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Nine new homeowners at Metro Grounds Housing Project delighted to receive homes

Beneficiaries of the new houses and officials are from left, Jennifer Davids (beneficiary), Portfolio Councillor for Human Settlements, Cllr Jean Safers, Brumilda Kirchner, Project Administrator at Human Settlements,  Hester Tamboer (beneficiary in the wheelchair) with her husband next to her, Pieter, and on the far right is Cllr Regina Windwaai.

George Portfolio Councillor for Human Settlements, Cllr Jean Safers, handed nine houses over to beneficiaries at the Metro Grounds Housing Project last week.

Up until now 38 homes have been handed over to beneficiaries besides the 9 homes handed over last week. In total, 436 homes will be occupied at Metro Grounds once the project is finished.

According to Wendy Mentor, Acting Deputy Director: Human Settlements, beneficiaries for the Metro Grounds Housing Project have been taken from the Housing Demand Database. The beneficiaries are selected from those who have been on the waiting list for longest time, 60 years and older, disabled, farm workers, and persons residing in Informal Settlements.

Cllr Safers stated that it is the intention of the government of the day to house people as soon as possible. “We are just as happy with the families that received their homes. The era of leaking roofs and washing in old fashioned wash basins is now a thing of the past.”

He said a lot of these people come from difficult circumstances and their new homes could not have come at a better time. “I think there is no  better feeling than to own an asset and to be able to leave something behind for your loved ones. A home is something to be proud of and I am sure that the new home-owners will look after theirs,” Safers said.

Jennifer Davids, one of the beneficiaries, said she could not be happier. “I lived in a back yard dwelling and struggled with a leaking roof.” She is a single mother with three sons and two grandchildren.

Pieter and Hester Tamboer lived in a temporary structure before they received their home and before that they lived in an informal settlement. Hester, who is wheelchair-bound, said they have  struggled with water logging and sometimes she couldn’t even move in her wheelchair. “We are just happy to have a proper house.” Their son and grandchild also live with them.

James October, another beneficiary, has been on the waiting list for 27 years. He will live in the house with his daughter and his grandchild. “I don’t have words to express my gratitude. I hear people talk about the small homes they are getting but my question remains:  what did you have before? I also want to make it clear we, as residents of the Metro Grounds Housing Project, will not allow thuggery and gangsterism that is rife in other communities.”

Photo:

A proud James October stands with his title deed in hand after Portfolio Councillor for Human Settlements, Cllr Jean Safers, handed him his documentation for his new home after a waiting for 27 years. With him in front of his house are from left, Brumilda Kirchner, Project Administrator at Human Settlements, October, the beneficiary of the new home, Cllr Safers, Sheen-Wayne Kiewitz from Human Settlements and Cllr Regina Windwaai.

George Municipality hands over title deeds to rightful beneficiaries of old council and RDP houses

Above are Ald Leon van Wyk, Mayor of George and Cllr Jean Säfers handing over title deeds to beneficiaries, from left Elmarie Pietersen (left), Cllr Säfers, Fransina Afrika, Ald Van Wyk and Gertruida Buys (far right), all from Blanco.

George Municipality is on a drive to intensify the issuing of title deeds to beneficiaries. The aim is to ensure that title deeds are issued to their rightful beneficiaries as soon as possible. The title deeds are mostly for old scheme properties and RDP properties that are already occupied. All new title deeds are handed out when the houses are handed over to the owners. The Title Deed Restoration Outreach took place in three wards last week – Blanco, Rosemoor, Parkdene and Ballotsview.  A total of 78 clients visited the sessions and 44 title deeds were handed out to the registered owners of the properties.  It came to light that many of the registered owners have passed away and therefore these deeds could not be handed out.  The official of the Section: Property Management explained the way forward to the families of those who passed on.

Photos:

Hendrik and Maria  Wylbach received their title deed from the Ward Councillor for Ward 8, Cllr Samuel Vorster. On the far left with them is Cyrildene Fredericks and on the far right is Petro Botha, both officials from the Human Settlements Directorate at the handover in Parkdene.

 Cllr Charlotte Clarke hands over a title deed to Elna and Patrick Hardnick in Parkdene.

Thembalethu New 66kV Substation is nearing completion

Aerial view of Thembalethu Substation

The construction of the new 66kV substation in Thembalethu, aimed at bolstering power supply reliability in response to escalating electricity demand, is progressing gradually and is anticipated to be finalised within this year.

This project, one of the largest in the Southern Cape, marks a significant achievement in the City of George’s bulk infrastructure development. It demonstrates the municipality’s commitment to facilitating growth and service delivery, attracting investment from both the government and businesses.

Construction Update:
Despite initial setbacks, construction remains on schedule. Recent concerns regarding informal shacks situated beneath the new 66kV power line between SS Glenwood and SS Thembalethu may potentially impact the energizing of the power line and new substation, but the municipality is actively addressing this issue.

Key milestones include the completion of the substation building, installation of most electrical equipment, and placement of the 11 kV switchgear panel. Additionally, two 66/11 kV, 20 MVA power transformers have been successfully installed alongside switchgear and other essential components. Ongoing work involves the installation of electrical and control cabling.

Incorporating Advanced Technology:
The substation incorporates cutting-edge technology, including an IEC61850 protocol protection scheme for enhanced control and protection, and DNP3 VER 2 protocol for communication between the substation and the control centre. Extensive use of fibre optic cables minimizes reliance on copper, enabling remote monitoring of alarms, CCTV security, and substation control.

Benefits of the New Substation:
• Provides reliable electricity to Thembalethu and enables future expansion.
• Creates job opportunities and supports growth in Thembalethu and surrounding areas.
• Reduces load on adjacent substations in Pacaltsdorp and George Industria, prolonging available capacity and providing alternative capacity during system faults.
• Enhances supply to SS Protea, SS Glenwood, and other areas in the Eastern region of George.

Background:
The need for a 66kV substation in Thembalethu was identified over 20 years ago. The current project builds upon previous initiatives, including the Ballots Bay 11kV substation. The completion of the initial phase in 2014/15 paved the way for the current project, with the final cost expected to be approximately R77,900,000.00.

66-11 kV 20MVA power transformer in the foreground with auxiliary equipment installed at the substation
Control Coupling Cell to control municipal equipment

GEORGE NOMINATED AS SEMI-FINALIST FOR TOWN OF THE YEAR

George has been named a regional semi-finalist for the prestigious Western Cape title in kykNET’s Kwêla Town of the Year competition. This exciting announcement follows an enthusiastic response from voters in the initial round, as revealed on Kwêla’s broadcast tonight at 7 pm. George Tourism is elated by this achievement and urges everyone to continue their support by casting their votes once again in this pivotal second round. Despite being technically classified as a city, George qualifies for the Town of the Year competition due to its population of less than 500,000 residents.

Joan Shaw, Tourism Manager for George encouraged everyone to join her in voting for George. “As George residents, we tend to take the privilege of living in George for granted, but let’s count our blessings.  We are situated in the ‘sweet spot’ of the world-famous Garden Route, with access to all its wonders, with pristine roads and an airport on our doorstep.  Surrounded by mountains, rivers, oceans, and lakes, in forests and farmlands that provide an array of produce from milk to beer, with fruit, vegetables, and an abundance of rain. Our town is well-governed and clean, the air is crisply clean and even has a public transport service!  We have world-class shops, schools, golf courses and more offering high employment numbers and a thriving economy.  Please join me in voting for George today,” she said.

The stakes are high, with the winning town set to receive a remarkable R1 million advertising contract on kykNET, providing an invaluable opportunity to promote George as a premier tourist destination both domestically and in Namibia.
Every SMS vote counts, contributing to the collective effort to showcase George’s charm and appeal to a wider audience.

SMS lines will be open for voting from April 14 to April 19. To nominate George, simply SMS ‘George’ to 33157. Each SMS costs R1.50, and individuals are encouraged to vote multiple times, up to a maximum of 30 votes per number.

The final showdown will occur between 14 – 19 July,  with the ultimate winner being announced on 28 July during a special broadcast on Kwêla. The victorious town will not only claim the coveted title of Town of the Year but also secure a lucrative R1 million advertising contract with kykNET. Additionally, Lottoland will generously contribute a cash prize of R1 million to further invest in the town’s development.

To further enhance George’s chances of success we ask all of our schools, colleges, universities, and businesses to rally behind the cause and mobilize your communities to vote between 14 – 19 April. For those interested in playing a more active role in the campaign, businesses can reach out to George Municipality’s Tourism Manager, Joan Shaw, at jshaw@george.gov.za for additional information.

Witness the allure of George in this captivating video showcasing the town’s finest offerings: https://tinyurl.com/4f8wt2zc

Let’s unite in support of George’s bid to become South Africa’s favourite town and secure its place as the Regional Winner en route to the final round in July!

#GeorgeTownoftheYear2024 #GeorgeDorpvandieJaar2024

Regional Finalists for Town of the Year to be announced on Sunday 14 April at 7pm!

WATCH KWELA ON Sunday 14 April, 2024 at 7pm on KykNET, DStv channel 144

Hierdie week op Kwêla / This week on Kwêla

Ons maak die eerste drie Kwêla Dorp van die Jaar streke se top 3 benoemings vir 2024 bekend. (Noord-Kaap, Mpumalanga en die Wes-Kaap) /
We announce the first three Kwêla Town of the Year regions’ top 3 nominations for 2024. (Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape)

#GeorgeDorpvandieJaar2024 #GeorgeTownoftheYear2024

UPDATE: Impact of Heavy Rainfall in George Municipal Area

A fallen tree on the Wilderness Water Treatment Works building

Mop-up operations have started in George following floods in parts of George that were caused by the torrential downpours since last night. The rain has subsided quite considerably; however, the George Disaster Management Services continue to advise members of the public to please drive with extreme caution today.

Rainfall over the past 24 hours
• Unconfirmed rainfall measured at the Botanical Gardens, 105mm
• Unconfirmed report rainfall measured at Buffelskop, catchment Area for Touws River, 180mm
• Unconfirmed report rainfall measured at Upper Touws River Water Weather Station, 110 mm
• Confirmed rainfall measured at Garden Route Dam, 100mm and Garden Route Dam is overflowing.
• Confirmed rainfall Uniondale, 85mm
• Confirmed rainfall Haarlem,70mm
• Confirmed Avontuur, 72mm

Temporary Road Closures
Four roads temporarily closed including Outeniqua Pass. Camphersdrift Road, CJ Langenhoven Street, Hope Street and King George Road. All roads have been reopened.

The second entrance to Waboomskraal was temporarily closed and caution was issued for water across the roadways between Oudtshoorn and the Outeniqua Pass.

We continue to urge motorists to drive with caution as the roads are wet and slippery. Please note, that the road surfaces remain wet, motorists are to proceed with caution and at reduced speed.

Areas flooded
• 17 – 20 houses have reported flooding – Areas include Hoekwil, Lawaaikamp, Borcherds, Rosedale, Blanco and Thembalethu Zone 4, 6 and 7
• Blanco Community Hall is currently housing approximately 25 people who were evacuated from Malgas Singel and Klaassen Street in Blanco
• House flooded in Uniondale; residents temporarily accommodated in Lyonville Community Hall
• Flood reporting along Touws River (Pirate’s Creek, Die Duin) following a delay in opening the river mouth
• Anchorage Lane, Wilderness – several homes flooded
• Ebb and Flow Camp Site has experienced minor flood conditions
• Flooding at Wilderness Civils Depot and Water Treatment Works. Damage is being assessed by Civil Engineering Services
• Fallen tree on Wilderness Water Treatment Works building being assessed and removed
• The river mouth has been opened by SANPARKS and is flowing correctly

Disruption to Service Delivery
• The Gwaing Landfill Site situated at R102 Airport Road has been closed, due to the inclement weather. The Waste Transfer Station remains operational.
• The collection of black refuse bags and recycling bags will resume later today. Green bags will not be collected due to the closure of the Gwaing landfill site.
• All planned vegetation maintenance is postponed for today.
• Planned power outages have been postponed for today.

Emergency Services remain on alert
Although the rainfall has decreased considerably, the George Disaster Management Services remain on standby to attend to any emergencies. The Municipality continues to monitor weather developments, and the public will be updated via George Municipal Social Media Channels.
Only travel, if necessary, DRIVE SLOWLY and do not attempt to drive through a body of water that is fast-moving.

AFTER-HOURS AND EMERGENCIES: 044 801 6300
TOLL-FREE DISASTER NUMBER: 087 152 9999
FIRE EMERGENCIES: 044 801 6311

Road between Oudtshoorn and Outeniqua Pass at Klipdrif.
Privates Creek, Wilderness
Road between Oudtshoorn and Outeniqua Pass at Klipdrif.
Anchorage Lane, Wilderness.
Koesterbosrivier, near Blanco

 

Electricity & water crises: Black-out of pre-paid meters looms

Customers who need assistance with the TID Rollover may phone the George Municipality on 044 801 9222 or Ontec on 044 873 5474 for verification, for response to queries OR to request that their software be addressed.

Issued by George Municipality on behalf of:

Mireille Wenger, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
Release: Immediate
Date: 7 April 2024

Electricity & water crises: Black-out of pre-paid meters looms
Municipalities across South Africa are in a race against time to enable residents to update prepaid electricity and water meters before they stop working on 24 November 2024, just 8 months away. The update is urgently required because the standard system that provides unique re-charge codes will soon run out of unique numbers to issue. A ‘reset’ code for each pre-paid meter is therefore essential to ensure that residents can continue to receive unique codes beyond 24 November 2024.
Failure to complete the reset will leave residents unable to buy electricity and municipalities unable to generate revenue from the sale of prepaid electricity or water.

“Households, businesses, and communities across the country face being completely cut off from electricity and water if they don’t update their pre-paid meters. The black-out is looming unless pre-paid users reset their meters, using a unique code, which will be issued in line with each municipality’s approach to the reset process,” said Western Cape, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.

“The Provincial Treasury has gathered all the contact details for the relevant official in each municipality so residents are able to contact them with any queries they may have. This contact list can be found on https://www.westerncape.gov.za/files/municipal_contact_details_for_prepaid_electricity_meter_reset_process.png” continued Minister Wenger.

Neglecting to update pre-paid meters in time poses a significant risk to the financial sustainability of local governments across the country, with potentially disastrous consequences for residents who rely on municipalities for basic services.
“I want to urge every resident who uses a pre-paid meter to look out for communication from their municipality on the reset process and their specific timelines. When prompted, residents can complete the process by simply inputting a special token code that is issued with pre-paid electricity purchases. It’s a once-off entry, done in the same simple way as loading a pre-paid electricity code. If you’re not seeing the code, or if you are experiencing difficulty to get the code to work, please contact your local municipality immediately for assistance” added Minister Wenger.

Municipalities in the Western Cape have been hard at work helping residents to update their meters. “With an estimated 1 047 682 municipal meters in the province, approximately 82.5% of households have completed the reset, compared to 51.0% nationally. While we still have some way to go, I would like to congratulate Cape Agulhas Municipality for being the first municipality to complete the reset in the province. Several other municipalities in the Western Cape are also on the verge of completing the process.”
“But we are very concerned about the slow progress in resetting meters in areas where customers purchase electricity directly from Eskom. These consumers are at very real risk of being cut-off and face a permanent electricity black-out in their homes and businesses if they aren’t helped to make the necessary updates” shared Minister Wenger.

Used by over 500 power utilities across the world, the Standard Transfer Specification (STS) is the primary global standard protocol for the transfer of electricity and other utility prepayment tokens. According to the STS Association, there are approximately 10 million STS meters in South Africa, 7 million of which are in Eskom service areas, and 3 million in municipal service areas.

“I strongly encourage our municipalities that have yet to complete the process to follow the lead of other Western Cape municipalities to provide certainty for their own revenue management and financial stability. This process is also critical to ensure effective service delivery, so that residents have peace of mind. We can and must avoid the looming pre-paid meter black-out,” concluded Minister Wenger.

Media Release: Prohibition of Animals at Food Premises

Issued on behalf of the George District Municipality, 02 April 2024

The food trading sector is responsible for adherence to Food Safety Management Procedures at all times.

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), are represented within each local town and are responsible for enforcing legislation pertaining to, amongst others – food premises.

According to Johan Compion, GRDM Senior Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services: “Food premises refer to any premises where food is being manufactured, processed, produced, packed, prepared, kept, offered, transported, stored, or displayed for sale or for serving to the public in any serving area”.

The current Regulation Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises, the Transport of Food and related matters is known as Regulation 638 of 22 June 2018, promulgated under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act 54 of 1972). In terms of duties of a person in charge of food premises, Regulation 638 states the following in article 10:
“10. A person in charge of food premises shall ensure that-
(10) an animal, subject to the provisions of any law, is not kept or permitted in a room or area where food is handled, except that –

(a) a guide or service dog accompanying a person with a disability may be permitted in the sales or serving area of the food premises.
(b) fish, molluscs, or crustaceans may be kept alive until prepared for consumption.”

No animal (including any domestic pet), is allowed at any food premises or any area where food is being served to the public, with the exemption of the above scenario.

Read more: 

https://tinyurl.com/399zs865

Mayor’s newsletter for the week ending Monday, 25 March 2024

This newsletter shares some of the varying challenges encountered by the municipal teams in the course of service delivery.

Our water and sanitation teams regularly encounter vastly differing incidents involving repairs, callouts or refurbishment. Recently, one of the incoming power unit modules burnt out at the new Outeniqua waste-water treatment works thereby immobilising the pumping operations within the massive waste-water settlement tanks. Electrical teams were thankfully able to get on site rapidly to get the works operational within 24 hours.

A day later, the pump shaft at the Kraaibosch sewer pump station broke. This pump station has been due for an upgrade for some time. Make-shift repairs were affected within seven hours. The new replacement pumps were ordered almost a year ago and arrived in the past week. Their installation will need to be planned as it requires modifications to the pipework and supports.

The water teams have recently been undertaking refurbishment work on the Blanco and Fancourt reservoirs. Whenever breakages or damage occurs to water or sewer pipelines or pumps, repairs, which are often temporary, need to be made as swiftly as possible to restore services. Once spares are sourced or manufactured, permanent repairs are then affected later.

In New Dawn Park in Pacaltsdorp, manholes have been found where blocks of concrete from building operations have been disposed of into storm water drains. This is an example of drain blockages that then result in flooding and further damage of infrastructure. This example of vandalism and damage reflects the lack of respect for infrastructure by our citizens. On a daily basis, the sewer repair teams are required to clear sewer line blockages resulting from towels, nappies and various other items that have been flushed down toilets that then clog up the lines.

There have been recent media reports resulting from inspections at houses where builders or owners have illegally diverted rain and storm water into sewer systems. This excessive flow of water causes the overflow of sewer pump stations that then result in environmental contraventions.

We therefore plead with our citizens to adhere to the by-laws and to correct bad or illegal practices that are in existence. It is evident that there are some property owners and property developers who appear to disregard national building control or town planning regulations. The municipality is obliged to apply and adhere to legislation. These contraventions need to be dealt with even though some citizens believe that legislation does not apply to them.

Our country is experiencing a collapse of state capacity and infrastructure resulting from corruption, maladministration and non-adherence to regulations or laws. It is critical that we all work together to correct this scourge and return to honesty and moral values.

 

 

GO GEORGE GOES TO SCHOOL

Heatherlands High explaining: Tyron Jeyi, GO GEORGE Community Liaison Officer, explains to a learner at Heatherlands High School how to use the school route map to plan her bus trip to and from school. Hoërskool Heatherlands verduidelik: Tyron Jeyi, GO GEORGEgemeenskapskakelbeampte, verduidelik aan ‘n leerder by Hoërskool Heatherlands hoe om die skoolroetekaart te gebruik om haar busrit na en van die skool te beplan.

GO GEORGE has embarked on their annual educational campaign in schools to familiarise the younger generation with the bus system and how to best make use of the facility.

A series of school visits and learner engagements at bus stops, focusing mainly on high schools, aims to equip learners with information and rules of carriage to use the service optimally and independently.

Heatherlands questions: The youngsters at Heatherlands High School participated by asking questions about the bus service during engagement with the grade eight learners. The communications team was impressed with their knowledge when tested with some random questions about GO GEORGE.

Primary schools in George are invited to support this local flagship project by incorporating it as part of their existing curriculum about transport. “Our proposal to the schools is that they use GO GEORGE as an example or practical application to complement the theoretical curriculum in subjects such as Technology,” says Morné Lakay, GO GEORGE Manager. “Transport is already a part of the curriculum, and now the learners in George have the added advantage of a local public transport system to study.

“The goal of the GO GEORGE schools programme is to inform learners about the system, educate them about the benefits, and introduce them to transport terminology and concepts such as how to read a map, interpret timetables and plan a trip. If we can create a positive association with public transport at an early stage, we hope to motivate learners to use GO GEORGE as a transport option,” Lakay says.

THEMBALETHU SCHOOLS
The school programme is being expanded this year to include schools in Thembalethu where the bus service was rolled out in November 2023. A visit to the Tyholora Primary School was high on the agenda. Situated adjacent to the GO GEORGE Smart Card kiosk and a bus stop, it became clear that the learners would need to be educated about being safe around the buses on their way to and from school.

The youngsters were excited to meet the dressed-up communication team and mascot Georgie. They sang along heartily while learning more about the scheduled public transport service.

Tyholora Primary: GO GEORGE visited Tyholora Primary School in Thembalethu to educate the learners about pedestrian safety around the buses. Their school is adjacent to a GO GEORGE kiosk and bus stop.

High school learners from Thembalethu who attend schools in George were reached during the Grade 8 outreach at the beginning of the first term, while learners within Thembalethu were also reached at stops nearest to their schools following the launch last year.

School visits will continue after the school holidays. Schools are welcome to request a visit from the GO GEORGE team by phoning the Call Centre on 0800 044 044 or sending an email to info@gogeorge.org.za. Visits will be scheduled according to the team’s capacity, prioritising schools on GO GEORGE routes.

******************************************************************

GO GEORGE GAAN SKOOL TOE

GO GEORGE het hul jaarlikse opvoedkundige veldtog in skole begin om die jonger geslag vertroud te maak met die busstelsel en te leer hoe om die fasiliteit ten beste te benut.
‘n Reeks skoolbesoeke en gesprekke by bushaltes wat hoofsaaklik op hoërskole fokus, het ten doel om leerders toe te rus met inligting en vervoerreëls om die diens optimaal en onafhanklik te gebruik.
Laerskole in George word genooi om hierdie plaaslike vlagskipprojek te ondersteun deur dit as deel van hul bestaande kurrikulum oor vervoer in te sluit.
“Ons voorstel aan die skole is dat hulle GO GEORGE as voorbeeld of praktiese toepassing gebruik om die teoretiese kurrikulum in vakke soos Tegnologie aan te vul,” sê Morné Lakay, GO GEORGE-bestuurder. “Vervoer is reeds deel van die kurrikulum, en nou het die leerders in George die bykomende voordeel van ‘n plaaslike openbare vervoerstelsel om te bestudeer.
“Die doel van die GO GEORGE-skoleprogram is om leerders oor die stelsel in te lig, hulle oor die voordele op te voed en hulle bekend te stel aan vervoer-terminologie en -konsepte soos hoe om ‘n kaart te lees, tydroosters te interpreteer en ‘n rit te beplan. As ons in ‘n vroeë stadium ‘n positiewe verbintenis met openbare vervoer kan skep, hoop ons om leerders te motiveer om GO GEORGE as vervoeropsie te gebruik,” sê Lakay.

THEMBALETHU SKOLE
Die skoolprogram word vanjaar uitgebrei om skole in Thembalethu in te sluit waar die busdiens in November 2023 van stapel gestuur is. ‘n Besoek aan die Laerskool Tyholora was hoog op die agenda. Geleë langs die GO GEORGE Slimkaart kiosk en ‘n bushalte, het dit duidelik geword dat die leerders opgevoed moet word om op pad na en van die skool veilig te wees in die omgewing van die busse. Die jongklomp was opgewonde om die gelukbringer Georgie en die kommunikasiespan in hul kleurvolle uitrustings te ontmoet. Hulle het hartlik saamgesing terwyl hulle meer oor die geskeduleerde openbare vervoerdiens geleer het.

Hoërskoolleerders van Thembalethu wat skole in George bywoon, is aan die begin van die eerste kwartaal tydens die graad 8-uitreik bereik, terwyl leerders in Thembalethu ook ná die bekendstelling verlede jaar by die bushaltes naaste aan hul skole bereik is.
Skoolbesoeke sal ná die skoolvakansie voortgaan. Skole is welkom om ‘n besoek van die GO GEORGE-span aan te vra deur die inbelsentrum by 0800 044 044 te skakel of ‘n e-pos aan info@gogeorge.org.za te stuur. Besoeke sal volgens die span se kapasiteit geskeduleer word en skole op GO GEORGE-roetes prioritiseer.

365 days of Human Rights

Caption: People living on the streets gathered together on Human Rights Day. Standing in from the left Captain Floris, SAPS; Sargeant Plaatjies, SAPS; Mr Fail, SAHARA and Mr Gelderbloem, Kidstop.

On March 20, 2024, George Municipality marked Human Rights Day with a meaningful event involving 80 individuals living on the streets. The South African Police Service participated in the day with the municipality facilitating a dialogue between the police service and the homeless population. The primary objective of the day was to reaffirm the rights and responsibilities inherent to all individuals, including those experiencing homelessness. Attendees, which included representatives from the Police service, Kidstop, SAHARA, and CREMHOG, collectively emphasized the need for a year-round (365 days) commitment to human rights, rather than confining it to a single day of observance.

Asavela Mandongana, a Social Worker at the Municipality, addressed the gathering, highlighting the crucial message that homelessness is not a choice, and individuals should not be defined by their circumstances. “We do not choose to be homeless, but we can choose to change our circumstances to become a better version of ourselves and reduce homelessness,” Mandongana stated, underscoring the importance of avoiding labels that can perpetuate human rights violations.

Estelle Fredericks, who is actively involved in working with the homeless community, offered further insights and can be reached for additional information on upcoming Forum meetings or ongoing programs and projects aimed at assisting the homeless on 044 802 2000. The event served as a reminder of the collective responsibility to uphold and protect the rights of all individuals within society. By fostering understanding, dialogue, and practical initiatives, George Municipality continues its commitment to promoting human rights and addressing the challenges faced by vulnerable communities.

George Municipality Calls for Protection of Community Infrastructure Against Vandalism

George Municipality continues to face a significant challenge with ongoing vandalism, particularly cable theft, resulting in substantial financial losses and service delivery disruptions. Over the past six to eight months, the municipality has suffered losses exceeding R 3.5 million due to vandalism, severely impacting various departments and causing prolonged electricity outages affecting residents, schools, and businesses.

The Electrotechnical Services Department has been the hardest hit, reporting 811 cable theft incidents from July to December 2023 alone, amounting to over R 3.5 million in losses. This vandalism extends beyond cable theft, affecting infrastructure such as streetlight poles, kiosks, and low-voltage lines.

Various other incidents of vandalism have been reported across different departments.
• Corporate Services reported damage to Lawaaikamp Hall’s fence, costing approximately R 80,000.
• Parks and Recreation reported vandalism at Gwaing beach, with an estimated cost of approximately R 5,000.
• Sports facilities, including stadiums in Thembalethu, Blanco, Rosemore, Pacaltsdorp, and Maraiskamp, have also been targeted, resulting in damages and theft amounting to approximately R 37,000.
• Law Enforcement efforts have led to arrests in connection with cable theft and vandalism.

Vandalism incidents continue to pose challenges and inconvenience to residents. We implore the citizens of George to assist in combating vandalism by promptly reporting incidents to the official channels of the George Municipality and the police. Vandalism is a criminal act that ultimately burdens ratepayers and deprives communities of essential services.


The public is requested to please report people tampering, painting, breaking, or stealing municipal property with the SAPS and George Municipality Law Enforcement (044 801 6350 or 044 801 6300 after hours) as soon as you see it happening. If you can take pictures of the culprits in the act without endangering yourself, it will help a lot. Thank you in advance for helping us protect our infrastructure.

To incentivize cooperation, George Municipality offers a reward of R2500 for information leading to the successful conviction of vandals in a court of law. Informants may provide their details to relevant authorities, and their identities will be protected by the municipality. To be eligible for the reward, please report to 0860 044 044.

Introduction of Weevils to Control Kariba Weed in Garden Route Dam

The Garden Route Dam, a vital freshwater system in the region, has been grappling with the invasive aquatic fern known as Salvinia molesta, or Kariba Weed. Originating from South America, this fern has spread rapidly across various freshwater bodies in South Africa since its introduction in the early 1900s. Its aggressive growth rate poses a severe threat to local biodiversity and ecosystem health.

In response to this ecological challenge, the George Municipality has implemented a biological control program utilizing the weevil Cyrtobagus salviniae. This initiative aims to provide a sustainable, environmentally friendly solution to manage the proliferation of Kariba Weed in the Garden Route Dam.

Cyrtobagus salviniae, the chosen biocontrol agent, targets Salvinia molesta by feeding on its buds and leaves. The weevil’s life cycle unfolds entirely on the Salvinia molesta plant, with adult females laying eggs on the foliage. These eggs hatch into larvae, which then feed on the roots and buds of the fern before maturing into adult weevils. This natural process effectively reduces the population of Kariba Weed over time.

The Garden Route Botanical Garden, in collaboration with the Centre for Biological Control at Rhodes University, has established a weevil breeding satellite station to support this endeavor. Since the inoculation of weevils into rearing tanks in late 2022, the program has witnessed promising results.

Recent observations in December revealed a surge in Salvinia molesta growth in the Kat River above the George Dam. Prompt action was taken, with the manager of Parks and Recreation at George Municipality coordinating efforts to obtain weevils for inoculation. Subsequent collaborations with the Centre for Biological Control and the Garden Route Botanical Garden facilitated the collection and dispersal of weevils into the dam.

With the assistance of passionate environmentalists like Petrus Crous, who volunteered to disperse weevils to heavily infested areas in the dam, significant progress has been made. Follow-up assessments have indicated notable damage to Salvinia molesta plants by the weevils, underscoring the efficacy of this biological control strategy.

Looking ahead, further inoculations are planned before winter sets in, targeting areas yet to receive weevils. This ongoing initiative underscores the commitment of stakeholders to safeguarding the ecological integrity of the Garden Route Dam and its surrounding ecosystems.

Report by Doug Cooke (plant specialist), Garden Route Botanical Garden

 

George Libraries celebrate Library Week

 

In the photograph above, the crowd that took part in the walk from Unity Park to George Municipality in celebrating South African Library Week were personnel from George Library, Olympia Skills School, Provincial Library Service (George Region) and Friends and Patrons of the library that were addressed by Edward Ganza, Deputy Director: Corporate Services (in the middle front).

George Libraries took to the Streets of George to announce the start of South African Library Week which is being celebrated from 18 to 24 March 2024.

George Library along with numerous other libraries in South Africa, like the South African Library for the Blind, had an official launch this week on Friday, 15 March. The theme of the week is Libraries Foster Social Cohesion.

Edward Ganza, Deputy Director: Corporate Services at George Municipality addressed the crowd that walked from Unity Park to George Civic Centre to promote Library Week.  Ganza said in his address with social cohesion in mind George libraries create safe places for all residents and visitors to interact with each other. He also promised that the activities the libraries arrange are of a high standard. Schools and other groups are invited to be part of activities at the libraries. Part of the crowd that took part in the walk were personnel from George Library, Olympia Skills School, Provincial Library Service (George Region) and Friends and Patrons of the library.

According to the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), the theme underscores the crucial role libraries play in uniting communities as they serve as hubs where people from diverse backgrounds can come together to exchange ideas and learn and engage in cultural and intellectual activities. By providing access to information, technology, resources and programmes, libraries broaden horizons, connect individuals, and foster a shared sense of purpose and identity. They also provide safe spaces for marginalised communities to address social and development issues, share experiences and thus promote social cohesion.

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture defines social cohesion as “the degree of social integration and inclusion in communities and society at large, and the extent to which mutual solidarity finds expression itself among individuals and communities”. Libraries as community institutions are central to achieving this idea.

Rachel Williams, Manager: George Libraries, said inclusivity is a hallmark of libraries, where everyone is welcome, fostering connections and trust among diverse societal groups. Libraries thus play an instrumental role in social cohesion by enabling informed community participation, stimulating dialogue, and promoting mutual respect among people from diverse backgrounds. She said libraries tailor their services to meet community needs, promote lifelong learning and support literacy development.

Libraries play a critical role in fostering social cohesion through supporting initiatives and programmes. They provide access to information and contribute to addressing socio-economic disparities, climate justice and environmental awareness, among others.

Libraries actively contribute to nurturing social cohesion by offering educational programmes that strengthen the social fabric of communities. Through these programmes, libraries promote an understanding of diverse cultures, histories, local history, and traditions; encourage tolerance, and enhance literacy skills which are all essential for social cohesion.

Libraries bridge the digital divide by providing access to information and communication technologies and engaging communities through social media and online platforms. They empower individuals and communities by building inter-connected and inclusive societies.

George Library and the branch libraries are hosting different activities at creches, schools and other institutions during the library week.

 

Photos:

The crowd that took part in the walk were personnel from George Library, Olympia Skills School, Provincial Library Service (George Region) and Friends and Patrons of the library that were addressed by Edward Ganza, Deputy Director: Corporate Services (in the middle front).  

Learners from Olympia Skills School with their colourful placards they’ve made in celebration of the South African Library Week. With them is Malibongwe Luyenge (middle), Senior Librarian at George Library.

Garelene Muller, Librarian at George Library at a gazebo library services put up in front of the George Museum to create awareness around South African Library Week.

 

George Traffic Services – Easter Holiday Awareness Campaign

Janine Wells, George Traffic Chief in photograph above.

The Western Cape Province’s first school term comes to an end on March 20th, 2024 with a week of school holiday, Human Rights Day on the 21st of March and an Easter long weekend.

Many citizens will take this opportunity to embark on long-distance travelling to visit neighbouring districts or provinces to spend time with family or friends. Janine Wells, George Traffic Chief said George municipal area commonly sees an increase of visitors to the area, whether local and/or foreigners, visiting beaches and popular establishments. Traffic volumes on all major routes increase whether to travel locally or to neighbouring towns or across provinces.

“George Municipal Traffic is geared to deal with these volumes of traffic and will be on high alert by ensuring visible policing and deal appropriately with offenders whether for excessive speeding, reckless and negligent driving, inconsiderate driving or drunk driving. Increased activities are aimed at reducing fatalities during this Easter and school holiday period. Various vehicle checkpoints will be set up on major routes in conjunction with other enforcement entities. Patrols will also be done throughout urban and residential areas focussing on pedestrian safety and jaywalking,” Wells said.

She said the N2 is still a major concern with regards to pedestrian safety. George Traffic Department and other enforcement entities will continue with awareness campaigns on the N2 highway and provincial roads within the George Municipal area. The vehicle checkpoints will focus on driver and vehicle fitness, overloading of public transport and private vehicles, driving under the influence of alcohol and the wearing of safety belts by all occupants.

Operations will further focus on long-distance public transport such as taxis, midi-buses, and buses to ensure compliance with the National Land Transport Act and National Road Traffic Act. Simultaneously, these checks will allow for rest periods in an attempt to address driver fatigue and ensure safety of commuters and other road users. Any suspected unroadworthy vehicles will be taken to the nearest Vehicle Testing Station for detailed checks. Random breathalyser screening will be done at all operations.  According to Wells, the ongoing focus will be on excessive speeding and driving under the influence which is a huge contribution to accidents and fatalities.

Residents and visitors alike should take note in coastal areas, if foggy conditions are encountered with poor visibility, drivers are requested to switch on headlights and reduce speed.

Members of the public are urged to join the campaign to reduce road carnage by reporting reckless and negligent drivers or unattended/broken down vehicles on dark roads to George Municipality on emergency number 044 801 6300.

Wells wished all residents and visitors a safe journey over the holidays and the Easter period.

 

George Fire Brigade Acquires State-of-the-Art Fire Engine to Meet City’s Growing Needs

George Fire officials in front of their new state of the art fire engine. In the centre of the back row are Johan Crause (Station Commander); Neels Barnard (Fire Chief), Dr Michele Gratz (Municipal Manager); Johan Brand (Divisional Commander and Santa Sternsdorf (Station Commander). Kneeling in front with fire officials is Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk.

 Today marked a momentous occasion for the George Fire Brigade as they proudly welcomed a brand-new Fire Engine into their fleet, sourced from Scania, a renowned leader in transportation solutions. The vehicle underwent a remarkable transformation into a Fire Engine by Rosenbauer South Africa, utilizing cutting-edge technology and innovative techniques. This new Fire Engine is equipped with a major pumper featuring a built-in foam system, specifically designed to combat high-hazard flammable liquid fires such as gasoline, oil, and jet fuel, ensuring enhanced effectiveness and safety during firefighting operations.

As the urban landscape of George continues to evolve and expand, so does the demand for exceptional fire and disaster services. Recognizing this imperative, the acquisition of this advanced Fire Engine reflects the commitment of George Fire and Disaster Management Services to meet the evolving needs of a smart city and to uphold legislative requirements aimed at protecting residents. Director for Community Safety, Dawie Adonis, was presented with the key to the vehicle during a prestigious event hosted by the George Fire Brigade, attended by the Executive Mayor, Leon Van Wyk, MAYCO Members, Municipal Manager Dr Gratz, Directors, and distinguished guests from Rosenbauer and Scania.

Executive Mayor, Leon Van Wyk expressed his pride in the municipality taking ownership of a Rosenbauer major pumper fire tender built onto a Scania chassis. “Both of George and Rosenbauer are steeped in histories of over 200 and 150 years respectively. It is therefore fitting for George to have acquired the newest fire technology and equipment available from a world leader. We are blessed with a top-notch fire and emergency services team that are professional, alert, prepared and constantly focussed to be ahead of the game,” he said.

Highlighting the significance of this acquisition, Adonis emphasized the importance of embracing technological advancements to effectively combat modern fires, both in urban developments and the surrounding wildlands cherished by the community. “Our fire officials will undergo comprehensive training conducted by Rosenbauer technicians as well as the brigade’s own training officials to ensure proficient and reliable use of the equipment,” Adonis stated.

Reflecting on the journey leading to this acquisition, George Fire Chief, Neels Barnard, recalled the humble beginnings of the George Fire Brigade’s first Rosenbauer pump in 1989, emphasizing its continued reliability and service to the community. Overcoming financial obstacles and navigating procurement processes and regulations, the Fire Brigade has persevered to procure the new vehicle, knowing it will play a vital role in saving lives and protecting property for years to come.

“The addition of this state-of-the-art Fire Engine underscores the George Fire Brigade’s unwavering commitment to excellence in service delivery and community safety, ushering in a new era of firefighting capabilities for the city of George,” Barnard said.

Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk and Municipal Manager Dr Michele Gratz taking a look at the drivers cabin of the new major pumper.


From left Station Commander Santa Sternsdorf, Director Community Services and Safety Dawie Adonis, Cllr Johan Du Toit, Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk and Municipal Manager Dr Gratz holding the ceremonial key, Portfolio Cllr for Community Safety Marais Kruger, Portfolio Cllr for Community Services: Social Development, Libraries, Sport and Customer Care Brendan Adams, Chief Whip Marlene Barnard, Portfolio Cllr Civil Engineering Services: Capital Projects and BFI Johan Stander, Divisional Commander Johan Brand and Portfolio Cllr Community Services: Refuse, Environment and Parks) Theresa Jeyi.

[Watch] 

George Municipality with the Pacaltsdorp Community Business Association held patternmaking workshop

In the photograph above Catherine Stoffels the facilitator/instructor addresses attendees at the patternmaking workshop.

The Youth Development section of George Municipality in conjunction with the Pacaltsdorp Community Business Association (PCBA) held a patternmaking workshop for 11 people in February.

The workshop was facilitated by Catherine Stoffels, an entrepreneur and seasoned trainer, who has lectured at FET colleges as well as training on other programmes. According to Jonel Kerspuy, Coordinator of the George Municipality Youth Development section, these skills transfer workshops aim to equip young and old with the skills and knowledge to become employable and or start their own businesses.

Business mentoring and coaching are provided by the PCBA to these and other entrepreneurs. The training took place at the PCBA venue in Pacaltsdorp on the corner of Kerk and Mission Streets. The training included the basic theoretical aspects of Patternmaking and practical exposure to patternmaking.

For more information regarding possible training and programmes at Community Development please contact the office at 044 802 2000.

 

Photos

Trainees hard at work during the patternmaking workshops.

Trainees hard at work during the patternmaking workshops.

Trainees hard at work during the patternmaking workshops.

Trainees hard at work during the patternmaking workshops.

Trainees hard at work during the patternmaking workshops.

Illegal Dumping in Stormwater Infrastructure leads to flooding and road damage

George Municipality has highlighted the dangers of illegal dumping in our communities in recent weeks, but another form of illegal dumping is under the spotlight now. The dumping of litter and other items into toilets, stormwater drains, and sewer manholes causes a massive headache for the municipality. Overflowing storm water drains are generally found to be blocked by illegal materials and rubbish dumped directly into the drain causing damage and flooding down the line.

One of the main reasons for blocked drains and sewerage spills is the wrong stuff being flushed down toilets or thrown into manholes. Items that should not be flushed down toilets include baby nappies, sanitary pads and tampons, newspaper, cloth and fabric, fatty food or fat. Regular items that municipal staff have to clear from manholes include branches, tyres, rocks, mattresses and other solid items.

So not only does illegal dumping into civils drainage infrastructure led to flooding, but it can also cause this infrastructure to fail. Most recently the road surface and pavement structure of a newly built road showed signs of damage which had to be investigated and it was found that a contributing cause to the failure was the condition of the subsoil drainage. All of the stormwater structures alongside this street (see photographs) were found to be filled with illegally dumped rubbish and dirt which clogged the outlets of the subsoil drains draining into these stormwater structures.

The subsoil drains could not function to protect the road layer works from subsurface moisture, which is one of the factors leading to the premature failure of the road. Preliminary estimates indicates that the repair work could cost between R1.2-1.8 mill which would entail the reconstruction of the effected layer works, resurfacing the road as well as cleaning the subsoil drains.

The municipality appeals to communities to NOT flush unsuitable items down the toilet, and to help prevent people from throwing stuff down manholes.
• Report blocked stormwater drains and sewerage complaints to Civil Engineering Services on 044 801 9262/66 during office hours or 044 801 6300 after hours.
• Waste should be collected in refuse bags and placed for collection on your areas waste removal days.
• Builders’ rubble and waste not suitable for bags must be dropped at the municipal refuse site on the R102 (airport road).

If you can provide names, vehicle registration details or addresses of alleged perpetrators who have dumped illegally and you are willing to make a statement in this regard, please report it to Law Enforcement at 044 801 6350 or sprins@george.gov.za. You don’t need a photograph of the perpetrator, but it will strengthen the case for a warning or fine to be issued.

Kan George 2024 KWÊLA se dorp van die jaar wees?

Kyknet se Kwêla het op 3 Maart 2024 weer hulle immergewilde “Dorp van die Jaar” kompetisie aangekondig en dit is tyd dat inwoners van George saamstaan om die gesogte titel te wen!

Waar in George kry jy die lekkerste gebak? Is dit die een dorp in die land waar jy altyd sal tuis voel as jy in die strate afry? Hoeveel skatte lê versteek in jou gemeenskap? Is jou gunsteling slaghuis die beste in die land? Wat is juwele in die dorp, waarop jy trots is. Benoem nou vir George as jou gunsteling dorp en staan ’n kans om met die dorp en die mense daar te spog!

Enige dorp in Suid-Afrika of Namibië kan benoem word, mits dit minder as 500 000 inwoners het en nie ’n streekswenner in die laaste twee jaar was nie.

Benoem jou gunsteling dorp uit enige streek, deur die dorpsnaam na 33157 te SMS (SMS’e kos R1,50). Inskrywings het op Sondag, 3 Maart om 19h00 geopen en sluit Vrydag, 15 Maart 2024 om 12h00 die middag. Jy kan soveel dorpies benoem soveel keer as wat jy wil (net een dorpsnaam per SMS, en soveel sms’e as jy wil in hierdie nominasie rondte).

Uit elke streek sal die drie dorpe met die meeste benoemings deurdring na die semi-finale rondte (op 14 April, 21 April en 28 April). Hier kry die publiek vir ‘n week lank elke rondte ’n geleentheid om vir hul gunsteling-dorp uit die 3 semi-finaliste uit elke streek te stem. Die rondte laat net 30 sms’e per selfoonnommer toe. Die dorp met die meeste stemme sal die kompetisie-streek as hul finalis-dorp in die finale rondte verteenwoordig.

Kwêla sal ’n insetsel op elk van die nege dorpe wat die finale rondte gehaal het kom verfilm en wanneer al nege dorpe op Kwêla gewys is, sal die publiek van 19h00 op 14 Julie tot 12h00 die middag, 19 Julie, vir die wendorp kan stem.

Die wendorp word op 28 Julie 2024 op Kwêla aangekondig en wen dan die Dorp van die Jaar titel sowel as ’n ongelooflike R1 miljoen se bemarkingswaarde van Kyknet. Homebrew Films, die vervaardigers van Kwêla, sal ’n 45 sekonde advertensie oor die dorp maak, wat gedurende kykNET se advertensietyd uitgesaai sal word. Daar sal ook ’n groot opskop in die wendorp gehou word – musiek, kos, pret en sommer baie van daai wendorp-gees! Kwêla sal weer daar wees om dit te verfilm, en dit sal later die jaar uitgesaai word. Lottoland het ook ‘n verrassing vir die wendorp, wat aangekondig sal word. Lottoland skenk ook in hulle eie hoedanighed ‘n R1miljoen kontantprys vir die dorp om in hul dorp terug te ploeg en wat deur hulle geoudit sal word.

Indien u meer inligting versoek of groter ondersteuning aan die veldtog wil verleen, kontak gerus George Munisipaliteit se Toerismebestuurder, Joan Shaw by jshaw@george.gov.za.

CAN GEORGE BE SOUTH AFRICA’S FAVOURITE TOWN?

Look no further than this video highlighting the best that George has to offer!
https://youtu.be/m7YMxJD9shs?si=k7GPBwvdQRQGO1Tm

Kyknet’s Kwêla launched their popular ‘Dorp van die Jaar’ competition for 2024 on 3 March 2024, and it is time that the beautiful town of George took centre stage to show off its magnificent attributes. All towns in the 9 provinces of South Africa or Namibia with less than 500,000 residents, that have not been regional winners in the past three years qualify to be nominated.

What do you find special about George?  What are the special things that make you feel at home when you drive down the roads?  How many treasures are hidden in your community?  What are the jewels of your town that you are proud of?  Name George as your favourite town and you may win bragging rights for your entire town and its people!

John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address inspired citizens to see the importance of civic action and public service. His historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” challenged every American to contribute to the public good. This is your opportunity, George!  In this case, ‘Ask not what your town can do for you – ask what you can do for your town.’  (with apologies to JFK).  The ultimate winner of the Town of the Year will receive R1 million in advertising on Kyknet.  This will be an invaluable boost to promoting our town as a tourist destination in the domestic and Namibian market, so please send an SMS to the benefit of every resident in George.

Nominate George by SMSing GEORGE to 33157 (SMS’s cost R1,50).  Entries of nominations close on Friday, 15 March at noon.  You can name as many towns as many times as you wish, but only one town name per SMS. 

Three towns with the most nominations from every region will go through to the semi-finals that will be announced on 14 April, 21 April, and 28 April 2024, when the public will have a weeklong opportunity to vote for their favourite town of the three finalists.  Only 30 SMSs per person will be allowed in this round.  The town with the most votes will represent their region as a finalist. Kwêla will film an insert on each of the 9 finalists, and once all nine towns are announced, the public can vote for their favourite between 19:00 on 14 July and noon on 19 July 2024.

The winning town will be announced on 28 July 2024, on Kwêla and take home the coveted title of Town of the Year, and an incredible R1 million advertising contract with Kyknet.  Homebrew Films, the producers of Kwela will make a 45-second advertisement on the town that will be broadcast during Kyknet’ s advertising time.  In addition to this, a festive function will be held in the town to celebrate with music, food, and fun, showing off the winning team’s spirit.  Lottoland has another surprise in store for the winning town as they will also donate a cash prize of R1 million to the town to invest back into the town.  Go on, it will be worth it!

This project will take a mammoth effort from the town, but if everyone pitches in, we can make it happen!  Residents and businesses that wish to be more involved in the process can contact George Municipality’s Tourism Manager, Joan Shaw, on jshaw@george.gov.za for more details.