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Author: Marillia Veldkornet

26 June 2024 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners ensuring food safety at the Oyster Festival

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners ensuring food safety at the Oyster Festival

For immediate release
26 June 2024

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) based at the Knysna office has prepared for the 41st annual Knysna Oyster Festival well in advance.

They have been planning and are implementing a mitigation and monitoring work schedule before, during and for after the festival.  According to James McCarthy, Chief EHP for the Knysna region: “The purpose of the schedule is to minimise and address any public health issue that might arise at the festival”.

During the first weekend (21- 23 June 2024), thousands of marathon runners were welcomed to Knysna, participating in the annual Knysna Forest Marathon.  The second weekend (28 – 30 June 2024) hosts the Knysna Cycling event which is expected to attract numerous enthusiastic cyclists from across the country.

Pre-festival inspections, as well as inspections during the event are undertaken of all formal and informal food premises, including:

  • Eleven (11) official Oyster potential hotspot food venues have been identified where culinary events will take place for the duration of the festival.
  • Daily inspections at these venues, as well as additional food premises are being undertaken.
  • The local High school sportsground that serves as central Festival “hub “.
  • The return of the ever-popular informal stalls (“Oyster Alley”) at the Festival Ground is a favourite crowd attraction with more than 20 food and craft stores selling their goods to tourists and locals.
  • Inspections are also undertaken at various locations in town, where thousands of oysters are kept under required conditions.

Regular inspections and health surveillance of premises of all related public amenities are undertaken during the festival, including:

  • Public toilet facilities;
  • Accommodation establishments;
  • Festival grounds;
  • Food markets;
  • Tobacco control at premises.


 A strict communication protocol regarding the reporting of any potential communicable disease outbreak between the GRDM and the relevant medical health care providers in the area. This includes both the private and provincial hospitals, general practitioners and pharmacies.

For any additional information regarding the festival, please contact:

Knysna Region
James McCarthy
26A Queen Street, Knysna
E-mail: Tel: 044 382 7214 / Cell: 082 805 9417  /or

Johan Compion
Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services
E-mail: / Tel: 044 803 1300 / Cell: 082 803 5161

Feature Image: Supplied


24 June 2024 Media Release: Civil society participation a boost for conservation in the Southern Cape

Media Release: Civil society participation a boost for conservation in the Southern Cape

For immediate release
24 June 2024

“The Garden Route is blessed with a wealth of biodiversity and some of South Africa’s most scenic natural treasures in beaches, forests, mountains, rivers and lakes,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

The Western Cape natural environment is generally speaking, well protected by Provincial Government from an environmental management perspective. Thus, with capable mandated conservation bodies such as CapeNature and SANParks, as well as several privately owned entities acting as custodians for many nature reserves and conservation areas scattered all over the Province, all bodes well for the future.

A fast-changing climate resulting in natural disasters including storm surges, drought, fire and floods continue to expose the fragility of the region, and even more pressure is being exerted by a steady increase in population and growing demands on natural resources such as water and land for development and agriculture.

GREF is acting as a public platform for conservation and environmental management entities for both mandated and private environmental management entities and is delighted to be able to report that civil society increasingly plays a vital role in protecting natural assets and biodiversity in the Garden Route.

There is a deepening of public understanding that conservation and the protection of biodiversity can happen in small scale e.g. the protection of a wetland or by not clearing all land of fynbos, but that the collective of all the small efforts by landowners and privately led conservancies including the establishment of conservation corridors are making a big difference.

The theme for the GREF 2024 Climate Change and Environmental Management Indaba on 27 June at the Nelson Mandel University: George Campus is “Resilience in action: Building Sustainable Communities amid a Changing Climate”, and civil society will be presenting on a range of issues aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change going forward.

Issued by: The GREF

GREF is a climate change think tank and public platform for conservation and environmental management entities in the Garden Route.

For further enquiries, contact:
Louise Mare

Feature Image: Picture captured in Kannaland during the recent floods. – Supplied


19 June 2024 Update: Gwaiing Road Construction Works, George

Update: Gwaiing Road Construction Project

19 June 2024

The Gwaiing project remains in the construction phase, with a focus on the layer works.

Progress on the project has been delayed by the recent Victoria Street building collapse due to the yellow fleet / trucks that were made available to transport building rubble from the incident. The recent downpour of rainfall in the region also had an impact on the progress to date.

The team is currently constructing the cement-stabilized layer on the right-hand side (RHS) lane, which is the second-to-last layer of the roadworks. Preparation is also underway for the material for the final layer of the RHS lane before it can be transported onto the road. Additionally, work is being conducted on the drainage network to ensure effective stormwater management on the site.

The percentage of completion remains at 78%, as the team is awaiting the test results of a test section that was done to approve the material used for the final layer on the RHS. The program of the specialist machine used for the stabilisation process, has also been affected by the rainfall, and production will commence on that activity as soon as the machine arrives on the site.

The intended final completion date is set for 18 September 2024


18 June 2024 Media Release: Let’s work together to keep healthy and safe this winter

Media Release: Let’s work together to keep healthy and safe this winter

For immediate release
18 June 2024

The Western Cape Department of Health is prioritising the health and safety of all patients during this cold season.  With winter upon us, many people are navigating healthcare facilities visits amidst cold and wet conditions. While winter brings its own set of challenges, we want to ensure that your visit to your local clinic is safe and comfortable.

Healthcare facilities across the province have appointment systems in place to ensure that you can cut down on longer waiting times and arrive at least 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the arrangement with your facility).

Director for Garden and Central Karoo districts, Mr Zee Brickles, encourages residents to make use of the appointment system and to reach out to local facility managers if they have any concerns.

“It’s important that we prioritise the safety and well-being of all people visiting our health facilities, especially our elderly and other vulnerable groups during winter in cold weather.

We ask that you only arrive within the time frame stipulated by your facility and appointment to reduce your waiting time. We also encourage residents to visit the facility when it is open to ensure your safety”.

Here are more ways that we can stay warm and safe this winter:

1. Avoid queues: Reduce early queueing in cold and wet conditions by making use of the appointment system.              By scheduling your visit, you can ensure a smoother experience upon arrival.

  1. Arrive on time: Arriving on time not only helps us to manage queues but can reduce waiting times for others. If you cannot attend your appointment and need to reschedule, please reach out to your clinic to set a new date.
  2. Prioritising vulnerable groups: We understand the importance of protecting our vulnerable patients, such as the elderly and children during cold weather. We ask for your understanding as we prioritise their needs on bad weather days, ensuring their safety and well-being.
  3. Safety first: Your safety is important to us. Queueing in the dark poses a security risk, and we encourage visitors to arrive at the facility at least 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the arrangement with your facility) before their appointment, whenever possible. This precautionary measure ensures visibility and enhances overall safety.
  4. Speak to us, be heard: Your feedback matters. Whether it’s concerns about long queues or discomfort during cold weather conditions. Provide suggestions how we can improve services. We are committed to listening and improving our services. Help us serve you better by sharing your feedback with our facility managers through the following channels:
  • SMS: Send the word “Help” followed by your name, the nature of your suggestion or complaint, facility, and, if applicable, the name of a staff member to 31022.
  • Call: Dial 0860 142 142 and press “1” to speak with a representative.
  • Please Call Me: Reach out via 079 769 1207, and we’ll promptly assist you.
  • Email: Send your concerns to, and we’ll address them with care and urgency.
  • Share anonymous feedback: Share your concerns by adding your name or remaining anonymous. Simply add your feedback to your facility’s suggestion or complaints box.

Keeping healthy at home this winter

In addition to preparing for your visit, it’s important to protect your overall health during the colder month. Remember to stay proactive by getting your flu vaccine at your local clinic and making healthy choices to keep your immune system strong. Here are some additional tips for staying healthy this winter, including simple steps you can take at home:

  • Get your flu shot: Protect yourself and others by getting the flu vaccine. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent seasonal flu and its complications. The vaccine, simply put, works by giving our bodies the necessary tools it needs to fight off the flu.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing, or touching common surfaces. Use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Remember to assist children by teaching them the importance of keeping their hands clean.
  • Stay active: Exercise regularly to boost your immune system and improve overall health. Even simple activities like walking or stretching indoors can make a difference. Join a community wellness group, if you are able to.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Take care of your body with healthy foods. Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods can help support your immune system. If you require support, please speak to a healthcare worker who can refer you to a dietitian or social worker for support.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day protects your health. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Get plenty of rest: Prioritise sleep and aim for 8 hours of quality sleep each night. A well-rested body is better equipped to fight infections.
  • Manage stress: Find healthy ways to cope with stress, speak to someone you trust if you’re feeling stressed or engage in hobbies you enjoy. If you need to speak to someone, remember you can reach out to a healthcare worker or make an appointment for professional support.
  • Take your medication: It is important to continue taking your medication, even if you are feeling better. Take your medication as discussed with your healthcare provider. If you have any questions about your medication, remember to reach out, speak to your healthcare provider or call your clinic.

Help us to keep you healthy and safe this winter, wellness starts with you and me. Remember to reach out if you have any questions or any concerns.


Nadia Ferreira
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
Tel: 044 813 1831

11 June 2024 Media Release: GRDM bids farewell to departed colleague, Bernard Janse van Rensburg

Media Release: GRDM bids farewell to departed colleague, Bernard Janse van Rensburg

For immediate release
11 June 2024

Last week, Thursday, 6 June 2024, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), family and friends of the late Bernard Janse van Rensburg gathered at the municipality’s Council Chambers, to hold a memorial service for him after his passing on 26 May 2024.

At the age of 48, Bernard left a profound void in the hearts of his coworkers, family, and friends, who joined together to honour his memory on this occasion. Among those present were also Bernard’s wife, Lynette Janse van Rensburg.

GRDM colleagues and friends shared fond memories of the late Bernard Janse van Rensburg during his Memorial held at the Municipality’s Council Chambers on 6 June 2024.

Trix Holtzhausen, Executive Manager of the GRDM Corporate Services Department, shared Bernard’s work history as an employee of municipality after he was permanently appointed at the Municipality’s Roads Department as Senior Switchboard Operator on 1 October 2009.  He was later temporarily seconded to the GRDM head office on 1 November 2022 to form part of the Communications Team and thereafter he left for his final position as the “friendly voice of the municipality” – the Senior Switchboard Operator for the organisation.

During his time at GRDM, he completed his BA Communication Science Degree and also a Sound Engineering Diploma. These qualifications proved that he was passionate about the multimedia industry, including music, movie productions, and written content creation, to name a few. These were emphasised by a former colleague, Angeline Naidoo who conveyed a comforting message to his family, friends and colleagues describing him as a multi-talented individual. She said: “Of all the talents he had, he was a boffin in electronics, but that his voice was one of the best talents he had”. She added: “And he left us with that voice, which we are forever grateful for”.

In a touching tribute by a friend of two decades, Johan du Toit reminisced about Bernard’s adventurous spirit and that the two of them shared many life experiences. He also remembered his friend as being a body builder who was also a participant of martial arts. Describing him as being brilliant in his production works, he also had a great sense of humour and his general knowledge of music and movies was incomparable”, he said:

Lastly, he added: “Thank you for the privilege of knowing you and that I could call you my friend Bernard. Thank you for being inspirational – we will miss you”.

John Daniels, Bernard’s former Executive Manager at the GRDM’s Roads Department praised Bernard for his professionalism and unwavering composure in navigating workplace challenges. “With his calm demeanour, he could deal with and handle any type of situation in the workplace”. Councillor George Maloyi also comforted the family and Bernard’s wife with words of solace to carry them through this time of sorrow.

Holtzhausen further remembered the late Bernard as an extremely dedicated colleague and his meticulous attention to detail. “He was very particular when it comes to detail, and very gifted indeed,” she said. “The voice of the Garden Route became quiet, but will remain in our hearts,” she added.

Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu extended words of gratitude to Lynette for the opportunity that GRDM was allowed to share in the life of Bernard, as a colleague, as an employee and as a friend “and for affording the GRDM the opportunity to spend this time with the family in their time of grief.

In closing Stratu said: “I was privileged to have worked closely with Bernard when he was seconded to the Communications Unit,” a section housed in the Office of the Municipal Manager and “we were privileged to witness him being a ‘genius’ in the work he performed for the organisation. I am happy and personally grateful that him being part of this organisation happened in my lifetime. He was indeed one of the best, professional, gifted and a loved colleague”, Stratu concluded.

Rest in Peace Bernard, you will be sorely missed.


11 June 2024 Public Notice: Performance Agreements 2024/25 approved

Public Notice: Performance Agreements 2024/25 approved

The following Performance Agreements for the 2024/2025 financial year are approved and available on the municipal website:

Click here to access and download the agreements.

For more information, please contact the GRDM Performance Management Manager, Ms Ilse Saaiman at:
Switchboard: 044 803 1300