Archive for the ‘kouga municipality’ Category

Visual war on waste

September 9, 2017

KOUGA Municipality has taken hands with local businesses to go visual in its war on waste.

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said seven colourful signboards, requesting visitors to “Keep Kouga Clean”, are set to be erected at the entrances to Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, Hankey and St Francis Bay.

Cleansing teams across Kouga will also, from the end of the month, be armed with 46 new litter-picking trolleys bearing the same branding.

She said the municipality had partnered with the Jeffreys Bay Superspar, Humansdorp Spar, Hankey Spar, St Francis Bay Superspar and Build-it for the awareness campaign.

“The first board went up at St Francis Street in Jeffreys Bay this week and looks fantastic,” the Mayor said. “We are grateful to our local business sector for making it possible.”

JP Venter, owner of three of the participating Spar stores and a partner in Build-it, said he was glad for the opportunity to give back to the community.

“Spar and Superspar have been part of the Kouga family for years and we’re always searching for ways to contribute positively to the area we love,” he said.

“A clean Kouga is good for all of us. It makes for happier and healthier communities. It also attracts more visitors and potential investors, thus stimulating the economy and opening up job opportunities.

“It is our hope that the signboards and trolleys will help to ignite communities’ pride in Kouga and motivate young and old to play their part in keeping our beautiful region clean.”

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Congratulations to our Mayor’s Cup champions!

August 31, 2017

From the Desk of Mayor Elza van Lingen:

I would like to thank our local soccer and netball communities for putting on such a fantastic show at the Mayor’s Cup tourney on Saturday

Sport was the great winner, with all games contested in good spirit and no unfortunate incidents reported.

Congratulations to City All Stars and Poison Ivy, who were crowned the 2017 Mayor’s Cup soccer and netball champions respectively.

Both teams are from Humansdorp and used their home advantage to full effect to place tops in the tournament.

City All Stars beat Jeffreys Bay’s Juventus 3– 2 in a thrill-a-minute final at the Humansdorp Country Club. The two finalists had beaten Royal Stars and Hooke Wits earlier in the day for the honours to play in the decider.

Poison Ivy triumphed over G-Force from Jeffreys Bay in the final of the netball tournament, held at Graslaagte Primary. Mighty Stars from Humansdorp took third place, beating Wits from Jeffreys Bay in yet another duel between the two towns.

Thank you to the organisers, participants and fans for making the tournaments exciting and successful affairs. You did Kouga and your communities proud.

Moving forward we would like to see more sporting codes participating in the Mayor’s Cup as it is a fantastic platform to grow community participation in sport.

An official handover ceremony will be held with all winners after the completion of the rugby competition. The rugby had to be postponed due to many of the teams playing crucial league qualifying matches over the weekend.

We would like to thank our rugby clubs for keeping Kouga’s flag flying high at a provincial level and look forward to watching them in action at the 2017 Mayor’s Cup rugby in September.

From the Mayor’s Desk – 17 August 2017

August 17, 2017

Since taking over Kouga in August 2016, we have discovered that there are a number of financial claims and serious matters of non-compliance hanging over the municipality like a dark cloud.

1. Old debt to Department of Transport

The municipality failed to pay over drivers licence monies to the Department of Transport for several years under the two previous Councils. At the time of the 2016 election, the outstanding amount stood at about R11 million. We are paying this off in line with an arrangement made with the Department.

2. R46-million water bill from Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

Following the election, the new Council was shocked to find that the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro had issued Kouga with a water bill for R46 million. This was in addition to the monthly water bill. According to the Metro, Kouga had been under-billed for water usage between 2012 and 2016. The bill had been issued to Kouga in May 2016 but had not been disclosed by the previous Council. Negotiation with the Metro regarding the bill is ongoing.

3. Court case regarding the 2012 St Francis Bay canal fire

A court case that the municipality is defending could potentially cost the municipality between R30 million and R40 million. The claim arises from the 2012 fire that saw scores of houses being razed to the ground in the St Francis Bay canal area.

4. R13-million bill from the Department of Labour

In July 2017 the Council was confronted with another shock bill. Dating back 10 years and totalling R12,62 million, the bill was for Return of Earnings (RoEs), required for what is commonly known as “workmen’s compensation”.

The municipality hadn’t submitted RoEs from 2007 to 2016. This meant that municipal employees did not have proper cover for Injury on Duty claims for almost ten years.

The municipality has since come to an arrangement with the Department for workmen’s compensation to be reinstated and is negotiating paying off the outstanding amount.

Regards

Elza

Council approves appointment of two new directors

August 3, 2017

The DA led Kouga Council approved the appointment of two municipal directors at a special meeting in Jeffreys Bay last week.

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said Council had resolved to renew the contract of Victor Felton as Director: Infrastructure, Planning and Development while Krishen Moodley received the nod as Director: Administration, Monitoring, Evaluation and Special Projects.

