Category: <span>Local Government News</span>

7 May 2020 Media Release: Western Cape Business Survey Report – Garden Route Business Impact

Media Release: Western Cape Business Survey Report – Garden Route Business Impact

For Immediate Release
7 May 2020

To assist the Western Cape Government to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the business sector and to determine how government can best support businesses for planned recovery, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism within a week from the pronouncement of the Disaster Management Act and the first lockdown period activated, conducted a survey with businesses across the province to establish the extent of the impact of COVID-19 across all regions.

The survey was intended to reach out to businesses of all sizes across the metro and all five districts, in order to gather real-time economic insight. Provincial government, municipal forums and agencies, social media platforms, sector bodies and organised business partners were amongst the range of networks accessed as widely as possible to gain essential information. Within 10 days the study exceeded 2000 responses from across the Province and the survey closed on 14 April 2020 with 2150 respondents having participated.

In general terms, the survey asked businesses to reflect how they are affected, how they believe they will be affected, what business recovery support they need and what assistance they believe they require in building business continuity.  In each category of questions, responses were verified as complete and valid.  The survey covered not only SMMEs but a number of bigger businesses as well.

The focus areas / questions of the survey were as follow:

  • Single Site Business Response Distribution
  • Standardised Sector Distributions
  • Business Size by Employment
  • Number of Permanent Employees
  • Indicated turnover of respondents
  • Does your business export?
  • Have you identified new business opportunities as a result of the pandemic?
  • Have you had to source from different suppliers?
  • Has your business had to cancel any business contracts due the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Are you able to pay your most important business expenses?
  • FIRST biggest monthly expense – 2078 Respondents
  • Do you think you will be able to meet your FIRST biggest expense during the next 6 months
  • Perception on SECOND biggest expense during the next 6 months
  • Do you think you will be able to meet your SECOND biggest expense during the next 6 months
  • What business strategies are Businesses considering?
  • Have you informed your bank, shareholders and other important stakeholders regarding the impact of the pandemic on your business?
  • Have you communicated to your staff, to ensure adherence to the national protocols for the virus?
  • Have you informed your staff of the potential impact on them should the situation not return to normality soon?
  • How well informed do you feel you are regarding?
  • COVID-19 business-related information?
  • What have been your three primary sources of COVID-19 business-related information?
  • Have you implemented a Work-from-Home (WFH) arrangement at your business/enterprise?
  • Do you have a business continuity plan, and have you implemented it?
  • Are you aware of the website?
  • Are you interested in receiving tips and assistance with taking your business digital?

It was found that many of the businesses surveyed are dependent on domestic demand and only 10.6% of them export. The South African economy is expected to contract sharply. The Reserve Bank estimates that a contraction of 6.1% is likely, the IMF -5.8% and Moody’s -2.5%. Business for South Africa projects the economy could contract by a whopping 10%. Regardless of what the exact size of the contraction will be, it points to the fact that demand will be constrained, and many businesses are destined to experience challenges to remain operational.

Even though businesses face the same storm, it was evident from the survey that they are not all in the same boat.  It appeared that nearly 99% of firms are keeping their staff informed about the virus and are trying to make sure that they adhere to national protocols.  The three primary sources of COVID-19 business related information that businesses used to inform and enhance their thinking and decisions, have been; (1) News websites, such as News 24, Daily Maverick etc. (73%), (2) Television and radio (55%) and (3) Official Government Websites (41%).

The insights gained from analysing the business survey reveal several recommendations that could help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on business.

The recommendations are the following:

Both businesses and employees need support, urgently.

