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26 March 2024 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality once again empowers Small and Medium Enterprises with Equipment and Support

Media Release:  Garden Route District Municipality once again empowers Small and Medium Enterprises with Equipment and Support

26 March 2024

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council has again supported Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) with a significant allocation of R600,000 in the 2023/2024 budget. This funding is geared towards interventions and needs of SMEs within the region.

During a formal handover ceremony held yesterday, 25 SMEs meeting the specified criteria were provided with equipment in order to grow their businesses.

The selection process for beneficiaries began with widespread outreach efforts, including advertisements in local newspapers and rural areas within the Garden Route. A total of 83 businesses responded to the call for proposals. Facilitated by the SEDA, the vetting, screening, and verification process ensured fairness and transparency. The Adjudication Committee, comprising Local Economic Development (LED) Managers, the Department of Agriculture, the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership  (WCEDP), and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT, carefully reviewed pitches from businesses and made recommendations.

During the ceremony, Alderlady Rosina Ruiters, Portfolio Chairperson of the Planning and Economic Development Department, welcomed attendees and highlighted the program’s origins. Dr. Keith du Plessis, CEO of Casidra, expressed appreciation for the SME program, acknowledging its vital role in supporting small businesses, which are recognised as the backbone of many economies worldwide. “I want to take my hat-off to the GRDM for recognising the plea of the struggling SME’s, what these small businesses are facing, and what our programme assists with,” Du Plessis said.

Program Director and Acting Manager of District Economic Development and Tourism Unit, Richard Dyantyi, emphasised the program’s focus on reaching rural businesses and collaboration with SEDA to provide ongoing support and assistance in marketing.

The Western Cape Provincial Manager of SEDA, Alex Qunta, delivered an inspiring message to SME owners, urging them to prioritise working on their businesses for long-term success. “You have to work on your business first, before it can work for you.  As entrepreneurs and business owners, we always want the business to work for us.

GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen reiterated the municipality’s dedication to changing lives through initiatives like these, despite budget constraints. “Every year during this gathering I say the same things, but the fact of the matter is, facts don’t change, the truth doesn’t change, circumstances might change from time to time.” He elaborated on the District Municipality Council’s proactive decisions made five years ago to positively impact the lives of people in the district.

Alderman Booysen further acknowledged the GRDM’s commitment to prioritising initiatives like supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), even if it meant reallocating funds from other projects. He stressed that a project like this, despite not being part of the GRDM’s core functions, is essential for the growth and prosperity of the community.

Dyantyi shared the success story of 68 previously benefited SMEs, all of which remain operational, highlighting the program’s impact and sustainability.

GRDM Acting Municipal Manager, Lusanda Menze, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their support and contributions in all the different forms, to the success of the SME Program.  He said that GRDM remains committed to empowering SMEs and driving economic growth and prosperity across the region.

Below are photos of the beneficiaries with Ald. Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor), Ald. Rosina Ruiters (Portfolio Chairperson: Economic Development and Planning), Lusanda Menze (GRDM Acting Municipal Manager), Dr. Keith du Plessis (CEO: Casidra), and Alex Qunta (WC Manager: SEDA).


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21 June 2023 Media Release: The GRDM sources R1 million for Garden Route Agro-processing Support Project

Media Release: The GRDM source R1 million for Garden Route Agro-processing Support Project

For immediate release
21 June 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has been able to source R1 million funding, after a project proposal was submitted for an Agri-processing project. This initiative forms part of the GRDM’s Joint District and Metro Approach (JDMA).

As part of the JDMA approach, a growth and development strategy was developed, which requires specific clusters (groups of experts), to drive projects. This specific project forms part of the Resilient Agriculture Cluster. The funding, which was applied for through the GRDM, was provided by the Western Cape Department of Local Government.

Representatives from GRDM and the WCG Department of Agriculture with experienced facilitators from Elsenburg during the fact-finding mission.

One of the conditions of the grant is for a steering committee to drive the implementation of the project. Key stakeholders of the project include the Department of Agriculture, CASIDRA, Oudtshoorn Municipality, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the Department of Local Government and the GRDM.

A multi-purpose processing unit to support the value chain for indigenous products, such as honeybush, within the Garden Route district will be constructed through the project.

