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GRIFF is a festival for filmmakers, creative expression, education, new technology and media. The GRIFF festival supports emerging and established filmmakers, encourages community participation and learning through innovation. “Experience is everything” remains our mantra with an added online feel “Get your GRIFF on”
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Media Release: Garden Route DM reaches a decade of ongoing support for Cater Care Students
For Immediate Release 14 March 2022
“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”Christian D. Larson NEW THOUGHT LEADER
Twenty-one (21) students who formed part of the 2nd intake of the current three-year (2020 till 2023) Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) Cater Care Programme were recently honoured for successfully completing the course. Their intake was on 7 September 2021.
The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) appointed the Francois Ferreira Academy for three (3) years through a formal tender process as the service provider to roll out the Cater Care Programme. The GRDM Council has once again approved R450 000.00 for the 2021/2022 financial year towards this programme.
The GRDM Cater Care Training Programme is a partnership between GRDM and the FFA. It provides training and ensures that students are placed in hospitality establishments to gain practical work experience during their studies. This partnership started ten (10) years ago, with ABSA Bank being the primary sponsor; however, the GRDM is now solely responsible for funding this Programme.
The Programme also aims to train previously disadvantaged youth in the hospitality sector. As a result of this program, unemployed and impoverished youth have gained culinary skills to help them secure employment in the hospitality and tourism industries.
During an official certificate handover ceremony held on 10 February 2022, Veronica Mekile, Project Administrator and Life-skills Facilitator, provided a brief overview of the course. What stood out from her speech was the joy and satisfaction the FFA team experiences when they observe a student’s progress. She also shared that the Cater Care course at FFA is more than just about cooking – they added a life skills section to the course too. This helps to build students’ self-esteem and confidence and helps mould positive attitudes.
During the welcoming, a very proud GRDM Executive Manager of Planning and Economic Development, Lusanda Menze expressed his gratitude and said that he always looks forward to attending these life-changing ceremonies. “Listening to the testimonies today is an example of what we come up with when we sit in our offices and think it is a miniature contribution from the municipality, but during these kinds of events, we witness how our ideas shape the lives of people.” He referred to the Statistics SA unemployment rate, which found more than 60% of youth are unemployed, including people with university degrees and diplomas. This course is important because several young people are absorbed into the job market or start their own businesses,” Menze said.
Adv. Gert van Niekerk confirmed that the GRDM had committed itself to the Cater Care Programme for the 2021/22 financial year and that it will strive to continue to make a positive impact in the lives of the communities. He congratulated and thanked the FFA for their remarkable job in training, development, and alleviation of poverty and unemployment in the district. Adv. van Niekerk said that this programme would not have been successful without their hard work, dedication, and commitment.
He congratulated the students with the following words, “We as the Garden Route District Municipal Council wish you well with your future plans; we hope you will be successful in everything you do, and we are very proud of you”. He concluded his address by encouraging the students with words a mentor shared with him years ago when he was on the verge of receiving his qualification – “To achieve what you have achieved is the easy part. Dedication, study, practice and determination brought you here, where you received your diploma as recognition today. Now comes the difficult part; to be worthy of that diploma. In the years to come, wherever life may take you, be worthy of this day. You’ve worked hard for it; you deserve it, now it is in your hands. I do trust that you will do as such,” he said.
The ceremony was complemented by the following remarks from Chef François Ferreira, “This may be regarded by some only as a skill qualification, but the action goes far beyond it. You have specific skills, and it is in your hands to decide how to use them. You can prepare food at home or start your own business. A variety of programmes are available to help young entrepreneurs get started. It is entirely up to you!”
The success of this flagship programme is as follows:
Cater Care – 89% success rate in placing learners in sustainable jobs;
70% of learners placed on a career path by qualifying for NYCTP course; and
Some learners have already finished their Diploma in Food Preparation and Patisserie.
As GRDM, we are proud to acknowledge that more than 200 individuals have successfully completed training through this programme over the past decade.