Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) handed over 55 jackets to Thembalethu neighbourhood watches
For Immediate Release 20 September 2023
Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has donated 55 jackets to Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch to support the Area Base Team (ABT). ABT, which consists of various community structures in Thembalethu, requested assistance from GRDM through a Neighbourhood Watch and Community Forum (CPF) Indaba due to the high crime rate in the area.
Jackets are funded through the GRDM in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety.
During the handover ceremony, GRDM Executive Mayor Ald, Memory Booysen thanked the representatives of the Thembalethu Neighbourhoods for the significant work they are doing in keeping community members safe. Alderman Booysen, however, encouraged them to also invite young people to work with them, since safety is a concern for everyone.
Caption : In this photo is Garden Route District Municipality Executive Mayor Alderman Memory Booysen, together with the leadership of the Thembaletu Neighbourwood Watch and his office
Media Release: Sod-Turning event marks a milestone for Regional Waste Management Facility
For Immediate Release 04 September 2023
In a significant step towards more sustainable waste management practices, the official sod-turning ceremony for the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Regional Waste Management Facility was held on Friday, 1 September 2023. The journey to this milestone began back in 2006 when investigations and processes for establishing the Regional Landfill Site commenced.
Sharing in this historic and groundbreaking occasion, were Executive Mayors and Municipal Managers and across the district, the GRDM Mayoral Committee Members and officials, representatives from National and Provincial Government, as well as engineering consultants and stakeholders from Standard Bank, Tefla and Zutari.
During his address, Municipal Manager of GRDM, Monde Stratu, gave a thorough background about the project. He explained: “Local municipalities have reached a point where their waste management sites have become exhausted, which is why this regional waste management facility is being constructed”. Further to this he said: “It was a blessing in disguise that the initial model did not realise as it saved GRDM millions of rands.
Stratu particularly commended the GRDM officials who have been driving the project to this point. “The resilience and commitment of all involved are paying off. And today, it is time to celebrate – despite what happened, we are still delivering on our promises,” Stratu emphasised.
In his remarks at the event, the Head of Public Sector- SA at Standard Bank, Timothy Mtlatla, spoke passionately about Standard Bank’s support to GRDM’s commitment towards green energy. He said: “Our institution remains focused on its purpose; our commitment is a profound purpose and is underscored by the meaningful impact to the community. We are serving the sector that serves us”. Adding to these words, Mtlatla highlighted that the event is a remarkable example and testament of good working relations. And for this reason, he said: “With this initiative, we foresee a future that is cleaner and healthier for all communities we serve”. Representatives from Tefla and Zutari also delivered their messages of commitment to the project.
Executive Mayors and Deputy Mayors from the local municipalities that were present, also shared words of support on behalf of their respective municipalities. Deputy Mayor of Mossel Bay, Cllr Cliffie Bayman, referred to this day as a significant step that is taken towards more sustainable waste management and environmental practices in a changing world of climatic changes and the now more common outbreaks of communicable diseases. With these words, he added that this event deserved to be on the 1 September, as it is the 1st day of Spring. He highlighted that “this is a season for new beginnings and the reason in which our environment shows the fruit of hard work – work that we have put in during the winter months”. Bayman in addition reiterated that Mossel Bay Municipality will take accountability with the GRDM to ensure that the objective of the facility is reached. In conclusion he said that Mossel Bay is a proud partner in full support of the project and therefore they are eager to see many benefits such as employment deriving from the facility.
Knysna Executive Mayor, Cllr Aubrey Tswenga, in his congratulatory speech to GRDM and participating municipalities, said: “Thank you for making the Regional Waste Management Facility a reality”. Tswenga, however, mentioned that more work still lies ahead to educate communities about waste management. “As municipalities,” he said that “we need to educate our communities to reduce waste to landfills. Further to this he urged the GRDM on behalf of Knysna, to continue to roll-out a regional educational programme to extend the lifespan of the facility.
