DA Leader Helen Zille has personally enquired about the problems encountered and progress made with the causeway across the Seekoei River at Paradise Beach.
The Democratic Alliance has been part of the project since the floods in October 2012 and on 4 January 2013 when the disaster funds became available, we made a press statement to inform the public that R2.2 m was earmarked for the repairs to the causeway.
This was followed by due process procedures of an EIA, engineering plans and tenders.
Only on 9 April was the causeway closed for reconstruction. Since then we have proof of how we communicated with the Dept of Roads and Public Works for grading the gravel detour road via the brick yards to the R102 between Humansdorp and Jeffreys Bay.
We also regularly communicated with the Dept Environmental Affairs for the possible opening of the river mouth to facilitate construction.
On Tuesday 2 July Chimpie Cawood, DA caucus leader, Juline Prinsloo, DA caucus chairperson and Elza Van Lingen had a site inspection again. They discovered a section of road was collapsing (see picture below).
Cllr Brenton Williams our DA PR Councillor assigned to Ward 14 – an ANC ward – then tried to call a meeting for all stakeholders yesterday to consider the critical issues on the causeway.
ANC Cllr Patrick Kota, Kouga mayoral committee member for Infrastructure and Planning, stopped Cllr Williams from communicating with the municipal officials. That meeting to the best of our knowledge did not take place at all.
Cllr Williams confirmed in writing to Cllr Kota that Cllr Kota was now in charge and that he had to arrange the meeting.
When nothing materialised Brenton Williams took it upon himself to organise a meeting to address the following matters, where stakeholders such as the environmentalist, the Paradise Beach Residents Association, the Neighbourhood Watch and the municipalities concerns were addressed:
· The progress made to date and if it was on schedule;
· The risks caused by irresponsible drivers who “opened” the causeway themselves for vehicle traffic;
o Further structural collapses that are possible;
o The risk of damage to the sides of the current new reconstructions that have not been attended to yet due to the height of the water levels;
o The possible risk to Kouga Municipality for vehicles driving into the river and possible life losses;
· The opening of the Seekoei River mouth manually;
· Additions to the EIA to recommend a manual opening of the river mouth and communication with the Dept of Environmental Affairs;
· To address the issue of further structural problems on the bridge where the old pipes are located;
We now have to drive the remaining issues such as:
1. The Approval by the Dept Environmental Affairs, Western Region to agree to the recommendations on the amended EIA to open the river mouth;
2. The maintenance of the gravel detour from Paradise Beach to the R102 must again be discussed with the Dept Roads and Public Works.
The DA positively contributed to the progress to date and we will continue to drive the project until it is completed. We will not heed to ANC intimidation and administrative obstructions caused by them. The DA in Kouga could also openly and proudly report to our leader Helen Zille that we have done everything possible to drive the project and to keep the community informed.
We want to thank all the officials and consultants who have been so exceptionally supportive of the project. We will continue to assist them to achieve the best possible results for the community of Paradise Beach.
Elza Van Lingen
DA leader – Kouga