Author: Marillia Veldkornet

21 September 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality Firefighters deliver outstanding performance at TFA-SA

Garden Route District Municipality Firefighters deliver outstanding performance at TFA-SA

For Immediate Release
21 September 2022

The past weekend, 16 and 17 September 2022, a lot of Garden Routers and visitors from other parts of the country, travelled to Mossel Bay to witness the first South African Toughest Fighter Alive (TFA-SA) competition since 2019. The TFA didn’t take place for a few years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s challenge marked the seventh official competition.  The event was hosted in the Garden Route at the De Bakke Beach in Mossel Bay and attracted more than 160 South African competitors.

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Firefighters performed well in the competition, with Emile Conrad winning an overall runner-up position in the competition. He competed against 129 firefighters who competed in the individual event. For the relay event, the GRDM men’s team ended almost at top in second (2nd) position. They beat 28 other teams.

In the events linked to various age categories, the GRDM landed the following top three positions per age category:

  • Age 30-34 for males: Henrich Leslie – 2nd position. He came 5th overall.
  • Age 35-39 for females: Bonita Conrad – 2nd
  • Age 35-39 for males: Emile Conrad – 1st
  • Age 45-49 for males: David van Niekerk – 1st; and Petrus Jordaan – 3rd

The TFA-SA challenge is based on an international event and has become South Africa’s primary fire fighter fitness challenge. Top competitors at the TFA-SA, are selected to represent South Africa internationally.

The GRDM Firefighters who competed in the TFA-SA in Mossel Bay on 16 and 17 September 2022.

GRDM’s recently appointed Chief Fire Officer, Deon Stoffels, said that the GRDM had sixteen (16) competitors in total, including 2 female firefighters. “Each one displayed inspiring courage, perseverance and grit in finishing their individual challenges as well as going all out to ensure their respective relay team, of which we had four (4), performed as best as possible. The camaraderie was contagious and firefighters are already looking forward to perform even better next year in Mossel Bay,” he added. A big thank you is also extended to colleagues that came to support with all theirs cheers and motivation absorbed, including the executive Mayor.

Councillors, management and staff congratulated all participants, especially the GRDM team for their outstanding performance in the competition. By competing in this challenge, the team demonstrated their ongoing dedication in health and fitness. The fitness level of a firefighter is central to their success in containing an incident.

Team Garden Route, congratulations to you!

Feature image: The GRDM Firefighters who participated in the TFA-SA competition, with Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen (back, centre), and GRDM supporters at the event.

ENDS

Visit and like the GRDM Facebook page and view more images of the TFA-SA 2022.

21 September 2022 Impact Based Severe Weather Warning: Veld Fire Conditions

Impact Based Severe Weather Warning: Veld Fire Conditions

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued an Impact Based Warning for Veld Fire Conditions valid from 22 September (8:00) to 2 September 2022 (20:00) as follows:

Legal notice:
“This warning from SA Weather Service must be communicated as received and may not be altered under any circumstance.
It must be forwarded or communicated in its entirety and no portion hereof may be replicated or copied and distributed.”

Report weather related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at 044 805 5071.

21 September 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality celebrates Public Service Month through Service Delivery presentations

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality celebrates Public Service Month through Service Delivery presentations

For Immediate Release
21 September 2022

In line with the country’s Public Service Month campaign, the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Corporate Services Department in collaboration with internal departments, are rolling out various activities to promote service delivery standards to the municipality’s external and internal audiences.

Recently, the municipality launched its e-recruitment systems and last week, on 16 September 2022, the GRDM Disaster Management and Fire Services representatives presented their operations to staff through a virtual platform hosted from the municipality’s Council Chambers.

Disaster Management Services

Gerhard Otto, GRDM Manager for Disaster Management, during his presentation explained that Disaster Management is a continuous and integrated multiple-sectorial, multi-disciplinary process of planning and implementation of measures aimed at:

  • preventing or reducing the risk of disasters;
  • mitigating the severity of consequences of disasters;
  • emergency preparedness;
  • rapid and effective response to disasters and they are also responsible for post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation of such disasters.

