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19 February 2024 Media Release: African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in pigs in George

Media Release: African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in pigs in George

19 February 2024

Last week, 7 February, a new outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) was confirmed in pigs of small farmers on the outskirts of Groeneweide Park, George. This is the fourth outbreak of this disease in the Garden Route area since 2022. Previously there had been outbreaks in KwaNonqaba and Mossel Bay in 2022 and 2023 which were both resolved; and an outbreak in Thembalethu in 2022 which remains a concern.

It is estimated that about 45 pigs have died thus far with about 250 pigs remaining in the area. The area has been placed under quarantine and community members have been urged to not remove any pigs or pig products from the area to prevent further spread of the disease.

ASF is a virus that affects pigs and there is no vaccination or treatment currently available for the prevention of the disease. Good biosecurity measures remain the best way to protect the pig industry.

The following measures are critical to minimising the spread:

– All carcasses should be disposed of safely;

– Pigs should be confined to prevent roaming and potentially picking up and spreading the disease;

– Hands, shoes, clothing and equipment should be sanitised before and after being in contact with a pig, so people do not spread the virus between animals;

– Any meat products should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to pigs; and

– Farmers should confirm that any purchased pigs are bought from known ASF-free herds.

– ASF virus is specific to pigs and does not affect humans or other species of animals. The public needs to know that pigs slaughtered at abattoirs have undergone meat inspection. Pork products found in supermarkets are safe for human consumption.

Usually, the first signs of an ASF outbreak are the sudden death of pigs. Still, in some cases, other symptoms can include breathing difficulties, redness of the skin, especially underneath the pig and on the ears, hind leg weakness and loss of appetite. Occasionally the pig may also have blood in their faeces and their vomit. Should these signs be seen, please contact your closest State Veterinary Office at

The department calls on all pig owners to implement strict biosecurity to protect their livestock from this disease and to call their nearest State Veterinary Office should farmers have any concerns.

Expert Advice

Dr Leana Janse van Rensburg

State Veterinarian: George

Western Cape Department of Agriculture

Cell: 083 797 0010


15 January 2024 Media Release:  Garden Route District Municipality’s Roads Services improves diesel infrastructure to ensure operational continuity

Media Release:  Garden Route District Municipality’s Roads Services improves diesel infrastructure to ensure operational continuity

For Immediate Release
15 January 2024

Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Roads Services have successfully addressed decades of challenges related to diesel and infrastructure procurement. Last year, the GRDM embarked on a tender process for the procurement of diesel, however, complications arose as the existing diesel tanks and infrastructure were owned by the previous service provider, who declined access to the new appointee to use their storage facilities.

To overcome this obstacle, the Roads Services Department temporarily used diesel bowsers for fuel storage. Later, the municipality conducted a second tender process for the installation of above-ground diesel tanks at its four largest depots, in George, Oudtshoorn, Riversdale and Ladismith.

In George, above-ground diesel tanks are currently being installed at the depot on Mission Street.

The tender, valued at 5.9 million for the tanks, was approved by the Western Cape Department of Transport and was allocated from the Roads Services budget. The above-ground tanks, each with a capacity of 23,000 liters, are currently being installed and are expected to be commissioned by the end of January 2024.

Once operational, the George depot will receive two (2) tanks with a combined capacity of 46,000 liters, sufficient to fuel the different depots for three weeks. The other deport will each be equipped with one (1) 23,000 liters above-ground tanks.

This initiative is part of phase 1 of the GRDM’s plan to upgrade and install diesel storage infrastructure, with future rollouts planned for the smaller depots as well. The decision to replace the more than 30-year-old Total diesel tanks, which were decommissioned due to leaks, brings several advantages. The above-ground tanks are cost-effective, have a longer lifespan, are easy to monitor, versatile, safer, and environmentally friendly.

Feature image caption: George will have two above-ground diesel tanks, while the other three depots will have one each.


6 December 2023 Media Release: GREF to reflect on COP28

Media Release: GREF to reflect on COP28

For immediate release
6 December 2023

The COP28 Climate Change Conference is hosted by the United Nations running from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai and is intended for governments to agree on policies to limit global temperature rises and adapt to impacts associated with climate change, says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) on the eve of its Key Stake- holder event taking place on 13 December in Wilderness.

