News

New developments on the Regulation governing general hygiene requirements for food premises and the transport of food

According to World Health Organisation statistics, an estimated 600 million people in the world fall ill because of contaminated food. A shocking 420 000 of these cases result in deaths.

The National Department of Health is responsible for ensuring the safety of food in South Africa. To this end, the Department promulgates relevant legislation to regulate the production, distribution, and preparation of food.

New innovations in food production, as well as the re-emergence of food-borne diseases, require that legislation is amended to address changing conditions and environments.

The National Department of Health promulgated REGULATIONS GOVERNING GENERAL HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD PREMISES, THE TRANSPORT OF FOOD AND RELATED MATTERS, R 638 OF 22 JUNE 2018 under the FOODSTUFFS, COSMETICS AND DISINFECTANTS ACT, 1972 (ACT 54 OF 1972) 

The Municipal Health Department of Garden Route District Municipality has the legislative responsibility to enforce Regulation 638 in its area of jurisdiction. With the additions to Regulation 638, it is deemed necessary to communicate the application of the regulation to the general public.

Take note: Regulation 638 replaced Regulation 962 of 23 November 2012 and Regulation 918 of 30 July 1999. Certificates of Acceptability (COA) issued in terms of repealed regulations, expire on 22 June 2019. This means that all food premises, new and existing, have to be in possession of a new Certificate of Acceptability issued under Regulation 638 by said date under the name of Garden Route District Municipality.

Regulation 638 is applicable to every establishment that handles, prepares, transport and/or sells food to the general public. Accordingly, all such establishments are required to be in possession of valid Certificates of Acceptability (COA).

It is important to note that the Certificate of Acceptability is:

  • issued in terms of Regulation 5 and 6, addressing the Standards and requirements for food premises and the standards and requirements for facilities on food premises, respectively;
  • issued in the name of the person in charge of the premises and not in the name of the establishment. “Person in charge” is a natural person who is responsible for the food premises or the owner of the food premises;
  • Not transferable from one person to another person or from one food premises to another;
  • a person may not effect changes in respect of food premises for which a

Certificate of acceptability has been issued in terms of sub-regulation (5), relating to the provisions of regulations 5 and 6, without informing the local authority in advance and in writing of such changes; and

  • a Certificate of Acceptability must be clearly displayed on the food premises for which it was issued. Should display of a certificate be impractical, it should immediately be made available upon request by the Environmental Health Practitioner or the general public.

How do I apply for a COA?

  • A fully completed, written application form has to be submitted to the relevant local District Municipality, in this case, the Garden Route District Municipality.   An amount of R190.00 is payable as an administration fee for the 2018/2019 financial year.
  • If an Environmental Health Practitioner, after having carried out an inspection, is satisfied that the food

premise concerned, complies with the provisions of Regulations 5 and 6; a local authority in all respects, he or she shall issue a Certificate of Acceptability in the name of the person in charge.

 Does one need specific or specialised training as the person in charge of food premises?

The person in charge of food premises must ensure that –

  • He or she and any other person working on the food premises, are suitably qualified or otherwise adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and hygiene. The training must be conducted by an accredited training provider or by an Environmental Health Practitioner of the relevant District Municipality; in this case Garden Route District Municipality.
  • Assessments are conducted to determine the impact of the training.
  • Training programmes and records are kept and routinely updated and are made available to an Environmental Health Practitioner on request.
  • Evidence of accredited training must be submitted to the relevant District municipality before/on 22nd June 2019.

Please contact the Garden Route District Municipal Health offices in your area, should you need more information with regards to any aspect of the Regulation.

George: 044 8031522

Mossel Bay: 044 693 0006

Hessequa: 028 713 2438

Oudtshoorn: 044 272 2241

Knysna: 044 382 7214

Plettenberg Bay: 044 501 1600

ENDS

GRDM officials excel during 2018 SAIEH

The South African Institute of Environmental Health (SAIEH) in partnership with the Swiss Embassy, South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Department of Agriculture (Veterinary Service) and the City of Cape Town hosted the 21st National Conference in Environmental Health, at the City of Cape Town council chambers from 16-19 November 2018.