Disaster Management (DM) is a legislative mandate, Act 57 of 2002 as amended by Act 16 of 2015. In line with legislation, the function thus has to provide for an integrated and co-ordinated disaster management policy that focuses on:

  • preventing or reducing the risk of disasters
  • mitigating the severity of disasters
  • emergency preparedness; and
  • post disaster recovery and rehabilitation.

The Act furthermore provides for the establishment and functioning of national, provincial and municipal disaster management centres.

DM: Emergency Call Centre

Explaining the Garden Route’s Risk profile, Otto listed the following risks which the Garden Route district is prone to, namely veldt fires, various types of drought, flood disasters, landslides; epidemics, spills, to name a few. To ensure that all these disasters are properly coordinated, proper lines of communication have to be in place.

The Garden Route Emergency Call Centre with a staff component of seven, is the first line of communication for incidents that need to be reported to the District Disaster Management Centre.  Otto also boasted the capacity and competence of the centre as a fully operational Disaster Management Centre receiving ± 20 000 EMS calls and approximately 5 000 fire and municipal calls per month.

DM: Assistance provided to local municipalities

Otto furthermore explained how the Disaster Management team also assisted local municipality’s Disaster Management Units with the development of their ward based risk assessments as well as local disaster management plans and in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, the team assisted local municipalities to declare disasters in their respective areas.

In 2017 they played a significant role in the coordination of all activities required due to the Knysna fires, as well as the fires that broke out in George in the following year.  Lastly, the team spear headed the District Covid-19 Command platform established after the national declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022. The team coordinated the Covid-19 operations from the Municipal Joint Operation Centre that is located in the Garden Route municipal building in York Street George.

“Part of mitigating the effects of the disasters, Otto explained that Early Warning Systems have been put in place in order to communicate any severe weather early warnings to the public.  These include the municipality’s social media networks and e-mails to all Local Municipalities and response agencies/ role-players as well as ward councillors.

DM: Projects rolled out since 2017

Otto further explained that the Unit rolled out various projects since 2017, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the format of some of the projects changed to virtual engagements. These projects include the GRDM Volunteers Corps establishment, Rural Settlement Database, the Greenbook implementation, as well as CityRap implementation. He further explained that quite a number of accomplishments were made. “We have completed the mapping of priority wetlands and river ecosystems, we have established a District Food Pantry and reviewed and updated the Garden Route Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for 2022.  Adding to this Otto said that the team is currently busy with the revision and the updating of the Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme 2021. “We started with the clearing of invasive Alien Vegetation and we have reviewed and updated the Garden Route Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2022, to name a few. Much more are planned to be rolled out and implemented for the current Council term”, he said.

However, Otto admitted that there a still several challenges that still needs to be addressed, such as climate change, strategic water management planning, structured and integrated invasive plant and predator animal eradication, delivery equitable service to all populations groups, address poverty through job creation, etc.

In closing off his presentation Otto said that GRDM Disaster Management plans to: “Build the capacity at local authority level to pro-actively plan and implement mitigation as well as adaptation strategies and disaster risk reduction actions. This will limit the exposure to and the possible impact of future disastrous events”. Further to this he highlighted that the Centre envisages to build on the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) momentum, created with the Flanders funded project to attract further DRR funding from other possible sources i.e. Nedbank, SANTAM, etc.

GRDM Fire Services

Before introducing Deon Stoffels to all present, Trix Holtzhausen, GRDM Executive Manager for Corporate Services, congratulated him as the newly and permanently appointed Chief Fire Officer of the GRDM.

When starting his presentation, Stoffels clarified the role of the GRDM Fire Services and said that the District Municipality is responsible for veld, mountain chemical fires, which include hazardous materials spills and leakages. He further explained that there are certain components of the Disaster Management Strategy that is integrated and therefore in many instances implementable by the Fire Services Unit.

