Media Release: Cater Care students ready to gain practical experience
For Immediate Release 9 December 2022
On Thursday, 8 December 2022, the last intake of the Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) Cater Care Programme students for 2022 completed their practical training and are now ready to begin the second phase of their training. Their training involve being placed in hospitality establishments in order to gain practical experience during the month of December.
Earlier this year 223 applications were received from youth across the district who applied to form of the Cater Care Programme. Ninety-four (94) applicants were shortlisted for interviews and in the end, 25 youth were selected to be part of this year’s programme. On 17 October 2022, classes for the last intake of the program began, and the award ceremony will be held in February 2023. The Cater Care is a three (3) month programme providing both theoretical and practical (industry-based) training.
The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) through this Cater Care (Food Handler) Training Programme aims to train previously disadvantaged youth in the district, in the hospitality sector. By doing so, the high unemployment rate in the district is being addressed; the unemployed are being trained in Culinary Skills, so they can find employment in local hospitality and tourism companies.
As one of GRDM’s flagship programmes, the Tourism Unit of the District Municipality is responsible for funding the programme, with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Unit contributing to it as well.
In their last practical assignment, students prepared pastry dough.
Media Release: GRDM Integrated Human Settlements Strategic Plan to be enhanced
For Immediate Release
9 December 2022
The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) held its annual Integrated Human Settlements Strategic Plan Review Workshop at the Pine Lodge Conference Centre in George on 10 and 11 November 2022. Several municipalities in the district, internal stakeholders consisting of councillors, senior management from the various internal directorates and external stakeholders consisting of representatives from the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, government agencies in the form of Social Housing Regulatory Authority and Housing Development Agency attended this two-day workshop. Own Haven, GRDM’s development and long-term management partner, also joined the work session on day two.
Alderman Jerome Lambaatjeen, Portfolio Chairperson of Strategic Services, opened the session and welcomed attendees, followed by GRDM Municipal Manager Monde Stratu, who opened his remarks with a quote from Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” Stratu encouraged those present to plan properly in order to fulfil and accomplish Local Government’s objectives and purpose as outlined in Section 51 of the Constitution of South Africa. To change the past, attendees need to make a deliberate effort, he said, leaving them with some food for thought.
Joel Mkunqwana, GRDM Manager: Human Settlements, presented the current Human Settlement Strategic Plan, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. He outlined the purpose of the workshop which is to determine whether substantive changes have been made in relation to the National Legislative and Programme context in order to consider the impact of these changes; to ensure that the Strategic Plan remains relevant to such changes as well as aligned with its administration. In his remarks, he praised the Municipal Manager for his contribution and words of encouragement to planners, noting that he has set the bar high for them to reach. As he closed, he stated that in the human settlement industry, a long-term approach and synergy are the keys to being most effective and making an impact.
Shehaam Sims, co-manager of the GRDM Human Settlement Section, delivered a comprehensive presentation titled, Pursuing an Enabling Environment for Affordable Housing Delivery. In her reflection, she reviewed all the foundational work that has been done so far, including the feasibility study being undertaken; all the applications that had been submitted to all the relevant bodies; the decisions that had been taken; the alignments made with the appropriate authorities; and the information shared on the various platforms. She outlined what has been achieved so far using the GRDM’s vision of becoming the leading, enabling, and inclusive district, characterized by equitable and sustainable development, high quality of life, and equal opportunity for all, as foundation.
This was followed by best practice and useful benchmark presentations by representatives from the Mossel Bay Municipality, GRDM IDP Section, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, the Housing Development Agency and GRDM Communication & Graphic Design Section. Topics under discussion and related impacts included:
Long term financial modelling and targeted use of municipal and state land for long term delivery;
Implementation of the Typology driven approach and model;
Incentives Framework: Comparative Income/Cost implications across the district context;
Human Settlements as one of the significant Chapters of the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) and Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF);
Spatial Justice as define and advocate by the MSDF;
Latest on the strategic acquisition and leveraging of Municipal and State Land/Properties; and
Effective communication and consultative conduits.
