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16 October 2023 Media Alert: Appreciate our EMS personnel by pledging to keep them safe

16 October 2023

Media Alert: Appreciate our EMS personnel by pledging to keep them safe

To commemorate National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Day on 17 October, the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness will host several community events in appreciation of the province’s EMS men and women who play critical roles every day in bringing quality health care delivery closer to residents.

On the day, residents can interact with EMS personnel in their districts about service improvements or complaints, as well as write messages on ambulances and pledge their support to keep our province’s EMS personnel safe.

The Department is deeply disturbed by reports of EMS personnel being attacked by the very same community members they are serving. A total of 37 incidents have taken place in 2023, leaving 60 EMS personnel traumatised and disrupting essential healthcare services to the most vulnerable.

Media are invited to attend these EMS appreciation events on 17 October. There will be opportunities for photographs and interviews.

District Location Time
Garden Route Multipurpose Community Centre, Thembalethu 08h00
Central Karoo Shoprite Park, Beaufort West 10h00
Overberg Thusong Community Centre, Grabouw 10h00
West Coast Moorreesburg Community Hall 10h00
Cape Winelands Mountain Mall, Worcester 09h00
Southern Division Watergate Mall, Lentegeur 09h00
Eastern Division Macassar, corner of Burg and Hospital Street 11h30
Northern Division Civic Centre, Delft 11h30
Western Division Town Square, Fish Hoek 11h00

Note to Editors:
Media wishing to attend these events can reach out to Megan Davids.

Media Liaison, Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness
Mobile: 082 041 5203

Issued: Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness


30 May 2023 Media Release: Employee Wellness Day at GRDM Head Office

Employee Wellness Day at GRDM Head Office

Immediate release
30 May 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently organised an Employee Wellness Day on May 26, 2023. The event was held at the GRDM head office front parking area, aimed to promote the well-being of employees across various departments.

Under the theme “Mind, Body and Motion,” all participants were encouraged to dress sporty and actively participate in the session. This session served as an annual introduction to the Wellness Day Policy, emphasising the significance of maintaining good physical and mental health for all employees. The specific purpose of this Wellness Day was to introduce a draft Policy for the Annual Garden Route Wellness Day in the region. This policy aims to facilitate coordination between the District, B-municipalities, and other relevant stakeholders in the field, ensuring a collaborative approach to wellness initiatives.

To ensure an engaging experience, a Virgin Active Zumba group activity was aranged by the Virgin Active team, in which GRDM employees enthusiastically participated. Additionally, various stalls were set up, offering services such as Health Screening Tests, Financial Advice, Medical Aids, and Retirement Fund Advice to keep everyone entertained and informed.

Lusanda Menze, Executive Manager of Planning and Economic Development, delivered a supportive message regarding the importance of employee wellness within the municipality. He emphasised that employee wellness is a key program and highlighted the significant amount of time spent at work.

Menze stressed the need for colleagues to develop camaraderie and work together while also recognising the tendency to overlook our own well-being. He emphasised the criticality of self-enrichment and maintaining good health in our personal time. He further emphasised the value of prevention over cure and highlighted the importance of early detection, urging everyone to prioritise self-care.

Also, a snakes and ladders game presented by Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) at the event and those who used it enjoyed it thoroughly. The floor of the game was designed in-house to target younger generations and its aim was to teach children about the disadvantages of pollution, the issue of illegal dumping, that waste should not be burned, instead be reduced, reused and recycled. When the snake catches one of the players, a valuable lesson is learned and when a ladder is climbed, a good environmental task is done. Adult participants enjoyed the fun to engage and still learned about these crucial environmental matters. Magnets with reporting information on illegal dumping, were also distributed, as part of the ongoing illegal dumping campaign where people are encouraged to report illegal dumping so that the perpetrators can be caught and fined.

EHPs also displayed a sampling kit to showcase their professional gear and the process of taking samples. Broken, dented and rusted cans were also displayed to inform employees what to look out for when buying canned food to protect their health. Additionally, the team distributed pamphlets about Tuberculosis, soil pollution and diarrhoea to staff present.

About 145 employees were in attendance of which 20 staff members including management had free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests done by CANSA.

Apart from the Virgin Active group fitness session, a few staff members enjoyed playing soccer and netball as part of the physical activities.

