Western Cape gets physical
The Western Cape government wants its employees to be the "biggest losers".
Therefore slap chips will be a thing of the past and plates piled with salads will be the order of the day at the canteen, in a drive to get staff to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The canteen is being revamped and, at a nominal fee, staff will have access to a new gym. Authorities hope this will encourage residents in the province to stop slumping on the couch and to "get physical".
On Friday the MEC for Cultural Affairs, Sports and Recreation, Ivan Meyer, cycled to The Company's Garden with two serious looking bodyguards, to participate in a public aerobics session long with Edwina Louw - the employee who managed to shed more weight than any of her colleagues in just three months.
Olivia Carolisen, one of the department's fitness trainers, has been deployed to the garden in Cape Town every Friday this month to facilitate the aerobics workout. But Meyer hopes to roll out the initiative in other areas, including Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. Several government employees attended Friday's workout.
''We want to lead by example. We all know that, when the staff is healthier they are more productive,'' said Meyer. ''It is no use just exercising while eating the wrong things.
"In our canteen we will replace unhealthy food. Government employees must get ready for salads, fruit and vegetables.''
The staff gym was opened in 1998 and employees pay between R40 and R46 a month for three-, six- and twelve-month contracts.
But Meyer's spokesman, Daniel Johnson, said the gym was to be relocated and upgraded.
Louw, a mother of two from Belhar who works in Premier Helen Zille's office, said she lost 8.5kg and won the 'In It To Win It' competition.
''I did it for my children. My son and daughter were my motivation. I got an eating plan and paid R40 to belong to the gym. I feel so good. I changed my lifestyle and have more energy,'' said Louw.
Carolisen said too many people - especially women - were stuck in an unhealthy rut.
''The problem is that women go to work, get home, look after the kids and cook. They care for everyone, but neglect themselves. When you are fit and healthy, you feel better,'' said Carolisen.