The GRDM Social Housing Partners presented comparative social housing products on day two, highlighting the challenges and opportunities and useful lessons learned. Representatives were very interactive and robust in their interaction throughout the two-day sessions, willing to learn from each other. The questions and proceedings were documented and used to refine and update the current GRDM Human Settlements Strategic Plan, which will be reviewed annually in accordance with the Municipal IDP and MSDF.
Presentations made on day one and two can be accessed here:
UPDATE ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE GRDM SOCIAL HOUSING PROJECT:
The first project that the Human Settlements department hopes to pursue, is at Erf 26823, Omega Street in George, for the potential development of Social Rental Housing. Social Rental Housing targets people whose monthly income is between R1850 and R22 000.
A service provider has been procured through the supply chain management process to conduct a feasibility study on the site. The service provider was appointed on 1 August 2022. Numerous activities have been conducted to determine whether the site and its infrastructure can support such development.
The soil conditions have been tested. Currently we await capacity confirmation of water, electricity and sanitation for a 4 storey walk up building, with units varying in arrangement from 1 bedroom to 3 bedrooms with communal areas and requisite parking areas.
A final feasibility report is scheduled to be available by the end of January 2023.
In the event the feasibility report declares the project feasible, the site will be handed over to the Social Housing partner who will prepare a concept plan for approval, followed by other required plans.
Media Release: GRDM is gearing up for the SUMMER SEASON!
For Immediate Release
9 December 2022
In preparation for the Summer season, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Services hosted a joint Integrated Fire Management launch with district partners on Thursday, 01 December 2022.
A wide range of intergovernmental stakeholders attended the event, including representatives from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment, Cape Nature, San Parks and GRDM Disaster Management. Also in attendance were representatives from PG Bison Forestry, MTO Forestry, Kishugu Aviation (WOF), Working on Fire, and Nelson Mandela University.
The Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen delivered the keynote address during which he emphasised the need for stronger collaboration and integration between the different stakeholders. “This will ensure better preparedness for the task at hand, as we deal with fires in a preventative rather than a punitive manner,” he said.
In his remarks, Mayor Booysen acknowledged the role played by the different stakeholders and noted the fact that there is no longer a beginning or end to the annual ‘fire seasons,’ especially in light of climate change. He referred to the fuel loads in the region as a massive risk and called upon all governmental stakeholders to work better together. “Our discussions must shift to preparedness. District Mayors need to address the fuel loads on all their various platforms. It is imperative that fires are detected early, and we ought to use the technology available, such as cameras and satellites, to assist in the response and preparation,” he said.
In conclusion, Alderman Booysen mentioned that the work of the firefighting fraternity is not unnoticed, and the challenges they faced are well known to the district’s mayors. He praised the Working on Fire Program and pointed out how these firefighters walk, on the N2 and in the mountains, as a sign of their care and devotion.
Frank Smook, of WoF/Kishugu Aviation, spoke about coordinated operations and noted that Denneoord Airbase will be home to two Command & Control planes, two AT802 Bomber planes, and a helicopter. The importance of having all agencies working and pulling together was stressed by him. Also the importance of having fire apparatus and aerial resources ready at all times, as well as knowing your region’s fire danger index on any given day. Smook explained the significance of activating an aerial firefighting response, such as an initial attack, as soon as smoke is detected in high-risk areas, in order to suppress a fire quickly and efficiently. Lastly, he said good communication is essential, particularly WhatsApp groups, which assist in coordination and can be utilised for communication amongst agencies.
The Southern Cape Fire Protection Association’s Dirk Smit explained the importance of having sound systems in place, alluded to efforts to improve Integrated Fire Management, creating platforms to address the real issues and reinforcing partnerships in our region to make a difference. He also pointed out that firefighters’ safety is very important and that this aspect must be a priority to ensure that they can perform the tasks at hand. He wished everyone a safe season.
In conclusion Deon Stoffels, GRDM Chief Fire Officer started his address as follows: “First and foremost, we are here to protect people and property, but it is equally vital to protect the environment, which provides a wealth of natural resources essential to the economy of the region, and that collaboration is imperative between stakeholders in fire management. Whilst protecting the urban areas, it is also equally important to protect the rural areas, including farmers and farm workers, crops, vineyards and infrastructure,” he said.
The Summer Season Operational Plan, inclusive of all stakeholder’s resource availability are in place and ready to be activated for each respective jurisdictional area when and if the need arises.