The theme of the conference “One Health – An Environmental Health Perspective”, aimed to demonstrate an integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

A proud Executive Manager of the GRDM Community Services with his research team and the Portfolio Councillor. Fltr: Ms Maxwelline Fatuse, Mr Gcobani Tshozi, Ms Jessica Erasmus, Ms Heidi Cronje, Ms Sive Mkuta, Mr Clive Africa (Executive Manager), Ms Wandile Magwaza, Mr Lusizo Kwetshube, Cllr Khayalethu Lose (Portfolio Chairperson), Ms Ivy Mamegwa and Ms Emmy Douglas.

The Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Executive Manager of Community Services, Mr Clive Africa attended the 4 (four) day conference, accompanied by his leading team of professionals within the field of Environmental Health. The GRDM Municipal Health Services (MHS) submitted nominations for the Best Municipality and Best Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) awards. The Municipal Health App Project has been nominated for this Award. The Municipality has been awarded as one out of three municipalities, with the Best Environmental Health Project.

Since the implementation of the Municipal Health App, the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners experience a lot of benefits in conducting their daily inspections.  The App assists EHPs to capture information electronically on site, without writing reports afterwards.  This method assists them to do more inspections and be more productive while they are out in the field and interventions can then be executed immediately. This method also enables EHPs to do more inspections and save more lives.

The GRDM resolved and implemented paperless council meeting agendas a few months ago in their effort to go green to save the planet.

Breakdown of inspections by GRDM

2013 – 2014 financial year – 31 351 inspections

2014 – 2015 financial year – 41 367 inspections

2015 – 2016 financial year – 43 122 inspections

2016 – 2017 financial year – 50 893 inspections

2017 – 2018 financial year – 51 986 inspections

Garden Route DM delegates with the awards received during the gala event.

Mr Francois Koelman, an EHP from the GRDM Oudtshoorn office received a trophy for being one of the Best Environmental Health Practitioners in South Africa. This award is also one out of three nominees at a national level.  Mr Koelman was not present during the award ceremony, but his colleagues received this remarkable award on his behalf. “We are very proud of our colleague and would like to congratulate him on this great achievement – hard work definitely pays off.”

The Saturday and Sunday’s jam-packed programme was attended by various intellectuals in the environmental health sector.  The GRDM research team (which was an initiative of the Executive Manager, Mr Africa), Ms Maxwelline Fatuse, Ms Jessica Erasmus, Ms Sive Mkuta, Ms Ivy Mamegwa and Mr Clive Africa presented scientific papers on the following research topics:

  • Adulterated honey in South Africa;
  • the effects of consuming toxic chemicals used in fake alcohol beverages on human health and the community;
  • counterfeit food; and
  • counterfeit medicine.
The GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen with the EHPs who delivered presentations on day 2 of the conference.

Ms Emmy Douglas who also acted as research supervisor and project leader, did a sterling job in coaching EHPs in delivering a quality research project and research presentations.

On Monday, a field trip was undertaken by delegates to the Goodwood Disaster Centre and the Swiss Housing project in Khayalitsha.

The last item on the program was the compilation and discussion of resolutions that were taken during the conference. One of the resolutions taken was to approach the National Health Laboratories and discuss their service delivery to the public. The possibility of establishing an accredited laboratory in South Africa, as most of the critical scientific testing can only be done overseas at a very costly price was also raised at the conference. Results for these complex tests also take a long time which could negatively influence the health of our communities.

Firefighters battle blazes for a month

On 21 October 2018 wildfires ignited in Vermaaklikheid near Riversdale in Hessequa. A few days later, more wildfires started in the George municipal area. The Disaster Management Centre of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recorded 12 wildfires over the month of October/November 2018, which also resulted in the death of 9 people, including a Working on Fire pilot.

Said to be one of the biggest wildfires recorded since the great wildfire of 1869, the Garden Route is facing a new “normal”. The change can be seen across the globe and it is almost common knowledge that climate change is not on our side. This poses an important question – how can we address this? Can we prevent these type of occurrences in the future or are we doomed?

