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28 November 2023 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners educate inmates at Uniondale Correctional Service facility about Diphtheria (Witseerkeel)

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners educate inmates at Uniondale Correctional Service facility about Diphtheria (Witseerkeel)

For immediate release
28 November 2023

On 21 November 2023, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Municipal Health Services serving the Outeniqua region, conducted Health and Hygiene education at the Uniondale Correctional Services facility.

Approximately sixty-eight (68) inmates and 3 staff members of the Uniondale Correctional Services were made aware of what  (Witseerkeel) is and how the bacterial disease is transmitted from one person to another. More topics that were covered include the signs and symptoms, as well as how the disease is treated.

Environmental Health Practitioner at Garden Route District Municipality, Janine Koopman (left), with Staff (middle) and the Acting Head of the Uniondale Correctional Services facility, Mr Siebert van Rensburg (right), soon after the session.

During an interview with the Acting Head of the Uniondale Correctional Services, Mr Siebert van Rensburg, it was established that there are currently no existing cases of Diphtheria at the facility.  It was also confirmed that a representative from the Western Cape Department of Health conducts screening tests with every new inmate before admission to the facility. Although family members are allowed to have contact visits with inmates, they are screened prior to these visits and are restricted from entering the facilities should they show any signs and symptoms of communicable diseases.

The facility is utilising the same system that were implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, inmates are therefore also not allowed to attend funerals of family members who passed away due to a communicable disease.

Continuous hand and hygiene sessions will be conducted at similar facilities within the Garden Route district by EHPs from the GRDM.

Did you know?

Diphtheria, also known as “Witseerkeel” is a bacterial disease caused by infection. It is a vaccine-preventable disease, however a drop in vaccine coverage could potentially lead to increased numbers of cases. Diphtheria is preventable by vaccination given at 6, 10, 14 weeks, with booster doses given at 18 months, 6 years, and 12 years of age. It usually affects:

  • The upper respiratory tract mucosa.
  • The skin, and rarely other sites (including the eyes, ears or genitals).

It can cause local tissue damage (with inflammation, ulceration, oedema and a pseudo membrane/ grey, thick layer inside throat and mouth) and can be absorbed into the bloodstream (affecting the heart, nervous system or kidneys).

What are the signs and symptoms of Diphtheria (Witseerkeel)?

Signs and symptoms start to show after 2- 5 days from becoming infected. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Mildly painful tonsillitis/ pharyngitis.
  • A thick, grey membrane covering the throat and tonsils.
  • A sore throat and hoarseness.
  • Swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes) in the neck.
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing.
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Tiredness.

Although some infected people may not show any signs or symptoms, they can still transmit the disease.

How is Diphtheria (Witseerkeel) transmitted?

  • Via ingestion of large respiratory droplets through coughing or sneezing.
  • Direct contact with an infected person through skin lesions or intercourse with an infected person.
  • Touching surfaces that are contaminated with the bacteria.


20 November 2023 Media Release: Garden Route environment suffers as SA economy shrinks

Garden Route environment suffers as SA economy shrinks

For immediate release
20 November 2023

“Maintaining a healthy environment requires money as any land manager will agree,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

Dealing with the eradication and constant control of fast-spreading invasive alien plants (IAP’s) in the Garden Route is a particularly expensive exercise, and although private landowners in the Garden Route go to great lengths to clear their land in line with legislation pertaining to invading plant and tree species management, they are facing an uphill battle as the costs related to petrol, herbicide and labour soars. Similarly, mountain catchments and rivers are badly affected by invasive species such as pines and wattle, and there simply is no longer sufficient funding available for authorities to effectively deal with the scourge.

Established some three decades ago to deal with invasive alien plants on a national scale and in the process generate much-needed jobs, the Working for Water Programme is not able to make dent on the spread of invasive plants in the Garden Route as less money becomes available from Treasury and state- sponsored business models to clear land in collaboration with supporting environmental management agencies proves difficult to implement, and with land cleared often falling back to historic densities as essential but expensive follow- up work is not conducted.

The advent of climate change enhance the presence of IAP’s on the landscape, and the accumulative effect this have on the destruction of bio- diversity and availability of fresh water resources lost from catchments and rivers systems already impacts on water security in South Africa. In addition, a warmer climate with hotter and stronger winds impacts on stored water in dams and reservoirs as higher than normal evaporation rates takes its toll.

The South African economy and the country’s ability to manage its environment is inextricably intertwined and critical to understand that if all in the country strives to a higher quality of life and environment, a prospering and fast- growing economy is not negotiable.

Food and water security is vital for the future of South Africa and all its citizens, and the dire state of sewerage management systems country- wide, polluted rivers and the spread of invasive alien plants deserves urgent attention.

During its annual Key- Stakeholder report- back event on 13 December, GREF will be highlighting some of the most burning issues related to environmental management in the Garden Route.

