Coastal repairs underway in Oyster Bay

February 22, 2019

Repairs and protection work have started along the beachfront of one of Kouga’s most pristine coastal towns.

Kouga Municipality this week started removing the dunes that have been overrunning Brander Street and properties at Oyster Bay.

democratic alliance kouga

“It will take about five weeks to flatten the dunes and open up Brander Street, the area under immediate threat,” said Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson.

“Once this has been completed, the rehabilitation work will commence and protective berms established to help prevent a recurrence.”

Benson said that in 2016 the municipality received environmental authorisation to address the risk posed at Oyster Bay by encroaching dunes and the Slang River, whose flow has been changed by the build-up of sand at the river mouth.

“After receiving the authorisation, we started clearing the sand that was covering Brander Street and neighbouring properties.

“A protection wall was also built on the Slang River side, so that the river would run straight to the sea and not wash away buildings and infrastructure, as had happened in the past.

“Some rehabilitation work was also undertaken, but because of the severe drought and water restrictions at the time, the vegetation did not grow and the sand eventually built up again.”

He said the municipality was finalising a dune rehabilitation plan to improve the long-term management of the area.

“Berms will be created and strengthened with drought-resistant vegetation, so as to create a barrier and prevent the sand from creating dunes again. There will also be regular maintenance of the dune to ensure the success of the rehabilitation process.”

He said the current project was being funded from the municipality’s own income and would lay the foundation for the work to be done through the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working for the Coast Programme and Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP).

“Our aim is to use the Working for the Coast grant to employ local people to rehabilitate the dunes. The EPIP funding will be put towards infrastructure projects such as the replacement of the ablution facilities and parking area that washed away at the Oyster Bay beach more than five years ago.”

He said all work being done was in line with the environmental authorisation and the approved Environmental Management Programme that had been issued.

“We are very pleased that we are now in a position to address the serious risk posed by the Slang River and encroaching dunes.

“Oyster Bay has one of the country’s most beautiful coastlines and we would like to ensure that it remains that way, in the best inte-rest of our communities and the environment.”

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Tests could lead to water outages in Kouga

February 21, 2019

Expert contractors have been appointed to carry out a series of tests in the Kouga municipal region to help combat water losses.

Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Councillor, Freddy Campher, said the appointment was part of the municipality’s ongoing Water Loss Programme.

“The Re-Solve/EAS Joint Venture has been tasked with conducting discreteness testing in order to optimise the water reticulation system, as well as to locate potential leaks,” he said.

Campher warned that the tests could lead to a drop in water pressure or water interruptions for up to three hours in the areas where the teams were working.

Tests will be conducted in Aston Bay next week, from 25 to February 27, and in Paradise Beach the following week, from March 4 to 6.

“The teams will, as far as is possible, conduct their investigations early in the week.

“Residents will, therefore, most likely experience a disruption of the water supply on a Monday, but we recommend that they also prepare for possible interruptions on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

He said the teams would be easily identifiable as they would be wearing brightly coloured safety vests and carrying ID cards.

“They will also be making use of branded vehicles and will have a letter signed by Kouga Municipality, indicating the activities to be undertaken.

“We ask that residents be patient during the execution of these activities in order to help us reduce water losses and ensure ongoing reliable service delivery to all residents of Kouga Municipality.”

R 3.8 million for Sea Vista community library

February 16, 2019

The Sea Vista community are the beneficiaries of a new state of the art library after the facility was handed over to Kouga Municipality last week.

Funded in the main by Kouga Wind Farm, the grand opening to the public will take place in around two months’ time, giving the Sea Vista community previously unheard-of access to books and online resources.

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In terms of access for those with disabilities, the double-storey facility is wheelchair-friendly and boasts an SA Library for the Blind mini library, also sponsored by the wind farm.

“The challenges of accessing up-to-date information, conducive study conditions and research will soon be a thing of the past, not only for children who previously had to travel to Humansdorp to use a library, but also adults who want to study further,” said the wind farm’s community liaison officer, Trevor Arosi.

