Category: <span>Economic Development</span>

17 May 2023 Media Release: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism Office elevates the region at the 2023 Africa Indaba Show

Media Release: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism Office elevates the region at the 2023 Africa Indaba Show

For Immediate Release
17 May 2023

Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism (GR&KK) Regional Tourism Office (RTO) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), recently attended the 3 day Africa Travel Indaba 2023 held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban. In accordance with the GRDM Tourism and the Growth and Development Strategies, GRDM must market / sell the region.

Tourism marketing and development Unit is responsible for coordinating regional tourism initiatives and promotes and develops tourism throughout the region, while working closely with eight (8) Local Tourism Offices (LTO).  With a focus on selling and promoting the region’s vast potential, GR&KK also aims to attract global attention and foster economic growth in the district.

GR&KK tourism representatives who attended the 2023 Africa Indaba Show last week in Durban. FLTR: Joan Shaw – Tourism Manager from George/Wilderness/Uniondale Tourism, Denver Johnson – GRDM Tourism Officer and Thozeka Sikali from Visit Knysna.

From 09 May – 11 May 2023, preceded by a Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on 08 May 2023, the Africa Indaba Show aimed to provide a platform for thought leadership, knowledge sharing, and market insight. BONDay is developed in collaboration with global tourism organisations, continental experts, and industry associations.

During the trade show, African tourism exhibitors showcased their offerings to international and local buyers, destination marketing companies and leisure tourism service providers. The event allowed travel trade professionals to meet face-to-face with some of the most influential buyers on the continent, and gain a deeper understanding of Africa’s excellence and endless potential. As a result of these opportunities and quality connections, Africa will be able to shape its future.

According to GRDM representatives, several new and existing connections were made over the course of the three days, as the GRDM delegation engaged with various domestic and international buyers interested in learning about our area, re-visiting or expanding their tourism offerings by integrating the Garden Route & Klein Karoo into their existing packages.

The following top four tourism offerings were most popular under the tourism buyers

  • Educational trips to familiarize tour/travel agents of existing and new products/offerings in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo
  • High-end luxury travel (5 Star)
  • Incentive travel (Golfing, wine routes, craft beer and gin experiences)
  • Camping and caravan offerings in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo – most interest from the domestic market

The Western Cape stand was hosted by Wesgro, with the GR&KK Regional Tourism Office also forming part of it to promote the region along with Visit Knysna, George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism LTOs.

Africa’s Travel Indaba is an iconic African leisure trade show, owned by South African Tourism, with the specific objective of creating market access for our vast array of African leisure tourism products.

Learn more about each local tourism office by accessing their websites via the GR&KK website here:


16 May 2023 Opportunities: Construction Management Systems Training for Grades 5-8 Women-owned Businesses

Construction Management Systems Training for Grades 5-8 Women-owned Businesses

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) calls on women-owned contractors with 51% shares, registered in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 within General Building and Civil Engineering classes of works, to apply for Construction Management System (CMS) training. Construction Management System enables a business to implement a framework of processes and procedures to control its construction risks, improve performance and deliver better client value. In the long term, the CIDB will add the CMS standard as criteria for grading on the Register of Contractors.

CMS includes:

  • Health and Safety Management.
  • Quality Management; and
  • Environmental Management (covering air, water, land, and waste).

The CMS training programme is for the business owner or the contractor’s representative. The representative must be a permanent employee. Training will last 12 months and consists of two modules that will be presented at a workshop over five days of classroom sessions, implementing the CMS in the contractor’s organisation with support and a resources website. Prospective applicants will be required to undergo a pre-qualifying selection test.

Selection of successful applicants will be based on the following criteria:

  • Active CIDB registration in grades 5 to 8 GB and CE.
  • 51% women-owned company.
  • The participants must be competent to attend an NQF 5-level training course.

Interested and qualifying contractors will only contribute 10% (R2 300,00) towards training, and the 90% will be covered by CIDB through the B.U.I.L.D Fund.

Click here to download the application forms:
CIDB CMS Application Form 2023

The Application Form can also be downloaded from CIDB website.

