As 2021 drifts slowly towards its end, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) family, sadly bids farewell to another colleague who has passed on in the early morning hours of Friday, 26 November 2021. This brings the total employees lost during 2021 to six (6).
The late Yolande Fielies, a talented Senior Worker in the Heidelberg Maintenance team, started her career at the then Eden District Municipality on 01 March 2008. The 39-year-old Fielies was married to Wane Fielies and had two children, ages 13 and 18 years, respectively.
Fielies is remembered by her immediate Supervisor, Mr David Meyer and the Superintendent of the GRDM Riversdale Roads Maintenance, Mr Jacques Joseph, as a wonderful, hardworking and positive person. “When it comes to her work, she was known for being a loyal and reliable person, ready to always give her best in the workplace. Her positive attitude made her well-known and loved, resulting in colleagues always wanting to be around her. Yolande will be dearly missed,” Josephs concluded.
GRDM will host an official memorial service to celebrate the life of our late colleague on Thursday, 2 December at 09:00. Family members, friends, colleagues and members of the public, who will not be in attendance, are invited to follow the proceedings through the municipality’s YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/RAhpW0xVnTc or join the webinar at: https://gardenroute.zoom.us/j/93617229168
Yolande Fielies leaves behind her husband, two (2) children, her parents, two (2) sisters, and three (3) brothers.
Rest in Peace, beloved Colleague – till we meet again!
Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has noted with concern that some members of the community are still accessing Madiba Drive (MR355) in George. This is of great concern because the road was closed earlier this week. Signs were placed at various entry points and adjacent to the sinkhole that cut off George from Nelson Mandela University.
Pictures below show some of the many signs placed by GRDM on the MR355.
The public is kindly reminded not to make use of the road as it remains closed. It is a high-risk road that is extremely volatile at the moment.
Those planning to travel to Nelson Mandela University should do so via Wilderness.
Garden Route District Municipality will be hosting an official memorial service on Friday, 17 September 2021 at 10:00 to celebrate the life of our late colleaque, Luleka Yoli, at the municipality’s Council Chambers in George.
Family members, friends, colleagues and members of the public, who will not be in attendance, are invited to follow the proceedings through the municipality’s YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/Qoru72p7994 or join the webinar at: https://rb.gy/hqfj5u ID: 914 7334 9443 | Passcode: 327174
Media Release: Roads employees bid farewell to a dedicated colleague – Luleka Yoli passes away
For Immediate Release
16 September 2021
Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), particularly the Roads Department, learned about the passing of a colleague, Luleka Yoli, on 9 September 2021.
The late Yoli was a mother of two and passed away in Riversdale at the age of 39.
Her colleagues at GRDM mourn her death as she was, as many describe her, “a loyal and friendly team member – a family member”. She served the Roads Department for 13 years since her appointment on 05 March 2009. Before her departure, she was a member of the Regravel team based in the Riversdale area.
During this period, her colleagues had the opportunity to work with her, and they all shared a common field of specialisation in road works – the re-gravelling of roads in Riversdale. Fulfilling her role to the best of her ability confirms her sterling work ethic and dedication as employee.
Jacques Joseph, Superintendent of the GRDM Riversdale Roads Maintenance, said: “It was a privilege to work with Ms Yoli; as much as she was a friendly person at work, she remained a hardworking and reliable individual”. He added: “It almost feels as if we have lost a family member; she was our sister, and we are going to miss her tremendously, but we know how she battled with her health and for that we grant her eternal rest. She will always live on in our hearts,” he added.
Senior Supervisor of the late Luleka, John Hartnick, remembers Luleka as a well-mannered and respected employee. “She was always ready to do and give her best in the workplace. We also could easily share personal information with her, given her empathy for others and how she carried the best interest of her colleagues at heart”.
GRDM will host an official memorial service to celebrate her life at the municipality’s Council Chambers on Friday, 17 September 2021 at 10:00. Family members, friends, colleagues and members of the public, who will not be in attendance, are invited to follow the proceedings through the municipality’s YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/QljDWhilyTQ or join the webinar at: https://gardenroute.zoom.us/j/96429186478.
Luleka Yoli, may your precious soul rest in peace.
