Media Release: Hundreds of Garden Routers welcome 2023 Rugby World Champion Manie Libbok in George
For immediate release 10 November 2023
Manie Libbok, 2023 Rugby World Cup winner, received a hero’s welcome by Garden Routers when he arrived at the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Head-Office in George on Wednesday, 8 November 2023.
The first citizen of the Garden Route, Ald. Memory Booysen, could not wait to welcome Libbok to the district. Libbok is also a former Kwagga – a learner from Outeniqua High School in George. He was also a member of South Western District (SWD) Eagles Rugby Team before he was selected as a member of the Stormers. Subsequently, the Bok-squad became the next journey of his professional career.
Young and old long awaited to meet the star who is a role-model to especially children, who love rugby. Before Mayor Booysen handed over a Certificate of Honour to the rugby legend, he unexpectedly received a signed jersey from the man of the moment himself. Mayor Booysen also, originally from the Eastern Cape like Libbok, cheered the hero more than he could deliver a normal speech. Libbok was born in Humansdorp and Mayor Booysen in Hankey.
It was an ecstatic moment when Mayor Booysen called his biggest fans to the front; a relative of Libbok, Anita Jansen, and Springbok supporter Lee-Ann Eksteen, who wore a shirt with Libbok’s name on the back. Both are employees of GRDM. Tait said: “It is an honour for me to meet Manie and it is also the first time to see a Springbok in person”. Before both rejoined the crowd, Libbok embraced his Aunt Nita and Eksteen and started to brace himself for the huge task ahead – hundreds of shirts waited to be signed. Kids also brought their rugby balls to be signed and now hundreds of Springbok shirts of residents of the Garden Route reflect the signature of Libbok!
Mayor Booysen further said: “We are not just proudly Garden Routers, but we are proudly South Africans, we are not just proudly South Africans, we are proud Springbok supporters”. To Manie Mayor Booysen said: “Manie you are a hero. Not just for one reason, but for two reasons, three reasons; we are the fourth time World Champions!” Mayor Booysen further stated: “On behalf of the Garden Route, the Mayors in the district and more than 700 000 people, you have put us on the map – you have put us on top of the world! Because of Manie, the Springboks and their technical team, we are one of the best-known countries in the world…”.
When taking the crowd through memory lane of highlights regarding Libbok’s performance during the World Cup, especially the test match against Scotland, GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk reiterated what his drop-kick to Kurt-Lee Arendse meant for the team and the country. He said: “Manie, you almost gave me a heart-attack. Out of nowhere, this kick-pass came to a flying Kurtley Arendse….Manie you made my day that day – it still gives me goosebumps every time I think about that moment”, Ald. Van Niekerk said. The “no-look” drop-kick resulted in a try for the Boks.
The GRDM hereby would like to extend words of sincere appreciation to all who attended this short-notice memorable welcome of Libbok to the district, the South African Police Service, Provincial Traffic Services, George Municipality’s Traffic Services, Mike Roczynski for transporting Libbok, as well as Eden FM Radio station and various media outlets who distributed supportive messages to members of the public.
While Libbok met his fans and signed t-shirts, Mayor Booysen in his media interview said: “It is indeed a pleasure for us and for me as District Mayor to host Manie Libbok as a son of the soil. This is an opportunity for the youngsters to look up to and meet the heroic person”.
In closing Mayor Booysen said: “Libbok is not just a hero, but a World Champion – today is an an indication that these kids will follow suit!”
GRDM Executive Mayor wishes the Class of 2023 all the best!
For Immediate Release
30 October 2023
“Hard work and planning put together ensures success. Make sure you are well-prepared, believe in yourself, and stay focused. You can achieve remarkable results if you remember all the hard work you’ve put in. Having faith in yourself will help you ace the exam because you are the one who studied, the one who knows how tough it is. Stay calm and balanced, you’ve got this!”
As you prepare for your exams, remember to check your pen, take your ID card, and don’t forget your watch. It’s time to pen down all your thoughts on that paper. But keep in mind, this is not only a final exam, but the beginning of a journey filled with numerous tests.
I want to thank all parents, teachers, and communities for the love, care, and understanding shown to our learners. Also for being pillars of strength to our learners and for creating a healthy and productive environment for them. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is as true today as it was in the past.
Over the past 12 years, you’ve been equipped with values and principles that will make you responsible members of society. Don’t step back if hurdles come in your life; instead defeat it with your confidence and talent Rise above your circumstances, become a leader, and be the change you want to see.
Media Release: Executive Mayor of GRDM donates R10 000 to local athlete to participate in Ultra 2023 World Championship
For immediate release 26 October 2023
Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Ald. Memory Booysen, recently donated R10 000 to local Backyard Ultra-Running athlete, Tembinkosi Sojola, to participate in the Ultra 2023 World Champions. The championship started on 21 October 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States of America and concluded on Wednesday, 25 October 2023.
In an update received from the Bayethe Multisport Academy, Sojola has achieved a remarkable feat by establishing a new South African and African Record. With the event that started off with 75, Tembi’s Race came to an end at lap 56 with a total of 368.83km after 2 days and 7 hours of running, he is now ranked 90th in the World.
Thirty-nine-year-old Sojola, a resident of George is, apart from his passion for the sport, also a husband and father of four (4).
Sojola annually also participates in the Comrades and Two Oceans Marathons. The passion has fuelled his desire to participate in this world-class event, where he represented South Africa in the USA. This was the first event where he competed against other countries.
Myra Tisch, supporter of Sojola at the event, thanked all those who supported Sojola during the championship”. Tisch explained: “He had problems with his hip flexor for over 30-hours and pushed through the pain. There were several moments of doubt, but he trusted himself and his capabilities and pushed beyond even when the pain was there to stop him”. Tisch described Sojola as an incredible athlete, beautiful person and hard-working family man. “Let us all thank the Lord above for protecting our friend/dad/husband through the biggest tribulation of his life!” Tisch concluded: “This is a time to rejoice his accomplishment”.
Mayor Booysen, on behalf of GRDM, wished him the best going forward especially with this achievement of now being ranked 90th globally.
Tembinkosi Sojola now holds the South African and African Record with an open invitation to the German Backyard Ultra in 2024.
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.