-district Slangrivier Satellite Clinic 25
Hessequa sub-district Gouritsmond Hall 23
Kannaland sub-district Zoar Sports Club 23
Kannaland sub-district Calitzdorp DRC Church Hall 24
Kannaland sub-district Van Wyksdorp Kerksaal 25
Mossel Bay sub-district Alma CDC 21, 22, 23
Mossel Bay sub-district Wolwedans Community Hall 23, 25
Mossel Bay sub-district Mossel Bay Town Hall 21, 22,23
Mossel Bay sub-district D’Almeida Community Hall 21, 22,23
Oudtshoorn sub-district Toekomsrust Community Hall 23, 24, 25
Oudtshoorn sub-district De Rust (Blommenek) Clinic 24

Please remember that we prioritise those who are registered and have received their appointment.

Disclaimer: Dates and sites are subject to change.

ENDS

Nadia Ferreira
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
Town Clinic, Plettenberg Bay
Tel: 044 813 1831
Email: Nadia.Ferreira@westerncape.gov.za 
Website: www.westerncape.gov.za

Impact Based Weather Warnings for Western Cape and Namaqua: Veld Fire Conditions & Damaging Waves

Please find included the Impact Based Warning for the Western Cape and Namaqua Region of Northern Cape

Legal notice:
“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.”

Hazard Alert Level Affected Municipalities Valid from (SAST) Valid to (SAST)
Veld Fire Conditions Beaufort West, George, Hessequa, Kamiesberg, Kannaland, Khâi-Ma, Knysna, Laingsburg, Langeberg, Mossel Bay, Nama Khoi, Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert, Richtersveld, Swellendam 20/06/21 – 08h00 21/06/21 – 18h00

Discussion: The warm temperatures, dry conditions and fresh to strong winds could result in the development of runaway and veld/bush fires.

Impact: Conditions are such that the FDI index is above 75. Under these conditions, fires may develop and spread rapidly resulting in damage to property and possible loss of human and/or animal life.

Instruction: Fireteams, labour and equipment are to be placed on stand-by. At first sign of smoke, every possible measure should be taken in order to bring the fire under control in the shortest possible time.

Impact Based Weather Warnings for Western Cape and Namaqua: Yellow level 2: Damaging Waves

Hazard Alert Level Affected Municipalities Valid from (SAST) Valid to (SAST)
Damaging Waves Yellow (L2) Bergrivier, Bitou, Cape Agulhas, Cape Agulhas, Cederberg, City of Cape town, George, Hessequa, Kamiesberg, Knysna, Matzikama, Mossel Bay, Nama Khoi, Overstrand, Richtersveld, Saldanha Bay, Swartland, Table Bay 22/06/21 – 00h00 24/06/21 – 00h00

Discussion: Significant wave heights with predominant SW direction of 4.0 to 6.5m between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas from Tuesday afternoon, with 5.0m wave heights spreading to Alexander Bay and Plettenberg Bay on Wednesday. Rough and choppy seas are expected for Monday and Tuesday, but high energy and powerful waves from Tuesday night. Although spring high tide is expected on Thursday, tides will already be reaching further up the beachfront throughout the week. Wave heights will subside on Thursday.

Impact: Difficulty in navigation at sea for small vessels and personal watercraft (e.g. kayaks) can be expected (particularly Mon and Tue). This may lead to vessels taking on water and capsizing in a locality. Disruption to beachfront activities is likely. Localised damage to coastal infrastructure is possible mainly on Wed and Thurs. Anglers and beach-goers on low-level rocks may be at risk of being swept off by large waves (Wed and Thur). Localised disruption to small harbours for short periods may result.

Instruction: Be aware of large unpredictable waves along the coast. Small vessels are advised to seek shelter in harbours, bays or inlets. Be aware of strong rip currents especially during spring tides.

Report any weather related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at:
044 805 5071.

Impact Based Weather Warnings for Western Cape and Namaqua: Yellow level 2: Damaging Winds

Please find included the Impact Based Warning for the Western Cape and Namaqua Region of Northern Cape

Legal notice:
“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.”

Hazard Alert Level Affected Municipalities Valid from (SAST) Valid to (SAST)
Damaging Winds Yellow(L2) Beaufort West, Bitou, Breede Valley, George, Hessequa, Kannaland, Karoo Hoogland, Knysna, Laingsburg, Langeberg, Bergrivier, Cape Agulhas, Cape Agulhas, City of Cape town, Hessequa, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay, Swartland, Table Bay, Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert, Swellendam 21/06/21 –  11h00 22/06/21 – 00h00

Discussion: Strong north-westerly winds (50-60km/h gusting 70km/h) can be expected over southern Namakwa and central and eastern interior of the Western Cape during the afternoons of Monday and Tuesday, although excluding the Garden Route for Tuesday. North-westerly to westerly winds are also expected to reach gale force (60-70km/h gusting to 80km/h) between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas from Monday night, spreading to Still Bay on Tuesday afternoon moderating the evening.

Impact: Localised damage to settlements can be expected. Localised problems can be expected for high-sided vehicles on prone routes (N1, N7, R321, R43). Risk for spread of runaway fires (new and existing). Over the coastal areas, localised disruption of small harbours or ports for a short period can be expected. Difficulty in navigation at sea due to strong winds and choppy seas may lead to small vessels being at risk of taking on water/ capsizing.

Instruction: Be aware of the following: sudden cross winds if travelling 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.

Report any weather related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at:
044 805 5071.