A special recognition was given to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre for the ‘PDMC First Hour’. This is available to the District for a period of 01 December 2022 to 31 March 2023 to ensure rapid aerial firefighting resources could be activated upon vegetation or mountain fire detection.
Fire Safety & Prevention is everyone’s responsibility and the public is urged to apply caution in their own individual spaces. It is however vitally important to alert the Fire Brigade Services immediately upon detecting any form of fire breakout.
Media Statement: Clean-up of Garden Route beaches underway
For Immediate Release
30 November 2022
The Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Joint Operations Centre (JOC) hosted a meeting today with a number of key stakeholders to discuss the current state of the small-scale oil/hydrocarbons spill that was detected on some of the Garden Route beaches in the last day or two. The key objective is to mitigate the effects of oil droplets on the environment and marine life, as well as to promptly clean the temporarily closed beaches and re-open them before the holiday season.
Cleaning teams on the ground in Mossel Bay use a water filtration system to float off droplets of oil from exposed areas of sand collected from the affected beaches. This will be duplicated elsewhere where beaches are temporarily affected by the contaminants. In addition to this, estuaries that are currently open i.e. Hartenbos, Kleinbrak, Knysna, as well as Keurbooms, are closely monitored for any droplets.
The droplets are notably higher in density during high tide and their size of them differs per area. The Hessequa local municipality indicated that the ones found at the Gouritz beach were only the size of the head of a match, Bitou Municipality found 5mm size ones and Mossel Bay found larger ones.
The way forward is for GRDM to have specialists from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, as well as South African National Parks, do a reconnaissance flight later today or early tomorrow morning (dependent on the weather), to scan the coastline from Gouritz to Plettenberg Bay. This will assist them to determine the origin of the spill as well as monitoring if any others are still en route to any of the Garden Route beaches.
While the clean-up and isolation actions are underway, beaches will be classified according to specific colour codes: green, orange, and red. These indicate the readiness of beaches for the public to access them again. The following beaches in the Mossel Bay municipal area have already been classified.
The various colour codes used at the moment.
An idea of how the density of droplets on beaches is linked to the colour-codes.
Members of the public are urged to stay pro-active by not walking on beaches that are closed or swimming in red or orange-classified beach areas until further notice. For those who mistakenly access areas where beaches are closed and come into contact with the oily substance, foot-cleaning stations will be set up. There is already one at the Hartenbos Blue Flag beach.
Possible cleaning methods if you do come into contact with oil droplets:
Step 1: Combine a teaspoon of baking soda and a quarter of a cup of normal white vinegar in a mixing bowl.
Step 2: Scrub your hands with the baking soda and vinegar mixture.
Step 3: After rinsing your hands in water, wash them with regular soap and water.
Or use a normal grease-cutting hand cleaner.
It is not likely that the temporary closure of some beaches will have an impact on the holiday season ahead. Cleaning of beaches are underway, and several beaches are ready to be re-opened again.
Next update: Another update will be issued tomorrow, 1 December 2022.
If any member of the public notices small black pellets on any beach along the Garden Route, please report it to the Emergency Call Centre, 044 805 5071.
The Garden Route District Municipality Joint Operations Centre includes the following stakeholders: Garden Route District Municipality, Bitou, Knysna, George, Mossel Bay and Hessequa Municipalities, Provincial Disaster Management Centre, South African Maritime Association, DFFE: Oceans to Coast, Transnet, CapeNature, PetroSA, South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality supports Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch
For immediate ielease 18 November 2022
On Tuesday, 15 November 2022, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), as the ‘parent holder’ of the Transfer Payment Agreement Grant between the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and local municipalities in the district, handed over Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch. Items included torches, batons and two-way radios.
GRDM was approached by the Thembalethu Area Based Team (ABT), formed by various community structures in Thembalethu, who requested assistance due to the high crime rate in the area for the neighbourhood watch. A request for PPE was received later during a Neighbourhood Watch and Community Forum (CPF) Indaba held.