“Tribute must be paid to the local community for the invaluable support which helped make the dream a reality – Kouga Municipality for donating the land, the Rotary Club for the books and their ongoing input and vision, Nordex for their book detection security system and the St Francis Bay community, who collected books, magazines, artwork, CDs and DVDs.”

Guests at the opening included Kouga Municipality’s portfolio councillor for community services Danny Benson, Rotarian Ann Knight and the municipality’s chief librarian, Linda Jack.

Acting on behalf of executive mayor Horatio Hendricks, Benson pledged to have the library fully functional within the next two months.

Living overseas? Make sure you vote in the May elections

February 12, 2019

We encourage each and every South African living abroad to take the following steps to be a part of our country’s future:

  1. Check first that you aren’t already registered to vote >> https://www.elections.org.za/content/For-voters/My-voter-registration-details/
  2. If you are already registered, you don’t need to re-register, even if your registered address is in South Africa.

2019 DA election manifesto

  1. Once registered, you need to fill in a VEC10 form on the IEC’s website when the date of the election is announced to inform the IEC where you would like to vote abroad.
  2. Once all these steps have been completed, on election day you can take BOTH your SA ID and passport to vote at your nearest SA foreign mission.

If you have any further questions you can email us on contact@da-abroad.org or WhatsApp on https://wa.me/447958291141/

Over than 40 taxis impounded in Kouga

February 11, 2019

More than 40 taxis were impounded by Kouga Municipality over the past two months as part of the institution’s drive to make public transport safer.

Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said a total of 42 taxis were impounded by the Kouga Traffic Department this past December and January for operating without a public transport permit.

Leading the charge to make public transport safer are Kouga Traffic officers Elvis Mayinje, John Brown, Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson and Jason Petersen.

“The municipality has been holding weekly roadblocks with the South African Police Service to clamp down on illegal public transport operators and will continue with this joint programme to help make our roads safe for all,” he said.

He encouraged commuters to familiarise themselves with the documents required by public transport operators and to avoid making use of taxis that do not comply.

“There are four discs that should be displayed on a taxi’s windscreen – the red public transport permit, the operator’s disc, passenger liability disc and standard licence disc.

“If these discs are not visible and valid, there is a good chance that you are making use of an illegal taxi,” he cautioned.

Hendricks said the municipality established the depot for the impoundment of vehicles at Humansdorp some 18 months ago.

“The depot has made it easier for our Traffic Department to execute their duties and keep commuters safe. The facility is not used for taxis only, but also for vehicles that have been confiscated in drunken driving and other cases.”

He said while some of the taxis impounded in December and January were second-time offenders, the majority were first-timers.

“The law is clear and we would like to appeal to public transport operators not to put vehicles and drivers on the road that do not meet the legal requirements.”

The fees applicable for the release of impounded vehicles are R2 500 for a first offence, R4000 for a second offence and R8 000 for a third-time offence.

More load shedding expected this week

February 11, 2019

South Africans were taken unawares yesterday as Eskom resumed load shedding. Stage 2 was implemented across the country and towns like Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp were without power yesterday afternoon.

2019 DA election manifesto

Eskom announced through a statement on Sunday that it would be implementing load shedding for the first time since early December.

The statement said this was as a result of a shortage of capacity and a need to replenish and preserve emergency water and diesel resources.

Stage 2 calls for 2000 MW to be rotationally load shed nationally at a given period. Load shedding is conducted rotationally as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout,” the statement said.

Eskom has warned that further load shedding could take place today (11 February 2019).

There is a probability of rotational load shedding today as a result of a shortage of capacity due to a number of generating units still out of service due to breakdowns.

Our maintenance teams continued to work through the night to bring units back online, said Eskom.

Kouga Municipality declares amnesty period for building plan fines

February 9, 2019

The Kouga Municipality has declared an 18-month amnesty period for the payment of fines and penalties related to incomplete or incorrect building plans.

The amnesty period will run from January 2019 to June 2020 and will apply only to building work that existed or started prior to this time.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the move was prompted by numerous requests from property owners and industry roleplayers to be exempted from fines and penalties imposed on them for failing to comply with the National Building Regulations.