Stoffels said: “The GRDM Fire Services is a designated Fire Brigade Service that is established in terms of the Fire Brigade Services Act (99 and 1987 as amended).  The Service primarily focus on preventing the outbreak or spread of fires; fighting and extinguishing fires; the protection of life or property against a fire or other threatening danger; rescuing of life or property from a fire or other danger and any other function connected with these,” he said.

Their vision and mission, ultimately is to provide an efficient, cost effective, unprejudiced and equitable Fire Services to all citizens and visitors within the Garden Route District” he highlighted.

Together with this, Stoffels also emphasised the importance of creating awareness and educating the communities about the dangers of fire. He said: “GRDM Fire Service creates awareness of the dangers associated with fire in all communities and we furthermore educate Garden Routers, visitors and personnel alike to reduce the threats of fire”.

“We pride ourselves for informing, educating and creating awareness to rural, remote and particularly young children, as they naturally take the message home.’’ Adding to these, Stoffels said: “Developing and training personnel, ensuring that our assets and resources are managed and maintained, and our response time to attend to incidents are kept at the shortest possible time”.  The team furthermore record and document all emergencies and incidents that they attend to in an attempt to do further research and learn from it.

GRDM Fire Services has a staff component of forty-one (41) staff members/officers which are stationed at the main Fire base in George, as well as the Hessequa station based in Riversdale and the Kannaland station based in Ladismith.

Apart from fighting the usual fires, another new phenomenon was added to the team’s list of firefighting in 2020, when they had to fight a peat/underground fire for the first time in the Bergfontein, Albertinia area, for six weeks. He explained: “This is a phenomenon that is happening all over the world, but not often in South-Africa. When wetlands are compromised, it develops into a peatland,” he said. And, although it was a new experience for their team, Stoffels said that they all learnt immensely about the aspects relating to this type of fire as well as to how crucial a wetland and / or peatland are within the ecosystem. “In the past we would deem a fire to be halted at this particular point, but we now know that at all cost to prevent fires from burning here,” he said.

By continuing to deliver this service to the best of their ability, it cannot not be done in isolation. He said: “We are grateful to have good working relations with all our local municipalities, the South Cape Fire Protection Association, the Department of Forestry’s Fisheries & the Environment, the South African National Parks, Cape Nature, MTO Forestry, PG Bison Forestry, the Provincial Department: Directorate Fire Services and Working of Fire and we look forward to future collaborative fire services efforts to protect the people, properties and assets of the Garden Route district”.

The event was coordinated by the Corporate Services Executive Manager, Trix Holtzhausen in collaboration with the Community Services Department, under leadership of the Executive Manager, Clive Africa, who also attended the event. The next Public Service Month activity is planned to take place on Friday, 23 September 2022.

Did you know?

  • September marks Public Service Month in South Africa. Public Service Month (PSM) is an integrated strategic national event in the calendar of the Department of Public Service and Administration. The Public Service Month serves as a reminder of what it means to serve communities and to also look at the impact the government has, especially around issues of service delivery.
  • That GRDM Disaster Management Services continuously conduct First Aid training to members of the public as part of their annual awareness programme and is aimed at capacitating employed and unemployed Garden Routers to be able to save lives in any kind of emergency. The municipality has been providing First Aid Level 3 training since 2008 and to this point has trained more than 1700 community members. Each session takes place over a period of a week once per month and is facilitated by the GRDM Disaster Management officials at the municipality’s Head Office in George.
  • That the GRDM Fire Services, on a regular basis educate the communities about fire safety. These continuous initiatives form part of the GRDM Fire Services’ Fire Prevention and Fire Safety functions. Whilst the focus is placed on rural communities, businesses and schools within the residential areas are also assisted upon request.

15 September 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality EHPs conduct health and hygiene education sessions in Kranshoek, Bitou

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality EHPs conduct health and hygiene education sessions in Kranshoek, Bitou

For Immediate Release
15 September 2022

Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Nokuphiwa Mbali, recently visited various spaza shops in the Kranshoek area to educate shop owners about health and hygiene practices within their shops.

In an effort to prevent food-borne illnesses in Kranshoek, a total of seven (7) spaza shop owners were informed or trained on basic hygiene requirements, as well as the difference between “best before date/used by date” and “expiry dates”. In addition, they learned how to keep stock at a minimum and why regular stock monitoring, especially of food, is important.

Compliance to the R638 of the Foodstuff Cosmetic and Disinfectant Act, 1972 (Act No. 54 of 1972) and the significance of applying for the Certificate of Acceptability for food premises thereof, was also part of their discussions.  The owners appreciated the session and cooperated with the EHPs to ensure that their shops and communities they service benefit from their healthy and hygienic practices.

DID YOU KNOW?

Best before date/used by date, is the date of minimum durability, or ‘best before’ date, is the date until which a foodstuff retains its specific properties e.g. taste, aroma, appearance, any specific qualities which relate to the product, vitamin content etc. when the product has been stored appropriately and the package unopened.

Expiry date, Use-by Date, is the date after which food will perish, and will no longer retain the marketed quality.

Feature Photo: Environmental Health Practitioner from Garden Route District Municipality, Nokuphiwa Mbali, (right) conducts Health and Hygiene Training sessions at spaza shops in Kranshoek.

ENDS

05 September 2022 Impact Based Severe Weather Warning: Damaging Winds and Veld Fire Conditions

Impact Based Severe Weather Warnings: Damaging Winds and Veld Fire Warning

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued Impact Based Warnings for Damaging Winds valid for Monday, 5 September 2022 (23:00) and Veld Fire Conditions valid for 5 September 2022 (18:00) as follows:

Legal notice:
“This warning from SA Weather Service must be communicated as received and may not be altered under any circumstance.  It must be forwarded or communicated in its entirety and no portion hereof may be replicated or copied and distributed.”

Report any weather related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at 044 805 5071.

2 September 2022 Impact Based Severe Weather Warning: Damaging Winds

Impact Based Severe Weather Warning: Damaging Winds

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued an Impact Based Warning for Damaging Winds valid from 4 September (0:00) to 5 September 2022 (00:00) as follows:

Legal notice:
“This warning from SA Weather Service must be communicated as received and may not be altered under any circumstance.
It must be forwarded or communicated in its entirety and no portion hereof may be replicated or copied and distributed.”

Report weather related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at 044 805 5071.

Public Notice: Revised 2022-2027 IDP Process Plan including IDP/Budget and PMS Time Schedule for 2023/24 IDP Review & 2021/2022 Draft Unaudited Annual Report

Public Notice: Revised 2022-2027 IDP Process Plan including IDP/Budget and PMS Time Schedule for 2023/24 IDP Review & 2021/2022 Draft Unaudited Annual Report

Notice is hereby given that the Revised 2022-2027 IDP/Budget/Performance Management System (PMS) Process Plan including the Time Schedule has been adopted in terms of Section 28 of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) and Section 21 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (Act 56 of 2003) by the Garden Route District Municipal Council, at a Council meeting held on 24 August 2022.

Furthermore, the 2021/2022 Draft Unaudited Annual Report has been noted by Council in terms of Circular 63 of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, Act 56 of 2003. The Unaudited Draft Annual Report for the 2021/2022 financial year is open for comments.

Comments must be lodged in writing to The Municipal Manager, PO Box 12, George, 6530 or by e-mail at rekords@gardenroute.gov.za before or on 2 October 2022.

The document will be available for public inspection during office hours at the IDP unit, Garden Route District Municipality, 54 York Street, George as well as at all the satellite offices of the Garden Route District Municipality: Riversdale, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Bitou as well as the municipal website www.gardenroute.gov.za from 1 September 2022.

Persons who are unable to read or write are encouraged to contact the Garden Route District Municipality during ordinary office hours, where they will be assisted to formulate their written comments or objection. For any further enquiries, please contact: Ms M James (IDP Unit: Garden Route District Municipality) at telephone number: 044 803 1431.

M G Stratu
Municipal Manager
Garden Route District Municipality