Applications can be emailed, hand-delivered or posted to the following addresses:
Physical address: 01 Gordon Hood Road, Centurion, Pretoria, South Africa
Postal address: PO Box 2107, Brooklyn Square, 0075

04 April 2023 Media Release: GRDM once again supports SMMEs in the district through their 2022/2023 budget

Media Release: GRDM once again supports SMMEs in the district through their 2022/2023 budget

For Immediate Release
4 April 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) took a decision five years ago ‘to put their money where their mouths are’ by supporting and investing tangibly in Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the district.

On Thursday, 30 March 2023, sixteen (16) Small, Medium & Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the Garden Route district received much needed equipment/products as part of the GRDM SMME support program. These products will enhance their businesses and assist them to grow their businesses, which will benefit the economy.

Last year, sixty-three (63) businesses responded to the call for proposals, and the following applications were received: Bitou – 5 applicants, Knysna – 12 applicants, George – 25 applicants, Oudtshoorn – 4 applicants, Kannaland – 0 applicants, Mossel Bay – 2 applicants and Hessequa – 5 applicants.

During his welcoming address at the event, GRDM Councillor Cobus Meiring, acknowledged all 16 companies that succeeded in this rigorous application process. He highlighted: “The GRDM invested a substantial amount of R350 000 in this project for this financial year and as a Municipality, we would like to do more”. Adding to these words Cobus said that the development of SMMEs in the Garden Route is invaluable”. “We are relying on these businesses to enable themselves to make a living and to go somewhere in life”.

Dr Keith du Plessis, Chief Executive Officer of Casidra, said that small businesses have been challenged in various ways over the past few years and with the economy that is staggering, “we all know that small business are the heart of the economy”.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen (right), and CEO of Casidra, Dr Keith du Plessis (left), during and after signing a Partnership Agreement that signifies a long term collaborative partnership between GRDM and Casidra towards the implementation of the Garden Route Growth & Development Strategy. 

Over the past 3 years, sixty-six (66) SMMEs benefitted from the programme to the total value of more than R1.6 million. Dr du Plessis highlighted: “These figures are an indication that GRDM is serious about SMME development. Well done with the excellent initiative – I hope this programme will continue to grow from strength to strength – we would like to keep on partnering with this progressive and excellent Municipality”. He also thanked his colleagues from Casidra that made the delivery of the programme possible.

Municipal Manager of GRDM, Monde Stratu, shared a congratulatory message with all beneficiaries and spoke about the importance of the business sector’s participation in the municipality’s public participation processes. Stratu reiterated that with regards to budget allocations in support of small businesses in the area, the municipality is now getting into the phase of engaging with the public. He said: “We expect from representatives and individuals in this sector to interact with the document and see what is allocated to them and what it is that must be done”. Adding to this, he stressed: “When we send documents out for public comments, we do not receive any feedback and for that reason, we believe that people are happy”. When those that did not respond, give feedback to GRDM after the budget has been approved, it makes it difficult for the municipality”. He urged all present and said: “It is your time to scrutinize the budgets of all the municipalities in the Garden Route and see what has been catered for SMMEs”.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen and CEO of Casidra, Dr Keith du Plessis hand over the products to all SMMEs as beneficiaries of the GRDM 2022/2023 SMMEs Development Programme.

Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, during his keynote address stated that in this critical time with difficult economic circumstances, “it gives me joy that this event is a deliberate decision taken by GRDM together with the partners, Casidra and other the stakeholders. We told ourselves that ‘even if we have money, even if we don’t have money, with the little we have we will make provision to support our SMMEs’”.

Alderman Booysen also congratulated Casidra for receiving clean audits over 33 consecutive years. He said: “There is a belief in this country that when we talk about clean audits, people will tell you that “clean audits do not put food on the table”.

When addressing the SMMEs, Mayor Booysen stressed that South Africa must understand that not everyone will be employed by Government. Therefor “you as SMMs, must create employment – you will employ your neighbours, people who have passed Grade 12, people with skills, you as SMMEs will employ them and not just Government. Government must lay this foundation so that you your businesses can thrive” he added.

Mayor Booysen also spoke about the matter on how law enforcement, sometimes, remove small businesses from the pavements. He also shared his concerns that sometimes those business products also get destroyed in the process. He explained: “There is a reason for Aunt Sannie that sells vetkoek at a specific area. There are feet – people come and go”. And as Government, he said that “we regard this as the breaking of by-laws”.  Mayor Booysen advised that if a business is functioning well at a specific area which does not carry the approval of the specific municipality, the situation and business need to be assessed. It is therefore important for municipalities to revisit their by-laws to legalise business operations at an area of choice of the SMME”. In closing his speech Mayor Booysen said: “If we give you money, that money must take you to your dream, but not everything that you need for your business is money, connections and ideas also generate money”.

A SMME representative, Vuyokasi Melenie, shared a special vote of thanks to stakeholders and sketched a scenario to all present on how the programme contributed to their businesses. When Government closed businesses operations down because of the pandemic, it was a lot for small businesses – it came with a lot a strain and a lot of stress whereby staff lost their jobs.

Melanie Wilson, Manager for Economic Development and Tourism, who concluded her tenure at GRDM the next day (Friday, 31 March 2023) delivered the closing remarks at the event. She expressed her appreciation towards Mayor Booysen for his passion, energy, support and commitment towards SMMEs. She also thanked all Councillors who were present and to the Executive Manager responsible for Economic Development, Lusanda Menze she said: “Thank you for allowing us the freedom to do what we as team must do”.

The beneficiaries of the programme received a message from Wilson to carry their businesses for a lifetime, when she said: “May you get the feet, the clients and that your businesses will grow and excel. May your business not only grow for yourself and that you will not only provide for yourself, but that you will create generational wealth for your children and your communities. Continue with what you are doing and with your hard work, you will see the results in your lifetime,” she concluded.

Stakeholder representatives at the event were (FLTR): Lusanda Menze (GRDM), Clyde Lamberts (Department of Agriculture), Warren Marcus (Casidra), Melanie Wilson and Ald. Memory Booysen (GRDM), Dr Keith du Plessis (Casidra), Natalie Raubenheimer (GRDM) Paul Hoffman (WCEDP), as well as Johannes Jafta, Richard Dyantyi and Amagene Koeberg (GRDM).

Wilson furthermore expressed a special word of gratitude to the District Economic Development team and extended a special word of thanks to Johannes Jafta, Officer of Economic Development at GRDM, for his passion and energy and his skills to drive this programme.

Did you know?

  1. The stakeholders involved in the GRDM SMME Development Programme of 2022/2023, included Small Enterprises Development Agency (Seda) LED Managers from Local Municipalities in the Garden Route, Cassidra, the Department of Agriculture, WCEDP and DEDAT.
  2. Casidra renders project management service to Departments within the Western Cape Government (WCG), local authorities, businesses, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) community-based organisations (CBO’s), academic institutions, other governmental agencies and international assistance institutions. As the Provincial Government Enterprise for the Western Cape Government, development projects are planned and implemented by Casidra. Its proven ability and skills, ground level involvement in communities, proven track record and sound financial record-keeping, reporting and auditing make Casidra the preferred service provider.

14 Febuary 2023 Media Release: Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy Implementation Plan now in place

Media Release: Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy Implementation Plan now in place

For immediate release
14 February 2023

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council approved the Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy Implementation Plan on 30 January 2023. The implementation plan has been completed through consultation workshops with stakeholder groups for each of the seven priority focus areas in the Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy (GRG&DS).

The Garden Route District Municipality in partnership with all spheres of government, the business community and key community organisations developed a Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GRG&DS) which was adopted by Council on 30 March 2021.

A formal partnership agreement was entered into with the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (WCEP) to develop the GRG&DS, in collaboration with the GRDM. The agreement also includes the compilation of Cluster Implementation Plans, based on the following seven(7) strategic focus areas:

  • A Water Secure Future
  • A Circular Economy
  • Resilient Agriculture
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Supporting Wellbeing and Resilience
  • A connected economy: Transport and Rural-urban integration and ICT
  • Sustainable Local Energy Transition

Click here, to download the implementation plan here.
Click here, to download the Growth and Development Strategy.

By starting off the practical work, a range of workshops, facilitated by the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP), took place from 11 – 15 July 2022, to develop implementation plans for each of the seven strategic priorities as identified in the GRG&DS.

