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Garden Route

11 July 2024 Media Release: Vehicle Emission Testing done in Hessequa

Media Release: Vehicle Emission Testing done in Hessequa

11 July 2024

Vehicle emission testing was recently conducted by Garden Route District (GRDM) and Hessequa Municipalities. The main objective of this ‘drive’ was to raise public awareness about vehicle emissions and to minimize their impact on ambient air quality in the region. The Garden Route district comprises of seven municipal areas, including Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland.

Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: District Air Quality Control, said: “Vehicle emissions testing is listed as a function of local authorities in terms of the National Framework for Air Quality Management in South Africa and is also regulated under Section 15 of the Hessequa Municipality: Air Pollution Control By-Law”.

“We stopped vehicles and each one had to undergo a visual inspection, and further testing was conducted with a ‘Smoke Check 1667 Opacity Meter’ on vehicles that emitted excessive dark smoke,” he said.

According to Schoeman, vehicles that were tested and failed were issued a repair notice, directing each owner to take their vehicle to a specified location for re-testing.

The vehicle emission testing campaign was conducted at the Sunrise picnic spot on the western entrance to Riversdale on the N2. A total of twenty-five (25) vehicles were stopped for inspection and testing.

Schoeman said drivers cooperated and all the vehicles passed the inspection. This indicates proper maintenance, especially of the large mainline trucks.

The GRDM’s Air Quality Management Section would like to thank Shagon Carelse and his team for their assistance and excellent cooperation in making the campaign a success.

Feature Image and Other Pictures Caption: Officials conducting visual and smoke check inspections during the recent vehicle emission testing in Hessequa.


30 April 2024 Media Release:  Regional Tourism Office unpacks their recent WTM Africa attendance

Media Release:  Regional Tourism Office unpacks their recent WTM Africa attendance

For immediate release
30 April 2024

This year, with the Garden Route & Klein Karoo Tourism (GR&KK), once again used the opportunity at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa 2024 to successfully exhibit in a 90m2 space with local tourism offices and small business.

The GR&KK’s presence at the platform allowed the region to engage with tour operators, travel agents and travel media to direct more visitors to the region. These platforms contribute significantly to the increasing of numbers of international and domestic tourists as per the Wesgro survey report applicable from November to January 2023/24.

With approximately twenty (20) products exhibited under the GR&KK umbrella, three (3) of the products were beneficiaries of the GRDM Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME)  Support & Development programme. The collective initiative is just one of the development aspects to support SMMEs.

Numerous engagements and meetings took place, and these engagements included the following topics of interest:

  • General interests in GR&KK marketing and general, but broad interest and possible linkages with the brand.
  • High-end luxury packages, tourists tour packages, private safaris in the region and Avi-tourism initiatives
  • General interests in products, i.e. hotel and resort products
  • Route 62 and Klein Karoo referrals and interest.
  • United Kingdom (UK) market expansion and information.
  • Garden Route Chapter feedback and updates.
  • Member reach and expansion of products.
  • Bookings platforms.
  • General enquiries and information

With the interaction at the GR&KK stall over the three-day period, connections through meetings with these contacts (international, domestic buyers and media) were built and it delivered fruitful discussions and possible future relations. Some products furthermore indicated their interest to form part of the GR&KK representation at next year’s WTM. The Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic and Tourism also visited the GR&KK stand where discussions were mainly focused on the current performance of the GR&KK as the destination.

This regional initiative sent out a strong message of unity/collaboration to ensure that the GR&KK is undoubtedly recognised as the preferred tourism destination.


14 February 2024 Update 3 on the Construction of the GRDM Regional Waste Management Facility

Update 3 on the Construction of the GRDM Regional Waste Management Facility

14 February 2024

Bulk earthworks, including the final shaping of Cell 1A and excavation of the leachate and contaminated water dams, are in progress. The road box cut has been completed for the entire access road of 3.8km and the contractor has commenced with the road layer works.

The excavation of the subsoil drainage trenches in Cell 1A is in progress and all the required materials for the installation of the subsoil drainage is on site. The completion of the subsoil drainage will be followed by the installation of the various liners as legislatively required to prevent any underground water or environmental pollution. The clear & grub and removal of topsoil on Cell 1B (adjacent to Cell 1A) is also in progress.

There have been several delays in the construction process to date, however, all avenues to expedite the project is currently being pursued and a revised programme is to be submitted to Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) by 16 February 2024.


There are currently various activities taking place at the Regional Waste Management Facility in Mossel Bay.

9 November 2023 Media Release: Natural splendour awaits tourists to the Garden Route

Media Release: Natural splendour awaits tourists to the Garden Route

For immediate release
9 November 2023

“Following an extremely wet winter the Southern Cape is showcasing is natural beauty, and tourists planning to visit the region during the festive season, will not be disappointed,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

Following many years of drought and hardship the Klein Karoo environment is also finally recovering and with summer in full swing, the region is flourishing with vegetation, ample grazing and dams filled to the brim. The Outeniqua mountains and the regional coastline still bear the scars of relentless rain and storms during the winter months, but nature is resilient and bound to recover.

The Southern Cape biodiversity is flourishing following favourable rains during the winter months.

The Garden Route is blessed with several custodians of its natural splendour, and with large areas protected and under mandated and private conservation management, the region will always retain much of its marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

Pro-active actions and initiatives by regional conservation entities such as the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR), the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR), the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), SANParks, WWF and Cape Nature collectively recognize the importance of conserving the global significance of the Southern Cape biodiversity. In addition to these recognized conservation entities there are numerous conservancies, governmental and environmental management forums and private and public nature reserves present and active in all parts of the region.

A changing climate will bring new challenges to the Southern Cape environment, and with almost unpredictable rainfall patterns new challenges are looming for the environment and the communities dependent on its resilience.

In addition, invasive alien plants dominate large parts of the Southern Cape’s environmentally sensitive mountain catchments, rivers and wetlands, and landowners are fighting an uphill battle in eradication and control of fast- spreading wattles, pine, Rooikrans and a myriad of lesser known invasive species which all pose a significant threat in terms of the destruction of biodiversity, water security and the ever-present danger of wild fire disaster as the summer heat is bound to dry out vegetation in the coming months.

In celebration of regional conservation efforts, GREF is hosting its annual Key-Stakeholder Report-back Event on 13 December in Wilderness, allowing regional environmental and conservation entities to showcase their programmes and initiatives.

The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a public platform for environmental and conservation management entities in the Southern Cape.


Picture/ caption: The Robinson Pass, South Africa, alive with beautiful yellow, orange, red and pink proteas. The mountains seem endless and misty in the distance. -GRDM

Issued: Cobus Meiring, Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)

30 October 2023 Media Release: GRDM Executive Mayor wishes the Class of 2023 all the best!

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.

Good luck, and may success be yours.


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