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8 January 2021 Media Release: Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

Media Release: Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

For Immediate Release
8 January 2021

Feature image: Elethu Booysen, wife of Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality, was treated on a trip by her husband out at sea for her birthday today, 8 January 2021.

We can all attest that the National Lockdown has kept us all more indoors than ever before. With the gradual opening of the Tourism sector, we finally had the chance to slowly dip our toes in the sparkling ocean experiencing the fresh, crisp and clean air inhaling the perfume of fynbos. Then, just as we were approaching the holiday season and visitors were gearing themselves to travel to the Garden Route our beaches were closed and the tourism sector faced yet another blow.

While reflecting on the Tourism Sector and its resilience, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen said,  “Our beaches might have been closed since 15 December 2020 to January 2020 the Garden Route continued to offer a countless number of experiences. Holiday makers still flocked from all corners of South Africa to our beautiful and diverse region to experience its offerings. From scenic drives, delectable locally produced cuisine and washing it down with award winning wine, craft beer and indigenous fynbos gin before the country’s move to alert level three where we saw the closing of the alcohol industry, to blood pumping adrenaline rushing adventures, world class golfing”.

The Garden Route and Klein continues to offer a multitude of outdoor adventures and is truly so much more than just its beaches.

GRDM and its Regional Tourism Office, Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism, would like to thank all the tourism stakeholders in the region for their vigorous and continuous work in ensuring that the region remains the tourism destination of choice. This year has shown that we truly are a region who perseveres through the toughest times. To the visitors, we wish to thank you for your support by visiting our region while we’ve been classified as a COVID-19 hotspot.

Thank you to everyone who continues to comply to the “new norms” we are required to adhere to.

While it’s still summer, and schools are still closed, be sure to expect plenty of sunshine – here is what you can still experience in the Garden Route under the risk adjusted level 3 restrictions:

  • Golfing at one of South Africa’s top golf courses
  • Kayaking/kloofing/canoeing
  • Bungee jumping/ziplining
  • Paragliding
  • Hiking/biking
  • Historical caves
  • Horse riding
  • Big 5 and nature drives
  • Get lost in our Indigenous forests
  • Coffee culture
  • Enjoy some much needed “R&R” and pamper time at a spa.

We wish you all a healthy and safe 2021. Let’s continue to curb the spread of COVID-19 by remembering to practice social distancing, washing our hands, sanitising and wearing of masks. Lastly, remember to avoid crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces.

Stay safe, move forward.



7 January 2021 Media Release: SANDF to arrive in the Garden Route tomorrow, 8 January 2021

Media Release: SANDF to arrive in the Garden Route tomorrow, 8 January 2021

For Immediate Release
7 January 2021

Members of the South African National Defence (SANDF) force will arrive in the Garden Route tomorrow, 8 January 2021 to assist the South African Police (SAPS) to ensure that communities comply with regulations. Police Minister Bheki Cele yesterday visited the Garden Route and confirmed the SANDF’s arrival in the Garden Route.

According to Mr Otto, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Manager: Disaster Management, SANDF and SAPS will meet to discuss particulars about their deployment. Mr Otto said, “This intervention comes at a time when more than 350 members of SAPS are in isolation and close to 800 SAPS member in quarantine. Those in quarantine were in close contact with others who tested positive for COVID-19”.

A total number of 40 SANDF members are expected and they will be housed in Hartenbos and Sedgefield. Mr Otto said that he can’t confirm exactly what areas SANDF will patrol, but he suspects that it will change as time goes by and intelligence is received about areas of non-compliance. “It is important for the public to ensure that they comply with the lockdown regulations, or else they could end up with criminal records,” Otto concluded.

Picture: GCIS


7 January 2021 Media Statement: Visits to Garden Route District Municipal offices are limited 

Media Statement: Visits to Garden Route District Municipal offices are limited 

For Immediate Release
7 January 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Management today agreed to limit public visits to all its offices in the region. Simultaneously, a maximum of 50% of the GRDM employ will work from its municipal offices, while those who are able to work remotely will do so until 15 January 2021. Essential services will continue as per usual and include the GRDM Council, Emergency Call Centre, Fire Fighting Services, Disaster Management, Municipal Health and Communication Services.

Members of the public are therefore required to make prior-arrangements to visit any GRDM office.


