Applications for the prestigious Blue Flag eco-label were reviewed earlier this year and put through a rigorous approval process involving both national and international assessments.
The announcement of the 2016 International Blue Flag results revealed that a total of 45 South African beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status this year, along with five marinas and eight sustainable tourism boats.

The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites, with 29 of the beaches, all eight boats and four of the five Blue Flag marinas falling in the province.

Plettenberg Bay has received Blue Flag status for five beaches during the 2016/17 season. This includes Robberg 5 (8th year), Keurboomstrand (6th year), Nature’s Valley (5th year), Lookout (3rd year) and the newest to join Blue Flag status is The Dunes beach.

Another Plett accolade includes Offshore Adventure being recognised with Blue Flag Boat status.
“The Blue Flag programme’s aim of connecting the public with their surroundings and at the same time, encouraging them to learn more about their environment falls in line with our tourism strategy in Plett. Environmental education and activities are an essential component for us,” says Plett Tourism Media Manager Patty Butterworth. “We are ecstatic about our six accolades, particularly with The Dunes beach and Offshore Adventures both acquiring new Blue Flag status. We recognise the champion efforts from the Bitou Municipality, and in particular Johnny Prins. The dedication and effort put in has resulted in the area to maintain previous status awards and to now receive new Blue Flag status.”

With programmes in place like Nature’s Valley Trust’s #ShareTheShores campaign, Plett may look forward to additional Blue Flag status products and beaches in years to come. Says Dr Mark Brown, Programme Director of Nature’s Valley Trust “We firmly believe that beach users can share the space we enjoy with the biodiversity we have that makes Plett so special. By studying the impact we have on these animals, and designing locally relevant education and awareness programs, we are convinced that
our beach loving residents and visitors will embrace the campaign and enable people to enjoy Plett’s beach wildlife for generations to come.”

New to the assessments is the additional 22 beaches across three provinces that have been given Pilot Blue Flag status – an important development stage for potential Blue Flag sites, during which WESSA works with beach managers towards the longer term goal of achieving Full Status. Internationally, close to 4 300 beaches, boats and marinas have been awarded Blue Flag status for the 2016/17 season.
Blue Flag Awards are given annually and also celebrate the sustained partnerships that WESSA has built with key municipalities around the country, who have recognised the value of Blue Flag status. They are recognised for their contribution to not just environmental management and education, but also to tourism, economic development and job creation.

This year’s event also marked the launch of an exciting new coastal tourism projects to be managed and implemented by WESSA in partnership with the National Department of Tourism. The Tourism Blue Flag Project aims to improve tourism facilities and services offered at Blue Flag beaches across South Africa, while still providing youth employment opportunities.
Through this project, 200 participants will be employed in the role of “Beach Stewards” and hosted by local coastal municipalities at Blue Flag sites. Plettenberg Bay will receive 15 Beach Stewards, 3 will be appointed at each Blue Flag beach site. They will received accredited training in environmental education and practical work experience with the ultimate aim of developing them for further employment in the coastal tourism sector (the “Blue Economy).

Blue Flag is the prestigious, voluntary eco-label for beaches, boats and marinas that is recognised as a trusted symbol of quality and is regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known global eco-label.
The Blue Flag Programme, which has been running internationally since 1987, is focused on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to raise environmental education and awareness, and increase sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach management. To achieve Blue Flag status, as many as 33 different criteria spanning over four aspects of coastal management have to be met: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services. The criteria are asset by the international coordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). Each Blue Flag site is compelled to conduct several environmental education activities during the year, and to practice effective and efficient conservation management. The detailed criteria and award process is available on Blue Flag’s international website

Nature’s Valley Trust is a small community driven NPO working at the cutting edge of integrated conservation in South Africa. We operate in four main arenas, namely Conservation, Education, Community and Research.
Nestled in the magnificent Garden Route, and situated in world renowned Nature’s Valley, we are a passionate group of conservationists that aim to make a practical difference with the work we do. For more information contact Dr Mark Brown, Programme Director, Nature’s Valley Trust,


article-pic-1What is an employment contract?
If you agree to work for someone, and that person agrees to pay you for this work, then you and the employer have entered into a contract of employment. The law says that the contract does not have to be in writing, but can be a verbal contract which is legal and enforceable.

A written contract is obviously preferable, and in any event an employer is required to provide all employees with a document at the start of their employment, which details, among more specific points, off:

  • Employer and worker details
  • Employment details
  • Payment details
  • Notice/ Contract Period
  • Grievance procedures
  • Probation details

A contract of employment must comply with the terms and conditions of:
The Basics Conditions of Employment Act
Any Bargaining Council Agreement, collective agreement or sectoral determination, or
Any other law, such as the Labour Relations Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
If a contract breaks any of these protective laws, it is not enforceable unless the conditions are more favourable to the employee. A good employment contract should provide a working practise that suits both employer and employee.

