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A 5 Year focus: Achievements and Milestones of Garden Route District Municipality




Posted: 07 October 2021

The Minister of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, officially proclaimed the 1st of November 2021 as the day when South Africans will take to the polls to elect councils for all district, metropolitan and local municipalities in each of the country's nine provinces (Local Government Elections).

In response to this, SALGA is rolling out a Local Government Transition Campaign, which includes the following objectives:



Raise awareness about the constitutional objects and functioning of Local government

  • Local government providing effective and equitable service delivery

Promote responsible and accountable local government leadership

  • Local government is concerned about improving the lives of citizens through improved governance and delivery of services

Promote responsible citizenry

  • Encouraging participation in local government
  • Local government is everyone’s business

Create awareness of the role and purpose of SALGA

  • SALGA as the thought leader, protector and strategic disruptor of local government
  • SALGA working together with stakeholders for the betterment of the lives of South African Citizens
  • SALGA is an employer of choice


As the 4th term of the local government administration draws to an end, some of the milestones that have been achieved by Garden Route District Municipality include the following:

Skills Development
In one of their training programmes, the Garden Route District Municipality spent over R1 million through its Cater Care initiative for the upskilling of 82 Garden Route youth since 2016 in the culinary arts.

This programme continues and is rolled out twice a year for the youth aged between 18 and 35, and has enabled participants to either enter the job market or start their own businesses after completing the course.

The Garden Route District Municipality upskilled 130 interns and students since 2016. R7 269 344 was spent by the municipality in collaboration with the Western Cape Provincial Treasury and other Departments.


Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)
Since August 2016, the district municipality through the Expanded Public Works Programme has employed 1086 males and 1107 females. One of the highlights of the EPWP was the design and funding of signs by the district municipality in the George municipal area, to create awareness about illegal dumping as well as the collaboration of the Illegal Dumping Eradication Programme by the Garden Route District Municipality and George municipalities.

Green Energy Summit
The Garden Route District Municipality hosted its first Green Energy Summit on the 11th and 12th of April 2018, aimed to unpack potential areas of alternative energy opportunities which were instrumental, collaborative, partnership-driven to create a clean and sustainable environment. Following the Summit, a Green Energy Forum was established where green energy opportunities are continuously being discussed. 

On the 22nd of January 2021 the Garden Route Investment Prospectus was adopted by the Garden Route District Municipality Council, which highlights many of the investment opportunities for the region. The overarching objectives of the Prospectus are to attract national and international investors to the Garden Route by:

  • Displaying the vast range of investment opportunities available in the region.
  • Providing insights into the region’s investment friendly climate.
  • Not only attracting new investments but to also expand existing investments in the Garden Route.

The Garden Route District Municipality is supporting the Klein Karoo export Agri-hub to create a unique rural economy. The partnership seeks to develop the Klein Karoo economy, to create a sustainable environment and jobs. This landmark agreement will see that high impact pomegranate farms in the Klein Karoo get off the ground. If successful, the 1% pomegranate market held by South Africa will be drastically expanded. The plan is to meet the demands for pomegranates during off-seasons to other parts of the world and the Klein Karoo Export Hub aims to export at least 50% of all pomegranate from this hub to other parts of the world.

Garden Route Food Pantry
Launched on the 19th of February 2021, the Garden Route Food Pantry (GRFP) aims to alleviate hunger and is fully supported by the district and local municipalities.

Do you run a feeding centre? Please register with the Garden Route Food Pantry for accessing possible suppliers. If you are feeding a group of people within the Garden Route – Soup kitchens, Playschools, Aftercare Centre and Churches – you are encouraged to register as a beneficiary.
Register here:

Illegal Dumping
In 2020, the Garden Route District Municipality in collaboration with George Municipality rolled out a campaign to reduce illegal dumping. The campaign mainly focused on Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp – areas identified by the GRDM Command Council as Covid-19 hotspots during the height of the first and second waves of the pandemic. The Garden Route District Municipality will also assist the other local municipalities to reduce illegal dumping in the near future.

Garden Route Rebuild initiative
The Garden Route Rebuild initiative is a partnership between 3 municipalities – Garden Route, Knysna and Bitou, as well as other organisations and government departments aimed to rebuild areas and sites which have been affected by disasters such as wildfires, mud slides, slippage and soil erosion which have affected these municipalities. It has been heartening to see how people and organisations pull together to address these disasters.

Current Projects

Fresh produce market to support and provide for small/medium scale farmers for their produce to reach other markets.

Kleinkrantz Development to boost job creation and reduce unemployment.

Transfer of properties to and from local municipalities in the region to ensure efficient use of assets.

Garden Route Investment Prospectus, investment website and marketing of investment opportunities.

A 20-year Growth and Development Strategy to address water security, circular economy, resilient agriculture, sustainable tourism, sustainable local energy transition and building a connected economy, amongst others.

Invasive Alien Vegetation Clearing of all properties owned by the GRDM.

Klein Karoo Export Agri-hub in Klein Karoo. First phase is the water study that involves the drilling of boreholes.

Enhanced Corporate Branding of GRDM, new tourism and corporate websites developed.

Establishment of Garden Route film office (11 films and 9 Series’ shot) and development of a film policy framework.

Covid-19 multi-disciplinary task team operations to coordinate the region’s response to the pandemic.

Standard Operating Procedure for Great Brak, Klein Brak and Swartvlei Estuaries.

Regional Tourism Marketing and Development Strategy developed.

Garden Route Economic Recovery Plan developed to assist the Garden Route economy to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Municipal Electricity Master Plan (MEMP) – German Energy Programme Phase 3 (SAGEN-3).

District Development Agency feasibility study completed, operation business plan also completed. In the process of registering and capitalising the entity.

Slangrivier and Friemersheim Road upgrades aimed at boosting access and promoting the local economy.

Garden Route Development Partnership established to facilitate partnering between public and private sector for development implementation.

Skills Mecca to ensure a demand-based approach toward skills development in the Garden Route.

Regional Industrial Park – an area zoned and planned for the purpose of industrial development.

Water Services Authority (WSA) application to register the Garden Rote District Municipality as a WSA Authority and promoting a water secure region.

Garden Route Food Pantry partnership to alleviate hunger in the Garden Route.

Waste Minimisation, characterisation, eradication of illegal dumping.

Drought task team for Kannaland.

Regional Landfill facility to accommodate domestic waste and hazardous waste. Possibly explore the waste economic opportunities.

Human Settlements Level 1 accreditation, develop GAP, FLISP Housing/Social Housing.

Corporate Service Covid-19 Plan that is internally and externally focused at reducing Covid-19 infections.

Ongoing Covid-19 infections and safety measures during pandemic.

Western Cape Honeybush lease agreement (100% Black owned farm) in De Hoek (Oudtshoorn).

Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Support and Development Programmes aimed and revitalising township economy and boost enterprise development.

DEFF and Government of Flanders Project.

The GRDM Council has gone paperless.

Municipal Health By-law and Waste Management By-law.

Long-term financial sustainability plan for the GRDM.

Continuous re-gravel, reseal and upkeep of roads in the Garden Route region on behalf of the Western Cape Government.

Trend setters in fire fighting in South Africa and abroad. Proof of this is the municipality winning the toughest fire fighter awards, amongst others.

New GRDM fire station in Mossel bay.

GRDM installed video conferencing facilities at its offices adapting to new norm and promoting ease of doing business.

Faired consistently well by winning various Greenest District Municipality awards – water management, conversation, air quality management, coastal management, etc.

Home Composting Project to collect data in order for local municipal councils to roll out similar projects in their municipal areas.

Future Interventions

Affordable and accessible integrated transport system to provide linkages across municipal boundaries to ensure that the regional access is resilient.

Regional Sludge to Energy Project to address the issue of sludge and energy. Once operational, it will be able to convert sludge into energy (proposed site in George).

Comprehensive new construction strategy to increase the number of off-campus housing beds by constructing 1000 three-bedroom residential apartments, recreational facilities, etc.

Fire services training Academy for the Garden Route.

Brakfontein Emerging Farmers Project in collaboration with the Provincial Department of Agriculture.

Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Development geared specifically towards Kannaland beneficiaries.

The Western Cape Province has embarked on a Broadband Project with the objective to connect most of the provincial buildings in the Western Cape, it will be further rolled out to include municipalities.

Interconnect project between municipalities for wi-fi and broadband.

Package suitable land parcels for affordable housing in 4 local municipal areas within the Garden Route District Municipality.

Assist local municipalities to unblock historic title deed issues.

Economic Development textile training in the Garden Route.

District Craft and Culture Guide that showcases a variety of arts, crafts, community projects, as well as township tours and programmes in the Garden Route. This aims to promote and market the unique value proposition for the region.

Establishment of a Garden Route business centre to provide a platform for small business services and assistance.

Calitzdorp Spa and De Hoek Solar Projects which will the resorts to reduce expenditure by producing clean and pure energy from the sun.

District Bulk Water Masterplan to investigate short, medium and long-term infrastructure developments like integration of water and waste water schemes and long-term future planning, alternative technology and optimisation for future interventions.

Improvement of social infrastructure, community parks, etc.

Good Governance
The Garden Route District Municipality in partnership with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) hosted a Good Governance Summit on the 13th and 14th of June 2019, aimed to:

  • Empower councillors and administration in conducting oversight and strengthening their understanding about accountability.
  • Enhance public participation processes through effective good governance structures and new innovations to eliminate or minimise service delivery protests.
  • Ways in which to protect municipalities from interference by external stakeholders.
  • Advocate and improve ethics and ethical conduct within the municipal leadership space.
  • Provide insights into how the cost of corruption in parts of the country has impacted service delivery and poor governance.

Roads and Transport
One of the major highlights for Garden Route District Municipality was the construction of the Freimersheim project which was successfully completed in November 2019. This was a 3-year project that had a significant impact on the community – 70 jobs were created.

The Garden Route District Municipality Road Agency maintains approximately 6105 km of Western Cape Provincial Roads within the Garden Route district.



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