Reducing the drivers of climate change is easier said than done as the global dependence on fossil fuels is universal and the transition to alternative sources of energy is extremely slow and complex in their implementation as the South African effort towards the Just energy Transition (JET) is a case in point.

COP28 is already finding itself in a highly politicised milieu as major role players, including the United Arab Emirates which is hosting the event in Dubai is questioning the very essence of the global drive towards the reduction of emissions contributing to the global rise in temperature, with 2023 already described as the warmest year in recorded history and 2024 predicted to be worse according to the latest UN report on the matter.

The fact that South Africa is already experiencing an increase in climate related disasters including severe flooding, fire and drought is concerning, and it comes at a time where the country is suffering from the effects of retarded economic growth and environmental mismanagement at all levels manifesting in unbridled development, poverty, joblessness and social unrest as expectations in terms of service delivery are not met by the powers that be.

In the face of the challenges South Africa has to face as the climate changes irreversibly, there is much the country can do to be better prepared for environmental changes, including changes in rainfall patterns which will no doubt impact on the quality of life and future prospects of a fast- growing population facing food, energy and water security uncertainty.

Past and present failure by government at all levels to plan ahead and develop policies that will contribute to better environmental management and the safeguarding of natural resources, especially water and the infrastructure required to ensure that future generations don’t suffer as a result of a lack of responding to early warnings must serve as a wake- up call to all.

The state of South Africa rivers and effluent from defunct sewerage plants, water resource management as well as the failure to address the spread of invasive alien plants and the resultant destruction of bio- diversity will prove detrimental to the country’s ability to cope with the challenges a change in climate will impose upon the nation with its limited resources.

GREF will revisit the outcomes of COP28 during its Annual Climate Change and Environmental Management Indaba to be co- hosted with the Nelson Mandela University in June 2024.

GREF is the premier public platform for regional environmental and conservation managers in the Southern Cape.

For more information and enquiries, send an e-mail to

Visit for more information on the GREF

7 November 2023 Media Release: Mental Wellness in the spotlight in Kannaland

Media Release: Mental Wellness in the spotlight in Kannaland

For Immediate Release
7 November 2023

Life can be really tough at times, and we need to know how we can improve our own mental wellness. In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, mental wellness outreaches were done in Kannaland aimed to start the conversation around mental wellness.

Several outreaches took place in October in Zoar, Calitzdorp and Ladismith.

Dennis Jacobs from Zoar is outspoken when it comes to especially men and mental wellness. ‘It doesn’t make you less of a man to talk about your problems,’ he said.

Younger men also joined the conversation.

Bboy Da Vinci, a local entertainer from Oudtshoorn, said that dancing gives him purpose. ‘Dancing gives me purpose to life every day; it is my way of expressing myself. When I dance, nothing else matters,’ he said.

Speaking on the importance of these mental wellness outreaches, psychologist Estelle Crause said: ‘It’s important for people to be made aware of how they can take care of their mental wellness and where they can go if they feel they might need help. This is why we do these outreaches, it’s to bring awareness to our communities.’ A psychiatrists, registered councillor and mental health nurse do rotational visits to clinics in the subdistrict.

Mental wellness is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. Estelle spoke on what you can do to help improve your mental wellness. ‘Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining mental wellness and preventing the onset of mental health disorders. I always tell my patients to eat foods that are high in L-tyrosine such as chicken, fish, cheese, bananas and milk.

‘It’s really important to spend some time outdoors too. Going for walks in nature or doing some exercises or just soaking up some sunrays for a few minutes a day is beneficial to our bodies. A sense of mental well-being also supports our immune system, thus our physical health and vice versa,’ Estelle said.

For those who struggle with getting enough sleep, she said: ‘It’s important to be mindful of your evening routine if you want to get a good night’s rest. Limit coffee, alcohol and sugar at night as well as screen time. Have an evening routine that calms your nervous system gradually and try to avoid strenuous exercise before bed because this boosts your body temperature and all those feel-good chemicals which might keep you awake a little longer.’

We also need to make time for ourselves and do things that we enjoy. Jadon Moses from Ladismith knows that we need to do things that makes us happy. ‘Making music helps me,’ said the young musician.