In short, the Head of Disaster Management at Garden Route District Municipality, Mr Gerhard Otto explains: “ Municipalities and stakeholders, together as a collective we have to develop a system to better plan for fires in our wildland-urban interphase (WUI). Our town planners need to factor wildland fire risk into future development planning and our bylaws, as well as building codes, will have to be altered to ensure resilience to this type of fire incidents. With this, I mean that there should be adequate by-laws in place to address issues like high fire hazard areas. When we look at the urban fringes (where homes at the edge of neighbourhoods meet the forests), inhabitants should be made aware of the fire risk in these areas and a defensible space should be created around all properties not only to create a buffer area but also to provide a space from where firefighters could launch their firefighting actions when fires do approach these areas. In my opinion, the current fragmented approach to fire service delivery is central to many of our challenges, the sooner we centralise firefighting services by establishing a metropolitan municipality and address integrated veld fire management the better – “all efforts should be coordinated from one central authority”. He also added: ”During the recent wildfires, we managed to pull resources from all over South Africa together to work at our Joint Operations Centre at the GRDM head office. I know that since last year’s Knysna fires we have improved the way in which we do things, but there is always room for improvement”.

The following role players must be thanked for their selfless dedication to protect our communities and infrastructure over the past month: Provincial Disaster Management Centre, Working on Fire (WoF), South African National Defence Force, Cape Nature, SANParks, George Municipality, Knysna Municipality, Oudtshoorn Municipality, Bitou Municipality, Hessequa Municipality, Mossel Bay Municipality, Kannaland Municipality, Overberg DM, Cape Winelands DM, West Coast DM, City of Cape Town, Various NGOs and FBOs (Lions Alert, Rotary SA, Gift of the Givers, Garden Route Rebuild), SPCA, National and Provincial Departments, Department of Health, EMS, Human settlements, Rural Development, Housing Development Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, SASSA, DSD, ESKOM, Department of Transport, Provincial Traffic and SAPS.

Garden Route DM and role-players officially launch its “16 Days for No Violence against Women and Children campaign”

This year, on 23 November 2018, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) kicked off their “16 Days of Activism Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children” at their head-office in George.

The official launch took place at the GRDM and attracted a full house of representatives from local municipalities in the district, the South African Police Service, the Department of Social Services, Correctional Services, Phambili Centre and Working-on-Fire (WOF), who took hands with the municipality in this endeavor.

In officially opening the event, Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, lit a candle in remembrance of the victims of violence, more specifically women and children.  The spirit in the chambers immediately changed when Acting Speaker of GRDM, Cllr Barnie Groenewald, welcomed the guests with the words: “Stand up, speak out, act, love and protect”.  WOF representatives performed a song and poem depicting the trauma women experience when they fall victim to violence.

Acting Speaker of GRDM, Cllr Barnie Groenewald, welcomed the audience with the words: “Stand up, speak out, act, love and protect,” during the event.
Representatives from Working-on-Fire delivered a song and poem during the event.

Sector Commander for the Garden Route cluster, Major-General Oswald Reddy, from the South African Police Service (SAPS), after announcing that a total of 54 to 57 people are murdered on a daily basis in South Africa, stated:  “We live in a violent society where people have a high level of intolerance”.  Reddy advised that people should use conflict resolution management to deal with disagreements and not use violence as a resolution.  Among the 2017/2018 statistics revealed by Sergeant Adele van der Pool, 15 women and 14 children were murdered; 200 women and 104 children were sexually assaulted; 226 children and 321 women were raped.  Van der Pool further revealed that 2 824 assaults were reported of which 250 were children and 991 women. Investigating Officer, Sergeant Booysen, pleaded to all representatives present: “For months, mothers, aunts and teachers are aware of violent cases that were never reported – we need you to stand up and talk, whether the perpetrator is your husband or boyfriend, let us stand together and work as a team”.

Area Commissioner at the Department of Correctional Services, Ms Ndileka Booi, during her speech at the event.
Ms Zingiswa William, Community Development Supervisor: Eden & Central Karoo, at the Department of Social Services, elaborated on the Department’s Victim Empowerment Programme during her speech.

Area Commissioner for Correctional Services, Ms Ndileka Booi, during her speech stated that there are 13 cases of women who are currently sentenced at the Oudtshoorn Correctional facility after they have committed a crime as a reaction to abuse.  Now they have to serve years of imprisonment, which could have been prevented, if they had reported their cases before they committed the crime.

Ms Zingiswa Williams from the Department of Social Development, informed the audience about the Department’s three-fold Victim Empowerment Programme which is designed to support and empower victims of violence, whether the victims are referrals or intakes. Read more about the programme at https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/social-development/services/1069/37714.

