Category: <span>Environmental Health</span>

26 July 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality’s role in managing of human remains

Media Release: Garden Route DM’s role in managing of human remains

For Immediate Release
25 July 2022

The disposal of the dead, also known as the management of human remains, is one of the nine municipal health functions performed by Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) assigned to local governments under the National Health Act 2003 (Act no. 61 of 2003).

According to the National Health Act, handling of human remains, transportation, and funeral undertakers’ facilities must all be inspected and monitored at least twice a year. However, ongoing monitoring is also required. Environmental health inspections include identifying, monitoring, and assessing health risks, nuisances, and hazards at funeral homes. Where necessary, corrective and preventative actions are implemented.

The main functions of EHPs in the management of human remains is as follows:

  • EHPs ensure that funeral homes are operating under current certificates. Upon confirmation that the facility complies with environmental health regulations, a certificate of competency is issued.
  • EHPs further ensure that handling, collection, storage, and disposal of waste, including health care risk waste, comply with SANS 10248, Norms and Standards for waste management.
  • Conduct risk assessment to identify potential health hazards from the preparation and storage of human remains.
  • Provide health education and awareness on proper hygiene practices as well as water and sanitation practices.
  • Ensures that the funeral undertaker premises have a pest control plan and that pest control services are performed at least once a month.
  • In case of non-compliant after an inspection, the relevant EHP will liaise with the owner of the funeral undertaker.
  • After each inspection, the EHPs ensure that the inspection report indicates the condition of the premises and relevant health recommendations are provided to the owner or person in charge.
  • EHPs ensure that a database of all premises in their area used for handling, preparing, and storing human remains is maintained.
  • EHPs must ensure that all facilities and equipment used in connection with the handling, preparation, storage, preservation, and transportation of human remains adhere to the regulation relating to the management of human remains, in accordance with National Health Act 61 of 2003.

For any further information, please contact us at the respective regional offices within the Garden Route District Municipality:

Klein Karoo Region

Mr. Desmond Paulse

Tel: +27(0)44 272 2241

Cell: +27(0)83 678 6530

Address: 94 St John Street, Oudtshoorn

Kanaland Region

Mr. George Hendriksz

Tel: +27(0)44 272 2241

Cell: +27(0)82 907 3492

Address: 15 Regent Street, Oudtshoorn

Mossel Bay

Mr. Sam Bendle

Tel:  +27(0)44 693 0006

Cell: +27(0)83 630 6108

Address C/O Sampson & Marling Street, Ext 23, Mossel Bay.

George Outeniqua

Ms. Emmy Douglas

Tel: +27(0)44 803 1501

Cell: +27(0)78 457 2824

Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George, 6530

George Wilderness

Mr. Pieter Raath

Tel: +27(0)44 803 1501

Cell: +27(0)83 644 8858

Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George

Knysna Region

Mr. James McCarthy

Tel: +27(0)44 382 7214

Cell: +27(0)82 805 9417

Address: 26A Queen Street, Knysna

Bitou Region

Mr. Gawie Vos

Tel: +27(0)44 501 1600

Cell: +27(0)83 557 1522

Address: 7 Gibb Street, Plettenberg Bay

Hessequa Region

Mr. Haemish Herwels

Tel: +27(0)28 713 2438

Cell: +27(0)83 678 6545

Address: 23 Michell Street, Riversdale, 6670


Mr. Johan Compion

Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services

Cell: +27(0)82 803 5161


Tel: 044 803 1300


13 July 2022 Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners annually ensures Knysna Oyster Festival safe

Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners annually ensures Knysna Oyster Festival safe

For immediate release
13 July 2022

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) fulfils their mandatory duties by ensuring that hygiene standards at all festivals are maintained.  The recent Knysna Oyster Festival is one of many examples where EHPs worked diligently to ensure quality health standards were maintained.

Role and interventions during the festival

EHPs from the GRDM Knysna office prepared for the Knysna Oyster Festival well in advance.  They had to plan, and implement mitigating and monitoring activities for the entire festival. This already started days before the festival commenced and concluded after the festival officially ended.