“This non-compliance is not always the fault of the current property owner, hence Council’s resolution to declare an amnesty period,” he explained.

“In some instances, previous owners built, extended or altered their properties without building plans having been submitted or approved.

“There are various reasons for this, including, architects and draughtsman not always returning building plans to the municipality for final approval.

“There are also properties that are in use despite not having occupation certificates as the final building inspections were never conducted.”

He said property owners in this position would typically be fined in terms of the National Building Regulations and municipal standard application fees.

“It is these fines and penalties that will be waivered during the amnesty period. The normal application approval fees will, however, still be applicable and payable.

“We would also like to emphasise that the amnesty must not be construed as a relaxation of any standards, regulations or legislation. It is simply an attempt to legalise illegal structures within the municipal area in accordance with the relevant legislation.”

All submissions for exemptions must be put in writing and emailed to the Department: Planning and Development at nlappert@kouga.gov.za or jmarais@kouga.gov.za.

Alternatively, it can be hand-delivered to the Department at the municipality’s office in Woltemade Street, Jeffreys Bay.

Hendricks cautioned that building plans for unauthorised structures submitted through this process will also be subject to inspections by the municipality’s Building Control section. Any structures that do not comply with the required standards will not be approved until such a time as the necessary corrections have been done.

“Each case will be dealt with on merit and the municipality remains the final decision-maker,” he concluded.

How to vote when you overseas

February 1, 2019

South Africans living overseas can vote in the upcoming national and provincial elections.

This is what you need to know:

Section 19 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) upholds that all South African citizens living abroad, who are over the age of 18, can vote in national elections.

Voting abroad is a “Special Vote” and is allowed for those who cannot vote at a voting station where they are registered in South Africa, including those South African citizens temporarily absent from the Republic for the purposes of a holiday, business trip, educational visit or participation in an international sporting event.

In order to vote abroad you will need to do the following:

Ensure you are registered to vote. You can check your status on the IEC website.

Ensure you have BOTH a valid South African ID (This can be the new Smartcard ID, the green bar-coded ID or a temporary ID document) and your South African Passport.

Ensure you have submitted the VEC10 form to the IEC (This will only be available from the date the President announces the date of the election).

Head to your nearest SA foreign mission to vote on the announced election day

(You can find your nearest SA foreign mission on the DIRCO website. Note that you won’t be able to vote at honorary consuls.)

If you are registered to vote in South Africa, don’t worry, you don’t need to re-register in order to vote abroad.

All you need to do is submit the VEC10 form to the IEC when it becomes available after the President announces the date of the election. This form will tell the IEC that you plan to vote abroad, and where you intend to vote.

It’s expected that, like the elections in 2014, this will be an online form available on the IEC’s website. This form will only be available for approximately 15 days, so it’s important you don’t miss the deadline to submit it.

Yes, the Electoral Amendment Act 2013 gave all South African citizens the right to register and vote abroad in national elections.

Important: In order to vote abroad, you must be registered AND submit a VEC10 notification within the period specified on the election’s timetable (15 days from the date on which the election is proclaimed).

You can register during the embassy, high commission or consulate-general’s normal working hours,  or during the special overseas voter registration weekend from the 1 – 4 February 2019 (visit the Dept. of International Relations and Cooperation for contact info, and phone for opening hours).

You must apply for registration before an election is proclaimed (published in the Government Gazette) to be able to vote in that election. For more info on this, visit the IEC website.

For more information visit Vote Home

 

The DA can put a job in every home

January 22, 2019

Election 2019 should be all about jobs. South Africa’s core problem is our unnaturally high unemployment rate. Poverty, inequality, crime – all these will remain dangerously high while there are 9.8 million (mostly young) adults without a job in South Africa.

Conversely, poverty, inequality and crime will come down if we can shift millions more people into the productive economy.

A DA national government would aim to put a job in every home in South Africa. Our track record in DA-run Western Cape Province suggests we can do this.

