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Municipal Health

28 November 2023 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners educate inmates at Uniondale Correctional Service facility about Diphtheria (Witseerkeel)

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners educate inmates at Uniondale Correctional Service facility about Diphtheria (Witseerkeel)

For immediate release
28 November 2023

On 21 November 2023, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Municipal Health Services serving the Outeniqua region, conducted Health and Hygiene education at the Uniondale Correctional Services facility.

Approximately sixty-eight (68) inmates and 3 staff members of the Uniondale Correctional Services were made aware of what  (Witseerkeel) is and how the bacterial disease is transmitted from one person to another. More topics that were covered include the signs and symptoms, as well as how the disease is treated.

Environmental Health Practitioner at Garden Route District Municipality, Janine Koopman (left), with Staff (middle) and the Acting Head of the Uniondale Correctional Services facility, Mr Siebert van Rensburg (right), soon after the session.

During an interview with the Acting Head of the Uniondale Correctional Services, Mr Siebert van Rensburg, it was established that there are currently no existing cases of Diphtheria at the facility.  It was also confirmed that a representative from the Western Cape Department of Health conducts screening tests with every new inmate before admission to the facility. Although family members are allowed to have contact visits with inmates, they are screened prior to these visits and are restricted from entering the facilities should they show any signs and symptoms of communicable diseases.

The facility is utilising the same system that were implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, inmates are therefore also not allowed to attend funerals of family members who passed away due to a communicable disease.

Continuous hand and hygiene sessions will be conducted at similar facilities within the Garden Route district by EHPs from the GRDM.

Did you know?

Diphtheria, also known as “Witseerkeel” is a bacterial disease caused by infection. It is a vaccine-preventable disease, however a drop in vaccine coverage could potentially lead to increased numbers of cases. Diphtheria is preventable by vaccination given at 6, 10, 14 weeks, with booster doses given at 18 months, 6 years, and 12 years of age. It usually affects:

  • The upper respiratory tract mucosa.
  • The skin, and rarely other sites (including the eyes, ears or genitals).

It can cause local tissue damage (with inflammation, ulceration, oedema and a pseudo membrane/ grey, thick layer inside throat and mouth) and can be absorbed into the bloodstream (affecting the heart, nervous system or kidneys).

What are the signs and symptoms of Diphtheria (Witseerkeel)?

Signs and symptoms start to show after 2- 5 days from becoming infected. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Mildly painful tonsillitis/ pharyngitis.
  • A thick, grey membrane covering the throat and tonsils.
  • A sore throat and hoarseness.
  • Swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes) in the neck.
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing.
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Tiredness.

Although some infected people may not show any signs or symptoms, they can still transmit the disease.

How is Diphtheria (Witseerkeel) transmitted?

  • Via ingestion of large respiratory droplets through coughing or sneezing.
  • Direct contact with an infected person through skin lesions or intercourse with an infected person.
  • Touching surfaces that are contaminated with the bacteria.


20 October 2023 Media Release: Low Risk of Human Infection related to Avian Influenza Outbreak in South Africa

Media Release: Low Risk of Human Infection Related to Avian Influenza Outbreak in South Africa

Date Issued: Friday, 13 October 2023

Low Risk of Human Infection Related to Avian Influenza Outbreak in South Africa. A number of poultry farms in South Africa are experiencing outbreaks of avian influenza. Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that affects poultry and wild birds.

Currently, two different strains are causing avian influenza outbreaks in South Africa, these are influenza A(H5N1) and influenza A(H7N6).

According to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRD), the current influenza A(H5N1) outbreaks have been ongoing since April 2023 and to date, 10 outbreaks in poultry (Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal) and 39 outbreaks in non-poultry birds (Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West provinces) have been reported. The influenza A(H7N6) outbreaks have been ongoing since June 2023, and to date, 50 outbreaks to date have been reported in poultry farms (Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces) and non-poultry birds in Gauteng.

