Media Release: Various donations welcomed during the COVID-19 pandemic
For Immediate Release 1 April 2020
South Africa is facing an unprecedented challenge with communities and the economy being affected by the growing COVID-19 pandemic. In the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) jurisdiction, with its seven (7) local municipal areas (Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland), Garden Routers are coming together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by lending a helping hand to others.
According to the GRDM Head of Disaster Management, Mr Gerhard Otto: “The donation of non-perishable food, toiletries, bedding for single beds will be of particular benefit to the less fortunate. Hand sanitisers are also on the list of critical shortages identified. In response to this need, the GRDM Multi-Agency Command Centre kindly requests the public to make donations of this kind at the specified sites.”
“Each municipality in the District have identified a site for storing donations, from where the distribution of items will be done by Western Cape Government Department of Social Development representatives,” said Otto.
Donations by the public must happen without violating the isolation or quarantine measures in place or putting oneself or others at risk. Please note that it is advised that pre-arranged drop-off times be arranged to avoid overcrowding of sites.
Below find a breakdown of where to drop off spots or contacts details per town:
Hessequa Fire Station, Mulder Street, Riversdale. Contact 028 713 7917 or 028 713 8000.
Mossel Bay Fire Station, Corner of Louis Fourie and Schoeman Streets, Mossel Bay. Charles Street, Great Brak River behind Mossel Bay municipal offices. Contact the emergency call centre on 044 606 5000 or 044 691 3722.
Community and Social Development Services, Corner of St Johns and Varing Streets, George. Contact 044 802 2000 or visit https://bit.ly/2wJ1OrO
Contact Pam Booth on 060 998 6967 to make arrangements for collections.
Bitou Fire Station, 1 Flying Cloud Drive, Plettenberg Bay. Contact Andile Sakati on 083 273 7057 / 072 272 4242 or Hadley Venter on 083 443 0120.
Oudtshoorn Fire Station (Disaster Relief Hub), 26 Church Street, Oudtshoorn. Contact Ms Sarah Olislager at 044 272 8977/ 083 689 2893 and Mr Wayne Peterson at 044 272 89 77.
Disaster Management Centre, 23 Church Street, Ladismith (next to Standard Bank). Contact Wayne Robertson on 060 691 3029.
Before any donations are made, please contact the following DSD area representatives:
Mr Dennis Nghonyama [Oudtshoorn/ Kannaland] – 082 960 5746
Mr Mzukisi Skosana [George] – 083 628 7074
Mr Kenneth Mazaleni [Knysna/Bitou] – 082 226 9521
Ms Kholiswa Jobela [Mossel Bay/Hessequa]- 078 210 5972
Donations will be controlled in adherence to lockdown regulations and responsibly distributed.
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality
Just under a month after its official opening which took place on 25 January 2020, Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Cllr Memory Booysen, faced his fear of heights (and hard adventures) by riding the world-renowned Mossel Bay Zipline. He was joined by supporters from Mossel Bay Municipality and onlookers from the town.
Before his Zipline-ride, Mayor Booysen said: “This is a big thing, not only for the Garden Route but also for the Western Cape and I truly believe this should be the attraction for South Africa.” He further added “I am going to tell my peers to also come and experience it”.
According to Mayor Booysen, his wife Elethu convinced him to do it. “He is scared of heights and especially hard adventures, but we do these activities as long as I do it with him. I also gave him the option to pull out if he feels too scared,” she said. This was his also the first time Mayor Booysen did a hard adventure activity, he has only done some soft adventure activities like “hiking at Robberg in Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness,” said Elethu. The next adventures she plans to convince him to do include bungee jumping at Storms River and whale watching in Plettenberg Bay.
After the ride, Mayor Booysen said: “This is the best adrenalin-shot you can ever have, anywhere in the world – this was fun!”
Mossel Bay Zipline
This one-of-a-kind activity happens over the ocean in Mossel Bay. It is the longest over- ocean zipline in the world at 1.1km. The Zipline construction was approved by Mossel Bay Municipality in 2017. It is 90m above sea level and those doing it can reach a speed of up to 90km/h. The cost for a ride is R450 per person. More information about this adventure activity is accessible here: https://mosselbayzipline.co.za/
The Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism is a central point for people visiting the region to find out what’s on offer in the region in terms of activities and experiences – visit www.visitgardenrouteandkleinkaroo.com to find out more and click on the “Explore” button to see what each town in the region offers.