  • Many of the businesses surveyed are dependent on domestic demand. Although demand is, and probably will be constrained in the near future, support to stimulate demand is needed as businesses are challenged to remain operational. Particularly, businesses in the retail and trade, construction and general services sectors predict that they will generate no revenue over the lockdown period. A gradual lifting of lockdown restriction is needed;
  • With no revenue coming in, business needs assistance with wage and rental bills that are accruing;
  • Business needs assistance with operational cost buffers to address overheads and cashflow challenges;
  • Business requires government to consider municipal utilities and tax relief or reprieves (like interim concession on carbon tax, PAYE, etc.);
  • Business needs assistance to understand the implications and gain access to, support containment strategies around bridging finance and business continuity planning;
  • Similarly, business needs to understand the implications of selecting containment strategies like downscaling, wage reductions, retrenchments and business closure;
  • Businesses need to be encouraged to reach out to banks, shareholders and important stakeholders to learn what support may be available; businesses need to be informed about any opportunities that may exist in their sector;
  • Institutions like banks, insurance companies, business chambers, etc. need to give serious consideration to where they direct appropriate support and ‘put skin in the game’;
  • It is particularly important that businesses engage with their banks given that financial containment strategies have been identified. Support is required around issues like debt restructuring or reduce the cost of borrowing, reduction in bank fees, etc.;
  • Insurance companies to consider reducing excess amounts on insurance claims; Insurance companies have been less visible in announcing support to business than the banks have. There should be an exploration to see what can be offered; greater awareness (like that required for the banks), is needed;
  • Organised business formations like business chambers and sector forums to establish working groups on innovative ways where some sectors could increase their work-from-home segment of their operations, consider online processing and/or sales; and
  • Existing consumer behaviour (and delivery constraints) limit expanding online sales; however, there is an opportunity for consumer education by retailers for various LSM levels. Now is the time to educate South African customers to shift shopping

Workers need support with the ability to return to work and earn.

  • Easing and opening of sectors require lockdown restrictions to lift, i.e. essential needs to be redefined in an evolving manner.;
  • The provision of protective wear for all workers needs to be mandatory where any new sectors or industries can operate;
  • Workers need safe and sanitized public transport options; and
  • Workers need government support to consider minimizing short-time and retrenchments.

Government needs to protect jobs and drive recovery of the economy.

  • Government needs to consider financial and non-financial support interventions and measures to assist business and employees in the above areas highlighted;
  • Government needs to accelerate availability and applicability of support strategies, schemes, funding models and most importantly, access for business and workers (like secured access to UIF funding support); and
  • With more than 80% of respondents to the survey being SMMEs, dedicated support from government, for small business, is imperative. The survey shows that these SMMEs do not have financial buffers for an extended period of inactivity.

Greater awareness and access to information needs to increase.

  • Feedback to businesses via as many networks as possible on this ‘snapshot’ of the two-week real time window’ of the local economy;
  • Communication Initiatives are still not optimally reaching businesses and increased awareness of websites hosting business information and support available, needs to occur; and
  • Businesses need to be fed tips and be given assistance on how they could take their business digital.

From Western Cape Business Survey it became apparent that there is a significant role for everyone to play.  The intent is that Western Cape Government and its partners – municipalities, agencies, sector bodies, organised business and most importantly businesses that shared their experiences – utilises the real time information, to better understand the impact of this pandemic on our regional economy, but more importantly on business. The survey offers the opportunity to economic stakeholders to gain insight into enterprise, sectoral and municipal impact areas.

In the Garden Route district a decision was taken at the Garden Route District Business Economy and Tourism Cluster to promote local economic development by procuring products and services locally, as far as possible. Municipal LED units are also actively assisting small businesses with information and applications for available government assistance and funding.

We realize that Businesses and workers need to play its role to ensure business continuity and economic resilience of their entities.

Government and all its partners need to protect workers and stimulate a more resilient economy to emerge. To do this, government at all three spheres, should position and align its initiatives to ensure effective recovery support in the short, medium and long-term is activated.

Even though we have been thrust into a pandemic without too much time to prepare, it is encouraging to know that many businesses have been able to implement working-from-home arrangements.  We believe that recovery is possible, but only if we remain resilient and work together.



Western Cape Government

Issued by the Garden Route District Economic, Business and Tourism Cluster

5 May 2020 Media Release: Effects of the National Lockdown on Air Quality within the Garden Route District

Media Release: Effects of the National Lockdown on Air Quality within the Garden Route District

For Immediate Release
5 May 2020

The major outdoor (ambient) air pollution contributors in the Garden Route district include industrial activities, vehicle emissions and wood burning for household purposes. Due to the current lock-down, only around 20% of these industries have rendered essential services, while vehicle movement decreased by estimate of between 10 and 25%.

According to the World Health Organisation (2013), ambient air pollution, as annual PM2.5, accounted for 3.1 million deaths and around 3.1% of global disability-adjusted life years and the health effects includes respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity, such as aggravation of asthma and respiratory symptoms.