Cllr Khayalethu Lose, Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services at GRDM, signed the pledge in his support for no violence against women and children.
Sector Commander for the Garden Route cluster, Major-General Oswald Reddy from the South African Police Service (SAPS) signing the pledge.

An activist for “No Violence against Women and Children” and resident of the Phambili Centre in Rosemoor, George, Ms Christelle Damons, shared her personal story with the audience and spoke about how she was abused and how the experience repeated itself over and over again.  Through all these years she also made wrong choices, but she lifted herself up when she reported the case to SAPS. SAPS consequently advised her to be accommodated by the Phambili Centre in Rosemoor.  The Centre accommodated her and took care of her and her two children during this traumatic time of her live.  Her final message to the audience was: “It does not matter what you went through, talk to somebody or report the case”.

From left are: Social Worker at Phambili Centre, Ms Colleen Stoffels, Portfolio Chairperson for Rural Development at GRDM, Cllr Joshlyn Johnson, Motivational Speaker and Activist for Violence against Women and Children, Ms Christelle Damons, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Garden Route DM Executive Mayor, Mr Simphiwe Dladla, Executive Deputy Mayor of Garden Route DM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, Sergeant Adele van der Pool from the SAPS and Garden Route DM Portfolio Chairperson for Finance, Cllr Jerome Lambaatjeen.
Portfolio Chairperson for Rural Development at GRDM, Cllr Joslyn Johnson, extended a word of appreciation to all role-players who took hands with Garden Route District Municipality by creating awareness about violence against women and children.

Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, in her keynote address, urged members of the community and all present to always listen to their children.  “We need to take everything that our children share with us serious and we need to ACT.  Cllr Ruiters added: “Sometimes parents or family members hear what the children say, but we often do not believe them, due to our perception of the accused.  We cannot ask our children to be open towards us as parents, yet we listen to them with a selective ear or we do not believe everything they say”.

With these words, she closed off: “Let us continue to be active and vibrant custodians to fight all forms of violence against women and children and let us encourage our communities to report these crimes and through this, we all will be the beneficiaries of a better and healthier Garden Route district”.

In closing, representatives present signed a pledge to support all women and children in the Garden Route in the fight against abuse, after which GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Rural Development, Cllr Joslyn Johnson thanked all representatives who took hands with GRDM and who attended the event.

Arabic posters about health and hygiene distributed to Knysna residents

The recent collaborative “Blitz” operations that were undertaken by various stakeholders, to inspect the informal ”spaza shop” sector, prompted Environmental Health Officials (EHPs) of the Knysna Municipal Health Services to assist South African citizens from foreign  countries that are currently conducting business within the greater Knysna, with health and hygiene awareness.

Initially, the language barrier was a huge challenge which exists between foreigners, especially the Moslim communities from Bangladesh, Somalia and Ethiopia. This inspired  EHPs from the Knysna office to design and  compile a  Health and Hygiene Awareness poster  in the most general – spoken  Arabic  dialect. These posters will assist shop owners with the legal requirements that are required within the applicable legislation as prescribed by the Foodstuff, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act, Act 54 of 1972.

Mr James McCarty busy to train and educate the members of the Moslim business sector.

The following focus areas were included on the posters:

  • Procuring foodstuff from certified retailers.
  • Selling of compromised foodstuff.
  • Temperature control labelling.
  • Expired foodstuff.

This project is aimed towards the 2018 World Environmental Health Day theme of, “Global Food Safety and Sustainability” and will be rolled out to the other local authorities within the Garden Route District.

On Friday, 16 November 2018 during a ceremony that was held in Hornlee at the Knysna Musallah Mosquee, the posters were handed over to the designated representatives of the Moslim business sector community of Knysna by the local Environmental Health Practitioners, Mr James McCarthy and Mr Linden Herwells.

During the ceremony, the local Muslim business sector and the Imam of the Knysna Musallah expressed their gratitude towards this gesture.  They also committed themselves to provide safe food to the community of Knysna.

Severe Weather Alert

Hazard Alert Level Valid From (SAST) Valid To (SAST)
Heavy rain Watch 27/11/18 06h00 28/11/18 06h00
Heavy rain is expected in places over the Overberg District and the coastal areas of the Garden Route District today (Tuesday) into tomorrow morning (Wednesday).

