Media Release: Statement by the Garden Route District Executive Mayor – Cllr Memory Booysen

Media Release: Statement by the Garden Route District Executive Mayor – Cllr Memory Booysen

For Immediate Release
14 April 2020

As the Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), I want to assure residents of the Garden Route district that even though the world has temporarily turned upside down because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are hard at work to ensure that our economy thrives again.

As a district, we know that the nation-wide lockdown of 35 days has hit several industries and businesses very hard; hence we want to reassure businesses in our District that we are working closely with other key collaborative partners, to provide clarity and credible information to them.

These collaborative partners include:

  • The Western Cape Departments of Economic Development and Tourism
  • Department of Agriculture
  • WESGRO
  • Department of Unemployment and Labour
  • local municipalities
  • South Cape Economic Partnership (SCEP)
  • Business Chambers and -forums
  • Afrikaanse Handels Instituut Wes-kaap (AHI WC)
  • Small Business Forum
  • SEDA
  • business partners

We have established a Garden Route COVID-19 Economy Cluster which aims to assist businesses to navigate through opportunities for business assistance, funding, payment relief, etc.  Three (3) workstreams feed into this cluster namely, Business Continuity, Municipal Local Economic Development and Tourism.

To ensure that we fully understand what issues businesses face during these trying times, we and many others (SEDA, Business Partners, Sake Liga and the George Business Chamber) have initiated surveys to gain a clear picture of how COVID-19 has impacted them. All the data will be used to gain insights that will assist planning for the immediate, and medium to long term takes place, which include:

  • Business Continuity – through this period for the next year while the effects of the virus still have an influence (more so for the Tourism and Hospitality industry);
  • Business Revival / Rebuild – how to look internally at new business ideas to rebuild the local economies as we knew it; and
  • Business Innovation – what is the new normal and what can be done to implement totally new ideas that weren’t there before.

These are only a few of the aspects of our crisis response.

Last week, the Western Cape Government have launched an online tool which businesses can use to find and access appropriate government assistance. This tool can be accessed at https://www.supportbusiness.co.za/covid-19-support-finder/. Businesses can now access the Fund Finder facility through this website, to assess and determine exactly which financial or other assistance their businesses qualify for, be it government or private sector assistance.

We are hopeful that these efforts, structures and processes will help ensure the continuity and resilience of business operations during these turbulent economic times and post the national lockdown period, and in  doing so, minimize the number of job losses resulting from this pandemic.

We want to encourage residents in the district to stay calm, adhere to the lockdown regulations, practice personal hygiene and maintain social distance.  Together we can stop the spread.