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Disaster Management

08 June 2023 Media Release: Grade 4 Learners Educated On Plastic Pollution

Media Release: Grade 4 Learners Educated On Plastic Pollution

For Media Release
8 June 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Disaster Management Unit in collaboration with the George Local Municipality’s Disaster Management presented a World Environmental Health Day Awareness campaign at Heidedal Primary school in George on 5 June 2023.

The theme by the United Nations for this year’s Environment Awareness Day is plastic pollution. The GRDM and George Municipality’s officials decided to target Grade 4 learners for this year’s program. The objectives were to educate learners about what plastic pollution is; and the detrimental impacts plastic pollution has on the environment and animals.

It was emphasised in a highly interactive session that plastic is not biodegradable material, which means that it cannot decompose by living organisms. Many people choose to simply throw it away everywhere.

Learners were also encouraged to involve themselves in the recycling of plastics and other recyclable waste materials to avoid a polluted environment and illegal dumping.

The overall aim of this awareness campaign was to bring awareness to the younger generation of the severity of plastic pollution on our environment. A clean environment is a healthy environment, so it is also important to teach the kids how to prevent and fix this persistent issue.

Educational materials were handed out to learners during the session.


5 June 2023: A mapping system for visualizing the impact of climate change, socio-economic pressure, municipal and infrastructure collapse in a future South Africa

A mapping system for visualizing the impact of climate change, socio-economic pressure, municipal and infrastructure collapse in a future South Africa

For Immediate Release
5 June 2023

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) approached Dr Roy Marcus, a Systems and Design Thinking specialist, to address the 29 June 2023 Annual GREF Climate Change and Environmental Management Indaba on the projected impacts of climate change in South Africa. The impacts, which are amplified by real-time socio-economic pressures and the systemic collapse of governance, high levels of corruption, violent crime, political instability in major municipalities and severe and sustained power blackouts in South Africa are becoming more real every day.

In 2018 Dr Roy Marcus was invited by (GREF) as a keynote speaker to commemorate the devastating June 2017 Knysna wildfire disaster which left a trail of destruction on a scale never seen before in South Africa, and at the time he also visualized a post- Covid 19 South Africa, identifying many of the impacts which are only now manifesting in the RSA economy compounding the destruction and vandalizing of vitally important hard infrastructure, poverty and increased joblessness.

Dr Marcus makes use of a mapping system for visualizing a future South Africa to better understand the socio-economic and political relationships, challenges and opportunities facing the country, for example the Just Energy Transition away from coal-based energy generation towards green energy.

According to Cobus Meiring, convener of the Garden Route Environmental Forum, much of the 2017 series of wildfire disasters, recent drought in the Karoo, flash floods in the Southern Cape and especially KZN, as well as measurable sea-level rise along the Mossel Bay coastline are the result of a changing climate. This is the case not only for South Africa but globally, where out-of-control wildfire disasters have destroyed millions of hectares of land and infrastructure in Canada, Portugal and California.

Says Dr Marcus, “As South Africa emerges from one of its worst political and economic crises since democracy was achieved in 1994, the country finds itself having to cope with the aftershock of the surreal Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, social media was awash with commentaries, advice and a whole lot of confusion.  Sadly, in all of the confusion, there was little evidence of a systemic approach to gain a better appreciation of the real impact of both the virus itself, as well as the raft of legislation that was promulgated to lessen the burden of the pandemic.”

“As a present-day example, we are witnessing the demise of Eskom and Transnet which are both grossly underperforming, and there is a justified fear of what the economic impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resultant precarious RSA foreign policy decisions may have in alienating the country from the Western world, putting the country’s already fragile economic survival at risk.”

There is limited evidence of any discussion relating to the harsh realities the country will face going forward with severely restricted electricity and water security risk on the rise.

In view of these realities, it is suggested that a way of gaining some insight into the effect of the current impacts, as well as testing some ideas that may go some way in alleviating the burden, is to produce a systems map.  Such a map will go a long way to “tell the story” and present some ideas as to what the implications of various actions could be on the long-term future of the country.”

This map attempts to present all the key role players and their influence on the future of this country. The map is based on a Systems and Design Thinking approach and suggests a number of possible outcomes, which could result from either ill-defined decisions or well-informed actions taken by key stakeholders.

Dr Marcus incorporates a mapping system called Kumu. The developers describe the system as a powerful visualization platform for mapping systems and better understanding relationships.

“We blend systems thinking, stakeholder mapping, and social network analysis to help the world’s top influencers turn ideas into impact”.

“Based on a Design Thinking approach, the model sets out to identify all those factors which contribute to the ‘Mess Formulation’. Identifying the “mess” is key to finding a way out of the difficulties. The key question in identifying all those factors that contribute to the mess is to determine how the country would eventually destroy itself if it were to continue behaving as it currently is. The mess provides a factual, verifiable and unemotional picture of the current reality.”

As part of an ongoing debate series on parallels drawn between the impact of COVID-19 and that of climate change, GREF intends to have a follow-up discussion with Dr Marcus in order to track the development of the mapping system and its indicators.

In order to enhance collaboration and the sharing of critical information, the GREF programme for the Indaba will include a host of provincial, regional and local environmental speakers who will focus on land management, environmental risk management, water stewardship, coastal management, legislation, biodiversity and possible future scenarios to enable the region to implement and fast- track adaptation models.

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a public platform for environmental management entities in the Southern Cape and a regional think tank on climate change mitigation and adaptation.


  1. Dr Roy Marcus, Design thinking specialist
    Mobile: +27 82 600 0202
  1. Cobus Meiring: Chair of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Secretariat
    Mobile: 083 626 7619


Afrikaanse opsomming:

Die Tuinroete-omgewingsforum (GREF) het dr. Roy Marcus genooi om by hul klimaatsveranderingkonferensie op 29 Junie 2023 te praat oor die geprojekteerde impak van klimaatsverandering in Suid-Afrika. Dr. Marcus sal ‘n karteringstelsel genaamd Kumu gebruik om die toekoms van die land te visualiseer en die sosio-ekonomiese en politieke uitdagings wat dit in die gesig staar, beter te verstaan. Die impak van klimaatsverandering word versterk deur sosio-ekonomiese druk en die ineenstorting van bestuur, insluitend korrupsie, misdaad, politieke onstabiliteit en kragonderbrekings. Hierdie kwessies word verder vererger deur Suid-Afrika se stryd om te herstel van sy onlangse politieke en ekonomiese krisisse, sowel as die nasleep van die COVID-19-pandemie. Die karteringstelsel het ten doel om insigte in die huidige impakte te verskaf en potensiële oplossings te verken. GREF beplan om samesprekings met dr. Marcus voort te sit om die ontwikkeling van die karteringstelsel en sy aanwysers te monitor. Die konferensie sal ook sprekers bevat wat onderwerpe aanspreek wat verband hou met omgewingsbestuur en aanpassingsmodelle.

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.