Category: <span>media_statements</span>

1 July 2021 Media Release: Western Cape Human Settlements Budget will empower residents in the Garden Route

Media Release: Western Cape Human Settlements Budget will empower residents in the Garden Route

For Immediate Release
1 July 2021

Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers says that his Department’s budget, totalling more than R 2.35 billion for the 2021/22 financial year, will help to qualify and deserving Garden Route District residents improve their lives.

Accompanied by his senior executive team, including the Acting Head of Department, Ms Phila Mayisela, virtual meetings were held with the Kannaland, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay and Hessequa Municipalities. Full Municipal Councils were present in each meeting. A virtual meeting with the Garden Route District concluded the engagements.

Minister Simmer said: “I enjoyed engaging the various Councils, even though we had to conduct the meetings on a virtual platform due to the current increases in COVID-19 cases and the adjusted alert level 4 restrictions. It is unfortunate that we could not engage the Bitou Municipality due to the current instability in that Council.

I am particularly happy that the Councils are in full support of our strategic priority area, which is to create opportunities in the affordable housing market. This is particularly important, as more than 70% of the province’s citizens are employed, while in the Garden Route District itself, more than 80% of the residents are in a form of employment.

This means these residents who are registered on the Western Cape Housing Demand Database and have expressed a need to be assisted by the State, would in all likelihood not qualify for a free, fully subsidised housing opportunity, as their household income could be between R 3 501 – R 22 000.”

These affordable housing opportunities include the Non-Credit Linked-, Credit Linked- and Finance Linked Individual Subsidies (FLISP). It also includes the Credit Readiness Programme, which is linked to FLISP, which assists those currently seeking to acquire a property but who would first need to improve their impaired credit record.

Breaking New Ground (BNG) free housing units will still be offered to those earning between R 0 – R 3 500 per month, noting that the elderly, people living with certified disabilities, those who have been 15 years and longer on the Western Cape Housing Demand Database (WCHDD) and backyard dwellers will be prioritised.

Furthermore, the new Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant (ISUPG), which amounts to just over R 457 million for the entire province, is a people-centred and partnership-based approach to support informal settlement residents across the Western Cape. It will ensure that more than 74 000 households in various informal settlements across the province will experience an improvement in their area.

This programme will be implemented in Thembalethu and Wilderness Heights, both in the George municipal area, Zoar in Kannaland, Vision, Rheenendal and Sedgefield, all located in the Knysna municipal area and in Mossel Bay.

Minister Simmers added: “It was pleasing to confirm that the fund we proposed previously, and now known as the Western Cape Asset Finance Reserve for Human Settlements, is finally a reality. This reserve has been created for human settlements to augment the insufficient Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocations in municipalities, as well as assist municipalities to unlock the value of strategic assets including land and buildings.

It will also assist with job creation initiatives, including developing business/industrial hubs and other initiatives. As part of the broader criteria to access the fund, municipalities should focus on creating affordable housing opportunities.”

The allocations to municipalities of their combined Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and ISUPG for the 21/22 financial year are:

Kannaland: R 6.1 million

Oudtshoorn: R 12. 4 million

Knysna: R 46. 6 million

George: R 97. 1 million

Mossel Bay: R 211. 3 million

Hessequa: R 35. 1 million

Bitou: R 33. 2 million

“It is further unfortunate that due to the current COVID-19 alert level, we could not conduct the sod turning event in Melkhoutfontein for the new housing project, nor hand over any houses and title deeds in George and Slangrivier respectively. Along with the George and Hessequa Municipalities, we hope to find dates in due course to complete these activities, so that our deserving and qualifying residents can benefit in this empowering manner.

I’d also like to state that we remain committed to working hand-in-hand with local authorities, as they are a critical and strategic partner in the delivery of housing opportunities. It is my hope that they will share the information we presented with their residents, so that we can maximise housing opportunities across our province.

As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society,” added Simmers.

Media Enquiries:

Marcellino Martin

Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers

Marcellino.martin@westerncape.gov.za

021 483 3397 (o)

082 721 3362 (m)

Or

Nathan Adriaanse

Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations

Tell: 021 483 2868

Mobile: 083 2631720

Email: Nathan.Adriaanse@westerncape.gov.za

27 June 2021 Media Release: Western Cape Human Settlements Budget heads to Garden Route

Media Release: Western Cape Human Settlements Budget heads to Garden Route

For Immediate Release
27 June 2021

Tomorrow, 28 June 2021, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers will commence with his Ministerial outreach to the municipalities across the Garden Route District. Along with presenting the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements’ budget for the 2021/22 financial year, various other critical human settlements matters will also be discussed.

Accompanied by his senior executive officials, Minister Simmers will meet with full Municipal Councils. A virtual meeting with the Kannaland Municipality will kick-off the engagements.

On Tuesday, 29 June 2021, hybrid engagements will occur with the Oudtshoorn and Knysna Municipalities. This will be followed by a site visit to Qolweni in Plettenberg Bay.

On Wednesday, 30 June 2021, a hybrid engagement will occur with the George municipality, followed by a virtual meeting with the Mossel Bay Municipality.

On Thursday, 1 July 2021, a hybrid engagement will occur with the Hessequa Municipality. This will be followed by door-to-door title deed handovers in Slangrivier.

Minister Simmers said: “I’m looking forward to these engagements, particularly the opportunity to help more resident become property owners. I’m also excited about engaging and where necessary, assist our elderly to register to be vaccinated.”

Citizens across the Garden Route District can follow the different proceedings live on Minister Simmers’ face book page, https://www.facebook.com/HumanMinWC

It is important to note that as of Tuesday, 29 June 2021, Minister Simmers and the entire team from the Provincial Department will be based at the Garden Route District Municipal Chambers.

ALL MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND.

DETAILS:

Date: Monday, 28 June 2021- Kannaland Municipality

Time: 11:00 – 13:00

Venue/Meeting Point: https://www.facebook.com/HumanMinWC

 

Date: Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Time: 10:00 – 12:00 – Oudtshoorn Municipality

12:30 – 14:30 – Knysna Municipality

15:30 – 17:00 – Qolweni Site Visit (no livestreaming)

 

Venue/Meeting Point: https://www.facebook.com/HumanMinWC

Date: Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Time: 10:00 – 11:30 – George Municipality

14:00 – 16:00 – Mossel Bay Municipality

 

Venue/Meeting Point: https://www.facebook.com/HumanMinWC

And

Date: Thursday, 01 July 2021

Time: 10:00 – 12:00 – Hessequa Municipality

13:00 – 14:00 – Slangrivier Title Deed handover (no livestreaming)

 

Venue/Meeting Point: https://www.facebook.com/HumanMinWC

 

Media Enquiries:

Marcellino Martin

Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers

Marcellino.martin@westerncape.gov.za

021 483 3397 (o)

082 721 3362 (m)

Or

Nathan Adriaanse

Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations

Tell: 021 483 2868

Mobile: 083 2631720

Email: Nathan.Adriaanse@westerncape.gov.za

 

4 June 2021 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

For Immediate Release
4 June 2021

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, louisamare@gmail.com 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: https://www.scli.org.za/gref/

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

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

Cell: 083 626 7619

Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

8 October 2020 Media Statement: Municipal communicators make shocking discoveries at illegal dump site

Media Statement: Municipal communicators make shocking discoveries at illegal dump site

For Immediate Release
8 October 2020

Municipal communicators from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently visited an illegal dump site in Pacaltsdorp to photograph the progress made by contractors tasked to clean sites. With shock, communicators noted a countless number of items, including toxic, sharp and dangerous ones, as well as foul smelling water – leaving one communicator almost vomiting from the stench. “The scariest part is that there were kids playing in the same area, metres from the dangerous field of waste and water,” said one communicator.

The GRDM, in collaboration with George Municipality are hard at work trying to clear illegal dump sites in the George area, including Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp. GRDM has committed R2.47 million to the project. George Municipality earlier announced that they will contribute R500 000.00 to curb illegal dumping. JCB backhoe loaders are utilised to clear sites and 35 Expanded Public Works Participant (EPWP) waste pickers work alongside these trucks to collect smaller items. More activities are lined up to take place over the next few months, including a survey to find out why people illegally discard of waste; and door-to-door awareness about the impact of illegal dumping , etc.

The question many Garden Routers is asking is – do we all want the areas cleaned or have many of us decided that a clean and safe environment is not important? The GRDM stumbled upon concerns raised on Facebook by a government employee who said that an illegal dumpsite was cleaned by the municipalities (Garden Route District and George), but moments later someone dumped their waste there again. Others commented on her post by saying that municipalities should plant trees at the sites, however this suggestion was said not to work because some community members might remove the trees. Another person said that the municipalities cleaned an area on a Monday, but by Tuesday the area was dirty again.

GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) monitor the areas each day after a clean-up was conducted. EHPs are already aware that water at illegal dumping sites are toxic, but a decision was made to take water samples which will be analysed. Test results will indicate how dangerous these sites are  (backed by scientific evidence).

The public are urged to remind their friends, family and neighbours that the illegal dumping of waste is dangerous and that it poses a health hazard. Waste should be collected in refuse bags and placed for collection on waste removal days. Builders’ rubble and waste not suitable for bags must be dropped at the municipal refuse site on the R102 (airport road).

Communities can provide names, vehicle registration details or addresses of alleged illegal dumpers and make a statement in this regard by contacting Law Enforcement at 044 801 6350 or sprins@george.gov.za. George Municipality states that a person doesn’t need a photograph of the perpetrator, but that it would strengthen the case for a warning or fine to be issued.

Members of the public are also welcome to report illegal dumpsites to 044 802 2900.

Illegal dumping remains an offence and carries a R1000 fine.

ENDS