News _& Events_

News & Events

We are open!

After the completion of the build on the Exhibition Centre at the end of May 2019, we are pleased to be utilising the building for training. Until more funding can be raised, this building will be multi-purpose, serving training and other functions.

Welcome to VDI!

Building progress

A year on and the ground-breaking has given way to progress in the form of many build projects on the VDI site. The building of the Exhibition Centre received first priority, whilst other activities within the project were finalised.

The Exhibition Centre was completed at the end of May 2019 and it has been inspected and approved by the Building Inspector, and Structural Engineer. The building will be used for VDI / GCBR meetings, training and events.

Our land underwent a miraculous overhaul and with a lot of hard work has been transformed into sports fields.

Other building activities that are now complete include the main entrance and rockery, which were completed on 15 May 2019.

  • Rockery alongside the drive way

  • Our entrance wall

For more photos please visit our projects page.

Training and courses

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A year after the delivery of our first training course and the programmes are still going strongly. We now present four courses, namely:

  • Soil Erosion Control and Management
  • Supervisor/Junior Management
  • Invasive & Alien Plants – Clearing and Control
  • Entrepreneurship

Not only do the learners cover our course material the enriched programme has the added benefit of teaching other skills, like:

  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Interpretation and evaluation of financial data for the use in personal finance.
  • Personal development – especially self-esteem and self-confidence.

Skills obtained from a training course could be implemented in other GCBR projects, e.g. The erosion control methods learned were implemented during the Spekboom Jobs4Carbon project at Mount Rouge. Opportunities like these must be investigated for other GCBR projects.

Not all learners were self-motivated to attend the courses, but were there because their employers signed them up. By identifying these individuals and giving special attention to them, they changed their attitude and at the end of the course were positive and contributed significantly to the training process.

The first year was challenging but at the same time very rewarding. With the VDI’s own training facility close to completion, and the lessons learned, there is a bright future ahead.

Our success and achievement culminated in the Certificate Award Ceremony which took place in December 2018.


  • Certificate Award Ceremony 2018: Recipients of certificates, GCBR and VDI board members.

  • How to prepare an alien plant for eradication

  • Learners attending the Entrepreneurship course

About the VDI

Watch this short video to learn more about the VDI and our goals.

GCBR training has commenced

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The first training on Combating Soil Erosion was held from 25 June to 29 June 2018. 10 learners attended the 4-day course (40% female participation). This course requires some classroom work but also in the veld for practical training. The next training on Combating Soil Erosion will be held from 16 July 18 to 20 July 2018 and 20 learners will attend this 4-day course.

Appointment of VDI Manager

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The VDI Board appointed Gerhardt Oosthuizen as Manager from end of June 2018. He is responsible for the project being executed with the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) and for implementation of the VDI strategic plan.

Gerhardt is a local farmer. He and his wife also run the Spekboom Restaurant in Vanwyksdorp. Gerhardt is the only VDI employee and is responsible for the implementation of the VDI Board plans. He has extensive business experience and has retired from running his own businesses in cities to the quiet country life of Vanwyksdorp.

Breaking Ground

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Earthworks have begun. In May 2018, earth-moving equipment and teams of local labour began pre-construction site clearing. Read More