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4 February 2021 Media Release: Eradication of illegal dumping campaign in George extended to end of March 2021

Media Release: Eradication of illegal dumping campaign in George extended to end of March 2021

For immediate release
4 February 2021

With the roll-out of the Illegal Dumping Project in George last year and the various phases that have been implemented so far, the timeframe of the project has now been extended to the end of March 2021, according to Morton Hubbe, Garden Route District Waste Manager.

The Illegal Dumping Project is a joint initiative between Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and George Municipality in the fight against the illegal dumping of waste in the George and surrounding areas. The project was launched in Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp during October last year, however the financial assistance by GRDM to George Municipality for the renting of machines to remove the waste has ended on 30 November 2021. George Municipality subsequently decided to continue with the renting of machines at their own cost.

Waste burnt in skips placed at hotspots areas within the George municipal area.

With the funds made available to George Municipality, Hubbe said: “Nine skips were placed at various spots within the Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp areas and are rotated to other illegal dumping hotspots within these two areas”.

George Municipality is already in the process to secure more funds in order for the project to continue to achieve the desired outcomes.

Deployment of EPWP workers

In addition to the project, two teams of thirty Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers are working in both areas to clean-up illegal dumping hotspots throughout these areas. Various items are then placed into nearby skips, for removal. So far nearly 2700 tons of illegally dumped items have been removed with JCBs and Tipper Trucks in both areas.

Awareness about illegal dumping

One of the components of the project, is to create awareness about illegal dumping in the most effected areas. For this purpose, 36 educators were appointed to conduct door-to-door sessions in the respective areas. Households reached also have an opportunity to complete a survey regarding the issue at hand. Questions focus specifically on personal experience in relation to waste removal in their specific areas, the reporting of illegal dumping to the local municipality etc. To date, two thousand (2000) households have been visited and the more are expected to follow. These visits will be conducted until the end of March this year.

Waste burned in Skips

Although the skips are placed at identified hotspots, it has come under the attention of the both municipalities that people within these areas are burning their waste in the skips. This is an unacceptable behaviour and residents are requested to directly report these incidents to the Law Enforcement Unit of George Municipality at 044-801 6350 or sprins@george.gov.za. The skips are only used for the purpose to dump waste and efficient plans to remove full bins are in place.

END

4 February 2021 Media Release: Our roles and responsibilities at a residence where someone died of COVID-19

Media Release: Our roles and responsibilities at a residence where someone died of COVID-19

For Immediate Release
4 February 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) plays a key role in the collective response after a person succumbs to COVID-19 at home. Role players such as the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP), funeral undertakers, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responders, the South African Police Service (SAPS), as well as private and public sector health representatives are involved in this response.

According to Johan Compion, GRDM Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services: “The process of handling suspected or positive deceased is not as complex as many may have thought, but it is still a time-bearing process. This does however requires strict adherence to health and safety protocols by all role players,” he said.

When a member of the community passes away from COVID-19 at home, an EHP receives a notification from either the Western Cape Government (WCG) Provincial Health Department or a funeral undertaker to inform them of who, where and when the person is that passed away. During this time, the EHP also confirms if an EMS responder or any other  medical  practitioner from i.e. Netcare 911, ER24 etc.) declared the person clinically dead. Once all the relevant data is checked and confirmed, an EHP is tasked to conduct health surveillance at the residence where the deceased is located.

During such time, all safety protocols are observed and additional information and guidance is provided around the disinfection of bedding, clothing and the handling of household waste that was generated by the person who passed away.

A funeral undertaker who arrives on the scene has to wear the prescribed personal protective gear. An EHP is responsible for not only monitoring this, but also to ensure that funeral undertakers wrap the deceased in a single polythene bag prior to transporting the body to a mortuary. This is followed by ensuring that those who handled the deceased are also disinfected. After all such protocols have been adhered to, the funeral undertaker safely transports the deceased to a funeral parlour where the process of dressing, preparing and storage of the body will take place under more strict prescribed health protocols.

Once the body has been placed in a casket and the outer surface disinfected, it is not deemed necessary to wrap or seal the casket because the deceased does not pose an infection risk to those handling the casket.

It remains of utmost importance for EHPs to be involved in the entire monitoring process as described to ensure the that no additional public health nuisance occurs during any of the steps being followed by all relevant role players.

Read more about the responsibilities of EHPs here.

Picture: Pexels

ENDS

21 February 2021 Weather Alert: Weather Advisory: Western Cape and Namaqua

Weather Alert: Weather Advisory: Western Cape and Namaqua – 21 February 2021

The South African Weather Service has issued the following weather advisory for the Western Cape and Namaquland region:

Alert Level: Advisory

Affected Municipalities: Beaufort West, Bergrivier, Breede Valley, Cederberg, Kamiesberg, Kannaland, Laingsburg, Langeberg, Matzikama, Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert and Witzenberg.

Valid From (SAST): 02/02/21 – 08h00

Valid To (SAST): 03/02/21 – 20h00

Discussion: Hot and humid weather will result in extremely uncomfortable conditions. When the temperature and the humidity are high at the same time or when the temperature exceeds a certain threshold, human’s ability to cool their bodies through sweating is reduced.

Impact: When the temperature is extremely high, the human’s ability to cool their bodies through sweating is reduced. This can be a real threat that leads to hyperthermia. People and animals can get heat exhaustion, heatstroke, faintness, dry skin and dehydration.

Instruction: Avoid prolonged direct exposure to the sun as far as possible and drink plenty of water. Make sure your animals have access to enough water. Limit physical activities. Seek medical attention if needed.

Report any severe weather-related incidents to the Garden Route Disaster Management Centre at telephone number 044 805 5071.

2 February 2021 Media Release: “I am the first one” – GRDM helped Thembisa to obtain her Code 14 licence

Media Release: “I am the first one” – GRDM helped Thembisa to obtain her Code 14 licence

For Immediate Release
2 February 2021

A proud moment was shared by Thembisa Ntshebe, a Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Grader Assistant who now has two licences – a Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) and a Heavy Motor Vehicle (HMV) one. GRDM afforded her and many others the opportunity to pursue various drivers licences by recently launching a R550 000, 3-year long Driver’s License Project.

The GRDM Corporate Services head of department, Trix Holtzhausen, has spearheaded the drive for women empowerment to address inequalities linked to traditionally male dominated career fields in the municipality. “This programme will enable women to transform not only the GRDM Roads Services Department’s employment equity composition, but gender parity in a male dominated sector too,” she said.

According to Reginald Salmons, GRDM Coordinator: Skills Development, “the institution identified 74 recipients to get a Code B, 10 and EC license, of which 40 are female”. “The GRDM appointed the Victoria Driving School to provide training over the period.”

During an interview with Thembisa, she shared that she was dreaming about getting a Code 14 licence ever since she started working for GRDM on 1 November 2017. “I know that this is the key I need for doors to open in the future.” Supervisors, superintendents and traffic control officers are some of the career fields that require Code 14 licences.

“Even though I did not pass the first time around I pushed myself and today I am a proud owner of a Code 14 licence”, she said. Thembisa is also the first female enrolled in this project to obtain a Code 14 licence.
This licence allows licensees to drive a vehicle weighing over 16 000 Kg, with a trailer hooked to it that weighs more than 750 Kg. Moreover, those who are in possession of such a licence can operate vehicles under codes 8, 10 and EB too.

When responding to Thembisa’s achievement, Shandré Abrahams, HR Practitioner: Employee Assistance Programme said, “It makes me proud to hear and see women equipping themselves in skills that they never thought would be possible to acquire. It therefore remains important for the GRDM to stay committed to gender empowerment and in acknowledgement of the fact that the glass ceiling can be broken”.
While it remains important for the GRDM to see women empowered, it is equally important to identify gender disparities that have existed for a number of years in certain positions. It is only possible for the GRDM to achieve this when the institution prioritises women empowerment programmes and put its funds where its mouth is.

Caption: Thembisa Ntshebe showcases proof that she passed her Code 14 license

ENDS

1 February 2021 Media Release: Invest in our region – Message by Mayor Booysen and a background of the Garden Route

Garden Route District Municipality Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen

Media Release: Invest in our region – Message by Mayor Booysen and a background of the Garden Route

Growth and development is a key strategic pillar for the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and the GRDM has therefore compiled a Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy (GRGDS) to facilitate development in the Garden Route district (GRD). Local Economic Development (LED) Departments in each municipality plays a pivotal role. LED is globally, but especially in developing countries, seen as the solution to improved quality of life, unemployment, poverty and inequality. Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen said: “Through a local economic development process, the GRDM seeks to empower local participants in order to effectively utilize business enterprise, labour, capital and other local resources to achieve local priorities, including promoting quality jobs, reducing poverty, stabilizing the local economy and generating municipal taxes to provide better services”.

“The result is that more and more local businesses are now geared and ready for South African, African and international investments. The GRDM Planning and Economic Development Department encourages the public, private and civil society sectors to establish partnerships and collaboratively find solutions to common economic challenges,” said Booysen.

According to Booysen, the GRDM is approaching growth and development in a holistic nature looking at all sectors of the economy and how they are interlinked to achieve socio-economic growth. In doing this, the GRDM is looking at achieving the following:

  • Attraction of both outward and inward investment
  • Investment in both hard and soft infrastructure
  • Making the business environment more conducive to business
  • A participatory approach to LED
  • Public Private Partnerships (PPP)
  • A move towards community-based LED.

The GRDM has developed a Garden Route Investment Prospectus containing regional catalytic investment opportunities across the Garden Route. The purpose of the prospectus is to display the region’s investment-friendly climate and its economic activities and opportunities to the national and international business community and in so doing, attracting new investments and retaining and expanding existing investments in the Garden Route region. The prospectus includes the investment opportunities of all seven (7) municipalities within the boundaries of the region, as well as the District Municipality’s specific opportunities.

Download the  Garden Route Investment Prospectus.

A background of the Garden Route District

The GRDM is one of five District Municipalities (DMs) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and the second largest economy outside of the Cape Metro. The Garden Route district (GRD) covers an area of 23 331 km² in the south-eastern part of the Western Cape, covering the regions known as the Garden Route and the Little Karoo. The N2 is a valuable transport route for goods and tourists alike and connects the GRD to the Overberg District and the Cape Metro area in the west and the Eastern Cape Province to the east, while the N12 and the R62 links the GRD with inland areas to the north.

The GRD is the Western Cape’s largest and most significant rural district. The area covers one of the country’s best-known scenic tourism areas and boasts a relatively broad-based, steadily expanding regional economy. Agriculture, tourism, wholesale and retail trade, business and financial services, construction and manufacturing are key sectors of the regional economy, in terms of value addition, The largest sectors of the GRD economy are finance, insurance, real estate and business services, followed by wholesale and retail, and manufacturing. Combined, these three sectors contributed 60, 07 per cent to the total Gross Value Added (GVA) generated by the GRD economy in 2015, an increase from 57,78 per cent in 2001. The increase in the GVA is attributed to a sharp increase of 104, 2 per cent in the contribution of finance, insurance, real estate and business services to the GVA. Over the same period, the contribution of the manufacturing sector to GVA decreased from 16, 19 per cent to 13, 96 per cent. Wholesale and retail trade contribution to the GVA of the GRD economy remain relatively stable over the period, hovering between 17 per cent and 18 per cent from 2001 to 2015.

The economic growth and development of the GRD depends on monopolising on its competitive advantages. The GRD has a wide range of competitive advantages namely the coastal line, with opportunities of ocean economy and coastal tourism; large forestry; arable land for agriculture and farming, and effective natural resources.

The GRDM is pursuing projects that include the establishment of a development agency, bulk infrastructure provision, products value chain development, renewable energy, enterprise development, integrated waste management and other projects as identified within the GRGDS. These projects and programmes will enable the GRDM to fulfil its constitutional mandate and also address the UN-SDGs, but above all address the three critical issues of poverty, unemployment and economic growth.

The district is well-known for its tourist’s attractions and natural beauty. Pristine beaches (many with ‘Blue Flag’ status) and warm waters dissolve inland into picturesque lagoons and lakes, tropical forests, rolling hills and, eventually, the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges. The GRD hosts two of the three biodiversity hotspots that have been identified in South Africa. These are the Cape Floristic region (CFR) and the Succulent Karoo (SK) region.

The Garden Route is ideally located in terms of its competitive advantages of a diverse economy expanding towards a technologically apt and industrialised district, attracting investors and industries because of its location, existing infrastructure, good governance and growth potential.

Key contact person for investment opportunities

Are you interested in investing in any of the investment opportunities offered by Local Government in the Garden Route District? Contact the Manager: District Economic Development and Tourism, Ms Melanie Wilson, melanie@gardenroute.gov.za

 

1 February 2021 Media Release: High Alert for Diarrhoea season

Media Release: High Alert for Diarrhoea season

For Immediate Release
01 February 2021

Summer is in full swing and with it comes the heightened risk of your child contracting diarrhoea.

Four hundred  children under the age of 5 have been treated for diarrhoea without dehydration at health facilities in the Garden Route District from November until end December 2020. A further 105 have been admitted to hospital for treatment. Western Cape Government Health’s annual Paediatric Surge Season (PSS) is from November to end May – a time during which health facilities see an increased number of patients suffering from gastroenteritis.

Staff are on high alert for patients, especially children under the age of five, that show signs of dehydration.  Dehydration, due to gastro, remains one of the main causes of illness and death in children under the age of five years. Facilities have an Oral Hydration Solution (ORS) corner and portable water bags have been distributed to crèches where access to water is limited. There are also fast lanes at facilities for babies and toddlers with diarrhoea.

Causes  and prevention

Diarrhoea is a highly infectious virus that thrives in hot weather, is transmitted by flies and preys on babies and kids. Children who are malnourished, those who have not been immunised and perhaps have other illnesses are far more likely to contract gastro and develop fatal complications as a result.

Some of the leading causes of diarrhoea are dirty water, dirty toilets, unwashed hands, bottle feeding, uncontained waste (illegal dumping), contaminated food and flies. It might not always be possible, but we should always aim to keep our hands, food, cooking utensils and toilets clean. Dustbins must be closed, animal droppings collected and thrown away, and food scrapings, used nappies and sanitary towels put into a plastic bag, knotted securely and thrown into a dustbin.  Remember to wash your hands after completing these tasks.

It is important to maintain a high level of hygiene to ensure that your family is gastro free this season.
Sadly, even with the best hygiene, many will still get gastro. Try the oral rehydration solution to replenish lost body fluids. Take the solution with you should you need to take your child to the clinic so that your child does not dehydrate on the way. Using a clean 1 L bottle, mix 1 L cooled boiled water with ½ a teaspoon of salt and 8 teaspoons of sugar. Mix well.

If your child gets diarrhoea, check them for these signs of dehydration:
•          Dry or sticky mouth
•          Few or no tears when crying
•          Lack of urine, or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine
•          Dry, cool skin
•          Tiredness and irritability
•          Dizziness
•          Headache and stomach ache
•          Thirstiness

More info:
First 1 000 Days:
https://www.westerncape.gov.za/first-1000-days/

END

Nadia Ferreira
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health

31 January 2021 Weather Alert: Severe Weather Alert – Veld Fire Conditions

Weather Alert: Severe Weather Alert – Veld Fire Conditions – 31 January 2021

Impact Based Warning for the Western Cape and Namaqua Region of Northern Cape

Legal notice:
“This warning from SA Weather Service must be communicated as received and may not be altered under any circumstance.
It must be forwarded or communicated in its entirety and no portion hereof may be replicated or copied and distributed.”

 Hazard Alert Level Affected Municipalities Valid From (SAST) Valid To (SAST)
 Veld Fire Conditions Red (L10) Beaufort West, Kannaland, Khâi-Ma, Laingsburg 31/01/21 08h00 31/01/21 20h00
 Discussion: Weather conditions which includes hot temperatures, fresh to strong winds and low humidity might result in the development of runaway and veld/bush fires.
 Impact: Conditions are such that the FDI index is above 75. Under these conditions fires may develop and spread rapidly resulting in damage to property and possible loss of human and/or animal life.
 Instruction: All personnel and equipment should be removed from the field. Fire teams, labour and equipment are to be placed on full stand-by. A first sign of smoke, every possible measure should be taken in order to bring the fire under control in the shortest possible time.

28 January 2021 Media Release: GRDM delegation led by Executive Mayor visits Garden Route Food Pantry 

Media Release: GRDM delegation led by Executive Mayor visits Garden Route Food Pantry 

For immediate release
28 January 2021

Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Alderman Memory Booysen, and officials visited the Garden Route Food Pantry in George to view the progress made so far before the facility’s launch in February this year.

The Food Pantry is owned by the Non-Governmental Organisation, Eden Community Hope Outreach (ECHO), and is operated in collaboration with GRDM and local municipalities in the district with the purpose of alleviating hunger.

During the visit, Carl van Blerk, Managing Director of ECHO, spoke about the progress made so far and what has been achieved thus far. He said:  “We are working together with Government (Municipalities) and private sector companies and do this hand in hand.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Ald. Memory Booysen (middle) and Managing Director of the Garden Route Food Pantry, Carl van Blerk (left) with Clive Africa, GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services (right) during discussions at the Garden Route Food Pantry.
Executive Mayor of GRDM, Ald. Memory Booysen (right), Managing Director of the Garden Route Food Pantry, Carl van Blerk (left) and Siphiwe Dladla, GRDM Chief of Staff in the Office of the Mayor (middle), during the visit.

“The idea is to get all local municipalities in the Garden Route involved in the Food Pantry to assist with the running cost of the facility”. He added that private sector businesses already donate essential food items to struggling communities through the NGO, while many other businesses also pledged their support to the initiative – discussions are ongoing with all those interested in bringing a positive change to people who need aid,” he added.

Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, said: “We have to lead by the example and this initiative is what we need for this district. It can only be successful if it is run in partnership will all businesses and community members,” he added.

Mayor Booysen highlighted: “This is the first joint initiative of its kind in the Western Cape, therefore we will prove to everyone that this type of strategic partnership is not only important, but much needed to restore the well-being of our friends, families and neighbours. Through this initiative, we hope that other municipalities throughout South Africa will duplicate our approach to assist struggling communities,” Booysen concluded.

The Garden Route District Municipal Council in May 2020 resolved that an investigation needed to be conducted into the joint initiative of a district foodbank. Following meetings with relevant stakeholders in the district, it was resolved that one strategy for the District should be formulated, with clear objectives and targets to address poverty and hunger within the Garden Route district.  Due to the urgency of the current situation, exacerbated by the knock-on effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic,  the Eden Lions Club secured funding for the establishment of a District Food Pantry. In September last year, the GRDM Council indicated their interest in joining the initiative and made a decision to share the operational costs with all local municipalities in the Garden Route. However, according to Clive Africa, GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services who was also present during the visit, the National Covid-19 fund will stop by the end of January, which will have a negative impact on food security within the Garden Route district.

Planning to get the facility ready for the launch are now underway, while engagements with local municipalities not yet forming part of the initiative, continue. The private sector businesses in the Garden Route involved is one of the cornerstones of this initiative and will ensure the successful roll-out of it in the fight against hunger within the district.

Feature Photo:  The GRDM delegation with the Garden Route Food Pantry team in front of the Kevin van Niekerk mural, depicting the entire Garden Route inside the Food Pantry.

END

27 January 2021 is National Police Day

National Police Day – 27 January 2021

Annually, 27 January marks National Police Day in South Africa and on this day, South Africans and others residing in our country remembers the sacrifices that the men and women in blue have made and continue to make as they provide safety for all who live in South Africa.

As the Garden Route District Municipality, we would like to salute all members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and express our gratitude for their continuous loyalty and efforts towards making our district and country, a safer and more secure place to live.  We understand that much of the work that SAPS has been tasked to do over the past few months have been highly controversial, but we recognise the efforts by SAPS in risking their lives to fight crime, curb gender-based violence and domestic violence in our district.

We also honour the memories of the fallen heroes and heroines that have served our land with integrity and loyalty.

Keep up the good work – we are proud of you!

25 January 2021 Media Release: Climate Change likely to blindside RSA on the back of Covid-19

Media Release: Climate Change likely to blindside RSA on the back of Covid-19

For immediate release
25 January 2021

“Disaster management is the name of the game going forward in a rapidly changing world. In as much as COVID-19 is a wake-up call to the South African Government’s ability to deal with the pandemic, affecting everyday life in complicated layers, climate change will have a much deeper-cutting and lasting effect. Climate change will most likely blindside countries such as South Africa if we fail to heed the warning signs that are already there for all to see,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

“Regional natural disasters, such as persistent drought and tropical storms in neighbouring countries, have brought the implications of climate change to South Africa’s doorstep.”

“More focused public awareness efforts, education and re-directing public finances, coupled with better planning and more advanced abilities to proactively deal with natural disasters, –including the way we nurture and protect our environment – are vital for those living in South Africa.”

“Policy failure, or the failure to implement sound existing policies due to a lack of political will or the competence to do so, rather than an absolute lack of resources, will have consequences that will haunt South Africa in generations to come. Most likely the consequences will include reduced quality of life for most, increased levels of poverty and social unrest, and the inability to bounce back from climate-change-induced natural disasters imposed upon us by wildfires, floods and droughts,” says Meiring.

“In recent times, the northern parts of Mozambique, including the city of Beira, were completely obliterated by tropical Cyclone Idai. The very same region is now again suffering the devastating effects of Cyclone Eloise, without having recovered from the devastation of Cyclone Idai some three years ago.”

“In addition to the effects of a changing climate on northern Mozambique, the very same region is becoming inhospitable through extremely violent political instability, displacing some 500 000 people, who have no choice but to migrate elsewhere fast if they are to physically survive another year.”

“RSA, despite experiencing a sharp and constant decline in governmental management capacity and the resultant general socio-economic decay, coupled with the devastation of COVID-19 that will set back potential economic revival by decades, South Africa remains the ultimate safe haven for displaced, destitute and desperate refugees from many Sub-Saharan countries, most notably from neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”

“Already grappling with service delivery and skyrocketing unemployment, South Africa can ill afford to accommodate millions of people who have no choice but to leave their country of origin because of the realities brought about by climate change.”

“Dealing with COVID-19 no doubt draws away attention and resources in government’s response and ability to focus on dealing with climate change. However, we simply have to wake up to the bigger challenge posed by a changing climate that is already on our doorstep and shouting to be heard,” warns Meiring.

“Environmental management in the context of climate change, and the management of precious natural resources, such as water and agricultural capacity to adapt and feed a fast-growing nation, must take centre stage if South Africa is to survive intact. Planning and sensible political leadership, based on sound policy, is what is required.”

Based in George, the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a public platform for climate change and adaptation. The forum is supported by the Disaster Management Centre of the Garden Route District Municipality.

Feature Photo: Informal settlement, Garden Route

“Regional natural disasters, such as persistent drought and tropical storms in neighbouring countries, have brought the implications of climate change to South Africa’s doorstep, and fast-growing populations in new and expanding informal settlements are testimony to that, posing a much bigger political and socio-economic challenge than COVID-19,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).  (Photo: Cobus Meiring)

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Cobus Meiring: Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Secretariat

Cell: 083 626 7619

Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za