Archive for the ‘kouga municipality’ Category

Affordable rental housing for Kouga

October 2, 2020

At least 1 500 rental units for households with low to moderate incomes are set to be built in Kouga over the next five years.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the municipality had secured a place in the “Municipal Support Programme” run by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), the body that oversees the implementation, regulating and funding of state-subsidised rental housing projects in South Africa.

“Kouga is the only municipality in the Eastern Cape to have been selected for the municipal support programme and one of only six local authorities countrywide,” he said.

“Our inclusion will ensure that the municipality receives the necessary technical and organisational support to implement social housing programmes.

“The target is to deliver at least 1500 rental units over the next five years but, according to SHRA, the first project for Kouga can be approved, built, tenanted and managed within as little as one to three years.”

He commended the municipality’s Human Settlements section for their excellent submission that secured the municipality a place in the programme.

“It is another feather in the municipality’s cap and will help to address the demand for affordable rental housing in the area.”

Hendricks said social housing is a government programme aimed at providing low to moderate-income households, earning between R1 501 and R7 500 per month, with quality and affordable rental housing opportunities in well-located areas.

He said the project would complement the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) that had also been approved for the area.

“While social housing addresses the need for affordable rentals, FLISP offers first-time home-ownership opportunities to South African residents earning between R3 501 and R22 000 per month,” he explained.

“This is the income group that earns too much to qualify for an RDP house but typically also struggles to secure a bond to buy a home.”

He said the municipality had appointed a service provider, Own Haven Social Housing, in October 2019 for the implementation of social housing and FLISP projects.

“The service provider has completed a demand and needs analysis study for the proposed project in Jeffreys Bay.

“They are currently drawing up a detailed report on how the FLISP and Social Housing programmes will be introduced and marketed to prospective buyers and beneficiaries.”

Joint effort to address Domestic Animal issues

August 11, 2020

Kouga residents have been asked to report problems related to stray or neglected domestic animals to the municipal call centre (042 200 2200, option 5).

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said the municipality was streamlining its relationship with local animal welfare organisations.

“These organisations do an amazing job with limited resources. The municipality recently met with them to determine how we can improve our support to them.”

He said a key challenge was the vast distances these organisations sometimes had to travel to address animal-related complaints.

“This often happens because people phone the organisations directly even when they are not based in the area where the problem is.

“This then also leads to unhappiness where animals have owners, as the owners then have to travel far to collect their animals.

“We would, therefore, like to ask residents to report concerns about stray or neglected domestic animals to the municipal call centre. They will then alert the organisation that works in that area.”

He said key roleplayers were the SPCA Assisi in Humansdorp, Jeffreys Bay Animal Rescue Services and St Francis Animal Rescue.

He said residents were further asked to refrain from feeding stray animals, especially in the CBD areas.

“This draws stray animals, which then starts posing a safety and health risk to both people and the animals.”

He encouraged those who want to help feed stray animals to donate food to the recognised animal welfare organisations and to get involved.

“They know where the need is and will ensure that the food gets to where it is needed most.”

He said the municipality had established the Kouga Animal Management Committee and was busy reviewing the related policies and bylaws to support roleplayers’ efforts.

“This will go hand-in-hand with a public awareness campaign to help communities understand the role played by the various roleplayers”.

“For example, people often phone animal welfare organisations with complaints about noisy dogs while this is actually the mandate of the municipal Law Enforcement section.”

The municipal call centre can be contacted on 042 200 2200 (option 5).

New vehicles for Kouga Lifeguards and Disaster Management

August 7, 2020

As the Tourism industry slowly but surely re-opens, Kouga Municipality has set the wheels in motion to welcome visitors back to its swimming beaches this coming festive season.

A new 4×4 bakkie and quad bike have been purchased for the municipality’s lifeguards.

“The lifeguards work over a wide area, covering swimming areas all the way from Oyster Bay to the Gamtoos Mouth,” Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said.

“There are also times when they have to respond to emergencies that happen away from the main swimming areas.

“The new vehicles will help to improve their response time in these instances.”

He said the safety of Kouga’s beaches was a big drawing card for tourists and that the municipality would continue its efforts to strengthen its lifeguard section year on year.

A new 4×4 bakkie has also been procured for Kouga’s Disaster Management section.

“This section’s old bakkie is still in working order and will also be used for the lifeguard section when necessary.”

Kouga’s future is looking bright

July 31, 2020

More than 1 000 streetlights and floodlights across the DA led Kouga Municipality have been retrofitted with LED lights.

The advantage of LED lights is that they are brighter than conventional bulbs but actually use less energy and last longer, which brings with it cost benefits.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the programme had been rolled out in the 2019/20 financial year after the municipality’s Electrical Services section secured R4-million from the national Department of Energy for Energy Efficiency Demand Side Management (EEDSM).

“Municipalities can apply for this funding to implement projects such as streetlight replacements and to increase the energy efficiency of municipal buildings and assets such as pump stations,” he explained.

