Category: <span>Disaster Management</span>

15 May 2023 Media Release: Informal settlements remain a priority – 1700 Smoke alarms installed to date

Media Release: Informal settlements remain a priority – 1700 Smoke alarms installed to date

For Immediate Release
15 May 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Disaster Management Centre, in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Local Government Disaster Management & Fire & Rescue Services, Bitou- and Kannaland local municipalities have installed 1700 smoke detection devices in high fire-risk informal settlements.

In the first phase of the project, which concluded at the end of March 2022, approximately 1400 smoke alarms were installed in the Qolweni/Bossiegif area of the Bitou local municipality. Kannaland local municipal area was the site of the second phase of the project, which was completed within three months, from 20 December 2022 to 20 February 2023.  Approximately 300 devices were installed within the informal areas of Calitzdorp, Van Wyksdorp, Zoar, and Ladismith.

On Wednesday, 10 May 2023, a delegation from the GRDM Disaster Management, including the Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services, Councillor Ndayi, a representative from the Western Cape Department of Local Government Disaster Management & Fire & Rescue Services, Ms Rowena Page, and the GRDM Fire Services installation team stationed in Ladismith, visited the different towns in Kannaland to inspect the smoke devices which were installed earlier this year.

“The last 700 devices of a total of 2400 smoke devices will be installed within high-risk informal areas within Bitou- and Kannaland municipal areas,” said Gerhard Otto, Head of GRDM Disaster Management.

This pilot project is an important step towards improving disaster risk reduction particularly in areas that are more vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters and emergencies.

For more information, please contact the Garden Route District Municipality’s Disaster Management Centre.



IZiko loLawulo lweNtlekele likaMasipala weSithili saseGarden Route (i-GRDM), ngentsebenziswano neSebe loLawulo lweeNtlekele kuRhulumente wePhondo leNtshona Koloni & neeNkonzo zoMlilo noHlangulo, oomasipala bengingqi iBitouneKannaland bafakele izixhobo zokufumanisa umsi ezili-1700 kumatyotyombe asemngciphekweni omkhulu womlilo.

Kwinqanaba lokuqala lenqubo/projekthi, elaqukunjelwa ekupheleni kukaMatshi ka-2022, malunga ne-1400 yezixhobo zokulumkisa umsi zaye zafakelwa kwindawo yaseQolweni/Bossiegif kumasipala wengingqi waseBitou. Ummandla kamasipala wengingqi yaseKannaland wawuyindawo yesigaba sesibini senqubo/iprojekthi, eyagqitywa kwisithuba seenyanga ezintathu, ukusuka ngomhla wama-20 kweMnga ka-2022 ukuya kwi-20 kweyoMdumba ku2023. Malunga nezixhobo ezingama-300 zaye zafakelwa kwiindawo zamatyotyombe eCalitzdorp, eVan Wyksdorp, eZoar naseLadismith.

“Izixhobo zokugqibela ezingama-700  zenani elingama- 2400 xalilonke zomsi ziya kufakwa kwiindawo ezinobungozi obungacwangciswanga kwiindawo kamasipala waseBitou- naseKannaland,” watsho uGerhard Otto, iNtloko yoLawulo lweNtlekele ye-GRDM.

Le projekthi ilingwayo linyathelo elibalulekileyo elibhekiselele ekuphuculeni ukuncitshiswa kweentlekele ngokukodwa kwiindawo ezisesichengeni kakhulu kwiintlekele zendalo kunye neentlekele ezenziwe ngabantu kunye neemeko zikaxakeka.

Ngolwazi oluthe vetshe, nceda uqhagamshelane neZiko loLawulo lweeNtlekele kuMasipala weSithili saseGarden Route.


Die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit (GRDM) se Rampbestuursentrum, in samewerking met die Wes-Kaapse Departement van Plaaslike Regering Rampbestuur & Brandweer- en Reddingsdienste, asook die Bitou- en Kannaland plaaslike munisipaliteite, het tot op hede 1700 rooksensors in hoërisiko- informele nedersettings binne die Tuinroete distrik munisipale gebied uitgerol. Dié inisiatief is van stapel gestuur om ramprisikos waar skokbrande gereeld voorkom, te verminder. Daar is nog 700 sensors oor – geoormerk vir hoë risiko-areas in Kannaland en Bitou-areas.