Bitou’s Deputy Executive Mayor, Cllr Mavis Basukwe, during her words of support, said: “Bitou took a decision to participate in the project fully understanding the implications and consequences we would face from our communities and ratepayers”. As a result of showing leadership and the fact that Bitou fitted the cost implication in their budget over the years, she emphasised that “it is indeed pleasing to see the site is now finally under construction”. She thanked all participating municipalities and said that without them, the project would not have been feasible for Bitou alone and would have left Bitou in a serious predicament.
Executive Mayor of GRDM, in his keynote address extended warm words of gratitude to the service provider and consulting engineer, Tefla and Zutari, as well as to Standard Bank and participating municipalities for this legacy project. In unpacking his statement, Mayor Booysen added: “After today it won’t only be a legacy project anymore, but also a catalytic project, meaning that this project is a catalyst of what is coming”.
Mayor Booysen further referred to the realities of working together as stakeholders and said: “It is not easy for different municipalities to work today, as there are many aspects that can hamper initiatives such as this project. However, he commended Mossel Bay Municipality, especially Municipal Manager Collin Puren, for setting the tone on how government can work together and how intergovernmental relations should be executed. To the Deputy Executive Mayor of Mossel Bay, Cllr Bayman he said: “You went as far as advising us,” to safeguard a less complicated process. Given the background of the project, Mayor Booysen urged councillors, professionals, and ward councillors to be decisive when decisions are made. “When we are decisive,” he said: “The ratepayers would back us up, because they would then understand what they are paying for and not making their own assumptions”. He elaborated that whenever a proposal is on the table, councillors would ask “how the project is going to affect the rates and taxes”. He advised: “It is our duty as politicians to go and explain to the taxpayers and ratepayers why we are doing what we do and why are we making the decisions in terms of what it will cost them”.
An Inaugural Site Meeting and Commencement of Works took place on the 13th of June 2023, which saw the official handover of the site to the appointed contractor, Tefla Group (Pty) Ltd. Over the following weeks, the site was established, benchmarks were verified by a surveyor on July 11, and the refurbishment of an existing farmhouse, set to become the site offices, is nearing completion. Clear and grub operations, excavations and material stockpiling is underway on the access roads and on Cell 1A.
The Regional Waste Management Facility, once complete, will include a domestic waste cell (Class B) and a separate hazardous waste cell (Class A) to accommodate low and medium-hazard-rated hazardous waste. Other infrastructure elements encompass roads, stormwater pipelines, leachate storage dams, contaminated stormwater dams, offices, laboratories, weighbridges, workshops, and security infrastructure. The project also includes a 3-hectare portion that will be used for a waste tyre recycling facility. Both the Domestic Waste Cell 1 and the Hazardous Waste Cell will have a lifespan of approximately of 20 – 25 years.
The project’s timeline are as follows:
Construction Tender Closure (concluded) – October 25, 2022
Finalization of Debt Agreement (concluded) – July 2023
Contractor on Site (concluded) – July 2023
Operations & Maintenance Tender Award – October / November 2023
Completion of Phase 1 – February 2024
Estimated Completion of Project – March 2025
The sod-turning event heralds the beginning of a cleaner and healthier future for the Garden Route region.
Feature Image: Sharing in this historic and groundbreaking occasion, were Executive Mayors and Municipal Managers and across the district, the GRDM Mayoral Committee Members and officials, representatives from National and Provincial Government, as well as engineering consultants and stakeholders from Standard Bank, Tefla and Zutari.
Media release: Garden Route District hosts its 2nd Safer Schools Conference
For Immediate Release
23 March 2023
On March 18, 2023, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) hosted the second Safer School Conference in Plettenberg Bay in collaboration with 7 b-municipalities, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, and the South African Police Services (SAPS) and several school representatives – including learners and principals. There were also a few community organisations present, such as neighbourhood watches and community policing forums.
During the Safer School Conference, the hall was packed with delegates.
