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

Reflecting on the 2021 GREF Climate Change Indaba and Fire Commemoration event

Media Release: Reflecting on the 2021 GREF Climate Change Indaba and Fire Commemoration event

For Immediate Release
15 June 2021

Recalibrate resources to restore the balance in dealing with the environment

The Annual Garden Route Fire Commemoration event and Climate Change Indaba, including a field visit to severely affected areas by the 2018 wildfire disaster near Karatara, in the Garden Route district, came to a close on Wednesday, 9 June 2021. The event was hosted by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

Dr. Fanie Botha, a water resource specialist at Water Hunters, emphasises that South Africa must adopt a more proactive and even aggressive approach to water resource management. For example, innovative evaporation reduction methods should be considered. (Photo: Cobus Meiring)

As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, protocols and cautionary procedures, the event was a combination of face-to-face and virtual platforms. It was well attended with the Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), Ms Makhotso “Maggie” Sotyu, delivering the keynote address virtually from Pretoria.

In her address, Sotyu said climate change was a key concern within South Africa. The annual temperatures have increased by at least 1.5 times the observed global average of 0.65ºC over the past five decades, and extreme rainfall events have increased in frequency. She said her department is finalising the climate change bill to enable a coordinated and coherent approach to address climate change across the spheres of society. It is expected that the climate change bill will strengthen climate change governance in the country.

The department is currently revising the National Coastal Management Programmes (NCMP) as per the Integrated Coastal Management Act (ICM Act). The review of the NCMP will inform the review and development of the Provincial and Municipality Coastal Management Plans. The second NCMP will also focus on the ocean’s economy and the district-delivery model primarily aimed to address poverty and livelihoods support.

The newly appointed principal of the George Campus of the Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Dr. Kaluke Mawila, was one of the guest speakers at the Garden Route Climate Change Indaba held in George on 8 June 2021. (Photo: Cobus Meiring)

Reflecting on the event, the chairperson of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), Mr Cobus Meiring, said the theme for the 2021 Garden Route Climate Change Indaba, “Adapt to a sustainable future“, was apt and relevant, and coinciding with World Oceans Day on 8 June, drew high-level attention and participation. He said the Indaba included several remarkable presentations that were of an international standard.

Ms Pamela Booth, Environmental Manager at Knysna Municipality and one of the facilitators at the Climate Change Indaba. (Photo: Cobus Meiring)

“The fact that the GRDM, GREF and partners can host an event like this, with direct input from top-tier national (DFFE) and the provincial (Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning – DEA&DP) echelons and academic institutions, speaks volumes and demonstrated that the GRDM has the entrenched capacity to act and collaborate as a leading municipality when it comes to all matters environmental, including disaster management, climate change, planning, and risk reduction,” Meiring said.

“Slowly but surely, the region is attracting more funding from various sources, and that is indicative of the trust foundation that has been consistent in the making over a sustained period.”

Meiring concluded: “An important message that came across from the Indaba was that countrywide, Covid-19 had drained away almost all resources formerly earmarked for vital interventions in the environmental sector, but, as the collective grow accustomed to dealing with the perpetual impact of Covid-19, we urgently need to recalibrate resources to restore the balance in dealing with the environment as well as Covid-19, because if we do not, we will create another and more significant climate-related crisis through important but one-dimensional funding allocation in dealing only with Covid-19 right now.”

People who are interested in viewing some of the high-profile presentations made at the event can view them on the video-sharing YouTube link:


Skills Mecca to become central to job and skills alignment in the Garden Route

Media Release: Skills Mecca to become central to job and skills alignment in the Garden Route

For Immediate Release
15 June 2021

South Africans have almost become immune to bad news as day to day survival remains for many the single most important priority, especially with the arrival of COVID 19 and the world of Lockdown. Many of us would probably not even realised that on 1 June 2021, Statistics South Africa (STATS SA) released the first quarter of 2021 Labour Force survey that shows the official national unemployment stands at 32,6%. This is the highest unemployment rate since the start of the Labour Force survey in 2008. Although the Western Cape is somewhat better off at 23,7%, the smaller percentage makes no difference to those still unemployed and without a job.

