News

A Message of Support to the Class of 2019

The time to seal off your final high school year has arrived. This is the time to recap on all the knowledge your tutors have taught you over the past 12 years.

Work hard to realise your dreams. Should you succeed this time around well done, however if not, never lose hope but pick up the pieces and give it another shot.

You must avoid “time wasters” who might interfere with their state of readiness to write exams. This includes social media, television, late nights gallivanting and all those who do not see the value of education.

Remember the powerful words spoken by our former President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela? He said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” See your matric certificate as a powerful weapon that will ensure that you reach heights that you never thought you could. Education will help open doors for you and enable you to further your studies at a tertiary institution or to enter the job market.

We urge parents not to exert unnecessary pressure on Matriculants; instead, give them unconditional support that will help change their lives for the better.

Good luck to all Matrics of 2019!

Councillor Memory Booysen
Executive Mayor
Garden Route District Municipality

FOR PUBLIC COMMENT – Final Draft Garden Route DM 3rd Generation Integrated Waste Management Plan 2020-2024 – Closing 8 November 2019

Garden Route District Municipality wishes to invite the public to review and provide comment on the 3rd Generation Integrated Waste Management Plan (IWMP).

The IWMP covers the period 2020 – 2025 and defines the municipality’s vision, objectives and targets for waste management.

 The reports will be made available for review at the following locations:

 Garden Route Municipal Offices (during office hours)

Hard copies of the GRDM IWMP will be made available at the following locations:

GRDM Head Office 54 York Street, George (Tel: 044 803 1300)
Knysna Satellite Office 24A Queen Street, Knysna (Tel: 044 382 7214)
Mosselbay Satellite Office C/O Marlin & Samson Street, Mosselbay (Tel: 044 693 0006)
Plettenberg Bay Satellite Office 7 Gibbs Street, Plettenberg Bay (Tel: 044 501 1600)
Oudtshoorn Satellite Office 15 Regent Street, Oudtshoorn (Tel: 044 272 2241)
Riversdale Satellite Office 24 Mitchell Street, Riversdale (Tel: 028 713 2438)

GRDM website: http://www.gardenroute.gov.za/documents/

GIBB’s website: http://projects.gibb.co.za

Public review and commenting period

The IWMP will be available for a period of 21 days from 18 October 2019 to 08 November 2019 for the public to review and provide comment on.  All comments received will be included in the final IWMP.

Submission of comments

Comments on the IWMP can be submitted using the contact details listed below

GIBB Public Participation Office

Mrs Kate Flood

Postal address: PO Box 63703, Greenacres, Port Elizabeth

Physical address: 1st Flood, St. George’s Corner, Central, Port Elizabeth

Email: wastesurvey@gibb.co.za

Tel: 041 509 9150

Fax: 041 363 9300

Garden Route aims to find environmental solutions

In the run-up to its yearly environmental seminar for key stakeholders, the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is looking to find lasting solutions for prevailing regional problems and a myriad new challenges in effective environmental management.

For decades authorities and private landowners have been dealing with the same problems, including non-sustainable land-use and land management best practice, increased fire risks and water security issues, a rapid decrease in natural habitat and biodiversity conservation, and compliance with environmental and agricultural legislation.

The Nels River, like many streams and rivers, is badly affected by invasive alien trees and deliver little or no surface water as a result. The state of rivers in the Garden Route interior is vital to rural communities and agricultural sustainability and requires a plan of action from authorities and private landowners to ensure their survival and optimal performance in the supply of freshwater from stressed catchments.

Over time, managing the Southern Cape environment has become exponentially more difficult, with many new challenges, including climate change, major changes in rainfall patterns, unprecedented wildfires, vast population growth and development, invasive alien plant growth and drought.

Finding new solutions and partnerships are vital

In many respects, national government departments are experiencing difficulties in operational respects, including managing their own assets and land, reduced resources, a low skills base, lack of effective communication, a sustained reactive approach or a complete lack of mandated management and compliance with environmental legislation.

In the Southern Cape, the Garden Route District Municipality and its public and private sector partners, though the Garden Route Environmental Forum, aim to play a leading role in taking on environmental challenges and development of partnerships in order to ensure and encourage a cohesive approach to find sustainable solutions.

What kind of solutions should the region be looking for?

According to Cobus Meiring of the GREF Secretariat, a fresh approach to planning around water security is always a good point of departure. Given the persistent drought in the interior regions, centred around towns like Van Wyksdorp, Calitzdorp, Ladismith and Oudtshoorn, the management of invasive alien plants, amongst other factors, is critical.

“As an example, rivers and catchments feeding the Kamanassie and Raubenheimer dams for Oudtshoorn, and the Nels River feeding Calitzdorp, are systems stressed by invasive alien plants and subsequent degradation. These systems require urgent intervention. However, there is still little information available on exactly what the extent of the problems are, and how to address them.”

Meiring continues to say: “National environmental programmes, in particular, the Working for Water Programme, has proven to be unsustainable in effectively dealing with invasive alien plants in catchments and rivers, and is in effect hampering efforts to assist regional landowners to manage invasive alien plants on their land. The model needs to be urgently revised and adapted given the circumstances.”

Planning for climate change

Climate change will have a definite impact on both the present and future generations living in the Garden Route. Exactly what that impact will be in practical terms, we have little understanding of as yet, but we have to explore what the scenario may look like, and plan in accordance,” Meiring says.

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) will be looking at what the agricultural production scenario will reflect in two decades from now, what are the vulnerabilities of our coastline given the slight rise in ocean levels, stronger storm surges and floods, fire risk to ever-expanding communities and the rural/ urban interface.

  • The Garden Route Environmental Forum’s seminar and key stakeholder event will take place in the George area on 11 December this year to reflect on regional environmental initiatives and planning ahead for 2020. Mandated by the Garden Route District Municipality, the GREF is the premier environmental platform in the Southern Cape.

** 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.

WEBSITE: http://www.scli.org.za/gref

MEDIA ENQUIRIES
1. Cobus Meiring: Garden Route Environmental Forum Secretariat
Cell: 083 626 7619
Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

2. Dr Nina Viljoen: Manager, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM)
Tel: 044 803 1318; Cell: 067 035 9203
Email: nina@gardenroute.gov.za

3. Herman Pieters: Senior Communication Officer, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM)
Tel: 044 803 1419
Email: communications@gardenroute.gov.za

Notice of a Special Council Meeting on 22 October 2019 at 11:00

NOTICE NR 121/2019

 NOTICE OF A SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING ON 22 OCTOBER 2019 AT 11:00

Notice is hereby given in terms of Section 19 of Local Government:  Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000) that a Special Council meeting of the Garden Route District Municipality is scheduled for Tuesday, 22 October  2019 at 11:00 in the CA Robertson Council Chamber, Garden Route District Municipality, 54 York Street, George.

MG Stratu
Municipal Manager
54 York Street
P O Box 12
GEORGE
6530
Tel:   044 803 1300
Fax:  086 555 6303

Notice Number 121/2019
15 October 2019

Download the notice in three languages.

Surveillance and Prevention of Communicable Diseases

One of the nine key performance areas of Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM’s) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP’s) is the “Surveillance and Prevention of Communicable Diseases”. This focus area is especially important as South Africa and many other developing nations, especially least developed nations face a myriad of communicable diseases.

What is a communicable disease?

According to the World Health Organisation, communicable, or infectious diseases, are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Some are transmitted through bites from insects while others are caused by ingesting contaminated food or water.

A variety of disease-producing bacteria and viruses are carried in the mouth, nose, throat and respiratory tract. Conditions such as leprosy, tuberculosis and different strains of influenza (flu) can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and saliva or mucus on unwashed hands.

Sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and viral hepatitis are spread through the exposure to infective bodily fluids such as blood, vaginal secretions and semen. Hepatitis B and C is a significant concern in Africa where many people are unaware of their infections.

