Category: <span>Environmental Health</span>

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.


18 November 2020 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality EHPs receive pepper spray training

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality EHPs receive pepper spray training

For Immediate Release
18 November 2020

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) and the Administrative Clerks received pepper spray training on 10 and 11 November 2020. The South African Police Services (SAPS) provided the training and placed a strong emphasis not only on self-defence methods but also about identifying risky situations to avoid assaults.

According to Mr Clive Africa, GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services, the training came at a time when crime statistics are on the rise and EHPs feel evermore unsafe while conducting inspections.

“The majority of our EHPs are women and they are particularly vulnerable, furthermore, in our country crimes committed against women and children remains a major concern for everyone,” said Africa.

Another reason for such training is, the GRDM’s intervention after an EHP was assaulted by a shop owner while conducting a compliance inspection. The EHP found that the foodstuffs at the business did not comply with the South African Regulations: Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs R146.

According to R146, labelling requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Information in English and where possible one of the official languages
  • Product Name / descriptor
  • Address
  • Ingredients including compound ingredients
  • Indication of additives
  • Indication of ALL allergens
  • Country of origin
  • Batch ID
  • Date marking
  • Storage instructions
  • Weight declaration
  • Letter sizes for some items need to be in a designated font size and / or in a bold and / or uppercase font and positioned in a certain place.

The training also comes at a time when Government prepares for its 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which starts on the 25 November and ends on 10 December 2020. In addition, there have been numerous reports of ambulance crews in South Africa who have been victims of crimes, especially during the lockdown. The GRDM sees it as important to provide employees with the necessary tools to protect themselves. No one should feel threatened to do their work and everyone has the right to protect themselves from harm.


Pictured: Bronwen Moolman, Environmental Health Practitioner for Garden Route District Municipality holding the pepperspray she now keeps by her when doing inspections.

6 November 2020 Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners, SAPS and Local Municipalities visit spaza shops

Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners, SAPS and Local Municipalities visit spaza shops

For Immediate Release
6 November 2020

During October a number of role players visited 126 Spaza Shops in the Garden Route to ensure that compliance to regulations governing general hygiene requirements, including COVID-19 regulations; food premises standards; and the transport of food and related matters, were adhered to.  The visits were arranged by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) and approached jointly with the help of the South African Police Services (SAPS) and local municipal officials from town planning, law enforcement, building control and local economic development.

“The Garden Route District Municipality command centre collectively decided that unannounced visits to Spaza Shops were needed,” said Johan Compion, GRDM Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services. “Spaza Shops are visited by a great number of people and especially nowadays, with the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 emerging, it is more important than ever that businesses are safe and compliant to regulations,” he said.

During the inspections the focus is on the following issues:

  • Checking if all Spaza Shops had Certificates of Acceptability (CoAs);
  • compliance to local municipal bylaws;
  • compliance to hygiene standards;
  • adherence to COVID-19 safety measures (hand sanitizer at designated points available to customers and employees; social distancing for queues);
  • monitoring of employees and customers wore face masks;
  • sanitising of hands before and after servicing customers;
  • sanitising of hands after handling money.;
  • displaying appropriate signage and awareness information;
  • maximum ventilation;
  • daily cleaning and disinfection of high risk surfaces and objects;
  • wearing of utility gloves by those removing refuse;
  • proper sealing of waste bags; and
  • no illegal dumping of waste.

Challenges identified at some of the Spaza Shops, include:

  • Sanitising and wearing of masks in some Spaza Shops were not adhered to.
  • Social distancing of 1.5 m in and outside shops when queuing and inside some Spaza shops were not followed by customers.

Where non-compliance was identified, additional awareness and education was provided and an inspection report issued, which will include a follow-up inspection. This has to happen to ensure that hygienic requirements are met and COVID-19 preventative measures are followed to combat and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Picture: Gcobani Tshozi, EHP for Garden Route DM and Thomas Fosibo (Manager of Shop 2 in Thembalethu)


30 September 2020 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners still optimistic amidst the pandemic

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners still optimistic amidst the pandemic

For Immediate Release
30 September 2020

Since March 2020, all Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) have worked at grassroots level to raise awareness about COVID-19 to formal and informal business sectors. Awareness shared not only included the signs and symptoms of the Coronavirus disease, but more importantly, ways in which to minimize and prevent the spread of it.

“Since March 2020, three (3) EHPs out of 39 contracted COVID-19,” said Mr Johan Compion, GRDM Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services. “It has been a stressful time for EHPs and their families, especially for those who have family members at home stressed if their partners contracted COVID-19 while moving around,” he said.

GRDM Executive Manager, Mr Clive Africa explained that the multi-agency approach to curbing the spread of the virus is one of the reasons why not many lives were lost. “Our Firefighters and the additional 20 Expanded Public Works Programme workers, since 1 April 2020, disinfected a countless number of sites,” said Africa.

“None of these front-line workers contracted the virus, which is something we can be very grateful about”.

More frequent inspections were conducted at premises to ensure that the public stayed protected. Basic principles such as hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and social distancing were taught.  In addition, important factors such as adequate ventilation, the use of personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfection of transport vehicles and pest control, were also shared and monitored.

Today, COVID-19 education is still done at informal and formal businesses, which include the following:

  • beauty salons (barbers, hairdressers and tattoo parlours)
  • old age homes/retirement homes
  • retail stores
  • churches
  • banks
  • SASSA PAY points
  • soup kitchens
  • clinics
  • schools
  • crèches
  • homes of COVID-19 patients
  • correctional services
  • police stations
  • door-to-door awareness
  • libraries
  • farms
  • holiday resorts/spas
  • hospitals
  • funeral undertakers
  • milking parlours
EHPs monitor compliance at a funeral.

Despite the hard work already done by EHPs, many community members do not wear masks. EHPs also found that many people do not adhere to social distancing protocols and ignore other COVID-19 preventative measures. In some cases, family members of those who were awaiting test results moved around while they should have been in quarantine. It has also noted with concern that social stigma and discriminatory behaviour occurred against people with COVID-19 or those who recovered from it.  GRDM urges the public to play their part in helping to curb the spread of this virus instead of fuelling the stigma around this pandemic.

Despite all the challenges faced, EHPs will continue to roll out preventative measures to combat and curb the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus disease.


COVID-19 Health and Hygiene Awareness Sessions in the greater Oudtshoorn and Kannaland area

As part of the district-wide intervention to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19, also called Coronavirus, personal hygiene and coronavirus awareness sessions were held in the greater Oudtshoorn and Kannaland areas.

People were informed about the following aspects:

  • What the coronavirus is;
  • How the virus is spread;
  • Symptoms;
  • Treatment;
  • Prevention;
  • Measures that should be in place; as well as
  • The importance of hand washing.

The awareness campaign was rolled-out in the form of one-on-one sessions, poster and pamphlet distribution and group sessions.  During the sessions, emphasis was placed on proper hand wash techniques and the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. The following premises and audiences were reached:

  • Municipalities;
  • Libraries;
  • Community Halls;
  • Hospitals;
  • Clinics;
  • Schools;
  • Crèche’s;
  • Barbers’ and Hairdressers;
  • Food Premises;
  • Police Stations and Courts;
  • Churches;
  • Resorts;
  • Old age homes; and
  • Public Facilities.

Ongoing sessions and outreaches programmes are schedule for weeks to follow.