Category: <span>Environmental Management</span>

13 December 2022 Media Release: Resource management, land restoration and legislation take centre stage in the Garden Route

Media Release: Resource management, land restoration and legislation take centre stage in the Garden Route

For Immediate Release
13 December 2022

“The Southern Cape and Garden Route is experiencing rapid development and has to make provision to accommodate a fast-growing population, and this more often than not generates friction and anxiety between authorities and landowners where legislation and capacity to e.g. process applications hampers development or where various sets of legislation are seemingly contradictory where for instance land rehabilitation and invasive alien plant eradication is of concern,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

“ GREF is hosting its annual key- stakeholder report-back event on 13 December in Wilderness, where regional conservation and environmental management entities and individuals will provide insight on matters pertaining to resource management and land restoration.”

“There is a continued need to understand the linkages between ensuring a high standard of living in the Southern Cape, new development, loss of biodiversity, destruction of wetlands and wildlands and unsustainable pressure on natural resources such as water, and the finding of solutions for environmental challenges are increasingly relevant.”

“In addition to the matters mentioned above, the Garden Route is already experiencing and recording evidence of rising sea levels and climate change, and these are all the more reasons for those who share a concern for the state of the environment to make their voices heard and intensify the environmental debate in order to ensure that sustainability and resilience of natural resources remain top of the regional agenda.”

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a public platform and think tank for all those in the Southern Cape involved in active and ongoing conservation and environmental management effortsThose interested in the event can email Louise Mare louisamare@gmail.com.

Caption: The Garden Route is a place of natural scenic beauty, and every effort must be made to conserve its sensitive environment

ENDS

05 October 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality applies for an Alien Vegetation Control Programme Grant

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality applies for an Alien Vegetation Control Programme Grant

For Immediate Release
5 October 2022

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has applied for a grant, through the Western Cape Government Provincial Treasury, to reduce the fire risk and improve the water supply. The proposed project, budgeted at approximately R29 million, will include a coordinated alien invasive species clearing, ecological restoration plan and community training programme. It is planned for the various catchments and rivers/tributaries and their habitats within the region.

GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen says that if funding is approved, the project will contribute to the integrated development of marginalised communities through income-generating invasive alien vegetation clearing projects.

“The GRDM and partners also plan to grow the community’s skills by enhancing their knowledge about identifying alien vegetation and clearing it,” he said.

More benefits of the proposed project include:

  • Restoration of ecosystem functions (i.e., nutrient cycling, habitat value);
  • Protecting biodiversity;
  • Initiating regrowth of indigenous plants;
  • Reducing fire risks;
  • Increasing water security;
  • Erosion control;
  • Enhancing tourism potential;
  • Restoring of wetland and estuarine functions;
  • Enhance tourism potential;
  • Improving agricultural potential of land (grazing and crops);
  • Long-term conservation of the mountain catchments, rivers, wetlands, and remaining natural; and
  • Facilitate the establishment of a positive working relationship between local communities and local government.

A lot of invasive alien plants (IAP) thrive throughout the Garden Route and its seven local municipal areas. Projections indicate IAPs could double within the next 15 years if something isn’t done soon. Such plants pose a threat to biodiversity, water conservation efforts, agricultural management and fire risk management.

Managing IAPs is based on two fundamental principles – acting early and following up. This includes initial control to drastically reduce the existing IAP footprint; and controlling seedling, root suckers and regrowth. Finally, maintenance to sustain low and decreasing IAP numbers will yield more positive results.

Dr Nina Viljoen, Head of Environmental Management says many alien plants consume more water than local plants, depleting valuable underground water resources, which results in additional fuel for veld fires. “Lower slopes, river floodplains and forest and scrub vegetation are largely invaded by species such as Acacia mearnsii and Acacia melanoxylon, amongst others, said Dr Viljoen”.

Alien plant invasions are estimated to have reduced mean annual runoff in the major rivers within the district by almost 20% by 2007 (Le Maitre et al., 2013).