The lockdown has resulted in a reduction of some air pollutants across the district, but not all pollutants react as immediate as others, for instance, carbon monoxide is known to remain in the atmosphere for a couple of years. It is however estimated that there is a 6% global reduction in carbon dioxide emissions due to countries partially shutting down their economies.

As the cooler winter months, approaches some domestic emissions may increase in the informal residential areas, for example, particulate emissions from woodstoves and fires that are used for household purposes. According to experts, economic recovery will receive priority after the lockdown, even if it is to the detriment of the environment. It is therefore vital that authorities involved in air quality management must continue to strive towards a reduction in emissions.

Air quality in George appears to indicate a general decreasing trend in air pollution between 1 March and 27 April 2020 as seen in figures one and two. These results have undergone quality assurance and are compared with time average concentration limits in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for each criteria pollutant to determine any exceedances or non-compliances with standards.

Demonstrates a decrease in SO2 levels in George, 6µg/m3 to 4µg/m3
Demonstrates a decrease in O3 levels in George, from 12µg/m3 to 2.5 µg/m3

During the development of the GRDM 3rd Generation Air Quality Management Plan, ambient air quality modelling was undertaken in most of the towns in the district. Emissions from industrial activities and traffic were estimated and modelled to identify any possible air quality hotspots for further monitoring. Below are images of dispersion modelling with an estimated 10% of the vehicle data count before the national lock down in Knysna Central Business District and ambient emission with only one listed activity in operation during the NLD in Oudtshoorn.

The impact of industrial activities and vehicle emission are estimated by making use of emission factors obtained from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and modelled by making use of dispersion modelling software.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has developed a country-specific Air Quality Index (AQI) in line with best international practices to simplify the reporting of air quality to the general public. This data can be viewed live by the general public at The AQI is derived from six (i.e. PM10, PM2.5, CO, O3, SO2 and NO2) criteria pollutants, for good air quality (scale 1) to hazardous (10) based on National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Currently, there are three Western Cape Government-owned ambient air quality monitoring stations located in the GRDM, viz. in Mossel Bay, George and Oudtshoorn. The George monitoring station reports live data to the South African Air Quality Information Systems (SAAQIS). The current status in terms of the AQI is one (1 = very good) in George, while for the entire country it is currently 3, which is also considered to be good.

According to satellite images below, obtained from (Copyright (c) 2020 Cameron Beccario 2020), there was a 48% reduction in ground level SO2 pollution on 22 April 2020, when compared with 28 April 2019. The same phenomenon occurred with PM10, which indicates a reduction of almost five times. This correlates well with international studies reported by the international media in respect of PM2,5 concentrations being four times lower than normally experienced in major polluted cities across the world.

Although there is a reduction in air pollution, the effect of air pollution is experienced over years. It is indeed so that the current improvement in air quality is too little over a short period of time to make a significant effect. However, people could again see clear skies over places where it was not possible for the last couple of years. The most valuable benefit therefore would be the awareness that flow from the visible improvement and the subsequent effect on people’s perceptions. The perceptions of affected communities is paramount for effective air quality management.

World Health Organisation, Health effects of particulate matter, 2013. Accessed, 30 April 2020.



  • Western Cape Government, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (Directorate: Air Quality Management)
  • Letabo Air Quality Specialists
  • South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS) –
  • Garden Route District Air Quality Unit
  • Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: Air Quality Management, Garden Route DM

Issued by the Garden Route District Command Centre

Media Queries: Herman Pieters
Senior Communicator

2 May 2020 Request for Quotations: Call for quotations for a walkthrough sanitising booth and sanitiser.

Request for Quotations: Call for quotations for a walkthrough sanitising booth and sanitiser

For Immediate Release
2 May 2020

Please submit quotations for below procurement to the following official:
Tel: 082 887 1027

Call for quotations for a walkthrough sanitising booth and sanitiser.