Internationally, sporadic cases of influenza A(H5N1) infection have been reported in humans, related to outbreaks in birds but infection in humans remains very rare. Globally, only 8 cases of influenza A(H5N1) in humans have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2023, despite large outbreaks in poultry and wild birds across the globe. These cases have been linked to close contact with infected birds (handling, culling, slaughtering or processing). Current circulating strains of avian influenza have not been shown to transmit from person to person. The risk of transmission of influenza A(H5N1) and influenza A(H7N6) from infected birds to humans is extremely low.

In the uncommon instance where avian influenza is transmitted to humans, the most common route of transmission of avian influenza is airborne, through aerosolisation of virus particles from live birds or during the culling process. Poultry products including commercially available eggs, and fresh and frozen chickens are safe to consume. Any persons with known or suspected close contact with dead or sick birds (especially birds with confirmed A(H5N1) or A(H7N6) infection) and who presents with upper or lower respiratory tract symptoms (cough, runny nose, scratchy throat, or pneumonia) and/or conjunctivitis should be investigated. This should include the collection of respiratory samples (detailed below) and testing for avian influenza. All exposed individuals should be monitored for 14 days for respiratory symptoms and encouraged to seek care as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. Clusters of three or more cases of severe respiratory illness (hospitalisation or death) which are epidemiologically linked should also be investigated even if there is no documented bird or poultry exposure.

Clinicians who suspect avian influenza infection in their patients should contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) doctor on to discuss the case before a sample is collected. Nasal or nasopharyngeal swab/s (preferably a flocked swab) should be collected from the patient. The swab/s are placed in viral or universal transport media (VTM,UTM). If two swabs are collected they can be placed in the same tube of VTM/UTM. Samples may be stored in the fridge (2-8°C) until submitted in a cooler box with ice packs to (NICD) for testing (preferably within 72 hours of collection). Please complete the case investigation form and laboratory request form in the link below to accompany the sample.

Persons who are in contact with live or dead birds, especially those in the poultry industry are advised to wear personal protective equipment including safety goggles, gloves, boot covers, disposable aprons/clothing (fluid resistant), disposable head covers and masks (N95) capable of preventing inhalation of aerosolised virus particles. Handwashing with disinfectant soap after contact with poultry or birds is essential.

The public health response remains; prevention of avian influenza at source (biosecurity at farms, good hygiene and vaccination of poultry in some situations), rapid detection, reporting and response to animal outbreaks and strengthening of surveillance in animals and humans (including collaborations with animal and human health sectors). In addition, laboratory confirmation of the strains involved (PCR and sequencing) and sharing of genetic
sequencing data is important.

The following resources are available on the NICD webpage

  1. Avian influenza guidance:
  2. Standard operating procedures for the collection of nasal swabs:
  3. Avian influenza case investigation forms:
  4. Avian influenza screening and case definitions:
  5. Avian influenza frequently asked questions

DALRD is providing veterinary support including diagnostics, surveillance and control measures. Farmers who suspect infection in their poultry/ birds should notify the local provincial Veterinary office or Extension officer who will visit the farm, investigate the incident and collect samples from the birds to rule out the disease.



For enquiries contact:

Issued by: National Institute for Communicable Diseases


11 October 2023 Media Release: Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on roadshow in the Garden Route

Media Release: Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on roadshow in the Garden Route

For immediate release
11 October 2023

Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) roadshow focused on the Garden Route

The Health Professional Council is a statutory body established in Terms of the Health Professions Act, 56 of 1974, to protect the public and guide professions related to the Act.

As part of their yearly roadshow, board members of the Environmental Health Profession visited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) on Monday, 2 October 2023, to engage with management regarding the future of Environmental Health. In attendance were also the GRDM Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, Chief Financial Officer, Rian Boshoff, Manager, Municipal Health and Environmental Health Services, Johan Compion and GRDM Chief Environmental Health Practitioners of the various regions within the Garden Route. This engagement discussed the scope of the profession of Environmental Health, continued professional development (CPD) and Community Services for students.