The Garden Route Economic Recovery Plan containing interventions, as well as initiatives identified in the GDS, were formed the basis from which the implementation plans were developed.

Dedicated clusters have been established through which catalytic projects, tasks and identified activities will be executed.

The GRDM in collaboration local B-Municipalities, National and Provincial Government, agencies and the private sector at a later stage, form part of these working clusters. Relevant stakeholders per strategic priority were also identified as key members of the specific clusters.

The implementation of the GRG&DS is crucial to ensure the impact it will have on the region, through partnerships and collaboration. The implementation of the plan will happen over the next 18 years and is linked to the performance agreement of the Executive Manager: Planning and Economic Development.

30 November 2022 Media Release: GRDM De Hoek Mountain Resort transitioning to a green accommodation facility

Media Release: GRDM De Hoek Mountain Resort transitioning to a green accommodation facility

For Immediate Release
29 November 2022

As part of its strategic objectives, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is keeping to its promise of being a leading district in pursuing green energy. In 2017, GRDM installed a 150kwh solar system on its parking lot at its George head-office. Now the municipality has done it again at their resort situated 35 km outside Oudtshoorn, De Hoek Mountain Resort.

On 25 November 2022, the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, the GRDM Municipal Council and officials launched this initiative with stakeholders to celebrate this event.

Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, during his address said that with the summits that GRDM hosted over the past few years, this event is a result of one of the summits, the Green Energy Summit. The Summit contributes to the municipality’s Growth and Development goals. Through these initiatives, Stratu said: “We look at what is it that we can do as an entity to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to produce energy, so that we can reduce our municipal bills of our own properties and buildings”. Adding to these words, Stratu added: “we have to ensure that our facilities (resorts and buildings) are gradually taken off the grid of ESKOM, so that we can reach a point where we are independent and to sell back to ESKOM the electricity that we produce from our own sources”. Stratu also used the opportunity to extend words of appreciation to Passmore Dongi, Project Manager at GRDM and the Unit, for the efforts that they have put into this project.

During an emotional speech, Passmore Dongi, GRDM’s Project Manager responsible for renewable energy, praised the Municipal Manager and his management team, as well as the Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen and Council for their support with the implementation of the project. He also emphasised the importance of ideas and the potential they have to become reality. He noted: “You can only do something when you dream.” Therefore, “dream as many times as you can,” he said.

Dongi explained that De Hoek Mountain Resort’s current electricity bill amounts to R45 000,00 per month. However, in two years’ time, GRDM might only be spending R5 000,00 and the solar system would have already paid for itself. “What we ultimately want to see is a district that is energy-secure,” he said. Dongi added that most of these projects cannot be achieved by GRDM on its own. He thanked the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) for the funding made available for the Energy Master Plan that will direct the GRDM in going forward in terms of Green Energy projects. “The idea is to reduce energy consumption by 80 to 90% at the resort,” he explained.

Menno Sulsters, Director and Project Manager at SEM Solutions, said that it had been a long road, but a worthwhile journey. In technical terms, he explained how the small-scale embedded generation system operates. In conclusion he said: “During this summer period, the system will generate extra energy that will be sold back to the Oudtshoorn Municipality”.

Alderman Booysen during his keynote address, stated: “We are giving strategic leadership, often on behalf of other municipalities, and at other times for ourselves, so that GRDM continues to be unique”. In addition, Mayor Booysen noted that GRDM has made many promises since 2016, and has “given hope to the people of the Garden Route.” He also touched on the significance of district municipalities and referred to the ongoing debate over their existence. “Every time these debates come up,” he said: “I would say to my colleagues, ‘you may think what you want; while district municipalities still exist, we as GRDM are striving to be different’”.

In addition he said: “The people of the Garden Route need the GRDM and the GRDM has shown that it works for the people of the Garden Route. Adding to the words of Dongi, he said: “Even if we dream, we must wake up to implement the dream and this is exactly what the GRDM has proven all along”.

Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, in his final remarks, Mayor Booysen encouraged all Councillors present with the following words: “This GRDM Council, your legacy must stand. We must reach a stage that no matter who comes next, they must not be able to dismantle what we have done. Whoever comes next must continue this journey and the GRDM must remain standing”.

Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk extended words of appreciation to all stakeholders, councillors and officials present to witness the launch of this ground-breaking project. In closing he said: “It was an honour and privilege to be part of this historic occasion”. He praised and congratulated the Municipal Manager and the GRDM team who had the vision to implement this project.

The ground-mounted, grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) system was installed, along with a grid-connected battery system, as a pilot installation that will demonstrate how a resort can save up to 90% on energy costs. A detailed study informed the decision, yielding that the optimum solar PV capacity is 45kWp together with a 160kWh/24kW battery system. With this system, the facility can be powered by solar energy while also charging the batteries, as it generates power during the day.

In the case of fully charged batteries, excess PV power is exported to Oudtshoorn Municipality’s grid, and De Hoek Mountain Resort is reimbursed. A grid-tied battery storage system will discharge and release energy into De Hoek’s electrical reticulation at night, ensuring that no electricity will be exported to maximize self-consumption during the day.

In total, three (3) tables of locally produced mounting structures were installed on concrete foundations, each holding 28, 28, and 26 PV modules respectively of 550Wp each. The Solar PV modules are also locally assembled, meeting the Department of Trade Industry and Competition’s local content requirements.

Now that De Hoek Mountain Resort is powered by renewable energy, it can boast of providing environmentally friendly holiday accommodation.

GRDM will continue to make all its buildings and properties eco-friendly.

Feature Image: Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, in front of the Solar System structures at the De Hoek Mountain Resort.


19 October 2022 Media Release: Garden Route domestic tourism trip attended by Journalists and Bloggers

Media Release: Garden Route domestic tourism trip attended by Journalists and Bloggers

19 October 2022
For immediate release

Early this year, the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro) entered into a three-year partnership agreement with Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) to accelerate the region’s economic growth, investment, trade and tourism. Clear targets and deliverables were set out in this agreement.  In order to increase domestic demand along the Garden Route & Klein Karoo, a familiarisation trip was organised with business and media delegations from Gauteng and Western Cape. The focus of this trip/educational was mainly on family and budget friendly packaging that is on offer in our region.

The trip consisted of 15 participants, including tour operators offering family-friendly packages, media representatives (print and online) focusing on family-friendly experiences, Wesgro representatives, and GR&KK representatives. The five-day trip took place across the entire Garden Route & Klein Karoo region

The initiatives are in line with the Growth and Development Strategy and Garden Route Economy Recovery Plan to boost the Garden Route economy.

Itinerary summary and highlights of the GR&KK Famtrip

Day one, the group met each other for the first time as they arrived at George Airport from their different flights with the tour operator – Tours 4 SA receiving the group. The drive to Garden Route Game Route was indeed pleasant with inviting weather and the group commenting on the diverse landscape witnessed enroute.

GRDM’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, and a delegation from Council welcomed the group with a networking lunch at Albertina’s Garden Route Game Lodge, highlighting the region’s beauty and splendour.

Day two, was utilised to explore the Garden Route Game Lodge property and to engage with management. The purpose of the trip was to promote the region as a tourism destination.

The group enjoyed the Western Cape Butterfly Sanctuary in Ruiterbos, which was officially opened in November 2021 and is the first and only butterfly sanctuary in the region.

On the third day, the group experienced the Karoo in its true essence in Oudtshoorn, from an ostrich farm safari to visiting the Cango Caves. A highlight of any trip to Oudtshoorn is this experience. The evening ended with an amazing night game drive at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge. This was an experience of the nocturnal side of wildlife, with many animal sightings and a coffee break under the stars while on the game drive which ended the night on a high note.

Day four, saw the group once again experiencing why many visitors to the Garden Route & Klein Karoo enjoy self-drives through the region Guests travelled from Oudtshoorn to Plettenberg Bay to visit the SAASA sanctuaries (Jukani and Birds of Eden). Feedback from the guests was that it felt like an ‘Amazon’ experience as they navigated through the world’s largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary.

Day five offered a taste of adventure that included zip lining, climbing and hanging from ropes at the Timberlake organic village between Sedgefield and Wilderness at Acrobranch. This wasfollowed by a boat ride in the Wilderness National Park.