Every individual can take meaningful steps toward better mental wellness. If you feel you might be suffering from a mental health condition, you can go to your local clinic or make contact with the organizations below.

Where to get support:

  • If you are a learner experiencing abuse, and/or need advice or counselling support, you can call the Western Cape Education Department’s Safe Schools toll free hotline on 0800 45 46 47.
  • Need help or advice about relationships, sex, pregnancy, or your body? Send a ‘please call me’ to 083 323 1023 to speak to a trained health expert, call 0800 121 900 or visit
  • Feel alone, overwhelmed, or anxious? Get free help from the Cipla Mental Health Helpline. Speak to a trained counsellor. Send a SMS to 31393 (24/7), call 0800 456 789 (24/7) or WhatsApp 076 882 2775 (8AM – 5PM)
  • Did you know you can call the free 24/7 emergency suicide helpline for help? Speak to a trained counsellor that you can trust. Call 0800 567 567 any time of the day or night.

Featured image caption: From left: Claudel-Draai – Health Promotion, Misida – Registered Councillor and Estelle Krause – Psychiatrist


Nadia Ferreira

Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

Tel: 044 813 1831



27 June 2023 Media Release: The Garden Route DM is becoming more Energy Efficient by the day

Media Release: The Garden Route DM is becoming more Energy Efficient by the day

For Immediate Release
27 June 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is progressing swiftly with enhancing its energy efficiency and demand side management within the region. A GRDM project, which spans over a three-year period, focuses on reducing energy consumption and costs, while promoting the use of clean and sustainable energy sources.

Based on the discussions held during the GRDM Green Energy Summit at Fancourt in 2018, the GRDM recognises its role in leading the way toward a more sustainable future. By implementing energy management systems and installing reasonable, energy-efficient technologies, the municipality aims to deliver services that effectively reduce electricity consumption.

With the success of a funding application of R14 million from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), the GRDM has been able to replace outdated technologies with energy-efficient ones. Budget allocations for the project are as follows: R5 million for the past financial year (ending 30 June 2023), R4 million for 2023/2024, and R5 million for 2024/2025.

The first phase of the project focused on replacing lighting systems and dated air conditioners in all municipal buildings. This short-term goal aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption and costs. Simultaneously, streetlights at GRDM resorts are being retrofitted to align with the municipality’s commitment to sustainable practices. The Department of Planning and Development, led by Mr. Passmore Dongi, oversees the project’s implementation.

To date, significant progress has been made. All lights at the York Street head-office and Mission Street (Community- and Roads Services) have been changed, air conditioners at York Street and Mossel Bay office have been replaced, and street lights at De Hoek Mountain Resort will be replaced before December.

To raise awareness among employees and the community about energy conservation, the Communication Unit of GRDM distributed posters, coasters, license disks, cups, and t-shirts. Furthermore, the municipality plans to conduct an online training session to educate staff members on energy-saving practices that they can also implement in their homes.

To facilitate effective energy management, GRDM will during the next phase, install power metering systems to monitor the energy consumption of lights, air conditioners, and plugs. With this data, the municipality will be able to identify peak energy consumption periods and optimize load shifting to reduce electrical grid strain.

GRDM remains committed to achieving energy efficiency and sustainability goals.

Caption of feature image: Installed new air conditioning unit.


19 May 2023 Media Release: Challenges and Solutions: Minister Kubayi Engages with Local Officials and Communities

Media Release: Challenges and Solutions: Minister Kubayi Engages with Local Officials and Communities

For Immediate Release
19 May 2023

The National Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, accompanied by Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete, conducted a visit to the Garden Route District municipal area in the Western Cape yesterday, 18 May 2023. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the advancements made in providing sustainable human settlements.

The day commenced with Minister Kubayi actively engaging with local municipal officials, as well as provincial representatives, to gain insights into the challenges faced in terms of land availability, bottlenecks, and funding issues. The discussions revealed the need for enhanced communication channels between national, provincial, and local governments, which would lead to a more streamlined approach in addressing current issues.

In addition, the program for the day included significant events, such as the symbolic handover of title deeds to deserving community members from Qolweni in Plettenberg Bay and Concordia in Knysna. Community members were provided an opportunity to express their concerns and raise issues related to housing.