Advocate van Niekerk, the Executive Mayor of GRDM, handed over the 90 batons, 20 two-way radios, and 20 torches to the Chairperson’s of the different sectors within the Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch. The items valued at twenty thousand rand (R20 000). In his remarks, Advocate van Niekerk, GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor for GRDM, thanked the members of the Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch for their commitment and willingness to stand out and take the lead. “To sit at home and point fingers, to complain, to ‘moan and groan’, is always the easy route, but the most difficult part is to wake-up in the early hours and to go out on patrol and to make sure your neighbourhood is safe – that makes you heroes,” Van Niekerk said.
Representatives from the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, the Deputy Executive Mayor of the GRDM, Advocate Gert Van Niekerk, members of the GRDM Mayoral Committee, the Executive Members of the Thembalethu CPF, the chairpersons and secretaries of the three sectors of Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch and the South African Police Service were in attendance.
Media Release: State-of-the-Art Regional Fire Station expected by June 2023
For immediate release 4 November 2022
Wednesday, 2 November 2022, marked a major milestone for the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) when the first sod was turned for its regional fire station, which will be built on erven 22494 & 22495 (5 877 m2) in the Tamsui Industria area in George. Construction of the R11, 6 million fire station will commence on 15 November 2022 if the weather conditions permits. Of the grand total, R3 million was provided by the Western Cape Department of Local Government and George Municipality donated two properties, to be consolidated as one, as well as waived the development charges for the properties.
This historic event was attended by the region’s Executive Mayors, Municipal Managers, Chief Fire Officers, representatives of the principle agent which will oversee the construction process, representatives from the construction firm appointed to construct the facility, stakeholders in integrated fire management throughout the District, representatives from the Western Cape Department of Local Government (WCDLG) Disaster Management and Fire & Rescue Services , and most importantly, the 40 GRDM firefighters which will receive a lasting home from which operations will be based from. The facility will also have a specially incorporated component which will make provision for housing a specialised wildland firefighting ground crew.
During his address, Monde Stratu Municipal Manager referred to the day as the culmination of a very lengthy process, given the difficulties of engaging in supply chain processes and raising capital. He extended a word of gratitude to the George Municipality for availing the land for the long-awaited fire station, and for waiving the property’s service fees. “This is a demonstration that whatever happens in cooperative governments or societies, we have a responsibility to work together.”
Furthermore, Stratu thanked the WCDLG for contributing 3 million rand to assist GRDM towards the project. In his conclusion, he stated that the gathering served as a symbolic event where all stakeholders came together to witness and celebrate a regional fire station which will belong to the region.
Clive Africa, Executive Manager of the GRDM Community Services under which the Fire Services reside, provided an overview of the history, background and origin of the GRDM fire services, which were established by volunteers in 1987. Initially, there were 14 fire fighters who managed the entire Garden Route District in terms of Firefighting and Disaster Management.
In his opening remarks, Alderman Leon van Wyk, Mayor of George Municipality, expressed his gratitude to his Council for approving the decision to avail the land to GRDM. He referred to MM Stratu’s comments about the waiving of the development charges and explained that in his opinion, the development charges are a type of debate that all municipalities are grappling with – a contentious and complex matter.
According to Ald. van Wyk, the George Municipal Council has adopted a policy previously known as capital contributions that has escalated due to the revised land use legislation that was passed recently. In accordance with legal advice to his Council, site-specific development charges should be investigated and municipalities had to develop a structure within those development charges to fund future infrastructure replacement costs. In closing, Alderman Van Wyk referred to the challenges of climate change in the world. He stated that according to scientists, the Garden Route is susceptible to wind damage and all the risks that come with it.
Colin Deiner, WCDLG Chief Director: Disaster Management, informed the audience about the Western Cape Fire Service Capacity Building Grants offered by the Disaster Management Fire & Rescue Services. He gave an overview of their origins and how grants are allocated each year.
Deiner explained that they assessed the number of trained firefighter’s municipalities have; as without the right people and the right training, it is of no use. He continues to explain, that in 2014, only 14% of firefighters in the Western Province were trained to the required level, but just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this number had gone up to 95%. He mentioned the possibility of putting together a Garden Route District flood task-force. The idea would be to place an equipment cache in the Garden Route, in an attempt to train people from across the province and if a flood situation occurs in the Garden Route or another province needs assistance, help can be offered by trained people from across the province.
