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News Release: GRDM nominated as an ECO-LOGIC AWARDS finalist

News Release

15 September 2020

For immediate release

GRDM nominated as an ECO-LOGIC AWARDS finalist

It is with great pride that the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) wishes to announce that the Municipality was nominated as a finalist for the 2020 Eco-logic Awards under the “District Municipality” category which will take place virtually on Monday, 21 September 2020. This day coincides with World Peace Day.

The Eco-logic Awards, hosted by Enviropaedia are annually awarded across 12 categories, which highlight ecologically beneficial products, services and people who are taking effective action and making a positive contribution to protect and preserve the environment. GRDM is one of three finalists chosen under the “District Municipality Award” category, for its initiative “Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) – Ensuring Participative and Collaborative District-Wide Environmental Monitoring, Coordination and Adaptation”.

GREF was launched in 2018 and is led by the GRDM’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Adaption Section.  Its key aim is to establish a more coordinated approach to environmental management. The purpose of the GREF initiative is to ensure adaptive environmental management through the principles of community and stakeholder participation, collaboration, as well as the combined coordination of projects, programmes and initiatives within the district.  The initiative furthermore strives to increase engagement and knowledge for better decision making, the initiation of pro-active risk planning within an uncertain future, and to increase resource sharing for focused and dynamic environmental actions.

The Garden Route Environmental Forum focuses on fundraising through the preparation of professional funding proposals and related administration.  This is achieved through participative, collaborative, and adaptive district-wide projects, programmes or initiative monitoring and implementation. Through these interventions that aim to change the nature of our economy, and improved sustainable environment is possible.

Youth from the Garden Route share awareness videos about COVID-19

News Release
For Immediate Release
24 August 2020

Youth from the Garden Route share awareness videos about COVID-19

A few members of the youth in the Garden Route District municipal area are sharing TikTok videos about COVID-19 precautions, including hygiene measures, creative ways to greet and keeping safe in general. We expect more of these videos to be shared over the following weeks.

Videos come at a time when the Garden Route District’s rate of infections are increasing at a higher rate than the rest of the Western Cape. Everyone is urged to keep their guard up while the entire country is now on COVID-19 Alert Level 2. If we don’t, we run the risk of a second surge.

Remember to follow the five (5) golden rules of good hygiene:

  1. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  2. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  3. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Safely throw away the tissue.
  4. Keep 1,5 metres apart from others.
  5. Stay home if unwell. Contact a hotline or your health worker.

Parents/Legal guardians completed and submitted consent forms for the release of all the videos.

GRDM looses its second employee, Lemos Soko, to COVID-19

News Release
For Immediate Release
7 August 2020

News Release: Garden Route DM loses its second employee, Lemos Soko, to COVID-19

Mr Lemos Soko (47) passed away on 6 August 2020 after battling with COVID-19 in ICU for two weeks. He is the second Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) employee to sadly pass away due to COVID-19 complications. Lemos worked at the GRDM Roads Department since 16 April 1998.

Employees gathered via Zoom today to recollect the fond memories held of Lemos and the impact he had on the institution throughout his 22-year employ. During the meeting, Alderman Memory Booysen (Executive Mayor for GRDM), Mr Monde Stratu (Municipal Manager), Mr John Daniels (Executive Manager for Roads Services), Mr Japie Strydom (Manager: Construction and Mechanical Services) and Mr Gert Verwey (Deputy Manager: Operations) shared their fond memories of him. “He was a gentle giant and always willing to go the extra mile,” are some of Lemos’ key personality traits that GRDM’s representatives shared.

Lemos Soko at work in front of one of the many Roads machines he could operate.

Lemos spent his first few years at GRDM working as part of the Harold Construction Team. Over the past few years he worked alongside a maintenance team in the Friemersheim area. In describing his skills and work ethic, Mr Daniels said, “he was one of the few employees who could operate every roads machine,” and “he went out of his way to ensure that the team’s daily tasks were completed, even though some of these tasks were not his responsibility”.

Mr Simon Mankonkwana, a colleague and best friend of Lemos, described his passing as a huge loss and a void in his life. Lemos also left behind a wife, four (4) children and five (5) grandchildren.

Alderman Booysen shared his condolences and a message of support to everyone present on behalf of Council by saying: “We tend to run out of words during times like these, especially in light of the fact that we are not only loosing colleagues and friends, but also family members.”

“Although we are a big family at the GRDM, we are going to be broken for a long time,” he said.

Ald. Booysen also encouraged employees to try their best to rise above the fear currently experienced, although it is natural to feel scared of such a dreadful disease and its effects on society.  Mayor Booysen said that the GRDM would walk the walk with Lemos’ family and offer its undivided emotional and spiritual support.

Update on the coronavirus by Premier Alan Winde – 26 July

26 July 2020

As of 1pm on 26 July, the Western Cape has 12 359 active cases of Covid-19, with a total of 90 576 confirmed cases and 75 355 recoveries.

Total confirmed Covid-19 cases 90 576
Total recoveries 75 355
Total deaths 2 862
Total active cases (currently infected patients) 12 359
Total number of tests 400 571
Hospital admissions 1 482 of which 274 are in ICU or high care

Data note: It is not always possible to check and verify that the address data supplied for each new recorded case is correct, within the time frames required to provide regular and timely updates. This means that in some instances, cases could be allocated to the wrong sub-districts. We are working with the sub-districts to clean and verify the data and where errors are picked up locally, cases will be re-allocated to the correct areas.

More data is available here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-dashboard

The Western Cape has recorded an additional 21 deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 2862 . We send our condolences to their loved ones at this time.

We need ‘smart’ interventions  in South Africa

This weekend I published an opinion piece on the importance of smart interventions in addressing alcohol harms in South Africa.

To read the full article, and some of the interventions being considered by the Western Cape Government, click here: https://www.news24.com/news24/columnists/guestcolumn/alan-winde-alcohol-ban-south-africa-needs-to-act-smarter-20200725

Media Release: Update on the coronavirus by Premier Alan Winde- recoveries now stand at 68% of all infections

13 June 2020

As of 1pm on 13 June, the Western Cape has 11415 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 39159 confirmed cases and 26736 recoveries.

Total confirmed COVID-19 cases 39159
Total recoveries 26736
Total deaths 1008
Total active cases (currently infected patients) 11415
Tests conducted 230463
Hospital admissions 1331 of which 241 are in ICU or high care

Sub Districts Cape Town Metro:

Sub-district Cases Recoveries
Western 3420 2535
Southern 3613 2506
Northern 2303 1745
Tygerberg 5394 4070
Eastern 3422 2486
Klipfontein 4241 2907
Mitchells Plain 3554 2514
Khayelitsha 4581 3654
Total 30528 22417

Sub-districts:

District  Sub-district Cases Recoveries
Garden Route Bitou 16 15
Garden Route Knysna 89 59
Garden Route George 139 78
Garden Route Hessequa 18 12
Garden Route Kannaland 3 2
Garden Route Mossel Bay 57 29
Garden Route Oudsthoorn 19 9
Cape Winelands Stellenbosch 509 298
Cape Winelands Drakenstein 1418 837
Cape Winelands Breede Valley 674 391
Cape Winelands Langeberg 110 45
Cape Winelands Witzenberg 381 290
Overberg Overstrand 149 82
Overberg Cape Agulhas 20 11
Overberg Swellendam 18 13
Overberg Theewaterskloof 148 92
West Coast Bergrivier 103 69
​West Coast ​Cederberg 10 2
West Coast Matzikama 22 2
West Coast Saldanha Bay Municipality 244 107
West Coast Swartland 235 117
Central Karoo Beaufort West 3 1

Unallocated: 4246 (1758).

More data is available here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-dashboard

The Western Cape has recorded an additional 42 deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 966. We send our condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased at this time.

Recoveries:

The Western Cape has now recorded over 26 000 recoveries, representing a total of 68% of all cases registered to date. In the Tygerberg sub-district which has the highest number of infections in the province, 75% of all cases have recovered so far, and in Khayelitsha which has the second highest number of infections, the recovery rate stands at 79%

Many people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and most will recover without any need for hospitalisation. But this does not mean that we should be any less careful- as you could experience mild symptoms, but you could also pass on the virus to your parents or grandparents, or someone in one of the high risk groups.

People with existing comorbidities are more at risk of becoming severely ill if they contract COVID-19. Those most at risk include those who are:

  • Individuals with comorbidities, at any age
  • 55 years an older, with or without co-morbidities

The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 positive people who have died in the province have had one or more comorbidities.  Co-morbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or conditions occurring with a primary medical condition. The most prevalent comorbidities in deaths due to COVID-19 across all age groups in the Western Cape are diabetes and hypertension.

Other common comorbidities also include HIV, kidney, lung and heart disease.

Deaths:

Today, we have also sadly surpassed the 1000 deaths mark. Each of these people is mourned by loved ones who miss them terribly. They have all played a role in our society- the numbers include essential workers like healthcare workers and law enforcement officers, people who worked hard everyday to provide for their families, parents, grandparents, and people who were part of our communities. We send our deepest condolences to all of those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19.

We know that many more people will become sick and we will lose more lives but we must all do everything we can to ensure that we slow the spread of the virus. We all need to make the golden rules of infection prevention a part of our daily lives. We should all still be staying at home as much as possible, washing our hands regularly and cleaning surfaces like counter tops, desks and door handles at home and at work. When you do leave home, ensure that you are wearing a clean cloth mask and keep that 1.5 metre distance between you and any other person when you’re standing in queues, waiting for the bus or you’re in any area where people are congregating.