1. Minimum:

• Walkthrough sanitising booth
• Utilisation of refillable tank for sanitiser
• The booth must operate automatically once someone enters the booth
• Automated sensors
• At least 4 directional spray nozzles to cover whole body
• Assembled/installed inside building
• The tenderer to provide training to the staff
• Picture of booth
• References of where current installation is in operation

• Sanitiser must consist of chemicals that kills 99.9% of the Corona-virus.
• Ready to use alcohol free sanitiser or diluted liquid
• 100% safe for human use (e.g. if it was to be inhaled)
• The tenderer must provide the necessary approvals/certification in terms of the Health and Safety Act, as well as any other applicable legislation (SABS, SANAS, World Health Organisation, etc.)

2. Add-ons: provide cost implication for each addition to basic booth:

• Solar power
• Turnstile conversion
• Temperature detector
• Camera
• Indicator or activation of an alarm to indicate the sanitiser is low and/or must be refilled
• Sounding alarm when individual is contaminated
• Ability to collapse, transport and assemble elsewhere

3. Additional information to be provided

• Booth dimensions
• Sanitiser tank capacity
• Pump capacity
• Flow-rate per nozzle, per hour
• Energy consumption (watt/hour)
• Contact time of individual in booth
• Time the sanitiser takes to kill the virus
• The average life-span of the booth/equipment
• Indicate the delivery period once an order has been submitted
• Indicate the price (installation, call-out fees for maintenance, travelling).
• The Tenderer will be responsible for the maintenance of the equipment

30 April 2020 Media Release: Eco-friendly ways of repurposing kitchen scraps and garden waste

Media Release: Eco-friendly ways of repurposing kitchen scraps and garden waste

For Immediate Release
30 April 2020

Garden Route residents, who have space in their gardens, are reminded that they can create their own compost with kitchen scraps and garden waste to add nutrients to their gardens during the lockdown. Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recommends that residents keep their kitchen scraps in a plastic bucket with a lid. Once this bucket is full, add it to one of your preferred composting methods.

“The lockdown is the perfect opportunity for residents to start contributing to the environment by diverting their organic waste from landfill and putting the much needed nutrients back into the soil by means of composting,” said Morton Hubbe, GRDM Manager: Waste Management.

“Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus to fuel plant growth. It restores vitality to depleted soil – and it is great for the environment.”


There are three types of composting namely cold-, hot- and worm composting. Cold composting is as simple as collecting garden waste or taking out the organic materials in a bucket and then moving it over to a bin or pile where material will gradually decompose. Hot composting is for the more serious gardener, but is a much faster process and requires regular aeration and attention. Four ingredients are required for fast-cooking hot compost: nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and water. Together, these items feed microorganisms, which speeds up the process of decomposing. In worm composting (Vermi-composting), worms eat food scraps and release nitrogen-rich castings. Worms also produce “worm tea”, an excellent organic fertiliser which prevents some plant diseases, reduces insect infestation and promotes nitrogen fixation in soil. Only Red Worms (Eisenia fetida) can be used for this process. Worm composting is a perfect method for those residents who don’t have gardens or live in apartments to divert their kitchen scraps from landfill.


  • Soil conditioner – compost creates rich humus for a garden, which adds nutrients to plants and helps retain moisture in soil.
  • Recycling kitchen and garden waste – composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from garbage bins.
  • Reduce landfill waste – most landfills in the Garden Route district are already closed and the remaining ones are close to their maximum capacity. Diverting organic waste from a landfill site extends its lifespan and reduces transport costs and air pollution.
  • Beneficial organisms for soil – microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, breaks down organic material for plant use and wards off plant diseases.
  • Good for the environment – composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.
  • Cost saving – no need to purchase compost or fertilizers.


All compostable materials are either carbon (dry, brown items) or nitrogen-based (wet, green items), to varying degrees.

To create ideal conditions for composting, try to include roughly equal parts of both and mix the materials. A mix with more carbon-based materials will take longer to turn to compost, while a mix with more nitrogen based materials may generate odors.

The following are examples of carbon-based (brown) materials: dry / fallen leaves, shrub prunings, wood ash, cardboard, sawdust & wood chips (untreated wood), dry garden plants. Examples of nitrogen-based (green) materials include: fruit and vegetable scraps, green leaves, garden clippings, green plants, coffee grounds, tea leaves, manure.  Lastly, egg shells are an example of a neutral material and adds beneficial calcium to the soil.