Where to report Alien Invasive Species

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) – Invasive Species Forum
Biosecurity Compliance
Call Centre: 086 111 2468
Website: www.environment.gov.za

Please also contact the below person for information on training and advocacy forums:
Kay Montgomery
National Invasive Species Advocacy Project (for the DFFE)
M: +27 82 659 0939
E: kay@wordlink.co.za

Below are some of the many invasive alien plants in the region:

 

Feature image: According to Dr Viljoen, Acacia melanoxylon (featured) and Acacia mearnsii have invaded many lower slopes, river floodplains, forest and scrub vegetation in the region.

ENDS

 

13 September 2022 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners monitor river water quality

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners monitor river water quality

For Immediate Release
13 September 2022

Managing and protecting river systems are of utmost importance. Agricultural and land management practices, wastewater works maintenance, wetlands protection, and invasive alien plant control and eradication all play a role in the health of river systems.

“The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is the official Water Quality Monitoring Authority of the Garden Route region. Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) take water samples on a monthly basis to ensure that water intended for human consumption, recreation or use by industries is safe and complies with specific standards,” said Johan Compion, GRDM Manager for Municipal Health Services.

The term water quality describes the physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic properties of water, which determine its suitability for a variety of uses and for protecting the health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.”

Compion says the river water sampling and monitoring programme of the GRDM strives to provide accurate and consistent information. He added, “Sampling results assist to determine the main sources of pollution and to introduce specific interventions aimed at addressing these identified sources of pollution”.

The water quality monitoring function rendered by the EHPs of GRDM includes the following:

  • Monitoring of quality and availability of water intended for human consumption, recreation or use by industries;
  • Regular taking of water samples for analysis;
  • Identification and control of sources of water pollution;
  • Protection of water sources and resources by enforcement of legislation relating to the water quality;
  • Taking of samples for wastewater quality compliance;
  • Enforcement of legislation to ensure a supply of water safe for health (Water Services Act, 1977), Act No 108 of 1997) and South African National Standards (SANS Code 241).
  • Introduction of corrective and preventative actions (e.g., making recommendations to relevant authorities);
  • Implementation of health and hygiene awareness actions and education relating to the water supply.

Whenever risks can compromise safe drinking water in communities, the GRDM takes a preventative approach.

Sampling results serve to evaluate the suitability of the water of the various rivers for irrigation, livestock watering, recreational and domestic purposes and according to the following standards/ guidelines:

  • Wastewater limit values applicable to the discharge of wastewater into a water source in terms of the National Water Act, Act No. 36 of 1998.
  • South African Water Quality Guidelines: Agricultural use – Irrigation
  • South African Water Quality Guidelines: Agricultural use-Livestock Watering
  • South African Water Quality Guidelines: Recreational Use
  • SANS code 241 for drinking water

Typical water types that are monitored, sampled and analysed include, but are not limited to drinking water, rivers, dams, treated sewage effluent, recreational waters and industrial effluent. Rivers, which receive final effluent from Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW), are of higher risk to human health, and water- and environmental pollution. EHPs inspect WWTW, and do water sampling to ensure that the final effluents are safe to discard in rivers and the environment as per specific WWTW permit requirements.

The applicable legislation is enforced by EHPs and is stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, the Water Services Act, no 108 of 1997, the National Water Act no. 36 of 1998 and the National Health Act no. 61 of 2003.

The GRDM with an area of 23 331km² is a Category-C Municipality and comprises seven local municipalities: George, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn, Hessequa and Kannaland.

Criteria used to determine high-risk and low-risk rivers, include:

Rivers that receive final effluent from Waste Water Treatment Works, are regarded as high risk to human health.