Felton took up his position on 1 August while Moodley’s contract is being finalised. Both appointments will also be submitted to East Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Fikile Xasa, for concurrence.

The Mayor said the Council had resolved that the position of Director: Social Services Director would be re-advertised.

She added that the filling of the position of Director: Local Economic Development, Tourism and Creative Industries had been put on hold pending a review of the municipality’s portfolio and directorate structures.

“The manner in which directorates are structured, influences how effectively employees can perform their duties. Over the past year we have discovered that the existing structure does little to support interdepartmental cooperation and optimal performance. We are, therefore, reviewing the structure before finalising the appointment of further directors,” she said.

The five-year contracts of Kouga’s former Director: Administration, Monitoring, Evaluation and Special Projects, Thobeka Tom, Director: Local Economic Development, Tourism and Creative Industries, Carleen Arends, and Director: Social Services, Japie Jansen, came to an end on 31 July 2017.

New Municipal Manager Charl du Plessis took up his position in June 2017 while the contract of CFO Selwyn Thys runs till 2022.

Kouga Municipality continues to combat illegal dumping

July 26, 2017

KOUGA Municipality has increased its efforts to fight illegal dumping and keep communities clean by acquiring 20 new skip bins.

The 6m² containers, worth R348 840 in total, will be distributed to hot spots for illegal dumping.

Social Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson says the distribution of the skip bins would be followed by an awareness campaign, run by the municipality’s Solid Waste and Cleansing and Parks sections.

“The campaign will help to empower residents to contribute to the cleanliness of their communities. Small things can make a big difference; for example, we would like to caution adults not to send children to go and dispose of waste at skip bins. Youngsters cannot always reach the mouth of the container and then simply dump the contents next to the bin,” he says.

Benson added that the arrival of the skip bins did not mean that other measures to keep areas clean, such as refuse collection on scheduled days, would be done away with.

“We are intensifying our war against waste so as to ensure that all of Kouga’s people live, work and play in clean and healthy environments,” says Benson.

He also asked communities to be aware of the following:

No fires must be made inside the skip bins, even if it is to burn waste;
Only the municipality has the right to remove or clean the skip bins;
Waste must be disposed of inside the bin, not next to it; and
Children should be warned against playing in skip bins.
To report illegal dumping, contact Kouga’s Solid Waste section on 042 200 8335 or the Cleansing and Parks section on 042 200 8381.

Residents invited to rate municipal service delivery

June 30, 2017

THE Kouga Municipality will be running its annual Customer Satisfaction Survey over the next five weeks.

This year’s survey will be the first to be conducted under the new council after the August 2016 local government elections.

The DA’s Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen calls on residents to make use of the platform to scrutinise the municipality and to suggest areas of improvement.

“We would like to know what your service delivery experience has been over the past few months,” she says. “There is a great deal that needs doing if we are to create a culture of service excellence. The survey will help us to prioritise our work in line with community expectations.”

The Mayor says the new council had committed itself to being an accountable leadership that values inputs from residents.

“When we adopted our new vision, Good Governance through Service Excellence, we understood that running a municipality was about listening and responding to the communities we serve,” says Van Lingen.

She says the survey will not replace other platforms such as community meetings but was designed to enhance accountability and the involvement of residents in municipal affairs.

Survey forms will be available at municipal administration units, ward councillors’ offices and public libraries from Monday, June 26. An electronic version is also available on the municipality’s website at http://www.kouga.gov.za.

Completed forms can be dropped in the marked boxes at municipal offices or posted to PO Box 21, Jeffreys Bay, 6330. Electronic versions can be emailed to msobele@kouga.gov.za.

The forms have the different services offered by the municipality, with scores of 1 to 5, the former reflecting the worst opinion and the latter the best.

The closing date for the survey is July, 31.

17 000 hectares destroyed in Longmore fire

June 21, 2017

About 17 000 ha of veld, plantation and farm land in the Kouga area has been destroyed by the fire that started burning in the Longmore area on 7 June.

This is only within Kouga’s area of jurisdiction and does not include damage on Nelson Mandela Bay’s side.

Lady Slipper mountain. Photo: Anike Meyer

Sanral has been replacing fire-damaged barriers along the N2. They have also been removing damaged road signs along the N2 and new ones have been ordered.

There were some flare-ups in the Van Stadens Gorge but these were extinguished. The two SANDF helicopters were also used to dump water on hot spots in the gorge.

Smaller flare-ups were extinguished in the Loerie/Thornhill areas yesterday.

Fire-fighters and farmers are now busy with 360˚ mop-ups along the perimeters of fire-damaged areas.

Kouga fire-fighters are still assisting Nelson Mandela Bay with the fire at the Yellowwoods area behind Woodridge.

About 120 000 litres of water was thrown on this fire by the SANDF helicopters, which helped to contain the fire.