Please refer to our home composting guideline for more information in this regard – download GRDM’s Home Composting Guideline for more details.

Remember that approximately 30% of all household waste being disposed of at landfill consists of organic waste. If residents change their behaviour, this can potentially be diverted from landfill by means of household composting.


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

30 April 2020 Media Release: Community Screening and Testing well underway in Garden Route

Media Release: Community Screening and Testing well underway in Garden Route

For Immediate Release
30 April 2020

Community Screening and Testing well under way in Garden Route.

 In the fight against the coronavirus, Government has embarked on an active program through the COVID-19 Home Visits program to find people who might need help. As part of the COVID-19 Screening and Testing programme, the Western Cape Government Health will intensify its community screening and testing in the coming weeks.

More than 18 000 people have been screened and 75 referred for testing for COVID-19 in the Garden Route District since the start of the community screening and testing programme on 6 April 2020.

“We must ensure that our vulnerable communities are screened and tested in greater numbers to ensure our people are protected against the spread of the COVID-19 disease,” said Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo, MEC for Health in Western Cape.

These community screening and testing outreaches are aimed at finding as many people as possible who might need help. Screening means that teams will go on door-to-door visits and ask a few questions and refer those who need to be tested to the correct site. The more people our teams can talk to (screen) the better chance we have at stopping the spread and in doing so, keep our vulnerable community members safe. The questions will mainly focus on whether or not a person has symptoms of illness at the moment (a sore throat, a cough or fever). These questions need to be answered honestly.

During the community screening and testing the support of the community is essential for the success in stopping the spread of the virus. Our health teams are identifiable by their badges and clothing/uniform and allow them to screen you.

If you are referred for testing, be assured these tests are safe. Testing for coronavirus is done by taking a swab in your nose. The results will become available in 2-3 days so please ensure you give your correct contact details to the health worker so they can contact you.

While you await your results, we ask that you please quarantine at home in a separate room, if possible. We appeal to people who need to quarantine to stay home and not have visitors. If you cannot quarantine at home, speak to the health worker who will advise on facilities that are available for isolation and quarantine.

Members of the public are encouraged to continue practicing the 5 Golden Rules of Good Hygiene and to wear a cloth mask. Remember the Golden rules of prevention: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, keep surfaces clean, do not touch your face, cough and sneeze in your elbow fold, keep 1,5m away from people, and stay at home.

Statistics for Garden Route screening from 6 – 28 April 2020.

Bitou sub-district: 4252 people screened and 7 referred for testing

George sub-district: 5068 people screened and 29 referred for testing

Kannaland sub-district: 3039 people screened and 5 referred for testing

Mossel Bay sub-district: 6165 people screened and 63 referred for testing

What individuals must do:

  • Please welcome health workers when screening
  • Answer the questions honestly.
  • Remember the 5 Golden rules: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, keep surfaces clean, do not touch your face, cough and sneeze in your elbow fold, keep 1,5m away from people, and stay at home
  • Please co-operate fully and support family for testing

What communities should do:

  • Please encourage people to be screened and tested
  • Look out for health workers who have official identification and branded clothing
  • Please support our health workers and keep them safe
  • Please help to keep communities clean and encourage good behaviour
  • Don’t be afraid of testing or potential sick people.
  • Please support the elderly and children

Note: community screening is not the only place where screening is possible. Other methods of screening for COVID-19 include:

  1. Self-assessment risk tool (
  2. Any Primary Healthcare facility is able to conduct screening (please be sure to call ahead)
  3. There are a number of dedicated sites (Testing and Triage centres where screening can be done)

We appreciate the community’s continued support and ask them not to discriminate against COVID-19 survivors but to support them as they no longer pose a health risk.




Nadia Ferreira

Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

Town Clinic, Plettenberg Bay

Tel: 044 5333846

23 April 2020 Media Release: An update from the Garden Route District Business, Economy and Tourism cluster

Media Release: An update from the Garden Route District Business, Economy and Tourism cluster

For immediate release
23 April 2020

As round two of the nationwide lockdown has kicked off the term ‘business unusual’ is starting to feel somewhat like the ‘new normal’. Despite the challenges South Africans face, everyone has to remember that we are a resilient nation in full support of a resilient province, who is geared to lead the economy to recovery soon.

With the extension of lockdown, various amendments were announced, and residents need to familiarise themselves with how these impact them.

Here are answers to several of the most frequently asked questions we received:

“Do I need to update my CIPC Essential Service Certificate, and how do I it?”

According to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Companies registered through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s (CIPC) BizPortal to perform essential services during the lockdown period will be required to have a new certificate from the BizPortal website for the extended period. This began on 17 April 2020.

Read more about it at:

“What is listed as an essential service during the extended lockdown?”

In the Regulations made in terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act published on 25 March 2020, “essential service” is defined as the services defined in section 213 of the Labour Relations Act, however there have been some recent amendments made.

Click on the link below to find the list and to read more about it:

As stated previously, the Garden Route District Business, Economy and Tourism Cluster works closely with key collaborative partners in the region as well as the Western Cape Government in order to assist businesses.  We therefore urge businesses to access the Covid-19 Content Centre where enquiries are address in ‘real time’.  If you are still trying to figure out what support is available for your business, do consult the COVID-19 Support Finder at:

Once again we urge residents in the region to stay calm, ascertain what’s going on around them and adhere to the lockdown regulations.

22 April 2020 Media Release: Local Government in Garden Route identifies dozens of regional COVID-19 care sites

Media Release: Local Government in Garden Route identifies dozens of regional COVID-19 care sites

For Immediate Release
22 April 2020

Local Government in the Garden Route district have identified various sites in the region that could be used as sites for self-isolation, public isolation and the quarantine of people affected by COVID-19. A basket of services will be provided by the National Department of Public Works, the Western Cape Department of Health will look after the health of individuals and local municipalities will ensure that basic services at all sites continue.

“South Africa’s situation is different to many other parts of the world because many of our community members still live in informal settlements. Dense small spaces and a lack of proper sanitation are still issues many face in all nine (9) provinces in South Africa. It is for this reason that we identified dozens of sites where vulnerable members of society will be housed,” said Garden Route District Municipality Executive Mayor Cllr Memory Booysen.

“GRDM also made available De Hoek Mountain Resort and Calitzdorp Spa as quarantine and isolation sites.”

According to Gerhard Otto, head of disaster management at GRDM, facilities are categorised by the level of care patients would require. These levels include:

  • Level 1: Acute hospitals – 7 hospitals identified
  • Level 2: Step-down facility – 1 identified
  • Level 3: Private quarantine – 15 sites identified
  • Level 4: Private self-isolation site – 2 sites identified
  • Level 5: Public isolation centre – 22 centres identified
  • 7 shelters and 7 feeding sites have also been identified.

It is important for the public to understand the difference between terms used by government. “Quarantine” for instance means the restriction of activities and/or separation from others of persons suspected to be ill (asymptomatic). The purpose of quarantine is to prevent the transmission of diseases. “Isolation” on the other hand is the separation of ill or COVID-19 positive persons or affected baggage, containers, conveyances, goods, or postal parcels from others in such a manner as to prevent the spread of infection or contamination.  Isolation can be applied to and by any person to curb the spread of COVID-19.

We have received numerous emails from the public who are anxious about rumours of quarantine facilities close to their homes or in their towns. The district municipality understands that there are concerns about this but assures the public that all the relevant protocols will be followed to protect the public from any risk of exposure to those infected by COVID-19. We will follow strict step-by-step international standards to ensure that every person is safe.


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

21 April 2020 Businesses urged to put measures in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus

The Western Cape Government issued a circular (H51/2020) to guide various businesses and organisations with regard to measures that they need to put in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid 19). The circular is specifically aimed at the transport, retail, petrol stations, banking, the post office and essential services sectors. The Garden Route District Command Council suggests that while the peak period of essential business activities approaches, businesses in the Garden Route should adhere to the guidelines provided to them in the circular.


The retail, banking and post office environments are advised to not allow their establishments to be overcrowded. A limited number of people to enter the building should be allowed. Together with this, the method to manage queues outside an establishment to ensure social distancing must also be put in place, for example marker lines that serve as an indication to consumers on where to wait. Furthermore products should be spread out in aisles to prevent people shopping too close to one another. Each staff member should be reminded to avoid touching his/her eyes, nose and mouth, particularly when hands are not clean – regular hand washing is advised. Customers on the other hand should be offered alcohol-based hand sanitisers before entering the establishment – employees should spray the sanitiser to manage the usage thereof. When customers leave a paypoint area the counter top and credit card machine must be wiped before the next customer is assisted. To close off all business activities of the day, each counter and the entire business area should be thoroughly disinfected.

Pay point areas and counter tops should be wiped before the next customer is assisted. Photo: Pexels


In the fuel franchising sector, staff should encourage customers to remain in their vehicles, unless they have to go to the shop. Attendants have to keep a 1,5 meter distance from the window of the vehicle unless they are offering a card machine to the customer or have to collect money. Before payments are made, attendants are encouraged to offer the customer alcohol-based hand sanitiser to clean their hands. Subsequently machines should be cleaned after the customer has left. All machines, pumps and surrounding equipment have to be cleaned with a disinfectant. Petrol attendants must avoid touching doors, windows and door handles of vehicles.


Drivers or owners in the taxi industry also have a big responsibility to ensure that personnel are aware of proper hygiene practices. Drivers/personnel are encouraged to clean buses and taxi ranks with soap and water to close off business operations of the day.

By doing so, surfaces at the bus depot and taxi ranks should be cleaned each hour while the area is in use. Passengers must keep a minimum social distance of 1,5 meters – markers are also regarded as an effective method to give guidance. When handling doors, no customers should be allowed to touch door handles of minibuses or buses. Drivers have to open doors for customers on their arrival. Doors should furthermore be left open while the vehicle fills to its limit. Again, alcohol-based hand sanitisers have to be offered to customers before they enter the bus or mini-taxi. After receiving money from customers, all drivers have to clean their hands with the sanitiser. Social distancing, even inside the bus/minibus should be practiced; meaning enough space should be allowed between passengers. Windows should be kept open to allow droplets to escape through the windows, when a passenger coughs or sneezes. After each trip, all surfaces touched by passengers have to be cleaned. These include: door handles, window ledges and seats. Furthermore, the inside and outside of the vehicle should be thoroughly cleaned twice per day. This can also be done with an alcohol-based sanitiser.


In the metered taxi and e-hailing transport environment (Uber, Bolt, etc.) drivers are encouraged to transport one to three passengers per trip, depending on the size of the vehicle. All doors should be handled by drivers. As in other industries, hand sanitisers should also be offered to passengers and when money is exchanged,

drivers are advised to clean their hands immediately thereafter with alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Credit card machines should be wiped each time before use. Windows should be kept open throughout the trips for dirty air to escape, particularly when passengers cough or sneeze.

Customers should be offered hand sanitisers before they are assisted. Photo: Pexels

After each trip door handles and window ledges have to be cleaned and the inside of the vehicle should be disinfected twice per day.

Some general hygiene practices everyone should remember, include:

  • coughing into the elbow, keep hands clean by washing both hands with soap or cleaning it with alcohol-based hand sanitiser is still widely advised;
  • keep a minimum of 1,5m social distancing from others and avoid crowded areas or gatherings.

To ensure that we contribute to eliminate the spread of the virus to others, it is the duty and responsibility of everyone to take ownership of their health and to protect the health of others. If we respect all the guidelines of the World Health Organisation and National Institute of Communicable Diseases, obey all the rules and regulations of the South African Government, provincial governments and municipalities then soon we will be able to do business as usual again.

Stay home, stay safe.

20 April 2020 Emergency Food Relief provided to vulnerable residents of the Garden Route

Press Release

For Immediate Release

20 April 2020

The Department of Social Development (DSD) and Municipalities in the Garden Route recently started with the distribution of food parcels to the most vulnerable households affected by Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Social Relief of Distress (SDR) program of DSD

Ms Marie Hendricks, regional director of the DSD for the Garden Route and the Karoo explains as follow: “Prior to the distribution of parcels a thorough process to assess all applications for food relief from the various communities takes place and will continue, until approved beneficiaries are reached.  Potential beneficiaries either apply through their respective local municipalities, NPO’s or through contacting the Western Cape Government call centre. Should applicants struggle to reach the call centre, they can also, as alternative, contact the DSD Local Offices in the District”.