For those who fall into the vulnerable groups, it’s important that you continue to take additional steps to protect yourself by staying at home, and being vigilant about hand-washing and hygiene.

These steps can help us all to save lives.

MEDIA RELEASE/ARTICLE: Recovery of indigenous vegetation following the 2017 wildfire disaster remarkable, but regrowth of invasive alien plants on a large scale a reason for concern

5 June 2020

On the eve of the commemoration of the 2017 wildfire disaster which ripped through Knysna and Plettenberg Bay like a blow torch, Cobus Meiring, on behalf of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), asked Knysna Municipality’s Environmental Manager, Pam Booth, about her thoughts on the environmental recovery of the natural environment of the surrounding towns.

Says Booth, “The natural surrounds of both Knysna and Plettenberg Bay reflect what is true of most of the Southern Cape landscape, and that is the sad fact that it is severely affected by invasive alien plants.”

“It is common knowledge that the prevalence of impressive densities of invasive alien plants provided the biofuel that turned the wildfire into the inferno it became, generating heat so incomprehensible that everything in the path of the fires was obliterated.”

Continues Booth, “At the time, there were justified fears that, given the intense heat which the wildfire exerted on the landscape, that the indigenous seed bank in the ground, which would allow Fynbos species such as Proteas and Ericas to recover, was so badly affected that they will never recover, allowing even more of the beautiful landscape to become infested with invasive alien plants over time.”

“One such example was the invaluable terrain that is harbouring the unique set of plants sustaining the world-famous and endemic Brenton Blue butterfly. As confirmed now, the Brenton Blue is safe and sound, and much is being done by Brenton locals to ensure that invasive alien plants do not encroach on the town, giving indigenous vegetation a chance to recover, whilst reducing fire risk and creating jobs at the same time.”

“Fortunately, the plant species counted in the Southern Cape and Garden Route Fynbos Biome is a hardy species, which by nature are dependent on fire for survival and rejuvenation. Even as conservationists feared for the worst, the Fynbos came back, and after two seasons of favourable rainfall, the hills around Knysna and Brenton are alive with wildflowers of all kinds already standing two meters tall in places,” says Booth.

Regrowth of invasive alien plants poses a threat

According to Booth, the regrowth of invasive alien plants is a matter of great concern.

“It is true that in a great many places where invasive alien plants were present in numbers before the fire, they also grew back with a vengeance. This is a matter of great concern to all, as that may well set the scene for a repeat of the 2017 disaster in the coming years. Government is coming down hard on landowners who defies the laws governing the prevalence of invasive alien plants on their land, and already a number of landowners have received pre-directives and directives to either clear their land or face the court and the penalties associated.”

“Efforts by entities such as the Table Mountain Fund, WWF SA and the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) to empower and assist landowners to deal with the regrowth of invasive alien plants did make an impact, and private land bordering river systems such as the Knysna and Goukamma today is in a better state of invasive alien plant infestation than before the wildfire disaster.”

The Garden Route, including Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, is a jewel in South Africa’s crown of scenic tourist destinations. Thousands of jobs and the socio-economic survival of the area are dependent on its natural surrounds.

“Not only is it based on this premise that we implore landowners to manage invasive plants on their land, but also for the sake of biodiversity conservation which is also facing the impact of a changing climate and an ever-increasing human and development footprint,” says Booth.

*Sunday 7 June marks the commemoration of the 2017 Knysna wildfire disaster.

Photo: Fynbos in Brenton

Despite fears that the intensity of the 2017 wildfire disaster destroyed the underground seed bank of indigenous vegetation, Fynbos has made a remarkable recovery in the Garden Route. (Photo: SCLI)

** The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) is a public platform and think tank for landowners and land managers with an interest in invasive alien plant management, water stewardship and land management. SCLI is supported by the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), a subsidiary of WWF SA. SCLI also manages the Secretariat of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

** The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. The forum aims to coordinate regional conservation efforts, serve as a catalyst to drive climate adaption practices in the Southern Cape and strive to establish a better-coordinated approach to environmental management.

 MEDIA ENQUIRIES

  1. Pam Booth:Manager, Environmental Manager, Knysna Municipality

Cell: 082 875 0342 / 079 208 7855

Email: pbooth@knysna.gov.za

  1. Cobus Meiring:Chairperson of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) and Chair of the Garden Route Environmental Forum

Cell: 083 626 7619 / Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

Media Release: Update on the coronavirus by Premier Alan Winde

27 May 2020

As of 1pm on 27 May, the Western Cape has 7660 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16 551 confirmed cases and 8504 recoveries.