Insects play a significant role in the transmission of disease. Bites from Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria parasites that can wreak havoc on high-risk populations such as children under age 5 and pregnant women. It is, however, important to note that Malaria does not occur in the Western Cape, but endemic in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and in Limpopo.  Many diseases are also caused by unsafe water, poor housing conditions and poor sanitation in the Region.

Surveillance of Communicable Diseases

When a Communicable Disease outbreak occurs in the Garden Route, the EHP’s will carry out an investigation, monitor the environment and raise additional health awareness to the affected and surrounding community members. During these investigations the EHP’s will also collaborate with other spheres of government, such as Primary Health Care, to prevent the occurrence and/or manifestation of environmental-related or communicable diseases.

Prevention of Communicable Diseases

Health awareness campaigns rolled out to various communities is still the best approach for educating communities with knowledge and the understanding of communicable diseases.

The different themes of the awareness campaigns focus on personal hygiene, a healthy lifestyle and a safe and healthy environment.

Despite poor areas now having better housing, waste removal, water and sanitation services, many households do not adopt healthy habits and practices in their homes.

Effects of Climate Change

The greatest health burden associated with the effects of climate change will be found in impoverished communities, underscoring the existing weakness in public health systems.

Predicted effects on health include:

  • Injuries and fatalities related to severe weather;
  • food contamination;
  • allergic reactions;
  • respiratory and cardiovascular disease; and

Environmental Health Practitioners have a key role to play in resolving environmental challenges and preventing disease of environmental origin.

Research, monitoring and surveillance are fundamental to the Environmental Health Practitioners if they want to fulfil their primary function of properly identifying, assessing and managing environmental health risks that may cause communicable diseases.

For any information or complaints, contact the GRDM Municipal Health Services at 044 – 803 1300.

Update on the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring: October 2019

The Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Air Quality Management Unit is pleased to announce that the futuristic robotic looking portable ambient air quality monitoring station has returned after repairs at Scentriod in Canada.

The Scentinal SL50 is used by the GRDM’s Air Quality Management Unit for high accuracy screening purposes as well as obtaining baseline information on ambient air quality in a specific air space in the vicinity of proposed new developments. The robot measures all meteorological parameters, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Sulphide, Total reduced sulphates and Amines, Methane, Volatile Organic Compounds and Particulate Matter with sizes of 1, 2.5 and 10 micron.  The equipment plays a pivotal role in managing air shed and determining the potential accumulative effects in a specific air shed.

The station was recently deployed to the Mossel Bay Harbour in order to obtain baseline information on the ambient air quality in the surrounding area.

The 3rd Generation Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) was recently adopted during a council meeting. The AQMP identified potential air quality “hotspots” within the seven (7) municipalities in the region, by means of a dispersion modelling which make use of emission factors and mathematically simulate on how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. The aim of this study was to identify areas of concerns that exist outside the knowledge of the GRDM’s Air Quality Management Unit.

The possible areas of concern are:

  • Bitou: Particulate Matter (PM10)
  • Knysna: Nitrogen Dioxide
  • George: Particulate Matter (PM10)
  • Mossel Bay: Nitrogen Dioxide and odours
  • Oudtshoorn: Particulate Matter (PM10), Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide

Following the identification of the potential areas of concern and pursuing objective 1.5 of the GRDM’s 3rd Generation AQMP, which task the Air Quality Unit to “Initiate and coordinate short-term air quality monitoring projects (where applicable) to verify the dispersion modelling results in potential problem areas”, monitoring will commence in the Knysna, to verify the effect of vehicle emissions in the Main Road of the tourist town.

99-percentile NO2 concentrations along Main Road in Knysna.  Burgundy coloured regions show areas where the air quality standard of 200 µg/m3 may potentially be exceeded.

Subsequent to the Knysna monitoring run, the Scentinal Station will be move to the other areas of concern, namely Bitou and Oudtshoorn.  There are continuous emissions monitoring stations in the George-, Mossel Bay- and Oudtshoorn municipal areas, and the focus will therefore be in regions where there is no permanent monitoring site.

 

Garden Route Environmental Forum launches extensive landowner assistance programme

Landowners in the Garden Route District, as well as the environment they live in, has over the past three years suffered tremendously, as a result of a series of severe wildfire disasters which basically burnt over 200 000 hectares to a tinder.