During his keynote address, Executive Mayor for GRDM, Ald. Memory Booysen commended the Executive Mayor of Hessequa Municipality with the following words: “Mayor Riddles, you are my hero. You are one of the few mayors who annually allocate funds for your fire department. Whether it is a hazmat vehicle, a LDV skid unit, or a ladder, there is always something in there for your fire department. This is something I admire about you, and I want to follow suit.”
He encouraged the ‘men and women’ in Disaster Management and Fire Services to continue to protect lives and property. “Continue to be the toughest fire fighters in the Western Cape and in South Africa.”
During the vote of thanks, GRDM’s Deputy Executive Mayor, Advocate Gert van Niekerk said: “We are all part of history today; and in the years to come, we will be able to come here and tell whoever is here at the station that we were here on this historic day.”
He further said that the example set between the GRDM and its allies, the George Municipality and Provincial Government to ensure the success of this project, is a true road to follow in future joint-ventures to serve in the best interest of not only George, but the broader Garden Route District. This is an example of what can be accomplished when a true commitment is shown between entities to work together.
According to Deon Stoffels, GRDM Chief Fire Officer, the long-awaited fire station is essential to the GRDM Fire Services in fulfilling its statutory mandate and diverse set of functions. For the GRDM to have its own fire station is a considerable upgrade for the institution, especially one built according to required National Regulations and Standards for fire station buildings. The proposed state of the art fire station facility will be furnished with overhead automotive roll-up doors, a traditional firefighter sliding pole, a backup electricity generator, firefighters sleeping quarters and a fully equipped gym. The facility will also be an investment in Council infrastructure and its asset base. “From the onset we also wanted to go the extra mile to provide firefighting staff with several additional features because they spend the majority of their days here, with the intent of ensuring their physical and mental well-being.”
Media Release: CALITZDORP NATURAL HOT SPRINGS RESORT
For Immediate Release
4 November 2022
Discover a relaxing resort with natural hot springs
Calitzdorp Hot Springs is nestled on the slopes of the Swart- and Rooiberg Mountains in the Klein Karoo – 25km from Calitzdorp and 45km from Oudtshoorn. It is an all-year-round breakaway holiday destination for families, groups, couples, solitude seekers and nature lovers who wish to temporarily escape the hustle and bustle of city life. There is also nothing more tranquil than relaxing in Calitzdorp Hot Springs nestled in the Klein-Karoo. You can relax your tense muscles and ease your stress by swimming in a hot spring pool.
Upgrades over the past two years
Several improvements have been made to the accommodation facility over the last two years. Among the most significant changes were the name change the resort underwent from Calitzdorp Spa to Calitzdorp Hot Springs in June 2022, referencing the resort’s unique selling point – it’s hot springs. The roofs of the swimming pool, mountain chalets, reception area, and main buildings were also upgraded and replaced with steel-based Harvey tiles. The service provider who installed it did a sterling job. Be sure to visit the company’s Facebook page to see how they transform many other properties around Africa: www.facebook.com/BunduDakke.Western.Cape
Over the past months the accommodation facility has gradually started to reclaim its position as an ideal breakaway retreat, reclaiming its rightful position in the magnificent Klein Karoo mountains. The four (4) campsites, pool lapas, ablution facilities, day visitor camping area, braai stands and cold swimming pools have also been upgraded.
Five (5) new secluded campsites have been introduced which provide a unique experience that is synonymous with wild camping in the Karoo.
Roman Bath also has a new face
One of the resort’s most popular amenities is its Roman Bath area, which has been completely revamped. Both the bath and the outdoor hot spring pools are heated directly from the earth, where the ‘natural hot spring’ water temperature is around 50 degrees Celsius. Many guests who have visited the resort have mentioned relief from symptoms such as sprains, high blood pressure, bruises, and rheumatic pain, because of the healing waters offered. The Roman Bath’s windows and interior, including the floor tiles, were replaced. Several pots with indoor plants and décor were added to give it a soft and relaxing atmosphere.
Activities & entertainment offered
Calitzdorp Hot Springs is a safe and secure resort, offering several new activities for overnight guests, from family fun to something for everyone. While some children enjoy playing on the jungle gyms, others can explore the green lawns playing volleyball, ride their bicycles across the vast plains or play a game of giant chess or table tennis.