The rivers in the GRDM region where EHPs take water samples monthly include the following:

A. HIGH RISK
A) Ruiterbos Paardekop River
B) Heidelberg Duiwenhoks River
C) Riversdale Goukou River
D) Oudtshoorn Olifants River
E) George Gwauiing River, Schaapkop River, Molen River
F) Mossel Bay Hartenbos River
G) Plettenberg Bay Ganzevlei
H) Kurland / Plettenberg Bay Sout River
I) Zoar and Ladismith Nels River
B. LOW RISK
A) Oudtshoorn Grobbelaars River
B) Mossel Bay Klein Brak
C) Knysna Salt River and Bongani
D) Plettenberg Bay Piesang-, Keurbooms-, and Ganzevlei River
E) Plettenberg Bay Touw and Kaaimans River
F) George Garden Route Dam
G) Mossel Bay Kleinbrak and Grootbrak Rivers

All relevant role-players, municipalities and state departments must be involved in serious cases of river pollution. Where necessary EHPs advise water users on appropriate treatment options in accordance with the usage of the water and the specific determinants (total Coliforms, E-Coli and Faecal Coli organisms) not complying with relevant standards or guidelines. The “polluter pays” principle is applicable in cases of continuous pollution of water resources. EHPs report non-compliance to water services authorities and institutions to implement rectification measures in cases of unsafe and unhealthy conditions and health hazards.

What is the difference between a Water Services Authority and the GRDM Municipal Health Services?

Collaboration between local municipalities, the Department of Water Affairs, the Department of Environmental Affairs, other government departments and private entities, as well as all relevant role-players, will ensure that short-, medium- and long-term goals are reached, to ensure clean and healthy river systems.

A Water Services Authority (WSA) is any district municipality or metropolitan or local municipality that is responsible for providing water services to end users. A water services authority may either provide water services itself (an internal mechanism) or contract a water services provider to provide water services (an external mechanism).

Municipal Health Services is a function of District Municipalities, and the EHPs perform water quality monitoring as part of their municipal health functions, which include the following:

  • Monitoring of water reticulation systems
  • Monitoring of quality and availability of water intended for human consumption, recreation or use by industries
  • Regular taking of water samples for analysis
  • Identification and control of sources of water pollution
  • Protection of water sources and resources by enforcement of legislation relating to the water quality
  • Enforcement of legislation to ensure a supply of water safe for health (Water Services Act, 1977 Act No 108 of 1997) and SANS Code 241
  • Introduction of corrective and preventative actions (e.g. making recommendations to relevant authorities)
  • Implementation of health and hygiene awareness actions and education relating to the water supply.

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

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
E-mail: info@gardenroute.gov.za

Switchboard: 044 803 1300

Feature image: Sample taken of water by an EHP.

ENDS

24 August 2022 Notice: Public Participation for the Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme – Date for comments extendeds

NOTICE OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION FOR THE GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME

The Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme was reviewed and updated, in terms of Section 48 of the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Act (Act No 24 of 2008). As per the provisions of the ICM Act, any amendments that are made to the existing Coastal Management Programme must be subject to the public participation requirements in accordance with Chapter 4 of the Municipal Systems Act, prior to being Gazetted.

Notice is hereby given that the Draft Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme will be available for review and comment from 20 June 2022 to 23 September 2022. The draft Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme will be available for viewing at the following Places:

1) Garden Route District Municipality, 54 York Street, George;
2) Mossel Bay Public Library, 99 Marsh Street, Mossel Bay;
3) Hessequa Public Library (Gouritsmond Library), 9 Kerk Street, Gouritz;
4) Albertinia Public Library, 2 Horne Street, Albertinia;
5) Still Bay Public Library, Main Road, Still Bay West;
6) Riversdale Public Library, Van Den Berg Street, Riversdale;
7) Hessequa Municipal Office, Mitchell Street, Riversdale;
8) Plettenberg Bay Public Library; Saringa Way, New Horizons, Plettenberg Bay;
9) Knysna Public Library, Memorial Square, 2 Main Street, Knysna;
10) George Public Library, Corner Caledon and Courtenay Streets, Camphersdrift, George, and;
11) Garden Route District Municipality website: www.gardenroute.gov.za/documents/

The District Municipality hereby invites comments from interested and affected parties on the draft reviewed Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme. Any comments and inputs submitted will be considered during the finalisation of the draft document for final approval and Gazetting.