In a joint effort to assist landowners, the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), a collaborative forum established by the Garden Route District Municipality, launched an extensive landowner assistance programme, aimed at assisting landowners in gathering spatial data on the extent of re-growth of invasive alien plants (IAPs) on their land, and provide technical and herbicide assistance to landowners indicating a willingness to eradicate and control invasive alien plants on their land. The programme is spearheaded by the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) which is the implementing agent for the programme.

According to Cobus Meiring, manager of the GREF Secretariat, and chairperson of SCLI, further objectives of the programme include generating opportunities for regional invasive alien plant control and clearing contractor teams, and empowering landowners in complying with Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) regulations pertaining to the management of IAPs on private land.

In many areas of the western and northern parts of the Garden Route, the crippling drought compounded the effects of the wildfire disasters. In places south of Riversdale, which burnt back in early 2017, the environment only now starts showing signs of vegetation cover.

“As if that is not enough, the vegetation type that makes its appearance first is of the wrong kind, and more often than not consists of dense stands of invasive alien plants, including (and there are many more) Rooikrans, Black Wattle, Blackwood, Long-leaved Wattle, pines of all shape and sizes, Stink Bean, Sesbania, Bluegum and a host of less known varieties such as Pampas Grass and Madeira Vine,” said Meiring.

Government is taking a tough stand on land management, especially invasive alien plant control and eradication.

Following the out-of-control wildfires, authorities are clamping down on landowners allowing their land to become overrun by invasive alien trees and biomass which, if not better managed and controlled, will set the scene for a repeat of the intense 2017 fires.

“However, landowners are in a difficult situation as combating invasive alien plants can be a costly exercise, with relentless and fast re-growth patterns, requiring never-ending commitment and resources from landowners. More often than not, land affected by IAPs are on parcels of land that are not viable from a farming perspective, clustered in areas that are difficult to access on either steep slopes or nestled in deep ravines,” explains Meiring.

“As a first step to better land management and compliance with environmental legislation, governmental officials insist that landowners develop Invasive Alien Plant Control Plans. Complicating matters even further, is that all landowners and estate agents have to make mention of the extent of IAPs on a saleable land as an addendum to a sales agreement.”

GREF will assist participating and qualifying landowners with the compilation of standardised Invasive Alien Plant (IAP) Control Plans, and where applicable, issue herbicide volumes in accordance.

Use of herbicide not ideal, but a crucial tool in managing IAPs on a landscape scale.

Landowners in the Garden Route are serious about living in an environment that is as uncontaminated as possible, and many are against the use of herbicides.

Meiring says the safe use and application of herbicide is imperative to the roll-out of the landowner assistance programme, and participating landowners will be expected to abide by health and safety regulations, and apply herbicide strictly as prescribed by the labels, depending on which type is best suited for the plants they have to treat.

Landowners interested in participating in and registering for the landowner assistance programme can write to: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za or p.buchholz@outlook.com.

** 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

Cobus Meiring: Manager of the GREF Secretariat and Chairperson of SCLI

Cell: 083 626 7619

Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

Notice for Public Comment – Public Private Partnership for the Development, Design, Finance, Maintenance and Operation of a new District Regional Landfill Site

The Garden Route District Municipality, in terms of the provisions of Section 33 of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, No. 56 of 2003 hereby make public its intention to enter into a Municipal Public Private Partnership (Municipal PPP) with a private partner, willing to invest in the financing, design, construction, operation and management of the proposed Garden Route Regional Waste Management Facility including the provision of a hazardous waste cell, bulk transportation of waste, chipping of green waste, the crushing of building rubble and related works as well as alternative waste treatment technologies if such alternative waste treatment technologies can be incorporated on a no additional cost basis.

The proposed Municipal PPP Agreement and an information statement summarising the Municipality’s obligations in terms of the proposed contract can be inspected at the Municipality’s head and satellite offices during the official hours of operation of these offices from 03 October 2019 until 03 November 2019. The Municipal PPP Agreement and information statement will also be available, for the duration of the comment period on the Municipality’s website, www.gardenroute.gov.za.

