Category: <span>media_statements</span>

30 November 2022 Media Statement 1: Clean-up of Garden Route beaches underway

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).

18 November 2022 Media Relese: Garden Route District Municipality supports Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch

Media Release:  Garden Route District Municipality supports Thembalethu Neighbourhood Watch

For immediate release
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 Deputy 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 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.

4 November 2022 Media Release: State-of-the-Art Regional Fire Station expected by June 2023

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.”


4 November 2022 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:

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.”


24 October 2022 Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality’s role in the Rooikat Recycling Project

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.

PAEL Granting letter

Reason for appeal decision


20 October 2022 Media Release: Take action during Breast Cancer Awareness month

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.


19 October 2022 Media Release: Garden Route domestic tourism trip attended by Journalists and Bloggers

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.


12 September 2022 Media Release: GRDM faced with another tragic loss – Adri Miles passes away

GRDM faced with another tragic loss – Adri Miles passes away

For immediate release
12 September 2022

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) family has suffered yet another tragic loss after one of its dear colleagues, Adri Miles, passed away at the age of 37 during the early hours of 7 September 2022.

Adri was a mother of two who started her GRDM career in October 2007 as a temporary employee in the Social Development section. She was later permanently appointed at GRDM Community Services as an Administrative Assistant for Municipal Health Services on 1 June 2010. This was as a result of her excellent work ethic and dedication to her job.

Tributes have already been poured in from friends, colleagues and family. Her love for singing, dedication to her religious beliefs and her winning smile and warm character, are some of the character traits she will be remembered for.  Her colleague and ‘bosom-buddy’ at work for more than ten years, Lee-ann Eksteen remembers Adri as her confidant and sister. “She taught me a lot, especially not to give up easily and to trust in God for everything. ‘His eye is on the sparrow’, was one of the songs we often sang with passion and enthusiasm – ‘uit volle bors’! My heart will always smile when I recall those special memories. I will always feel pain knowing that she is no longer with us, but the thought that she is truly free, gives me comfort”.

“Fly high, my friend, until we meet again!” – Lee-Ann Eksteen.

Melanie Wilson, Adri’s first supervisor at the then Eden District Municipality, recalls working with her as a young, passionate and dedicated twenty-year-old ‘girl’, who began her journey at the Social Development Section of Community Services in 2007.   “She was a beautiful, vibrant and powerful young woman.  Our connection with her, was instant and when I moved over to Tourism and Economic Development, it was a heart-breaking time for both of us.”

Melanie further said: “She was full of life, love and light.  She was not ashamed to display and demonstrate her love for God. Without a doubt a God-fearing woman. My heart is broken by Adri’s passing. The legacy and memories that she leaves behind will live in my heart forever,” Melanie concluded. On a lighter note, Wilson also referred to their fellow colleague Johannes Jaftha and Adri who always opened all their programs by singing the National Anthem in perfect harmony.

As GRDM family, we send our deepest sympathies to our late colleague’s family, husband, and their two children, whom she treasured so much and who have brought her so much love and joy.

Her voice has surely become silent, but her memories will always live on in our hearts.

Let’s take comfort in the words of one of her favorited songs:  His eye is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, And long for heaven, heaven and home,
When, when Jesus is my portion, My constant Friend is He;

Oh, oh-oh, his eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watched, watched it over me.

31 August 2022 Media Release: Social Housing Event – Own Haven Housing Association Introduced to Stakeholders

Media Release: Social Housing Event – Own Haven Housing Association Introduced to Stakeholders

31 August 2022

On Monday, 29 August 2022, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) held an event at the municipality’s Fire Station in George to introduce the GRDM Social Housing delivery partnership. After the formal activities, stakeholders conducted a walkabout to view the various proposed sites earmarked for possible Affordable Housing delivery. Although the walkabouts took place, the GRDM recognises that normal basic assessments processes would still need to be conducted and interested and affected parties consulted in the future. The related planning and engineering authorities (e.g. zoning and bulk or civil services studies/applications) of the proposed developments are also important. Considerations together with related public comments and eventual indications of support or objections must be considered before any final decisions can be made.

The introduction of Own Haven Housing Company, the appointed Social Rental Housing Delivery partner, was indeed a historic and prestigious moment and necessity as part of the event. It was attended by the Western Cape Government Minister of Infrastructure, MEC Tertuis Simmers, along with a delegation from his office, Mayors and councillors from the Garden Route District, Human Settlement representatives from the local municipalities in the district, and stakeholders and partners. The event truly highlighted the value of cooperative governance and partnership arrangements between different spheres of government in the aim for delivering affordable housing.