Media Release: Rural Roads Asset Management Systems Grant Annual Meeting
For Immediate Release 21 May 2021
On Wednesday, 5 May 2021, Roads Services Representatives from National Government, the five (5) District Municipalities in the Western Cape and local municipalities within the Garden Route District gathered for the quarterly Rural Roads Asset Management System (RRAMS) meeting at Oubaai in George.
Over the past ten years, the RAMS (Roads Asset Management System) Conditional Grant has been used in South Africa to transfer funding to provinces and district municipalities (with preference to those in the rural areas), to achieve national government policy objectives. Furthermore, to ensure efficient and effective investment in municipal roads by developing road asset management systems (RAMS) through the collection and analysis of data.
With the above in mind, the primary purpose of the RRAMS Grant as stipulated in the Division of Revenue Bill is to assist district municipalities in setting up rural RAMS and collecting road, bridges, and traffic data on municipal road networks in line with the Road Infrastructure Strategic Framework for South Africa.
As part of the National Government’s strategy to capacitate GRDM to fulfil the RAMS function in-house, four (4) contract positions were created and filled by two Civil Engineering graduates, a GIS operator and an Administration Assistant. GRDM also purchased two (2) Toyota LDV bakkies valued at R433 163.00 each, which will be utilised by the newly appointed RRAMS personnel.
On Wednesday, 18 May 2021, the Garden Route District Municipality Executive Mayor Alderman Memory Booysen, and the Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu, received the two (2) bakkies during a small handover ceremony. The Portfolio Chairperson of Roads and Transport Planning Services, Cllr Rowan Spies, and the Executive Manager: Roads and Transport Planning Services, Mr John Daniels, also attended the ceremony. The Roads department will manage these assets.
Media Release: Fencing subsidies available – call for applications
For Immediate Release 21 May 2021
On an annual basis, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) provides fencing subsidies for a selected number of landowners on neighbouring provincial rural roads with fencing of their properties.
This is subject to a budget as received from the Western Cape Government.
The funding will only be applicable on a subsidy basis. It effectively means that 60% subsidy will be contributed towards the cost of the fencing. The subsidy is determined by an average price for the material. The material is deemed as 60% of the total cost. Labour cost is deemed as 40% of the total cost and must be carried by the applicant. All initial costs must be carried by the applicant and a subsidy will be paid out after the successful completion of the fence. For more information refer to the Fencing Subsidy Policy of Garden Route District Municipality.
The new fences must adhere to the specifications of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape: Roads Infrastructure Department. Minimum specifications will be made available to successful applicants.
Application forms can be obtained from Mr Qamani Nkebana at the Roads Transport & Planning Department. Contact numbers at the office are 044 803 1506 or email Qamani@gardenroute.gov.za. Alternatively, download from www.gardenroute.gov.za.
Application period: 21 May 2021 to 18 June 2021.
Applications will be audited and evaluated according to risk analysis by a panel. Risk factors include: Status of road, traffic count, operating speed of vehicles, type of farming, condition of current fence, etc.
The panel outcome will be decided by 19 July 2021. All applicants will be informed. A fencing subsidy contract will be signed with successful applicants. Unsuccessful applicants can apply again in the next financial year.
All fences must be fully completed by 10 December 2021 for payment before 28 February 2022.
Payment will be done after an inspection and approval for the fence has been made.
Media Release: Sudden passing of another beloved Roads Services colleague and friend mourned
For immediate release 09 April 2021
Officials at the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Roads Services in George were left ‘speechless and sad’ when they were informed on the morning of 6 April 2021 about the passing of their co-worker Mzwabantu Mbem. He tragically succumbed together with his partner, sister and child, during a fire at his household over the Easter weekend at the age of thirty-one (31).
According to Andre Mouton, a former supervisor of the late Mbem, he will always be remembered as the “giant with the gentle nature”. Mouton described Mzwabantu as an exceptionally quiet and introverted person, kind and respectful and much loved among his colleagues. “The characteristics of Mzwabantu that will always remain with me is his positive attitude; always ready to assist his peers to solve problems with workable solutions,” he said.
Mzwabantu Mbem commenced his career on 1 May 2017 as Senior Worker at the GRDM Roads Services in Herbertsdale. He was later transferred to the George Maintenance Team. Prior to his appointment at the GRDM, Mzwabantu obtained a NQF Level 4 qualification in Roads Construction and during the last two years of his employment, he equipped himself by attending different training courses as well as attaining his Code 10 driver’s license. He was also busy with a mentorship course that would enable him to fulfill his aspiration to become a foreman in the future.
Marius Mqhokrwana, colleague and friend of the late Mzwabantu described him as a man of few words, a person who merely did what he was tasked to do.’ He further described “Mbem” as a people’s person and a person who loved being around others, in particular his family.
“Mbem was known to be the ‘leader of the pack’ in terms of work performance. He was an intelligent young man, hard-working and committed, we all foresaw a promising future for him. As quiet as he was, he leaves a big gap and is going to be greatly missed.”
A memorial service to honour and celebrate the life of Mzwabantu Mbem will be held on Friday, 09 April 2021, to grant his colleagues and friends the opportunity to bid their final farewells. The Memorial Service will be broadcasted from the GRDM Council Chambers and will be available on Youtube at: https://youtu.be/cjqm59uY4ng
The newly launched National Certificate in Supervision of Construction NQF Level 4 program includes 75 officials of the GRDM and 15 unemployed youth from the Garden Route. The one year program will be divided into 30% theory focused classes and 70% on the job training.
GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for the Roads Department, Councillor Rowan Spies, during the launch of the programme alluded to the fact that this is the first programme where 25 participants were attending theoretical training from various locations throughout the district. “Covid-19 has robbed us from having huge gatherings. However, at GRDM we have to adapt to a new approach to training,” said Cllr Spies. He wished all the learners on the program the best of luck and said that he was extremely excited and filled with pride that everyone would benefit from the program.
The Executive Manager of Roads Services, Mr John Daniels encouraged participants to grab the opportunity with both hands. He explained that his department follows the concept, “from sweeper to engineer”, where all staff members are presented with equal opportunities to be able to achieve the peak of their careers, regardless of where they started. Mr Daniels boasted that his Department invested a further substantial amount of funding towards bursaries. “This is all done to improve the department’s vision of providing quality services to the public,” he said.
Ms Nokuthula Dube, Chief Executive Officer of Nokuthula Dube and Associates, the service provider for the training, shared a broad overview of the programme. She explained to participants that the programme wasn’t easy as it includes a wide variety of supervisory skills and project planning. However, she wished the learners well and encouraged them to be committed to their studies and concluded that only hard work will pay off at the end of the day.
Two employees of GRDM who are also participants in the programme, Ms Valentyn and Mr Mona, thanked the GRDM Management on behalf of all participants for providing them the opportunity and investing in their future. The chairpersons from both trade unions IMATU and SAMWU pledged their support towards the programme and encouraged learners to make use of the opportunity presented to them with energy and optimism.
During his keynote address, the Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen, motivated learners by sharing his own life story and challenges faced during his upbringing and career path. Alderman Booysen explained: “My goal while at school was to become a truck driver. My primary and tertiary school years were not all plain sailing and I started believing that I wasn’t going to pass matric. The only hope I had was to follow in my family’s footsteps to become a truck driver. To my surprise, I passed matric and at that time I did not have any plans to continue studying; I took a leap year and ended up being an “agter-ryer” – an assistant to a truck driver,” Booysen said.
Alderman Booysen promised participants that he will share with them how he managed to become the Executive Mayor of the GRDM, but only on the day they graduate. However, he encouraged learners to take the opportunity seriously and meet GRDM’s same intent – to take the development of everyone serious. To conclude, Alderman Booysen encouraged the GRDM Training and Development Section to make sure that no participant drops out of the program and to provide management with monthly reports to ensure that the participants stay in the program and complete the program.
During the closing remarks, Cllr Spies thanked the Executive Mayor for his leadership role, the Management Team for their commitment to Skills Development and all the participants for their courage to enrol for further studies. He also thanked the Program Director Ms Simile Mqoto (Manager Roads) for directing the program.
Media Release: GRDM Grader Operator tragically passes away in motor vehicle accident
For Immediate Release
09 February 2021
The past weekend, on 5 February 2021, council, management and employees from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) were once again shocked by the sudden passing of a GRDM employee. Johannes Amsterdam, a GRDM Roads Services employee, sadly succumbed due to a motor vehicle accident near Riversdale in the Hessequa Municipal area.
