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16 July 2024 Media Release: Executive Mayor, Deputy Executive Mayor, Councillors, Management and Staff welcome 5 new additions to Roads Yellow Fleet

Media Release: Executive Mayor, Deputy Executive Mayor, Councillors, Management and Staff welcome 5 new additions to Roads Yellow Fleet

16 July 2024

Today, the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Roads Department took in acceptance five vehicles to the value of approximately R 500 000 each. This special occasion was witnessed by the GRDM Executive Mayor, Ald. Andrew Stroebel, Executive Deputy Mayor, Ald. Vlancio Donson, Mayoral Committee Chairperson (MMC) for Roads Services – Cllr Stag Cronje, and other MMCs, as well as GRDM Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, and support staff.

The vehicles were procured with Western Cape Government funding and were handed over to the Roads Team at their main depot in George. The purpose of these new additions to the current yellow fleet of the Municipality, is to maintain service delivery standards of the all fifteen (15) Roads teams across the Garden Route.

In the past two years GRDM received ten (10) Maintenance and Construction Graders. The fleet value of the Graders received thus far in the past two years amounts to just over R50 million. Twelve (12) new Vans were also received over the past two years.

Today, is therefore another milestone and historic occasion for the municipality, as the Roads Department continues to strive towards excellence, more specifically in ensuring safe roads that link various areas and farms, including rural areas.

15 July 2024 Media Release: Early intervention for speech and hearing

Media Release: Early intervention for speech and hearing

15 July 2024

Speech therapy and audiology services are important interventions when it comes to young children and development. Early intervention is important for children to develop the communication skills needed for their academic and social life.

Western Cape Government Health and Wellness in the Garden Route district has a qualified speech therapist and audiologist who does outreaches to the entire Garden Route District (Kannaland, Oudtshoorn, George, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, Knysna and Bitou).

Speech Therapist Annemie Vogel said: “Our wish is that all caregivers of children ( 0 – 5 years) come and bring their child for a speech therapy session, even if you are not currently worried about something regarding their speech or feeding. “

Cayden(8) who was nonverbal, has seen great improvement since he started sessions at Uniondale Hospital with Speech Therapist Annemie Vogel. “Since we’ve started with sessions at Uniondale Hospital he has made so much progress. The growth that has taken place in my child during this time is incredible. Cayden enjoys every session and because he is a very excited boy, it is always nice for him to visit Miss Vogel. As a parent, I also learn a lot from the speech therapist about how to help my son at home and make it easy for him to express himself freely. I am grateful that I have decided to make speech therapy sessions part of Cayden’s growth and education,” said mother, Caslyn Skosana.

Speech therapy can help with the following:

  • Stuttering e.g. “M-m-mom I want I want I want the chips”
  • Struggling with certain sounds e.g saying “tat” instead of “cat”, or “wed” instead of “red” , not saying a sound correctly or leaving sounds out in words.
  • Saying less words or sentences than peers or mostly using gestures (like pointing) to communicate.
  • Difficulty breastfeeding, moving from milk to soft foods or picky eaters.
  • Difficulty understanding your instructions or words you say to your child.

What to expect in a Speech Therapy session:

  • The therapist will discuss any concerns the caregiver may have and gather background information and medical history.
  • Then the therapist will play and interact with their child and look at the child’s strengths and any possible areas of concern.
  • The therapist will also discuss observations and possible home activities with the caregiver.
Speech Therapist Annemie Vogel with Ivakele Tutu.

Audiology Services

Another important service for early intervention is audiology services. Hearing impacts speech, language, learning, and social skills.

“We want to confirm hearing problems in children as early as possible. Bring your child for an assessment – it’s free. I will be able to determine if there is hearing loss, in one or both ears, the type of hearing loss, the severity and the recommendation of hearing aids,” said Audiologist, Nonkululeko Mtolo.

We can help children who:

Need constant repetition when you speak to them.

Need to be close to you to understand.

Often misunderstand what is said to them.

Still have a hearing problem even after being treated for ear infections or ear wax has been removed.

Caregivers can go to their nearest clinic and ask to be referred to an audiologist.

Children aged 0-6 years are referred to George for an assessment.