In its role as a leading, enabling, and inclusive district, GRDM believes that the key government strategic plans and interventions which emphasize the need for co-planning, co-budgeting, and co-implementation, as encouraged by the Joint Metro Development Approach (JMDA) and District Development Model (DDM), are essential anchors and important levers of the One Plan strategic approach.

In preparation and foundation of the afore-mentioned event, an earlier Memorandum of Agreement had been concluded formally between GRDM and the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WC DoHS), committing themselves as public partners to the long-term development objective of providing affordable housing until June 2025.

In addition, the GRDM’s Human Settlements Department earlier this year held a Strategic consultative workshop on 25th March 2022 with all the projected its development partners and stakeholders during which the concept of an Integrated District Approach to Human Settlement was advocated and promoted. More significantly, GRDM Human Settlement Department intention to align its functions with the local municipalities is an appropriate attempt to meet the requirements of co-planning, co-budgeting and co– implementation, was discussed. GRDM’s Integrated Human Settlements Strategic Plan and Human Settlements Sector Plan were also approved by the GRDM Council this year. According to Mr Mkunqwana of the GRDM’s Human Settlements Unit, these will guide and map the envisaged long-term development of affordable housing typologies in well located areas which spatially promote socio-economic integration and sustainability.

During the well-attended event, focus was placed on GRDM’s long term commitment to affordable housing, represented by the following housing products in well located areas:
• Social Rental Housing;
• FLISP/GAP Individual Home Ownership Schemes; and
• Inclusionary Housing.

Own Haven Housing Company Managing Director, Mr A Wiseman, delivered a brief background on how his company was established twenty years ago and their experience in the social housing sector. He explained how Own Haven initiated a partnership with a Dutch social housing company who were experts in this field, and with the East London Municipality at the time. In this way, South Africans and its broader context were introduced to the concept of social housing.

“We were established as the developer and management entity of the first housing project that was developed between Dunkin House Housing Association in the Netherlands and East London Municipality, a mere 380 units situated just outside Dunkin Village. Also, to offer a housing career to its residents, key to the presentation is that social housing is a permanent rental accommodation opportunity for its residents. They may over time choose to migrate to preferred alternative forms of individual ownership. In fact, it is not a rent-to-own or a community-owned model, but a step added to a municipality’s housing options and promotion of mobility in the affordable housing context.

Residents usually stay for four to six years, and as their families grow or their economic status improves or they relocate for work opportunities, they move on, which results in another family staying in the same apartment,” Wiseman said.
Clarification of the roles and responsibilities in delivering and managing rental housing opportunities in well-located areas to facilitate socio-economic integration over the long run was also shared. Also, Own Haven’s role in ensuring mobility from poverty entrapment zones to restructuring zones was elaborated on.

During his address, Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of the GRDM told the audience that his adrenaline is pumping because Human Settlements is such an imperative and sensitive matter. “Colleagues in Human Settlements, there will always be tensions; there will always be instigators and “naysayers”. In Bitou, I witnessed trouble makers trying to stop the minister from handing over homes to the beneficiaries. However, I would like to commend Minister Simmers for setting the tone during an event that could have turned disastrous. You stood your ground and you led by example. You showed us that we should not let troublemakers stop the government from forming partnerships with beneficiaries – our communities.”

In his speech, he encouraged officials and attendees not to let anyone stop the delivery of Human Settlements to the communities. The use of human settlements to cause riots will continue and should not deter us as public authorities to offer appropriate affordable housing opportunities. If the good people rise up and stand together, municipalities can accomplish what government promised to do.

On a lighter note, Ald. Booysen explained that a person can enter any shopping centre or ask anybody whether they are in favour of Integrated Human Settlements and the answer will be yes, but the moment people realise that it will happen in their neighbourhood or that it will happen next to them, “then the not in my backyard or neighbourhood syndrome comes forward”. In conclusion Booysen emphasised that this GRDM Social Housing programme is district driven and will benefit all seven municipalities within the Garden Route. According to him, the GRDM is not trying to play big brother, but are in partnership with all the local municipalities in the district and the Western Cape Government in order to make this project a reality. “Only though partnership we will be able to achieve this, so let’s embrace it.”