This project is prompted by a dire need for more processing facilities in the region. “Communities that are mostly wild harvesters are dependent on a few processors within the Southern and Eastern Cape for processing of the tea, with no value adding opportunities existing for these communities,” said Natalie Arries, Senior District Economic Development Officer for GRDM. “The project aims to provide one processing facility located on the Nooitgedacht Farm (Oudtshoorn) property which is owned by the GRDM, she added”.

Earlier this year, GRDM and the WCG Department of Agriculture embarked on a fact-finding mission to learn from the experienced facilitators at Elsenburg, and to discuss an implementation approach with the Agricultural Research Council.

The success of the project will ensure that emerging farmers process tea of high quality, which will be exported to local and international markets.

Feature Image: The name ‘honeybush’ is derived from the sweet, honey-like scent of the plant when in full bloom with its yellow flowers.


01 March 2023 Media Release: Cater Care Training Programme graduates another successful group

Media Release: Cater Care Training Programme graduates another successful group

For Immediate Release
01 March 2023

Another prestigious ceremony was held at the Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) on Friday, 24 February 2023, to honour 25 students who successfully completed the Cater Care/Food Handler Programme. The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) last year, on 17 October 2022, kicked of its 2022/2023 Cater Care/ Food Handler Programme.

The successful partnership of approximately twelve (12) years between the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and the Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) continues to equip youth with vital skills in the hospitality industry.

Last year 223 applications were received from youth across the district to be part of the Cater Care Programme. Ninety-four (94) applicants were shortlisted for interviews, of which 25 were selected to be part of the 2022/2023 flagship programme.

During the formal graduation ceremony, Chef Francois Ferreira, Head and Founder of the FFA welcomed the students and guests, and shared a special message with them. He pointed out that they had been in the new building for exactly one year. He recalled there were only boxes and equipment in the building last year, but now it is a fully equipped school with a fully functional restaurant.  “In this industry, we change lives, and I hope that what you’ve learned here will, in a small or big way change the way you think and the way you approach life, because this isn’t just a job, but a lifestyle,” Chef Ferreira encouraged students.

Ms Veronica Mekile, Project Administrator and Life-skills Facilitator of the FFA, provided a brief overview of the course and elaborated on the joy and satisfaction the FFA team experiences when they observe the student’s progress.

Ms Pheliswa Gobisiba, one of the graduating students, delivered a tribute of praised to all the role players involved for the great opportunity. She expressed her gratitude to the staff of the FFA for what they have done for them. “Over the past three months, it has been a long and memorable journey for us; full of excitement and challenges, but we have not lost sight of them.  I want to leave my ‘mates’ with the following message: the journey continues, let’s shine and make our chefs proud.”

GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Adv. Gert van Niekerk in his speech, commended the FFA team with an exception to Chef Francois Ferreira for their well-equipped facilities. He congratulated the 25 students on their 100% pass. “This is a long-term investment and we urge you to keep up the good work. Nobody can take away what you’ve got here. With this knowledge, you can succeed in the public sector. On behalf of the GRDM, we wish you all the best,” Adv Van Niekerk said.

Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, congratulated the students and motivated them with the following words: “You are the ones with the skills, the ones who ensure that people will return to a restaurant or not.  It is not how the manager of the establishment smiles or how the owner has treated them; it is what they have tasted. In spite of the fact that you are in the background, where nobody sees you, you are the ones who make people lick their fingers and return.”  Alderman Booysen further elaborated on the decision made by GRDM to become the Skills Mecca in the Western Cape, after seeing the need and the treachery the country has taken. “In this district, whoever comes in must pick up the phone, dial our number and ask us for whatever skills their business requires. Then ,with a press of a button, the names of people with that particular skills would appear on the screen. When new hotels and restaurants open, with the press of a button, your names must come up, because we have created that pool,” he said.

GRDM through its Tourism Unit is responsible for the funding of this programme, with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Unit contributing towards the stipends for the students.


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28 June 2022 Media Release: Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and SASSETA visit GRDM

Media Release: Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and SASSETA visit GRDM

28 June 2022
For Immediate Release 

An Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) delegation consisting of national and provincial officials visited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) on 13 and 14 June 2022. The aim of the two-day visit was to learn more about the Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) model and to investigate the possibility of replicating the Skills Mecca concept in other parts of the country.

On the first day, representatives from GRSM and the GRDM EPWP section accompanied the delegation on several site visits to training centres in the area that support the GRSM. Delegates visited Cheeba Africa, African Skills and François Ferreira Academy where they were given thorough insights of each facility and the type of training provided.  Through several Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) grants and EPWP programmes, learners have successfully completed courses at the training centres visited by delegates and have been able to enter the job market.

The second day was reserved for engagement.  Lusanda Menze (GRDM Executive Manager:: Planning and Economic Development) gave an overview of GRDM and its Growth and Development Strategy and Dr Florus Prinsloo (GRSM Coordinator) gave a comprehensive overview of the GRSM model.

Tsholofelo Pooe from National EPWP presented on the their EPWP Training Framework and possible linkages to the Garden Route Skills Mecca.

MOU between GRSM and SASSETA discussed.

Joining the delegation on the second day, were Chris Mudau and Thamsanqa Mdontswa from the Safety and Security SETA (SASSETA). After listening to the presentations given by GRDM and GRSM, they presented on the SETA’s mandate, Skills Development Levy (SDL) breakdown, and strategic scope amongst other topics.

SASSETA’s sub-sections and constituencies include:

  • Policing
  • Corrections
  • Justice
  • Defence
  • Intelligence Activities
  • Legal Services
  • Private Security and Investigation Activities

There are 17 SDL contributors in the Garden Route, which comprises law firms and security companies.  It is for this reason that SASSETA and GRDM will enter into talks to establish an MOU that will see closer cooperation with GRSM.

The two-day delegation visit was concluded with a visit to Calitzdorp Hot Springs where a Security Training Centre has been established through formal partnership between BM Skills Development (who is a SASSETA Accredited Training Provider) and the GRDM.




13 June 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

For Immediate Release
13 June 2022

The fifth quarterly Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum was held virtually on in May 2022 and focused on renewable energy strategies for the Garden Route.

This follows a fruitful engagement Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) had with the Energy & Water Sector Education Training Authority  (EWSETA) on Tuesday, 17 May 2022.  During the engagement, EWSETA expressed its desire to support renewable energy projects in the Garden Route, which is in line with its support of Just Energy Transition (JET),  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the work done in South Africa by The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA).

EWSETA has a significant demand-based focus, and it is important for them to determine what the needs are of employers and businesses. They receive a limited skills levy income and need to partner with other agencies to address this challenge. This is why they’ve agreed soon enter into a memorandum of understanding with GRDM.

During his opening remarks, the GRSM Forum chairperson, Ald. De Vries remarked that renewable energy is gaining momentum as countries around the world are increasingly understanding the benefits it offers.

During the forum, Mr. Warrick Pierce, Technical Leader on Energy Systems Modeling at the Energy Centre of CSIR, presented the Draft Municipal Electricity Master Plan for the GRDM. The Draft document was funded by GIZ and co-funded by the CSIR and is considered to be a mini Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

Mr. Pierce noted that the plan looks at different possible energy futures and the employment opportunities it may hold. Furthermore, the plan’s focus is twofold as it looks at each municipality individually in the region and the Garden Route as a whole to achieve optimisation.

To draft plan addresses issues of future demand usage and that municipalities need to know their customers – their past behaviors towards energy and how this is changing in terms of self-generation.  There seems to be clear indication that Solar PV is the priority option for the Garden Route to consider. The Draft Energy Master Plan will be tabled to the GRDM Council this month for adoption and a media release about it will be issued.

The final presentation was done by Kirsten Freimann, from GIZ, who is the Head of Project: Career Path Development for Employment (CPD4E), which is a new 3-year program that started in June.

The program aims to address two major concerns identified by GIZ, which are the economic recession and the high youth unemployment rate plaguing South Africa. With the help of the Swiss Development Agency, The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Government was able to raise €10.5 million for the project.

CPDE4E strives to improve the employability of the youth by unlocking employment potentials by supporting entrepreneurship and SME development in township economies, as well as (ecologic) industrial parks.

The transition from learning to earning will be done by matching soft skills with entrepreneurship training with specific measures in place for girls and women.