Safer Schools encompasses a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach, with numerous stakeholders working together to promote school safety and reduce the prevalence of violence. A game-changer objective of the event was to link schools with local police stations in order to raise awareness among children about crime and violence and their impact on individuals, families, and education.. Also, to influence, train, and equip learners, families, teachers, and community members with effective partnership knowledge that will encompass a holistic approach to how the school operates in terms of safety.
The interactive program of the day included addresses from a number of remarkable speakers, including GRDM’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, who once again inspired learners with his own story of growth. The other speakers also conveyed their messages, which included, the impact of substance abuse; crime at school; and gang-related issues, to the audience in an incredibly simple, but informative and understandable manner, encouraging participants to form a coalition with government and community stakeholders and reduce crime.
A speech by former prisoner Micheal Dlamini, who served over forty years in prison, was one of the highlights of the conference. Dlamini urged children to listen to their parents as well as elders in the community when they say NO. Also, they choose their friends wisely. “Gangsterism is not easy, and prisons are not good. Stop disrespecting your teachers – STOP bad habits.”
During the second segment of the program, there was much excitement and it was clear that the topics were something school-goers encountered every day. Five break-away groups were created addressing the following topics:
– Social media impact
– Impact of substance abuse
– Gender-based violence
– Gang-related issues
– Sexual crimes and teenage pregnancies
All the learners present formed part of the different groups and ‘grow-ups’ were amazed by the knowledge, eagerness and confidence they portrayed. Also, the curiosity in asking questions and feedback provided, was also a clear sign that the message reached them and they learned a lot through the conference.
During the closing remarks and vote of thanks, it was evident that partnerships are essential for addressing the topics discussed. Also that the success of this type of program depends on the cooperation of all stakeholders, from the government to sector departments, to communities and their leaders. The importance of parenting also came to the fore, and the organisers were tasked with developing a program that would equip parents with the tools they need to succeed. The group discussions also identified other issues that needed to be addressed in future programmes that arose as shortcomings. In order to ensure the success of the event, the outcomes of the day need to be channeled to the correct people. In conclusion, the audience was reminded that a lot of knowledge was placed in their hands during the event, but that each person has a choice, and it is up to them to do the right thing with it.
Media Statement: Legal action against Garden Route DM Municipal Manager a distraction from ongoing discussions between municipalities
9 March 2023
On 8 March 2023, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Municipal Manager (MM), Mr Monde Stratu was ordered to appear before the Knysna Magistrate Court on 9 March 2023. A docket was opened regarding the treatment of properties belonging to the GRDM in the Annual Financial Statements of both the GRDM and Knysna Municipalities.
Both municipalities have, for years been engaged in discussions regarding the properties of the GRDM that are situated in the Knysna municipal area.
As the Executive Mayor of the GRDM, I am expressing my disappointment at how this matter is being handled by the law enforcement agencies and that it flies in the face of the fruitful discussions that are taking place between the two municipalities.
The Executive Mayor of Knysna, Councillor Aubrey Tsengwa has reiterated that both municipalities agreed not to declare any disputes, but to continue with discussions to find an amicable solution.
According to Mr Phineas Sebola, the Municipal Manager of Knysna, the Knysna Municipality did not even receive any legal documents related to the impending case against the GRDM MM. He believes that the matter does not need to go to court, as negotiations between the two municipalities are already proving to be productive.
Furthermore, Knysna Municipality took a resolution on 21 July 2021 to continue with engagements to find amicable resolutions in the spirit of cooperative governance. However, I am astounded that despite the ongoing discussions a criminal case was opened against the MM of GRDM.
A delegation from GRDM met with Knysna on 1 February 2023 to further discuss the properties in question and the meeting was very positive. Knysna Municipality delegation, led by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Alberto Marbi, Cllr Neil Louw, Cllr Susan Campbell and the Municipal Manager agreed to write an item to the Knysna Municipal Council and recommend a possible solution for these properties. It is extremely surprising that during or after deliberations, the information regarding a case opened against the GRDM MM was not disclosed.
I and the Executive Mayor of Knysna have agreed that this amounts to malicious prosecution marred with procedural flaws aimed at tainting the reputation of the two institutions and further embarrassing the MM of GRDM.
The Executive Mayor of Knysna and I have come to a mutual agreement that the actions being taken against the two institutions are an act of malicious prosecution. Furthermore, we have noted that there are significant procedural flaws in the process, with the intention to harm the reputations of these organisations and to cause further embarrassment to the MM of GRDM.
Issued by the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen
Garden Route District Municipality Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen wishes all Garden Routers and tourists in our region a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
“This year, 2022, has been memorable but also experienced with mixed emotions, small-scale celebrations, and some challenges. However, what is important for me to say during this time is thank you. You chose our region as the place to enjoy your festivities, and I am sure that you’ve experienced the impressive variety of attractions on offer here. Please make the same choice next year by revisiting us. On that note, let’s welcome 2023 with renewed energy!”
WELCOME TO THE GARDEN ROUTE AND KLEIN KAROO, SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST BEAUTIFUL AREA
My warmest welcome goes out to all visitors to our region. Here you will find seven (7) municipalities with their respective local tourism offices keeping our region on the map. Areas are known as Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland. Each town has a myriad of unique offerings.
I’m honoured to boast that 19 of the 51 Blue Flag beaches in the country are located in our region this year. This means that we have the most Blue Flag beaches out of any other municipal area in South Africa! Our region’s beaches comply with strict standards of excellence in safety, cleanliness, amenities, environmental information, and management.
Let’s take a closer look at some of our areas. Zooming in on Hessequa, we see that all six (6) of its beaches have received Blue flag status. Additionally, they offer off-the-beaten-track experiences like Big 5 Game drives, forest glamping, fynbos gin, award-winning olive oil, cheese, wine, and aloe products.
Knysna is the most deserving winner of the KFM Best of the Cape Award known as the ‘Dorpie van die Jaar’. It is also the 19th most-loved destination around the world according to the 2021 Tourism Sentiment Index!
Plettenberg Bay has been nominated as a Whale Heritage Site and extensive work is being done by all stakeholders public and private with regard to their Marine and Ocean Economy.
Taking a glance at George, which is the central entry point to the region and boasts of the world’s top signature golf courses – it is indeed a golfers’ paradise!
With over 1100 meters of over-the-ocean zipline in the “Iconic Mossel Bay”, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the scenery. Zipline over the ocean at speeds of up to 80km/h and enjoy unparalleled views of the cliffs, ocean, and sea life. On the other side of the long stretch of mountain ranges, you’ll find the Klein Karoo which offers the largest cave system in Africa – the Cango Caves. Calitzdorp, located next to Oudtshoorn is also known as the port capital of South Africa – for good reason.
Our region is safe and offers wonderful forests along the coast with well-maintained boardwalks through thick forests, across gentle streams. Annually I also encourage visitors to also seek the little adventures offered by our region. One example is our region’s rich coffee culture, which offers a unique social setting and interaction between connoisseurs.
We promise you that tourism activities are right on your doorstep in this region.
Finally, while enjoying your time with us, you need to be tolerant while travelling. Please obey speed limits; road rules; do not text or call while driving; do not drink and drive, and always wear a seatbelt. Save our 24/7 emergency call centre number if you find yourself in a troubling situation – 044 805 5071.
See you on the beautifully, diverse Garden Route and Klein Karoo!
Mayor’s World Aids Day Message – Alderman Memory Booysen
01 December 2022
Globally, HIV and AIDS have been an epidemic for decades. My message today is to encourage our nation, especially our Garden Routers, to commit themselves, unite in the fight against HIV, show support for those living with HIV and remember those who have lost their lives to the disease.
