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Employee Assistance

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.


3 June 2022 Media Release: Officials from Garden Route District Municipality celebrate Employee Wellness Day –  30 employees donated blood!

Media Release: Officials from Garden Route District Municipality celebrate Employee Wellness Day –  30 employees donated blood!

For immediate release 
3 June 2022

Every year, National Employee Wellness Month is celebrated during the month of June.  In view of this, the Garden Route District Municipality’s Employee Assistance Section organised a full-day programme filled with wellness activities to encourage employees to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being at work and overall.

Research indicates that work is closely linked to an individual’s health and well-being. And, as a result, several service providers were invited to interact with employees and advise them on how to improve and adopt a healthier workplace wellness culture since they spend most of their time at work.

Nedbank, Virgin Active, Bonitas- and LA Health Medical Scheme, the Western Cape Department of Health, the Western Cape Blood Services, and CANSA Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) representatives were among the service providers.

The GRDM Blood Donation Drive was one of the highlights of the day as the Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) also urges all eligible donors to donate blood as blood stocks are critically low.

According to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), ‘Donating a unit of this “precious gift of life” saves lives of those in dire need of blood. One must develop a habit of donating blood in order for SANBS to collect sufficient blood that will ensure that in cases of emergency quality blood is always available. Thousands of patients can die daily if there is insufficient quality blood in stock. When one donates blood, they give patients the gift money cannot buy or science cannot create. A unit of blood can save up to three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.’

Thirty (30) employees from GRDM donated blood today.

Benefits of donating blood:

  • Improves overall cardiovascular health.
  • Enhances the production of new blood cells to produce new blood cells to maintain good health.
  • Lower the risk of strokes.
  • Reduces the chance of heart attacks.
  • Lower the risk of cancer.
  • Free health screening – vital signs, blood type, and other screening tests.
  • It saves lives – many lives are saved and hope is given to many whose situation may otherwise be hopeless.
  • Blood donors give such patients a second lease of life.

As part of the day’s activities, Virgin Active also hosted a Grid Class for employees to participate in.

Click on the link to watch the video:

#GRDM #GardenRouteDdM #GRDMWellnessday #Wellnessday

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.

8 October 2020 Media Release: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month

Media Release: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month

For Immediate Release
8 October 2020

Annually, October marks “Breast Cancer Awareness month”, an opportunity to place focus on women reducing their cancer risk and to raise awareness. This month also serves to show support for people affected by the disease.

According to studies, early detection remains the cornerstone of controlling cancer. This means, early and adequate diagnosis can lead to effective treatment, resulting in a good chance to cure breast cancer. It is therefore imperative for women to empower themselves with the knowledge to lower their cancer and health risks and to be able to recognise warning signs early.

In South Africa, breast cancer is known to be one of the most common cancers among women of all races. All women are at risk, particularly women with a family history of breast cancer. However, it is also known that about 90% of patients survive after diagnosis when breast cancer is detected at the early stages.

South Africans are lucky to have an organisation like CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) involved in efforts at lowering cancer risks and to provide an integrated service to all people affected by cancer. CANSA continuously supplies the public with information and support. They are committed to offering day-to-day help, including emotional support to patients. In addition, they strive to ensure that cancer survivors and their loved ones don’t have to face cancer alone.

In support of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”, women are encouraged to go for annual medical check-ups and cancer screening; and to familiarise themselves with the early warning signs and symptoms of cancer. It is also important for women to check their breasts regularly and to visit health care practitioners if changes are noticed. Awareness of risk factors can help women reduce their personal cancer risk.

Warning signs of breast cancer.

The following are common breast cancer signs and symptoms which include:

  • a lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit – you might feel the lump but not see it;
  • a change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling;
  • a change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed;
  • a change to the nipple, for example, it has become pulled in (inverted);
  • rash or crusting around the nipple;
  • any unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple; and
  • changes in the size or shape of the breast.
Warning signs of male breast cancer.

Women must develop the habit of regularly checking their breasts, including the upper chest areas and armpits. It’s simple using the TLC technique (Touch Look Check).

  • Touch your breasts: can you feel anything unusual?
  • Look for changes: does anything look different?
  • Check any changes with your GP

Always remember, awareness of the symptoms and early detection can result in early diagnosis, resulting in improved treatment outcomes. It is in a woman’s nature to generally put others first – BUT, women need to realise that they too have the right to prioritise their own health.


Nedbank educates and advises GRDM staff on their financial well-being

On Friday, 6 March 2020, a team from Nedbank in the Garden Route, conducted a financial awareness session with staff members of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) at the municipality’s Head-Office in George.

Garden Route District Municipality employees (FLTR) Mss Sphosethu  Nqolo, Zintle Buma, Amanda Booysen and Mr Siviwe Nyoka with Ms Marcelle Field, Sales Support Manager at Nedbank (right) during the role-play.

The purpose of the session was to inform staff regarding the importance of their financial well-being and how to make a mind shift to ensure meaningful and effective financial decision-making. The following topics were covered, namely: saving, budgeting, credit and the implications thereof, as well as why customers are turned down for credit related transactions.

Ms Marcelle Field, Sales Support Manager, advised that the first most important aspect to look at one’s lifestyle and budget, is to differentiate between what the needed items and wanted items on a budget are. “And for staff who does not have a budget in place, draft a budget immediately, it is not too late,” she said.  During this part of the session, employees participated in an exercise, where the Nedbank team provided them with a simulated budget, for them to identify the “needs” and “wants” on the budget, as well as what expenses were fixed, variable expenses or part of unforeseen expenses.

More topics, namely: the importance of a will, housing bonds, how to build a good credit history, as well as the importance of saving for a child’s education and future, were shared. During this part of the session more questions were raised of which the Nedbank team responded well by using practical examples to convey a clear message to all employees present.

In conclusion, five staff members participated in a role-play and acted as financial advisers to the simulated budget, to advise the budget owner on better decisions to make for an effective budget. The result of the role-play was an indication of how well participants grasped the information and tips provided to them by the team.

Ms Shandre Abrahams, the GRDM Employee Wellness Practitioner extended a word of appreciation to the team, including, Mss Marchelle Field, Melissa Vermaak, Joanne Ross and Larissa Olivier, for their insight and for the important information shared with the GRDM staff. The next session will be conducted for staff members at the municipality’s depot in Oudtshoorn, with the Knysna, George and Riversdale depots to follow.

The top financial tips shared at the event:

  • In terms of budgeting, identify “Wants” and “Needs”, as well as the “fixed”, “variable” and “unforeseen” circumstances, write down income and expenses and mark the items that were already been paid. Also, start to save as little as R50 per month (stop order if not sufficiently disciplined).
  • In order to maintain or build a good credit record, do not skip any payments and make payments on time. Do not be afraid to borrow money, but never borrow more than what you can afford. Open a current account as it helps to build up a credit profile and do not draw excessive amounts of cash, rather swipe your card as it leaves a paper trail.
  • Always ask for a statement and scrutinise your statements thoroughly and make arrangements to pay off debt before you are handed over.
  • Good credit is regarded as an investment e.g a house. These investments add value to your life and contribute to your financial well-being and stability.
  • Bad Credit is used to buy items that can be consumed e.g. food or clothes and if abused, can lead to financial instability because food and clothes do not increase in value over time.

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.

Employees donate to NPO

GRDM joined the ‘Special Needs Children are Different, not Less‘ campaign of Binah and Legacy Centre to show support for special needs awareness. The campaign coincided with National Disability Rights Awareness Month from 3 November to 3 December and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Funds were raised by buying and selling green lollipops at a profit. GRDM officials bought a total of 130 lollipops and managed to raise R1450.00 that will be utilised to empower the special needs community of George by means of information and training on special needs.

We would like to thank the officials of GRDM for their eagerness to make a contribution towards this worthy cause.

GRDM Employee Assistance Practitioner, Shandré Abrahams said: “The funds raised will be used to remove barriers and to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities.”

It is important for the public to understand that disability is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, sensory, cognitive, mental, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these.

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease but people with diabetes can live long, healthy lives with good diabetes management. This includes managing not only blood glucose (glycaemia) but also risk factors for complications such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These can be managed with a healthy diet, regular physical activity and the correct use of medication as prescribed by a health provider. People with diabetes require access to regular and organised healthcare delivered by a team of skilled providers.

People with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin treatment, regular blood glucose monitoring and a healthy diet and lifestyle to manage their condition effectively to delay or avoid many of the complications associated with diabetes.

The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes management is a healthy diet, increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight. Oral medication and insulin are also frequently prescribed to help control blood glucose levels.

A healthy diet for people with diabetes includes reducing the number of calories in people who are overweight, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, eating dietary fibre, and avoiding tobacco use, excessive alcohol and added sugar.

Physical activity is most effective when it includes a combination of both aerobic (eg. jogging, swimming, cycling) exercise and resistance training, as well as reducing the amount of time spent being inactive.

For people with type 1 diabetes, an uninterrupted supply of high-quality insulin is essential for survival. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many countries. Almost 100 years since insulin was first used to treat type 1 diabetes, many people with diabetes continue to have difficulty accessing affordable and regular insulin to manage their condition.

The full provision and availability of injection and monitoring equipment are even lower, and the cost of blood glucose supplies often exceeds the cost of insulin, especially in some of the poorest countries.

The primary aim of the World Diabetes Day (WDD) is to raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and to promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of the condition.

The WDD 2019 has three main focus areas (click on the links to learn more):

Discover diabetes
Prevent type 2 diabetes
Manage diabetes


When posting to social media about World Diabetes Day, use the hashtag #WorldDiabetesDay

Leave no one behind through Gender Transformation

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) presented a programme about Gender Mainstreaming (equality, empowerment and transformation) on 7 and 8 November to Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) council and administration. The objectives of the programme were to provide support, to advise and capacitate GRDM about issues of gender transformation. The Commission is a Chapter 9 Constitutional Human Rights State Institution, which seeks to ensure a drive towards the successful implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal relating to Gender Equality (5th goal). South Africa and all other participating states have to localise this goal by defining, implementing and monitoring strategies at a local level to achieve targets.

Attendees of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme on 7 November, front (fltr): Cllr Luzuko Tyokolo, Mr Leonard Macakati, Cllr Isaya Stemela (Portfolio Chairperson: Corporate Services). Middle (fltr): Theresia Van Rensburg, Cllr Rosina Ruiters (Deputy Executive Mayor), Ms Trix Holtzhausen (Executive Manager: Corporate Services), Cllr Erica Meyer (Portfolio Chairperson: Strategic Services), Ms Shandré Abrahams (Employee Assistance Practitioner). Back row (fltr): Cllr Barend Groenewald (Speaker), Cllr Ryk Wildschut and Cllr Bernardus van Wyk. (Not pictured: Mr Mzukisi Cekiso (IDP Manager), Cllr Joslyn Johnson (Portfolio Chairperson: Property Management & Development) and Cllr Liza Stroebel).

Leonard Macakati, an Educator from The Commission for Gender Equality presented the Gender Mainstreaming Programme. During his presentation, he specifically emphasised the importance of Gender Forums within municipalities. He then debunked the myth that many believe Gender Forums should consist of only women. “Gender Forums should include people of all genders, disabled people, members of the LGBT community and youth,” he said.

Leonard Macakati from the Commission for Gender Equality presented a Gender Mainstreaming Programme at Garden Route District Municipality on 7 and 8 November 2019.

Macakati later shared the goals of Gender Mainstreaming, which are to:

  1. institutionalise gender equality and equity through gender mainstreaming;
  2. transform institutions simultaneously to sensitise gender equality and equity into the Integrated Development Plans, policies internally and externally; and
  3. recognise the effective participation of women in all municipality programs and levels of Local Government.

Once gender equality issues are included in Integrated Development Planning processes, budgeting, service delivery/policy implementation, reporting, monitoring and evaluation processes, it will help municipalities achieve gender-mainstreaming goals. Attaining these goals will ensure that there is a shift in each municipality’s culture – making everyone more gender-sensitive.

The second presentation took place on 8 November 2019 where employees had a chance to interact with the facilitator on gender mainstreaming.

The Employee Assistance Practitioner of GRDM, Ms Shandré Abrahams, who is also one of the key drivers of Gender Mainstreaming at GRDM, after the two-day session, said: “Many employees expected the workshop to only focus on women, but in actual fact, gender is a multidimensional concept and gender has many dimensions or facets related to each other in multiple ways.”

Later this month on 25 – 26 November 2019, GRDM, in collaboration with the South African Police Service and the Western Cape Government Department of Community Safety will host a Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Summit in George. Stakeholders will formulate an actionable plan to combat and eventually try to reduce social ills facing society.