Click here to download the full advert and click here to download all documents related to this notice.

The Municipal PPP Agreement will be considered for approval by the Municipal Council of the Garden Route District Municipality at its Council meeting to be held at the Municipality’s head-office in George during December 2019.

Members of the local community and other interested parties are invited to submit their comments or representations in respect of the proposed Municipal PPP Agreement to the Garden Route District Municipality before 12:00, 03 November 2019 in a sealed envelope clearly endorsed STAKEHOLDER COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED AGREEMENT FOR A MUNICIPAL PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A REGIONAL LANDFILL FOR THE GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY IN THE MOSSEL BAY AREA” and addressed to: Municipal Manager, Garden Route District Municipality, P.O. Box 12, George, 6530, and to be deposited in the tender box in the foyer of the Garden Route District Municipal head office at 54 York Street, George.

The Information Statement contains more detail on the information requirements to be provided for individuals and/or organisations that are submitting comments.

Any person who wishes to submit comments or representations in respect of the proposed contract who cannot write will be assisted by the Garden Route District Municipality Communication Section at 54 York Street, George.

It must be noted that should the Garden Route District Municipal Council approve this Municipal PPP Agreement during their meeting to be held in December 2019, it will be implemented as soon as possible thereafter.  The agreement as concluded would in terms of Section 84(3) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000 be made available at the municipal head and satellite offices during office hours for public inspection.

Enquiries can be directed to Mr Morton Hubbe at tel 044 693 0006 or to morton@gardenroute.gov.za.

M Stratu
Municipal Manager
Garden Route District Municipality
P.O. Box 12
George 6530

Understanding climate change and associated risks to the Southern Cape with the risk of fire looming large in November

“November marks the month when a year ago over 100 000 hectares either side of the Outeniqua mountains burnt to tinder, with several lives lost and millions of rand of damage to infrastructure and grazing, resulting in significant loss of income to the region, as well as precious jobs lost,” says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI).

“Prevailing drought in the northern and western parts of the region, combined with the 2017 Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Stilbaai/ Riversdale/ Vermaaklikheid wildfire disasters, the damage done to the local economy is an enormously difficult and frightening calculation to make. In as much as the fact that the Southern Cape is a popular destination for those choosing to retire, or for holidaymakers and adventurers, the region is in need of new businesses and a healthy agricultural sector,” says Meiring.

“All indications are that the Southern Cape should place a lot more focus on how we prepare our region for a changing climate, and the risks and opportunity it brings with it”.

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), including the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), continues to explore climate change risks and developments and will be doing a lot more in this regard during the course of 2020 in order to gear up for a challenging and unpredictable environment.

According to Meiring, climate change and continuous fire risks impact in many ways, including a marked reduction in air quality, increased risks in terms of water quality and quantity, lower levels of national and international investment, slow but irreversible loss of biodiversity and a generally lower quality of life for those residing in the area.

“In as much as climate change is clearly irreversible, there is a huge responsibility on both the regional authorities and regional landowners to take ownership of what they can manage and find meaningful ways to work towards a higher quality environment to ensure a better and more sustainable future,” concludes Meiring.

 

Photo: Wildfire – burning plantation

Climate change-related disasters have a very significant impact on the Southern Cape economy and the region is in need of more business investment and healthy and prosperous agricultural and forestry industries. (Photo Credit: Pixaby)

** 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.

** 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).

WEBSITE: http://www.scli.org.za/gref

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Cobus Meiring: Chairperson of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI)

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

Download the Gender-based Violence Resource Guide

Violence and abuse are poison to society. Let’s make it stop.

This booklet aims to provide information to individuals and communities, particularly victims of gender-based violence (GBV), to:

The information provided in this booklet is not a checklist or an exhaustive list of options available to victims of GBV. There are many other organisations which render invaluable services in the fight against the scourge of GBV.

Access the booklet by clicking here: Gender-Based Violence Resource Guide.