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

Enquiries: /

Photo: Clearing Land
Caption: Costs related to clearing land of invasive alien plants soar.

20 November 2023 Public Notice: (IDP)/Budget and PMS Representative Forum meeting

NOTICE NO 150/2023


In terms of section 16 (1) (a) (i) and 17 (1) (a) – (e) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act No 32 of 2000, a notice is hereby given that Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) will hold its IDP/Budget and PMS Representative Forum meeting in order to encourage and create conditions for the local community to participate in the affairs of the municipality.

The meeting is scheduled as follows:
Date:  23 November 2023
Time:  9:30

The session will be broadcast live on Eden FM and the Garden Route District Municipality’s Facebook page.

The Garden Route Communities, Councillors, Ward Committees, Community Development Workers, Faith Based Organisations, Community Based Organisations, Intergovernmental Forums, Farmers associations, Business Communities and Rate Payers Associations who wish to take part in the IDP/Budget and PMS Representative Forum meeting, are welcome to attend.


For further enquiries, please contact Ms Mercy James (IDP Unit) at tel no: 044 803 1431.


Click here to download the Official Notice here.

20 November 2023 Impact Based Weather Warning: Level 1 for damaging waves

Impact Based Weather Warning: Level 1 for damaging waves

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued a level 1 damaging waves warning for Monday, 20 November 2023 until Wednesday, 22 November 2023.

Areas in the district affected by level 1 damaging waves warning include Hessequa, Bitou, George, Knysna and Mossel Bay.

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

2023 11 17 Public Notice: Strategic Engagement Session at Swartvlei Caravan Park on 1 December 2023


Notice 153/2023

01 DECEMBER 2023

Notice is hereby given that the Garden Route District Municipality Year End Strategic Engagement will be held on 1 December 2023 at Swartvlei Strategic Park, Sedgefield, on 01 December 2023.

Program of the event:
During this session the Municipality will be discussing its strategic plan and commitments for the upcoming financial 2024/2025. financial year. The event will also have guest speakers which will be addressing the Municipality on World AIDs Day, 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and Road Safety for the festive season.

The event will take place from 07h30 until 17h00 on 01 December 2023.

Should the public have any objections or queries regarding the event, they are welcome to contact: Mrs Medron Bussack (Acting Manager at Swartvlei Caravan Park) on/or before 22 November 2023 via e-mail to

MG Stratu
Municipal Manager
Garden Route District Municipality
54 York Street
PO Box 12
Tel: 044 803 1300

15 November 2023 Media Release: Basic Wildland Firefighting training rolled out to farms

Media Release: Basic Wildland Firefighting training rolled out to farms

For immediate release

15 November 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire and Rescue Services last week, on 09 November 2023 presented Basic Wildland Firefighting training to farmers and farmworkers from the Heidelberg region at the Les Huguenots Farm.

GRDM Firefighters present a Basic Wildland Firefighting course to farmers and farmworkers from the Heidelberg region.

A Basic Wildland Firefighting course is a critical training program that equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to combat wildfires and veldfires in its incipient stage. This course typically covers topics such as fire behaviour, safety protocols, equipment usage, and teamwork. The training presented to the group will allow them to effectively handle veldfires and to protect lives and infrastructure.

It is essential for rural communities and farmers to be equipped with basic knowledge, and especially in terms of safety around veld- and wildfires. Similar training is scheduled for more areas in the Hessequa and Mossel Bay municipal areas, set to take place in the last week of November 2023.

The basic course was facilitated by Daniel Dippenaar, GRDM Station Officer: Fire Safety and Training, with the assistance of GRDM Riversdale based Firefighter, Chris Gerber.


  1. Create a clear zone and / or defendable space around your house and infrastructure, regularly clean flammable vegetation around house.
  2. Regularly remove leaves and other plant matter from gutters.
  3. Make sure firefighters can access your home and other infrastructure. Cut away trees and branches along your access route which do not allow fire truck access.
  4. Do not make any fires in unpermitted areas.
  5. Do not leave braai fires unattended or discard ash or coals in grass or vegetation.
  6. Please be alert to daily weather warnings, which will be distributed and shared on the local authorities’ communication channels.
  7. Ensure that your house is numbered, or else in case of an emergency, first responders might not be aware of where assistance is required.


14 November 2023 Impact Based Weather Warning: VELD FIRE WARNING FOR FDI >75

Impact Based Weather Warning: VELD FIRE WARNING FOR FDI >75

The Cape Town Weather Office has issued a veld fire warning for Tuesday, 14 November until Wednesday, 15 November 2023.

Areas in the district affected by veld fire warning include Hessequa, Kannaland and Oudtshoorn.

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

Media Release: Toddlers in Hessequa are taught proper hand washing techniques by EHPs

Media Release: Toddlers in Hessequa are taught proper hand washing techniques by EHPs

For Immediate Release
13 November 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) in the Hessequa region recently conducted a practical health and hygiene awareness session with toddlers about handwashing techniques and recycling. GRDM Portfolio Councillor Jobieth Hoogbaard, supported by Alderlady Nompumelelo Ndayi, donated mattresses to the Sunbeam Childcare Facility in Melkhoutfontein, Still Bay. The same créche where the EHPs conducted their health and hygiene awareness session.

Councillors of the GRDM with the mattresses donated to the school.

During the morning’s activities, both councillors participated in handwashing activities, and the children enjoyed the demonstrations. This kind gesture by the GRDM councillors was greatly appreciated by the personnel. They indicated that the donation was much needed and reiterated the importance of rest for children during the school day.

In a brief interaction with the facility’s staff, Cllr Hoogbaard expressed his appreciation for the outstanding work they do to develop the children. He said he hoped to extend the program to other facilities in the area as early childhood development is such an important stage in a child’s life. During this time their full cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth is developed.

Featured image caption: Councillors Hoogbaard and Ndayi washed their hands with the toddlers and joined in the fun.


10 November 2023 Media Release: Hundreds of Garden Routers welcome 2023 Rugby World Champion Manie Libbok in George

Media Release: Hundreds of Garden Routers welcome 2023 Rugby World Champion Manie Libbok in George

For immediate release
10 November 2023

Manie Libbok, 2023 Rugby World Cup winner, received a hero’s welcome by Garden Routers when he arrived at the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Head-Office in George on Wednesday, 8 November 2023.

Manie Libbok, 2023 World Cup Champion (right), handed over a signed special Bok jersey to Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen (left). Mayor Booysen in return handed a Certificate of Honour to the rugby legend during the welcoming event held in George.

The first citizen of the Garden Route, Ald. Memory Booysen, could not wait to welcome Libbok to the district. Libbok is also a former Kwagga – a learner from Outeniqua High School in George. He was also a member of South Western District (SWD) Eagles Rugby Team before he was selected as a member of the Stormers. Subsequently, the Bok-squad became the next journey of his professional career.

Young and old long awaited to meet the star who is a role-model to especially children, who love rugby. Before Mayor Booysen handed over a Certificate of Honour to the rugby legend, he unexpectedly received a signed jersey from the man of the moment himself. Mayor Booysen also, originally from the Eastern Cape like Libbok, cheered the hero more than he could deliver a normal speech. Libbok was born in Humansdorp and Mayor Booysen in Hankey.

GRDM Senior Firefighter, Emile Conrad, performed an instrumental of the song “Change the World” by Eric Clapton.

It was an ecstatic moment when Mayor Booysen called his biggest fans to the front; a relative of Libbok, Anita Jansen, and Springbok supporter Lee-Ann Eksteen, who wore a shirt with Libbok’s name on the back. Both are employees of GRDM. Tait said: “It is an honour for me to meet Manie and it is also the first time to see a Springbok in person”. Before both rejoined the crowd, Libbok embraced his Aunt Nita and Eksteen and started to brace himself for the huge task ahead – hundreds of shirts waited to be signed. Kids also brought their rugby balls to be signed and now hundreds of Springbok shirts of residents of the Garden Route reflect the signature of Libbok!

Mayor Booysen further said: “We are not just proudly Garden Routers, but we are proudly South Africans, we are not just proudly South Africans, we are proud Springbok supporters”. To Manie Mayor Booysen said: “Manie you are a hero. Not just for one reason, but for two reasons, three reasons; we are the fourth time World Champions!” Mayor Booysen further stated: “On behalf of the Garden Route, the Mayors in the district and more than 700 000 people, you have put us on the map – you have put us on top of the world! Because of Manie, the Springboks and their technical team, we are one of the best-known countries in the world…”.

When taking the crowd through memory lane of highlights regarding Libbok’s performance during the World Cup, especially the test match against Scotland, GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk reiterated what his drop-kick to Kurt-Lee Arendse meant for the team and the country. He said: “Manie, you almost gave me a heart-attack.  Out of nowhere, this kick-pass came to a flying Kurtley Arendse….Manie you made my day that day – it still gives me goosebumps every time I think about that moment”, Ald. Van Niekerk said. The “no-look” drop-kick resulted in a try for the Boks.

The GRDM hereby would like to extend words of sincere appreciation to all who attended this short-notice memorable welcome of Libbok to the district, the South African Police Service, Provincial Traffic Services, George Municipality’s Traffic Services, Mike Roczynski for  transporting Libbok, as well as Eden FM Radio station and various media outlets who distributed supportive messages to members of the public.

While Libbok met his fans and signed t-shirts, Mayor Booysen in his media interview said: “It is indeed a pleasure for us and for me as District Mayor to host Manie Libbok as a son of the soil. This is an opportunity for the youngsters to look up to and meet the heroic person”.

In closing Mayor Booysen said: “Libbok is not just a hero, but a World Champion – today is an an indication that these kids will follow suit!”