The Eden District Municipal Health Services section in Knysna was afforded the opportunity to host all the Portfolio Councillors responsible for Community Services earlier in November this year.
Mr Clive Africa, Executive Manager for Community Services accompanied the Councillors, together with Mr Johan Compion, Senior Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services.
Mr James McCarthy, Manager of the Municipal Health Services office, explained: “The purpose of the initiative was for the councillors to visit various premises in Knysna, to experience the daily tasks that Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) occupy themselves with”.
The following premises were visited during the “walk- about “.
During the inspections, the EHPs introduced the Councillors to the different Key Performance Areas within the daily Municipal Health Services scope of practice. Councillors were furthermore introduced to the various owners and/or managers of the different premises and participated in lively interaction with all stakeholders.
Key issues and challenges were identified at the different premises during the individual inspections and will be addressed by means of remedial actions, with the assistance of the Municipal Health Services section, as well as the Knysna Municipality.
All councillors made use of the opportunity to express their gratitude towards the Knysna residents who were visited, for rendering a commendable service to the community of Knysna.
On Wednesday, 1 November 2017, officials from Eden District Municipality’s (Eden DM) Municipal Health Services, George Municipality’s Civil & Engineering Waste Management Section and Cape Nature celebrated National Children’s Day, with learners of the Waboomskraal Primary School.
Mr David Papier, Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) started the session with a presentation on water safety and health. He explained the importance of water, not only for present survival, but also for future generations. “Without water, we cannot exist,” he said. He concluded by explaining in lamens terms the functions of water in the body.
Second on the programme was Mr Deon Makwena from Cape Nature, who informed learners about the importance of looking after and caring for the environment. Mr Makwena used dramatic gestures to explain the ripple effect littering have on rivers and the environment as a whole. Followed by Ms Carika Soman, EHP of Eden DM who made a presentation on Personal Health & Hygiene Awareness. Ms Soman engaged with learners by using practical examples and frequently asking question throughout the presentation.
Ms Janine van Wyk, also from Eden DM did a demonstration on proper techniques when washing hands. She used two volunteers from the audience. The last speaker of the day was Mr Geoffrey Bredenkamp of George Municipality who explained the process of water purification.
The core message for learners was to care for your environment, yourself, to save and appreciate our water resources.
The National Framework for Air Quality Management in South Africa, 2012, lists vehicle emissions monitoring as a function of a Local Municipality. Not all municipalities in the Eden district have the capacity and facilities to measure vehicle emissions. It is for this reason that the Air Quality Unit of the Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) is coordinating matters pertaining to air quality in the district and subsequently assisting municipalities with vehicle emissions testing.
Vehicle emission testing is done by making use of the Smoke Check 1667 Opacity Meter. The opacity meter measures diesel smoke in ‘percent opacity’, which is the percentage of light that is blocked when shining through a smoke plume, which can range from 0% to 100% opacity.
During the 3rd quarter of 2017, Eden DM undertook vehicle emission testing in Mossel Bay, Plettenberg Bay and Sedgefield in collaboration with the concerned local municipalities. A total of 112 diesel vehicles were inspected. Each vehicle first underwent a visual inspection of exhaust gas, and if a vehicle emitted excessive dark smoke, further testing by means of the Smoke Check 1667 Opacity Meter was undertaken. The opacity meter gives a printout of the test results and states if the vehicle complies or not. The local municipality may issue a fine or warning, if a vehicle does not comply.
The main objective of this project is to create awareness of vehicle emissions and to minimise the impact it has on ambient air quality in the Eden district. Public awareness plays an important role in protecting the environment for the present and future generations as enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
On Wednesday, 27 September 2017, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from the Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) office in Knysna presented a third informal red meat traders training session in Knysna.
The aim of the session was to improve the level of food safety by improving knowledge of legal requirements and responsibilities, good operational procedures and red meat handler’s awareness of food safety issues.
The following topics were covered, namely:
Health and hygiene practices in an informal food environment.
Five keys to safer food and legal requirements.
Implications for formal and informal slaughtering.
Eden DM Councillor Khayalethu Lose, Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services (right) and Mr Clive Africa, Executive Manager for Community Services (left), give a word of encouragement to the informal food traders at the session.
The Local Economic Development Section of the Knysna Municipality was also invited to the session and presented their responsibilities towards empowering small businesses. What is expected from the informal food traders, also formed part of their discussion points.
To end the programme on a higher note, incentives were handed over to the red meat handlers by Eden DM’s Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services, Cllr Khayalethu Lose and the Executive Manager for Community Services, Mr. Clive Africa.
A total of 24 food handlers were accommodated in this session.
The Swedish Trade and Investment Council has invited Eden District Municipality (EDM) and local municipalities, including George, Mossel Bay and Knysna, to the two-day Middle East and Africa (MEA) Summit to meet with more than 100 Swedish companies. Local municipalities, however, asked Eden to attend the MEA Summit on their behalf and to present the entire district as a suitable destination for trade and investment. The visit will also form part of an upcoming Memorandum of Agreement between ‘Business Sweden’ and EDM.
