Category: <span>Garden Route</span>

04 September 2023 Media Release: Sod-Turning Event marks a milestone for Regional Waste Management Facility

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.

Listen to all the speeches here:

Welcoming remarks

Background of the project

Message of Support by Standard Bank

Message of Support by Zutari (PTY) LTD

Message of Support by Tefla (PTY) LTD

Message of Support by Mossel Bay Municipality

Message of Support by Knysna Municipality

Message of Support by Bitou Municipality

Commitment to Service Delivery

Closing Remarks and Vote of Thanks

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.


26 August 2023 Media Release: Executive Mayor Alderman Memory Booysen Supports Local Learners’ Netball Dreams

Media Release:  Executive Mayor Alderman Memory Booysen Supports Local Learners’ Netball Dreams

For Immediate Release
26 August 2023

In a heartwarming display of community support and commitment to youth development, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, has generously donated funds to two promising learners from Bitou, Asanda Brakfesi and Lakheni Xuba. The beneficiaries, form part of the Eden Development Netball Team, and are ready to represent the region in the upcoming Western Cape Netball Festival.

Lakheni Xuba, a student at Plettenberg Bay Secondary School, and Asanda Brakfesi, who attends Murray High School, was selected to join their peers from George and Mossel Bay. The team, comprising two players from Plettenberg Bay, will be joined by six (6) additional athletes from Mossel Bay and two from George.

Ald. Booysen expressed his excitement at meeting Asanda and Lakheni in person today, during a brief gathering where they were introduced with Mrs. Rosie Mandeka, who will accompany the girls. The Executive Mayor congratulated the young athletes on their well-deserved selection for the Eden Development Netball Team and wished them the best of luck for this weekends Western Cape Development Netball Tournament scheduled to take place in Cape Town.

“I am incredibly proud of the talent exhibited by Asanda Brakfesi and Lakheni Xuba,” said Alderman Booysen. “Supporting their journey in the Eden Netball Team is not only a testament to their hard work, but also a demonstration of our commitment to nurturing local talent and enabling our youth to excel in sports.”

The GRDM remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, empowerment, and inclusivity among its youth.


28 July 2023 Media Release: Multi-stakeholder anti-litter clean-up campaign continues

Media Release: Multi-stakeholder anti-litter clean-up campaign continues

For Immediate Release
28 July 2023

Recently, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) kicked off its anti-litter campaign aimed at educating people about proper waste disposal techniques, using waste as a resource, and the pollution effects litter brings to the Garden Route District. Raising awareness at taxi ranks, schools, informal settlements, public facilities, malls, and shopping centres form part of the campaign.

On Tuesday 25 July 2023, the GRDM Waste Management Section conducted an awareness campaign at the Asla Clinic in Mossel Bay in collaboration with the Environmental Officers of Mossel Bay Municipality’s Pollution and Waste Management section.

Community members were educated about the severe negative consequences of illegal dumping on both the environment and human health. Topics covered included the disposal of hazardous materials, garbage and pollutants in unauthorised locations as well as the effects of contaminated soils and water sources on animal and human life. There was a lot of interaction during the session, and community members received stickers with contact information for reporting illegal dumping.

On Thursday 27 July 2023, the GRDM Waste Management Section hosted a workshop with twenty-four (24) waste pickers (Expanded Public Works Program Workers and offenders from Community Correction) to educate them on the different waste streams that can be recycled.  During the training, pickers were taught that waste could be a resource for someone else as well as a treasure.  It was also clarified that every citizen has the right to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The fact that it is a human right, but also a responsibility, was emphasized.

Stakeholders in the workshop included Mossel Bay Municipality, Henque Waste, and Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) – Local Government Support.  Similar workshops continue to be rolled out in other towns of the Garden Route district.

The following pictures were taken during the two awareness sessions hosted by the GRDM Waste Management Section the past week.


Featured Image Caption: The workshop was attended by waste pickers from Mossel Bay

Previous articles relating to this:

25 July 2023 Media Release: Oudtshoorn Local Municipality progress in clean-up, recycling initiatives by Garden Route District Municipality and Community involvement

14 June 2023 Media Release: GRDM Regional Waste Management Facility construction to start before July 2023

Media Release GRDM Regional Waste Management Facility construction to start before July 2023

For Immediate Release
14 June 2023

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) yesterday, 13 June 2023, held its official site handover meeting with Tefla Group (Pty) Ltd for the regional waste management facility. Before the commencement of this site establishment and construction of the facility, it was required to obtain the Construction Work Permit from the Department of Employment and Labour.

The Department of Employment and Labour fast-tracked the application process, which typically takes 30 days, after they received the application on 26 May 2023 and provided the approval on 8 June 2023.

Currently, Bitou-, Knysna-, George-, and Mossel Bay municipalities use the PetroSA landfill in Mossel Bay. PetroSA previously granted an extension of the current waste disposal contracts with the different municipalities for an additional twelve (12) months, which will end on 29 February 2024, when the site is expected to reach full capacity. By this time, an operational waste cell must be available at the newly constructed Regional Waste Management Facility for domestic waste disposal.

During the engagement, GRDM Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, said: “Today is a huge milestone achieved for GRDM, and we look forward to seeing Tefla Group carry this forward.  Finally handing over the site, is something I never thought would happen in my time at GRDM. However, when I leave, I will be able to say that there is a large facility on the N2 that services four local municipalities.” Stratu thanked the Community Services Department and other role players who steered the project to this point, and he wished the contractors and project managers’ good luck in bringing the project to completion on time.

The Regional Waste Management Facility Management Project is a crucial initiative aimed at improving waste management practices within the region. Site establishment will now proceed for the next three weeks, which will be followed by the commencement of construction.

The estimated project timeline, taking into account local weather patterns, as well as the need to import most materials from Germany, is as follows:

Description Due Date
Contractor on Site June 2023
Completion of Phase 1 February 2024
Estimated completion of project March 2025
Operations & Maintenance Tender Award August 2023


23 May 2023 Impact-Based Severe Weather Warning: Level 2 for Damaging Waves

Impact-Based Severe Weather Warning: Level 2 for Damaging Waves

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued an Impact Based Warning for damaging waves valid from 25 to 26 May 2023.

Areas in the Garden Route district that will be affected by damaging waves include Bitou, George, Hessequa, Knysna and Mossel Bay.

Legal notice:
“This warning from SA Weather Service must be communicated as received and may not be altered under any circumstance.
It must be forwarded or communicated in its entirety and no portion hereof may be replicated or copied and distributed.”

Report weather-related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at 044 805 5071.

19 May 2023 Media Release: Challenges and Solutions: Minister Kubayi Engages with Local Officials and Communities

Media Release: Challenges and Solutions: Minister Kubayi Engages with Local Officials and Communities

For Immediate Release
19 May 2023

The National Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, accompanied by Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete, conducted a visit to the Garden Route District municipal area in the Western Cape yesterday, 18 May 2023. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the advancements made in providing sustainable human settlements.

The day commenced with Minister Kubayi actively engaging with local municipal officials, as well as provincial representatives, to gain insights into the challenges faced in terms of land availability, bottlenecks, and funding issues. The discussions revealed the need for enhanced communication channels between national, provincial, and local governments, which would lead to a more streamlined approach in addressing current issues.

In addition, the program for the day included significant events, such as the symbolic handover of title deeds to deserving community members from Qolweni in Plettenberg Bay and Concordia in Knysna. Community members were provided an opportunity to express their concerns and raise issues related to housing.

Minister Kubayi also shared her findings at the Khayalethu Bungalow area. She alluded to the distress she witnessed when she visited two vulnerable households whose living conditions in wooden bungalows were unfit for human habitation. She apologised to the community for what she had witnessed and the unbearable conditions in which people were forced to live, addressing both long-standing promises and emerging concerns, ensuring that all matters were duly noted. Some urgent cases were identified as requiring immediate attention and designated as emergency interventions.

During the visit and in response to some of the questions raised by the community, Minister Kubayi emphasised the priority given to the elderly and disabled individuals as beneficiaries for housing.


Drawing from her own personal experiences, she shared a poignant story of her childhood, growing up in a shack as the child of a domestic worker. Through determination and careful saving, she was able to purchase a home for her mother, underscoring the importance of providing dignified housing for all.

On the specific issue of Khayalethu 150 Bungalows being restored, she undertook to close the gap between the different spheres of government and its agency, Housing Development Agency, by establishing an intervention team as well as immediate appointment of a Geotech company to do the structural assessments.

This team which will make contact with local and Provincial / National governments and look at a streamlined approach with targeted performance milestones to bring relief under the Emergency Funding. The funding is now located in her department.