Kouga fire-fighters on high alert

June 15, 2017

Kouga fire-fighters are on high alert, with strong winds having been predicted for today.

Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said two helicopters from the SA National Defence Force arrived yesterday afternoon to water-bomb areas that could flare up.

“A 100 fire-fighters are also on the ground, busy with mop-up operations between Loerie and Thornhill.

“We would like to ask the public not to panic should there be flare-ups in the wind today. The situation is being monitored and managed carefully,” she said.

“If it becomes necessary to issue an evacuation alert, this will be done officially by the municipality. We ask people not to spread false rumours.

The municipality will publish relevant information on its Facebook page.”

She said the fire at Longmore was under control at the moment but still smouldering. Tree stumps are also still smouldering in the area between the N2 and R102 where fire crews extinguished fires yesterday.

“We would once again like to appeal to motorists to reduce their speed when travelling past the Van Stadens and Thornhill areas.

There are a lot of animals, both livestock and wildlife, wandering into the roads because of the fences having burnt down,” she said.

The Mayor said Sanral had already started replacing damaged road signs and fencing but that the damage was extensive.

She appealed to the public to report any fire-related incidents, including trees and obstructions that have fallen in the road, to Kouga’s all-hour emergency number at 042-2910250.

Humanitarian crisis brewing at Longmore

June 15, 2017

A humanitarian crisis is brewing at the Longmore village where residents have been without electricity and water since the weekend.

The fire in Longmore. Photo: Dirk Erasmus

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said 80 households were affected by the service interruption, caused by fire damage to electrical infrastructure.

“Longmore is situated in the Kouga region, but Nelson Mandela Bay is the supply authority for electricity. The Metro had hoped to have the power restored by today, but the damage was more extensive than anticipated,” she said.

“The burnt line also supplies electricity to the Loerie Dam and pump stations, hence, the interruption in the water supply.”

She said Kouga Municipality was carting water to the area and that 25 mobile toilets were being delivered to the village today. Generators are being brought in to try and get the pump stations up and running again.

“We are also collecting ready-made meals for the 204 people of the village because it has been difficult for them to make their own food.”

She said the full extent of the fire damage had not yet been determined but that early estimates put it at hundreds of millions of rands.

“Sixty percent of the Longmore Plantation, as well as the saw mill, burnt down. The cost of this damage will be immense.”

She said the Department of Social Development was working with local farmers and farming associations to assess the damage to farms in the area.

“We are concerned that hundreds of farm workers are going to be without work. It could take as long as three years or more for affected farmers to rebuild what they have lost.”

She said Social Development and the Jeffreys Bay Trauma Centre were continuing with counselling support. Eighteen children from the affected areas have already received counselling.

She appealed to non-profit organisations that work with poor communities to contact Sarah Hugo from the National Lottery at 086 006 5383 to see how they can assist those traumatised and affected by the fire.

Ready-made meals can be dropped off at the Thornhill Hotel, the Kouga Municipal offices at 33 Da Gama Road, Jeffreys Bay, or at the Kouga Fire Department on the entry road to Humansdorp from the N2.

Local state of disaster to be declared

June 12, 2017

Statement by Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen:

The Kouga Council will be holding a special meeting at the Council Chambers in Jeffreys Bay at 2pm today

The purpose of the meeting will be for Council to declare a local state of disaster in the wake of the destruction caused by fire to large parts of the Kouga region, its communities and infrastructure over the past five days.

Van Stadens bridge. Photo: Dirk Erasmus

The declaration will follow less than two weeks after the Kouga Council also declared a local state of disaster (on 31 May) because of the prolonged drought that has been crippling the area.

Council’s plea to residents is that just as we stood together in the heat of the fire, we now have to stand together in rebuilding, in the same spirit, our families, our infrastructure and our Kouga.

The Kouga Council wishes to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance with rescue and relief efforts in our region over the past few days:

* Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for trying to get Thornhill’s electricity on this afternoon (Sunday) soonest.
* MTN for jacking up the signal booster to improve communication in the Thornhill area.
* Sarah Baartman District Municipality’s leadership and Disaster Management teams
* Farming community and staff, who offered amazing support in spite of their own properties also being under threat.
* SAPS for continued support
* Longmore MTO, Working on Fire and fire-fighters from nearby districts.
* All donors and volunteers from all over Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay. All donations are managed strictly under supervision and control.
* Kouga Municipality’s Social Services Director Japie Jansen, Kouga Fire Chief Dewald Barnard and fire-fighting teams, all Kouga staff, councillors and anyone else who dedicated time and effort for the people of Kouga.

We say thank you!

We further wish to express sincere condolences to the family of the couple who Van der Riet family This was a severe tragedy of our disaster.

We are also sad to have heard about farm houses that were partly damaged or burnt down, loss of staff houses, livestock, implements and outbuildings.