Here are some pictures from the inspection session on Wednesday, 10 May 2023 in Kannaland

Related article: 

01 February 2022 Media Release – GRDM and stakeholders to install smoke detectors in Qolweni, Bitou

9 December 2022 Media Release: Garden Route DM is installing 700 smoke detectors in Kannaland

29 March 2023 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality supports Western Cape Government’s Water Awareness Campaign in Kannaland

Garden Route District Municipality supports Western Cape Government’s Water Awareness Campaign in Kannaland

For immediate release
29 March 2023

The Western Cape Department of Local Government on 27 March 2023, embarked on a door-to-door awareness campaign in Ladismith (Kannaland) to encourage citizens to use water responsibly. In the roll-out of the campaign, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Disaster Management officials joined the Community Development Workers on 28 March 2023 to further enhance the initiative with the aim of reaching more residents of the area.

Garden Route District Municipality’s Disaster Management officials during the Responsible Water Awareness Campaign in Kannaland.

The Responsible Water Awareness Campaign runs in the Garden Route district until 31 March 2023. With this initiative messages of the importance of water and how to use it sparingly are shared.  An outside radio broadcast and activation at the Spar in Ladismith has already taken place.

The campaign was rolled out in response to the recent decline in dam water levels. The message has been clear –  reinforcing the need to save water, especially with the upcoming winter season.  The need to conserve water is a long-term behavioural change, and constant reminders are required to make the message stick, especially with the increased levels of loadshedding having a further impact on the provision of water.

This campaign will also be extended to provincial radio and social media pages.

By: GRDM Communication Intern, Jacqueline Thomson


10 March 2023 Media Release: Load shedding relief: GRDM receives R1.6 million for generators from the WC Government

Load shedding relief: GRDM receives R1.6 million for generators from the WC Government

For Immediate Release
10 March 2023

Since load shedding is expected to continue and possibly increase going forward, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) approached the Western Cape Department of Local Government to apply for an Emergency Municipal Load Shedding Grant.

This action was taken in response to the GRDM Disaster Risk Reduction – capacity building plan, aimed at implementing emergency measures at district level to mitigate the impacts of load shedding on municipal services, businesses, and the economy.

In response, GRDM received R1.6 million to buy at least four (4) mobile 120 KVA diesel powered back-up generators. These will help local municipalities in the Garden Route.  The purpose of the new back-up power units would be to use at water and waste water sites.

GRDM also intends to assist local municipalities in need of Water Use Licence Applications/Renewals (WULA). Several municipalities have struggled to comply due to an overflowing or spilling sewer at pump stations – a direct result of not having backup energy at all their sites.

This project will help to temporarily reduce the effects of load shedding on basic services, especially water and sanitation.


Relevant Documentation:

7 February 2022 Media Release: Garden Route DM continues to assist local municipalities with loadshedding impacts

Garden Route DM continues to assist local municipalities with load shedding impacts

For Immediate Release
7 February 2023

South Africa experienced a staggering 133 days of power outages in 2022, with November 2022 hitting a peak of 27 days of outages for the entire month. The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently again engaged on a platform with the Western Cape Government (WCG) Head of Department for Local Government to discuss the load shedding crisis. It was confirmed that stages 4-6 of load shedding would become the norm for South Africa in the foreseeable future.

In response to this dire situation, GRDM has assisted George Municipality in applying for an exemption from load shedding above stage three for the municipality’s water purification plant and main domestic water pump stations. Eskom has approved this exemption until June 2023. “We have also assisted Oudtshoorn Municipality in applying for an exemption above stage three for the operation of their water infrastructure. This includes providing water to the Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply Scheme, which includes boreholes in Dysselsdorp. This particular approval is pending the construction of a short feeder line, which is currently required,” said Gerhard Otto, Head of Disaster Management at GRDM.

Below are a few images of the Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply Scheme boreholes in Dysselsdorp

According to Otto, GRDM has also been providing bulk domestic water storage tanks (5000-litre tanks) to ensure that water is available to residents in Kannaland and Oudtshoorn in high-lying areas. “ Since the start of January 2023, the GRDM Fire Services has provided approximately 102 000 litres of water to water-stressed communities in the Klein Karoo.

GRDM has also applied to the WC Provincial Government for funding towards the rental or purchase of backup generator units. These will assist local municipalities where they experience challenges due to extended periods of load shedding. Unfortunately, this will place a severe strain on the operational budgets of municipalities because of the high cost of diesel required to keep the generators running.

GRDM has contacted the Provincial and National Disaster Management Centres to determine if it would be possible to declare the Garden Route district as a local disaster area due to the current load shedding challenges. This would enable local municipalities to access disaster grant funding as well as to implement emergency measures to be able to address financial, as well as operational challenges, due to the current prolonged periods of load shedding.

The Premier of the Western Cape will be requesting the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to declare a national state of disaster. If this is not approved, the National Disaster Centre will alternatively be requested to classify the Western Cape as a provincial disaster area.


31 January 2023 Public Notice: Garden Route District Municipality telephones offline

31 January 2023 Public Notice: Garden Route District Municipality telephones offline

Members of the public, please be informed that all telephone lines of the Garden Route Municipality (GRDM) are currently offline due to technical problems. Only the switchboard number (044 803 1300) is working, however no calls can be transferred.

If you need to contact an official urgently, we kindly advise that you alternatively send an email to the relevant official or contact him or her on a cell phone number until the problem is resolved.

Thank you for your patience in this regard.

Issued: GRDM Communications

14 December 2022 Impact Based Warning – Level 6 Severe Thunderstorms

Impact Based Warning – L6 Severe Thunderstorms

Please find included the Impact Based Warning for the Western Cape and Namaqua Region of Northern Cape.

Areas impacted from Friday, 16 December until Saturday, 17 December along the Garden Route district, include:
Bitou, George, Hessequa, Kannaland, Knysna, Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn.


The telephone line of the Garden Route Emergency Centre (044-805 5071) is still offline, including the Emergency Medical Services Ambulance Service line, 10177. The following arrangements remain in place: Report emergencies to the South African Police Service at 10111 or contact 021 937 0555. For medical emergencies dial 112 (from a cellphone), until further notice.

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.”

Cape Town Weather Office
2nd Floor: Oval Office Park
Cape Town Int airport
Freight Road
Cape Town

Tel: 021 935 5700

13 December 2022 Media Release: Resource management, land restoration and legislation take centre stage in the Garden Route

Media Release: Resource management, land restoration and legislation take centre stage in the Garden Route

For Immediate Release
13 December 2022

“The Southern Cape and Garden Route is experiencing rapid development and has to make provision to accommodate a fast-growing population, and this more often than not generates friction and anxiety between authorities and landowners where legislation and capacity to e.g. process applications hampers development or where various sets of legislation are seemingly contradictory where for instance land rehabilitation and invasive alien plant eradication is of concern,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

“ GREF is hosting its annual key- stakeholder report-back event on 13 December in Wilderness, where regional conservation and environmental management entities and individuals will provide insight on matters pertaining to resource management and land restoration.”

“There is a continued need to understand the linkages between ensuring a high standard of living in the Southern Cape, new development, loss of biodiversity, destruction of wetlands and wildlands and unsustainable pressure on natural resources such as water, and the finding of solutions for environmental challenges are increasingly relevant.”

“In addition to the matters mentioned above, the Garden Route is already experiencing and recording evidence of rising sea levels and climate change, and these are all the more reasons for those who share a concern for the state of the environment to make their voices heard and intensify the environmental debate in order to ensure that sustainability and resilience of natural resources remain top of the regional agenda.”

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a public platform and think tank for all those in the Southern Cape involved in active and ongoing conservation and environmental management effortsThose interested in the event can email Louise Mare

Caption: The Garden Route is a place of natural scenic beauty, and every effort must be made to conserve its sensitive environment


9 December 2022 Media Release: Garden Route DM is installing 700 smoke detectors in Kannaland

Media Release: Garden Route DM is installing 700 smoke detectors in Kannaland

For Immediate Release
9 December 2022

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) firefighters in collaboration with the Kannaland local municipality’s firefighters installed early smoke detection devices in Varkieskloof, an informal settlement in Ladismith during the past week. A total of 700 devices will be installed in Kannaland municipal area by the GRDM. The outlying areas such as Calitzdorp and Van Wyksdorp will also follow.  It is expected that the project will take at least three months to complete.

The smoke detection device project kicked-off earlier this year, when GRDM installed 1368 smoke detectors in Qolweni and Bossiesgif informal settlements in the Bitou municipal area, after several informal structures were destroyed by fire, which resulted in the deaths of three (3) Garden Routers.

The GRDM’s Disaster Management and Fire and Rescue Services are managing and implementing the project.  Over the past two day, ±178 smoke detectors were installed focusing on structures in the rural settlement.

Having a smoke detector in the home not only alerts residents to the presence of smoke, but also saves lives and minimises property damage.


Die Garden Route Distriksmunisipaliteit (GRDM) se brandbestryders in samewerking met die Kannaland plaaslike munisipaliteit se brandbestryders het die afgelope week ‘vroeë rookopsporingstoestelle in Varkieskloof, ‘n informele nedersetting in Ladismith, geïnstalleer. Altesaam 700 toestelle sal deur die GRDM in Kannaland geïnstalleer word. Die buitegebiede soos Calitzdorp en Van Wyksdorp sal ook later volg. Daar word verwag dat die projek minstens drie maande sal neem om te voltooi.

Die rookopsporingstoestelprojek het vroeër vanjaar afgeskop toe GRDM 1368 rookverklikkers in Qolweni en Bossiesgif informele nedersettings in die Bitou munisipale gebied geïnstalleer het, nadat verskeie informele strukture deur brand vernietig is, wat tot die dood van drie (3) inwoners gelei het.

Die GRDM se Rampbestuur en Brand- en Reddingsdienste bestuur en implementeer die projek. Oor die afgelope twee week ±178 rookverklikkers geïnstalleer met die  fokus op strukture in die landelike nedersetting.

Om ‘n rookverklikker in die huis te hê, waarsku nie net inwoners van die teenwoordigheid van rook nie, maar red ook lewens en verminder eiendomskade.


09 December 2022 Media Release: The effects of drought growing and prolonged electricity disruptions are increasing

Media Release: The effects of drought growing and prolonged electricity disruptions are increasing

For immediate release
09 December 2022

Local municipalities throughout the Garden Route and the country at large, are experiencing difficulties because of the persistent load-shedding caused by ESKOM. This has a ripple effect on the supply of water, sanitation services and budgets of all municipalities. In light of this, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council has given the GRDM administration the go-ahead to do everything in its power to avert any crisis that may happen as a result of the ongoing outages and drought. GRDM Disaster Management will coordinate the short- and long-term interventions required.

According to Ald. Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor: “The administration is investigating if declaring a local drought disaster is necessary, be it for one area, a few or the entire region”.

“We also need municipalities to state if they support the GRDM to become a water services authority or not because if we have their support we will stand a greater chance to become one and will be able to act more proactively to safeguard the region from water-related disasters.”

Over the past few months, the region grappled with below-normal rainfall patterns. Severe drought in particularly the Klein Karoo, vandalism and theft all over the region and other challenges have left many municipalities focusing a lot of time to do damage control.

Some of the public concerns raised are that water infrastructure is deteriorating; load-shedding causes frequent and continuous interruptions of water supply; repairs to leaks are not always done speedily; generators are not maintained; not all municipalities have water infrastructure maintenance plans in place for the foreseeable future.

The cost of generators and maintaining them remains a challenge. Not enough funding is speedily routed back from other spheres of Government to Local Government to roll out emergency interventions. It requires declaring a region as a disaster to be able to access large sums of funding. For instance, when purchasing a 100KVA generator to pump water from a borehole, a municipality would require more than R400 000 for the infrastructure, R40 000,00 for security per month per generator; more than R140 000 per month for diesel per generator; R10 000,00 for maintenance per month. This will then only serve one borehole.

The running costs per generator will, therefore, be R200 000,00 per month. This is on top of the estimated R400 000,00 to purchase one generator. Generators are also on backorder, meaning that the district will only be able to get generators in three (3) months.

See here: How load shedding is tearing through South Africa’s economy


2022 12 08 Media Statement 5: The majority of beaches have been cleaned of hydrocarbon oil drops

Media Statement 5: The majority of beaches have been cleaned of hydrocarbon oil drops

For Immediate Release
8 December 2022

Beach clean-up activities and monitoring continue following a recent incident that resulted in hydrocarbon, low-sulphur oil droplets spreading to Garden Route beaches.

According to Gerhard Otto, GRDM Manager: Disaster Management, most beaches are now classified as ‘green’. “It is unlikely that the multi-agency command center will meet again unless new serious issues arise.”

There have been no reports linking the oil spill to humans, birds, or marine life.

Members of the media and public can access the real-time colour-coded map of the region here to see the status of beaches:

The status of beaches is included below:

If any member of the public notices small black pellets on any beach along the Garden Route, please report it to the Emergency Call Centre, 044 805 5071.

The Garden Route District Municipality Multi-Agency Command Centre (MACC)  includes the following stakeholders:  Garden Route District Municipality, Bitou, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay and Hessequa Municipalities, Provincial Disaster Management Centre, South African Maritime Safety Authority, DFFE: Oceans-to-Coast, Transnet, CapeNature, PetroSA, South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).