On Tuesday, 3 October 2023 a conference was held as part of the roadshow, which was also attended by Environmental Health Professionals. The event took place at Oubaai Hotel and Resort, George.  The programme included presentations on current issues affecting the health and wellbeing of communities and the issue if illegal dumping, especially the illegal dumping sites, which is a country wide challenge. The need for research regarding illegal dumping was identified.

The rest of the presentations included ethical behaviour and decision-making by Environmental Health Practitioners registered with the HPCSA.

The HPCSA in conjunction with the twelve (12) professional boards that function under its jurisdiction including Environmental Health; and the Association is committed to:

  • Promote the health of South Africa’s population.
  • Determine standards of professional education and training.
  • Setting and monitoring fair standards of professional practice.

Feature Image: Environmental Health Practitioners attended the HPCSA roadshow in George.


6 October 2023 Media Release: GRDM’s Environmental Health Practitioners conduct Health and Hygiene sessions in Knysna

Media Release: GRDM’s Environmental Health Practitioners conduct Health and Hygiene sessions in Knysna

For immediate release
6 October 2023

Recently, Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) from Knysna reached out and presented health and hygiene training sessions to early childhood development facilities in their region.

Mendy Tyhawana, GRDM’s EHP, conducted sessions at the northern area of Knysna, as well as at Isiseko Creche situated in the Damsebos residential area.

More than 50 children and their caretakers participated in the sessions. The focus area was again the washing of hands and overall hygiene practices.

The following topics were addressed during the session:

Why is it important to wash hands?

Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of bacteria and is one of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

What are good and bad bacteria, and bad bacteria – how do these affect humans?

  • Most types of bacteria are not harmful, and some are even helpful.
  • Some bacteria, called pathogens, can cause infections that require treatment with antibiotics. Harmful bacteria e.g., salmonella and E. coli can cause illness.

When should hands be washed?

  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • Before and after eating food.
  • Before and after caring for someone at home.
  • Before treating an open wound.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After changing diapers.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste.
  • After touching waste.

What are the IMPORTANT steps linked to washing hands properly?

  •  Wet hands with clean, preferably running water.
  • Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of hands and wrists.
  • Rub hands together briskly and thoroughly. Make sure to scrub all surfaces of hands, fingertips, fingernails, and wrists.
  • Scrub hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse hands and wrists under clean, preferably running water.
  • Dry hands and wrists with a clean towel or let them air-dry.
  • Use a towel to turn off the tap.


28 September 2023 Media Release: Klein Karoo and Mossel Bay EHPs celebrate World Environmental Health Day

Media Release: Klein Karoo and Mossel Bay EHP’S celebrate World Environmental Health Day

For immediate release
28 September 2023

The theme of World Environmental Health Day which is celebrated on 26 September 2023 was “Global Environmental Public Health: Standing up to protect everyone’s health each and every day”.

As part of the build–up activities towards World Environmental Health Day, the Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in the Klein Karoo region engaged in various activities to reach out to food handlers, crèches and community members to create awareness about the impact of the environment on our overall health and well-being.

The emphasis of the various awareness actions was to convey the message of the importance of a clean environment to ensure a good quality of health and life.

Illegal dumping awareness was done at crèches and in the community and health and hygiene awareness information was provided to persons in charge of -and food preparers of food premises.

It is important that children learn from a very young age to prevent littering and waste pollution and to use acceptable and appropriate methods that are available to dispose waste effectively. A clean environment encourages outdoor play without fear of children being injured by playing near waste heaps and trash.