Hard adventure refers to activities with high levels of risk, requiring intense commitment and advanced skills. Hard tourism includes the activities like climbing mountains/rock/ice, trekking, caving etc.
Hard adventure activities are highly risked in nature. Professional guide, advance level skills are required to perform these activities. Many tourists died during climbing mountains, caving every day. There is an interesting fact that is for K2, world 2nd highest mountain, for every two people who submit one dies.
Soft adventure refers to activities with a perceived risk but low levels of risk, requiring minimal commitment and beginning skills; most of these activities are led by experienced guides. Soft tourism includes the activities like backpacking, camping, hiking, kayaking etc.
Soft adventure activities are low risk in nature. These activities are led by professional guides. Soft adventure is a popular category in adventure tourism. On average, 25% trips taken from North America and Europe are soft adventure trips.
Garden Route District Municipality has been informed by various members of the public of a scam doing the rounds by a person requesting random community members to donate funds to an “Eden Municipality Sports Tour”.
We urge the public to be vigilant about these type of fraudulent activities and to always contact organisations to confirm if such donation requests are, in fact, true. Please do report such scams to your nearest SAPS office.
Applications are invited from students who are currently studying at tertiary or TVET institutions, as well as learners who are currently in Grade 12, or have passed Grade 12, for financial assistance towards further studies for the 2020 academic year. The award is restricted to full-time studies and attendance at SAQA accredited Tertiary or TVET institutions and is ONLY eligible to students whose parents permanently reside within the Garden Route municipal area.
Application forms are available at the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and satellite offices of GRDM, during normal office hours (Monday – Thursday 07:30 – 16:30 and Friday 07:30 – 13:30). Application forms are also available on the GRDM’s website at www.gardenroute.gov.za.
GRDM WILL ONLY CONSIDER APPLICATIONS COMPLETED IN FULL, AND IF THE DOCUMENTS MENTIONED BELOW, AS AND WHERE APPLICABLE, HAVE BEEN INCLUDED.
A detailed curriculum vitae and covering letter, application form and certified copies of the following documentation must be attached: Latest or Grade 12 results or equal qualification; latest examination results of students currently enrolled at tertiary institutions; certified copy of ID; Affidavit of parents` combined income; proof of residential address (municipal account).
Please forward the application form and all documents to: Records, Garden Route District Municipality, PO Box 12, George 6530, for attention: Training and Development Section.
For any enquiries, do not hesitate to contact Mr Reginald Salmons at 044-803 1363, Ms Angeline Naidoo at 044-803 1420 or Mrs Angela-Ziva Coetzee, at 044 803 1344 during office hours (7:30 – 16:30 Monday to Thursday and 7:30 – 13:30 Friday).
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Should candidates not be contacted within two months after the closing date, they must consider their application as unsuccessful.
The Garden Route Annual Fire Commemoration Event, Climate Change & Adaptation Indaba hosted by Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with the South Cape Environmental Forum once again reminded roleplayers about the fire outbreaks of 2017 and 2018 in the Garden Route and the aftermaths and tragic losses as a result of the fires. The Indaba took place on 7 June 2019 at the Wilderness Hotel in Wilderness of which approximately 150 delegates attended.
Delegates represented organisations and institutions, such as the National Department of Environmental Affairs, the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Stellenbosch University and Nelson Mandela University, as well as GRDM and Knysna Municipality were in attendance.
The main purpose of the event, was not to only host the Annual Fire Commemoration event, but also to build on the momentum and team effort the region has created in their efforts to recover from the fire, but also to host a Climate Change Indaba, according to Municipal Manager of GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu. In his welcoming address to the attendants, Mr Stratu said: “It is our objective to shape a better prepared, climate- ready and resilient Garden Route environment for our community, and we trust that you will be able to assist us in achieving that ambitious goal”.
In referring back to losses and the recovery of losses and damages as a result of the fires, Mr Cobus Meiring, Secretariat of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) said: “Recent reports released by Santam and others indicate that the damages incurred by the 2017 Knysna wildfire disaster are very close to three billion rand. For the large insurance companies to arrive at accurate calculations took them a full two years to consolidate all pay-outs and peripheral and associated costs. Three billion rand is a staggering amount of money and is indicative of the kind of damage the fury of nature can incur on civilisation and the environment in a matter of hours. However, when taking into account what best could be described as collateral damage, could be a lot harder to calculate. Take for instance the number of retired folk from Knysna and Plettenberg Bay deciding not to rebuild at all, land becoming vacant for extended periods, formerly employed people now struggling to find new employment opportunities, with employers having decided to move on following the disaster, or even leaving the country as some reportedly did, and suddenly the situation looks even worse than expected,” Meiring said. It is for these reasons that Dr Nina Viljoen, Manager: Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation at GRDM described the event as crucial in the way the region is planning ahead with a challenging environment at play.
Most of the presentations made at the event, placed emphasis on water security, high quality water resources, the living conditions of the communities, sanitation facilities, regrowth of alien vegetation, to name a few. All these factors place a high risk on the state of health of the residents of the area and the economic growth of the Garden Route. These were furthermore and significantly emphasised by Dr Jo Barnes, Epidemiologist and Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Community Health at the Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, when she spoke about the harsh realities of the impact of climate change on public health systems.
GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, could not ignore the after effects of the fires in his address, when he made an announcement: “As we pride ourselves as a District Municipality striving to improve the way we manage our environment, the GRDM and our Environmental Forum has secured substantial funding and support from the Fund for the Rebuild of Knysna to assist landowners who were severely affected by the Knysna, and more recent fires, to deal with the scourge of invasive alien plant re-growth”. In coming to a point where resolutions had to be taken and the way forward was discussed, Mr Gerhard Otto, GRDM Manager for Disaster Management said, “The establishment of the Garden Route Environmental Forum, mandated by the District Municipality and incorporating non-governmental conservation bodies and public platforms, was a first in the Western Cape, and allows for greater cooperation between private landowners and regional and national authorities.”
In conclusion, Otto added that floods and fire in the immediate and foreseeable future can be reduced, but only if those tasked with planning and management understand the issues at play and implement mitigation measures in accordance,” Otto added. “The announcement of a regional public/ private programme to assist landowners who were affected by recent fires and a scourge of invasive alien plant re-growth is a first of its kind in RSA, and further announcements will follow as the initiative reaches implementation stage,” he added.
The Western Cape Premier’s Coordinating Forum (PCF) with the theme “Maximising Citizen Impact” is currently underway at the George Civic Hall in George. The Western Cape Premier, Mr Alan Winde, Provincial Ministers of the Western Cape, Executive Mayors, as well as Municipal Managers are in attendance. This platform is the first PCF meeting to take place under the leadership of Premier Winde.
The overall objective of the PCF is for political and administrative leadership to engage of matters of interest to the communities of the Western Cape:
To promote and facilitate intergovernmental relations between the province and local governments in the Western Cape;
To engage with the Premier on the vision and strategic priorities for the Province; and
To discuss how the Provincial and Local Government and municipalities can work together to achieve a common vision and shared priorities to maximise citizen impact.
Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with George Municipality, Department of Health, Breede Gouritz Catchment Agency, CANSA and Cape Nature will embark on a silent march this Friday, 31 May 2019 in celebrating World No-Tobacco Day. The march will start at 10H00 at GRDM (Head office), proceeding up York Street, right at Hibernia Street, and then a turn will be taken at Cradock Street, marchers will proceed towards Engen garage, from there, those marching will move back to GRDM (Head office).
World No-Tobacco Day is held across the world every year on 31 May. The theme from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for 2019 is “Tobacco and Lung Health”. It highlights the link between the use of tobacco products and lung diseases.
The campaign will increase awareness on:
the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease,
the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.
implications of second-hand exposure for lung health of people across age groups
Each year, the WHO selects a theme for the day in order to create a more unified global message for World No-Tobacco Day. The focus this year is on the harmful effects that all tobacco products have on the health of lungs and even more so, the undeveloped lungs of babies and children.
According to WHO, globally an estimated 165 000 children die before the age of five (5) of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adulthood.
The poisons in tobacco smoke inhaled by pregnant women or second hand smoke exposure experienced by them, will affect an unborn baby which may result in low birth weight, a cleft lip or palate. Babies also risk being born prematurely.
“Looking after little lungs” is a call-to-action to raise awareness that active and passive smoking of those around children can affect their underdeveloped lungs so increasing their chances of getting pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma and continuous ear infections. Pregnant women should never smoke a hookah (water pipe) as that is the same as inhaling 100 cigarettes in one session. Parents and other caregivers should smoke outside the house and never in a vehicle if there is a child under 18 years present. Smoke stays on the breath of a smoker so parents should take a few deep breaths before going into the house. Smoke particles can also stick to clothing which the child can inhale causing lung damage.
People who have tuberculosis should not smoke at all because of the double burden placed on the lungs, which will increase the risk of disability and death from respiratory failure. Those who have diabetes should not smoke either as it can restrict blood-flow to the legs, which increases the risk of gangrene and amputations.
Tobacco smoke can hang in the air for up to five hours, exposing those passing through to an increase in respiratory diseases, cancers and reduced lung function.
It is better never to start smoking because it is known to be difficult to end the cycle. Smoking cessation is possible and it has huge health benefits.
On 12 April 2019, the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Executive Mayor, Councillor Memory Booysen, took an unprecedented step for the District by delivering its first State of the District Address (SODA). The purpose of such an address is to outline the council’s achievements, as well as to emphasise the exciting future projects and spin-offs for local municipalities (Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland) in the region.
More than 200 people attended the event, including the mayors of all b-municipalities, councillors, faith-based community leaders, business owners, stakeholders, media and municipal officials.
The programme was directed by the GRDM Speaker, Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies. In a moment of reminiscence, Bouw-Spies touched on how council, even before she became speaker, have been able to take non-partisan decisions to the benefit of the region’s brand and economy. “I might not have been actively involved at the district council, but since my appointment as speaker late last year, I have been responsible for mediating some vigorous – sometimes robust debates, but in my objective view as the Speaker, I have also seen how both sides of the house have been in agreement on many occasions. A prime example of our synergy and decisions made in the best interest of our region was changing our municipality’s name and visual identity. Have you ever seen a name-changing process unfold with such ease as well as a new logo adopted without much hassle? The transition was indeed a beautiful, inclusive and a well-thought-through process,” she said.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS During Councillor Booysen’s keynote address, he focused on the following topics:
Improvement in local service delivery;
Current socio-economic risks;
Embracing the district municipality’s functions and powers as set out by Section 84 of the Local Government Structures Act 117 of 1998;
2019/2020 GRDM budget;
Regional investment opportunities;
Disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction funding;
A future of sustainable energy future;
Game changers going forward;
Empowerment of youth and women;
Building a cohesive region through signature events; and
Empowerment of women and the youth.
EMPOWERMENT OF YOUTH AND WOMEN
Mayor Booysen also placed emphasis on the fight to empower youth and women, which must be taken to the mainstream economy so that it reflects the diverse character of the Garden Route. “GRDM has transitioned young men and women to the driving school program, which is currently underway. Out of 26 participants in the driving school program, 23 are women.
The municipality continues to provide bursaries to the youth of our district, through the office of the executive mayor. “It is through education that we can unleash creativity and cultivate a spirit of resilience among citizens,” said Booysen.
SPECIAL WORD OF APPRECIATION
Mayor Booysen extended a special word to Ms Erina de Villiers, Personal Assistant to the municipal manager, Mr Monde Stratu. She retires at the end of April 2019. Booysen described Erina as “not only an employee of this municipality or a colleague to others but a mother to the institution.”
“She has been with this institution for 22 years, happily married to Mr Jacobus de Villiers, blessed with two (2) children and five (5) grandchildren. I can tell you that she inherited more children at GRDM with the municipal manager being her first-born.
During her employment at GRDM, Erina worked in the following sections:
Office of the Municipal Manager (current);
Records and Archives;
Project Management; and
Office of the Mayor.
Later during the course of the programme, Grant-in-Aid funds were handed over. The following organisations identified for this year, in no particular order, include: Albertinia Museum, Zoar Culture and Heritage Festival, Bambino Voorskool, Emmanuel Pre & aftercare Centre, Neskuikentjie Daycare, Plett Active Youth, Piet Julies Aids Action Group, Heidal Senior Citizens Club, Die Mosselbaai Benevolent Vereniging vir Bejaarde Sorg, Joey’s Babies kleuterskool, Soete Uurtjies Dagsorgsentrum, Suurvlakte Initiative, Rehoboth and Yona – Yethu Initiative.
Nedbank sponsored the New Horizon Pensioners Forum and Group Of Hope Disability Group.
Mayor Booysen shared some of his dreams for the district: “A ‘One District’ …a dream of what we can be.”
“How we share and shape our future together – a future where more and more of our people see and believe in rich vistas of opportunity; an environment where the Garden Route dream is embraced as the district dream,” Booysen said.
Booysen’s ideas on how to collectively build a “One District” of our dreams where everyone has the opportunity to participate in a diverse and thriving economy, could be achieved through the following:
Being able to live in a safe neighbourhood, free from crime;
Having the opportunity as parents to send one’s children to a quality public school of your choice;
Living a limitless life – allowing one to thrive as an individual and/or family;
For a business to be given a solid return on their investment by their government and high-quality customer service from public servants; and
A region that is environmentally sound in a sustainable world-renowned region.
In closing, Mayor Booysen pleaded with everyone to take full advantage of their lives and to follow a path that would provide a prosperous future, harness change for the better, and build the elusive “One District” that we all dream of.
This year, on 23 November 2018, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) kicked off their “16 Days of Activism Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children” at their head-office in George.
The official launch took place at the GRDM and attracted a full house of representatives from local municipalities in the district, the South African Police Service, the Department of Social Services, Correctional Services, Phambili Centre and Working-on-Fire (WOF), who took hands with the municipality in this endeavor.
In officially opening the event, Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, lit a candle in remembrance of the victims of violence, more specifically women and children. The spirit in the chambers immediately changed when Acting Speaker of GRDM, Cllr Barnie Groenewald, welcomed the guests with the words: “Stand up, speak out, act, love and protect”. WOF representatives performed a song and poem depicting the trauma women experience when they fall victim to violence.
Sector Commander for the Garden Route cluster, Major-General Oswald Reddy, from the South African Police Service (SAPS), after announcing that a total of 54 to 57 people are murdered on a daily basis in South Africa, stated: “We live in a violent society where people have a high level of intolerance”. Reddy advised that people should use conflict resolution management to deal with disagreements and not use violence as a resolution. Among the 2017/2018 statistics revealed by Sergeant Adele van der Pool, 15 women and 14 children were murdered; 200 women and 104 children were sexually assaulted; 226 children and 321 women were raped. Van der Pool further revealed that 2 824 assaults were reported of which 250 were children and 991 women. Investigating Officer, Sergeant Booysen, pleaded to all representatives present: “For months, mothers, aunts and teachers are aware of violent cases that were never reported – we need you to stand up and talk, whether the perpetrator is your husband or boyfriend, let us stand together and work as a team”.
Area Commissioner for Correctional Services, Ms Ndileka Booi, during her speech stated that there are 13 cases of women who are currently sentenced at the Oudtshoorn Correctional facility after they have committed a crime as a reaction to abuse. Now they have to serve years of imprisonment, which could have been prevented, if they had reported their cases before they committed the crime.
Ms Zingiswa Williams from the Department of Social Development, informed the audience about the Department’s three-fold Victim Empowerment Programme which is designed to support and empower victims of violence, whether the victims are referrals or intakes. Read more about the programme at https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/social-development/services/1069/37714.
An activist for “No Violence against Women and Children” and resident of the Phambili Centre in Rosemoor, George, Ms Christelle Damons, shared her personal story with the audience and spoke about how she was abused and how the experience repeated itself over and over again. Through all these years she also made wrong choices, but she lifted herself up when she reported the case to SAPS. SAPS consequently advised her to be accommodated by the Phambili Centre in Rosemoor. The Centre accommodated her and took care of her and her two children during this traumatic time of her live. Her final message to the audience was: “It does not matter what you went through, talk to somebody or report the case”.
Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, in her keynote address, urged members of the community and all present to always listen to their children. “We need to take everything that our children share with us serious and we need to ACT. Cllr Ruiters added: “Sometimes parents or family members hear what the children say, but we often do not believe them, due to our perception of the accused. We cannot ask our children to be open towards us as parents, yet we listen to them with a selective ear or we do not believe everything they say”.
With these words, she closed off: “Let us continue to be active and vibrant custodians to fight all forms of violence against women and children and let us encourage our communities to report these crimes and through this, we all will be the beneficiaries of a better and healthier Garden Route district”.
In closing, representatives present signed a pledge to support all women and children in the Garden Route in the fight against abuse, after which GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Rural Development, Cllr Joslyn Johnson thanked all representatives who took hands with GRDM and who attended the event.