Turning such a catastrophic scenario around in a long term sustainable manner is only possible through targeted economic growth and development. This is why the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) developed 20-year Growth and Development Strategy. A well-designed strategy requires a solid foundation with many cross-cutting enablers, one of which is skills development.

A critical question then arises: “What are the skills requirements and challenges that constrain this priority area?”

The GRDM and its relevant stakeholders have ramped up efforts to roll out the Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM). A dedicated GRSM Coordinator, Dr Florus Prinsloo, has subsequently been appointed by the GRDM. Dr Prinsloo has already established an internal task team, as well as an external stakeholder forum. An implementation plan for the Skills Mecca have been finalised and submitted to the Management of GRDM, the Municipal Managers Forum of the District (MMF) and a Council workshop today for further deliberations and input in the month of June. The next step is to develop a website where residents of the Garden Route can access up to date information on the GRSM.

Another essential part of the GRSM concept is establishing a clear link between skills development and jobs, which will only be possible by the GRSM team working closely with Local Economic Development (LED) Units at each municipality in the Garden Route. This approach will help to inform decisions by utilising demand-based methods toward skills development.  This means that economic demand would need to be linked to skills development projects and programmes.  This will result in people studying towards careers where there are jobs vacant.

A partnership-based approach is the only way that such an ambitious process will succeed. At the moment, a pressing and challenging risk faced is the lack of funding available for skills development. Creating partnerships between all the relevant public and private sector is vital to the success of this programme. However, the GRDM is engaging all economic levels to try and source funding for this innovative approach to skills development and job creation.


Garden Route COVID Update

14 June 2021

Garden Route COVID Update

The Garden Route District had a 110% increase in new cases over the last 7 days compared to 7-14 days ago.

All sub-districts had large increases except for Oudtshoorn with a minimal increase and Kannaland which remained unchanged.

The new cases are widespread with some household clusters. It is important that we all play our part in curbing the spread. All situations are being actively monitored.

Stats as of 14 June 2021.

Sub-district TOTAL Active Recovered Deaths
Bitou 2868 43 2 724 101
George 12513 279 11 779 455
Hessequa 2037 40 1 889 108
Kannaland 917 8 863 46
Knysna 4948 55 4 735 158
Mossel Bay 7900 282 7 406 212
Oudtshoorn 4239 69 3 872 298
Sub-total 35422 776 33 268 1 378

Vaccine roll-out

A total of 20 653 vaccines have been administered since the start of the vaccine program. This includes healthcare workers, old age homes and public sites.

The Department received a lesser allocation of vaccines this week from the national government, which has impacted the number of people we will be able to vaccinate this week.

We are however still planning to open more sites after which more appointment slots will become available, and hence more system generated SMSs will be sent to assign registered people to specific sites with available appointment slots.

We have noted a lot of queries regarding the appointment system. Appointments for vaccinations are automatically scheduled by the National Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). The system checks in a sequential manner who registered first in a specific area, and assigns appointments to them based on available slots at sites close to that area. If you would like to confirm your registration or make changes to your details please visit You can also access this link on our website,

What to bring with you when going for your vaccination

Please remember to bring along your ID, passport, or asylum document when coming for your vaccine.

If you belong to a medical aid, please take your medical aid card or details with you.

At the vaccination site, there will be signage directing you where to go. You will be screened according to COVID-19 protocol.

Once inside, your details will be confirmed. The health workers at the vaccination station will ask you for consent, will explain what they are going to do, and will ask if you have any allergies or medical conditions. This is an important part of the process.

After your vaccination, you will be asked to wait in the observation room for 15 to 30 minutes so that staff can make sure you do not experience any severe allergic reactions. If you received the first jab of a 2-dose vaccine, you will get a follow-up appointment via SMS. You will also receive a proof of vaccination card.

The following sites in the Garden Route District will administer vaccinations on the following days for week 14 – 18 June.

Mossel Bay D’Almeida Community Hall PUBLIC 14, 15
Mossel Bay Alma CDC PUBLIC 14, 15, 17 ,18
Mossel Bay Wolwedans Community Hall PUBLIC 18
Mossel Bay Mossel Bay Town Hall PUBLIC 15
Bitou Plettenberg Bay Town Clinic PUBLIC 17
Bitou Kwanokuthula CDC PUBLIC 18
George Harry Comay TB Hospital PUBLIC 14,15, 17, 18
George Thembalethu CDC PUBLIC 14,15, 17, 18
George George Central Clinic PUBLIC 14,15, 17, 18
George Uniondale Hospital PUBLIC 15, 17, 18
George Pacaltsdorp Clinic PUBLIC 17,18
Hessequa Riversdale Civic Centre PUBLIC 15, 17 ,18
Hessequa Witsand de Duine Hall PUBLIC 15,
Hessequa Heidelberg Duivenhoks Hall PUBLIC 15, 18
Hessequa Albertinia Theronsville Hall PUBLIC 17,18
Hessequa Stilbaai Civic Centre PUBLIC 15, 17, 18
Hessequa Slangrivier Satellite Clinic PUBLIC 18
Kannaland Ladismith DRC Church Hall PUBLIC 15
Kannaland Calitzdorp DRC Church Hall PUBLIC 17
Knysna Knysna Town Hall PUBLIC 18
Knysna Sedgefield Clinic PUBLIC 17
Oudtshoorn Oudtshoorn Hospital PUBLIC 17, 18
Oudtshoorn Dysselsdorp Clinic PUBLIC 15
Oudtshoorn De Rust(Blommenek) Clinic PUBLIC 17

Please remember that we prioritise those who are registered and have received their appointment.  No active sites on the 16th which is a public holiday.




Nadia Ferreira

Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

Town Clinic,Plettenberg Bay

Tel: 044 813 1831




News Release: Garden Route Clean Fires Campaign reach expands year-on-year

10 June 2021
News Release
For Immediate Release

Garden Route Clean Fires Campaign reach expands year-on-year

For the last seven (7) years, Garden Route District Municipality has incorporated air pollution as part of its community awareness-raising activities. The project was identified due to poor air quality, especially in informal settlements. This pollution is often caused by fires used for household purposes, such as cooking and heating.

The peer education project was first launched in the Klein Karoo in 2014 and was later rolled out in the rest of the Garden Route. The project advanced over the last three years, where the focus was shifted to primary school learners. More communities are being reached when primary school learners are educated.

Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: District Air Quality Control at GRDM, said, “The municipality awarded a three-year tender to Mingcele Africa NPC.  Mingcele facilitates and manages community development projects with a special focus on educational training support and environmental awareness”. Adding to this, he said: “The Western Cape Education Department was approached whereby the Clean Fires campaign is now incorporated as part of the Grade 3 curriculum”.

The course material covers the following air pollution aspects:

  • what air pollution is;
  • the health effects thereof;
  • what causes air pollution;
  • how you can help to reduce air pollution;
  • how to make a fire;
  • how to make a “cleaner” fire for heating purposes; and
  • how to construct a stove from waste material.

Each participating school receives a study pack with the course material that is very convenient to the teacher. The course material is in line with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), are printed in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, and each resource pack consists of:

  • Six printed posters;
  • A game pack to learn about pollution and the environment;
  • Five lesson plans; and
  • Five worksheets in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

(Lesson plans and worksheets are all bound in a full-colour booklet DVD with five plug-ins for an interactive whiteboard).

This year alone, 66 schools in the Garden Route participated in the programme – that is, 115 teachers and 4400 children. It is anticipated that four family members are reached per child with a cumulative impact of 17 600 community members reached through this project for this year alone.

The project statistics for the last three years are as follows:

  • 2019: 37 schools and 72 Teachers;
  • 2020: 46 schools and 63 Teachers; and
  • 2021:  66 schools and 151 Teachers.

For the last three years, the project almost reached 50 000 people in the Garden Route district.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project occur through follow-ups and communication through two-way social media channels and attendance registers.

Due to the success of this project and the positive feedback received from the participating schools, the GRDM committed itself for another three years and a new tender was subsequently advertised for the continuation of the project.

As at Wednesday, 9 June 2021, the sixty-six (66) schools in the district have already received their study packs.

For any further information on the project, please contact Dr Johann Schoeman or Mr Angus Andries at: or 044 693 0006.

Feature image: Study packs ready for distribution to schools in the Garden Route district.


Garden Route District Municipality establishes a dispersion modelling function

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality establishes a dispersion modelling function

For Immediate Release
10 June 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently procured the Enviman AERMOD (Air Quality Dispersion Modelling) software programme that enables the GRDM Air Quality Unit to conduct dispersion modelling studies. This is a new initiative to expand the scope of work of the GRDM Air Quality Officers.