Feature Image Caption: Audiologist Nonkulukelo Mtolo assessing Mr-Sydney Bomsi.

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Nadia Ferreira

Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

Tel: 044 813 1831

Email: Nadia.Ferreira@westerncape.gov.za

Website: www.westerncape.gov.za

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.

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5 July 2024 Media Statement: GRDM Executive Mayor, Deputy Executive Mayor, Whip of Council and Mayoral Committee, elected

Media Statement: GRDM Executive Mayor, Deputy Executive Mayor, Whip of Council and Mayoral Committee, elected

5 July 2024

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is proud to announce the inauguration of several of its new executive leadership today, including a new Executive Mayor, Ald. Andrew Stroebel who hails from Hessequa where he was the Speaker for one-and-a-half terms since 2016/17. Today’s proceedings follow the National and Provincial election outcomes which resulted in former GRDM Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen moving to the Western Cape Legislature. Booysen was sworn in on 13 June 2024 alongside 41 other politicians.

During today’s inauguration, the Western Cape Minister for Infrastructure, MEC Tertuis Simmers was present. Mayors from the seven (7) local municipalities, members of the public and media, were also present in person and some logged in virtually to witness the special occasion.

EXECUTIVE MAYOR, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE MAYOR AND WHIP OF COUNCIL ELECTED

The new GRDM Executive Mayor, Ald. Stroebel from the DA was elected unopposed. Subsequently, the Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Vlancio Donson from the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (ICOSA) was also elected unopposed. He replaces Ald. Gert Van Niekerk from the Freedom Front Plus. A new Whip of Council, Cllr Monique Simmers was also elected unopposed. She replaces Cllr Betsie van Noordwyk from the DA, who recently submitted her resignation from this position, which she held since 2021.

During Mayor Stroebel’s acceptance speech, his key message was his commitment to addressing the pressing issues of service delivery, infrastructure improvement, and sustainable economic development through transparent governance and open communication. He emphasised his commitment to financial sustainability, and highlighted the importance of performance-based accountability, environmental conservation, and teamwork to build a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient future for the district municipality.

Monde Stratu, the GRDM Municipal Manager, also welcomed and congratulated the new leadership on taking office. He committed that the administration would follow through on the goals as set out by the Executive Mayor.

“We as the administration are ready to hit the road running with what is expected,” said Stratu.

The profile of Ald. Stroebel is available here: https://www.gardenroute.gov.za/executive-mayor/

The acceptance speech by the Executive Mayor can be accessed here: https://www.gardenroute.gov.za/2024/07/05/5-july-2024-acceptance-speech-by-executive-mayor-ald-andrew-stroebel/

MAYORAL COMMITTEE ELECTED

The Executive Mayor also announced his Mayoral Committee Members today. Mayoral Committee Members form part of the committees outlined in Section 80 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 2008. Such a committee is established primarily to assist the Executive Mayor.

Those in these critical positions will oversee the following portfolios:

  • Community Services: Cllr Jobieth Hoogbaard
  • Corporate Services: Ald. Nompumelelo Ndayi
  • Financial Services: Ald. Dave Swart
  • Planning and Economic Development: Ald. Rosina Ruiters
  • Property and Asset Management: Cllr Hilton Stroebel
  • Roads and Transport Services: Cllr Daniel Cronje

This inauguration marks a new chapter for the GRDM as the Administration and Council continues to strive for excellence in service delivery and community development.

Feature Image: Newly elected political leadership at GRDM, from left to right: Ald. Vlancio Donson (Deputy Executive Mayor), Ald. Andrew Stroebel (Executive Mayor) and Cllr Monique Simmers (Whip of Council).

ENDS

5 July 2024 Acceptance Speech by Executive Mayor, Ald. Andrew Stroebel

Acceptance Speech by Executive Mayor, Ald. Andrew Stroebel

5 July 2024

Good morning Speaker, esteemed Councillors and distinguished guests, the administration, members of the public and the media

As the newly elected Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality, I am honoured to stand before you today and to share my vision for the future of this beautiful Garden Route.

Over the past fifteen (15) years, I have had the privilege of engaging with the people of our region, listening to their hopes, their concerns, and their dreams. It is clear to me that the residents of this district are deeply passionate about their home, and they are ready to work alongside us to build a brighter tomorrow for all who live in it.

This administration and Council’s top priority will be to address the pressing issues that matter most to our citizens. We will focus on enhancing service delivery, improving infrastructure, and fostering sustainable economic development. Through transparent governance and open communication, we will strive to rebuild the trust between the municipality, the community and the seven Local Municipalities.

No single person or organisation is perfect, mistakes could have been made, but we must own them, fix them and learn from them, starting today.

There will be no witch hunt of any employee as long as you have the relevant qualification and skills for your job, have done nothing seriously wrong and you are completely honest, diligent and hard-working. We are paid to be here and to deliver services to a standard that the public expects.

My door will always be open to all employees because I believe that with mutual respect and having a shared vision, we will be able take this municipality to the next level.

I believe in strong financial discipline and that’s why there will be a refocus on the financial sustainability of this municipality, the liquidity, and implementing the District-on-a-diet approach.

Additionally, we will work tirelessly to balance the perfect environment for the private sector to create more job opportunities, particularly in the thriving tourism and agriculture sectors. By supporting local small businesses, attracting strategic investments, and nurturing entrepreneurship, we aim to cultivate a diverse and resilient economy that provides meaningful employment, especially for our youth.

The Roads function and the Regional Waste Management Facility will also be at the forefront of our agenda and it must be championed by the Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) through Council as a top priority.

All MMC’s are selected not by loyalty but by performance and I will reconsider the Mayco each quarter, solely based on performance. The message can’t be clearer: Shape up or ship out.

Disaster Management and Fire & Rescue Services will always be close to my heart. I will strive to be with you on the ground as much as possible because you deliver an excellent service which we must support, as there is nothing more important than saving lives.

Furthermore, we recognise the importance of sustainable environmental practices and the effect of climate change. We will promote the conservation of our natural resources, do our best to enhance waste management systems, and explore renewable energy solutions to reduce our carbon footprint and safeguard the unique beauty of the Garden Route for generations to come.

My fellow citizens, the road ahead may not be an easy one, but I am confident that with team work, and with collective leadership, we can overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie before us. By working hand-in-hand, we will build a future that is prosperous, inclusive, and resilient, a future that we can all be proud to call home.

I’m willing to take hands with this administration and every council member, to work with you, listen to you, and build relationships and trust through love and respect to provide citizens hope for a better tomorrow.

I thank you.

5 July 2024 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality Constructs Fire Breaks to Protect Properties and Enhance Safety

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality Constructs Fire Breaks to Protect Properties and Enhance Safety

5 July 2024

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) completed a fire break on its property at Skimmelkrans Herolds Bay, to enhance the safety and to protect the area from the threat of wildfires. The best time of the year to create fire breaks is during cooler, wetter months when vegetation is less likely to ignite out of control.

“The construction of these fire breaks demonstrates our commitment to the safety and well-being of our community. We are taking proactive steps to mitigate fire risks and ensure that we are well-prepared to respond to any potential threats,” said GRDM Station Commander, Fire Safety and Training, Daniel Dippenaar.

The construction of fire breaks is a critical component of the GRDM’s comprehensive fire management strategy, which includes fuel load and alien invasive plant reduction. Strategically placed barriers are designed to slow or stop the spread of fires, providing a line of defense for both natural landscapes and human settlements. While protecting human lives and properties, these measures also help preserve natural habitats and biodiversity.

This project was completed on 4 July 2024 in collaboration with Working on Fire (WoF). The next step in the process is to perform a fuel load reduction prescribed burn.

“TWe are taking proactive steps to mitigate fire risks and ensure that we are compliant with legislation, in terms of the National Veld and Forest Fire Act,” said Dippenaar.

WoF and GRDM Firefighters on site in Herolds Bay to create fire breaks.

For more information on fire safety and to request an educational session, contact Daniel Dippenaar via e-mail, ddippenaar@gardenroute.gov.za or alternatively the Chief Fire Officer, Deon Stoffels at deon@gardenroute.gov.za.

Feature image: Xola Melaphi from working on fire was part of the team who used various equipment to create a fire break – including chainsaws, brush cutters, hand-held slashers and rakes.

ENDS

4 July 2024 Media Release: Fire Safety Education rolled out to residents of Herold

Media Release: Fire Safety Education rolled out to residents of Herold

4 July 2024

In a dedicated effort to educate residents of the Garden Route on vital fire safety practices, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Firefighters recently held a ‘Fire and Life Safety’ talk for children and a few adults from Herold.

Some of the pictures captured during the education session.

The event, which took place on July 3, 2024 involved a group eager to learn how to stay safe in various emergency situations. Senior Fire Fighter Bennie van Vuuren, Martino Jacobs, and Volunteer Fire Fighter Jivika Balram delivered an engaging presentation to 40 children. Essential topics such as what to do in case of a fire, dialing 112 or 044 805 5071, and recognising potential hazards at home, are some of the topics they focused on.

The group participated in hands-on activities, including practicing stop-drop-and-roll methods, and how to crawl or move low under smoke. They also had the opportunity to explore a fire truck and try on some firefighters’ gear.

Each child received take-home materials, including safety checklists and a family emergency plan template, to share with their loved ones.

Highlighting the importance of early education in fire safety, Senior Fire Fighter Bennie van Vuuren said, “Teaching children about fire and life safety from a young age is crucial. It empowers them with the knowledge they need to react appropriately in emergencies.”

The enthusiasm from the kids and the support from their parents were inspiring. The Firefighters from GRDM continue to offering educational talks regularly, ensuring that safety education remains a cornerstone of community outreach efforts.

Feature image: Some of the moments captured during the education session held in Herold.

ENDS

Notice of a Special Council Meeting on 5 July 2024 at 11:00

NOTICE OF A SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING ON 05 JULY 2024 AT 11:00

Notice is hereby given that a SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING of the Garden Route District Municipality will be held at the CA Robertson Council Chambers, and via Zoom, 54 York Street, George,
on 05 July 2024 at 11:00.

MG Stratu
Municipal Manager
54 York Street
P O Box 12
GEORGE
6530
Tel: 044 803 1300

Notice Number 74/2024

3 July 2024 Media Release: Take-Home Message from Climate Change Indaba: Prepare for What is Coming

Media Release: Take-Home Message from Climate Change Indaba: Prepare for What is Coming

3 July 2024

“The Annual Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Climate Change and Environmental Management Indaba concluded on Thursday, 27 June, at the Nelson Mandela University George Campus. Presentations by provincial and local government representatives, climate change predictive modeling specialists, regional biosphere reserves, Cape Nature, and other significant contributors under the theme ‘Resilience in Action: Building Sustainable Communities Amid a Changing Climate’ reflected on what the future may hold for the Southern Cape with an unpredictable climate,” says GREF Convener Cobus Meiring.

The Garden Route is a disaster-prone area and increasingly falls victim to severe flooding, wildfire catastrophes, drought, and storm surges. As a direct result, damage to hard infrastructure, such as roads, is extremely costly to repair and has significant downstream implications when logistics are disrupted and communities are forced to use detours.

Disaster management practitioners Colin Deiner (Chief Director: Western Cape Disaster Management) and Gerhard Otto (Head: Garden Route District Municipality Disaster Management Centre) made comprehensive presentations showing the extent of the damage incurred by natural disasters in the Western Cape in the past decade. Repair costs run into millions of Rand and are set to increase as climate change impacts the environment and the populations dependent on its well-being.

Proactive planning and forward-thinking in dealing with climate-related natural disasters are crucial. Disaster management entities are constantly investing in better equipment, capacity, and resources to lend assistance when disaster strikes. Early warning systems play a vital role in ensuring the safety of communities, who are encouraged to pay attention when advisories are sent out, especially given that the severity of approaching storms cannot always be accurately determined in advance.

The GREF is a climate change think-tank and public platform for environmental managers to share knowledge and experience.

Chairperson of GREF, Cobus Meiring, addressing the attendees on the day.

Feature image: Presenters on the day of the GREF event.

ENDS