Food control

  • All informal food premises were inspected before and during the festival, including daily inspections at Oyster Festival “Hot spots”;
  • Inspections were also conducted at various locations in town where thousands of oysters were kept under prescribed conditions;
  • Several batches of oyster samples were dispatched to the Merieux NutriSciences Laboratory in Cape Town for bacteriological analysis, prior to the start of the festival, to establish the status of the holding tank water, as well as the bacteriological oyster quality. This lab requested EHPs from the Garden Route District assist with the surveillance of oysters procured from other areas within the Southern Cape; and
  • The drinking water to be provided to the athletes participating in the Forest Marathon was analysed to ensure compliance with the Bottled Water Regulations: “Regulation 692 of 1997, promulgated under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act (Act 54 of 1972)”.

Water quality monitoring

Bacteriological water monitoring of the Knysna Estuary was conducted by sampling water at 14 sites in and around the estuary.

Health surveillance of premises

Regular inspections and health surveillance of premises of all related public amenities was undertaken during the Festival, including:

  • Public toilet facilities;
  • Accommodation establishments;
  • Cycle race registration;
  • Marathon;
  • Food markets; and
  • Tobacco control at premises.

Communicable disease outbreak

The local EHPs and relevant medical health care providers have established a strict protocol for reporting communicable disease outbreaks. Hospitals, general practitioners, and pharmacies, both private and provincial, were included.

After the festival, the EHPs participated in debriefing sessions to discuss the best practices and challenges identified.

For any further information, please contact GRDM Lakes (Knysna) Region Municipal Health Services:

Mr James McCarty

Chief:  Municipal Health Lakes (Knysna)

Tel: 044 382 7214

Cell: 082 805 9417

Address: 26A Queen Street, Knysna


 Mr. Johan Compion

Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services


Tel: 044 803 1300

Featured image:  Picture taken during an oyster competition at Taste of Knysna.

30 June 2022 Media Release: Food safety during load shedding

Media Release: Food safety during load shedding

For Immediate Release
30 June 2022

Load shedding occurs often in South Africa. Other countries in the northern parts of Africa and the Middle East, also experience power outages on an average of 23.5 times a month which lasts on average 9.4 hours at a time. South-East Asia is hit with an average of 17 power outages a month, lasting over an hour each time.

These outages have a direct impact on food safety. Three (3) factors are at play here – the length of the outage, its frequency of it and where food is stored.

One key fact to remember is: As long as it is cold, food should be safe.

Food in a refrigerator may be safe as long as:

  • Power outages do not last longer than four hours
  • the fridge door is closed
  • the temperature of the refrigerator was at 4 °C when load shedding started.

Food safety issues including spoiling are especially likely to occur with perishable goods such as fresh meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, and leftover food (depending on how long they were stored before load shedding started). The recommended temperature for the fridge to operate at, for food to remain safe to consume, is 4°C. It is therefore a better option to discard perishable food stored in a fridge that operates at a temperature higher than 4°C, especially when load shedding took place for two (2) or more hours.

Different bacteria grow at various temperatures. For every 1°C increase above that minimum growth temperature, the bacteria growth rate will double (depending on the type, living environment and access to nutrients).  It is therefore essential to keep the door closed to ensure that the refrigerator stays as cold as possible during a power outage

If a freezer door is kept closed, frozen food will stay frozen for up to 48 hours. Perishable food must be cooked as soon as possible if they begin to defrost. Refreezing perishable food is dangerous.

Given the price of food, one is hesitant to discard it, but weighed against the risks of consuming unsafe food – it is best to discard it. Some perishables might not necessarily smell or taste much different but may be filled with bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.

If one knows the load-shedding schedule, one can prepare for it as follows:

  • Ensure that the temperature in the refrigerator is 4 °C or as near to it as possible.
  • Frozen leftovers, milk, fresh meat and poultry, fish, and other goods should be moved from the fridge to the freezer that you might not need right away.
  • Buy fresh food in smaller quantities, prepare it fast, and enjoy it instead of buying it in bulk and storing it in the fridge.
  • Take special note of purchasing long-lasting items, such as unopened canned foods and sterile or ultra-heat heated temperature drinks. These have a lengthy shelf-life outside of the fridge, however, once they’re opened, they too need to be chilled.
  • Another method used to keep perishable goods as cold as possible for as long as possible is to place ice packs around the items in the fridge.