What happens if the employer breaks the contract of employment?
If the employer breaks the contract of employment, then an employee can sue the employer in a civil case for breach of contract or can refer the dispute to the Department of Labour (for example if you have not been paid your annual leave or overtime payment) It is obviously easier to prove that an employer broke a contract of employment if the contract was in writing rather than verbal.

The employee is entitled to at least the terms and conditions contained in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. If the breach of contract goes against a term or condition of the BCEA then the employee can go to the Department of Labour and lay a complaint.. The Department will investigate the complaint, and if it is found that the employer did not follow the contract of employment, then the Inspector can issue a Compliance Order which tells the employer to comply with the BCEA.

What is the situation if the employer wants to change the terms of the contract?
An employer can change the terms of the contract even if the employee does not agree to the changes. But a change in contract is like a new contract and to change the contract the employer must give notice of the change to the employee and must negotiate the new terms and conditions with the employee.
If the employer and employee/s cannot agree about the changes in the contract, then the employer may go ahead and introduce the changes. If the employee accepts the new conditions and goes on working, then the new conditions become part of the contract.

If the employee does not agree to the changes, the employee can:

  • Refer a dispute to the CCMA or Bargaining Council in terms of Section 64(4) of the Labour Relations Act.
  • Refer a dispute to the CCMA or Bargaining Council for conciliation.
    Refuse to accept the changes-if the employer then dismisses the employee it is an automatically unfair dismissal.
  • Choose to stop working for the employer. If the employee was forced to resign rather than be forced to accept the changes, it may be an automatically unfair dismissal.

What are the different types of employment contracts?

There are 2 types of contracts:
Indefinite contracts
Most employment contracts are indefinite contracts which means that when an employee starts working, no-one knows when the contract will end. An indefinite contract can only be ended in one of the following ways:

  • By dismissal or termination of the contract of employment as a result of misconduct of the employee, or the incapacity of the employee or on account of retrenchment.
  • When the employee reaches the normal retirement age laid down by the company or the industry.
    By the death of the employee.

Fixed Term Contracts
It often happens, particularly on the farms, that the employer goes to other areas to get people to work on the farm on a temporary basis. The employees then leave their homes and go to work on this farm. These employees may be referred to as contract employees.
Some farms have times when extra employees are needed. These times are called seasons. If an employee only works on the farm for a season, then he or she is called a seasonal employee.
For both contract employees and seasonal employees, the employers must pay the employees for the full contract time, even if there is no more work for the employers to do. If an employees contract employees for one year, then the employer must pay the employee for the full year, unless the contract ends due to the employee’s fault.
The employer cannot stop the fixed term contract earlier, unless the contract makes provision for this. –



Bitou Mayor, Peter Lobese, opened the 2016 Sasfin Plett Wine & Bubbly Festival with a crowd-pleasing “sabrage” alongside Plett Cellar Master Anton Smal. Bubbly of choice was a signature Newstead Vineyards MCC.

Event organizer Plett Tourism announced an estimate of more than 1 500 attendees who celebrated the Plett Winelands at this year’s festival. This was almost double to the 2015 figures. 10 wine farms showcased their wines, with more than 30 varieties to be sampled. There was even a new addition from That Place Vineyard. With only 560 bottles of Pinot Noir in production for 2015, they joined forces with neighbor Bramon to allow festival-goers an opportunity to sample the fruits of their labour.

Other wine highlights from this year’s festival included the official launch of Lodestone Wine & Olives’ Méthode Cap Classique Rosé, “Stonechat” (named after the stonechat bird that sits on the vines), and Bitou Vineyards’ 2015 and 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. Both wines were extremely well-received by invited media guests and wine aficionados who were in attendance. This year also saw the introduction of the Wine Legends Theatre, with presentations by well-known wine columnist PeeBee Bishop and local Cellar Master Anton Smal.
See you next October for the fourth Sasfin Plett Wine & Bubbly Festival!

Held early October, this annual event is a highlight on the Plett Calendar. The festival is dedicated to wine, bubbles and the finer things in life. You can expect to enjoy a selection of more than 30 wines from local producers and enjoy with artisan cheeses, charcuterie, sushi and beautiful cultivated oysters and a line-up of incredible local and national music talent including Arno Carstens, Ben Dey and the Concrete Lions, Albert Frost and Jack Mantis.