Apart from the two cold-water pools and one hot spring pool for overnight guests, there is also a tennis court. The Hot Springs is also home to dozens of springboks, mountain tortoises, and tame colourful peacocks who roam undisturbed terrain. For the nature lover, there are three hiking trails on the premises, including the Springbok Hiking Trail (3.2 km), the Tortoise Trail (800 m) and the Fish Eagle Trail (1.3 km), each of which are relatively easy to walk, run or explore with a mountain bike.
It is a bird watcher’s paradise at our resort with over 72 species observed by bird watchers. Guests can enjoy early morning sights and sounds of lovely bird calls in a roofed birdwatching spot.
Activities outside the Hot Springs
The accommodation facility is surrounded by several farms that offer wine tasting, in particular, fortified wines. Locals and travellers exploring Calitzdorp, and also enjoy fruit-picking and purchasing locally produced dried fruits.
Next to Calitzdorp Hot Springs is the Gamka Mountain Nature Reserve where the Cape Mountain Zebra can be seen. The many scenic passes such as the Swartberg Pass that leads to the enchanting town of Prince Albert and the mountainous Seweweeks Poort, is probably the most picturesque 18 km stretch of gravel road anywhere in South Africa. It consists of easy gradients, multiple river crossings and stunning geology.
Hosting music festivals and movie nights
In the past year, Calitzdorp Hot Springs twice hosted the Echo Outdoor Gathering festival. On both occasions, more than 500 people from across the country attended the three-day event. Guests shared positive and encouraging reviews about the resort, and the organisers said they definitely plan to return. These events promote healthy family life, promote district resources, generate income, and increase visitor flow in the region.
We intend to add more activities to our offering and give our clients unique experiences through movie nights. This will be offered from 2023.
Future upgrades and enhancements
Passmore Dongi, the Manager: Projects, properties, facilities and resorts, said the resort will soon go green. “At Calitzdorp Hot Springs, we are going green through the introduction of renewable energy. GRDM has already implemented this successfully at one of its resorts (Dehoek Mountain Resort). As a result of the success of that project, we want to expand to our other resorts to become the leading resort in the country with climate-smart resorts that reduce carbon footprints.”
Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality’s role in the Rooikat Recycling Project
For Immediate Release
24 October 2022
In terms of Section 36 of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act 39 of 2004) the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is charged with implementing the atmospheric emission licencing system. In accordance with the Air Quality Act, the GRDM is responsible for performing the licensing function of a licensing authority.
The Rooikat recycling PTY Ltd applied for an atmospheric emission licence on the South Africa Atmospheric Emission and Licencing portal (SAAELIP) and went through an Environmental impact assessment process. This process involved, amongst others, public participation, and specialist studies (air quality impact assessment).
After consideration, the integrated Environmental Authorisation (Waste Licence) was granted after which the GRDM also granted the Provisional Atmospheric emission licence (PAEL). Both these authorisations were appealed and both appeals were rejected by the applicable appeal authorities. Please find below the granting letter issued to Rooikat as well as the appeal outcome letter from the Municipal Manager of the GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu.
Media Release: Take action during Breast Cancer Awareness month
For Immediate Release
20 October 2022
Annually, October marks “Breast Cancer Awareness month”. In this month, awareness about breast cancer risks and signs are shared with the public and support is offered to those suffering from this illness.
According to studies, early detection remains key to controlling cancer. This means, early and adequate diagnosis can lead to effective treatment, resulting in an excellent chance to cure breast cancer. Therefore, women must empower themselves with the knowledge to lower their health risks. Furthermore, they should be able to address the warning signs of cancer as quickly as possible.
In South Africa, breast cancer is known to be one of the most common cancers among women of all races. All women are at risk, particularly women with a family history of breast cancer. Approximately 90% of patients survive breast cancer after diagnosis during early detection, but this should be 100% – a whole of society approach is required for this to be achieved.
South Africans are lucky to have an organisation like CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) involved in lowering cancer risks and providing an integrated service to all people affected by cancer. CANSA continuously supplies the public with information and support. They are committed to offering day-to-day help, including emotional support to the patients. Their mission is also to ensure that cancer survivors and loved ones aren’t alone in the fight against cancer.