Community members were sensitised on the fact that a clean neighbourhood free from illegal dumping holds many benefits to our communities and that a clean environment is a healthy environment. No illegal dumping means no pollution from hazardous substances and chemicals that could cause damage to the soil, the air and the surrounding groundwater. An environment, free from illegal dumping prevents the presence of insects like flies and mosquitoes, rodents like rats and mice, as well as bad smells. It furthermore ensures the health, safety and well-being of communities

According to the World Health Organisation statistics, an estimated 600 million people in the world fall ill because of contaminated food. A shocking 420 000 of these cases end in death each year. Regulation 638 of 2018 requires that all food premises, new and existing, have to be in possession of a Certificate of Acceptability. Also, the person in charge of -and any other person(s) working on the food premises must be adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and hygiene. Additionally, new innovations in food production, as well as the re-emergence of food-borne diseases must be adequately addressed to adapt to the changing conditions and environments.

Furthermore, in Mossel Bay the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners, serving the area, created awareness and shared valuable advice and useful information on how to keep food safe during periods of load shedding. The session took place at the Evethu Clinic.  As part of the programme, EHPs also disseminated pamphlets to visitors that were present during the session.

Click here to read more on how to keep food safe during loadshedding.


22 September 2023 Media Release: Focus on the Garden Route District Municipality Industry Working Group

Media Release: Focus on the Garden Route District Municipality Industry Working Group

For immediate release
22 September 2023

The industry working group focusing on air quality management was established early in 2011, short after the new National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (NEMAQA) came into full effect on 1 April 2010 and the old Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (APPA) of 1965 repealed.  The focus of the platform is to actively involve the industrial sector in Air Quality Management and to serve as a platform for information sharing and capacity building purposes.

A Working Group quarterly engagement.

The quarterly engagement include topics such as licence application procedures, the South African Atmospheric Emission Licensing & Inventory Portal (SAAELIP), emission monitoring and reporting, legislation and proposed amendment, etc.

As the time progressed, a self-compliance auditing system was introduced which requires industry to verify compliance with conditions of their Atmospheric Emission Licence. The compliance verification is completed on the municipal collaborator portal which is tailored to each individual AEL.

“Since the transition from APPA to NEMAQA, and the handover of the Atmospheric Emission Licence function from Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) to the district, the working group from the district side is viewed not only for compliance purposes, but to improve service delivery, consultation, openness, and transparency and giving best value” said Dr Johann Shoeman, District Manager for Air Quality in the Garden Route.

Another achievement is that since its establishment, not one quarterly meeting was missed. “Even during Covid 19, we managed to hold meetings virtually and currently meetings are held hybrid to accommodate attendees from far,” Schoeman said.

The GRDM Air Quality unit is often complemented by external stakeholders, specifically on the Working Group and all indications are that this platform forms an essential part of managing air quality sufficiently in the Garden Route district.


21 September 2023 Media Release:  Build-up to World Environmental Health Day underway – Recycle and Re-Use Plastic Outreach at Diepkloof Kleuterskool and Sandenenzwe Crèche

Media Release:  Build-up to World Environmental Health Day underway – Recycle and Re-Use Plastic Outreach at Diepkloof Kleuterskool and Sandenenzwe Crèche

For Immediate Release
21 September 2023

With this year’s theme for the World Environmental Health Day being “Global Environmental Public Health: Standing up to Protect Everyone’s Health Each and Every Day,” Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from all over the district have taken proactive steps to kick off awareness initiatives as early as possible.

Recognising the urgency of safeguarding our environment and the health of all individuals, a recycle and re-use plastic outreach session was conducted by EHPs from the George Municipal Health office on 19 and 20 September 2023 with learners of Diepkloof Kleuterskool and Sandanenzwe Crèche.

The outreach aimed to teach children sustainable methods of recycling and reusing plastic waste. To demonstrate to the children how recycled items can be reused, the EHPs created art and crafts using plastic bags and bottles they received from the school.

“This is the way we protect everyone’s health even when we are not present. Our goal is to reduce the plastic waste ending up at illegal dumping sites in our communities and at landfills,” said Nonkosi Somwahla, EHP from the GRDM George office.

Educators and toddlers were captivated by the way EHP conveyed their message. Also with all the interesting things they made out of plastic.