17 June 2022 Media Release: World Day to combat desertification and drought: Blossom’s Emergency Pipeline Project

Media Release: World Day to combat desertification and drought: Blossom’s Emergency Pipeline Project

For Immediate Release
17 June 2022

The Greater Oudtshoorn region continues to be plagued by ongoing droughts, and alternatives have had to be found to ensure water security for the region. Since 2018, the water supply from the Raubenheimer dam was under severe pressure as the amount of water available from the dam, exceeded the amount that could be relied upon with a 98% degree of assurance. The future and ongoing supply of water in the Oudtshoorn area is severely constrained and drastic measures had to be planned to address the situation urgently.

Furthermore, the Vermaaks Rriver boreholes near Dysseldorp are used to maximum capacity and the Huis River, which supplies De Rust with water, is unreliable during the summer months, which holds negative implications for the Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply System (KKRWSS).

The Blossom’s Emergency Pipeline is a project that was started in 2001 to investigate and develop alternative and additional water supplies for the Oudtshoorn area. Nine deep, and three monitoring boreholes were drilled in the Blossom’s wellfield, which were monitored and tested for 13 years. The test was completed in 2014, and it was concluded that the boreholes yield enough groundwater to supplement the water supply from the Raubenheimer Dam. It was determined that 60l/s (5Ml/day) can be supplied from 5 existing boreholes within the C1 Blossoms wellfield. The test also found that the impact on the environment would be minimal.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) approved a license for the total yield of 8 million m3/a for the ultimate full development of the Blossoms wellfield and gave the nod for the construction to commence. Originally, the project was intended as a medium to long-term bulk water augmentation intervention but given the current water crisis in the Oudtshoorn area, it will be implemented soon.

Funding for the current phases of the project, which started in February 2022, comes from the Municipal Disaster Relief Grant, which allocated a total of R47 million. To date, more than R150 million was spent, which was co-funded by DWS and Oudtshoorn Local Municipality. The current phase of the project is expected to be completed by March 2023.



1 June 2022 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners focus on restaurants about safe food handling

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners focus on restaurants about safe food handling

For Immediate Release
1 June 2022

Five (5) keys to safer food training is a key focus area for Garden Route District Municipality’s Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) to educate the public about. EHPs focus mainly on formal and informal food traders about food safety. Recently, the Mossel Bay EHP team visited food handlers and management of Delfinos, Piza ē Vino, Kingfisher, Big Blu, Patricks and Kaai 4 for exactly this.

Neo-Lay Britz, an EHP from the Mossel Bay sub-office, explained: “Safe food handling is of utmost importance to ensure that quality food is sold to the public. Dangerous bacteria can contaminate food and cause food poisoning if the five keys to safer food are not adhered to”.

The GRDM EHPs, in their educational sessions, focus on the following 5 keys: keeping clean, the importance of separating raw and cooked food, cooking thoroughly, keeping food at safe temperatures; and using safe water and raw materials.

Here are the details of all the keys and their respective tips:


  • Hands should be washed before and during the food preparation process.
  • Premises should be kept clean, which includes the equipment used, in order to ensure that pests such as cockroaches, mice and rats do not gain access due to the availability of food (food spills, refuse bins and dirty dishes).


  • Use separate equipment and utensils for the different types of raw and cooked food.
  • Raw and cooked food should be stored in separate containers.


  • Proper cooking kills most dangerous bacteria, studies have shown that cooking food up to a temperature of 70˚C can help ensure food is safe for consumption.


  • Bacteria can multiply very quickly if food is stored/ kept at room temperature, it should either be kept below 5˚C or above 60˚.
  • Food products should be defrosted/ thawed at the correct temperature and not be kept on the table in the hot kitchen during the course of the day.