Description: Strong damaging winds
Strong damaging winds often occur along coastal regions, but also often occur during thunderstorm activity. These winds are sudden and can cause much damage.

Precautions:  Strong damaging winds
Stay indoors where possible away from the windows that open towards the severe winds. Be aware of the following: – sudden cross winds if traveling especially between buildings, fallen trees or power lines and flying debris.
Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary or protected bay.
Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Description: Flooding / Heavy Rain

Flooding occurs when water overflows its normal channels such as streams and storm water drains. It can occur with prolonged period of rain, with continuous heavy falls or in the form of flash floods which are usually associated with severe thunderstorms. Heavy rain may also result in river flooding causing damage downstream to areas that may receive no rainfall at all during the flooding event.

Precautions: Flooding / Heavy Rain

If possible stay indoors and off the roads, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles. If trapped in flooding in a vehicle, abandon it and climb to higher ground. In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level. Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building. In rural areas protect/relocate animals to a safe place on higher ground. Abandon your home immediately if evacuation is recommended, before access is cut off by flood water. NEVER drive on a road covered by water. You do not know how deep it is or if the road has been washed away. If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to recognize flood dangers. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

Duty Forecaster (Cape Town Regional Office – 04h00-20h30)
Tel: +27 21 935 5777
Duty Forecaster (National Forecasting Center – 20h30-04h00)
Tel: +27 12 367 6041
Fax: +27 21 934 3296
E-mail: factfc@weathersa.co.za

Disposal of the Dead

Section 24 of the CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH AFRICA, 1996, (ACT NO. 108 OF 1996) states that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being, and to have the environment protected through reasonable legislative measures.  Environmental Health Practitioners are appointed in terms of the NATIONAL HEALTH ACT, 2003 (ACT NO 61 OF 2003) and has the legislative responsibility to enforce legislation to protect the general public.

Environmental Health Practitioners perform functions as listed in the SCHEDULE OF THE SCOPE OF PROFESSIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH (GOVERNMENT NOTICE R888 OF 26 APRIL 1991).  Nine (9) key performance areas are listed as the roles and functions of Municipal Health Services of which one is the disposal of the dead.

The disposal of the dead is governed by THE REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE MANAGEMENT OF HUMAN REMAINS, NO. R.363 OF 22 MAY 2013 (R363) promulgated under the NATIONAL HEALTH ACT, 2003 (ACT NO 61 OF 2003).

 Disposal of the dead involves;

  • The monitoring of funeral undertakers, mortuaries, embalmers, crematoriums, graves and cemeteries for compliance; and
  • The management, control and monitoring of exhumation, reburial and the disposal of human remains.

The Municipal Health Department of the Garden Route District Municipality is responsible for the issuing of a Certificate of Competency to an operator who carries out any of the abovementioned activities.

To obtain a Certificate of Competency, the following process must be followed:

  • A written application must be submitted to the relevant authority in the area of jurisdiction where the premises is located (Garden Route District Municipality).
  • After evaluation and careful consideration of the application, an Environmental Health Practitioner will conduct a site visit.
  • If the Environmental Health Practitioner is of the opinion that the premises comply with the relevant legislation, a Certificate of Competence will be issued for a premises.

Take note: a Certificate of Competency is valid for a period of two (2) years from the date issued, therefore the Owner or Manager must apply in writing for a new certificate.

New funeral undertakers are required to follow a public participation process, before submitting an application for a Certificate of Competence.  A notice must be published in the local newspaper, not less than 21 days, before submitting an application.  The notice must be published in the main language of the area, as well as an additional language.

The notice shall contain all the relevant information of the local authority where the application will be submitted, to allow the opportunity for the public to submit any comments with substantiated representations to such local authority.

During regular inspections it is the responsibility of the Environmental Health Practitioner to ensure that the following facilities are available on the premises to ensure compliance with Regulation 363, namely;

  • A preparation room for the preparation of human remains;
  • Change-rooms, separate for each sex, for the use by the employees employed at such premises;
  • Refrigeration facilities for the refrigeration of human remains;
  • Facilities for the washing and cleansing of utensils and equipment inside the building;
  • Facilities for the cleansing of vehicles on such premises, equipped with approved drainage systems,
  • Facilities for the loading and unloading of human remains; and
  • Facilities for backup source electricity, in the case of power failure.