As Garden Route District Municipality, we want to remind you that you can reduce the risk of getting HIV by:
Practising abstinence – while you are waiting for the “right’ partner or until you’re ready for a sexual relationship;
Ensure that your partner who lives with HIV is taking his or her treatment;
Using PrEP, a medicine blocking HIV from infecting oneself;
Never sharing needles but rather using sterile needles and syringes for all injections, and lastly;
Regularly getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections.
In honour of World Aids Day, let’s not forget that HIV remains a reality and that we must continue to fight prejudice, stigma, and discrimination. It is important to change our attitude and understand that people living with HIV and taking ARVs, are suppressing the virus and preventing its spread.
So, I want to end by emphasizing that World AIDS Day remains as relevant today, as it has always been. HIV has not ‘died’ away. We must continue to create awareness about it, end stigma and discrimination, and do our part to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV.
Media Release: GRDM De Hoek Mountain Resort transitioning to a green accommodation facility
For Immediate Release 29 November 2022
As part of its strategic objectives, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is keeping to its promise of being a leading district in pursuing green energy. In 2017, GRDM installed a 150kwh solar system on its parking lot at its George head-office. Now the municipality has done it again at their resort situated 35 km outside Oudtshoorn, De Hoek Mountain Resort.
On 25 November 2022, the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, the GRDM Municipal Council and officials launched this initiative with stakeholders to celebrate this event.
Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, during his address said that with the summits that GRDM hosted over the past few years, this event is a result of one of the summits, the Green Energy Summit. The Summit contributes to the municipality’s Growth and Development goals. Through these initiatives, Stratu said: “We look at what is it that we can do as an entity to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to produce energy, so that we can reduce our municipal bills of our own properties and buildings”. Adding to these words, Stratu added: “we have to ensure that our facilities (resorts and buildings) are gradually taken off the grid of ESKOM, so that we can reach a point where we are independent and to sell back to ESKOM the electricity that we produce from our own sources”. Stratu also used the opportunity to extend words of appreciation to Passmore Dongi, Project Manager at GRDM and the Unit, for the efforts that they have put into this project.
During an emotional speech, Passmore Dongi, GRDM’s Project Manager responsible for renewable energy, praised the Municipal Manager and his management team, as well as the Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen and Council for their support with the implementation of the project. He also emphasised the importance of ideas and the potential they have to become reality. He noted: “You can only do something when you dream.” Therefore, “dream as many times as you can,” he said.
Dongi explained that De Hoek Mountain Resort’s current electricity bill amounts to R45 000,00 per month. However, in two years’ time, GRDM might only be spending R5 000,00 and the solar system would have already paid for itself. “What we ultimately want to see is a district that is energy-secure,” he said. Dongi added that most of these projects cannot be achieved by GRDM on its own. He thanked the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) for the funding made available for the Energy Master Plan that will direct the GRDM in going forward in terms of Green Energy projects. “The idea is to reduce energy consumption by 80 to 90% at the resort,” he explained.
Menno Sulsters, Director and Project Manager at SEM Solutions, said that it had been a long road, but a worthwhile journey. In technical terms, he explained how the small-scale embedded generation system operates. In conclusion he said: “During this summer period, the system will generate extra energy that will be sold back to the Oudtshoorn Municipality”.
Alderman Booysen during his keynote address, stated: “We are giving strategic leadership, often on behalf of other municipalities, and at other times for ourselves, so that GRDM continues to be unique”. In addition, Mayor Booysen noted that GRDM has made many promises since 2016, and has “given hope to the people of the Garden Route.” He also touched on the significance of district municipalities and referred to the ongoing debate over their existence. “Every time these debates come up,” he said: “I would say to my colleagues, ‘you may think what you want; while district municipalities still exist, we as GRDM are striving to be different’”.
In addition he said: “The people of the Garden Route need the GRDM and the GRDM has shown that it works for the people of the Garden Route. Adding to the words of Dongi, he said: “Even if we dream, we must wake up to implement the dream and this is exactly what the GRDM has proven all along”.
Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, in his final remarks, Mayor Booysen encouraged all Councillors present with the following words: “This GRDM Council, your legacy must stand. We must reach a stage that no matter who comes next, they must not be able to dismantle what we have done. Whoever comes next must continue this journey and the GRDM must remain standing”.
Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk extended words of appreciation to all stakeholders, councillors and officials present to witness the launch of this ground-breaking project. In closing he said: “It was an honour and privilege to be part of this historic occasion”. He praised and congratulated the Municipal Manager and the GRDM team who had the vision to implement this project.
The ground-mounted, grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) system was installed, along with a grid-connected battery system, as a pilot installation that will demonstrate how a resort can save up to 90% on energy costs. A detailed study informed the decision, yielding that the optimum solar PV capacity is 45kWp together with a 160kWh/24kW battery system. With this system, the facility can be powered by solar energy while also charging the batteries, as it generates power during the day.
In the case of fully charged batteries, excess PV power is exported to Oudtshoorn Municipality’s grid, and De Hoek Mountain Resort is reimbursed. A grid-tied battery storage system will discharge and release energy into De Hoek’s electrical reticulation at night, ensuring that no electricity will be exported to maximize self-consumption during the day.
In total, three (3) tables of locally produced mounting structures were installed on concrete foundations, each holding 28, 28, and 26 PV modules respectively of 550Wp each. The Solar PV modules are also locally assembled, meeting the Department of Trade Industry and Competition’s local content requirements.
Now that De Hoek Mountain Resort is powered by renewable energy, it can boast of providing environmentally friendly holiday accommodation.
GRDM will continue to make all its buildings and properties eco-friendly.
Feature Image: Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, in front of the Solar System structures at the De Hoek Mountain Resort.
Media Release: State-of-the-Art Regional Fire Station expected by June 2023
For immediate release 4 November 2022
Wednesday, 2 November 2022, marked a major milestone for the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) when the first sod was turned for its regional fire station, which will be built on erven 22494 & 22495 (5 877 m2) in the Tamsui Industria area in George. Construction of the R11, 6 million fire station will commence on 15 November 2022 if the weather conditions permits. Of the grand total, R3 million was provided by the Western Cape Department of Local Government and George Municipality donated two properties, to be consolidated as one, as well as waived the development charges for the properties.
This historic event was attended by the region’s Executive Mayors, Municipal Managers, Chief Fire Officers, representatives of the principle agent which will oversee the construction process, representatives from the construction firm appointed to construct the facility, stakeholders in integrated fire management throughout the District, representatives from the Western Cape Department of Local Government (WCDLG) Disaster Management and Fire & Rescue Services , and most importantly, the 40 GRDM firefighters which will receive a lasting home from which operations will be based from. The facility will also have a specially incorporated component which will make provision for housing a specialised wildland firefighting ground crew.
During his address, Monde Stratu Municipal Manager referred to the day as the culmination of a very lengthy process, given the difficulties of engaging in supply chain processes and raising capital. He extended a word of gratitude to the George Municipality for availing the land for the long-awaited fire station, and for waiving the property’s service fees. “This is a demonstration that whatever happens in cooperative governments or societies, we have a responsibility to work together.”
Furthermore, Stratu thanked the WCDLG for contributing 3 million rand to assist GRDM towards the project. In his conclusion, he stated that the gathering served as a symbolic event where all stakeholders came together to witness and celebrate a regional fire station which will belong to the region.
Clive Africa, Executive Manager of the GRDM Community Services under which the Fire Services reside, provided an overview of the history, background and origin of the GRDM fire services, which were established by volunteers in 1987. Initially, there were 14 fire fighters who managed the entire Garden Route District in terms of Firefighting and Disaster Management.
In his opening remarks, Alderman Leon van Wyk, Mayor of George Municipality, expressed his gratitude to his Council for approving the decision to avail the land to GRDM. He referred to MM Stratu’s comments about the waiving of the development charges and explained that in his opinion, the development charges are a type of debate that all municipalities are grappling with – a contentious and complex matter.