In support of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”, women are encouraged to go for annual medical check-ups and cancer screening; and familiarise themselves with the early warning signs and symptoms of cancer. It is also crucial for women to regularly check their breasts and visit health care practitioners if changes are noticed. Awareness of risk factors can help women reduce their cancer risk.
The following are common breast cancer signs and symptoms, which include:
a lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit – you might feel the lump but not see it;
a change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling;
a change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed;
a change to the nipple, for example, it has become pulled in (inverted);
rash or crusting around the nipple;
any unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple; and
changes in the size or shape of the breast.
Women must develop the habit of regularly checking their breasts, including the upper chest areas and armpits. The TLC technique (Touch Look Check) makes it easy.
Touch your breasts: can you feel anything unusual?
Look for changes: does anything look different?
Check any changes with your GP
Remember, early detection and awareness can result in an earlier diagnosis, resulting in better treatment outcomes. It is in the nature of a woman to put others first – however, women must realize they too have the right to prioritize their own health.
Media Release: Garden Route domestic tourism trip attended by Journalists and Bloggers
19 October 2022 For immediate release
Early this year, the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro) entered into a three-year partnership agreement with Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) to accelerate the region’s economic growth, investment, trade and tourism. Clear targets and deliverables were set out in this agreement. In order to increase domestic demand along the Garden Route & Klein Karoo, a familiarisation trip was organised with business and media delegations from Gauteng and Western Cape. The focus of this trip/educational was mainly on family and budget friendly packaging that is on offer in our region.
The trip consisted of 15 participants, including tour operators offering family-friendly packages, media representatives (print and online) focusing on family-friendly experiences, Wesgro representatives, and GR&KK representatives. The five-day trip took place across the entire Garden Route & Klein Karoo region
The initiatives are in line with the Growth and Development Strategy and Garden Route Economy Recovery Plan to boost the Garden Route economy.
Itinerary summary and highlights of the GR&KK Famtrip
Day one, the group met each other for the first time as they arrived at George Airport from their different flights with the tour operator – Tours 4 SA receiving the group. The drive to Garden Route Game Route was indeed pleasant with inviting weather and the group commenting on the diverse landscape witnessed enroute.
GRDM’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, and a delegation from Council welcomed the group with a networking lunch at Albertina’s Garden Route Game Lodge, highlighting the region’s beauty and splendour.
Day two, was utilised to explore the Garden Route Game Lodge property and to engage with management. The purpose of the trip was to promote the region as a tourism destination.
The group enjoyed the Western Cape Butterfly Sanctuary in Ruiterbos, which was officially opened in November 2021 and is the first and only butterfly sanctuary in the region.
On the third day, the group experienced the Karoo in its true essence in Oudtshoorn, from an ostrich farm safari to visiting the Cango Caves. A highlight of any trip to Oudtshoorn is this experience. The evening ended with an amazing night game drive at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge. This was an experience of the nocturnal side of wildlife, with many animal sightings and a coffee break under the stars while on the game drive which ended the night on a high note.
Day four, saw the group once again experiencing why many visitors to the Garden Route & Klein Karoo enjoy self-drives through the region Guests travelled from Oudtshoorn to Plettenberg Bay to visit the SAASA sanctuaries (Jukani and Birds of Eden). Feedback from the guests was that it felt like an ‘Amazon’ experience as they navigated through the world’s largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary.
Day five offered a taste of adventure that included zip lining, climbing and hanging from ropes at the Timberlake organic village between Sedgefield and Wilderness at Acrobranch. This wasfollowed by a boat ride in the Wilderness National Park.
As the group left George after a closing lunch at Redberry Farm, they felt invigorated on the one side, but also sad that they had to bid farewell to the beautiful Garden Route and Klein Karoo.
According to Mrs Amagene Koeberg, GRDM Tourism Coordinator, “continuous engagements are still underway with the group as they publish their experiences and share it with their various audiences through different platforms, as some of the participants have already shared TikTok videos, images, videos and some of the tour operators already engaging with our products/services to include the offerings into their packages. These platforms are being monitored and more statistics and reach will be relayed over a period of time as content gets released, “she said.