On the table for discussion will be strategic issues and possible partnerships, and it is envisaged that Sweden stands the chance to play an effectual role in the envisioned deliverables with reference to renewable energy, waste management, tourism, ICT and transportation in the district. It is a wise decision to partner with Sweden because of their climate change policies and because they have already committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2045.
Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen said that: “I have a keen interest in discussing how we can work with Sweden to find more alternative solutions to solid waste management because it is a pressing matter for the entire district. Maybe Sweden could subsidise some of the projects; assist with state-of-the-art technology to reposition EDM to become a central hub for new energies (alternative fuels); share best practices in waste management; assist with job creation and skills development”.
“Another benefit would be solar plants and wind turbines, which can be set up on one of the EDM properties. Eden will therefore be able to sell surplus energy and generate additional income,” Cllr Booysen said.
Municipal Manager of EDM, Mr Monde Stratu explained that the newly adopted vision, which reads: “Eden, the leading, enabling and inclusive district, characterised by equitable and sustainable development, high quality of life and equal opportunities for all,” could be achieved through a partnership approach. We need to find alternative approaches to equitable and sustainable development, which will ensure that we lead by example and ensure that spin-offs result in a high quality of life and equal opportunities for all.”
Delegates from EDM who will leave on 24 September and return on 29 September to attend the MEA Summit, include Cllr Memory Booysen (Executive Mayor), Mr Monde Stratu (Municipal Manager), and Ms Nadiema Davids (Manager: Legal Services). One representative from the Southern Cape Economic Partnership, Mr Paul Hoffman, will also attend.
Sweden leads the world in many fields and is well known for:
According the OECD, Sweden offers the best healthcare in the world;
Leading the way in renewable energy;
Leads the way in burying its depleted nuclear waste;
Leads the way in shared parenting;
Leads the way in dumping socialism;
Leads the way in public records transparency;
Committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2045;
Sweden is the best place to grow old with 25 percent of the population over the age of 60; and
According to the Spartacus index, Sweden is the only country with full points for anti-discrimination legislation.
Food safety is one of the nine Key Performance Areas (KPAs) of Municipal Health and Environmental Services, which forms part of the Directorate Community Services at Eden District Municipality (Eden DM). Food safety includes the monitoring of food premises and safe handling of food at formal and informal food premises. Education on hygiene awareness is also done by Environmental Health Practitioners to the public.
Food safety training was recently presented to food handlers of formal and informal food premises in Oudtshoorn.
Environmental Health Practitioners Mr Francois Koelman, Ms Elizna Barnard and Mr Pieter Crous of Oudtshoorn Municipal Health office presented the training.
The content of the training focused on the World Health Organisation’s Five keys for safer food, which include:
1. Keep clean
Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation;
Wash your hands after going to the toilet;
Wash and sanitise all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation;
Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals;
2. Separate raw and cook foods
Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods;
Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling of raw foods;
Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods;
3. Cook thoroughly
Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood
Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to ensure that they have reached 70 ͦ. For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink. Ideally, use a thermometer.
Reheat cooked food thoroughly.
4. Keep food at safe temperatures
Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5ºC).
Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60ºC) prior to serving.
Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator.
Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.
5. Use safe water and raw materials
Use safe water or treat it to make it safe
Select fresh and wholesome foods
Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk
Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw
Do not use food beyond its expiry date
Participants now have a greater understanding about the importance of their roles and responsibilities in when handling food. A Certificate of Attendance was issued to those who received training and informal food traders also received incentives, which included cooler boxes and aprons.
The WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) Project in Schools is a programme which is supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at schools. The school manager, educators of PJ Badenhorst Primary School in Dysselsdorp and the Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) Municipal Health Section based in Oudtshoorn, collaborated to establish a WASH committee. The committee strives to ensure that sustainable good health prevails among educators and learners and that the school environment is kept clean and healthy. The committee is supported by the school governing body. Involvement of educators, learners, parents, communities and government institutions is important in WASH projects.
The Manager of the Eden DM Municipal Health Services: Klein Karoo, Mr Desmond Paulse, gave a presentation to the WASH committee on the important components of a Programme, which include:
water facilities, water conservation and access to water;
control of communicable and vector-borne diseases;
cleaning and waste disposal;
food storage and preparation especially in case of school feeding schemes; and
importance of hand washing.
Environmental Health Practitioners Francois Koelman and Willie Plaatjies did a presentation to food preparers of the school feeding scheme on food safety and safe storage of food. The Municipal Health Section of Eden DM will continue to support the school with WASH projects.
Diarrhea and worm infections, which are two of the main diseases that affect school aged children, can be drastically reduced through improved water, sanitation and hygiene practices. Children can carry infectious agents from childcare settings and schools into the home and vice versa, causing those in contact with them to get infected. WASH in schools focuses generally on the prevention of diseases that can be transmitted from person to person, and the program aims to ensure the following:
learners that are healthier,
learners that can positively influence hygiene practice in their homes, among family members and in the wider community;
learners to observe, communicate, cooperate, listen and carry out decisions about hygienic conditions and practices for themselves; and
change in current hygiene behavior and continue better hygiene practices in the future like correct hand washing with soap which is an important barrier to transmission of infections and has been cited as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions. Hand washing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea from 48 to 42 percent. Improved sanitation behavior has also been associated with a reduction in gastro-intestinal illnesses.