Total confirmed COVID-19 cases 16551
Total recoveries 8504
Total deaths 387
Total active cases (currently infected patients) 7660
Total number of tests 133 489
Hospital admissions 660 of which 182 are in ICU or high care

Sub Districts Cape Town Metro:

Sub-district Cases Recoveries
Western 1705 932
Southern 1967 762
Northern 1031 563
Tygerberg 2553 1497
Eastern 1464 843
Klipfontein 2071 1004
Mitchells Plain 1613 861
Khayelitsha 2150 1331
Total 14554 7793

Sub-districts:

District  Sub-district Cases Recoveries
Garden Route Bitou 14 6
Garden Route Knysna 47 22
Garden Route George 65 22
Garden Route Hessequa 12 9
Garden Route Kannaland 1 1
Garden Route Mossel Bay 29 22
Garden Route Oudtshoorn 10 3
Cape Winelands Stellenbosch 137 56
Cape Winelands Drakenstein 412 116
Cape Winelands Breede Valley 140 40
Cape Winelands Langeberg 12 4
Cape Winelands Witzenberg 231 194
Overberg Overstrand 38 19
Overberg Cape Agulhas 6 2
Overberg Swellendam 10 6
Overberg Theewaterskloof 45 10
West Coast Bergrivier 28 13
​West Coast ​Cederberg 2 0
West Coast Matzikama 2 0
West Coast Saldanha Bay Municipality 49 12
West Coast Swartland 53 24
Central Karoo Beaufort West 2 0

Unallocated: 652 (130)

Additional data can be found on the dashboard at www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus.

The Western Cape has recorded an additional 30 COVID-19 deaths-bringing the total number of deaths from the virus in the province to 387. We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased at this time.

Quarantine and isolation facilities:

Earlier today, Minister of Transport and Public Works Bonginkosi Madikizela and I had the opportunity to visit a 300 bed quarantine and isolation facility which has been furnished and donated by Old Mutual.

Facilities such as these are important in the response to COVID-19 as they allow for people who don’t need medical treatment, but do not have the space or the means to self-isolate and quarantine at home, to do so in a space that is safe and comfortable.

To date, 1337 people have been admitted to isolation and quarantine sites across the province. As at 25 May, there were 325 people in designated isolation facilities (282 in the Cape Metro and 43 in Rural) and 137 in quarantine facilities (34 persons in Cape Metro and 103 persons in Rural Districts).

As we move closer towards the peak in the province, the need for quarantine and isolation space will escalate drastically. The Western Cape Government has activated or is in the process of activating over 3500 quarantine and isolation beds with several thousand more in the pipeline.

We thank Old Mutual for their generous donation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Isolation and quarantine facilities are just one aspect of our health systems preparedness as the province has also started work on temporary hospital facilities such as the CTICC and built 19 testing and triage centres at hospital across the province. We have put out a call for volunteers with medical experience and have placed orders for necessary medical equipment including PPE and ventilators.

Level 3 from 1 June:

I welcome the clarity provided by National Health Minister Zweli Mkhize today regarding the move to level 3. Minister Mkhize confirmed that the entire country will move down to level 3 on 1 June.

The Western Cape Government is mindful that the lockdown has placed severe pressure on the people of this province, and created a massive need for humanitarian assistance and relief. A move to level 3 will allow more people to return to work, and allow them to put food on the table for their families. It will however, also require increased vigilance from every single person to ensure that they are protecting themselves and their loved ones.

The Western Cape Government is implementing its targeted hotspot strategy in the areas where the highest numbers of infections occur. This whole of government response, will also require co-operation from all residents and from business, community groups, NGOs and civil society to ensure that it is successful.

Level 3 will require us to act with greater consideration for our own safety and the safety of those around us. Hygiene measures such as washing our hands regularly and keeping workspaces clean, and coughing into a tissue or your arm remain of utmost importance. We must still stay home as much as possible and avoid large gatherings. Always keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from any other person and wear a clean, cloth mask when outside of the home. If you feel sick or unwell, stay at home. These measures have the ability to significantly flatten the curve of infection if everyone commits to them.

“One Day” tourism campaign launched to inspire future travellers to the Western Cape

28 April 2020

The Western Cape government is excited to launch the “One Day” campaign to support the tourism industry in the Western Cape during the Coronavirus crisis.

This innovative campaign was developed by Wesgro, and uses digital platforms like Zoom backgrounds and a Spotify podcast series to showcase our beautiful province. Included are virtual tours via guides in all regions, which aim to support industry and remind travellers that one day Cape Town and the Western Cape will again be open for them to discover.

The campaign has launched with an exciting competition to win a trip to one of our One Day destinations when it is safe to do so.

Find out more here 👉 https://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/one-day-tourism-campaign-launched-inspire-future-travellers