According to Dr Johann Schoeman, GRDM Manager: Air Quality: “Air dispersion modelling is defined as a series of mathematical simulations of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. It is performed with computer programs that solve the mathematical equations and algorithms which simulate the dispersion of pollutants.”

Dr Schoeman says AERMOD is also listed as an approved dispersion model in the Regulations that governs Dispersion Modelling, 2014, Government Notice R533. Thus, the program allows for creating air quality maps for comparison against national guidelines and limit values.

The application of this software will assist the Air Quality unit in dealing with air quality complaints. It predicts the emissions and effect of a specific source on a particular residency, depending on real-time weather data availability. For example, suppose a person phones the GRDM to complain about the smoke from a stack of Facility X. In that case, the GRDM can execute a theoretical predication of the dispersion by entering the real-time weather data and stack parameters, and the model will determine the concentrations at the complainant’s residency. GRDM can then determine if the complaint is indeed justified by comparing it with the National Ambient Air Quality standards.

The GRDM can also determine the air quality impact of area sources such as landfill sites on communities. The below dispersion model for Methane was done for the proposed GRDM Landfill site in Mossel Bay, based on the predicted landfill volumes during year one and the historical weather data for Mossel Bay over the last three years.

The programme can also determine various percentile equations to determine a specific source’s worst-case scenario on a community. The 99 percentile, for example, predicts the highest concentration of a pollutant for 1% of the year. This is demonstrated in the picture below.

Feature image: Average hourly period concentrations for Methane from the proposed Landfill site in Mossel Bay computed over a year. As can be seen in both examples, the methane concentrations are insignificant and will not cause any harm to the community. 



8 June 2021


Notice is hereby given that the Garden Route District Municipality’s SDBIP is available for public perusal and comments for 14 days, ending 21 June 2021.

All questions and recommendations must be directed to the Performance Manager (Ms Ilse Saaiman) at 044 803 1300.

Please note that Circular 88 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (Act 56 of 2003) is added to the document merely as an annexure as per the requirements, and the KPI’s listed will not form part of the current SDBIP.

Click here and download the document

MEDIA RELEASE: Garden Route Climate Change Indaba to coincide with the United Nations World Oceans Day

MEDIA RELEASE: Garden Route Climate Change Indaba to coincide with the United Nations World Oceans Day

The Garden Route Fire Commemoration Event and Climate Change Indaba will this year coincide with World Oceans Day, taking place on Tuesday 8 June 2021. The Indaba is hosted by the Garden Route District Municipality and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

The theme for the 2021 United Nations World Oceans Day is Life and Livelihoods. It is a day for humanity to celebrate and support the life and the livelihood that the ocean sustains and puts the spotlight on biodiversity and the interconnectivity between the ocean and its ecosystems.

According to Cobus Meiring, chairperson of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), entities tasked with environmental management in the Garden Route are increasingly emphasising the importance of restoration and rewilding of natural ecosystems and habitat in the region, which serves to highlight the interconnectivity between a healthy ocean and terrestrial environment.

“A point in case is the drive to reconnect the Indian Ocean with the Outeniqua mountains and the creation of biodiversity conservation and migration routes through the restoration of Garden Route forests, streams, wetlands, rivers and catchments in collaboration with private landowners.”

Stretching from Mossel Bay to the Storms River mouth, the Garden Route is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world.

Says Meiring: “The scenic splendour of the Garden Route is a precious resource. Celebrating a healthy and vibrant ocean and dependent ecosystems is an opportunity to boost the conservation of the region’s very special natural environment.”

“Climate change, and the challenges and opportunities it offers, is no doubt worth reflecting upon.  We dare not wipe out the memories of events like the 2017 and 2018 wildfire disasters which wreaked havoc in the Garden Route, nor the perpetual drought which decimated much of the agricultural capacity of the regional interior – much of which can be ascribed to slight climate changes with significant effects.”

“As the world celebrates World Oceans Day, South Africa in general, and the Garden Route in particular, will do well to use the opportunity to show respect for what remains of what nature blessed the country with, and even as we focus all our energy and resources to survive Covid-19 and its socio-economic impact, we have to plan to conserve our oceans and natural environment, as therein lies our ultimate survival as a species,” says Meiring.