Over half (95 000) of the 188 000 new jobs created in SA in the past year were created in the Western Cape. This was achieved despite the hostile regulatory environment imposed by the ANC national government and a crippling drought in the area.

The Western Cape accounts for only one-eighth of SA’s population. Just think how many jobs could be created if the entire country were DA-run!

(Note that the DA does not claim to create jobs. Rather, our approach is to create an environment which fosters job-creating entrepreneurship and investment, and which extends opportunities to all.)

By comparison, the ANC’s 2019 manifesto can be summarized in one sentence: South Africa’s unemployment rate will remain unnaturally high if the ANC remains in government. Their manifesto promises to create 275 000 new jobs each year. Frankly, everything else it says is just noise.

Numbers speak louder than words and this number is telling us all we need to know about our future prospects under an ANC government.

Let’s be charitable and assume the ANC breaks with tradition and keeps this promise. (Only 188 000 new jobs were created in SA in the past year, so this is not a forgone conclusion. Unfortunately, the total number of people needing jobs increased by 525 000 in the same period, meaning another 337 000 people joined the ranks of the jobless.)

If only 275 000 new jobs are added to the economy each year, joblessness will continue to go up and soon it will breach 10 million and be headed for 11 million. South Africa will know no peace, stability or prosperity under these conditions.

At 275 000 new jobs per year, it would take 35 years just to produce jobs for the current 9.8 million people who need them. But since the job market grows by an additional 550 000 people each year, there’ll be no clawing back of that number.

So, it is fair to say the ANC’s manifesto is a blueprint for the status quo of unnaturally high unemployment, poverty, inequality and crime. It is an admission of defeat.

This is the crux of the difference between the DA and the ANC’s approach in government.

The ANC’s focus is on creating a black elite, even at the expense of improving the lives of the black majority. This approach has divided our country into two South Africas – the haves and the have-nots.

The ANC’s approach has essentially created an insider/outsider economy. Insiders – those with jobs and connections – are protected and enriched (through policies such as highly restrictive labour legislation, national minimum wages and BBBEE) at the expense of outsiders who are locked out of opportunities, with little prospect of ever entering the economy.

The DA’s approach builds one South Africa for all by breaking down the barriers that keep people locked out of the economy and by extending opportunities to all. This is the only approach that will bring down South Africa’s unemployment rate and effectively fight poverty, inequality and crime.

The upcoming election is the most crucial our nation has faced since 1994. Election 2019 is a chance to bring real change to SA. If you want to support the DA’s job-creating approach and our vision of one South Africa for all, please check that you are registered to vote by going to check.da.org.za.

This weekend 26-27 January is the final registration weekend. If you are a first-time voter or are not yet registered, please make sure you visit your nearest voting station between 8am and 5pm on either the Saturday or the Sunday, with either your green ID book, your smartcard ID or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate.

Please use your vote to support job creation and build one South Africa for all.

Regards

Mmusi Maimane

Sarah Baartman Centre – ANC’s legacy in Kouga

January 10, 2019

The Sarah Baartman Remembrance Centre in Hankey in the Eastern Cape remains unfinished, four years down the line.

DA MP Malcolm Figg said that poor planning and even worse workmanship contributed to the people of Hankey not benefitting from this R165m government project.

He said during an oversight visit to the construction site on Wednesday that the heritage centre is being built by the national Department of Public Works on behalf of the national Department of Arts and Culture.

“The centre aims to boost the local economy, create jobs and honour the late Sarah Baartman,” he said.

Construction on the project started in April 2014 and has now been delayed by more than two years.

“The completion date of October 2016 was missed and the new promised completion date of March 2019, is clearly a pipe dream,” Figg said.

He was accompanied on the visit by MP, Phumzile van Damme and MPL’s Bobby Stevenson and Andrew Whitfield. They were joined by the Mayor of Kouga, Horatio Hendricks and his Mayco members Brian Ndhlulu, Frances Baxter, Brenton Williams and Speaker of Council Hattingh Borman.