Eden District Municipality’s women, on 18 August 2017, were treated to a day of motivational talks in commemoration of Women’s Day at the George Correctional Services recreational hall. Financial planning and donations were provided by Capitec; women’s health information was shared by Agness Maree from CANSA; dressing according to your body shape by Annalidda; and self-defense tips by Mr Malcolm Pojé. Ladies from Eden DM were dressed up to the theme “Sassy, Candy, Mismatch”, which represents a woman being bold, full of spirit and talkative, colourful, sweet and not one in the same.
Cllr Rosina Ruiters‚ Eden DM Executive Deputy Mayor delivered the keynote address and expressed her passion for progressive women and especially the contribution that women offer to their families and society in general. “I am here to honor the power and struggles of women who have broken all barriers and reached the pinnacle of success in every sphere of life,” she said. Cllr Ruiters also highlighted 09 August 1956, as one of the turn-around events in the struggle for freedom and women’s rights in South Africa. “It was on this day that more than 20 000 women of different races staged a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950.”
“Women are like glue to their families, but still face abuse in today’s life; emotionally, physically and financially.”
“Women must speak out and put a stop to the abuse. Wathinta abafazi wathinta imbokodo ‘you strike a rock – you strike a woman’,” Cllr Ruiters concluded.
Malcolm Pojé, Communication Officer and Spokesperson of the Southern Cape, South African Police Service (SAPS), shared his admiration and respect for women. He then presented various self-defense skills, which proves to be effective when a person faces an attacker. He specifically pointed out how a woman should target specific areas of a man’s body to temporarily disable him, which would ensure her with adequate time to escape to a safe space.
Eden District Municipality, Portfolio Chairperson of Strategic Services, Cllr Erica Meyers, extended a word of appreciation to Eden DM women for their hard work and dedication. She also thanked, CAPITEC Bank, Malcom Pojé from SAPS, Annalida (fashion designer) and Ms Maree from CANSA for supporting and offering motivational talks to Eden DM women.
The décor was done by Margaret Powell and Marlene Nqumse, who had to make do with minimal funds – Eden DM would like to thank them for doing a sterling job!
Air Quality Monitoring station in Dana Bay relocates
The Air Quality unit of the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs, commissioned an Air Quality Monitoring station in Dana Bay during 2011. This was done on request of the Eden District Municipality’s (Eden DM’s) Air Quality unit due to the possible impact of Industrial activity on Dana Bay residents.
Eden DM’s Air Quality Manager, Dr Johann Schoeman, said: “The results of the station, over the last 5 year period, did not exceed the ambient air quality standards for Benzene and Hydrogen Sulphide,” was also within the World Health Organisation guideline limits and further added that the station was however vandalized twice over the last year. Schoeman further confirmed that both Eden DM Air Quality and Province decided to relocate the station to a more secure environment. “The Eden DM Air Quality unit then proposed to move the station to the Mossel Bay Air Quality office in Extension 23. The offices are located in a residential area which is also in the prevailing wind direction from Industrial activity. It therefore falls within the scope of a receptor environment and covers Kwa-Nonqaba, Ext 23, 26, and parts of D`Almeida,” Schoeman further stated.
Permission was also granted by the Mossel Bay Municipality to relocate at this premises and the necessary building plans were approved. Mossel Bay Municipality also provided the electricity for the station. Techno Asphalt handled the transport of the station to its new location, free of charge.
This project is a joint venture between the Department, Eden DM and Mossel Bay Municipality, showing how cooperative governance between Province, municipalities and private sector can work towards the benefit of our communities. Eden DM has full access to the station, as well as the real time monitoring results, which is very helpful towards air quality management in the region. The same goes for the George and Oudtshoorn monitoring stations.
Eden DM also want to thank the Provincial Air Quality unit for the costly monitoring of the air quality within the Eden district, to the benefit of our communities and is looking forward to similar future joint ventures.
The Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the Eden District Municipality devote themselves to undertake routine water sampling of areas, situated along the Eden district, as a crucial part of the Municipal Health Services’ key performance areas.
Regular sampling of the following sites, situated within the five coastal areas are procured routinely, as well as prior to and during the December holiday season:
A total of 12 “Blue Flag” beaches have been identified and proclaimed within the entire District, emphasising the very important role this region represents as prominent holiday and tourist destination.
The purpose of sampling at these sites is to ensure that all recreational areas that are being utilised by local residents and visitors, are safe and pollutant-free. The presence of pathogenic bacteria isolated in the water samples, is normally an indication of fecal pollution, which may originate from storm water run-off, pets and wildlife, as well as human sewerage. If present in high concentrations in water and ingested while swimming or enter the skin via a cut or sore, it may cause ear and throat infections, as well as gastro -enteritis.
A collaborative approach regarding the management of all coastal water bodies (including rivers, estuaries, lagoons and the ocean) with all other stakeholders, e.g. the South African National Parks (SANParks) and Nature Conservation, will ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday for everyone.