According to Ald. van Wyk, the George Municipal Council has adopted a policy previously known as capital contributions that has escalated due to the revised land use legislation that was passed recently. In accordance with legal advice to his Council, site-specific development charges should be investigated and municipalities had to develop a structure within those development charges to fund future infrastructure replacement costs. In closing, Alderman Van Wyk referred to the challenges of climate change in the world. He stated that according to scientists, the Garden Route is susceptible to wind damage and all the risks that come with it.
Colin Deiner, WCDLG Chief Director: Disaster Management, informed the audience about the Western Cape Fire Service Capacity Building Grants offered by the Disaster Management Fire & Rescue Services. He gave an overview of their origins and how grants are allocated each year.
Deiner explained that they assessed the number of trained firefighter’s municipalities have; as without the right people and the right training, it is of no use. He continues to explain, that in 2014, only 14% of firefighters in the Western Province were trained to the required level, but just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this number had gone up to 95%. He mentioned the possibility of putting together a Garden Route District flood task-force. The idea would be to place an equipment cache in the Garden Route, in an attempt to train people from across the province and if a flood situation occurs in the Garden Route or another province needs assistance, help can be offered by trained people from across the province.
During his keynote address, Executive Mayor for GRDM, Ald. Memory Booysen commended the Executive Mayor of Hessequa Municipality with the following words: “Mayor Riddles, you are my hero. You are one of the few mayors who annually allocate funds for your fire department. Whether it is a hazmat vehicle, a LDV skid unit, or a ladder, there is always something in there for your fire department. This is something I admire about you, and I want to follow suit.”
He encouraged the ‘men and women’ in Disaster Management and Fire Services to continue to protect lives and property. “Continue to be the toughest fire fighters in the Western Cape and in South Africa.”
During the vote of thanks, GRDM’s Deputy Executive Mayor, Advocate Gert van Niekerk said: “We are all part of history today; and in the years to come, we will be able to come here and tell whoever is here at the station that we were here on this historic day.”
He further said that the example set between the GRDM and its allies, the George Municipality and Provincial Government to ensure the success of this project, is a true road to follow in future joint-ventures to serve in the best interest of not only George, but the broader Garden Route District. This is an example of what can be accomplished when a true commitment is shown between entities to work together.
According to Deon Stoffels, GRDM Chief Fire Officer, the long-awaited fire station is essential to the GRDM Fire Services in fulfilling its statutory mandate and diverse set of functions. For the GRDM to have its own fire station is a considerable upgrade for the institution, especially one built according to required National Regulations and Standards for fire station buildings. The proposed state of the art fire station facility will be furnished with overhead automotive roll-up doors, a traditional firefighter sliding pole, a backup electricity generator, firefighters sleeping quarters and a fully equipped gym. The facility will also be an investment in Council infrastructure and its asset base. “From the onset we also wanted to go the extra mile to provide firefighting staff with several additional features because they spend the majority of their days here, with the intent of ensuring their physical and mental well-being.”
Media Release: GRDM Executive Mayor wishes the matric class of 2022 the best of luck!
20 October 2022 For immediate release
I am Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality.
We know it’s that time of the year when our matriculants have to write their final exams. We want to wish them all the best. And for those who have not started studying yet, the time is now!
We would also like to ask the parents to please bear with the kids and to create a conducive environment at home so that the kids can study under relaxed and quiet circumstances. The mere fact that matriculants have reached this time of the year throughout the pandemic, is a good sign that this is a resilient district.
I also want to say that we are aware that there are a lot of youth that have already finished matric and who are frustrated because they do not have work or are still sitting at home. But, on behalf of the Mayors of the Garden Route, we are in contact and we are negotiating with our Provincial Government as well to see how we can hold hands and come up with projects that can assist the youth. We would also like to include the business community so that going forward we know that we have a roll-out that will change the youth’s future and the future of the Garden Route.