Exhumation and reburials of human remains

No exhumations and reburials of human remains shall take place without the written consent and/or approval from relevant local government or a court order issued by a magistrate.  An exhumation approval cannot be issued without a reburial permit.  These permits shall only be granted on condition that the exhumation of the human remains is done by a registered undertaker.

An exhumation must take place:

  • When the cemetery is not open to the public.
  • Under the supervision of the officer-in-charge.
  • In the presence of a member of the South African Police Services (SAPS).
  • Under the supervision of an Environmental Health Practitioner.

It is the responsibility of the Environmental Health Practitioner to monitor the process to ensure that no health nuisance or hazard is caused and/or arise during the exhumation.

Any complaints related to the operations and/or activities of funeral undertakers, mortuaries or crematoriums, must be logged at the respective Regional offices within the Garden Route District Municipality.

Public Awareness:  Vector Control

Vector control is an important component of many disease control programmes.  It is a cornerstone of very effective campaigns to control vector-borne diseases. For a number of diseases where there is no effective treatment or cure, such as West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever (not endemic to the Garden Route), vector control remains the only way to protect populations.

Vector control is any method to limit or eradicate the mammals, birds, insects or other blood-feeding arthropods, collectively called vectors, which transmit disease pathogens. Mosquitoes are the best-known invertebrate vector and it transmits a wide range of tropical diseases, including Malaria, Dengue and Yellow fever. Another large group of vectors is flies.

However, even for vector-borne diseases with effective applications, the high cost of treatment remains a huge barrier to a large number of developing countries. Vector-borne diseases are transmitted by the bite of infected arthropod species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, bugs and sand flies. Despite being treatable, malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitos in Africa, has by far the greatest impact on human health. A child in Africa dies of malaria every minute, although vector control measures that have been in effect since 2000, reduced fatalities with 50%.

As the impact of diseases and viruses are devastating, the need to control the vectors in which the disease or viruses are carried, continues to be prioritised. Vector control in many developing countries can have tremendous effects on mortality rates, especially among infants. The high movement of populations causes  diseases to spread rapidly – the Garden Route District cannot be excluded from this migration trend.

Control measures:

  1. Remove or reduce areas where vectors can easily breed. This will limit their growth, for example, the removal of stagnant water, riddance of old tyres and cans that serves as mosquito breeding environments.
  2. Limit exposure to insects or animals that are known disease vectors can reduce infection risks significantly, for example, window screens or protective clothes can help reduce the likelihood of contact with vectors.
  3. Chemical control by using insecticides, rodenticides or repellents to control vectors.
  4. Biological control, the use of natural vector predators such as bacterial toxins or botanical compounds can help control vector populations, for example, using of fish that eat the mosquito larvae.

Prevent vectors by wearing light coloured, long sleeved shirts and long pants, tucked into socks or boots. Use repellent on exposed skin and clothing, to protect yourself from being bitten by mosquitos, sand flies or ticks. Simple hygiene measures can reduce or prevent the spread of many diseases.

Avoid vector-borne diseases:

  1. Before travelling, vaccinate against diseases prevalent at your destination for example, Yellow fever. Antimalarial medicines is also available.
  2. Use window screens to control mosquitoes.
  3. Sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, if in a place or area with a malaria risk.
  4. Check your body regularly for ticks. If you find one, remove it with a tweezers and apply a skin disinfectant. In a tick- infested area, check your clothing, luggage and other belongings.
  5. Avoid contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people or animals.
  6. Make sure to keep strict hygiene control of food and avoid unpasteurised dairy products in areas where tick-borne diseases are prevalent.
  7. If bitten and did receive treatment abroad, please remember to complete your treatment course at home.
  8. If you become ill upon your return, tell your doctor where you have been, as you may have brought a disease back with you.
  9. Child care facilities should treat their sandpits with salt on a regular basis to prevent vectors.