Featured image caption: Environmental Health Practitioners, Cllr Ndayi, the Community Services Portfolio Chairperson, and the educators and toddlers of Sandanenzwe Crèche who participated in the World Environment Day build-up activities.


18 September 2023 Invitation to Tender/Quotation Submission – Construction of New Regional Waste Management Facility and associated Infrastructure

Project: The Construction of a New Regional Waste Management Facility and associated Infrastructure

Contract Number: GRDM/24/21-22

For attention: Interested Local SMMEs in the Garden Route

The Contractor wishes to invite all interested SMMEs in the Garden Route District For the Following Packages:
1. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/FENCE-01 – Supply and Erect new Temporary Fence 3.92 km
2. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/FENCE-02 – Supply and Erect new PetroSA internal security fence – 5.328 km
3. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/SECURITY-03 – Security Services
4. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/TRAINING-04 – Training
5. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/TRAINING-05 – Cut and stockpile material (Supply all plant required, Excavators, FEL, Tipper trucks and Dumpers)
6. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/TRAINING-06 – Remove topsoil and stockpile
7. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/TRAINING-07 – Laboratory Testing Services
8. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/TRAINING-08 – Supply of Diesel
9. GRDM/TEFLA/21-22/TRAINING-08 – Supply of Plant (yellow machines)

  • Briefing Session: Compulsory

Tender Briefing Session
Date: 22nd September 2023

Time: 11h00
Venue: Site Camp, Next to Gourikwa Landfill (PetroSA), Mossel Bay NB!

Tender documents will be issued during the tender briefing as per the attendance register.

Click here to open the Official Advert

05 September 2023 Media Release:  Environmental Health Practitioners of the Klein Karoo supports ECD Centres with health and hygiene education

Media Release:  Environmental Health Practitioners of the Klein Karoo supports ECD Centres with health and hygiene education

For Immediate Release
5 September 2023

The Municipal Health Services section of the Klein Karoo region engaged with members of the Klein Karoo Early Childhood Development (ECD) Forum to discuss current health legislation applicable to childcare facilities in terms of the National environmental health norms and standards for premises and acceptable monitoring standards for environmental health practitioners (24 December 2015) and GRDM Municipal Health By-Laws of 10 December 2018 promulgated under the National Health Act, (Act 61 of 2003).

Health and hygiene education provided by EHPs is essential for preventing disease, improving health, and influencing lifelong behavioural change among children. Education on health and hygiene plays a significant role in supporting the holistic development of children. According to the World Health Organisation, providing children with adequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene is one of the most effective ways to survive. By improving key hygiene behaviours, such as ensuring safe drinking water, proper hand hygiene, and effective sanitation, EHPs believe that promoting health and hygiene improvement is a comprehensive way to prevent childhood diseases like diarrhoea.

The EHPs conducted Health and Hygiene education sessions at créches in Oudtshoorn and Kannaland on 29 August 2023, with an emphasis on:

– the importance of handwashing;

– correct handwashing methods;

– a clean environment; and

– personal hygiene.

EHPs remain committed to educating the public and remain steadfast in their belief that prevention is better than cure.

Did you know?

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) are appointed in terms of the National Health Act (Act 61 of 2003) and registered as such in terms of the Health Professions Act (Act 56 of 1974)? In order to ensure compliance with this act, EHPs have the authority to enter any premises, excluding private dwellings. EHPs may enter Early Childhood Development (ECD) premises for the purpose of conducting inspections, conducting environmental health investigations, and also providing health education to pre-schools, child care centres so that environmental health can be strengthened.


Die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit (TDM) se Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns wat werksaam is in die Klein-Karoo-streek (Oudtshoorn en omliggende areas), het onlangs met die Klein-Karoo Vroeë Kinderontwikkeling Forum-lede vergader, om die huidige gesondheidswetgewing van toepassing op kindersorgfasiliteite te bespreek. Hierdie samekoms was belangrik vir bespreking van huidige wetgewing soos van toepassing op kindersorgfasiliteite in terme van die TDM se Munisipale Gesondheidsverordeninge van 10 Desember 2018 en Aanvaarbare Moniteringstandaarde vir Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns (24 Desember 2015) gepromulgeer onder die Nasionale Gesondheidswet (Wet 61 van 2003).

Die Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns het op 29 Augustus 2023, Gesondheid- en Higiëne opvoedingsessies by kleuterskole in Oudtshoorn en Kannaland aangebied, met die klem op:

– die belangrikheid van handewas;

– die korrekte handewasmetodes;

– ‘n skoon omgewing; en

– persoonlike higiëne.

Die Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns bly daartoe verbind om die publiek op te voed en standvastig in hul oortuiging dat voorkoming beter is as genesing.


Featured image caption: EHP Ikanya Hendricks demonstrates the correct hand-washing method to learners at Excelsior Primary School in Calitzdorp.

04 September 2023 Media Release: Sod-Turning Event marks a milestone for Regional Waste Management Facility

Media Release: Sod-Turning event marks a milestone for Regional Waste Management Facility

For Immediate Release
04 September 2023

In a significant step towards more sustainable waste management practices, the official sod-turning ceremony for the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Regional Waste Management Facility was held on Friday, 1 September 2023. The journey to this milestone began back in 2006 when investigations and processes for establishing the Regional Landfill Site commenced.

Sharing in this historic and groundbreaking occasion, were Executive Mayors and Municipal Managers and across the district, the GRDM Mayoral Committee Members and officials, representatives from National and Provincial Government, as well as engineering consultants and stakeholders from Standard Bank, Tefla and Zutari.

During his address, Municipal Manager of GRDM, Monde Stratu, gave a thorough background about the project. He explained: “Local municipalities have reached a point where their waste management sites have become exhausted, which is why this regional waste management facility is being constructed”. Further to this he said: “It was a blessing in disguise that the initial model did not realise as it saved GRDM millions of rands.

Stratu particularly commended the GRDM officials who have been driving the project to this point. “The resilience and commitment of all involved are paying off. And today, it is time to celebrate – despite what happened, we are still delivering on our promises,” Stratu emphasised.

In his remarks at the event, the Head of Public Sector- SA at Standard Bank, Timothy Mtlatla, spoke passionately about Standard Bank’s support to GRDM’s commitment towards green energy. He said: “Our institution remains focused on its purpose; our commitment is a profound purpose and is underscored by the meaningful impact to the community.  We are serving the sector that serves us”. Adding to these words, Mtlatla highlighted that the event is a remarkable example and testament of good working relations. And for this reason, he said: “With this initiative, we foresee a future that is cleaner and healthier for all communities we serve”.  Representatives from Tefla and Zutari also delivered their messages of commitment to the project.

Executive Mayors and Deputy Mayors from the local municipalities that were present, also shared words of support on behalf of their respective municipalities. Deputy Mayor of Mossel Bay, Cllr Cliffie Bayman, referred to this day as a significant step that is taken towards more sustainable waste management and environmental practices in a changing world of climatic changes and the now more common outbreaks of communicable diseases. With these words, he added that this event deserved to be on the 1 September, as it is the 1st day of Spring. He highlighted that “this is a season for new beginnings and the reason in which our environment shows the fruit of hard work – work that we have put in during the winter months”. Bayman in addition reiterated that Mossel Bay Municipality will take accountability with the GRDM to ensure that the objective of the facility is reached. In conclusion he said that Mossel Bay is a proud partner in full support of the project and therefore they are eager to see many benefits such as employment deriving from the facility.

Knysna Executive Mayor, Cllr Aubrey Tswenga, in his congratulatory speech to GRDM and participating municipalities, said: “Thank you for making the Regional Waste Management Facility a reality”. Tswenga, however, mentioned that more work still lies ahead to educate communities about waste management. “As municipalities,” he said that “we need to educate our communities to reduce waste to landfills. Further to this he urged the GRDM on behalf of Knysna, to continue to roll-out a regional educational programme to extend the lifespan of the facility.