“It, therefore, presented us with an excellent opportunity to decrease the region’s electricity usage, especially during peak periods when Eskom charges a higher tariff, without compromising on quality.

“Reducing energy consumption is also good for the environment and in line with our efforts to keep Kouga green.”

The project included the replacement of 161 1000W floodlights with 400W LEDs while 80 400W floodlights had been replaced with 200W LEDs. A further 860 125W streetlights had been replaced with 37W LEDs.

The funding also made provision for job creation, which enabled the municipality to employ six youths from the area for a period of three months.

Hendricks said the project had been complemented with an awareness drive to encourage residents to minimise their electricity usage between the peak hours of 5pm and 7pm and 6am and 9am.

“I would like to congratulate our Electrical Services team for successfully implementing the project despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

“Going forward, the LED lights will save the municipality money while staff will also have more time to attend to other projects aimed at improving service delivery to communities.”

He said the municipality would be applying for more funding as part its commitment towards service excellence and cutting down on carbon emissions to help save the planet by supporting green energy.

He said the aim was to roll out the programme to towns within Kouga fed by Eskom, so as to reduce the streetlight bill from Eskom in those areas as well.

New wheels for Kouga’s Electrical Team

July 30, 2020

More than 50 new vehicles have been purchased over the past four years to strengthen Kouga’s service delivery fleet.

Among the latest acquisitions are five brand new bakkies for the DA led municipality’s Electrical Services section.

(Pictured) Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks, Electrical Services manager Theo Madatt, Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor Bryan Dhludhlu and Infrastructure & Engineering director Victor Felton joined staff from the Electrical section for the hand-over

Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor Bryan Dhludhlu welcomed the extra wheels for the section.

“It is essential that our Electrical team has reliable transport as they have to travel across Kouga to do new installations, maintenance or repairs,” he said.

“They used to rely on 12 bakkies, of which two were constantly breaking down.

“The new bakkies will enable them to respond to call-outs sooner and improve this service to communities.”

He said the municipality’s Fleet section had also refurbished three old cherry pickers for the Electrical section.

“The cherry pickers are now as good as new and proved invaluable during the recent roll-out of LED streetlights.”

Kouga Traffic Department open for longer hours

July 21, 2020

The opening hours of the Kouga Traffic Department in Humansdorp have been extended to help fast-track applications for the renewal of driving licences and motor vehicle registrations.

The offices will from today (20 July) be open to the public from 8am to 3pm, Mondays to Fridays, and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. The cashiers will close an hour earlier, at 2pm and 12 noon respectively.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said no new learner’s or driving licence applications could be considered as yet, as per the national directive.

“The focus is still on clearing the backlog that was created by the COVID-19 lockdown.”

He said the opening hours of the Traffic Department had initially been reduced so that staff could be rotated as part of the municipality’s COVID-19 safety precautions.

“We have reviewed this decision in light of the re-introduction of loadshedding, which will also influence how quickly the backlog can be cleared.

“It was, therefore, decided to extend the opening hours again so as to maximize the time available to assist motorists.”

Benson said all prescribed hygiene measures, disinfection controls and health protocols were in place at the registration offices and testing centres.

“Social distancing will be enforced at all times. It is, furthermore, mandatory for all visitors and staff to wear masks,” he said.
He said the satellite office at Hankey was also open but only for vehicle licensing and registrations.

Kouga Municipality addresses faulty accounts

July 17, 2020

Residents and ratepayers whose water and electricity usage was incorrectly estimated on their latest municipal accounts need not panic – it will be corrected.

This is the assurance from Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, after several residents and businesses reported that their latest municipal accounts showed a sharp increase in their water or electricity usage.

Hendricks said the errors were mainly due to the municipality having to rely on reading estimates during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“During the first five weeks of the lockdown, no physical readings could be taken of water meters or conventional electricity meters.

“Since the easing of the restrictions, readings have still not been able to resume in certain areas because of staff either testing positive for the coronavirus or having to self-quarantine after exposure to infected persons.

“As a result, estimates have had to be used and, in some instances, the estimates were either incorrectly calculated or captured.”

He said residents and businesses whose water and electricity usage was higher than usual could contact the municipality’s revenue section for the necessary corrections to be made.

Senior accountant, Wilma le Roux, has been designated to assist those affected. She can be contacted at wleroux@kouga.gov.za. Account-holders are asked to include their account number so as to enable swift assistance.

“We would like to apologise to all those who were affected by the billing errors. It will be corrected and the affected accounts adjusted accordingly,” he assured.

Extra Rates rebate for pensioners in Kouga

July 11, 2020

Pensioners who own property in Kouga can now apply for extra rates rebates if their combined monthly household income is R15 000 or less.

The rebates were approved by the Kouga Council at a recent meeting.

Application forms are available on the municipal website (follow the link).

Completed forms must be emailed to cvanniekerk@kouga.gov.za or submitted to the Revenue section at the municipal offices in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, Hankey and St Francis Bay.

There is no deadline – this will be an ongoing process.

Here is the link: www.kouga.gov.za/documentlibrary/application-form-pensioners-rates-rebate

Kouga launches online portal for building plans

July 8, 2020

Kouga has become one of the first municipalities in the Eastern Cape to launch a virtual portal for the submission of building plans.

Kouga Planning and Development portfolio chairman, Alderman Ben Rheeder, said the launch could not have come at a better time as it meant the processing of building plans could continue despite Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

“In addition to the new virtual portal for building plans, staff members are available via telephone or email to assist residents and trade professionals with building-related queries and submissions,” said Rheeder.

He said the electronic submission of building plans could be done through the Ovvio portal on the municipal website at http://www.kouga.gov.za.

An access key is necessary to register for this service and can be obtained from Mariske Kleingeld at mkleingeld@kouga.gov.za or Adrian Thorne at athorne@kouga.gov.za

“Once you have registered, simply follow the prompts to submit the building plans,” he said.

“Please note that the portal cannot be used to make payments. Fees must be paid into the municipal bank account and proof of payment submitted with the plans.”

Payments must be made into Kouga Municipality’s bank account. The banking details are as follows: Kouga Municipality, First National Bank, account number 52540033504 and reference PD + your surname.

He said those who could not access the portal, could submit their building plans manually at the security desks of the municipal offices in Woltemade Street, Jeffreys Bay, or St Francis Bay. Proof of payment must also be included with the submission.

Rheeder said one of the advantages of the virtual portal was that progress on the processing of building plans could also be tracked online through the portal.

Alternatively, the following support staff can be contacted at 042 200 2200 (option 4) or emailed for queries about new or existing plans: Zimasa Daniso at zdaniso@kouga.gov.za, Roelien Augustus at raugustus@kouga.gov.za or, for St Francis and Oyster Bay, Ann Bezuidenhout at abezuidenhout@kouga.gov.za

Rheeder commended the Planning and Development department for the initiative.

“Kouga is once again setting the trend for other municipalities. Not only will the virtual portal help to keep Kouga growing economically, it is another step forward in our efforts to keep Kouga smart.”

Covid-19 measures for land-use applications and site inspections

Kouga Municipality has put in place measures to receive and process land-use applications, as well as to conduct site inspections, during level three of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Kouga Planning and Development portfolio chairman, Alderman Ben Rheeder, said land-use applications could now be submitted via email to Binadene Meyer at bmeyer@kouga.gov.za or Yanga Nobaza at ynobaza@kouga.gov.za

Queries about land-use applications can be submitted to Elsa van Biljon at evbiljon@kouga.gov.za or Lawrence Ramakuwela at lramakuwela@kouga.gov.za

Requests for zoning certificates can be referred to Sadrick Grootboom at cgrootboom@kouga.gov.za.

“Site inspections can also once again take place but must be booked via telephone or email,” he said.

The following support staff can be contacted at 042 200 2200 (option 4) to book a site inspection or email them at: Zimasa Daniso at zdaniso@kouga.gov.za, Roelien Augustus at raugustus@kouga.gov.za or, for St Francis and Oyster Bay, Ann Bezuidenhout at abezuidenhout@kouga.gov.za

“Please note that due to Covid-19 safety protocols no workers are allowed on site during the inspection,” he said.

He said any long-outstanding issues could be taken up with the Manager: Development Planning, Kobus Marais, on jmarais@kouga.gov.za or the Director: Planning, Development and Tourism, Fezeka Mabusela, on fmabusela@kouga.gov.za.

Past municipal leaders slammed for wasting money

July 7, 2020

More than R32 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, incurred under the watch of Kouga’s two previous Councils, has been certified as irrecoverable and written off.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said it was an indictment on the municipality’s past leaders that millions of Rands had been wasted when it could have gone towards improving service delivery to communities.

According to an item tabled to Council last Friday, a total of R32 89 407 in fruitless and wasteful expenditure was incurred by the municipality from 2008 to 2016.

“That is an average of more than R4 million a year,” he said.

He said several measures have been implemented since the inauguration of the current Council to curb fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

“The success of these measures, driven by the DA-led Council, is evident in the sharp drop of the amounts, with the fruitless and wasteful expenditure for the most recent audited year, 2018/2019, totalling R53 650 only.”

He said the municipality was on track to eliminate fruitless and wasteful expenditure completely so that ratepayers would get maximum value for their money.

He said the bulk of the fruitless and wasteless expenditure from 2008/2009 to 2015/2016 was the result of interest that had to be paid to creditors due to late payments by the municipality.

“We have been able to minimize this through the appointment of competent staff and by adopting fully funded budgets, with realistically-estimated revenue.

“A standard operating procedure has also been developed for the submission of invoices from service providers to prevent late payments due to non-receipt of invoices.”