MEC Simmers, Minister of Infrastructure for the Western Cape Government, spoke about “The essence of affordable housing partnerships – three spheres of government”. This is linked to the currently reviewed MoA concluded between the WC Government and the GRDM which focuses primarily on the following:
• Municipal accreditation
• Enhancement of the internal institutional capacity of the GRDM’ Human Settlements function

Minister Simmers reflected on the time when he started his journey as MEC of the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements in 2019, and explained that he then committed himself to four basic principles, “I chose the word radical for a specific reason; because I believe that you cannot continue doing the same thing and expect a different outcome. If so, you are failing the people you need to lead towards a better quality of life for if we do not do that, we will be failing our people. For that reason, I chose the word radical, because it means different inclinations, innovation and that you can do things and take your key stakeholders along on the journey,” Simmers stated in his speech.

According to MEC Simmers as the Western Cape Government, on our journey to roll out integrated human settlements, we need partnerships. I am glad I was chosen to speak on this topical matter. The reality is the fiscus is getting less and the budgets in terms of Human Settlements are getting smaller. Therefore, the logical thing to do is to expand our base of partnerships,” he said.

MEC Simmers further explained that in 2019 he could not ‘get his head around’ how social housing funding works. “Houses are built; bases are expanded; no profit is made, and multi-million rand budgets are spent. However, at an information session, I learned that partnerships are essential. Also that there is funding available in the world to organisations that have a clear, solid, policy framework. This gives organisations a clear plan on how a budget will be spent.” He shared with the attendees that the GRDM is the first district municipality in WCG history with whom they have entered into a partnership, because in his opinion, a district municipality forms part of the local government ‘family’, although their role may have changed, they still have a mandate to carry out. The MEC encouraged municipalities to work together and to make communities part of their journeys. He called on councillors to become the voice of their communities and to embody the partnerships which honour the visions of the provincial and national governments.

In conclusion, MEC Simmers mentioned that there is a total distortion of what affordable and social housing is, but that affordable housing is the core focus of the WCG. “If you are a councillor and you don’t understand the concepts yet, you really need to wake-up and contact the WCG Human Settlements Department in order to be empowered with the requisite skills. It is said that when you start with the end in mind, you will know what bridges to cross to get you to the end,” he said.

After the formal program, the following sites were visited as potential sites for planned developments:

• Erf 26823, Omega Street, George (owned by GRDM)
• Erven 6236, 6231, 659, 658, CJ Langenhoven Street, George (Owned by the Department of Public Works)
• Erven 140-143, Plantation Road, George (Owned by Department of Public Works)
• Erven 152-155, Barrie Road, George (Owned by Department of Public Works)

The GRDM intends to build therefore the aforementioned affordable housing options based on choice and different needs relative to government gazetted combined monthly income thresholds which are for those earning between R1850 – R22 000 respectively. These consists of FLISP/GAP individual ownership opportunities. Social rental housing opportunities will be developed and managed over the long term by Own Haven, as the formally appointed GRDM Social Housing delivery partner. Individual home ownership schemes like FLISP/GAP on the hand will be handled by the latter or alternatively, by appointed contractors as per the GRDM’s Supply Chain Management procurement processes.



For immediate release
27 August 2022

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) receives a major injection for its internal bursaries too from the Local Government Sector Education Training Authority (LGSETA).

When LGSETA opened their funding window in November 2021, the GRDM applied for the LGSETA Discretionary funding. As part of the evaluation process, LGSETA evaluated GRDM’s application in two phases namely a, (a) desktop evaluation and (b) due diligence evaluation.  The LGSETA Board subsequently approved the Discretionary Grant application for the learning interventions and confirmed its intention to enter into a contract with the GRDM and the skills development provider.

On Thursday, 11 August 2022, a letter of intent to accept the allocation was signed by the GRDM Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu.

“We are extremely grateful to LGSETA for providing us with this a much needed award for our internal candidates who are committed to furthering their studies to enhance service delivery. We consider skills development, self-development, and career advancement to be an integral part of an employee’s growth, as they can even benefit you professionally,” said Ms Trix Holtzhausen, Executive Manager of the GRDM Corporate Services.

Ms Holtzhausen further commended her Human Resources Section and acknowledged the vital role the Training Unit consisting of Mr Reginald Salmons, Ms Angeline Naidoo, Ms Angela-Ziva Coetzee and Ms Alvera Joseph during this process.

According to Ms Holtzhausen, the total amount awarded for internal bursaries stands at R1.3 million.  This award will assist employees/students already registered for the current academic year to fund their outstanding fees.

The following is a breakdown of how the funds will be allocated: