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The Planet Youth delegates visit the Mayor of George

The Planet Youth delegates visited the Executive Mayor of George, Ald Leon van Wyk on Wednesday, 1 February 2023. The Department of Health and Wellness is launching a whole of society programme focused on mental health called “Planet Youth”. The Planet Youth Concept is an Icelandic Prevention Concept, that has proved a success in reducing substance abuse and is designed to strengthen protective factors building healthy communities, especially for young people.

This concept has already kicked off with trial surveys at Jonga High, Thembalethu High and Pacaltsdorp High School this year. The official roll-out of the programme to the schools in George and Uniondale will occur after the launinrom February 2023. A Convenors Group has been established, with the Department of Health, George Municipality, Departments of Education, Sports, Arts and Cultural Affairs, Social Development, University of Cape Town, SAPS and several Non-Governmental Organisations.

Background to Planet Youth Programme:

Planet Youth George is a WOSA (Whole of Society Approach) platform for community collaboration that aims to improve mental health by reducing youth substance use, violence, and school dropout rates using an evidence-based and internationally tested approach of youth development activities, community empowerment and rigorous auditing.

Planet Youth inc. is an international organization, working in many countries worldwide, developed, and underdeveloped, to alleviate alcohol harms in adolescence with benefits across the life course.

Planet Youth and UCT commenced the George Planet Youth Programme in October 2022.

Aims of the Planet Youth community program

By engaging with Planet Youth:

  1. The community of George aims to enroll all children across the subdistrict in mass participation to proactively develop health and wellness.
  2. The local community aims to achieve a significant reduction in youth alcohol harms which will be measured as decreased school dropout rates, improved school academic performance, and a reduction in violence. This is projected to alleviate the burden on the overwhelmed mental healthcare system, correctional services, judiciary, education and social development.
  3. The local community aims to improve employment rates by producing employment-ready youth.
  4. Applying the Planet Youth view of positioning the school as the hub, reducing the economic and social harms of youth substance use and by increasing employment rates, the local community aims to significantly improve food security in affected communities.
  5. The local community aims to achieve a significant increase in sporting and cultural achievement which will improve mental health, physical well-being and competitiveness in affected schools.

Ends.

CAPTION:

FROM LEFT: Dr Zilla North (Department of Education), Dehran Swart (UCT), Lynn Le Grange (Department of Education), Councillor Raybin Figland (Executive Deputy Mayor of George), Alderman Leon van Wyk (Executive Mayor of George), Pall Rikhardsson (From Iceland, CEO of Planet Youth), Dr Herman Reuter (UCT and Sahara), Jonel Kerspuy (Planet Youth Programme)

 

 

MAYOR’S NEWSLETTER FOR GEORGE HERALD OF 2 FEBRUARY 2023

In January, municipalities reflect not only on the results of the first half of the current financial year but also on the previous financial year that ended on 30 June.

We have achieved another clean audit for the 2021/22 financial year. This is an important achievement as it helps in our endeavours to procure additional grant funding to further improve our infrastructure. As our municipality grows and we successfully implement and maintain our infrastructure while ensuring good governance, we progressively seek to qualify for larger grants that are also earmarked for the larger intermediate and metropolitan cities.

Our draft annual report for 2021/22 which provides an insight into the past year’s activities and achievements is in an advanced state of preparation prior to public release.

During the July-December 2022 period, it is already evident how load-shedding has impacted negatively on revenue through lower electricity sales resulting from not having Eskom power for 6-10 hours per day. Businesses are also likely to be similarly affected. To exacerbate this further, there are additional costs associated with the diesel purchased to operate generators at the various water and wastewater treatment plants and pump stations.

Through the gloom of load-shedding, we recently received indications that an international company will shortly commence business operations in George and start hiring and training staff. I also had the privilege along with a few senior colleagues to attend a presentation by Harvard University’s Growth Lab team on how they utilise data on business activities to focus on potential economic sectors that can provide strong growth opportunities for a city. Although George falls outside of the 1022 cities worldwide with populations of over 300000 that are already incorporated into their data sets, the Growth Lab already has access to some relevant data on George. This presentation will no doubt spur our outreach to gain insight into business sectors that could grow employment in our economy.

Over the past weeks, we have continued our interactions with the Western Cape Government and key role-players internationally to explore the acceleration of implementing renewable energy projects that will benefit the George economy. It is crucial too that the business and agricultural sectors, in particular, engage with us on their challenges with load-shedding to maintain their production levels. It is becoming important for business to communicate their electricity capacity needs as we jointly search for solutions through collaboration and partnerships. The challenges include technical feasibility, the ability to connect to the grid, environmental approvals, legislative requirements, funding sources and identifying a range of power suppliers.

Stakeholders with challenges or parties who are interested in offering practical solutions are welcome to use the supportbusiness@george.gov.za email address as a point of contact to facilitate a discussion.

Ald Leon van Wyk

Executive Mayor of George

 

GEORGE MUNICIPALITY READY AS BLUE DROP EVALUATIONS ARE UNDERWAY

The Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS) Blue Drop programme which was established to encourage continued progress and to acknowledge excellence in drinking water services management in South Africa is in progress, and the George Municipality`s first round of evaluations took place from Tuesday 17 January to Wednesday 18 January 2023.

The Blue Drop and Green Drop Certification Programmes are forms of Incentive-based Regulation (IBR) pioneered by the South African Water Sector since 2008. legislation, Water Services Act; Act 108 of 1997, Section 82 d, e & f. The programme seeks to focus on Improvement in Performance, Compliance and Efficiency.

According to the Deputy Director for Water and Sanitation in the Civil Engineering Services Department in the George Municipality, Deon de Jager, the Blue Drop Certification is intended to monitor the drinking water quality supplied to consumers countrywide. “Both water quality and administrative aspects are combined in this certification with the emphasis being on the administrative aspects instead of water quality and George has put all the ducks in a row to be evaluated.”

“The first-round assessments for the upcoming Blue Drop evaluations were held on 17 and 18 January 2023.  After the first-round evaluations, the DWS will, if necessary, allow the George Municipality to implement and report on corrective measures to be implemented, to enable the Municipality to correct and submit the required information,” de Jager added.  The second-round discussions on the corrective measures will take place on 28 February 2023 after which the George Municipality will receive (if successful) its final Blue Drop certification/score.

De Jager confirmed that the revised water safety plans and treatment plant process audits have been completed, and the George Municipality was assisted by IX Engineers and Chris Swartz consultants.  “All relevant personnel reporting to DWS have been registered on the IRIS reporting system.  The George Municipal Water Treatment and Laboratory sections are working around the clock to ensure that we comply with all legislative requirements as set out by the DWS.  Furthermore, the George Municipality is still in the process of performing process audits on all its raw and potable water pump stations, towers, and storage reservoirs.”

 

Ends.

 

CAPTION:

From Left to Right: Deon de Jager (Deputy Director: Water and Sewer Services), Melvin Koopman (Senior Superintendent: Water Treatment), Geoffrey Bredenkamp (Manager:  Water Treatment), Dewald van Staden (DWS Lead Inspector), Nkosinathi Masilela (Inspector DWS), Tladi Dineo (Inspector DWS), Randy Wesso (Manager Laboratory Services), Alton Michaels (Consultant SMEC Engineering Group)

 

NATIONAL ENERGY CRISIS COMMITTEE RELEASES SIX-MONTH PROGRESS UPDATE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENERGY ACTION PLAN

TO ALL
MEDIA/NEWS EDITORS

SATURDAY 21 JANUARY 2023

NATIONAL ENERGY CRISIS COMMITTEE RELEASES SIX-MONTH PROGRESS UPDATE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENERGY ACTION PLAN

The National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) has today, 21 January 2023, released a six-month progress update on implementation of the Energy Action Plan.

This update follows a period of load shedding which was escalated to stage 6 due to a high number of breakdowns across Eskom’s generation fleet.

The declining Energy Availability Factor of Eskom’s fleet reflects the cumulative impact of historical underinvestment in maintenance and assets, exacerbated by flaws in the design of new power stations in the last decade.

To respond to the severe impact of load shedding on households, small businesses and the economy as a whole, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a range of measures in July 2022 to improve the performance of existing power stations and add new generation capacity as quickly as possible.

The Energy Action Plan was developed through extensive consultation and endorsed by energy experts as providing the best and fastest path towards energy security.

The NECOM has since been established to coordinate government’s response and ensure swift implementation of the plan.

During the past week, the President has convened the NECOM in order to accelerate government’s efforts to reduce load shedding. He has also engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including political parties, labour unions, business associations, community groups, interfaith leaders, traditional leaders, premiers and mayors to ensure a collective response to this national challenge.

The progress update released today outlines important steps that have been taken to follow through on the commitments announced by the President.

These include:
– Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act has been amended to remove the licensing requirement for generation projects, which will significantly accelerate private investment.
– Since the licensing threshold was first raised to 100 MW, the pipeline of private sector projects has grown to more than 100 projects with over 9000 MW of capacity. The first of these large-scale projects are expected to connect to the grid by the end of this year.
– The NECOM has instructed departments to cut red tape and streamline regulatory processes for energy projects, including reducing the timeframe for environmental authorisations to 57 days from over 100 days previously; reducing the registration process from four months to three weeks; and ensuring that grid connection approvals are provided within six months.
– Project agreements for 19 projects from Bid Window 5 and six projects from Bid Window 6 of the renewable energy programme, representing 2800 MW of new capacity. These projects will soon proceed to construction.
– A new Ministerial determination has been published for 14771 MW of new generation capacity from wind, solar and battery storage to accelerate further bid windows.
– An additional 300 MW has been imported through the Southern African Power Pool, and negotiations are underway to secure a potential 1,000 MW from neighbouring countries starting this year.
– Eskom has developed and launched a programme to purchase power from companies with available generation capacity through a standard offer. The first contracts are expected to be signed in the coming weeks.
– A team of independent experts has been established to work closely with Eskom to diagnose the problems at poorly performing power stations and take action to improve plant performance.

Six power stations have been identified for particular focus over the coming months through a comprehensive Generation Recovery Plan, with oversight from the new Eskom board.

While the power system remains constrained in the short term, these measures will reduce the frequency and severity of load shedding as new capacity is brought online.

President Ramaphosa said: “South Africans are right to demand immediate action to address the devastating impact of load shedding on our lives and on the economy.

“The Energy Action Plan provides a clear way out of this crisis. We do not need any new plans – we are focusing on implementing this plan fully and effectively to achieve energy security for all South Africans.”

The President has further instructed law enforcement agencies to ramp up efforts to protect electricity infrastructure.

A special meeting of the National Security Council will be convened in the next week to receive a report on operations underway to disrupt criminal syndicates and address theft and sabotage at several power stations.

Addressing the ongoing shortfall in electricity remains government’s single most important priority.

Further updates will be provided on a regular basis regarding progress in implementing the Energy Action Plan.

The full update can be accessed at http://bit.ly/3D4243A

Media enquiries:

Vincent Magwenya,
Spokesperson to the President

ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

www.thepresidency.gov.za

#gettoknowGEORGE_JANUARY 2023

TOURISM UPDATE: WHAT’S HAPPENING IN GEORGE, WILDERNESS AND UNIONDALE

Each month the tourism section of George Municipality, which represents the tourism offices for George, Wilderness and Uniondale, will be sharing snippets to help you get to know more about all that is available to you and your visiting friends and family.

GEORGE CULTURAL TOURISM

The town of George is an historically and culturally diverse city with breath-taking natural sites to explore in your free time.

Township Tourism in George
Meet locals and explore South African heritage and culture in communities such as Pacaltsdorp and Themablethu. Thembalethu is an exuberant community located to the east of George and is predominantly home to people of the Xhosa culture but also other South African Cultures and various people from other African cultures. Thembalethu is a Xhosa word meaning “Hope.” Visitors and locals can book a township tour with a local site guide from the community to explore the history of Thembalethu and experience the day-to-day way of life in this vibrant township. In Thembalethu you can discover local crafters who will share their passion for arts and crafts. You can learn about their life stories and become enlightened on various interesting topics relating to indigenous cultures. Locals share experiences, much to the delight of both local and foreign visitors – but beware – this experience is not always for the feint-hearted, as anything from sheep’s head to chicken feet can be found in between more conventional offerings. One local tourism company, Explore Our Hood takes visitors on bicycle tours, leisurely exploring the township. On this tour, visitors to Thembalethu can meet local citizens who aim to share their favourite meals from “braai vleis” known to the locals as “shisanyama’, “vetkoek”, unique street food, and discover a small confectionary shop in the heart of the township.

To book a township tour of Thembalethu contact Mzwandile Gincana on 065 519 8542 or email him on gmgincana@gmail.com

Dine with a Local, one of the many exciting Thembalethu experiences
Taste true South African hospitality, culture, and local talent by sharing a meal with a local family in their home. Visitors will expand their world through learning about a new culture, experience other cultural traditions and conversate on what makes their community and neighbourhood unique. Meet people from all walks of life while sharing a cultural exchange through painting, singing, poetry and dancing. No two evenings are the same, making each evening special.

Send an email .to dinelocal@george.gov.za to book your seat at a Dine with a Local table in George. Minimum of 4 pax, depending on bookings for the specific date.

Historical Walk in Pacaltsdorp
Discover the history of Pacaltsdorp formerly known as Hoogekraal and established in 1813 as a mission station while walking around the oldest streets in Pacaltsdorp. Walk back in history with a local site guide from the Pacaltsdorp community who will educate you on the KhoiKhoi people, an indigenous race to Southern Africa, and considered the indigenous people of the region. Meet interesting residents who are proud to share their family stories and history of the community. Drive down to Gwaing River Mouth a hidden gem of Pacaltsdorp. Gwaing River Mouth is a beautiful river mouth enjoyed by the locals for recreational purposes

To book the Pacaltsdorp Historical Walk contact Werdi Alaart on 061 047 7474 or email him on verdijalaart@gmail.com


Indigenous rock painting around George
The Outeniqua mountain range in George is named after the Outeniqua KhoiKhoi tribe, who once lived in the mountains. The name “Outeniqua” is said to derived from the KhoiKhoi language and means “they who bear honey’ or “man laden with honey”. Rock paintings by the KhoiKhoi people can still be found in the area. Visitors and locals who are curious to learn more about the indigenous tribes of our town can book a local site guide to view rock paintings in our area.

Contact Melissa Treurnicht on 073 216 7153 or email her on melissatreurnicht@gmail.com to book a rock painting tour.

Montagu Pass
The historical Montagu Pass will lead you to the Old Toll House, one of many national monuments in George. The pass was named after John Montagu, Colonial Secretary of the Cape in the 1840. This historical dirt road can be found just off the Outeniqua Pass on route to Oudtshoorn. The Old Toll house is a small stone building that collected revenue to assist with the maintenance and repair of the pass. To raise funds for the restoration of the Toll House, it is open for coffee and pancakes on Saturday mornings. Why not support a good cause and enjoy some ‘boeretroos’ with a delicious cinnamon pancake family and friends. For more information contact Gerda Stols on 083 772 8252.

VISIT YOUR LOCAL TOURISM OFFICES
visitgeorge.co.za. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

George Tourism
044 801 9295
info@visitgeorge.co.za
124 York Street, George Central, George, 6529
facebook/tourismgeorge
instagram/georgetourism_official
#exploregeorge

Wilderness Tourism
+27 44 877 0045
info@visitwilderness.co.za
198 George Road, Wilderness, 6560
facebook/wildernesstourism
instagram/wildernesstourism
#explorewilderness

Uniondale Tourism
+27 44 518 0030
info@visituniondale.co.za
Virtual assistance
facebook/uniondaleinfo
instagram/uniondaletourism #exploreuniondale

Mayor’s Newsletter for George Herald of 19 January 2023

As we reflect with gratitude on George’s busy holiday season and its benefits for the economy and employment, we are immediately confronted with Eskom’s Stage 6 loadshedding disaster at a time when industry, business and schools are only beginning to return to work after the holidays.

Stage 6 is extremely debilitating for businesses and households alike. Electrical equipment is not designed for ongoing loadshedding and requires ongoing maintenance; diesel costs for generators approximate R120 000 per day; crime and vandalism also thrive under cover of darkness. Water and waste-water networks are constantly at risk. Teams are therefore at full stretch.

In March 2022, Council already took decisions to spend R220m over three years to start providing electricity security. As 8-10% of our bulk purchases of electricity are used on our own municipal infrastructure, we decided to procure Solar PV plants for these installations as a first step towards reducing our reliance on Eskom to avoid Stage 1 of loadshedding with the objective to avoid Stage 2 within the next 2-3 years.

We also decided to procure generators to ensure that important installations could still operate during loadshedding. These include the water and waste- water treatment works as well as key pump stations with many generators already operational. Uninterrupted power supply units were installed to ensure that traffic lights at 60 intersections could continue functioning. We have started installing energy efficient streetlights. Extensive preventative maintenance has been undertaken on the electricity network.

The procurement for 1,9MW of Solar PV plants is approaching the construction stage. The environmental approval process for the 9MW plant is underway which should permit construction to commence after July 2023.

It has now become clear that decisions on the early introduction of battery energy storage options are necessary. Technical solutions are being sought to integrate battery energy into sub-stations and the electricity network. The municipality is seeking technical and funding advice from leading specialists.

Various scenarios involving capital expenditure of R750m-R1500m to avoid up to Stages 3-4 of loadshedding within 3 years have been prepared. For George to avoid the implementation of Stage 1 loadshedding, we need to reduce Eskom’s current load availability of 85MW by 13MW. It is clearly in the interests of all citizens that this is urgently achieved. Every household can assist by requesting the municipality to lower their domestic 60amp usage capacity to 40 amps or below. These measures can reduce load capacity by 5-6MW and thereby contribute to bringing forward the avoiding of Stage 1 loadshedding.

As we strive to alleviate the loadshedding burden for users, the municipality will shortly be meeting with large business electricity users to explore innovative and collaborative solutions.

Ald Leon van Wyk

Executive Mayor of George

Minister Anton Bredell urges the public to save water as dam levels continue to drop during hot and dry summer weather

Issued on behalf of the Western Cape Ministry for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

16 January 2023

Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning today supported the City of Cape Town’s recent call to the public to use water sparingly. “All Western Cape residents must help to conserve the water available in our dams as we continue to experience a hot and dry summer. Weather patterns are increasingly unpredictable, so we cannot assume there will be plentiful rain in the next winter season. The best strategy is to adopt a permanent water-saving culture.”

Bredell was reacting to the latest data released by the Department of Water and Sanitation, showing a current combined Western Cape dam level of 57.79%. This is down from 59.57% last week. In terms of the dams supplying Cape Town, it is at a combined level of 65.16%, also down from 67.12% last week. Compared to the same time last year, the provincial combined dam level was 74.51%, and for the Cape Town dam system it was 90.64%.

Minister Bredell said the link between water availability and current high levels of load shedding is compounding the challenges many municipalities are facing to provide uninterrupted water and sewage services to residents. “Without rain in our catchment dams, there is no water security, and without reliable electricity, it becomes very difficult to purify and deliver water to household taps. Also, without electricity, it is a challenge to remove and treat wastewater in a hygienic and environmentally safe manner. We are therefore urging the public to save water, as this will improve our water security profile, while also helping municipalities to manage water and sewage services during increasingly high levels and prolonged periods of load shedding.”

Issued by Corporate Communication, Department of the Premier

 

GO GEORGE: Get ready to use the bus to school this year

PRESS RELEASE: GET READY TO USE THE BUS TO SCHOOL THIS YEAR

Issued: Monday 9 Jan 2023

With the new academic year starting next week, parents’ transport schedules will be taking on the regular frenzy of dropping off and picking up their children at school. Parents of learners who make use of the GO GEORGE bus service to get to school are encouraged to help their children get equipped in time.

It is important to get a GO GEORGE Smart Card and load enough trips before schools start, and not to wait until they have no trips left before topping up again. The Smart Card should be treated with the same care as any bank card or cash; if it gets lost, trips on the card cannot be refunded or transferred to a new card.

Smart Cards can be bought at any of the GO GEORGE Smart Card kiosks at the Transport Hub in Cradock Street, Blanco Triangle, Garden Route Mall and the Smart Card counter in the George Municipality’s finance hall. Two mobile kiosks are currently stationed at the Protea terminus in Pacaltsdorp and next to Cheap Foods, just off Nelson Mandela Boulevard, near the entrance to Parkdene. Feel free to phone the Call Centre on 0800 044 044 for the exact mobile kiosk location at a specific time.

School route maps

GO GEORGE communication champions will be present at the bus stops near high schools during the first few weeks of the school term to hand out route maps and inform learners about the different routes to school. Unique maps depicting the different options available to school and back home have been created for each school. These maps can also be downloaded from the GO GEORGE website by visiting www.gogeorge.org.za/school-routes.

Learners are advised to discuss the best boarding time, route and transfers with the champions. In most cases, there will be different options to avoid full buses during peak time.

To request an on-site visit and direct engagement from GO GEORGE, schools are welcome to phone the GO GEORGE Call Centre on 0800 044 044 or send an email to info@gogeorge.org.za.

 

CAPTION:

This is an example of the school route maps developed by GO GEORGE. These maps can also be downloaded from www.gogeorge.org.za/school-routes.

PERSVRYSTELLING: MAAK GEREED OM VEILIG BUS TE RY SKOOL TOE

Uitgereik: Dinsdag 11 Jan 2022

Met die nuwe akademiese jaar wat volgende week afskop, begin ouers se uitdaging met dol vervoerskedules om hul kinders by die skool af te laai en op te tel. Ouers van leerders wat van die GO GEORGE-busdiens gebruik maak om by die skool uit te kom, word aangemoedig om hul kinders te help om betyds alles hiervoor gereed te kry.

Dit is belangrik om ‘n GO GEORGE Slimkaart te kry en genoeg ritte te laai voordat skole begin, en nie te wag totdat leerders geen ritte oor het voordat hulle weer herlaai nie. Die Slimkaart moet met dieselfde sorg as enige bankkaart of kontant hanteer word; as dit wegraak, kan ritte op die kaart nie terugbetaal of na ‘n nuwe kaart oorgedra word nie.

Slimkaarte kan by enige van die GO GEORGE-slimkaartkiosks by die vervoerkern in Cradockstraat, Blanco-driehoek, Garden Route Mall en die Slimkaarttoonbank in die George-munisipaliteit se finansiële saal gekoop word. Twee mobiele kiosks is tans by die Protea-terminus in Pacaltsdorp en by Cheap Foods, net langs Nelson Mandela Boulevard, naby die ingang van Parkdene gestasioneer. Skakel gerus die inbelsentrum by 0800 044 044 vir die presiese ligging van die mobiele kiosks op ‘n spesifieke tydstip.

Skoolroetekaarte

Go GEORGE-passasiersdiensbeamptes sal gedurende die eerste paar weke van die skoolkwartaal by die bushaltes naby skole wees om leerders in te lig oor die verskillende roetes skool toe. Unieke kaarte wat die verskillende opsies skool toe en terug huis toe uitbeeld, is vir elke skool geskep. Hierdie kaarte kan ook afgelaai word vanaf die GO GEORGE-webwerf deur www.gogeorge.org.za/school-routes te besoek.

Leerders word aangeraai om die beste opklimtyd, roete en oorklimhaltes met die passasiersdiensbeamptes te bespreek. In die meeste gevalle sal daar verskeie opsies wees om vol busse tydens spitstyd te vermy.

Om ‘n besoek op die skoolterrein en direkte skakeling met die leerders aan te vra, is skole welkom om die GO GEORGE-inbelsentrum by 0800 044 044 te skakel of ‘n e-pos na info@gogeorge.org.za te stuur.

BYSKRIF:

Hierdie is ’n voorbeeld van die skoolroetekaarte wat deur GO GEORGE ontwikkel is. Die kaarte kan ook van die webblad afgelaai word by www.gogeorge.org.za/school-routes.

 

THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR OF GEORGE WRITES TO NERSA ON ITS DECISION ON ESKOM’S MYPD5 REVENUE APPLICATION

As Executive Mayor of George Municipality, I am writing to you on behalf of the citizens of George, to object in the strongest possible terms to NERSA granting Eskom an increase in the price of electricity of 18,65% for the 2023/24 financial year.

This enormous price increase is unaffordable, unfair and unjust.

Our customers, inclusive of residents, small and medium businesses, simply cannot afford these continuous price increases that is once again well above that of the consumer price index (CPI). The majority of South Africans are already struggling to make ends meet.

Our communities are also struggling to keep businesses open with stage 6 blackouts being implemented by Eskom. On most days, communities are left without electricity for 8 – 10 hours per day and the situation is not expected to improve in the short term.

Eskom is proving to be unable to be a reliable supplier of electricity. NERSA as the regulator is seemingly unable to provide the necessary guidance and direction to ensure that Eskom fulfils its mandate. Eskom has been permitted to continue its mismanagement and practices of corruption for years. Further its Board of Directors has failed in its responsibilities in not ensuring that corrective action is taken to reduce the bloated workforce, collect its outstanding debtors, stop the purchasing of sub-standard coal, ensure an appropriate and financially sound equity structure, proper and timely maintenance of its generating facilities or support for its Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

It is therefore totally unfair and unjust for South Africans to be constantly expected to pay more for electricity while receiving less of it. Our residents will now be expected to pay even more exorbitant prices for electricity they simply do not get. South Africans are rightfully tired of having to foot the bill for years of corruption and mismanagement at Eskom.

Municipalities are expected to distribute electricity and maintain their networks, but this is becoming increasingly difficult as Eskom is clearly unable to supply electricity on a consistent 24-hour basis. As a result, municipal revenue from electricity is declining through lower sales of kilowatt-hours.

Any increase should be in line with the CPI. A 18,65% increase is outrageous and unjust, especially given the fact that we are experiencing the worst loadshedding on record.

In addition, Eskom provides no preference to its good customers who regularly pay their accounts, in terms of price increases or regular supply of electricity.

As a Municipality, we are continuing with our plans to mitigate the risks of the unreliable supply of electricity by having to secure alternative energy to protect our communities from Eskom’s load shedding. This includes the installation of solar PV plants and battery storage to supply our own infrastructure and to assist our business and domestic consumers. We are also undertaking wheeling transactions and encouraging independent power producers.

It is an extreme injustice to expect that ordinary citizens of George (and, indeed, residents of every municipality in the country) should be forced to bear the cost of Eskom’s inability to supply electricity and to fix its own problems. It is likely that the approved increase will be widely condemned, destroying chances of economic recovery in South Africa and adding to our burden of unemployment and poverty.

I trust that this letter will receive your urgent attention to reverse the price increase that has been granted.

Yours faithfully
Ald Leon van Wyk
EXECUTIVE MAYOR
GEORGE MUNICIPALITY

THEMBALETHU LIBRARY HELD A HOLIDAY PROGRAMME IN DECEMBER

The Thembalethu Library held a holiday programme in December, stretching from 8 to 20 December 2022 at the library. Fourteen (14) children participated in a story reading from an Isi-Xhosa book called, “Isibedlele siyandoyikisa” (A hospital scares me). On 15 December 2022, 22 children participated in another story reading event from an Isi-Xhosa book titled “Ekhaya” (At home) and another one titled “Icikilishe eliluhlaza elinamaqhinga” (A cunning green lizard). And lastly, on 20 December 2022, 19 children participated in a story reading from an Isi-Xhosa book titled, “Ukuzalwa kukaYesu” (The birth of Jesus).

10 January 2022

Festive Season Wrap 1 December – 8 January 2023 – a successful bumper season!

George and surrounds have once again experienced a bumper festive season showing a distinct increase in accommodation bookings, restaurant and activity visits, shopping, traffic, and more. One local activity reported as many as 6 200 visitors on one day, while a local restaurant accommodated 1 000 covers in one day.

Executive Mayor for George, Leon Van Wyk noted that informal discussions held with restaurants and local business indicate a bumper season with at least a 30% increase in turnover. “By all accounts, George has experienced a very busy holiday season with some businesses recording new turnover and attendance records and improvements returning to and exceeding pre-Covid levels. These achievements should assist in stabilising employment levels as we continue to focus on growing our tourism sector and adding events to extend the offering well beyond the traditional summer season.”


Events including the George Tens held over four days from 15 December, theatre productions, markets, and concerts right up to the new year were well attended. Our  tourism offices recorded 398 enquiries received at the George and Wilderness Tourism offices during December 2022.  Although this is less than those received last year, considering the increased accommodation occupancies, this indicates that accommodation and activity planning was done well in advance for 2022, and not at the last minute, as was experienced last season.  This returns us to more normal trends.  The tourism section distributed QR codes to establishments to enable speedy digital access to information for visitors to the area.  This was also advertised on all social media platforms and through the local print media.

69% of enquiries were related to Things to do and general tourism information, 20% were accommodation related and 11% were general enquiries, not particularly related to tourism, but looking for estate agents, etc.  Occupancy figures in Quarter 4 2022 (Oct, Nov) increased by 24% from Quarter 4 2021 (Oct, Nov). Preliminary feedback is that the private sector has experienced a bumper festive season, with many establishments still being too busy to share their stats with our office.  Accommodation establishments remain quite busy, and it is likely that the season will be extended considerably with international visitors returning to our area over the next few months.

PAVEMENT PERMITS
In a bid to boost the local economy, the Municipality repeated last year’s initiative  of a ‘pavement permit’ to assist restaurants in terms of capacity constraints with the implementation of social distancing measures due to COVID-19. The ‘pavement permit’ would provide restaurants with additional floor space to place their tables. The initiative was very well-received by local businesses although no applications were received.

SAFE SEASON
The multi-stakeholder Festive Season Monitoring Committee met daily from the 1 December and held its final meeting on 9 January 2023. A debriefing will be held to review and begin planning for the 2023 Festive Season.

The daily committee meeting was attended by municipal as well as external stakeholders such as NSRI, SAPS, SANParks and others. The purpose of the daily meeting is to assess available resources, identify possible risks  and to put in place actions plans to address these risks so as not to impact on our holidaymakers. The municipality’s goal is to ensure consistent service delivery during this busy period and to keep George running as efficiently as possible.

A new safety initiative launched was the use of QR codes (widely publicized) that provided public with quick and easy access to websites containing information on tourist activities and events, important municipal contact details as well as water and other safety tips for our visitors.

Links to relevant sites:
https://www.george.gov.za/planning-development/local-economic-development/tourism/safety-for-visitors/
https://www.george.gov.za/contact/
http://www.visitgeorge.co.za/

Positive feedback has been received from residents, businesses and visitors on the season management:

“I am hugely grateful to the George Municipality, Law Enforcement, traffic officials, monitors, NSRI security companies and SANParks for the enormous difference they made in our village this past season. One felt safe, looked after and protected on so many levels during what can only be described as a bumper season. Our village was swamped with visitors and I believe that we showed how things can be done.”

Our children have been visiting from Cape Town, and have been so impressed by the beach monitors, helpful traffic cops and general cleanliness.”

“Please convey our compliments to George Municipality on their excellent strategies they put in place to manage the influx of holidaymakers. Well done!!!”

STAKEHOLDER COLLABORATION
The Festive Season Monitoring Committee and operations over the festive season were undertaken in collaboration with SANParks and NSRI Wilderness. Jonathan Britton, Acting Park Manager for the Wilderness National Park expressed his gratitude to all staff, municipal and otherwise who worked long hours over the season.


“The Wilderness National Park and surrounding ecological and environmental assets is interwoven with the urban infrastructure of Wilderness and this combination of natural, social and economic systems is a complex interaction and requires a collaborative and integrated approach between various organisations to make it all work together.

The influx of visitors to the Garden Route during the summer holidays is an important boost for the local economy but requires planning and deployment of resources in an integrated and co-ordinated manner between various role players to ensure that local systems can manage the additional pressure. Building on the success of the previous year, the George Municipality continued to lead a multi stakeholder collaborative approach to ensure high standard of service delivery in and around Wilderness.

Daily presence of lifeguards, Traffic Officials, Law Enforcement officials, cleaning steams and SANParks staff were a common sight in Wilderness all working together ensuring a safe and environment for all. Impactful leadership and a hands-on approach were the order of the day with senior managers and directors meeting daily and overseeing the implementation of operational plans. This holiday season again proved the value of partnerships, dedication, and teamwork.”

Michael Vonk, CEO of George Regional Hospital and Station Commander for National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Station 23 lauded the successful management of this past festive season, which was one of the busiest in recent years. He did however qualify that a measured response should be adopted to the success of the season, as we did experience three fatal drownings, two at Wilderness Beach and one at Victoria Bay and a number of non-fatal drowning incidents. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones.

“The close collaboration, teamwork and partnerships between all role players to ensure the necessary preventative measures were in place, along with a coordinated emergency response were extremely effective to limit the number of serious incidents on our beaches.  In particular, the lifeguards should be recognised for their effort in preventing more drownings.”

EMERGENCY SERVICES
Lifeguards were deployed at Gwaing Beach, Herold’s Bay, Victoria Bay, Wilderness Leentjiesklip, Steps, Wilderness Main and Conville Public Swimming Pool on a full-time daily basis from 7am – 7pm and will remain in place until 31 January 2023 at the Blue Flag Beaches (Herold’s Bay, Victoria Bay and Wilderness Main). A total of 3 drownings, 35 rescues, 66 help outs, 66 First Aid incidents, 336 Bluebottle stings and 8 Emergency Medical Assistance were undertaken by the team of Lifeguards, NSRI and emergency personnel at the various beaches.

The newly acquired Jet rib, a 1800cc jet ski built into a rubber duck pontoon structure proved invaluable this season and a huge asset to the summer safety measures.  The mobile JOC was deployed for 10 days of high season and the Fire Brigade drone was used to survey sea conditions, for shark spotting , searching of missing persons and during rescue operations once again showing the value of expenditure on technology to aid in safety measures.

Emergency Services were kept busy and attended to 8  formal structure fires and 23 informal structure fires. Regrettably, two lives were lost in the  informal structure fires. Fire officials also attended to 59 veld fires, 2 building fires, 4 motor vehicle fires, 47 motor vehicle incidents, 32 other emergency incidents, 4 drownings and 23 false alarms.

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT / PARKING / POINT DUTY
George Traffic Services actively patrolled all municipal areas in collaboration with Western Cape Provincial Traffic including participating in regular vehicle check points focussing on drunk driving, vehicle and driver fitness. Traffic flow was managed as best possible in particular at congested intersections such as the N2/Victoria Bay, Garden Route Mall, the exit ramp to Mossel Bay on Knysna Road, N2/Station Road (Wilderness), N2/Caltex (Wilderness), N2/Sanparks and N2/Salinas.

Temporary road signs and traffic cones were placed at dangerous locations to ensure compliance (prevention of illegal parking/obstruction/encroachment on roadways) causing danger to other road users. To ease traffic flow, each beach had an area demarcated for Drop and Go. Staff deployed over this period at beaches were 8 traffic wardens and 20 EPWP staff assisting with Drop and Go, monitoring and enforcement of parking, road closures and directing motorists to suitable parking locations.

Aside from the beaches and high-pressured traffic points attended to throughout the city, traffic officials assisted with 12 funeral escorts as well as traffic control at various events including the Christmas Lights Festival, George Tens, Palm Tyres 21km race etc.  43 vehicle accidents were attended to without recorded injuries, 10 with injuries and three with fatalities. 322 notices for a variety of traffic and vehicle offences were issued, 32 impoundments and fine collection totalling R70 000 was brought in.

The Vehicle Testing Station offered 3 days in December where a free 10 Point check could be done on your vehicle before traveling. This is the second year the service was offered and  40 motorists took advantage of it. The same service will be offered 10 – 13 January 2023, 08h30 – 15h30 (VTS, Hibernia Street).

BLUE FLAG BEACHES AND CLEANSING
Wilderness, Main Beach and Herold’s Bay Beach remain full Blue Flag beaches until 31 January 2023, and Victoria Bay retains Pilot Blue Flag status. Compliance is required in terms of the international standards, which includes high standards of water quality monitoring, public safety, lifeguard services and  well-maintained coastal amenities.

Oil spills consisting of hydrocarbon, low-sulphur oil droplets were found on several beaches along the Garden Route in early December with a multi-agency command centre established to resolve the issue. There have been no reports linking the oil spill to humans, birds, or marine life and all affected George beaches were declared green status (i.e., monitored and open for use) by 8th December 2022. George Municipal cleaning teams together with Working for the Coast teams, worked non-stop for days to clear Herold’s Bay, Victoria Bay, Ballot’s Bay, Wilderness beach from Leentjiesklip to Salina’s beach, Gwaiing Beach, and Kaaimans mouth.

Municipal beach cleaning teams started working at 06:00 until 21h00 on many nights and started at 04h00 on New Year’s Day to ensure that the beaches were clean for the first beachgoers the next morning. The cleaning teams also did sterling work in keeping the beach ablution facilities in excellent condition despite heavy usage. Our CBD cleansing teams kept the town clean and neat for visitors.

BEACH MONITORS, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND ANTI-LAND INVASION OFFICIALS
George Municipality was adamant that no alcohol would be allowed on our beaches and confiscated 317 litres of alcohol with a retail value of approximately R21 110 from the start of the festive season.   Neighborhood Watches, Community Police Forums as well as the SAPS worked closely with the Municipality with regards to Community Safety. The confiscated alcohol will be handed over to SAPS for disposal.

The department of Forensic Pathology Services for George assisted by the Community Police forum, SANParks, George Law Enforcement, Neighbourhood Watch and Bambanani members at the Wilderness and LeentjiesKlip beach areas handed out 8000 orange and yellow armbands to children. The yellow and orange armbands are written up with the parent or caregivers name and contact details and recorded in a register to assist in the event of them being separated from their parents or caregivers. Two children were reunited with their families using this system at Wilderness Lagoon.

FIREWORKS
George Municipality continued to implement a complete ban on the setting off of fireworks, firecrackers, flares, paper lanterns, and other such paraphernalia in the George municipal area. Over 292 visits were undertaken to a variety of retail outlets and an estimated R4500 worth of fireworks was confiscated (retail value) with fines issued totalling R14 500. It is encouraging to see that the value of fines and confiscations has declined on last year and we thank those retail outlets who have adhered to the applicable regulations.

MUNICIPAL OFFICES REMAINED OPEN  – SERVICE DELIVERY ONGOING
The municipal offices  were only closed on the Public Holidays and for a few days after the 27th December following a burst pipe which caused extensive water damage to the third, second and first floor of the main building in York Street.

Our Planning division processed 309 building plans in-season with 113 approved, which was 104 residential, 9 non-residential. 144 applications (124 residential and 20 non-residential) remain in circulation. A total of 196 (170 residential and 26 non-residential) were not approved due to either not complying and/or additional information being required. A total of 46 (44 residential and 2 non-residential) Certificates of Occupancy were issued. Furthermore, a total of 106 Building Control related inspections were conducted. These include 13 commencement inspections, 12 drainage inspections and 81 completion inspections.

The Building Control division was equally busy with building control contraventions and complaints that were able to be addressed expeditiously over the festive season. A total 35 complaints were received and attended to.

Our human settlements division dealt with the aftermath of several fires which took place in December with a large incident totalling 20 informal housefire cases in Edameni reported on 10 December 2022. All 20 families lost their structures with belongings during this incident. Temporary accommodation was given to the 20 families at the All-brick Community Hall. The municipal Social Services division assisted those affected with mattresses, blankets, food  and other items. Assistance was given to four families who accepted second hand building material. Another five families have been  prioritised and will receive assistance soon. The remaining families must still provide the balance of documentation required for assistance in terms of the approved Emergency Accommodation and Assistance Policy.

Two BNG (Breaking New Ground) houses affected by fires  will be investigated where after an application in terms of the Emergency Housing Programme will be submitted to the Western Cape Provincial Department of Human Settlements.

 

Media Statement: Water Quality testing of rivers and at beaches –  Why closed for swimming?

George Municipality maintains a monthly river sample programme year-round, downstream of our pumping stations near or next to any rivers within George and surrounds. This monitoring program is not a legislative requirement but was implemented by the George Municipality as a precautionary management measure to monitor the infrastructure, and protect our environment, where a risk of possible pollution may occur.

George Municipality has with the award of Blue Flag Status for Wilderness Main Beach, Herold’s Bay and Victoria Bay (Pilot Status) implemented as of 7 November 2022, formal testing of the water at these beaches and where relevant, river mouth to ensure that the stringent requirements based on the most appropriate international and national standards and legislation are met. Blue Flag is an international eco-label and has one global standard for water quality. It is an international coastal management programme that accredits beaches that meet standards of excellence in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and information as well as safety and services. In South Africa the programme is implemented by the Wildlife Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA).

Each appointed Blue Flag beach as well as Pilot beaches,  must fully comply with the water quality sampling and frequency requirements. There must be at least one sampling point, which must be located where the highest number of swimmers are. In addition, where there are potential sources of pollution, e.g., near streams, rivers or other inlets, storm water outlets, etc. additional sampling points must be established at these sites to provide evidence that such inflows do not affect bathing water quality.

Samples should be taken 30 cm below the water surface with a minimum of five samples required, evenly distributed during the season. The first sample must be taken within 31 days before the official starting date of the Blue Flag season. George Municipality has an appointed accredited service provider who takes samples approximately every third day, subject to public holidays. An independent person, officially authorised and trained for the task, must collect the samples and only results from an independent nationally or internationally accredited laboratory will be accepted.  Our own laboratory tests as a control measure when there is a pollution incident on a specific beach.

Herold’s Bay Blue Flag Beach showed contamination following testing and the beach (not the tidal pools) was closed for swimming on the morning of Sunday 1 January 2023 as per the results received from the accredited laboratory on Saturday (31 December 2022). The Blue Flag requirements for Escherichia coli (Faecal Coli bacteria) are below 250 cfu/100m ; and for Intestinal Enterococci (Stretococci) below 100 cfu/100ml.  Escherichia coli (Faecal Coli bacteria) limits of over 500/540 in coastal waters are deemed unsafe for swimming.

Herolds’s Bay was reopened for swimming at 12pm on New Year’s Day based on the follow up test results which came out midday 1 January. Subsequent thorough investigation by our Civil Engineering Department has confirmed that the pollution was caused by a sewer pipe failure  in the network that led to contaminated water draining onto the beach from the minor river tributary following the high rainfall. Repairs have been completed on the network and the spillage addressed as per protocol.

Testing of the Gwaing River Mouth as well as those areas of the river located near the Proefplaas pumpstation form part of the regular maintenance programme for George Municipality. The beach and river mouth do not form a part of the Blue Flag programme. On Sunday  4 December 2022, a possible pollution incident (discolouring in the water at the mouth was reported) and subsequent testing for Escherichia coli (Faecal Coli bacteria) was done by the Municipal Laboratory as well as the accredited service provider. Gwaing River Beach and Mouth was closed for swimming and remained closed based on daily test results until Friday 9 December 2022 when reopened for swimming.  The area was again closed on 21 December; reopened briefly on the 30 December and has since 31 December remained closed.

The Civil Engineering Services department has continued to investigate the source of the pollution as no pumpstations have failed during this period. It would appear that there are two sources, one of historic sludge on the riverbed which was disturbed following rough seas and the other is sewer spillage emanating from identified manholes located near or along Gwaing River as well as several tributaries which join the Gwaing River. Civil Engineering teams have walked the rivers, and the sewer network wherever possible to locate the source. Testing of water quality has continued further upstream on a regular basis in order to pinpoint any additional sources of pollutant.

Gwaing River Beach and Mouth remains closed based on the current accredited and own laboratory results, due to the inherent dangers of swimming in contaminated water. Illnesses caused by Ecoli can range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Most people get better within 5 to 7 days. Young children infected with Ecoli are at highest risk for developing severe symptoms and complications, such as kidney failure.

George Municipality acknowledges the frustrations of the public in this regard but In the interests of health and safety and to protect our residents, the municipality continues to urge the public not to swim until the levels are within acceptable norms. Notices will be issued as soon as test results clear the Gwaing Beach and River Mouth for swimming.

 

 

NO ALCOHOL AT BEACHES OR ANY PUBLIC SPACE

George Municipality continues to strictly enforce the NO ALCOHOL ALLOWED campaign on its beaches and this includes public spaces such as parks, parking lots, inside vehicles parked in public areas etc.

As of 3 January 2023, a total of 282 litres of alcohol have been confiscated from beaches in the George precinct, since 10 December 2022. It is noted with concern that a high amount of alcohol was still confiscated despite an extensive public awareness process and the Bylaws that are in place. We do, however, thank most residents and visitors who have taken heed of the ban and enjoyed their beach days alcohol-free.

All confiscated alcohol is recorded in a ledger and kept at a municipal storeroom before being handed over to the South African Police Service (SAPS) for destruction. The confiscation notice serves as proof for the offender of the alcoholic beverages that have been removed. The carbon copies of the confiscation notice serve as the municipalities record for administrative and control purposes when the final handover is done to SAPS. No confiscated alcohol will be returned, once it has been confiscated.

The George law enforcement officers continue to be assisted by 30 Beach Monitors who have focused on beach patrols and bag checks. Neighbourhood Watches, Community Police Forums, as well as SAPS, continue to work closely with the Municipality around Community Safety. All our Beach Monitors are clearly identifiable, whether by reflector jackets or reflector bands and carry identification cards. The municipality encourages all beachgoers to assist our officials in ensuring that their day at the beach is a safe and pleasant experience.

The carrying of and consumption of any type of liquor is strictly prohibited on all beach areas under the control of the George Municipality which includes Herold’s Bay, Gwaiing River Mouth Beach and Day Camp, Victoria Bay, Wilderness Main, Lagoon, Steps and Leentjiesklip areas.

Our officials will continuously search and confiscate alcohol for the entire period of the festive season and towards the end of the summer. For any further information or complaints please contact the Law Enforcement office on 044 801 6350 (7.45 am-4.30 pm) or 044 801 6300 (a/h)(standby team for bylaw-related emergencies only).

The public can email sprins@george.gov.za with complaints or related matters.

The physical address of the Law Enforcement Office is 25B Cathedral Street.

Please watch confiscated alcohol at the Municipality’s store: https://youtu.be/ObXW60Y8IjU

Ends.

 

GEORGE MUNICIPALITY ISSUES A STERN WARNING AGAINST UNAUTHORISED NEW YEAR’S EVE EVENTS

It has come to the attention of the George Municipality that unauthorised New Year’s Eve events are being arranged by persons and organisations.

The public is alerted to the fact that in terms of the Municipality By-Law on Community Fire Safety as well as the SASREA (Safety at Sport and Recreations Events) Regulations 2010, anyone who wishes to organise an event must apply to the Municipality. The prospective organiser must provide detailed information regarding security and safety, medical assistance, an evacuation plan, and contingencies regarding load-shedding.

All the above are needed to ensure the complete safety of the event participants, and if the organisers cannot provide complete assurance that they have taken all steps required then the Municipality may not approve the event. Should an unauthorised event proceed, the organisers will be held personally liable for any actions, costs and liabilities and legal action will be taken.

Due to the amount of work required to ensure a safe and hazard-free event the Municipality requests 60 days’ notice of any event and the event must be dealt with formally by the internal Events Committee to assist the event organisers to ensure all the above requirements (and any others) are met.

Ends.

PUBLIC NOTICE: Drop-off/pick-up points for private and public transport vehicles on beaches on 1 and 2 January 2023

Issued by George Municipality, 29 December 2022

 

To minimise traffic congestion, the George Municipality has made alternative arrangements for the drop-off and pick-up of large groups of passengers by public transport vehicles (taxis and buses) and/or private vehicles.

 

George traffic officers and point service officers will be in place to ensure the smooth flow of traffic as far as possible. Traffic controllers will assist with general parking as well as at the designated drop-and-go/pick-up areas at all beaches. Clear directions are in place. These arrangements are made for the safety of all public transport users and pedestrians.

 

VICTORIA BAY: 1 and 2 January 2023: 07:00 – 18:00

Pick-up:

All public transport vehicles (taxis and buses): At the upper parking area at stop sign on the left where you enter Victoria Bay.

Private vehicles: Drop-and-go circle at the boom, until officials indicate otherwise.

Drop-off: Drop-and-go circle at the boom, until officials indicate otherwise.

 

HEROLDS BAY: 1 and 2 January 2023: 06:00 – 18:00

Drop-and-go/pick-up points at the caravan food stalls and on the left side of the public toilet facilities.

No public transport vehicles, including buses and taxis, may park at the main parking area overlooking the sea.

Motorists are also allowed to park on the sides of the R404 road, provided they are completely off the road and do not create any obstruction.

 

WILDERNESS BEACH: 1 and 2 January 2023: 07:00 – 18:00

All public transport vehicles, (taxis and buses): Wilderness common drop-off point and parking area

ONLY private vehicles, the elderly and persons with disabilities: Salina’s drop-and-go point.

 

Map key:

Yellow arrows indicate parking areas.

Purple arrows indicate beach access.

Red stars indicate location of lifeguards.

Red triangle indicates that area/access is closed.

Green arrow indicates drop-and-go point for public, elderly people, and persons with disabilities.

Blue arrow indicates public transport drop-off/pick-up point (taxis and buses).

 

OPENBARE KENNISGEWING: Aflaai-en-ry / oplaaipunte vir privaat en openbare vervoer-voertuie op strande op 1 en 2 Januarie 2023

Uitgereik deur George-munisipaliteit, 29 Desember 2022

 

Om te verseker dat verkeersopeenhopings tot die minimum beperk word, het die George-munisipaliteit alternatiewe reëlings getref vir die af- en oplaai van groot groepe passasiers deur openbare vervoer-voertuie (taxi’s en busse) en/of private voertuie.

 

George-verkeersbeamptes en puntdiensbeamptes sal in plek wees om die gladde vloei van verkeer so ver moontlik te verseker. Verkeersbeheerders sal help met algemene parkering sowel as by die aangewese aflaai-en-ry / oplaaigebiede by alle strande. Duidelike aanwysings is in plek. Hierdie reëlings word getref ter wille van die veiligheid van alle openbare vervoergebruikers en voetgangers.

 

VICTORIABAAI: 1 en 2 Januarie 2023: 07:00 – 18:00

Oplaai:

Alle openbare vervoer-voertuie (taxi’s en busse): By die boonste parkeerarea by stopteken aan die linkerkant waar u Victoriabaai binnekom.

Privaat voertuie: Aflaai-en-ry-sirkel by die valhek, totdat beamptes anders aandui.

Aflaai: Aflaai-en-ry-sirkel by die valhek, totdat beamptes anders aandui.

 

HEROLDSBAAI: 1 en 2 Januarie 2023: 06:00 – 18:00

Aflaai-en-ry / oplaaipunte by die karavaankosstalletjies en aan die linkerkant van die openbare toiletgeriewe

Geen openbare-vervoervoertuie, insluitend busse en taxi’s, mag by die hoofparkeerarea wat op die see uitkyk, parkeer nie.

Motoriste mag ook aan die kante van die R404-pad parkeer, mits hulle heeltemal van die pad af is en geen versperring veroorsaak nie.

 

WILDERNIS-STRAND: 1 en 2 Januarie 2023: 07:00 – 18:00

Alle openbare-vervoervoertuie, (taxi’s en busse): Wildernis se gemeenskaplike aflaaipunt en parkeerarea (Wilderness common)

SLEGS privaat voertuie, bejaardes en persone met gestremdhede: Salina’s aflaai-en-ry-punt.

 

Kaartsleutel:

Geel pyle dui parkeerareas aan.

Pers pyle dui toegang tot strand aan.

Rooi sterre dui ligging van lewensredders aan.

Rooi driehoek dui aan dat area / toegang gesluit is.

Groen pyl dui aflaai-en-ry-punt vir publiek, bejaardes en persone met gestremdhede aan.

Blou pyl dui aflaai- /oplaaipunt vir openbare vervoer (taxi’s en busse) aan.

 

ISAZISO SIKAWONKE-WONKE: Ukwehla nokuHamba (Drop and Go) / iindawo zokuQokelela kwiZithuthi zaBucala kunye nezoThutho lukaWonke-wonke elunxwemeni ngomhla 1& 2 Januwari 2023

Ikhutshwe nguMasipala waseGeorge, ngowama-29 Disemba -2022

 

Ukuqinisekisa ukuba ingxinano yezothutho iyathotywa, uMasipala waseGeorge wenze amanye amalungiselelo okwehlisa kunye nokuqokelelwa kwabakhweli beZithuthi zikaWonke-wonke (kuquka neeTaxi) kunye/okanye izithuthi zabucala.

Amagosa ezendlela eGeorge kunye nama Points-man aza kube ekhona ukuqinisekisa ukuhamba kakuhle kwezithuthi kangangoko. Abalawuli bezendlela bancedisa kwindawo yokupaka jikelele kunye nakwiindawo ezichongiweyo ze-Drop and Go / Collection kuzo zonke iilwandle. Iimpawu ezicacileyo zikhona. La malungiselelo enziwa ngeenjongo zokhuseleko loluntu olusebenzisa izithuthi zikawonke-wonke kunye nabahambi ngeenyawo.

 

IVictoria Bay: 1 & 2 Januwari 2023: 07:00 – 18:00

Ukukhwela:

Zonke izithuthi zikawonke-wonke (iiteksi kunye neebhasi): Kuphawu lokumisa olusekhohlo kwindawo yokumisa izithuthi ephezulu xa ungena eVictoria Bay.

Izithuthi zabucala: Kwisangqa sokwehla-ukhwelise kwisango elilawulwa yibhum, ade amagosa anike eminye imiyalelo.

Ukwehlisa: Kwisangqa sokwehla-ukhwelise kwisango elilawulwa yibhum, ade amagosa anike eminye imiyalelo.

 

Herold’s Bay: 1 & 2 Januwari 2023: 06:00 – 18:00

Iindawo zokuLahla kunye nokuHamba / zokuQokelelwa zikwindawo yokutyela yeKharavani kwaye ngasekhohlo kwendawo yokuGcina uLuntu.

Akukho ziThuthi zoThutho lukaWonke-wonke kuquka iiteksi neebhasi ezivumelekileyo ukuba zipake kwindawo yokupaka ejongene nolwandle.

Abaqhubi nabo bavumelekile ukuba bapake kwincam yendlela i-R404 engena kunxweme lolwandle ukuba ngaba baphumile ngokupheleleyo endleleni kwaye ababangeli mqobo.

 

Wilderness Beach: 1 & 2 Januwari 2023: 07:00 – 18:00

Zonke iZithuthi zoThutho lukaWonke-wonke kuquka iiteksi neebhasi: I-Wilderness Common Drop kunye ne-Go/Ndawo yokuqokelelwa

Izithuthi zabucala, abaDala kunye nabakhubazekileyo KUPHELA: I-Salina’s Drop and Go

 

Imephu ilivo:

Iintolo ezityheli(Yellow) zibonisa iindawo zokuPaka.

Iintolo ezimfusa (Purple) zibonisa uFikelelo eLwandle

Iinkwenkwezi eziBomvu(Red) zibonisa Indawo yabaKhuseli bokuphila

Unxantathu obomvu. Indawo / Ufikelelo luvaliwe.

Utolo oluluhlaza(Green) lubonisa UKULAHLA kunye ne-HAMBA kuluntu kunye naBakhulileyo nabaKhubazekileyo.

Utolo oluBlue lubonisa ukuLahla kunye nokuya kwiiteksi neebhasi. Amanqaku okuqokelelwa kweeTaxi.

Service delivery and good preparation keep damages to a minimum

George Municipality holds a daily Festive Monitoring Committee meeting with all directorates which includes external stakeholders such as SAPS, SANparks and NSRI. The committee jumped in and added preparation for the Storm Alert issued last week to the regular agenda about festive safety and service delivery in George as result keeping the damages to a minimum. External stakeholders such as SANPARKS made immediate arrangements to breach the Touws River in advance of any possible flooding in Wilderness.

Stormwater Clearance
Stormwater infrastructure in the usual problematic areas were cleaned days in advance after receipt of the alert and where possible damaged infrastructure was repaired in anticipation of potential flooding. The storm water division has followed a stringent programme of cleaning throughout George and surrounds prior to the festive season starting.

A total of 19 storm water complaints were received and addressed. One stormwater pipeline collapsed in Dormehlsdrift.  It  must be noted that a number of areas have recently had their stormwater networks upgraded using municipal grant funding (MIG) and that these areas had no problems over the past weekend,  highlighting the value of the investment in our neighbourhoods.

George Fire and Disaster Services
The Disaster Centre filled and issued 84 sandbags in preparation of the poor weather with sand supplied by our Civil Engineering Services Directorate. Three additional personnel were added to the Disaster Call Centre to handle the influx of calls and two additional Emergency cellphone numbers were issued for public to make contact with the Disaster Centre. A number of senior officials were tasked with moving around the city during the periods of high rainfall to continuously monitor any potential flooding and report back to the Disaster Centre for action. One motor vehicle accident was reported in the Outeniqua Pass and one informal house fire was addressed on Saturday afternoon.

Traffic control and road closures
CJ Langehoven and Courtney Street were partially closed for a short period on Friday. Traffic officials or pointsmen were placed at the critical busy intersections impacted by flooding on Friday. Additional batteries were placed at critical intersections to accommodate the extended loadshedding periods over the weekend which affected the ability of the UPS’s to recharge. Where a battery could not be added, traffic officials or pointsmen were placed for short periods to resolve traffic flow.

Debris cleanup by Community Services
Community Services teams cleared the CBD of storm debris on Saturday and continue to clear the beaches each morning with some debris visible early this morning. Cleanup generally takes place before 8am of each day.

Formal Housing
A total of 51 requests were received for gunplast in various areas for persons residing in backyards and houses with roof leakages, however in terms our policy in this regard gunplast cannot be distributed to persons living on private property and in  formal housing. Priority was thus given to persons residing in the informal settlements.

Informal Settlements
A total of 113 requests for gunplast was received from the informal areas with 43 pieces issued to date. Human Settlement officials will continue with the distribution of gunplast in the informal areas for the remaining requests.

Power outages due to inclement weather
A power outage in the Herold’s Bay farming area was weather related. Other outages in Heather Park. Blanco, Herold’s Bay beachfront, Oubaai and Breakwater Bay were related to loadshedding.

Preparations for bus service to Thembalethu visible all over town

Posters at bus stops in town welcoming Thembalethu passengers; bus stops and operational facilities inside Thembalethu nearing completion; communication champions engaging with prospective passengers … These are but some of the visible signs that GO GEORGE is getting ready to roll out service to this community. Thembalethu has been waiting eagerly to share in the benefits of an affordable and scheduled bus service.

“We realise that Thembalethu residents have been disappointed before when we tried to roll out bus services to this area,” said Morné Lakay, Acting Manager of GO GEORGE. “This time, we are determinedly pushing through, even though it is taking a little bit longer than planned. It is heart-warming to hear from our engagement with Thembalethu residents, how much they are looking forward to having access to our service and the convenience and savings it will bring.”

Infrastructure

As with all previous roll-outs to other areas of town, the service to Thembalethu will launch with the infrastructure needed to roll out smoothly. This will be expanded as user patterns and passenger needs become clear once they start using the service.

To date, 11 indented bays in Nelson Mandela Boulevard and 129 bus stops for use by the Thembalethu routes have already been constructed. A limited number of bus shelters will initially be erected, just in time for roll-out.

According to Lakay, bus shelters all over the system are placed at stops where the most passengers wait to board a bus. “Since we first need to monitor user patterns after activation of the service to an area, we start out with temporary shelters and follow up with the permanent shelters which are quite costly to manufacture and install. This is not the kind of structure we would like to move.”

Information about the Thembalethu service

The GO GEORGE communications team has ben visiting businesses and organisations all over town to engage with staff residing in Thembalethu. Anyone who would like to request an informational visit to their staff can call the GO GEORGE Call Centre on 0800 044 044 from 05:00 until 20:00, seven days a week.

Drinking Water capacity boosted by package plant

George Municipality has completed the installation of a temporary package plant with a very short turnaround time to help the municipality cope with the high increase in daily water demand during the peak season. Although this package plant will add an extra 5 Ml/day of treated drinking water to the daily production, there remains a high risk of not being able to meet the full daily demand for drinking water which is why water restrictions will remain in place to curb the excessive and unnecessary use of drinking water by residents and holidaymakers alike.

The package plant is also intended to supplement the available treated drinking water in 2023 while various rehabilitation work is done at the Old and the New Water Treatments Works, and availability of supply will remain constrained until the new 20Ml WTW capacity extension has been completed in 2025

Executive Mayor for George, Leon van Wyk and Portfolio Councillor for Civil Engineering Services: Capital Projects and BFI Cllr Jackie Von Brandis paid a visit to the new site of the package plant which was installed in record time. “We are extremely grateful for the work of Civil Engineering Services that managed to complete the installation of the package plant in such a short time to assist the town with portable water,” said Cllr Von Brandis.

Why are the stricter water restrictions necessary?
The problem is twofold with the Garden Route as a whole on alert that our raw water sources such as the Garden Route dam are being affected by low rainfall  – the Garden Route dam volume dropped to 45.8% last week and although rainfall of 123 mm was measured over the last 7 days (from Monday 12th December) the dam  volume has only increased to 57.43% as measured Monday 19 December,  which gives us a grace period for which we are thankful but does not resolve the water scarcity entirely. At 57.43% the available volume is equal to approximately 165 days of raw water supply. It is expected that the volume may increase slightly with the post-rainfall runoff.

The Municipality is in the process of reviewing the Bulk Raw Water Resources Study that considers all potential resources. The public cannot assume that because we have been blessed with a short spell of decent rain that they can continue to use drinking water indiscriminately. We have no guarantee of what the rainfall patterns will bring over the next few months and we need to conserve what we have received.

The other problem lies with the production of treated drinking water – the old water treatment works (Circa 1950) is not producing drinking water at it’s original design capacity, and the Denneoord Water Treatment Works can currently produce 20Ml/day provided this is not affected by the extended ESKOM loadshedding we are currently experiencing. Remedial works is planned at both the old water treatment works and the Denneoord water treatment works to optimise the capacity of these two existing plant.

However, if residents, holidaymakers, business and industry do not reduce their daily use of drinking water there is a possibility of us running into difficulties as the demand may exceed the capacity to supply sufficient drinking water. As previously reported the construction of an additional 20Ml/day Water Treatment Works (treats raw water to drinking water standard) is underway but completion only expected for 2025.

Follow this link for the detailed Stricter Water Restrictions in English/Afrikaans and Isixhosa.
https://www.george.gov.za/george-doc-categories/public-notices/general/

Contraventions of the Water Restrictions can be reported on 0800 424477. Fines will apply and/or six months imprisonment.

Report water leaks and burst pipes to 044 801 9262/66 or after hours at 044 801 6300, as soon as you notice them.

A NEW JETRIB ACQUISITION TO INTENSIFY SEA RESCUE IN GEORGE

The George Municipality’s Fire Services and Disaster Management is proud to announce that it has added a new baby to its sea rescue equipment, an 1800 CC Jetski that is combined with pontoons of rubberduck which is now called a Jetrib. They are exclusively bought from Droomers Yamaha in Cape Town which has the patent. This will be the first 1800cc Jetrib in South Africa.

“This rescue vessel is a must-have for surf sea rescue,” says the George Municipality’s Chief Fire Officer and Disaster Management, Cornelius Barnard. “The agility of the larger engine allows for faster response and movement in between the waves, the safety of the pontoon floating on top of the water increases the rescue capabilities of the Jetrib in shallow surf much more efficiently than what a normal or smaller rubber duck would provide.”

The Jetrib is operated by two people, a skipper and a rescue swimmer and then can carry a third person as a victim. “The Jetrib is an extremely versatile sea vessel, and we are very proud to have it as part of the George Municipality’s fleet of rescue equipment, especially since it is in time for the season. The Skipper, Fire Fighter Johan Troskie, is a very well-versed and skilled skipper for these vessels. The skipper, the rescue team and the new vessel together make a great contribution to our ability to do shallow surf rescue during the season,” Mr Cornelius Barnard added.

Please watch the video of the new Jetrib: https://youtu.be/yNCHf4fAKvc

Ends.

 

COMBATING THE DANGERS OF RIP CURRENTS IN THE GARDEN ROUTE AREA

Media Release issued on behalf of NSRI

COMBATING THE DANGERS OF RIP CURRENTS IN THE GARDEN ROUTE AREA
NSRI Releases Fluoresceine Dye to highlight the danger of rip currents

15 December 2022: In the heart of South Africa’s Garden Route in the Southern Cape area you will find Herolds Bay. This is a peaceful place blessed with the songs of the wind and the ocean. However, there are dangerous RIP currents in this area.

This is according to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) who recently used a harmless green dye to highlight rip currents at Herolds Bay and Wilderness beach. We believe that Rip currents are the greatest danger that holidaymakers will face when they flock to the beaches during this holiday season and want to draw this danger to the attention of people holidaying at the coast.

“Many people find rip currents hard to see and so we have used Fluoresceine dye in a once-off deployment to highlight a couple of them so that we could photograph and film the dye being pulled out in the rips. We will use these photos and video as educational tools to teach beach safety,” said NSRI’s Wilderness Station Commander Mike Vonk.

“Many beaches around South Africa have powerful rip currents which can pull a swimmer away from the beach to behind where the waves form in a couple of minutes,” he continued.

“A rip current will not pull you under the water, but will pull a swimmer away from the beach,” said Mike. “If caught in a rip the most important thing is not to panic. Swim out of the current at 90 degrees to the direction in which you are being pulled and use the waves to swim back to shore. Or flip on your back and float until the current runs out of strength and you can swim back to the beach,” he added.

NSRI Drowning Prevention manager Andrew Ingram has some important advice on how to assist a person caught in a rip current. “Call NSRI for help by dialing 112 from your cell phone, save the NSRI’s National Emergency Operations Centre in your phone (087 094 9774) or Google ‘Sea Rescue emergency’ for the closest NSRI stations’ number. And never go into the water to attempt a rescue without taking something that floats with you,” adds Andrew. Our Pink Rescue Buoys are available on many beaches as well as some rivers and dams to be used as emergency flotation for anyone to use to protect themselves while they attempt to help a swimmer in distress. Surfboards or body boards are also good choices to protect yourself and help the person in difficulty if you decide to go into the water to help.”

“Out of 131 rescues that we know of, where a Pink Buoy has been used to help someone in difficulty, 96 of these people needed help because they were swimming in a rip current,” said Andrew.

“Pink Buoys save lives, and we appeal to everyone to take note of where they are placed on beaches. They are there for use in an emergency and should be put back after use,” he said. “If you see that a Pink Buoy is missing, please call the cell number on the sign and let us know.”

“We encourage people to swim at a beach that is lifeguarded and to swim between the lifeguard’s flags,” said Mike Vonk. “If lifeguards are not on duty, it is safer not to swim,” he added.

“Parents please watch your children when they are in or near water and remember that drowning is silent. Please save the emergency numbers in your cellphone before you need it and have a safe holiday,” concludes Mike.

Note to editors:

1. Fluoresceine Dye is harmless. It is used by doctors to see issues in patients’ eyes, by plumbers to detect leaking pipes and by fishermen to attract fish. The NSRI has a permit issued by DFFE to release the dye in the educational and research work that the organization is doing regarding rip currents.

2. Please see the NSRI Rip current video on our YouTube channel which explains how rip currents work – https://youtu.be/9GBUBDMENfw .

3. If anybody would like to help us with our Pink Rescue Buoy program as a Pink Buoy custodian or Pink Buoy volunteer please contact us on our social media channels or email us: pinkrescuebuoys@searescue.org.za .

Kindest Regards,
KUHLE MKIZE
COMMUNICATIONS & PR MANAGER