Demand-driven TVET/ skills development will improve delivery capacities, through lecturers, in-company mentors, short skills programs, new occupational profiles, and curricula development. It is anticipated that it will strengthen private sector involvement in agile training interventions. This could lead to job creation and meeting demands.

13 June 2022 Opportunities For Unemployed Youth in the Western Cape

Opportunities For Unemployed Youth in the Western Cape

13 June 2022

The Western Cape Government has several opportunities for unemployed youth in the province. Please find all the details below, or visit the following link for more information.

Please contact the designated persons on each advertisement/application should you have any queries. Garden Route District Municipality will not be able to answer any queries regarding the adverts.

West Coast


Garden Route

City of Cape Town

City of Cape Town (1)

Central Karoo

Cape Winelands

15 March 2022 Media Release: NYDA Focusses on Youth Development In The Garden Route

Media Release: NYDA Focusses on Youth Development In The Garden Route

15 March 2022
For immediate release


The second keynote speaker at the first Garden Route Skills Mecca for 2022 was Tshepo Manyama – Regional Manager of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Western Cape. He outlined NYDA’s skills development plans, opportunities, and needs that support youth development in the Garden Route.

NYDA is a South African-based agency established primarily to address challenges faced by the nation’s youth. The youth development agency was established by an Act of Parliament (Act 54 of 2008) to be a single, unitary structure addressing youth development issues at the National, Provincial and Local Government levels. The Agency should be seen within the broad context of South Africa’s development dynamics.

During Manyama’s presentation, he outlined their economic participation goal, which is to enhance the contribution of young people to the economy through targeted and integrated programs.

He added that programs created by the NYDA aims to facilitate and provide employment opportunities for the youth and to include them in the economy.

The implementation of this goal is at the following strategic objectives:

  • To provide socio-economic empowerment interventions and support for young people in South Africa
  • To provide increased universal access to young people

NYDA runs several economic programs that include:

  • Grant funding R1 000.00 to R10 000.00
  • Business Consultancy Services
  • Sales Pitch and BBBEE Training
  • Business Management Training
  • Mentorship
  • Market Linkages

On youth with disabilities, Manyama had the following to say: “Young people with disabilities are not homogenous as there are different disabilities that require different interventions. The sector representing youth with disabilities proposes the establishment of a disability unit at the NYDA to undertake to facilitate all programs aimed at transforming the lives of youth with disabilities.”

He concluded his presentation by stressing the importance of eradicating discrimination and stigmas against people with disabilities and increasing economic opportunities for them.

Access to education is limited and inadequate and this needs to be addressed. Integration of people with disabilities will also need to be addressed as there is a tendency of lumping them together despite their different needs.

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

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

15 March 2022
For immediate release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 March 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Forum Focuses On Youth Development And Agriculture

Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Forum Focuses On Youth Development And Agriculture

14 March 2022
For Immediate Release

The first quarterly Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum for 2022 was held on 25 February 2022 and was attended by delegates in person and online via Microsoft Teams. This setting provides Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and its stakeholders a chance to collectively work towards achieving Skills Summit resolutions.

The forum was chaired by Ald. Stephen de Vries briefly explained the role of the GRSM in relation to the National Skills Development Plan. He alluded to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate where he stressed the importance of skills development to support economic growth as part of the economic recovery plan. The GRSM aligns itself with the National Development Plan 2030 vision to improve access to occupations in high demand and priority skills in supporting economic growth, job creation, and social development.

We want to contribute to the vision of an educated and skilled workforce for South Africa.

The forum hosted two keynote speakers. The first was Clyde Lamberts from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture who outlined, in detail, the department’s growth and development strategy.

The second keynote speaker, Tshepo Manyama – Regional Manager of National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Western Cape – presented on matters of skills development plans, opportunities, and needs that support youth development in the Garden Route.

Dr. Florus Prinsloo (Skill Mecca Co-ordinator, GRDM) officially launched the GRSM website, which has been in development since last year.

The aim of the website is to serve as a central point of communication and to close the gap between service providers, investors, and candidates with learning opportunities needs.

There is still work that needs to be done which, once completed, will see the ‘partnership’ page going live. Once this happens, service providers will be able to register and list learning opportunities, which will then be communicated by GRDM’s Communication unit. A process has been established to vet all applicants before registration to ensure that the highest standards are always met.