Written submissions may be directed to the Municipal Manager using the following address:
Garden Route District Municipality, Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, 54 York Street, George or Private Bag 12, George, 6530 or via email to info@gardenroute.gov.za on or before 23 September 2022.
Any person who is unable to write can submit their input verbally to the Council’s offices where they will be assisted by a staff member to put their comments in writing. Enquiries can be directed to Dr Nina Viljoen at 044 803 1318 or e-mail nina@gardenroute.gov.za.

M Stratu
MUNICIPAL MANAGER
GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY

Click here to download the Draft Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme.
Click here to download the official Notice.

11 August 2022 Public Notice: Comment – Public Participation for the Garden Route Coastal Management Programme – Closing 20 August 2022

Public Notice: Public Participation for the Garden Route Coastal Management Programme

The Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme was reviewed and updated, in terms of Section 48 of the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Act (Act No 24 of 2008). As per the provisions of the ICM Act, any amendments that are made to the existing Coastal Management Programme must be subject to the public participation requirements in accordance with Chapter 4 of the Municipal Systems Act, prior to being Gazetted.

Notice is hereby given that the Draft Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme will be available for review and comment from 20 June 2022 to 20 August 2022. The draft Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme will be available for viewing at the following Places:

  1. Garden Route District Municipality, 54 York Street, George;
  2. Mossel Bay Public Library, 99 Marsh Street, Mossel Bay;
  3. Hessequa Public Library (Gouritsmond Library), 9 Kerk Street, Gouritz;
  4. Albertinia Public Library, 2 Horne Street, Albertinia;
  5. Still Bay Public Library, Main Road, Still Bay West;
  6. Riversdale Public Library, Van Den Berg Street, Riversdale;
  7. Hessequa Municipal Office, Mitchell Street, Riversdale;
  8. Plettenberg Bay Public Library; Saringa Way, New Horizons, Plettenberg Bay;
  9. Knysna Public Library, Memorial Square, 2 Main Street, Knysna;
  10. George Public Library, Corner Caledon and Courtenay Streets, Camphersdrift, George, and;
  11. Garden Route District Municipality website: www.gardenroute.gov.za/documents/

The District Municipality hereby invites comments from interested and affected parties on the draft reviewed Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme. Any comments and inputs submitted will be considered during the finalisation of the draft document for final approval and Gazetting.

Written submissions may be directed to the Municipal Manager using the following address:
Garden Route District Municipality, Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, 54 York Street, George or Private Bag 12, George, 6530 or via email to info@gardenroute.gov.za on or before 20 August 2022.

Any person who is unable to write can submit their input verbally to the Council’s offices where they will be assisted by a staff member to put their comments in writing.

Enquiries can be directed to Dr Nina Viljoen at 044 803 1318 or e-mail to nina@gardenroute.gov.za.

Click here to download the Official Notice and Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme.

M Stratu
MUNICIPAL MANAGER
GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY

20 June 2022 Media Release: Environmental management and climate change under the spotlight at Garden Route Indaba

Media Release: Environmental Management and Climate change under the spotlight at Garden Route Indaba

For Immediate Release
20 June 2022

The Annual GREF/Garden Route Environmental Management and Climate Change Indaba will be hosted by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) in Wilderness on 23 June 2022.

The theme for the event is:  Preparing the environment for a changing climate.”  The Garden Route has been feeling the brunt of climatic changes during the past few years, manifesting in the form of unprecedented wildfire disasters and prolonged drought, in especially, the northern parts of the district as well as severe flooding in some coastal areas in November last year. In order for the GRDM to better prepare the region for what lies ahead in terms of climate change, stakeholders will gather to share experiences and ideas.

The Annual Garden Route Environmental Management and Climate Change Indaba in George is an institutional arrangement, and it continues to provide a strong and valuable platform for cooperation and communication between all entities on matters central to sustainable environmental management and climate change.

Environmental management under the spotlight following the Durban flooding disaster

“For years to come Durban and the surrounding countryside will suffer from, and personally experience the deadly and destructive impact of the 2022 floods. Government, as well as landowners and resident communities, will do well to learn and act from what happened, and that set of impacts also apply to the flood-prone Southern Cape and areas elsewhere along the coast and the interior of South Africa,” says Cobus Meiring, programme director for the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) event.