Minister Kubayi also shared her findings at the Khayalethu Bungalow area. She alluded to the distress she witnessed when she visited two vulnerable households whose living conditions in wooden bungalows were unfit for human habitation. She apologised to the community for what she had witnessed and the unbearable conditions in which people were forced to live, addressing both long-standing promises and emerging concerns, ensuring that all matters were duly noted. Some urgent cases were identified as requiring immediate attention and designated as emergency interventions.

During the visit and in response to some of the questions raised by the community, Minister Kubayi emphasised the priority given to the elderly and disabled individuals as beneficiaries for housing.


Drawing from her own personal experiences, she shared a poignant story of her childhood, growing up in a shack as the child of a domestic worker. Through determination and careful saving, she was able to purchase a home for her mother, underscoring the importance of providing dignified housing for all.

On the specific issue of Khayalethu 150 Bungalows being restored, she undertook to close the gap between the different spheres of government and its agency, Housing Development Agency, by establishing an intervention team as well as immediate appointment of a Geotech company to do the structural assessments.

This team which will make contact with local and Provincial / National governments and look at a streamlined approach with targeted performance milestones to bring relief under the Emergency Funding. The funding is now located in her department.

There will regular feedback sessions with the communities to enhance assurability of the programme progress.

Minister Kubayi reiterated her commitment to improving the lives of South African citizens by creating sustainable human settlements. She emphasized the need for collaboration and cooperation among all levels of government to address the challenges faced by communities. She urged members of the communities she addressed in Knysna and Bitou municipal areas to take pride in their homes, surrounds and communities at large, rather than waiting for government to be the change-maker for certain matters. Communities were urged to work together to keep their areas clean, support local entrepreneurs and local businesses, which would result in the economy to grow.

She also made specific reference to the potential of tourism in the region and that it is remains a key driver of jobs and economic growth of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo.

The last part of the Minister’s visit included an opening of a Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) satellite office in George. Learn more about CSOS here:

According to Minister Kubayi, the CSOS office will play a crucial role in promoting harmonious and well-governed community focused access by offering dispute resolution services, regulating governance documentation, providing education and training, and facilitating transparency and access to information.

These pictures were taken during the official launch and ribbon cutting ceremony of the satellite office for Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) in George.

Overall, the visit to the Garden Route District municipal area proved to be an insightful and productive engagement, with Minister Kubayi and Deputy Minister Tshwete demonstrating their dedication to achieving equitable housing solutions for the people of the region.



11 April 2023 Media Release: Awareness about Clean Air a priority for Garden Route DM

Awareness about Clean Air a priority for Garden Route DM

For Immediate Release
11 April 2023

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is committed to promoting a healthy and sustainable environment for its residents. In light of that, GRDM is proud to sponsor the 2023 Clean Air Project, which aims to promote awareness about pollution among primary school students in circuits one and two of the Eden/Karoo educational district. This project will have a significant impact on the community with 96 teachers and 2917 learners participating.

The 2023 Clean Air Project is designed to align with the CAPS curriculum regarding pollution, and focuses on Life Skills in Grade 3. The project is divided into several stages, starting with the distribution of resources to the different schools. The resources include six (6) posters, lesson plans, worksheets, and game cards, available in English, Afrikaans, and iSixhosa.

The second stage involved a 30-minute online introduction presentation, which was well attended and received by teachers. As part of stage three, teachers were provided with self-paced online training where they can earn 5 CTDP points.

During the fourth and final stage of the 2023 Clean Air Project, the project will be implement in the classroom with the learners.  So far, the programme has been well received by all the schools and teachers involved.

It is worth noting that Oudtshoorn has achieved a reward for the best air quality in Africa, according to IQ Air. This achievement is attributed to GRDM consistent investment and contribution towards improving the air quality in the area. It is the goal of GRDM to have all the towns in the Garden Route district among the top ten with the cleanest air in Africa.

The 2023 Clean Air Project is just one of the many initiatives that GRDM’s Air Quality Section is undertaking to achieve this goal. “With the success of this project, it is hoped that more schools in the region will participate in the coming years.  The project is currently in its 6th year cycle. We have reached all the schools in the district and are currently working on the second round. The Klein Karoo was covered last year; next year and the following year, it will be George, Uniondale, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and all primary schools in-between,” said Dr Johann Schoeman, GRDM Manager: District Air Quality Control

School visits booklet 2023


Die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit borg die 2023 Skoon Lug Projek, wat daarop gemik is om bewustheid te skep oor lugbesoedeling onder laerskoolleerders van die Eden/Karoo opvoedkundige distrik. Die projek is in lyn met die CAPS kurrikulum en fokus op Lewensvaardighede in Graad 3. Die inisiatief sluit die verspreiding van hulpbronne na skole, aanlyn opleiding vir onderwysers, en implementering van die projek in die klaskamer in. Die program is goed ontvang deur alle skole, onderwysers en ander rolspelers. Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit werk daarna toe om alle dorpe in die streek onder die top tien Skoonste lug in Afrika te bevorder.


10 March 2023 Media Release: Load shedding relief: GRDM receives R1.6 million for generators from the WC Government

Load shedding relief: GRDM receives R1.6 million for generators from the WC Government

For Immediate Release
10 March 2023

Since load shedding is expected to continue and possibly increase going forward, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) approached the Western Cape Department of Local Government to apply for an Emergency Municipal Load Shedding Grant.

This action was taken in response to the GRDM Disaster Risk Reduction – capacity building plan, aimed at implementing emergency measures at district level to mitigate the impacts of load shedding on municipal services, businesses, and the economy.

In response, GRDM received R1.6 million to buy at least four (4) mobile 120 KVA diesel powered back-up generators. These will help local municipalities in the Garden Route.  The purpose of the new back-up power units would be to use at water and waste water sites.

GRDM also intends to assist local municipalities in need of Water Use Licence Applications/Renewals (WULA). Several municipalities have struggled to comply due to an overflowing or spilling sewer at pump stations – a direct result of not having backup energy at all their sites.

This project will help to temporarily reduce the effects of load shedding on basic services, especially water and sanitation.


Relevant Documentation:

13 February 2023 Media Release: GRDM rolling out R67 million Gwaing Road construction project

Media Release:  GRDM rolling out R67 million Gwaing Road construction project

For immediate release
13 February 2023

As the roads authority for divisional roads in the Garden Route district, the Western Cape Government Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) recently commissioned the upgrading and construction project of Divisional Road 1618 in Gwaing, George. Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is contracted through an agency agreement to implement certain roads projects on DTPW’s behalf.

The Gwaing Road (DR1618) is situated just outside George, near Blanco and connects to the R404, a regional route that connects George with Herold’s Bay, and the R102, situated between the Glentana intersection and the George Airport.

During the project, a section of the road will be upgraded from its start at the R404 to km 4.44 at the R102. The existing 4.44 km gravel surface will be upgraded to a bituminous ‘tarred’ surface.

In addition, improvements will be made to the storm water drainage system, along with other activities. These include the construction of concrete lined side drains, the installation of concrete storm water pipes, and the realignment of certain sections of the road to improve drainage and road safety.

The project is estimated at R 67-million and will last 18 months, starting in January 2023. As part of the GRDM EPWP program, approximately 44 jobs will be created during the construction phase.

During the period of construction, temporary road signs, delineators, flag operators, and speed controls will be utilised to ensure safe use while under construction.

“Road infrastructure is a critical connector to economic, education, health and social opportunities,” said Tertuis Simmers, Provincial Minister of Infrastructure. “The Western Cape is known for the quality and great maintenance of its roads and we remain committed to this.  We take cognisance of the inconvenience this project will have on the lives of our road uses and profusely apologise for this inconvenience. We would like to thank our road users for their patience during this time.” Simmers concluded.


8 February 2023 Media Release:  Construction of the new Garden Route District Municipality Fire Station underway

Update 1 Construction of the new Garden Route District Municipality Fire Station underway

For immediate release
8 February 2023

On 2 February 2023, the construction of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Station commenced.

Due to several compliance matters, the construction of the site was delayed over December and reschedule to start last week. Locally based building contractor, Khubeka Construction CC, has officially commenced work on site and it is all systems go for the project.  This exciting GRDM project will be overseen by a local engineering consultant, Kantey and Templer (Pty) Ltd.

Bearing in mind the delays in the project, a new completion date is set for the 30th of November 2023 with the official handover of the Fire Station envisaged for the 01st of December 2023.

Related article: