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Strengthening Relations

9 December 2022 Media Release: GRDM is gearing up for the SUMMER SEASON!

Media Release: GRDM is gearing up for the SUMMER SEASON!

For Immediate Release
9 December 2022

In preparation for the Summer season, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Fire Services hosted a joint Integrated Fire Management launch with district partners on Thursday, 01 December 2022.

A wide range of intergovernmental stakeholders attended the event, including representatives from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment, Cape Nature, San Parks and GRDM Disaster Management.  Also in attendance were representatives from PG Bison Forestry, MTO Forestry, Kishugu Aviation (WOF), Working on Fire, and Nelson Mandela University.

The Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen delivered the keynote address during which he emphasised the need for stronger collaboration and integration between the different stakeholders. “This will ensure better preparedness for the task at hand, as we deal with fires in a preventative rather than a punitive manner,” he said.

In his remarks, Mayor Booysen acknowledged the role played by the different stakeholders and noted the fact that there is no longer a beginning or end to the annual ‘fire seasons,’ especially in light of climate change.  He referred to the fuel loads in the region as a massive risk and called upon all governmental stakeholders to work better together. “Our discussions must shift to preparedness.  District Mayors need to address the fuel loads on all their various platforms.  It is imperative that fires are detected early, and we ought to use the technology available, such as cameras and satellites, to assist in the response and preparation,” he said.

In conclusion, Alderman Booysen mentioned that the work of the firefighting fraternity is not unnoticed, and the challenges they faced are well known to the district’s mayors. He praised the Working on Fire Program and pointed out how these firefighters walk, on the N2 and in the mountains, as a sign of their care and devotion.

Frank Smook, of WoF/Kishugu Aviation, spoke about coordinated operations and noted that Denneoord Airbase will be home to two Command & Control planes, two AT802 Bomber planes, and a helicopter. The importance of having all agencies working and pulling together was stressed by him. Also the importance of having fire apparatus and aerial resources ready at all times, as well as knowing your region’s fire danger index on any given day. Smook explained the significance of activating an aerial firefighting response, such as an initial attack, as soon as smoke is detected in high-risk areas, in order to suppress a fire quickly and efficiently. Lastly, he said good communication is essential, particularly WhatsApp groups, which assist in coordination and can be utilised for communication amongst agencies.

The Southern Cape Fire Protection Association’s Dirk Smit explained the importance of having sound systems in place, alluded to efforts to improve Integrated Fire Management, creating platforms to address the real issues and reinforcing partnerships in our region to make a difference.  He also pointed out that firefighters’ safety is very important and that this aspect must be a priority to ensure that they can perform the tasks at hand. He wished everyone a safe season.

In conclusion Deon Stoffels, GRDM Chief Fire Officer started his address as follows: “First and foremost, we are here to protect people and property, but it is equally vital to protect the environment, which provides a wealth of natural resources essential to the economy of the region, and that collaboration is imperative between stakeholders in fire management. Whilst protecting the urban areas, it is also equally important to protect the rural areas, including farmers and farm workers, crops, vineyards and infrastructure,” he said.

The Summer Season Operational Plan, inclusive of all stakeholder’s resource availability are in place and ready to be activated for each respective jurisdictional area when and if the need arises.

A special recognition was given to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre for the ‘PDMC First Hour’. This is available to the District for a period of 01 December 2022 to 31 March 2023 to ensure rapid aerial firefighting resources could be activated upon vegetation or mountain fire detection.

Fire Safety & Prevention is everyone’s responsibility and the public is urged to apply caution in their own individual spaces. It is however vitally important to alert the Fire Brigade Services immediately upon detecting any form of fire breakout.


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.


28 June 2022 Media Release: Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and SASSETA visit GRDM

Media Release: Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and SASSETA visit GRDM

28 June 2022
For Immediate Release 

An Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) delegation consisting of national and provincial officials visited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) on 13 and 14 June 2022. The aim of the two-day visit was to learn more about the Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) model and to investigate the possibility of replicating the Skills Mecca concept in other parts of the country.

On the first day, representatives from GRSM and the GRDM EPWP section accompanied the delegation on several site visits to training centres in the area that support the GRSM. Delegates visited Cheeba Africa, African Skills and François Ferreira Academy where they were given thorough insights of each facility and the type of training provided.  Through several Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) grants and EPWP programmes, learners have successfully completed courses at the training centres visited by delegates and have been able to enter the job market.

The second day was reserved for engagement.  Lusanda Menze (GRDM Executive Manager:: Planning and Economic Development) gave an overview of GRDM and its Growth and Development Strategy and Dr Florus Prinsloo (GRSM Coordinator) gave a comprehensive overview of the GRSM model.

Tsholofelo Pooe from National EPWP presented on the their EPWP Training Framework and possible linkages to the Garden Route Skills Mecca.

MOU between GRSM and SASSETA discussed.

Joining the delegation on the second day, were Chris Mudau and Thamsanqa Mdontswa from the Safety and Security SETA (SASSETA). After listening to the presentations given by GRDM and GRSM, they presented on the SETA’s mandate, Skills Development Levy (SDL) breakdown, and strategic scope amongst other topics.

SASSETA’s sub-sections and constituencies include:

  • Policing
  • Corrections
  • Justice
  • Defence
  • Intelligence Activities
  • Legal Services
  • Private Security and Investigation Activities

There are 17 SDL contributors in the Garden Route, which comprises law firms and security companies.  It is for this reason that SASSETA and GRDM will enter into talks to establish an MOU that will see closer cooperation with GRSM.

The two-day delegation visit was concluded with a visit to Calitzdorp Hot Springs where a Security Training Centre has been established through formal partnership between BM Skills Development (who is a SASSETA Accredited Training Provider) and the GRDM.




13 June 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

For Immediate Release
13 June 2022

The fifth quarterly Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum was held virtually on in May 2022 and focused on renewable energy strategies for the Garden Route.

This follows a fruitful engagement Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) had with the Energy & Water Sector Education Training Authority  (EWSETA) on Tuesday, 17 May 2022.  During the engagement, EWSETA expressed its desire to support renewable energy projects in the Garden Route, which is in line with its support of Just Energy Transition (JET),  Deutsche Gesellschaft fĂŒr Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the work done in South Africa by The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA).

EWSETA has a significant demand-based focus, and it is important for them to determine what the needs are of employers and businesses. They receive a limited skills levy income and need to partner with other agencies to address this challenge. This is why they’ve agreed soon enter into a memorandum of understanding with GRDM.

During his opening remarks, the GRSM Forum chairperson, Ald. De Vries remarked that renewable energy is gaining momentum as countries around the world are increasingly understanding the benefits it offers.

During the forum, Mr. Warrick Pierce, Technical Leader on Energy Systems Modeling at the Energy Centre of CSIR, presented the Draft Municipal Electricity Master Plan for the GRDM. The Draft document was funded by GIZ and co-funded by the CSIR and is considered to be a mini Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

Mr. Pierce noted that the plan looks at different possible energy futures and the employment opportunities it may hold. Furthermore, the plan’s focus is twofold as it looks at each municipality individually in the region and the Garden Route as a whole to achieve optimisation.

To draft plan addresses issues of future demand usage and that municipalities need to know their customers – their past behaviors towards energy and how this is changing in terms of self-generation.  There seems to be clear indication that Solar PV is the priority option for the Garden Route to consider. The Draft Energy Master Plan will be tabled to the GRDM Council this month for adoption and a media release about it will be issued.

The final presentation was done by Kirsten Freimann, from GIZ, who is the Head of Project: Career Path Development for Employment (CPD4E), which is a new 3-year program that started in June.

The program aims to address two major concerns identified by GIZ, which are the economic recession and the high youth unemployment rate plaguing South Africa. With the help of the Swiss Development Agency, The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Government was able to raise €10.5 million for the project.

CPDE4E strives to improve the employability of the youth by unlocking employment potentials by supporting entrepreneurship and SME development in township economies, as well as (ecologic) industrial parks.

The transition from learning to earning will be done by matching soft skills with entrepreneurship training with specific measures in place for girls and women.

Demand-driven TVET/ skills development will improve delivery capacities, through lecturers, in-company mentors, short skills programs, new occupational profiles, and curricula development. It is anticipated that it will strengthen private sector involvement in agile training interventions. This could lead to job creation and meeting demands.

19 March 2022 Media Release: Swarms Locusts (grasshoppers)  tearing through the Karoo

Media Release: Swarms Locusts (grasshoppers)  tearing through the Karoo

For immediate release
19 March 2022

On Monday, 14 March 2022, large swarms of locusts descended onto the Klein Karoo region. Reports of locust swarms around the Calitzdorp area was received by the Garden Route District Municipality Disaster Management Centre (GRDM DMC) on Monday, 15th March 2022. Later, it was confirmed that farmers in Kruisvallei and Buffelskloof were seeing swarms of locusts flying from west to east along the foothills of the Swartberg mountains.

Over the past year, the increase of locust activity has become apparent, which resulted in the Department of Agriculture conducting several pesticide spraying actions in the Northern- as well as the Eastern Cape and the Central Karoo. However, historically these locust plagues were confined to the Northern parts of the Western Cape as well as the  Central Karoo district.  Therefore, most pro-active Department Locust Officers (DLO’s) training was done in the Central Karoo District Municipal area.

The mandate to deal with locusts lies with the National Department of Agriculture due to locusts being a migratory pest.

On Wednesday, 16 March 2022, the Garden Route District Municipality Disaster Management (GRDM DM) activated its Joint Operation Centre (JOC) in response to the locust infestation.  A JOC meeting was held in response to the Locust Infestation affecting parts of Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn.   Various stakeholders attended the JOC, including the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality Manager of Fire Services & Disaster Management, Agri- Western Cape and the Department of Agriculture Western Cape.

The following concerns were highlighted:

  • That a shortage of chemicals needed to spray the locust infestation causes significant challenges. Currently, there are only 54 000 liters of Decis (a pesticide used for locust control) available in South Africa.
  • Training for locust control has been requested from the National Department of Agriculture and is expected to commence on the 23 March and will take place at a venue identified in Oudtshoorn. Both Kannaland and Oudtshoorn areas will be included in the training.
  • It is challenging to locate the ‘head’ of the swarms, making it difficult to determine the direction they are travelling. Moreover, the swarms move to higher parts of the mountain, making it a challenge to control the swarms without aerial spraying.

According to Agri SA, this is one of the biggest locust swarms in years and, with the assistance of donors and the Department of Agriculture, farmers are trying everything to save crops and ensure food security.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has made R5 million available immediately to provide support to purchase personal protective equipment, sprayer pumps. pesticides and aerial spraying support to teams combating the outbreak of locust swarms in the Western Cape.  Combating the locust infestation is critical for food security and rural livelihood.

Farmers from the area and organisations who would like to undergo training for locust control are requested to contact Ms Adel Supra-Vertue, Manager from the Oudtshoorn Municipality Fire & Disaster Management Services at 064 125 9227/ 044 203 7810. We also would like to request farmers and residents not to start fires as a measure to kill or deter locusts.  Our Karoo areas are still arid, and these fires may cause runaway fires.

Training for Locust District Officers will take place on the 23rd of March from 09:00 am until 14:00 pm at the De Hoek Mountain resort.  Interested parties are requested to send their names to Mr Lonwabo Luthango at or to contact him by cell: 084 881 5853.

Pro-active and re-active actions are coordinated by Me Vuyokazi Mpumlwana from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD).  Her contact detail is 084 760 8176.  Other coordinators from the National Department of Locust Control are Dr Ikafeng, who can be contacted at 072 198 9882.

15 March 2022 Media Release: Growth And Development Of The Agricultural Sector In The Garden Route

Media Release: Growth And Development Of The Agricultural Sector In The Garden Route

15 March 2022
For immediate release

Clyde Lamberts from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture was invited to speak at the first Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum of 2022 and his focus was on the growth and development strategy of the department for the Garden Route. He opened his comprehensive presentation with the following quote by Allan Savory:

“Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds – it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s land and waters. Without agriculture, it is impossible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy”.  

To put this quote into perspective, Lamberts shared one of the Department’s recent success stories: A farm in Herald was in a dilapidated state due to a lack of interest in purposing the land. A businessman who was passionate about farming bought it, and spent the next five (5) years turning it into a viable business that now produces honeybush and proteas. He is the first black commercial farmer to produce honeybush in the Southern Cape. It is because the Department assisted him that his business was able to create sixteen (16) permanent jobs, with opportunities for an additional twenty (20) seasonal workers.

Before this, in Waboomskraal, the Department assisted another farmer, who became the first black farmer in the area to produce proteas and hops.

Lamberts noted: “When all spheres of government work together in an integrated fashion, these are the type of results we will see”. 

Lamberts listed the activities and services the Department provides to farmers and all other stakeholders as the following:

  • Independent agricultural advice and information
  • Supporting Livestock farmers – Development program. Livestock Forum
  • Performance testing/annual evaluation/ID limitations and opportunities
  • Investigating and implementing new hardy breeds and crossbreeding
  • Investigations in lowering inset cost through conservation agriculture – cover crops
  • Investigations into pasture species for marginal lands
  • Crop production advice and information
  • Niche crops/markets
  • Training

The type of training that is provided includes evidence-based and practice-based farmers’ capacity building. This is done through farmers’ days, demonstrations, peer-to-peer learning, and face-to-face interactions. Since 2018, the department trained 820 beneficiaries and this ranged from vegetable training to farm implement operation training.

The Department has a memorandum of understanding with GRDM and vacant land has been identified that the municipality owns which is conducive for agricultural development opportunities. The Department is researching the potential of commodity processing facilities in the Garden Route, which will be a source of immediate job creation – a game-changer for job creation in the region.

The Department furthermore envisions the building of Agri-Business Platforms for clients where potential products can be processed ready for consumption. Through Conservation/Regenerative agriculture, farmers are encouraged to rehabilitate and look after their own soil to turn it into organic matter that fertilizes with very few chemicals. Trials on livestock projects have yielded very positive results to date, and the global view is that going regenerative holds many financial and ecological benefits.

Agritourism needs to be promoted as it holds several untapped opportunities for the tourism sector. There is a need to compile tour packages to visit farms and processing facilities for both local and international tourism. The Roads Department has a role to play as well, as it must ensure easy access through regular road maintenance and upgrades.

The Department is in the process of revisiting mechanization which would allow for a central point that offers services such as ploughing, for example, as well as repair and maintenance services on farm implements.

Lamberts concluded his presentation by saying that we can be very proud of our district and that the Department is very excited to continue its work in the area.

21 February 2022 Media Release: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Media Release:  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

For immediate release

21 February 2022

A thought, or rather a WhatsApp message between two women, eager to make a difference, turned into the beginning of a life-changing movement. A drive resulted in 700 pairs of school shoes being donated to fourteen (14) principals at the launch of the Walk-a-Child-to-School program on Wednesday, 9 February 2022.

On 25 February 2021, Ms Queeny Diko, Vodacom Cluster Specialist for Eden Country, contacted Ms Nomonde Makhubalo, Marketing and Sales Manager of Eden FM Radio Station (Eden FM), to share her idea of establishing a school project initiative in collaboration with Eden FM. She wanted to place empty boxes in all Vodacom stores in George where people could donate school shoes. Eden FM would participate by promoting the project and creating awareness on the community radio station. Several days later, Mr Errol Jafta from the George Museum also approached Ms Makhubalo with more or less the same idea of collecting stationery and school clothes for children.

Following a thorough deliberation and brainstorming between the various parties, and taking into consideration the expected goals and objectives of the initiative, Ms Makhubalo quickly realised, “This project has more potential than meets the eye.” she said. Her enthusiasm led her to approach the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) to join in on the life-changing movement of donating school shoes to underprivileged children.

Through this collaboration between Eden FM, GRDM, Vodacom and George Museum, the shoes are donated and aid children to walk to school in comfort. This initiative also puts smiles on each recipient’s face by restoring their HOPE, PRIDE and DIGNITY.

In March 2021, the Walk-a-Child-to-School project was ‘born’ and officially launched in April 2021. As soon as the project commenced, businesses and community members in George generously opened their hearts and donated money and shoes. Within three (3) months, almost 500 pairs of shoes were donated. This demonstrated the power of collective action and people working together,” Ms Nomonde Makhubalo said.

During the first handover ceremony attended by GRDM Councillors, business owners, principals, and learners, Mr Morne Pietersen, Station Manager of Eden FM, made the following remarks. “Children are honest and pure, and with all the horrible things happening in the world, we need to protect and nurture them because they are our most precious gifts. Working with children is wonderful, but seeing them suffer is difficult, and through this initiative, we hope to ease some of their sufferings,” Pietersen said.

Later, Queeny Diko elaborated on Vodacom’s ‘further together’ tagline. “In my opinion, our company’s tagline emphasises the importance of collaboration and partnerships among businesses, corporate companies, radio stations, and municipalities for reaching a common goal. The Walk-a-Child-to-School Project is very dear to my company because we support our communities and try to encourage and enable children to attend schools,” Diko said.

Additionally, Ms Diko presented a surprise to the learners, principals, and parents present, encouraging them to register on the Vodacom E-school platform, which will enable learners to access free, unlimited, quality online educational content from grades R to 12. She explained that only adults and legal guardians could register learners on the platform. “By registering as many learners on the E-school platform, we are running a competition for all 14 beneficiary schools here today to win two Lenovo laptops. As Vodacom Eastern Region, we say let’s go further together, and when we work together, we can achieve more,” she concluded.

Mr Errol Jafta, the representative of the George Museum, expressed his gratitude to his partner for allowing them to be involved.”Listening to all the speakers here today makes me feel sad. When I started working at the museum, I realised that our children have no idea what a museum is. My vision is to change our people’s mindset by demonstrating to them what a museum is all about by going into the community. As we serve the leaders of tomorrow, let’s be humble and use our resources to advance projects like this.”

GRDM Executive Mayor Alderman Memory Booysen opened his address with the statement, “This initiative is bigger than all of us. I can see this in the next few months, and I can see it in the next thirty years. Booysen referred to the MC’s introductory words, which stated that everyone needs a giant to lift them up in life. However, he said that it came to his mind that some giants are not necessarily big, but there are small giants as David of the bible, who was a small man, but who became a giant. “I want to say to the two ladies who started this initiative, sometimes giants become kings, and for a king to be a proper king, you need a queen, and this is what you are.”

He continued his speech by saying that having school shoes can determine whether a learner go all the way to grade 12. “We must not take what is happening here for granted, ladies and gentlemen; this is just the beginning. We also need to teach our children what role they can play to ensure that they look after the planet they live on.”

During the handover of the shoes, the principles present expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the valuable and much-needed donations they received. Principals agreed that shoes are symbolic of pride and give confidence to the young learners knowing that they can walk to school in comfort. Mr Mann, the principal from St.Lukes EK Primary school in Brandwacht outside Mossel Bay, thanked the sponsors and said that most parents in their area rely heavily on social grants, and these school shoes will be a great relief to learners. “We know seasons change, winter is approaching, and our children are dependent on school shoes.

The principal of the Diepkloof Primary school, Mr Bernard Schoeman, also expressed his appreciation and said that gestures like these make lives easier for children and make them feel cared for. Another principle said putting food on the table is a massive challenge for many parents and households; therefore, buying school shoes is, in many cases, impossible.

The GRDM Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu, thanked the pioneers of the wonderful project, emphasising that what started as a thought is growing into what it is becoming. He thanked the George Museum representative, reminding the audience that even among the bad news we hear daily, some men have lost their fatherhood and become monsters. However, we still have fathers taking pride in raising children. Mr Stratu thanked the principals and learners for taking time out of their busy schedules, travelling from far. He concluded that as GRDM, we are very proud of being associated with this initiative.

The schools that benefited from the first Walk-a-Child-to-School Project were:  Crags Primary School, Chris Nissan Primary School,  Diepkloof Primary School, Garden Route Primary School, St Konraad Primary School, Rheenendal Primary School, Slangriver Primary School, Zoar EK Primary School,  St Lukes  Brandwac Primary School, Tyholorha Primary School, De Rust Primary School KwaNokuthula Primary School, Amalienstein Primary School and

The Programme Director ended the event saying that what happened today is only the beginning and that he trusts that this project will explode, with more sponsors becoming involved, distributing thousands of pairs of schools in the future to children in need because there is nothing that must keep a child back to perform and be the best. Our country is alive with possibilities, and today is one of these events which put a stamp of approval that South Africa is indeed alive with possibilities – UNLESS WE EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN, WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY TO THE NEXT LEVEL.


11 November 2020 Media Release: Garden Route District Community Safety Forum established – another first for the Garden Route

Media Release: Garden Route District Community Safety Forum established – another first for the Garden Route

For Immediate Release
11 November 2020

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility”

28 October 2020 marked a historic occasion for the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) when the GRDM in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, launched the first-ever Garden Route District Community Safety Forum in Mossel Bay. This event follows after several engagements and workshops, including an Alcohol Harms Reduction Work session, a Safety Plan Workshop and a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) workshop in 2019.

In December 2018, the Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde, hosted a meeting with District Mayors – and Municipal Managers in the Western Cape. The purpose of the engagement was to introduce the Western Cape Provincial Cabinet’s District Safety Initiative Project, funded by the Department of Community Safety for four years.
Subsequent to the meeting, a Transfer Payment Agreement (TPA) was signed between the municipalities in the district and the Department of Community Safety where after funds were transferred to the GRDM. The TPA obliged the District Municipality to submit safety- and business plans in support of safety initiatives in the district. This approach emphasises the establishment of effective safety structures to facilitate and co-ordination role-players at the district and local municipal level. As part of this agreement, the WC Department of Community Safety will guide and assist each District Municipality with the development of a resilience model, to build safe and cohesive communities, which will be monitored through the municipal safety structures.

The launch was attended by Mayors and Deputy Mayors from across the district, Councillors and representatives from the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, the South African Police Services, Department of Correctional Services, Department of Social Development, Department of Home Affairs, the Provincial Traffic, the District Men’s Sector and senior municipal officials. During the official welcoming address, the GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Alderlady Rosina Ruiters, thanked the Western Cape Department of Community Safety for initiating and rolling out the project in the Garden Route and emphasised the critical importance of safety in the district.

Mr Justin Lottring, Deputy Director for Community Police Relations at the Western Cape Department of Community Safety did a presentation on what he called ‘the milestones reached” in leading up to the launch. He gave a brief background report on the progress made since 2018, future plans in terms of safety initiatives in the district and what stakeholders can expect from the Garden Route District Safety Forum. “Today we are pleased to be in a partnership with the GRDM to improve safety in the district. I believe that there is a link between well-being and safety, and that trust clearly influence and flow out of it. If partners don’t trust one another, they wouldn’t be able to work together,” Lottring said.

Alderman Memory Booysen during his keynote address.

The GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen during his keynote address was persuasively stated that fighting crime is a collective effort. “What happens after today is the ‘real science’ of what is important. We collectively need to work together and address the current situation of over-crowdedness at correctional facilities within the district,” Alderman Booysen said. He said: “As a District Municipality, we do not want to overstep or interfere in the local municipality’s business. We are aware that some of the municipalities in the district are struggling and for that reason, we want to form partnerships and work together to combat crime.” In conclusion Alderman Booysen thanked stakeholders for their presence and support and said: “Let’s all keep on spreading the message by taking a ‘whole of society’ approach”.

In support of the newly established Forum, the different municipal- and sector department representatives each delivered a short message of support to the District Municipality for leading the district in a safer environment. As a token of their commitment, representatives signed a pledge, manifesting their support and willingness to partner with the GRDM.

As for the way forward, the GRDM will coordinate the establishment of local Community Safety Forums in each Local Municipality in the district to identify, develop and implement safety strategies, safety plans and safety projects. Safety plans will be captured in the IDP processes and existing safety partners will be utilised to assist the GRDM and local municipalities to combat COVID-19 and promote social distancing in the local hotspot areas.



19 October 2020 Media Release: Reduce, reuse and replant – home composting project rolled out in Bitou

Media Release: Reduce, reuse and replant – home composting project rolled out in Bitou

For Immediate Release
19 October 2020

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) continues to roll our home composting projects throughout the Garden Route.

GRDM Waste Management Officer, Mr Johan Gie presenting an insightful presentation about home composting during the information session.

Home composting not only keeps material from overburdening landfill sites but also reduces transport costs of refuse removal services. An earlier waste characterisation study revealed that large quantities of organic waste still got transported from households and businesses in the Garden Route district. Since most landfills sites in the Garden Route are already closed or nearing their fully capacity, the GRDM initiated a home composting pilot project in 2018 to practically and gradually advocate and promote the reduction of organic waste from households going to landfills.

The home composting project aims to motivate the different councils to roll out this project to all households in the municipal areas, and thus extending the lifespans of landfills. After months of waiting due to COVID-19 restrictions, officials from the Bitou Municipality’s Waste Management section and residents from Bitou welcomed the rollout of the project.

Mr Douglas Baardman was very excited for the project to finally kick-off.

A formal information and handover session took place on Wednesday, 14 October 2020. At the event, the Bitou Municipality’s Waste Management Manager, Mr Douglas Baartman, who officially open the session, expressed his Councils gratitude towards the GRDM for initiating the project in the Bitou municipal area. He also mentioned that residents responded in excitement and great numbers to the project – a lot of applications were received.  In concluding he thanked the GRDM Waste Management team for their leadership role and guidance.

Johan Gie with a participant (right), ready to start her own home composting project

Mr Johan Gie, Waste Management Officer of the GRDM did an in-depth presentation about home composting, which was followed by a question and answering session.  He discussed topics inclusive of benefits of home composting; what and what not to compost; how to compost; and the different types of composing.  One of the highlights of the session was when participants were provided with established worm farms.  In addition, each participant also received a troubleshooting guide and guidelines on composting; an electronic scale to record monthly waste diverted for composting, and datasheets to complete monthly statistics.

The information session was conducted in a very informative way and participants were very eager in asking questions.

GRDM Municipal Waste Management section agreed with participants to complete monthly updates to enable the GRDM to monitor the progress of the project and capture data for future reference.  The pilot project will run for a year and results from the study will be presented to Local Municipal Councils. In this report, the exact quantities of organic waste diverted from landfills with the assistance and buy-in from households and businesses will be listed.

Considering that 30% – 40% of the normal household black bag waste contains organic waste originating from the garden and kitchen, the project will seek to change these worrying numbers. Composting is a simple, environmentally friendly and cheap way to add nutrient-rich humus to fuel plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil.

GRDM hosts its 2nd IDP, Budget and Performance Management Representative Forum

The 2nd Integrated Development Planning (IDP), Budget and Performance Management Representative Forum, hosted by Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), took place on Thursday, 14 March 2019 at the Civic Centre in George. This event was a second of its kind to be hosted by the District. The event housed approximately 150 delegates, varying from Councillors and municipal officials, to representatives from sector departments in the Garden Route district.

Apart from representatives from B-municipalities, various Government organisations were also given the stage to talk about their initiatives and plans for the future. This was the part on the programme which municipal representatives waited for in anticipation.

Soon after Mr Mzukisi Cekiso, Manager of Integrated Development Planning at GRDM, recapped the resolutions of the 1st Forum that took in Mossel Bay last year 2018, Executive Mayor of GRDM, presented an overview of the Garden Route district. Mayor Booysen emphasised that the Garden Route is the second biggest district in the Western Cape and is still growing in terms of population statistics.

Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Memory Booysen during his keynote address at the 2nd Integrated Development Planning/Budget and Performance Management Representative Forum that was held at the George Civic Centre on 14 March 2019.

When highlighting his plans for the Garden Route, Mayor Booysen pointed out one of the initiatives of the GRDM and said: “Big events, such as the Garden Route Investment Conference, hosted by the municipality last year have resulted in negotiations to take place with an investor for a R1 billion contract. This contract will be of benefit to all municipal areas in the Garden Route,” he added. Although Mayor Booysen brought good news to the various representatives in relation to the District’s plans, such as to appoint a development agency for the district etc., he also changed his tone and raised his concerns about various challenges which the entire district is faced which. One of these challenges is the drop-out rate of high school learners. He subsequently pleaded with municipalities to plan for programmes to be put in place to reverse this trend.

Municipal Manager of GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu, encouraged all municipalities to fully utilise IDP platforms to raise issues of concern and that everybody must work hard to improve communication among stakeholders to ensue better cooperation.

GRDM Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu, during his address said: “We have received correspondence from the Western Cape Government that the IDP Indaba is coming back in April 2019”. Stratu encouraged municipalities to make use these opportunities to engage on matters of public interest”. When referring to public participation, he furthermore explained that the District will be going to the next phase of the IDP and Budget process. “We need to work very hard on our communication as stakeholders of Government, as we are not all on the same page and should work hard in achieving better coordinated,” Stratu said.

Speaker of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies, and Programme Director of the event (left), together with Speaker of George Municipality, Mr Gerrit Pretorius (right), after he delivered his speech on behalf of George Municipality.

Municipalities on the other hand raised their municipal concerns of which many spoke about the drought issue in their area, over population in relations to adequate services such as a need for health facilities etc, unemployment, housing, provision of electricity – to name a few.  Although many municipalities appeared to be despondent when sharing their municipal budget constraints or shortcomings, many of them also saw the light at the end of the tunnel when sector departments announced their future plans for the Garden Route. One such good announcement, was that of the Department of Health in the Garden Route/Klein Karoo District, when Mr Manie Abrahams highlighted that in the 2019/2020 financial year, R462 million will be spent on hospitals and R498 million for primary health care services. Abrahams said:  “One of the reasons for the spending, especially at primary health care facilities and hospitals, is to decrease the waiting time of visitors”. He added:  “The Department’s infrastructure upgrading this year for the district amounts to R10 to R30 million for the Mossel Bay hospital which is in progress, as well as a new hospital for Bitou of which the date still needs to be confirmed”.

The Bitou Municipality was fully represented at the event, with (fltr) Executive Mayor of Bitou, Cllr Peter Lobese, Municipal Manager of Bitou Municipality, Mr Lonwabo Ngoqo, and Mr Thembinkosi Henge, IDP Manager.

In concluding the activities of the day, Portfolio Chairperson for Finance at GRDM, Cllr Jerome Lambaatjeen thanked all municipal officials and representatives from sector departments who attended the event.

The programme was facilitated by Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies, Speaker of Garden Route District Municipality.