Climate Change Indaba, Wilderness

The theme for this year’s Garden Route Fire Commemoration Event and Climate Change Indaba is “Adapt to a Sustainable Future”. The keynote address will be delivered by the Deputy Minister of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), Ms Makhotso Magdaline Sotyu.

Professors Christo Fabricius and Hervé Fritz will present the latest findings on global change research in the Garden Route. Professor Fabricius is Lead, CARMa-Afrika: Capacity for African Resource Management at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and Professor Hervé Fritz is Director of the ECO REHABS International Research Lab, CNRS France, together with the Nelson Mandela University.

The challenges of climate change and invasive alien species in Africa will also come under the spotlight in a presentation by Dr Arné Witt, Invasive Alien Plant Specialist and Regional (Africa, Asia and the Caribbean) Invasive Alien Species Coordinator for the international science-based development organisation, CABI.

Other presentation topics include disaster management, water resource management, freshwater ecology, and sea-level rise and its impact on coastal infrastructure along the Mossel Bay coastline.

A field visit, hosted by Knysna Municipality, the Garden Route Trail Park and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) will also be taking place on Wednesday 9 June 2021. The focus of the field visit will be on methods for killing blackwood including herbicide mixing and application, as this remains one of the most difficult weeds to control.

Interested organisations or individuals who would like to attend the indaba and/field visit can send an email to Louise Maré, for more information. Due to Covid-19 regulations, is it essential to register in advance for the Indaba.

Coastline as the world celebrates World Oceans Day 2021, the Garden Route reflects upon the way we manage our coastline in the face of the severe impact of development and coastal vulnerability. (Photo: SCLI)

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum and public platform for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction.  It is a think tank for national, regional and local government, conservation bodies, academics, the media, landowners and land managers, active in the full spectrum of environmental matters in the region. Website:



Cobus Meiring: Chairperson of Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)

Cell: 083 626 7619


GRDM Executive hands over registration certificates for cooperative and PPE to ‘Farming-with-Pride’ Small Scale Farmers in Calitzdorp

The Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Ald. Memory recently delegated two officials to engage with the Farming-with-Pride Small farmers in Calitzdorp, Kannaland, to investigate the possibility of assistance from the District. After discussions and meetings with the participants, interventions were initiated, and a surprise visit from Mayor Booysen took place. The purpose of the visit was for the Mayor and his delegation to view the farm’s operations and progress.

The visit occurred after GRDM approved their application for R15 000 Grand-in-Aid funding on 22 April 2021. GRDM made the funding available for the project to boost and expand the business activities of the farm.

Last year the project owner, Christolino Perel, applied for grand-in-aid funding to GRDM after Mayor Booysen saw the potential for the project to be expanded. He explained: “The project started from nothing to a coffee shop named Lino’s PTY, to a small tomato farm that still needed infrastructure to store and process tomatoes into various products to be market-ready. The project is now fully registered with the intervention of GRDM and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). A training session was scheduled on 09 March 2021 with the Farming-with-Pride team. The session’s objectives were to outline the cooperative registration and draft their constitution.

During his address, Richard Dyantyi, GRDM Manager for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), said: “It may seem as we took a long time to come up with a solution, but time is sometimes needed to see significant results.” He explained that some of the grant-in-aid funds were also used to clean the site after earmarking the project. GRDM also went as far as to appoint six (6) of the workers from 1 April to the end of June 2021 as part of its EPWP programme under the principle of supporting Small Macro Enterprises (SMEs).

Mayor Booysen, during the latter part of the programme, handed two certificates over to Perel – SEDA issued the 1st Certificate to declare the project legally registered. The second document is the Certificate of Acceptability issued by the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners. Together with this, Mayor Booysen donated Personal Protective Equipment (clothing) to the team members. When handing over the items, Mayor Booysen commended the team for starting the project from nothing. He said:  “As far as possible, we have to do what we are supposed to and at the same time address unemployment and drug abuse issues in the area. Your location and your distance from the major towns is also one of those challenges.”

In concluding the visit, Mayor Booysen encouraged commercial farmers to support the project as it would benefit the lives of the communities of Calitzdorp.