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

21 December 2021 Media Release: SA Harvest reflects on a successful year

Media Release: SA Harvest reflects on a successful year

21 December 2021

For Immediate Release

For the past year, SA Harvest, previously known as the Garden Route Food Pantry, effectively adhered to their primary mandate by sourcing food from various local suppliers, manufacturers and farmers and becoming a centralised point in coordinating food security needs in the district.  Alleviating hunger and promoting food safety and security in the district remained their top priority.

SA Harvest partnership with the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) as the strategic enabler with an oversight responsibility and Local Municipalities in the district, worked hand-in-hand to ensure that food safety and security received the much-needed attention it deserved the past year.  Considering the impact, the Covid-19 pandemic has had on unemployment and poverty, including the recent disastrous floods the district has experienced, SA Harvest facilitated the humanitarian relief of food to local areas in George and surrounding towns.

A recent wrap-up report on the funding received and services delivered the past year, SA Harvest proudly proclaim that they have had a positive impact regarding food safety and security in the district, thanks to the financial support of the Garden Route District Municipality.

According to Mr Carl van Blerk, Operations Manager of SA Harvest Garden Route, “We’ve received an amount of R603 908 in payments from GRDM, which made it possible for us to cover a significant portion of the operational expenses, allowing us to mainly focus on food security,” he said.

Mr Van Blerk furthermore elaborated that the number of meals distributed to the Garden Route and Klein Karoo region to date equates to 1250 143.  These were a combination of fresh products, non-perishables, emergency disaster relief, and fortified products to combat malnutrition.

The meals per Municipality were as follows:

Kannaland               –           46 511 Meals

Hessequa                 –           65 275 Meals

George                      –           676 827 Meals

Mossel Bay              –           85 220 Meals

Oudtshoorn            –           154 030 Meals

Knysna                    –           105 235 Meals

Bitou                        –           117 045 Meals

The above-mentioned meals were distributed through a network of 203 beneficiaries, ranging from small informal soup kitchens and feeding centres to larger registered facilities.

In conclusion, Mr van Blerk explained that the new facility, operating as SA Harvest, will be operating slightly differently in that they will only be including registered NPO/NPC centres for food donations.  “However, we will embark on partnering the small unregistered sites with a registered NPO so that they can still benefit, and will also assist them to get officially registered.  At this stage we are holding back on registering new sites, until this process is completed, and will then open the system again for new facilities as soon as possible,” Van Blerk said.

21 December 2021 Media Release: AVBOB George donated R31 500 to GRDM

Media Release: AVBOB George donated R31 500 to GRDM

21 December 2021

For Immediate Release

Today, 21 December 2021, AVBOB George branch donated R31 500 to the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) for humanitarian purposes. The GRDM will donate this money to SA Harvest  (previously known as Garden Route Food Pantry), the GRDM’s partner that promotes food safety and security in the Garden Route. AVBOB also donated 5000 x 1ℓ distilled water were also donated.

The handover ceremony was attended by the Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen, Cllr Gert van Niekerk (GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor), Deon Stoffels, (GRDM) Acting Fire Chief, Chris Botha (AVBOB Area Manager, South Cape: George) and Julian Hendricks (AVBOB District Manager).

Alderman Booysen thanked AVBOB for their generous donation and ongoing support during a brief informal gathering. AVBOB also donated R500 000.00 during 2018 to a disaster fund of the GRDM to assist those who suffered losses during wildfires. “Today, we witnessed a continuation of a relationship that started even before 2018, and this also demonstrates that big things can happen when the public sector is trusted,” Booysen said.  He further explained that the water received will also be used “during incidents where residents lost their homes or when portions of towns in the district are without water”.

Deputy Executive Mayor van Niekerk also extended a word of gratitude to the management of AVBOB and said, “As we observe the impact the covid-19 pandemic had on the economy in our district, which resulted in unemployment and poverty, we are genuinely grateful towards AVBOB for this donation. I can assure you that this donation will help our municipality’s efforts to promote food security in the Garden Route”.

With Christmas only four (4) days away, GRDM embraces the holiday spirit of giving and helping others in need through strategically partnering with companies to support vulnerable communities.

15 December 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM HAZMAT crash simulation conducted in Hessequa

Media Release: Garden Route DM HAZMAT crash simulation conducted in Hessequa

For Immediate Release
15 December 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) collaboratively conducted an emergency preparedness exercise (EPE) recently, along the N2 at the Still Bay turn-off, with the Hessequa Municipality, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as well as emergency response staff. The primary purpose of this particular simulation was to test the current systematic approach in dealing with a hazardous material (HAZMAT) incident in a safe manner.

“Our experience and knowledge of past incidents inform many of our responses; however, we need also to be adaptable to the unknown,” said Martina MacDonald, GRDM Disaster Management Officer in Hessequa.

“During this type of incident, we assess the response, collaboration and communication of stakeholders during a disaster-related incident.”

The EPE simulation involved a tanker carrying a hazardous substance (UN 1828) that collided with a light motor vehicle. This led to a HAZMAT spill from the tanker and resulted in injuries and death.

A debriefing session took place whereby all stakeholders raised matters that required attention. “Refresher training, compatibility of radio communication, and crowd control were some of the issues identified that require attention,” said MacDonald.

The GRDM considers EPEs as the most vital part of learning about emergencies, plans and procedures experimentally.

According to Gerhard Otto, GRDM Head of Disaster Management, the GRDM needs to ensure that what is written on paper can be used in real life. “The Garden Route Disaster Management Centre, in collaboration with Local Municipalities and first responders, resolved to do more of these types of simulations and exercises,” said Otto.

According to him, Covid-19 has resulted in face-to-face exercises being limited and for most preparedness exercises to be done as informal, discussion-based sessions. “This specific simulation was done when Covid-19 positive cases were at its lowest point towards the end of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Garden Route,” concluded Otto.

ENDS

15 December 2021 Media Release: WELCOME TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART OF SOUTH AFRICA, THE GARDEN ROUTE

15 December 2021

WELCOME TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART OF SOUTH AFRICA, THE GARDEN ROUTE

This is our second year of living through an unprecedented time. However, as Garden Routers, I continue to believe that we will bounce back from this situation as we are a resilient district.

South Africa, including the Garden Route District’s Tourism Sector, remains the backbone of our country’s economy; this is why we need people to visit us from all over the world. Support of our regional tourism sector is imperative because it advances prosperity, drives inclusive and sustainable development.

Last year, I also encouraged you to seek the little adventures the Garden Route offers, indulge yourself, take a break, and support our businesses. This year, my plea is the same. Please support our local businesses. Explore the region and the many tourist activities that are right on your doorstep; in turn, you will be contributing to the growth of the tourism sector. We depend on tourism for jobs and livelihoods. Thank you to the businesses that remain conscious of the current economic climate and provide budget-friendly tourism packages. This clever approach will attract more visitors to our region.

Before visiting us or when you arrive here, you will be able to find a myriad of activities to do in our region. A few that come to mind, include iconic sightseeing spots, fun-filled days and unmissable events, in particular this December. To see what I am talking about, visit our regional tourism website, https://buff.ly/3o7Tqtx.

While enjoying your time with us, you have to exercise caution and be tolerant while travelling. Please obey speed limits; road rules; do not text or call while driving; do not drink and drive, and always wear a seatbelt. Save our 24/7 emergency call centre number if you find yourself in a troubling situation – 044 805 5071. As we head into the festive season we’d like to keep the Covid-19 infection rates low, so please, adhere to the Covid- 19 protocols and regulations. Remember to wear your mask, wash your hands, sanitize, avoid large crowds, and keep your social distance – hang outside with friends and family!.

Thank you for all the efforts to keep safe and move forward. See you in the Garden Route!

Alderman Memory Booysen

Executive Mayor

Garden Route District Municipality

14 December 2021 Impact Based Weather Warnings for Western Cape and Namaqua: Yellow level 2: Damaging Winds

14 December 2021

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)
(High likelihood of Minor Impacts)
City of Cape Town, M_Bergrivier, M_Cape Agulhas, M_Cape Agulhas, M_Cederberg, M_City of Cape town, M_Hessequa, M_Kamiesberg, M_Matzikama, M_Nama Khoi, M_Overstrand, M_Richtersveld, M_Saldanha Bay, M_Swartland, M_Table Bay 16/12/21 00h00 17/12/21 00h00

 Discussion: Strong to near gale force south-easterly wind of 60 to 80km/h is expected offshore between Alexander Bay and Hermanus on Thursday. Strong winds coupled with wave heights between 4.0 to 4.5m from Thursday, the sea conditions will be very rough and choppy with quick successive steep waves. These wind and wave conditions are expected between Cape Point and Still Bay on Friday. Over the City of Cape Town, very strong winds are expected mainly from Thursday late morning and afternoon, reaching 60 to 70km/h.

Impact: Difficulty in navigation at sea due to rough and choppy conditions can cause small vessels and personal watercrafts to take on water and capsizing in locality. Short and localised disruption of small harbours and beachfront activities can also be expected. Over land, high sided vehicles might be at risk of being blown over in the City of Cape Town as well as the Huguenot Tunnel. Localised damage to settlements and temporary structures is also possible.

 Instruction: Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay. Ensure that all temporary structures are well anchored. Take extra caution on roads.

SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE
Cape Town Weather Office
2nd Floor: Oval Office Park
Cape Town Int airport
Freight Road
Matroosfontein
Cape Town

 

WC_IBF_DM_Warning_Damaging_Winds_L2_14122021

13 December 2022 Media Release: GRDM embraces Occupational Based Learning

Media Release: GRDM embraces Occupational Based Learning

For Immediate Release
13 December 2021

The Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA), the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and various Municipalities in the Garden Route have partnered to implement an occupationally based course for Public Office Administrators.

An Occupational Certificate is a combination of theory and on-the-job learning that is delivered in an integrated manner to give a person knowledge and practical skills too, rather than only a theoretical background. This means that students will acquire the work experience needed to enter the job market far earlier. Once enrolled, most of the learning will take place at a workplace and not at an educational institution.

These students are learning in the real world for the real world.

Occupational qualifications and certificates fall under the control of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO); one of three (3) Quality Councils in South Africa.

 “The vision of the QCTO is to qualify a skilled and capable workforce.”

These occupational qualifications are destined to become the new way of learning in South Africa as the country moves towards a more demand-led system that develops young people with the skills needed in the labour market.

As aspiring Public Office Administrators, those enrolling for this CPUT Occupational Certificate, learn core skills such as managing, organising, and analysing the effects of government policies and using business and statistical tools to solve public sector challenges in an ethical way. Added to this, learners will also learn skills in planning, organising, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting.

The eight (8) Batho Pele principles of “people first” guide the implementation of public service delivery and is core to the values taught during this course. The duration of the certificate is over a period of six (6) months and students from various towns in the Garden Route to take part in it. Once selected, each student is placed at a municipality within their hometown and given tools of the trade such as a laptop and data bundles.

An example of this is the two learners who work with the rest of the Garden Route Skills Mecca Team. Both assist with skills development processes across the country, whilst getting to know all the sections and their main functions within GRDM. They work 40 hours a week and report to a supervisor who mentors them under strict supervision and signs their work experience records (logbooks). A percentage of the marks scored during this period counts towards their final marks.

The outcome of the course is to ensure that each learner is qualified and fit to be employed by the public sector with the newly acquired skillsets and valuable work experience they gained during the time.

Feature image caption: Anelisa Myeki (left) and Trishke Roodman (right), are two of the current CPUT students working with other Garden Route Skills Mecca stakeholders.

ENDS

Information supplied: Anelisa Myeki and Trishke Roodman

13 December 2021 Media Release: Water flowing in the Olifants River brings some relief to drought-stricken farmers

Media release: Water flowing in the Olifants River brings some relief to drought-stricken farmers

For Immediate Release
13 December 2021

Widespread heavy rains over the past few weeks have resulted in areas in the Garden Route experiencing flash floods. Meteorologists globally attribute this phenomenon to a “La Niña” weather season.

Rains in the Klein Karoo resulted in the Olifants River (Afrikaans: Olifantsrivier) flowing again after being dry for an extended period. The last time the river had this much water was in 2006.

It rained twice a week in the Klein Karoo for the past month and the recent cloud burst over Oudtshoorn pushed large amounts of water into the Olifants River.

Mr Gerhard Otto, Head of Disaster Management at Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) said that the GRDM, in conjunction with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), are carefully monitoring the water levels of the Olifants and Gamka rivers. They are also keeping a close eye on the upstream river water levels of Calitzdorp Spa.  “We have several early warning systems in place should the Spa be affected by flash floods,” said Otto.

This Olifants River has its origins in the Traka and Kalkwal Rivers north of the Swartberg, becoming the Olifants River after flowing through the Toorwaterpoort, flowing west through Oudtshoorn. It then joins the Gamka River to form the Gourits River and heads south to its mouth at Gouritsmond in the southern coast of the Western Cape.

Melanie Wilson, GRDM Manager, Economic Development and Tourism responded with enthusiasm about the rains by saying: “This is welcomed with open arms and will definitely give a break to the agricultural sector in that area.” She cautioned that the challenge still exists of the water running away from the area and that a system to store it is not in place yet. “This does not benefit the agricultural sector to the extent we’d like it to yet – those residing in the area barely cope with the severe drought that gripped the area for a few years”.

Otto agreed and noted that all possible measures should be taken to optimise every drop of rainwater, which is crucial for water-stressed areas like the Klein Karoo.

Although farmers are extremely grateful for each drop of water received, it must be noted that those who farm with stock, will only find themselves in a better position in about six weeks’ time. This is because grazing will become possible again, instead of having to rely on food pallets to feed the animals.

The levels of the major dams that provide drinking water for the Garden Route are as follows:

  • Garden Route dam: 100% – Source of drinking water for George;
  • Wolwedams dam:100,57% – Source of drinking water for Mossel Bay
  • Koos Raubenheimer dam: 100 % – Source of drinking water for  Oudtshoorn;
  • Korente Vet/ Poort dam: 104,23% Source of drinking water for  Riversdale;
  • Duiwenhoks dam: 102,38% Source of drinking water for  Heidelberg;
  • Roodefontein dam: 102,1% –  source of drinking water for Bitou; and
  • Calitzdorp dam: 64,55%- Source of drinking water for Calitzdorp.

The levels of the dams that provide water for irrigation in the Klein Karoo are in stark contrast to those in the rest of the Garden Route and the community remains hopeful that this will change. The levels of Stompdrift and Kammanassie are currently below 6 and 4% respectively.

Caption: Feature image: Olifants River flowing again after an extended dry period.

END

13 December 2021 Impact Based Weather Warnings for Western Cape and Namaqua: Yellow level 1: Severe Thunderstorms

13 December 2021

Impact Based Weather Warnings for Western Cape and Namaqua: Yellow level 1: Severe Thunderstorms

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)
Severe Thunderstorms Yellow(L1)
(Medium likelihood of Minor Impacts)
Hessequa, Mossel Bay, Swellendam 13/12/21 10h00 13/12/21 15h00

Discussion: Showers and thundershowers are expected to develop over the southern and eastern parts of the Western Cape today where generally 10-25mm can be expected. However, there are a possibility of one or two of these thunderstorms to become severe for the Swellendam, Hessequa and Mossel Bay municipalities leading to pockets of heavy downpours (40-50mm in an hour) leading to flash flooding. Large amounts of small hail may also occur in pockets.

Impact: Localised areas of flash flooding of susceptible roads and low-lying areas along with localised damage to infrastructure and settlements (mainly informal) may occur. Very isolated events of a large amount of small hail are expected over an open area that can cause damage to livelihood and livestock.

Instruction: If possible stay indoors away from metal objects. Do not seek shelter under trees or tall objects. Do not go fishing or play golf as both the golf clubs and fishing rods are good conductor of electricity. Be aware that any combination of hail, strong winds and/or heavy downpours can accompany the storms.

SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE
Cape Town Weather Office
2nd Floor: Oval Office Park
Cape Town Int airport
Freight Road
Matroosfontein
Cape Town