Food parcels ready for distribution in the Bitou area.  Photo & feature photo: Bitou Municipality

As at 17 April 2020, DSD has received 4503 applications for the Garden Route district alone, of which 2153 were assessed by social workers as a normal social work social relief of distress practice. This process takes place in relation to determining the socio-economic situation/status of every applicant, directly or indirectly affected. Social workers employed by DSD assess the information supplied by applicants telephonically, against the set criteria, provided below. A total of 1108 applications assessed were approved of which 615 deliveries took place across the towns in the District. Applications, thus far, were received from within the following municipal areas George, Knysna, Bitou, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland. This DSD process continues on a daily basis and progress is monitored and reported on a daily basis to the District command centre . All other partners contributing to food relief coordinated by DSD also meet as a separate cluster under the District command centre .

The criteria for applicants to apply for emergency food relief. Image: DSD

As there are various role players making a contribution to food relief in the District the DSD is also currently busy with a mapping exercise to show the food relief footprint in each municipal area, so as to place all role-players in a position to see where, how and by whom food relief is provided. In addition, how the various communities and how these different services can be accessed by community members are dependent on their needs.  It is also measured against a particular criteria used by each food relief role-player. It is further important that residents who need food aid during this time knows where to go to get relief and as such a fair process of benefit to those who need it most, is being maintained whether directly or indirectly affected by the COVID 19 disaster.

DSD also provide general social work services to families in distress. Their offices can be contacted on a daily basis where social workers are available to telephonically assist in response to the emotional/social wellbeing needs of families.

DSD office numbers in the Garden Route District:

  • Eden Karoo Regional Office – 044 814 1687
  • George  – 044 814 1920
  • Knysna – 044 382 0056
  • Mossel Bay – 044 690 3943
  • Hessequa  – 028 713 4147
  • Kannaland – 028 814 3020
  • Oudthoorn – 044 272 8977

Donations from Municipalities

In a quest to also address the shortages of food various local municipalities intervened to provide emergency food relief to the vulnerable. The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) set the example and donated half a million rand to distribute approximately 800 food parcels to local municipalities in the district on 9 April 2020.

Employees from Mossel Bay Municipality prepare food parcels for their Mossel Bay residents.  Photo: Mossel Bay Municipality

Bitou Municipality so far distributed 3500 food parcels to the value of R1 050 000 to their vulnerable residents, with Hessequa Municipality who made R1 million available to provide food relief to their residents. Mossel Bay Municipality also reached out to the vulnerable in the area and provided meals to more than 1000 households to the value of R500 000. Although George Municipality also donated food parcels, the municipality predominantly utilises soup kitchens in the area to feed their residents. The number of meals served at these soup kitchens currently stands at 17 000 – two meals per person per day. Knysna Municipality also distributed nearly food parcels to nearly 150 households in its area, however the municipality works closely with the private sector businesses to assist with their food relief initiative, as per a press release issued on April 15. Oudtshoorn Municipality also made funds available for its food relief programme, but the process is still in progress and is done in collaboration with DSD and SASSA to finalise the assessment of all applications received. As soon as the process is completed, the distribution will take place in the Oudtshoorn areas. Kannaland Municipality, at this stage could not make any financial commitment to distribute food parcels, however it does provide meals to vulnerable residents through its soup kitchens and is continuously in discussion with the private sector businesses to assist with donations. The municipality is thankful towards GRDM for the food parcels donated to vulnerable residents of its area of jurisdiction.

Donations from the Public

Last week the the GRDM command centre called upon members of the public to make donations of essential items as a means to further fill the time gap of the SRD Programme of DSD.  This process was rolled out in collaboration with the local municipalities in the Garden Route. All donations received are distributed according to the criteria set by DSD and some are distributed to the soup kitchens that are in operation in the respective municipal areas. Items that are donated include: food items, cleaning and hygiene products. Clothing for men, women and children at home shelters are also needed.

While there is much uncertainty of how long the lockdown will stay in effect, more donations are required to assist with the needs of the vulnerable in the district. Individuals or business are requested to contact their Local Municipalities or DSD to make arrangement for donations.

DSD and partners would like to thank the public for their generosity! Every donation counts and support helps to further alleviate the dire conditions that so many community members have to endure every day. Support is invaluable to DSD, and the public is thanked for their ongoing support.