As the group left George after a closing lunch at Redberry Farm, they felt invigorated on the one side, but also sad that they had to bid farewell to the beautiful Garden Route and Klein Karoo.

According to Mrs Amagene Koeberg, GRDM Tourism Coordinator, “continuous engagements are still underway with the group as they publish their experiences and share it with their various audiences through different platforms, as some of the participants have already shared TikTok videos, images, videos and some of the tour operators already engaging with our products/services to include the offerings into their packages. These platforms are being monitored and more statistics and reach will be relayed over a period of time as content gets released, “she said.


3 August 2022 Media Release: Informal Traders Conference for informal businesses hosted in the Garden Route

Media Release: Informal Traders Conference for informal businesses hosted in the Garden Route

For immediate release
3 August 2022

On Wednesday, 26 July 2022, Informal Traders and Businesses from the Garden Route district were inspired by various stakeholders who collaboratively hosted the first ever Garden Route Informal Leadership Conference, at the Conville Community Hall in George.

The event was hosted by the South African Informal Traders Alliance (SAITA) alongside the Informal Economy Development Forum (IEDF). This engagement brought together National and Informal Economy leaders from various sectors in the Garden Route district, Captains of Industry and National Government Departments, as well as representatives from the municipalities in the district.

The conference addressed the financial, marketing, research and development, governance as well as innovation needs of the Informal Economy in the Garden Route district. Its aim, therefore, was to showcase Informal Business leaders of the Garden Route and to promote and highlight the role the sector plays in the economic development of the country. It furthermore aimed to bring together governments, development institutions, investors, academics, and the private sector institutions with interest in the informal economy; to discuss best practices in the sector and lastly to unify Government, Corporate and the Informal Economy through advocacy; playing a leading role at being the catalyst for innovation and transformation whilst ensuring equal opportunity and dignity are protected.

During her address, the President of SAITA, Rosheda Muller, introduced the organisation and explained the role and activities of the SAITA in the informal economy of South Africa. The movement is dedicated to the advancement and development of the informal business economy of South Africa and therefore pledged to place the informal sector in a position in which it is able to negotiate on an equal footing with all spheres of government and business. The reason for their existence, therefore, is to, inter alia, inform and uplift, grow and develop, as well as to represent and speak for the previously voiceless. 

The organisation also identifies opportunities from which members can benefit from and they aim create conditions conducive to growth in a hostile business environment. With this Muller emphasised: “The informal business sector has awoken from a slumber in which it dwelled in an erroneously self-perceived acceptance of irrelevance and insignificance. This perception, Muller said: “Is corrected by SAITA and that it resulted in informal workers that are now aware of their importance, and the roles they perform in job creation and poverty alleviation”. SAITA also assists municipalities in regulating and controlling the Informal Traders within their areas of jurisdiction. Also, the organisation harness the potential of individual traders, and via their R204 programme, they facilitate the formalisation of the Informal Sector.

During his address at the event, Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Ald. Memory Booysen, referred to how the municipality is one of the most progressive districts in supporting small businesses within its area of jurisdiction. Mayor Booysen highlighted that the number of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the Garden Route district which GRDM supports, increases every year. Mayor Booysen also focused his speech on how well districts in other countries perform which impacts their respective economies significantly. For this reason, Mayor Booysen said to all small business representatives present: “As Government, we should not tell you what to do, because that is the reason why our economy is slow, instead we must listen to you”. Mayor Booysen also mentioned the aspect of by-laws and the utilisation of by-laws to boost the economic activities of small businesses. 

“As municipalities, we should make the by-laws work for you. You know why you operate your businesses in specific areas e.g. streets, because the street activity might attract more customers to your business. Therefore, these by-laws must be addressed to formalise your business operations at areas most beneficial to you”. 

Adding to this, Mayor Booysen said that town planners also play a vital role. “Business must consult us and we have to consult the town planners on what needs to be done – the process must work for you as business owners and more so, it must boost the economy of the district”. 

Yolanda van Dyk from the IEDF, during her remarks at the event, said that training is one of the biggest change agents within the economy and one of the driving forces to develop business owners and their workers. She further encouraged informal traders present to take advantage of opportunities provided to them. 

“The IEDF represents six (6) million informal businesses, for the purpose to build talent, create leaders and grow the economy.

With all the plans the organisation has in store for the informal sector such as the upcoming launch of the very first IEDF College where informal traders will be trained, she encouraged Government departments to route their budgets through this structure. To the corporate businesses, she said: “Bring your training budgets and let us train everyone in the Informal Sector”.

Deputy Chairperson of IEDF, John Volkwyn, also spoke about education and the potential it has to grow a business so that these businesses can hold the government accountable. He reiterated that the “Informal Sector must use their skills set to take ownership, accountability and responsibility”.

Economic and Tourism Manager at GRDM, Melanie Wilson, shared words of appreciation with SAITA, IEDF and all stakeholders present, for bringing the event to the Garden Route. She said: “On your own you are nothing, but as a group you can go far” when she referred to the saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together”. Adding to the words of Mayor Booysen, she said: “The next step from here is to have a conversation with other stakeholders, that also play a role in supporting the informal business sector of the Garden Route”.


11 July 2022 Media Release: Partnership between GRDM, Wesgro, SATSA, FEDHASA and Local Tourism Offices – Destination Marketing Organisation Launch

Media Release: Partnership between GRDM, Wesgro, SATSA, FEDHASA and Local Tourism Offices – Destination Marketing Organisation Launch

For immediate release
11 July 2022

This morning, the Garden Route District Municipality launched a partnership with Wesgro, SATSA, and FEDHASA, as well as Local Tourism Offices in the Garden Route. In line with the mandate and mission of the parties to collaborate for purposes of tourism promotion of the Garden Route & Klein Karoo, the Destination Garden Route & Klein Karoo project has been initiated.

The purpose of the project is to collaborate for the purposes of tourism promotion of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo region in a manner that embodies strategic cohesiveness and the efficient utilisation of resources between the stakeholders. The stakeholders have all recognised the need for a coordinated approach when implementing the Project and to this end have committed themselves to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding.

The areas of collaboration include but are not limited to marketing and promotion, events, strategic initiatives (including cruise and air route development), and tourism, with the purpose of conducting joint marketing and development initiatives, as amended from time to time by the Steering Committee.

With the Garden Route and Klein Karoo region being a beautiful asset of the Western Cape, the Garden Route brand will now be promoted to the domestic and international traveler in a joint approach, supported by Government, together with the private sector that will participate and do all the right things to showcase this region as a whole.

The partnership was officially launched this morning at the King George Hotel, in George. The launch coincided with the establishment of the Sustainable Tourism Cluster workshop, as per the Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy and the 7 priority clusters that were identified.

Feature Photo:
FLTR: Corleen Barnard, Tourism Manager: Oudtshoorn & De Rust; Joan Shaw – Tourism Manager: George, Wilderness & Uniondale; Alderman Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor; Monika Leul, Chief Marketing Officer at Wesgro; Melanie Wilson, GRDM Manager for Economic Development & Tourism and Lusanda Menze, Executive Manager for Planning & Economic Development at GRDM.


6 July 2022 Media Release: Calitzdorp Hot Springs to host a Music, Arts, and Food Gathering with a purpose

Media Release: Calitzdorp Hot Springs to host a Music, Arts, and Food Gathering with a purpose

6 July 2022
For Immediate Release

Echo Outdoor Gatherings is no stranger to the regional electronic music scene and for years they have hosted events of the highest quality.

After holding their flagship event – Elements of Life – successfully at De Hoek Mountain Resort near Cango Caves for the past five years, Daniel Mentz (event organizer), branched out to Calitzdorp Hot Springs in March with another exciting festival: Valley Of Dreams. The three-day event turned out to be a huge success, which was sold out completely, with people trekking from across the country to attend. According to David, the event attracted nearly 600 festival-goers, which was also a much-needed boost for business and tourism. Festival-goers venture out into the area during an event to explore and some opt to stay for longer as they usually travel from all over the country to attend such festivals.

“Our festival-goers want to make the best of their stay and frequently talk about what they were up to when venturing out to explore the area,” said Mentz.

This July, Echo Outdoor Gatherings will return to Calitzdorp Hot Springs with an even bigger event called ‘Elements of Fire’.

From Friday, 29 July to Sunday, 31 July festival-goers can look forward to a weekend that promises to be a visual and sonic experience like no other. Food stalls will sell falafels, breakfasts, steaks, and freshly pressed juice. Vegan and vegetarian options will also be made available.

Various craft stalls will sell items like dream catchers, leather works, jewellery, clothing brands, and macrame. There will also be two fire shows every night.

Winter Warmer Drive

Echo Outdoor Gatherings wanted to say thank you to the community of Calitzdorp for their warm welcome and decided to give back. This is why they are currently running a food and blanket drive for Friends Of Calitzdorp Animals (FOCA).

FOCA was launched six years ago when the founding member helped some friends to look after stray animals. Today they feed 250 dogs, 70 cats and facilitate up to 30 sterilisations a month. FOC are also constantly building kennels and continues to educate the local residents on animal welfare.

‘The amount of neglect FOCA witnesses every day is horrifying, to say the least,” said Mentz.

To supplement the Winter Warmer Drive, Echo Outdoor Gatherings and Feel Good Entertainment will donate 10% of the bar proceedings for the weekend to FOCA.

Garden Route District Municipality is proud to host the Echo Outdoor Gatherings events as Daniel takes pride in what he does. Every event is carefully planned and those attending must adhere to strict rules.

“Family is at the core of Echo Outdoor Gatherings and will always be,” said Mentz


13 June 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

For Immediate Release
13 June 2022

The fifth quarterly Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum was held virtually on in May 2022 and focused on renewable energy strategies for the Garden Route.

This follows a fruitful engagement Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) had with the Energy & Water Sector Education Training Authority  (EWSETA) on Tuesday, 17 May 2022.  During the engagement, EWSETA expressed its desire to support renewable energy projects in the Garden Route, which is in line with its support of Just Energy Transition (JET),  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the work done in South Africa by The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA).

EWSETA has a significant demand-based focus, and it is important for them to determine what the needs are of employers and businesses. They receive a limited skills levy income and need to partner with other agencies to address this challenge. This is why they’ve agreed soon enter into a memorandum of understanding with GRDM.

During his opening remarks, the GRSM Forum chairperson, Ald. De Vries remarked that renewable energy is gaining momentum as countries around the world are increasingly understanding the benefits it offers.

During the forum, Mr. Warrick Pierce, Technical Leader on Energy Systems Modeling at the Energy Centre of CSIR, presented the Draft Municipal Electricity Master Plan for the GRDM. The Draft document was funded by GIZ and co-funded by the CSIR and is considered to be a mini Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

Mr. Pierce noted that the plan looks at different possible energy futures and the employment opportunities it may hold. Furthermore, the plan’s focus is twofold as it looks at each municipality individually in the region and the Garden Route as a whole to achieve optimisation.

To draft plan addresses issues of future demand usage and that municipalities need to know their customers – their past behaviors towards energy and how this is changing in terms of self-generation.  There seems to be clear indication that Solar PV is the priority option for the Garden Route to consider. The Draft Energy Master Plan will be tabled to the GRDM Council this month for adoption and a media release about it will be issued.

The final presentation was done by Kirsten Freimann, from GIZ, who is the Head of Project: Career Path Development for Employment (CPD4E), which is a new 3-year program that started in June.

The program aims to address two major concerns identified by GIZ, which are the economic recession and the high youth unemployment rate plaguing South Africa. With the help of the Swiss Development Agency, The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Government was able to raise €10.5 million for the project.

CPDE4E strives to improve the employability of the youth by unlocking employment potentials by supporting entrepreneurship and SME development in township economies, as well as (ecologic) industrial parks.

The transition from learning to earning will be done by matching soft skills with entrepreneurship training with specific measures in place for girls and women.

Demand-driven TVET/ skills development will improve delivery capacities, through lecturers, in-company mentors, short skills programs, new occupational profiles, and curricula development. It is anticipated that it will strengthen private sector involvement in agile training interventions. This could lead to job creation and meeting demands.