  • Safe water and raw materials such as fruit and vegetables should be used.
  • Only meat bought from an approved butchery/ abattoir should be used.
  • Choose safely processed foods such as pasteurized milk.

The GRDM EHPs are the first point of contact in ensuring that workplaces are safe, hygienic, and healthy places to work in.

If you become aware of non-compliance, please report it to 082 804 5161.

Feature Image: Environmental Health Practitioners from Garden Route District Municipality in Mossel Bay with employees from a local restaurant.


22 February 2022 Media Statement: Garden Route Municipalities not affected by Typhoid Fever

Media Statement: Garden Route Municipalities not affected by Typhoid Fever

For Immediate Release
22 February 2022

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Manager, Community Services, Clive Africa, also confirms that there are no cases of Typhoid Fever in the Garden Route.

Typhoid fever also known as enteric fever is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs. Typhoid Fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi, related to the bacteria that cause salmonella food poisoning. It is highly contagious and an infected person can pass the bacteria through contaminated faeces. If someone else eats food or drinks water that has been contaminated they can become infected with the bacteria and develop typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever is most common in communities that have poor sanitation and limited access to clean water.

Municipal health services as defined in the National Health Act, 2003 do monthly water sampling of all municipal water sources in the Garden Region and potable water in the region is still safe for human consumption. Cases of typhoid in the Western Cape have also not been linked to municipal water sources. Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) form part of the Garden Route District Response Team and will investigate any suspected cases.

Typhoid fever symptoms include weakness, stomach pain, headache, diarrhoea or constipation, cough and loss of appetite. Some people with typhoid fever develop a rash of flat, rose-coloured spots.


  • Proper hand hygiene, which includes thorough washing of hands with water and soap.
  • After using the bathroom/toilette, and before preparing or eating a meal.
  • After handling nappies.
  • Maintain good hygiene in the kitchen when you are handling and preparing a meal.
  • Ensure that household water from a safe source.
  • Safe disposal of human faeces and nappies.

Environmental Health Practitioners provide health and hygiene training on a monthly basis at crèche and schools in the district to illustrate and practice of proper handwashing techniques as well as the importance thereof.

For any further information, please contact us at the respective Regional offices within the Garden Route District Municipality:

Johan Compion
GRDM Manager:
Municipal Health & Environmental Services
Tel: 044 803 1300

Sam Bendle
Chief: Municipal Health (Mossel Bay),
Tel:  044 693 0006
Address C/O Sampson & Marling Street, Ext 23, Mossel Bay.

George Outeniqua:
Emmy Douglas
Chief: Municipal Health (Outeniqua)
Tel: 044 803 1501
Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George, 6530

George Wilderness:
Pieter Raath
Chief: Wilderness (George)
Tel: 044 803 1501
Address: Mission Street, Industrial Area, George

Klein Karoo
Desmond Paulse
Chief: Municipal Health (Klein Karoo)
Tel: 044 272 2241
Cell: 083 678 6530
Address: 94 St John Street, Oudtshoorn

James McCarthy
Chief: Knysna
Tel: 044 382 7214
Cell: 082 805 9417
Address: 26A Queen Street, Knysna

Gawie Vos
Chief: Bitou
Tel: 044 501 1600
Cell: 083 557 1522
Address: 4 Virginia Street, Plettenberg Bay

Haemish Herwels
Chief: Hessequa
Tel: 028 713 2438
Cell: 083 678 6545
Address: 23 Michell Street, Riversdale, 6670

George Hendriksz
Chief: Kannaland
Tel: 044 272 2241
Cell: 082 907 3492
Address: 15 Regent Street, Oudtshoorn


19 October 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM prioritises the long-term health and well-being of citizens

Media Release: Garden Route DM prioritises the long-term health and well-being of citizens

For Immediate Release
19 October 2021

The impact various businesses have on the health and well-being of communities, are closely monitored by Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP). They conduct surveillance of premises to ensure that safe, healthy and hygienic conditions are the order of the day. EHPs, during their inspections, identify, monitor and evaluate health risks, nuisances and hazards. If the premises they’ve inspected is not up to standard, corrective actions will be taken.

GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services, Mr Clive Africa, says “the GRDM Municipal Health By-law, promulgated under the National Health Act, 2003 (61 of 2003), allows EHPs to take remedial action in instances where the conditions may create a possible risk to the health and well-being of the community”. “EHPs perform health inspections at various premises unannounced,” he said.

EHPs visit these types of sites on a routine basis:

  • Accommodation facilities
  • Barbers and hairdressers
  • Body piercing and tattoo parlours
  • Childcare facilities- tertiary and other educational institutions
  • Farms
  • Guesthouses or self-catering accommodation premises
  • Health care facilities
  • Hostels/backpackers
  • Informal settlements
  • Laundries
  • Night shelters
  • Nursing homes and retirement villages
  • Places of care
  • Premises where animals are kept
  • Public ablution facilities, beaches

When inspections are done, the following steps are required to be completed by each EHP:

  1. Inspection checklists are completed and captured for each inspection.
  2. Those in charge of premises will receive a full report on findings within 14 days following an inspection.
  3. While inspections are done, EHPs also educate and inform those in control of premises about immediate remedial actions required.
  4. The GRDM has a digital database of all premises in the region.
  5. In some instances, external stakeholders will form part of inspections (law enforcement, etc.)

A risk-based approach is followed by each EHP during inspections. Focus areas include ventilation, lighting, indoor air quality, food safety, water and sanitation practices, management of waste, pest control, disease transmission risk factors, hygiene practices and other conditions that are likely to pose a hazard or risk to human health.

For any information, contact the GRDM Municipal Health Services Unit of Garden Route District Municipality at 044 – 803 1300 or contact Johan Compion, Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services, on 083 803 5161.


Caption: Garden Route District Municipality Environmental Health Practitioner inspecting food products at a grocery store in the Garden Route.

17 March 2021 Media Release: District food control measures remain key to ensuring safe food consumption

Media Release: District food control measures remain key to ensuring safe food consumption

For Immediate Release
17 March 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is one of the 44 district municipalities and eight (8) metro municipalities in South Africa who has to monitor all food premises to ensure that food is produced, handled, stored, processed and distributed safely. It is therefore important for Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) to inspect food premises to assess that food products purchased by customers are safe for human consumption and are of exceptional quality.

In order for GRDM to align itself to the provisions of health related legislation, regular inspections are conducted at all premises where food products are handled and/or stored.  These businesses, be it formal or informal, are not limited to hotels, restaurants, spaza shops, dairy farms, butcheries school feeding schemes and retail outlets.  While at a premises inspection, EHP check if food products are labelled correctly, hygiene standards are in place, storage is done according to generally accepted standards, food products are handled correctly and also ensure that preventative measures are in place to avoid pest control issues. These inspections are done in accordance with the Regulations governing general hygiene requirements for food premises and the Transport of food; Regulation 638 of 22 June 2018.

The following figures of work outputs for the period January 2017 up to December 2020 are of interest and provide an indication of the number of site visits, which were conducted by GRDM EHPs throughout the region.

  1. Number of food premises inspections: 42 404
  2. Number of water samples taken: 7 784
  3. Food samples taken: 2036
  4. Health surveillance conducted at premises: 92 436 (these include non-food premises)

The general public can be assured that measures are in place to ensure that safe and healthy food products are provided to all consumers. Furthermore, the public is urged to report any irregularities, complaints or non-compliance to their nearest GRDM Municipal Health office, or to lodge such issues via phone to 044 805 1550 or e-mail

All complaints will be attended to and timeous feedback will be provided.


4 February 2021 Media Release: Eradication of illegal dumping campaign in George extended to end of March 2021

Media Release: Eradication of illegal dumping campaign in George extended to end of March 2021

For immediate release
4 February 2021

With the roll-out of the Illegal Dumping Project in George last year and the various phases that have been implemented so far, the timeframe of the project has now been extended to the end of March 2021, according to Morton Hubbe, Garden Route District Waste Manager.

The Illegal Dumping Project is a joint initiative between Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and George Municipality in the fight against the illegal dumping of waste in the George and surrounding areas. The project was launched in Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp during October last year, however the financial assistance by GRDM to George Municipality for the renting of machines to remove the waste has ended on 30 November 2021. George Municipality subsequently decided to continue with the renting of machines at their own cost.

Waste burnt in skips placed at hotspots areas within the George municipal area.

With the funds made available to George Municipality, Hubbe said: “Nine skips were placed at various spots within the Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp areas and are rotated to other illegal dumping hotspots within these two areas”.

George Municipality is already in the process to secure more funds in order for the project to continue to achieve the desired outcomes.

Deployment of EPWP workers

In addition to the project, two teams of thirty Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers are working in both areas to clean-up illegal dumping hotspots throughout these areas. Various items are then placed into nearby skips, for removal. So far nearly 2700 tons of illegally dumped items have been removed with JCBs and Tipper Trucks in both areas.

Awareness about illegal dumping

One of the components of the project, is to create awareness about illegal dumping in the most effected areas. For this purpose, 36 educators were appointed to conduct door-to-door sessions in the respective areas. Households reached also have an opportunity to complete a survey regarding the issue at hand. Questions focus specifically on personal experience in relation to waste removal in their specific areas, the reporting of illegal dumping to the local municipality etc. To date, two thousand (2000) households have been visited and the more are expected to follow. These visits will be conducted until the end of March this year.

Waste burned in Skips

Although the skips are placed at identified hotspots, it has come under the attention of the both municipalities that people within these areas are burning their waste in the skips. This is an unacceptable behaviour and residents are requested to directly report these incidents to the Law Enforcement Unit of George Municipality at 044-801 6350 or The skips are only used for the purpose to dump waste and efficient plans to remove full bins are in place.


30 November 2020 Media Release: EHPs join efforts with Hessequa Firefighters to create more COVID-19 awareness

Media Release: EHPs join efforts with Hessequa Firefighters to create more COVID-19 awareness

For Immediate Release
30 November 2020

Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM’s) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) continue to create awareness about COVID-19 with the hope that behaviour will change. EHPs approach communities with the trust that their coordinated efforts will result in the change they want to see. In his own words, Haemish Herwels (Chief: Municipal Health, Hessequa area), says: “We cannot lose the fight against COVID-19, because if we do, we will have nothing left – no family, friends and colleagues”.

A Hessequa Firefighter doing door-to-door awareness about COVID-19.

On 21 November 2020, the EHPs from GRDM’s Hessequa sub-office, in conjunction with Hessequa Municipality’s Firefighters conducted a comprehensive awareness session in Albertinia. This included door-to-door visits in Theronsville, one of the areas where in COVID-19 active cases are surging.

During the visits, those on grassroots level reminded community members about the importance of adhering to the golden rules for the prevention of COVID-19. These include the wearing of masks, washing hands regularly, keeping a safe distance of 1.5 m from others, to avoid crowded areas, and most importantly, to protect oneself. Hessequa Municipality’s Firefighters also assisted EHPs with loud hailing to share important messages to communities.

Focus was also placed on self-monitoring of symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention should the need arise. This was important to do, as it was observed during contact tracing operations when people were unsure about signs and symptoms of COVID-19. This has left many testing only days later which could pose more risks to infecting others. It is therefore important for members of the community to contact their clinic or doctor as soon as they feel sick. Advice will be given by medical practitioners on what a person should do next.

GRDM would like to share their appreciation to Hessequa’s Firefighters for assisting in the awareness-raising campaign, in particular Ricardo Jacobs, Conray Saayman, Lenestio Nomdo and Heinrich Swart, who sacrificed their off-time to assist the GRDM team.

A reminder of important contact numbers, include:

Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102
Toll-free hotline: 080 928 4102
WhatsApp “Hi” to 0600 123 456
All lines are operational 24/7.

The above contact details are for health-related matters only.

Feature image caption: Group of Environmental Health Practitioners and Firefighters who conducted awareness in the Hessequa Municipal area.