  • GRDM George Head Office: 044 803 1300, 54 York Street, George, 6529.
  • GRDM Emergency Call Centre: 044 805 5071 (24/7)


  • Knysna, 044 382 7214, 24A Queen Street, Knysna, 6570
  • Mossel Bay, 044 693 0006, C/O Marlin & Samson street, Extension 23, Mossel Bay, 6506
  • Plettenberg Bay, 044 5011600, 4 Virginia Street, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
  • Oudtshoorn, 044 272 2241, 15 Regent Street, Oudtshoorn, 6620
  • Riversdale, 028 713 2438, 24 Mitchell Street, Riversdale, 6670
  • Roads Services, 044 803 1500, Mission Street, George Industria, George, 6529
  • Community Services, 044 803 1522, Mission Street, George, 6529
  • Fire Services, 044 805 5071, 17 Pioneer Road, Pacaltsdorp Industria, George, 6529



4 January 2021 Media Release : Internal  Audit Activity Pass External Quality Assurance Review (QAR) with flying colours

Media Release: Internal  Audit Activity Pass External Quality Assurance Review (QAR) with flying colours

For Immediate Release
04 January 2021

Garden Route District Municipality appointed a Service Provider to conduct an External QAR on the Internal Audit Activity in order to assess whether it conforms to the Institute of Internal Auditors’ (IIA’s) International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards, SPPIA). The review took place during the month of October 2020 and the approach included analysing responses to questionnaires, conducting interviews with various stakeholders, reviewing and analysing Internal audit activity documentation as well as evaluating the effectiveness of reporting to management and the audit and performance audit committee.

Effective 1 January 2002, the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) require internal audit activities to have an external quality assurance review conducted at least once every five years.
According to Ms Pamela Lufele, GRDM Chief Audit Executive, “It is a great achievement for us to obtain a Generally Conform (GC) status; considering that we operate in an environment that is legislated and embedded with standards, code of ethics and professional practices. We are also amongst the few municipalities in the Western Cape who has had the external QAR conducted and obtained a GC status”.
“Hard work has paid off and it would not have been possible without persistent commitment from the Internal Audit Team,” said Lufele.

In response to the IA’s Unit achievement, Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for GRDM said, “Their years of experience, assurance, insight and objectivity are testimony of why the internal auditors faired so well” said Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive mayor for GRDM.
The Garden Route District Municipality IA unit became fully functional in 2010 and now consists of four (4) team members; Ms Pamela Lufele, Chief Audit Executive; Ms Grace Rwayi, Senior Internal Auditor and the Internal Auditors: Ms Mariska Pieterse and Mr. Siphelele Notyhanga. Experience in years of the IA unit’s members if added together amounts to 29 years.
In celebration of the good news, the Chief Audit Executive, Ms Lufele, answered the following questions:

Q: As the Chief Audit Executive what was your preconceptions of the expected outcomes?
A: “Well, I had confidence in the quality of work we produce as well as the compliance to all the applicable professional practices. The fact that it was the first time in the history of Garden Route District Municipality to conduct such an extensive assessment, I was going to accept a Partially Conformance (PC) status but I guess our hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence paid off and we obtained the GC status.”

Q: In general what are the primary rules/ codes of conduct relating to the internal auditor profession?
A: “That would be Institute of Internal Auditors Standards and Code of Ethics (Integrity, Objectivity, Competence and Confidentiality.”

Q: Lastly any final words of Aspiration
A: “I will quote from the famous words of Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style”. Then Ms Lufele closed her speech by these encouraging words…
“This is the attitude we have as the Internal Audit team, to always strive to perform our work with precision but not forgetting to live in the moment and being the best version of ourselves.”


1 January 2021 Public Notice: Fishing is allowed

Public Notice: Fishing is allowed

For Immediate Release
1 January 2021

Dear Garden Routers and holidaymakers, please note that after consultation with Brigadier Van Graan, the following rule regarding fishing in hotspot areas will be in effect from today, 01 January 2021.

In terms of the National Crime Combating Forum (NCCF) supplementary instruction 24 paragraph 8.4.111, fishing on beaches will only be allowed for those who are in possession of a fishing permit.  Fishing will only be allowed from 06:00 till 19:00.

No other activities will be allowed on beaches until further notice.

For any enquiries, please contact your local police station.