Two highlights of the day were when Planet fitness gave employees 7-day free vouchers to make use of their gym facilities and one of the employees won a R300 in the lucky draw for employees, done by Sanlam.

The GRDM hereby extend a message of gratitude to the following service providers who participated in the event, nl:

  • Western Cape Health Department who provided free preventative services such as: family planning, cervical screening (pap smear), HIV testing, Tuberculosis, Diabetes and Hypertension screening.
  • Cancer Association South Africa (CANSA) offered free Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) tests.
  • Consolidated Retirement Fund gave free advice to staff regarding retirement benefits.
  • Municipal Health Services of GRDM created awareness about Municipal Health related aspects and displayed their services at the event.
  • Key Health and Bonitas Medical Aids assisted employees with necessary advice in relation to medical aid benefits.
  • Virgin Active presented a free group active Fitness Session to those who were present.
  • Planet Fitness handed out free 7-day vouchers to staff to make use of their gym facilities.
  • FNB and Nedbank banks shared valuable finance advise with those who visited their stalls.
  • Sanlam advised employees about their products and a surprised employee left the event with a R300 in the pocket after they have done a lucky draw for all GRDM participants presents.


19 October 2022 Media Release: Great attendance by staff at second GRDM Employee Wellness Day for the year

Media Release: Great attendance by staff at second GRDM Employee Wellness Day for the year

For immediate release
19 October 2022

On 14 October 2022, stakeholders from various organisations visited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) to take part in the municipality’s second Employee Wellness Day for the year.

Employees from various offices of the municipality took part in the day packed with activities which included health screening tests, breast cancer and mental health awareness talks (October is breast cancer and mental health awareness month), a blood donation drive, as well as an active grid class together with nutrition talks. Medical Aid companies involved, also presented their annual presentations to stakeholders. Furthermore, information stalls were available for staff to source details about their lifestyles, health and overall well-being. The Western Cape Department of Health, the Cape Retirement Fund, various medical aids (Bonitas, LA Health, SAMWUMED, Sizwe-Hosmed and KeyHealth), the Virgin Active team, First National Bank, Nedbank, Spec-Savers and the Western Cape Blood Service, attended to the questions posed employees.

Employees were eager to donate blood at the Employee Wellness Day.

In total, 141 health screening tests were performed, with fourteen (14) first-time donors and 17 regular donors who donated blood – five (5) willing staff members were unable to donate blood.  Further to these, mental health questionnaires/checklists were completed by employees who underwent health screening tests.

Early this year, with the first Blood Drive hosted by GRDM, a total of 20 donors were targeted. This time around, 39 donors participated in this selfless act. Nineteen (19) of the donors were new, while 9 were regular donors. In total, 136 health screening tests were performed on staff for either blood pressure or blood sugar levels, to name a few.

Staff members participated in the Active Grid Class conducted by Virgin Active.

These figures are an indication of how GRDM employees take ownership of their health and overall well-being. The event was organised by the Human Resources Unit’s Employee Assistance Programme Unit.

Did you know?

  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally.
  • An estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke.
  • Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol.
  • It is critical to detect cardiovascular disease as early as possible so that management with counselling and medicines can begin.

Research statistics show that although 75% of the population in the Western Cape might require blood transfusions in their lifetime, a mere 1.5% are blood donors. If you’re otherwise healthy, it’s very likely that you can donate blood and help balance out these numbers. With a single donation you could save three lives – and it won’t cost you a cent.

Staff members underwent various screening tests and attended educational talks.

Are you interested in donating blood and saving the lives of three people? Visit the Western Cape Blood Services website at

05 05 2022 Media Release: Inspiring hope – Garden Route District Municipality supports ‘Slipper Day’ initiative 

Media Release:  Inspiring hope – Garden Route District Municipality supports ‘Slipper Day’ initiative 

For Immediate Release
6 May 2022

Slipper Day is the Reach for a Dream Foundation’s most successful annual fund-raising campaign. Last year, over R6 million was generated through donations. Each cent was used to help fulfil the dreams of kids battling life-threatening illnesses. This fun initiative is geared toward every person in South Africa!

“The Garden Route District Municipality encourages everyone to participate, if not this year, next year, by purchasing a sticker of R20 at Wimpy, Baby City, Dis-Chem, Toyzone and Pick n Pay,” said Shandré Abrahams, Employee Assistance Practitioner of the GRDM.

With the help of all South Africans this year, Reach For A Dream plans to fulfil even more dreams by reaching a target of R8 million. ”Our call to action this year is simple. We ask all South Africans to rally behind us and play their part in being visible agents of change. The Foundation’s biggest goal is to have every single South African in slippers on 6 May,” said Julia Sotirianakos, Chief Executive Officer of Reach For A Dream NPO.

Don’t forget to share your Slipper Day selfie using #slipperday2022 and #Reach-foradream on your social media channels on Friday, 6 May, to encourage everyone to get involved. Let’s help Reach For A Dream inspire more hope and make the dreams of children battling life-threatening illnesses come true.



2 December 2021 Media Release: Employees offered health checks on World AIDS Day

Media Release: Employees offered health checks on World AIDS Day

For Immediate Release
2 December 2021

With 1 December that marked World Aids Day, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Unit arranged voluntary HIV testing and HIV/AIDS awareness sessions for GRDM employees. Each employee received a red ribbon seeing that the red ribbons are a symbol of support for those living with HIV and wearing them creates awareness about World AIDS day. The main focus of the day was to increase awareness and knowledge around HIV/AIDS. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day – End inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.

Testing is also a primary way of ending the spread of HIV. Only those who know their HIV status will be able to take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their partners.

Employees were also presented with the option to get tested for blood sugar and blood pressure. Tests were done by representatives from the Western Cape Government (WCG) and Bethesda. These stakeholders also facilitated family planning and health-related education sessions.

According to Ms Shandré Abrahams (EAP Practitioner), When sharing her plans for the 2022 calendar year, Ms Abrahams said: “Sessions will be arranged annually during March (Tuberculosis), August (Women’s Month), November (Men’s Health) and December (HIV, etc.)”.

Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen, also had some tests done at the mobile clinic from WCG, and with his permission, Jacoleen Feed, a Health Promoter from WCG, shared the test results of the Mayor: “Mayor Booysen’s tests looked great for his age group”.

“He had his blood pressure tested twice because the first results were a bit high, but his second result turned out great – he was probably a bit nervous when he had his first test done,” said Ms Feed.

WCG’s rollout of mobile clinics brings diagnostic healthcare closer to communities, and in this case, a workplace. It is therefore convenient for those getting tested to access mobile units. At a workplace, like GRDM, it is an easy way to roll out consultations and examinations without arranging transport or requesting all employees to go to a clinic for testing.

Adv. Sinekaya Maqekeni (Manager: Integrated Support Services and Legal Compliance) with Ms Trix Holtzhausen (Executive Manager: Corporate Services) who holds a candle that was lit in remembrance of those who have died of Aids-related illnesses.

All employees were also invited to a candle-lighting ceremony in remembrance of those who have died of AIDS-related complications.

The GRDM encourages the public to have health checks done frequently. On World AIDS day, GRDM encouraged those living with HIV to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. It helps a person live a full, healthy, and productive life by suppressing the virus and ensuring it is not transmitted to others.

Editor’s note: The EAP is designed to assist the identification and resolution of problems associated with employees impaired by personal concerns, but not limited to health, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress or other personal matters and addictions, which may adversely affect employee’s performance.

Feature image caption: Seated is Ms Jacoleen Feed (WCG Health Promoter) with Ald. Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor). At the back (fltr): Mses. Maymoonah Abrahams (Intern: EAP), Shandré Abrahams (EAP Practitioner), Leana Hartzenberg (Bethesda), Nomkitha Mhlontlo (Intern: Communications), Thabisa Nqoza (HIV Counsellor from WCG), Patience Shipalane (WCG Nurse) and Bareniq Klase (Bethesda)


10 September 2021 Media Release: GRDM continues extensive Covid-19 Vaccination awareness

GRDM continues extensive Covid-19 Vaccination awareness

For Immediate Release
10 September 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Employee Assistant Programme (EAP) unit approached Dr Zilla North from the Western Cape Department of Health to conduct ‘Questions and Answers’ sessions with GRDM employees. These weekly virtual or contact sessions are held to address any concerns raised by employees regarding the Covid-19 vaccines.

So far, three (3) sessions took place; the first session took place on 13 August 2021 at the Conville clinic, where approximately thirty-one (31) Roads employees were in attendance. On 20 August, nearly fifty (50) participants logged into the virtual session; and on 27 August again, approximately fifty (50) employees participated.

The EAP unit furthermore facilitates the employee vaccination activities of the municipality. Apart from the question and answer sessions with Dr North, the Unit also sent out weekly vaccination information to the employees and they created “Toolbox” talks with staff members employed at the various depots, in collaboration with the Occupational Health and Safety Unit. The team distributed vaccination posters at all satellite offices of the municipality and organised a vaccination site for its employees at the AFM Church situated in Pacaltsdorp. Additionally, a vaccination webinar with Dr Nellis van Zyl-Smit was scheduled on 8 September 2021 to continue creating awareness and educating the employees about the importance of taking the Covid-19 Vaccine.

HR Practitioner: Employee Assistance Programme, Shandre Abrahams said: “The GRDM (EAP unit) is dedicated to continuously keeping and educating its employees about safety precautions to prevent getting infected by the virus and the spread thereof”. Abrahams added: “Employees get screened, and their hands get sanitised on their arrival at the office every morning. Sanitising stations are also placed at every corner within the various buildings for their easy access and they are continuously advised to wear their face masks at all times.

The Communication Unit conducted interviews with some of the staff members to determine their take on the vaccine. Ms Nontokozo Dladla responded by saying, “I have always been pro-vaccination, but I haven’t gone for my jab yet, as I recently contracted Covid-19 and must wait for 30 days till I can get it. As for encouraging other people, getting vaccinated is a sensitive subject – not everyone is for it. At this moment, I keep my opinion to myself. I do not want it to seem like I am imposing my opinion on other people”. Mr Johannes Jafta responded: “After being vaccinated, I would encourage anyone else to go and get their jab. We need to be responsible communities and to act responsibly. Taking the jab is for their own safety, and it is the right thing to do”.

Employees are encouraged to contact the EAP officer, Ms Shandre Abrahams, for more information about the programme at 044 801 1307/082 428 1984.


9 August 2021 Media Release: Progressive steps towards gender equality and mainstreaming by Garden Route District Municipality

Progressive steps towards gender equality and mainstreaming by Garden Route District Municipality

For immediate release
09 August 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) seeks to bring change as we are looking at Women’s Month. This year marks 65 years since the watershed 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings. The year 2020 also marks the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, which created a platform for greater gender equality. This district sees the importance of a formal structure like a District Gender Forum to promote change in terms of gender equality and women empowerment within the region. The forum held its first meeting on Friday, 25 June 2021.

The Gender forum was created to team up with key role players like the Commission Gender Equality (CGE) and the Western Cape Department of Local Government (DLG). During the first engagement, stakeholders were present at the forum gave their full support and encouragement. Each Municipality is tasked to appoint a Gender Focal person-that is important because they will be institutionalising gender mainstream activities in order to balance out gender inequalities and to promote gender empowerment beyond the workplace.

In its policies, GRDM took the initiative and developed “The Stop Gender- Based Violence Policy,” as well as the “Gender Mainstreaming Policy”. These policies are being reviewed after consultation with Local Government and the CGE. In addition to these, a Sexual Harassment Policy and the Employment Equity Policy are already in place to attempt to address gender sensitive issues within the municipality.

A number of workshops will also be held during August 2021 (Women’s month) under the theme – Gender Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future.

17 August 2021 Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future Commission for Gender Equality representatives
18 August 2021 Human Trafficking Awareness Session Western Cape DLG  representative
24 August 2021 Human Trafficking Awareness Session Western Cape DLG representative
31 August 2021 An overview of the National Strategic Framework on Gender Based Violence and Femicide Western Cape Provincial Community Liaison Officer (Social Development)

GRDM believes the empowerment of women is key to our nation’s advancement and they play a key role in rebuilding a peaceful region. It is therefore important to note that peace and security must remain a priority for all in their diversity.

Written by: Nomkhita Mhlontlo


22 July 2021 Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners donate essentials in celebration of Mandela Day

Media Release: GRDM EHPs donate essentials in celebration of Mandela Day

For immediate release
22 July 2021

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) based in the Klein-Karoo and Mossel Bay recently visited and donated essentials to two establishments in Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, respectively.

The Mossel Bay team, according to Shandré Abrahams, Employee Assistance Practitioner at GRDM, visited the Creating Effective Families (CEF) establishment in Mossel Bay. CEF is an organisation that caters for the abused mothers and children where temporary shelter for these individuals from abused relationships are provided for. The team donated toiletries, clothes, baby goodies and other essentials to the facility.

Officials from the Oudtshoorn office, including (fltr) Elizna Cairncross, Johan Smith, Desmond Paulse, Georg Hendriksz, Maxweline Fatuse, Willie Plaatjies and Elizabeth Verwey (front), with the essentials donated to the Rin-Tin-Tin Crèche in Kruisrivier,  Calitzdorp.

On Monday, 19 July 2021, the Klein Karoo Municipal Health Section based in Oudtshoorn donated gift packs to toddlers of the Rin-Tin-Tin Crèche in Kruisrivier, in Calitzdorp. Each packet contained a face cloth, soap bar, toothpaste, toothbrush, chips and a sweet.

The principal of the crèche, Inge Ewerts, expressed her appreciation towards the GRDM officials for showing commitment towards caring for the community, primarily due to the basic necessity needs that exist within the community.

Members of the community appreciated the gesture and extended a word of appreciation to both teams, who prioritised them as beneficiaries of their initiatives. The officials contributed from their personal funds to make a success of this outreach.

The Human Resources Unit of GRDM are planning further Mandela Day activities towards the end of this month. The entire GRDM also participated in the Walk-A-Child to School campaign which ended at the end of June 2021. Donations will be distributed to various less fortunate schools within the next two weeks if the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Feature Photo: The Mossel Bay team (fltr) including Neo-lay Britz, Jenay van Niekerk, Analize Fuzani, Monique Anthony, Marlene Losper, Rinay Cloete, Delmarie Lewis and Sam Bendle, with the essentials donated to the Creating Effective Families facility in Mossel Bay


18 January 2021 Media Release: Cedric Buys’ passing still mourned by GRDM

Media Release: Cedric Buys’ passing still mourned by GRDM

For immediate release
18 January 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) councillors and staff are still shocked by the passing of one of its Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) contract workers recently. Cedric Buys passed away at the age of 48, a few days before his birthday.

He was appointed as EPWP worker in July 2018 and worked in the Kleinkrantz area until his passing. He worked alongside two other EPWP workers to provide security services at one of the GRDM properties.

He was described not only as a colleague, but also as a friend, family man, reliable and caring community leader and pastor in the community he served. During an interview with one of his co-workers, Irisha Kleinhans, she admitted that Cedric was one of the early birds at the workplace. “He was also the joker – the one who shared stories and funny tales and he always had a smile on his face. He could make us laugh at any moment in time, during good and challenging times,” she added. Cedric was furthermore regarded as the trustworthy colleague. Irisha said that there were times when she forgot her key at home, but the moment she contacted Cedric she knew that the problem would be solved.

“He was also well known in this area for his contribution in uplifting the community, she highlighted” and further stated that he was always keen for the Word of God – he had a passion for the church, the Bible and church activities. “Worshipping God and singing hymns were some of his favourite activities during lunch time; he was an inspiring, caring and cheerful soul who we will dearly miss,” she concluded.

GRDM lost a jewel in Expanded Public Works.

Rest in peace Cedric Buys.

GRDM employees start 2020 on a healthy note

On Friday, 17 January 2020, the Western Cape Department of Health and Virgin Active visited the Garden Route District Municipality Head Office to share various health-related information with management and employees to kick the year off on a healthy note.

Officials during the information session conducted by representatives from Virgin Active.

Early in the morning, representatives from Virgin Active presented the following topics to the staff included: How to find time for your health, exercise guidelines, nutrition and how to improve your eating habits, as well as benefits of exercise for your well-being. Soon after, health-screening tests followed, which staff who were present could fully utilise. Tests included: weight & measurements, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, voluntary HIV tests and pap-smears.

To conclude the activities of the morning, Virgin Active continued by facilitating a 30 minute Zumba session of which more than 50 staff members participated in. The session left employees with soaking-wet faces and soggy clothes, while feeling revitalized and motivated. To conclude the activities of the day, various prizes were awarded, fruits and health beverages handed out. The event was successfully organised by the District’s Wellness Section’s Employee Assistance Practitioner, Ms Shandré Abrahams.