Environmental Health Practitioners continue to sensitise Garden Routers of a rise in COVID-19 infections

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners continue to sensitise Garden Routers of a rise in COVID-19 infections

For immediate release
18 June 2021

With the sharp spike in Covid-19 positive cases over the past few weeks, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) play a pivotal role in ensuring that infection rates decrease. To address the issue, the various EHPs of GRDM implemented strict measures to ensure that the health of the residents in the area is protected.

Environmental Health Practitioners together with Officers from the South African Police Service during an operation in the Knysna and surrounding areas.

According to recent reports received from the Executive Manager for Community Services at GRDM, Clive Africa, the district’s respective Municipal Health sections implemented various measures in their attempt to stabilise the Covid-19 cases. Among these measures are the continuous discussions with local municipalities and other stakeholders to intensify activities in the district. Key performance areas relevant to the pandemic were therefore the focal point. The focus now is primarily on house visits, contact tracing of newly reported cases, health and hygiene awareness interventions at identified premises, and health surveillance of premises and collaborative blitzes at spaza shops.

During the last few weeks, more awareness sessions were conducted in residential areas of the district in collaboration with health care workers and officials from the Provincial Hospitals. It was established that some of the churches were not Covid-19 compliant, more specifically in the Mossel Bay area – where no social distancing, no wearing of masks and too many people were allowed to attend services at the same time, were found. An investigation and awareness campaigns followed, after which the following were implemented.

  • awareness sessions with all church denominations in the area;
  • awareness sessions at restaurants to make use of outdoor tables as much as possible;
  • media campaign (print and electronic), with the help from the local municipality; and
  • compliance inspections with the support from the South African Police Service.

EHPs at GRDM furthermore continue to organise joint operations with the South African Police Service for their visits to spaza shops and taverns, as well as Tshisanyamas. These are conducted after-hours and are part of their ongoing interventions to curb the rise of infections in the district. Furthermore, continuous compliance visits to funeral parlours are also taking place.

More Covid-19 measures in place after the President’s announcement on 15 June 2021, include:

  • Curfew from 22:00 to 4:00 – bars and restaurants need to close by 21:00;
  • Alcohols sales from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 18:00;
  • Funerals restricted to 50 persons per service with a maximum of 2 hours per funeral, with no after-funeral activities;
  • All gatherings restricted to 50 persons (indoor) and 100 persons (outdoor); and
  • The wearing of masks is mandatory – any person without a face cover in a public space will be committing an offence.

Report non-compliance by businesses or related incidents to the GRDM Disaster Management Centre 24/7 at telephone number 044-805 5071.

ENDS

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

Media release

17 June 2021

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

”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.”

EPWP Contractor Development Programme – Apply today!

Emerging contractors are invited to register for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Contractor Development Programme that is driven by the Department of Transport and Public Works’ EPWP.

The programme was designed to support emerging contractors in the Western Cape.

The objective of contractor development is to implement structured programmes that facilitate the development of emerging enterprises within the construction industry through skills and business enhancement initiatives. This will enable them to compete effectively and independently in the open marked beyond state intervention.

Click here for more information.
Click here to download the application form.

If you would like to participate in one of our programmes please complete the application form and submit via email to Keith Rass.

Directorate: EPWP Construction Industry, Innovation and Empowerment Programmes
Tel: 021 483 8924/2412
Email: keith.rass@westerncape.gov.za

How to register to vote?

To vote in elections in South Africa you need to first register as a voter

Who can register as a voter?

  • You must be a South African citizen.
  • You must have a South African green barcoded identity document (ID), a smart ID card or a temporary ID certificate.
  • You must be 16 years or older (but you will only be able to vote when you are 18 years or older).
  • You have to register in person. Nobody can do it for you.

Once you have registered to vote, you do not need to re-register in future elections unless:

  • You have moved house and are living in a different voting district.
  • You have been affected by the re-drawing of the voting district and/or ward boundaries

REMEMBER: If you do not have your green barcoded ID book, a smart ID card or temporary ID, you need to apply for one at the Department of Home Affairs.

 Why should you register?

  • You should register to be included on the national common voters’ roll.
  • If you don’t register, you cannot vote, and if you don’t vote, you are giving up a very important way of making your voice heard.
  • It is your right and responsibility to register.

Where can you register?

  • Register at your local Electoral Commission (IEC) office from Monday to Friday during office hours. Registration is ongoing, so you can register at any time, whether an election is taking place or not.
  • Register to vote in person at a registration station in the voting district in which you live. The IEC opens its registration stations during a registration weekend just before general elections.

How does registration work?

When registering at your registration station or local IEC office (using IEC Voter Management Device-VMD) the barcode of your ID book or smart ID card or temporary ID certificate will be scanned. This receipt will be SMSed or emailed to you and will show:

  • Proof of application
  • Your ID number
  • The voting district number of your voting station
  • Date and time of your application.

REMEMBER: 

  • You must provide sufficient details of where you live (a full residential address or a description of where you live) for the IEC to confirm that you are registering in the correct voting district. Proof of address is not needed.
  • If you give false address information, it is a crime. You could go to jail for up to 10 years.
  • Your ID will be checked when you vote to make sure that it is YOU.

How to check if you are registered and that your voters’ roll address is up to date

  • Registration will take no more than 24 hours to process.
  • Check at your local IEC office from Monday to Friday during office hours. SMS your ID number to 32810 (R1 per SMS).
  • Go to the IEC website www.elections.org.za and follow the link “Am I registered to vote?”
  • Check the voters’ roll at your voting station where you are registered to vote during the voter registration weekends.
  • As a registered voter you can visit elections.org.za create a secure profile for yourself, check, and update or provide your voters’ roll address.
  • You can also help family and friends to check; remember you will need their ID number, full name, address and cell phone number or email address to check and update their voters’ roll address.
  • Even if you are registered, remember to check that your voters’ roll address is up to date.