31 December 2020 Media Statement: Actions to stop Coronavirus from spreading in the Garden Route

Media Statement: Actions to stop Coronavirus from spreading in the Garden Route

For Immediate Release
31 December 2020

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and various local municipalities in the district are continuously working together to comply and adhere to the latest regulations.

As the GRDM, we remind the public that we are aiming and committed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.  All Executive Mayors, Municipal Managers, senior management, sector departments, including the Department of Health, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other law enforcement agencies, led by the GRDM Coronavirus Command Centre are continually in discussions seeking co-operation strategies and ways to slow down and curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Local Municipalities’ Law Enforcement Officers will continue to enforce municipal by-laws strictly, while the SAPS and security agencies will enforce their mandate concerning the application of the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations.

Garden Routers and visitors are reminded that non-compliance to the latest regulations makes such actions punishable by law or a criminal offence. In addition, it is now a punishable offence if an individual does not correctly wear a face mask in public or adhere to the curfew rules.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be deployed to areas of the Garden Route from Wednesday, 06 January 2021, to assist law enforcement officers with Covid-19 compliance and awareness.


Residents and visitors must note that the local municipalities and SAPS agreed that fishing at beaches is only permitted with an approved permit. Further consultation with the various legal departments is ongoing.  Any developments in this regard will be communicated to the public, if necessary.

However, deep-sea fishing is allowed.


No person is allowed to walk, jog or practice any other activity on any of the beaches in the Garden Route. However, where there are lawns along the beaches, people are allowed on the grass, although they are not allowed to enter the sandy parts of a beach between the grass and water.

The respective parking areas at beaches will still be accessible to the public, and at controlled beach parking areas, the law enforcement staff will advise visitors that swimming is prohibited and that no alcohol is allowed on the beaches and/or public spaces.


Everyone must pay close attention to the curfew rule and adhere to it – it is a criminal offence to disregard the curfew. The only exceptions apply to emergency services personnel and those who need help for medical reasons or security issues.

Holidaymakers returning home should plan their trips timeously, as no law enforcement agency can issue permits for those who would like to drive to their destinations throughout the night.


Lifeguards will continue to be deployed, including at the traditional Blue Flag beaches – the latter for the duration of the traditional overnight concession to ensure that the public is advised about the beach ban. Overnight camping is allowed from 31 December 2020 to 3 January 2021, although the beach area remains prohibited. This ban will be strictly be enforced while security personnel will ensure that the ban on alcohol consumption on beaches and premises are complied with.

No alcoholic beverages are allowed on site. Swimming in rivers is prohibited.


SAPS have confirmed that additional staff will be deployed to ensure law enforcement.

Municipal law enforcers will hold various roadblocks to ensure compliance with the municipal by-laws and road traffic law.

The public are kindly warned that the principle of zero tolerance will be followed and that strict action will be taken against those ignoring the regulations. The Garden Route Disaster Centre and the joint law enforcement initiative are requesting residents of the Garden Route for their cooperation so that drunk driving and violations of the regulations are prevented.


Fireworks have become a traditional way of ushering into the New Year. However, with the country under Lockdown Level 3, people will be forced to do things differently this time around.

Fireworks are strictly prohibited.  The GRDM Disaster Management Centre would like to call on the public to be considerate to animals when setting off fireworks.  The local municipalities’ Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management Services already deployed personnel to strategic locations to prevent possible veldt and other fires due to illegal fireworks. The public’s cooperation in this regard is appreciated – let’s all work together to prevent others from setting off fireworks in the district.

Instead, residents are encouraged to light a candle in memory of those who have lost their lives and in tribute to those who are on the frontline working to save our lives and protect us from harm.

Enjoy the last hours of 2020 and have a prosperous 2021!

22 December 2020 Media Release: Holiday message by the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen

Media Release: Holiday message by the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen

For Immediate Release
22 December 2020

Good day, all Garden Routers and visitors to the Garden Route district.  

We are fast approaching the end of 2020; a year that has taken a tremendous toll on all of us as Garden Routers, the nation and world. We, however, want to continue to welcome visitors and holidaymakers to the Garden Route, and we hope that you will enjoy your stay in our beautiful diverse region.

Since most of you already transitioned into the holiday and festive spirit and are inviting friends and family to functions and get-togethers, we want to advise you to always stay vigilant, to avoid large gathering if you can, to always wear your mask properly by covering your mouth and nose and to continue practicing social distancing. Should you have Covid-19 related symptoms stay at home and arrange for a test.

To my fellow brothers out there, I would like to plea to you during this festive season to act responsible and protect our women and children against the evil phenomena called gender-based violence.

As a district, we cannot end this year without remembering those who have lost their lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to gender-based violence and to other forms of violence.   We know that many families are currently heartbroken and we want to encourage you to use the time to celebrate their lives by reliving your memories of them. Do things differently this year – stay at home and spend time with your love ones – as this is the safest thing to do. Also, reflect on your purpose and rethink how you can improve it in the next year to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

We also want to extend a special word of thanks and encouragement to our essentials worker and health care community at the forefront and centre who have worked selflessly and courageously in saving lives – we appreciate you!

On behalf of the Garden Route District Municipality and its Council, I would like to wish you all a blessed and prosperous Christmas and festive season ahead. May it be a joyous time spent with your loved ones and may you all keep safe.

The year 2020 will indeed be a year to be remembered for generations to come.  We wish and pray for health and safety for every one of us and our communities for 2021.

We will rise again – God bless you all.

Wanga uThixo woxolo anganigcina nonke sibuye sibonane nakunyaka ozayo

I thank you

16 December 2020 A letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa

A letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa

Dear President Ramaphosa

Happy Day of Reconciliation to you. I, Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) am writing to you from the Local Government of the Garden Route district, stakeholders from public and private sectors, as well as Garden Routers and domestic and international tourists currently in and/or planning to visit our region over the current festive season. I want to firstly thank you for your leadership and support this past year, a trying one it has been. Secondly, I want to provide my assurance that this district continues to stand beside you as the struggle against the Covid-19 resurgence continues.

However, I must implore you to reconsider the decision to close the public beaches in our region. The particular regulations I refer to is that of the Amended Regulations on 15 December 2020 in the Government Gazette (No 1346 in GG 439997), in accordance to section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002.

The decision to close our beaches, while I do have some understanding for it, is in all likelihood not based on evidence that it will contribute to fighting the virus. In fact, the opposite is likely to happen as we now see large crowds of people flocking to every other amenity, including inland rivers, lagoons, lakes and shopping centres – centres which are enclosed spaces and where social distancing is far more difficult to adhere to than outdoors.

Our disaster management and health specialists, including Government’s scientific advisors, are convinced that the decision to close large open areas, in particular beaches, to the public may well have the opposite effect of that which we are hoping for. It may in fact lead to the Covid-19 numbers getting worse. Being outdoors in hot temperatures and receiving vitamin D is known to be effective in combating Covid-19. Vitamin D has been scientifically shown to have a beneficial impact in preventing infection with bacterial and viral diseases. In a recent study conducted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust in the UK, researchers found that those with severe Covid-19 are more vitamin D-deficient than those with mild disease.

Our district has worked very hard over the past year to have structures in place to do enforcement of venues including beaches and we will monitor every public area to ensure compliance to regulations if our beaches are re-opened. I am sure the people of the Garden Route and our visitors over the festive season, will also work with us and be responsible given the opportunity. We are also extremely concerned about the trend of cancellations by tourists
who had planned to visit our region over the festive season; this time of the year adds up to 35% to the annual turnover of our small and micro businesses over December and January. The seasonal income is also that which helps sustain the very businesses we have worked so very hard to support and promote.

Those providing accommodation to domestic and international travellers have been brought to their knees. We received an update from one of our accommodation booking sites who highlighted the following shocking statistics that they witnessed. “We have had 477 cancellations between 8pm (speech) and 2pm yesterday, worth 3.8 million. And that was just the online bookings from one large online agent and client’s own website.”

It is in light of all my concerns above, that I must humbly ask that you reopen our beaches. If not for the entire season, then please on the same basis as KwaZulu-Natal beaches, with beaches closed for public holidays only. To view the beaches affected by the recent amended regulations, access this link:

This matter can be resolved with a simple phone call or an announcement from your office to allow the reopening of our beaches.

I look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

With thanks.
Yours sincerely


DATE: 16 December 2020


Image of President Cyril Ramaphosa: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS
Image of Alderman Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality: Herman Pieters, GRDM