There will regular feedback sessions with the communities to enhance assurability of the programme progress.

Minister Kubayi reiterated her commitment to improving the lives of South African citizens by creating sustainable human settlements. She emphasized the need for collaboration and cooperation among all levels of government to address the challenges faced by communities. She urged members of the communities she addressed in Knysna and Bitou municipal areas to take pride in their homes, surrounds and communities at large, rather than waiting for government to be the change-maker for certain matters. Communities were urged to work together to keep their areas clean, support local entrepreneurs and local businesses, which would result in the economy to grow.

She also made specific reference to the potential of tourism in the region and that it is remains a key driver of jobs and economic growth of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo.

The last part of the Minister’s visit included an opening of a Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) satellite office in George. Learn more about CSOS here:

According to Minister Kubayi, the CSOS office will play a crucial role in promoting harmonious and well-governed community focused access by offering dispute resolution services, regulating governance documentation, providing education and training, and facilitating transparency and access to information.

These pictures were taken during the official launch and ribbon cutting ceremony of the satellite office for Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) in George.

Overall, the visit to the Garden Route District municipal area proved to be an insightful and productive engagement, with Minister Kubayi and Deputy Minister Tshwete demonstrating their dedication to achieving equitable housing solutions for the people of the region.



17 May 2023 Media Release: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism Office elevates the region at the 2023 Africa Indaba Show

Media Release: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism Office elevates the region at the 2023 Africa Indaba Show

For Immediate Release
17 May 2023

Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism (GR&KK) Regional Tourism Office (RTO) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), recently attended the 3 day Africa Travel Indaba 2023 held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban. In accordance with the GRDM Tourism and the Growth and Development Strategies, GRDM must market / sell the region.

Tourism marketing and development Unit is responsible for coordinating regional tourism initiatives and promotes and develops tourism throughout the region, while working closely with eight (8) Local Tourism Offices (LTO).  With a focus on selling and promoting the region’s vast potential, GR&KK also aims to attract global attention and foster economic growth in the district.

GR&KK tourism representatives who attended the 2023 Africa Indaba Show last week in Durban. FLTR: Joan Shaw – Tourism Manager from George/Wilderness/Uniondale Tourism, Denver Johnson – GRDM Tourism Officer and Thozeka Sikali from Visit Knysna.

From 09 May – 11 May 2023, preceded by a Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on 08 May 2023, the Africa Indaba Show aimed to provide a platform for thought leadership, knowledge sharing, and market insight. BONDay is developed in collaboration with global tourism organisations, continental experts, and industry associations.

During the trade show, African tourism exhibitors showcased their offerings to international and local buyers, destination marketing companies and leisure tourism service providers. The event allowed travel trade professionals to meet face-to-face with some of the most influential buyers on the continent, and gain a deeper understanding of Africa’s excellence and endless potential. As a result of these opportunities and quality connections, Africa will be able to shape its future.

According to GRDM representatives, several new and existing connections were made over the course of the three days, as the GRDM delegation engaged with various domestic and international buyers interested in learning about our area, re-visiting or expanding their tourism offerings by integrating the Garden Route & Klein Karoo into their existing packages.

The following top four tourism offerings were most popular under the tourism buyers

  • Educational trips to familiarize tour/travel agents of existing and new products/offerings in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo
  • High-end luxury travel (5 Star)
  • Incentive travel (Golfing, wine routes, craft beer and gin experiences)
  • Camping and caravan offerings in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo – most interest from the domestic market

The Western Cape stand was hosted by Wesgro, with the GR&KK Regional Tourism Office also forming part of it to promote the region along with Visit Knysna, George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism LTOs.

Africa’s Travel Indaba is an iconic African leisure trade show, owned by South African Tourism, with the specific objective of creating market access for our vast array of African leisure tourism products.

Learn more about each local tourism office by accessing their websites via the GR&KK website here:


12 May 2023 Media Release: Update 3 on the construction of the GRDM Fire Station

Media Release: Update 3 on the construction of the GRDM Fire Station

For Immediate Release
12 May 2023

The newly constructed Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Station is progressing swiftly.

The backfilling of the administration building is completed. The apparatus bay columns have been erected and work has progressed to the first floor beams which are being erected currently. The project is on schedule and managed by Kubeka Construction and Kantey & Templer.


Related article: 

17 March 2023 Media Release: Update 2 on the construction of the Garden Route District Municipality Fire Station