“Besides substantial and traumatic loss of life in Durban, the damage to the environment and hard infrastructure is significant and will require enormous amounts of money and human resources to recover and rebuild from scratch.”

“History proved many times over that KwaZulu-Natal is prone to flooding and should have been better prepared to deal with these events as and when they occur, but this time around, nobody could have foreseen the severity of the recent flooding.”

Says Meiring: “In hindsight, however, there were several actions and interventions that could have made a significant difference in nurturing and better managing the surrounding natural infrastructure (rivers, wetlands, catchments and feeder streams) in order to soften the blow to the city and environment. Many lives could have been saved and billions of rand damage to infrastructure and the significant knock-on effect to the already battered economy could have been prevented.”

“There are obvious and practical ways to better prepare any city for flooding and dramatically reduce the impact of severe flooding, such as ensuring that stormwater systems are permanently clean and free of obstructions. More often than not the dire state of many of our rivers, streams, catchments and wetlands detrimentally reduce their ability to deal with floods and the critical function they deliver.”

“Perhaps because of the costs associated with eradication and clearing, the destructive effect of invasive alien plants (IAPs) on natural infrastructure must be understood.”

“River systems clogged up by IAPs cannot fulfil their basic role which is to channel rushing waters and prevent damage to riverbeds and riverbanks. When invasive alien plants replace indigenous vegetation, rivers cannot keep soil structures intact and assist with recovery following floods. Vast amounts of invasive plant biomass washed away by flooding rivers in Durban accumulated en masse against infrastructure such as bridges, stormwater channels and culverts, and in the process caused their total destruction resulting in even more severe downstream devastation.”

According to Meiring, the function and ability of wetland systems to dramatically reduce the impact of flooding waters are still misunderstood. “Their unfortunate destruction over time – through channelling and draining the water they retain and release to make way for development and farming – and invasive alien plant encroachment worsened the Durban flooding exponentially.”

“Thousands of tons of litter and plastic washed down by flooding rivers are sure signs that rivers and catchments are used as dumping sites, and in the process lead to riverbank and hard infrastructure destruction. By reducing illegal dumping this effect can be reduced,” says Meiring.

“Illegally built structures along riverbanks, steep slopes prone to landslides and structures in low-lying areas prone to flooding will increasingly become a death trap as the likelihood of severe flooding increases with changes in rainfall patterns and as the impact, driven by climate change, take effect.”

“Lastly, in high-risk areas, local and regional authorities should invest in early warning systems and evacuation procedures. It is also critical to consider awareness creation and public consultation to ensure that community safety becomes a bigger priority,” adds Meiring.

Feature image: Biomass from uprooted invasive alien plants in rivers and catchments during floods has a devastating impact on infrastructure and the environment.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Cobus Meiring: Programme Director for the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Climate Change Indaba Event
Cell: 083 626 7619
Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

 

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.

ends

 

14 June 2022 Public Notice: Notice of Public Participation for the Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme

Public: Notice of Public Participation for the Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme

The Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme was reviewed and updated, in terms of Section 48 of the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Act (Act No 24 of 2008). As per the provisions of the ICM Act, any amendments that are made to the existing Coastal Management Programme must be subject to the public participation requirements in accordance with Chapter 4 of the Municipal Systems Act, prior to being Gazetted.

Notice is hereby given that the Draft Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme will be available for review and comment from 20 June 2022 to 01 August 2022. The draft Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme will be available for viewing at the following Places:

  • Garden Route District Municipality, 54 York Street, George;
  • Mossel Bay Public Library, 99 Marsh Street, Mossel Bay;
  • Hessequa Public Library (Gouritsmond Library), 9 Kerk Street, Gouritz;
  • Plettenberg Bay Library;
  • Knysna Library;
  • George Library; and
  • Garden Route District Municipality website.

The District Municipality hereby invites comments from interested and affected parties on the draft reviewed Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme. Any comments and inputs submitted will be considered during the finalisation of the draft document for final approval and Gazetting.

Written submissions may be directed to the Municipal Manager using the following address:
Garden Route District Municipality,
Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu,
54 York Street / Private Bag 12
George
6530 or/
E-mail: info@gardenroute.gov.za on or before 01 August 2022.

Any person who is unable to write can submit their input verbally to the Council’s offices where they will be assisted by a staff member to put their comments in writing. Enquiries can be directed to Dr Nina Viljoen at 044 803 1318 or e-mail nina@gardenroute.gov.za

M Stratu

MUNICIPAL MANAGER
GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY

Click here to download the Official Notice and Garden Route District Coastal Management Programme.

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:

KEEP CLEAN

  • 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).

SEPARATE RAW AND COOKED FOOD

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

COOK THOROUGHLY

  • 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.

KEEP FOOD AT SAFE TEMPERATURES

  • 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.

USE SAFE WATER AND RAW MATERIALS

  • 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.

ENDS

15 March 2022 Media Release: Growth And Development Of The Agricultural Sector In The Garden Route

Media Release: Growth And Development Of The Agricultural Sector In The Garden Route

15 March 2022
For immediate release

Clyde Lamberts from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture was invited to speak at the first Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum of 2022 and his focus was on the growth and development strategy of the department for the Garden Route. He opened his comprehensive presentation with the following quote by Allan Savory:

“Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds – it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s land and waters. Without agriculture, it is impossible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy”.  

To put this quote into perspective, Lamberts shared one of the Department’s recent success stories: A farm in Herald was in a dilapidated state due to a lack of interest in purposing the land. A businessman who was passionate about farming bought it, and spent the next five (5) years turning it into a viable business that now produces honeybush and proteas. He is the first black commercial farmer to produce honeybush in the Southern Cape. It is because the Department assisted him that his business was able to create sixteen (16) permanent jobs, with opportunities for an additional twenty (20) seasonal workers.

Before this, in Waboomskraal, the Department assisted another farmer, who became the first black farmer in the area to produce proteas and hops.

Lamberts noted: “When all spheres of government work together in an integrated fashion, these are the type of results we will see”. 

Lamberts listed the activities and services the Department provides to farmers and all other stakeholders as the following:

  • Independent agricultural advice and information
  • Supporting Livestock farmers – Development program. Livestock Forum
  • Performance testing/annual evaluation/ID limitations and opportunities
  • Investigating and implementing new hardy breeds and crossbreeding
  • Investigations in lowering inset cost through conservation agriculture – cover crops
  • Investigations into pasture species for marginal lands
  • Crop production advice and information
  • Niche crops/markets
  • Training

The type of training that is provided includes evidence-based and practice-based farmers’ capacity building. This is done through farmers’ days, demonstrations, peer-to-peer learning, and face-to-face interactions. Since 2018, the department trained 820 beneficiaries and this ranged from vegetable training to farm implement operation training.

The Department has a memorandum of understanding with GRDM and vacant land has been identified that the municipality owns which is conducive for agricultural development opportunities. The Department is researching the potential of commodity processing facilities in the Garden Route, which will be a source of immediate job creation – a game-changer for job creation in the region.

The Department furthermore envisions the building of Agri-Business Platforms for clients where potential products can be processed ready for consumption. Through Conservation/Regenerative agriculture, farmers are encouraged to rehabilitate and look after their own soil to turn it into organic matter that fertilizes with very few chemicals. Trials on livestock projects have yielded very positive results to date, and the global view is that going regenerative holds many financial and ecological benefits.

Agritourism needs to be promoted as it holds several untapped opportunities for the tourism sector. There is a need to compile tour packages to visit farms and processing facilities for both local and international tourism. The Roads Department has a role to play as well, as it must ensure easy access through regular road maintenance and upgrades.

The Department is in the process of revisiting mechanization which would allow for a central point that offers services such as ploughing, for example, as well as repair and maintenance services on farm implements.

Lamberts concluded his presentation by saying that we can be very proud of our district and that the Department is very excited to continue its work in the area.