2018 Lights Festival – Mascots Galore for Children

The 2018 Lights Festival will have a jam packed programme running for children with appearances by four of George’s favourite mascots.  Georgie from GO GEORGE says he is the most famous selfie personality in George and is always ready to brighten up your photo with his friendly smile! He loves to tell children all about the marvelous GO GEORGE bus service. Smartie is the new kid on the block and Georgie’s best friend forever. He says he is not such a selfie celebrity yet, but he is  really a bit smarter than Georgie, so it’s okay. Smartie says his  job is to help people understand how to work the new Smart Card. Daantjie Kat loves road safety and he has been teaching children how to use road and where it is safe to play for over 15 years in George.  And the very newest super hero in George will be there as well – Rocky the Recycling Rooster  is a recycling hero and he teaches children all about how cool it is to recycle  their rubbish!

Come and meet your favourite characters from 2pm – 5pm in the cordoned area next to the George Tourism office. Entrance is from York Street. Fun galore for every ages with jumping castles, face painting and other exciting activities. Parents must accompany under age children and Community Development officials identified by orange bibs with name tags will be present to assist on the day.

The youth programme will start on the main stage from 2pm with the Classic Programme starting at 5pm. The switching on of the Festive Season Lights will take place at 8pm followed by a performance by  Emo Adams.

York Street between Hibernia / Langehoven and Courtenay Streets as well as a portion of Cathedral Street will be closed from 12pm in order to ensure the safety of all. Directional signage will be in place. A number of stalls will be available throughout the day from 2pm selling food and other items.

Chantel Edwards-Klose

George Municipality    Manager: Communications

Tel: 044 801 9160 /  082 350 2420

Email cedwardsklose@george.gov.za

Awareness:  Rabies

What is Rabies

Rabies is a contagious and deadly viral disease, causing damage to the brain and the spinal cord. It affects both humans and animals, and in most cases, results in death once the disease symptoms develop.

How is Rabies spread?

The rabies virus is found in the saliva and nervous tissue of infected animals. It is transmitted to humans and other animals through contact with the saliva or tissue of an infected animals; bites, scratches, licks on broken skin and mucous membranes. Once the symptoms of the disease develop, rabies becomes fatal to both humans and animals.

What are the symptoms of rabies in humans?

Rabies symptoms may occur as early as one week and as late as several years after contact with, or bite from an infected animal. Seek treatment immediately after animal bite. Do not wait for symptoms to develop.

The symptoms in humans include:

  • headache and fever;
  • irritability, restlessness and anxiety;
  • muscle pains, malaise, hydrophobia (fear of water) and vomiting;
  • hoarse voice;
  • paralysis;
  • mental disorder;
  • profuse salivation; and
  • difficulty swallowing.

What to do following a bite or contact with a suspected rabid animal?

If been bitten or had contact with a dog or stray animal, a pet or farm animal that is behaving strangely (wild animal becomes friendly or domestic animal became wild), please follow the following steps:-

  • Wash the wound with clean water and soap immediately for at least ten minutes;
  • Apply an antiseptic ethanol or iodine;
  • Immediately consult a doctor for treatment and advice; and
  • Contact your nearest state veterinarian, clinic or doctor.

When should you suspect that an animal is infected with rabies?

Suspect that an animal is infected with rabies when it shows behavioural changes such as restlessness, irritability, excitability and shyness.

How do animals become infected?

Wild and domestic animals can become infected by:

  • When bitten by an infected animal;
  • A fight between a pet and an unknown or stray animal; and
  • A domestic animal with injuries of unknown origin.

How is rabies controlled?

  • Immediately isolate the suspected animal and inform your State Veterinarian.
  • Have your dogs and cats vaccinated regularly (all pets three months or older must be vaccinated).
  • Do not allow your pets to roam the streets.
  • Rabies is a dangerous infection. Do not handle suspected animals.
  • Report all suspected rabies cases to your nearest state veterinarian, animal health technician or to the police.

What animals most often implicated in rabies transmission?

Domestic- dogs, cats, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, pigs, guinea pigs,

Wild- mongoose, suricate mongoose, civet, small spotted genet, caracal, serval, lion, African wildcat, small-spotted cat, felid species, honey badger, striped polecat, striped weasel, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, wild dog, cape fox, aardwolf, brown hyena, ground squirrel, tree squirrel, greater cane cat, cape hyrax, Chakma baboon, warthog, impala, duiker, steenbok, kudu, eland, blesbok, bushbuck, reedbuck, springbuck, burchell’s zebra, herbivore species and scrub hare.

Contact details of the State Veterinarian in our district: Tel 044 8735527