Bitou’s Deputy Executive Mayor, Cllr Mavis Basukwe, during her words of support, said: “Bitou took a decision to participate in the project fully understanding the implications and consequences we would face from our communities and ratepayers”. As a result of showing leadership and the fact that Bitou fitted the cost implication in their budget over the years, she emphasised that “it is indeed pleasing to see the site is now finally under construction”. She thanked all participating municipalities and said that without them, the project would not have been feasible for Bitou alone and would have left Bitou in a serious predicament.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, in his keynote address extended warm words of gratitude to the service provider and consulting engineer, Tefla and Zutari, as well as to Standard Bank and participating municipalities for this legacy project. In unpacking his statement, Mayor Booysen added: “After today it won’t only be a legacy project anymore, but also a catalytic project, meaning that this project is a catalyst of what is coming”.

Mayor Booysen further referred to the realities of working together as stakeholders and said: “It is not easy for different municipalities to work today, as there are many aspects that can hamper initiatives such as this project. However, he commended Mossel Bay Municipality, especially Municipal Manager Collin Puren, for setting the tone on how government can work together and how intergovernmental relations should be executed. To the Deputy Executive Mayor of Mossel Bay, Cllr Bayman he said: “You went as far as advising us,” to safeguard a less complicated process.  Given the background of the project, Mayor Booysen urged councillors, professionals, and ward councillors to be decisive when decisions are made. “When we are decisive,” he said: “The ratepayers would back us up, because they would then understand what they are paying for and not making their own assumptions”. He elaborated that whenever a proposal is on the table, councillors would ask “how the project is going to affect the rates and taxes”. He advised: “It is our duty as politicians to go and explain to the taxpayers and ratepayers why we are doing what we do and why are we making the decisions in terms of what it will cost them”.

An Inaugural Site Meeting and Commencement of Works took place on the 13th of June 2023, which saw the official handover of the site to the appointed contractor, Tefla Group (Pty) Ltd. Over the following weeks, the site was established, benchmarks were verified by a surveyor on July 11, and the refurbishment of an existing farmhouse, set to become the site offices, is nearing completion. Clear and grub operations, excavations and material stockpiling is underway on the access roads and on Cell 1A.

The Regional Waste Management Facility, once complete, will include a domestic waste cell (Class B) and a separate hazardous waste cell (Class A) to accommodate low and medium-hazard-rated hazardous waste. Other infrastructure elements encompass roads, stormwater pipelines, leachate storage dams, contaminated stormwater dams, offices, laboratories, weighbridges, workshops, and security infrastructure. The project also includes a 3-hectare portion that will be used for a waste tyre recycling facility.   Both the Domestic Waste Cell 1 and the Hazardous Waste Cell will have a lifespan of approximately of 20 – 25 years.

The project’s timeline are as follows:

  • Construction Tender Closure (concluded) – October 25, 2022
  • Finalization of Debt Agreement (concluded) – July 2023
  • Contractor on Site (concluded) – July 2023
  •   Operations & Maintenance Tender Award – October / November 2023
  • Completion of Phase 1 – February 2024
  • Estimated Completion of Project – March 2025

The sod-turning event heralds the beginning of a cleaner and healthier future for the Garden Route region.

Listen to all the speeches here:

Welcoming remarks

Background of the project

Message of Support by Standard Bank

Message of Support by Zutari (PTY) LTD

Message of Support by Tefla (PTY) LTD

Message of Support by Mossel Bay Municipality

Message of Support by Knysna Municipality

Message of Support by Bitou Municipality

Commitment to Service Delivery

Closing Remarks and Vote of Thanks

Feature Image: Sharing in this historic and groundbreaking occasion, were Executive Mayors and Municipal Managers and across the district, the GRDM Mayoral Committee Members and officials, representatives from National and Provincial Government, as well as engineering consultants and stakeholders from Standard Bank, Tefla and Zutari.