This has been the 6th GRDM employee who passed away since July last year. He passed away at the age of 59.
Johannes was appointed at the municipality (formerly South Cape Regional Services Council) on 4 April 1995 as a Roads Worker in Riversdale and was later promoted to the position of Supervisor where he was responsible for supervising a team of eight (8) staff members. His last position at GRDM was that of Grader Operator in Riversdale.
Executive Manager for Roads at GRDM, John Daniels, recalls his first conversation with Johannes. During the time Johannes was on sick leave after he fractured his foot. “I could sense he was a wise man and it was clear that he had a great passion for his work, specifically as a Grader Operator. With his years of experience, he enjoyed mentoring other operators, but most of all for him to be employed at GRDM was something he boasted about. He had tremendous respect for this organisation, his work and his role at the GRDM Roads Department”.
Japie Strydom, GRDM Manager Maintenance, Construction and Mechanical Services, who worked with Johannes many years ago said they had good times together. He added: “It was a pleasure for me to work with Johannes – we shared many joyous moments together on road projects”.
Superintendent at GRDM Roads in Riversdale and Supervisor of Johannes, Jacques Joseph, described him as “an asset to GRDM Roads. He was an employee with many years of experience and because of that many were presented with the opportunity to learn from him”. He is also remembered as “a strict and straightforward person, yet committed and very hard working – a leader with a passion for his work”.
“Once again, we would like to extend our sincere condolences to his wife and children during this difficult period of their lives and may they find peace in knowing that he fulfilled his role at GRDM with great passion, sincerity and wisdom. We will always remember him for sharing his expertise to ensure that our roads stayed in the best shape possible.”
A virtual memorial service will be hosted by GRDM on Friday, 12 February 2021 at 10:00.
Rest in Peace Johannes Amsterdam – you will be sorely missed.
Media Release: “I am the first one” – GRDM helped Thembisa to obtain her Code 14 licence
For Immediate Release 2 February 2021
A proud moment was shared by Thembisa Ntshebe, a Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Grader Assistant who now has two licences – a Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) and a Heavy Motor Vehicle (HMV) one. GRDM afforded her and many others the opportunity to pursue various drivers licences by recently launching a R550 000, 3-year long Driver’s License Project.
The GRDM Corporate Services head of department, Trix Holtzhausen, has spearheaded the drive for women empowerment to address inequalities linked to traditionally male dominated career fields in the municipality. “This programme will enable women to transform not only the GRDM Roads Services Department’s employment equity composition, but gender parity in a male dominated sector too,” she said.
According to Reginald Salmons, GRDM Coordinator: Skills Development, “the institution identified 74 recipients to get a Code B, 10 and EC license, of which 40 are female”. “The GRDM appointed the Victoria Driving School to provide training over the period.”
During an interview with Thembisa, she shared that she was dreaming about getting a Code 14 licence ever since she started working for GRDM on 1 November 2017. “I know that this is the key I need for doors to open in the future.” Supervisors, superintendents and traffic control officers are some of the career fields that require Code 14 licences.
“Even though I did not pass the first time around I pushed myself and today I am a proud owner of a Code 14 licence”, she said. Thembisa is also the first female enrolled in this project to obtain a Code 14 licence.
This licence allows licensees to drive a vehicle weighing over 16 000 Kg, with a trailer hooked to it that weighs more than 750 Kg. Moreover, those who are in possession of such a licence can operate vehicles under codes 8, 10 and EB too.
When responding to Thembisa’s achievement, Shandré Abrahams, HR Practitioner: Employee Assistance Programme said, “It makes me proud to hear and see women equipping themselves in skills that they never thought would be possible to acquire. It therefore remains important for the GRDM to stay committed to gender empowerment and in acknowledgement of the fact that the glass ceiling can be broken”.
While it remains important for the GRDM to see women empowered, it is equally important to identify gender disparities that have existed for a number of years in certain positions. It is only possible for the GRDM to achieve this when the institution prioritises women empowerment programmes and put its funds where its mouth is.
Caption: Thembisa Ntshebe showcases proof that she passed her Code 14 license