Archive for the ‘kouga municipality’ Category

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.”

Kouga Council approves 2020/21 Budget

July 4, 2020

Kouga Municipality’s budget for the new financial year was unanimously approved by the Council during a virtual meeting on Friday, June 26.

Based on a reduced collection rate of 85% due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the anticipated operating revenue for 2020/21 has been set at R906 million while the operating expenditure amounts to R996 million.

The total capital budget for 2020/21 will amount to R56,9 million.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the budget had to be trimmed significantly due to the anticipated reduction in revenue, but that it remained fully cash-backed, with the R90 million operating deficit due to non-cash items such as debt provision and depreciation.

Tariff increases

He said tariff increases had further been kept as low as possible while still being cost-reflective, as is legally required.

“To ease the burden on households and business the rates increase of 6,5% that was initially proposed, has been decreased to 5,25% across the board,” he said.

“Various Covid-19 payment relief options for households and business have also been incorporated into the budget, as well as additional rates rebates for pensioners.”

The remaining tariff increases are 8,1% for water, 7% for sanitation and refuse collection, an average of 6,25% for electricity and 0% for the environmental management fee.

Budget cuts

He said the budget cuts that had to be made, included the funding for road maintenance, which was decreased from R25 million in the first draft budget to R5-million in the final document.

“This does not mean that the upgrade of roads will stop. Instead, the emphasis will shift, with R7,8 million being included in the capital budget for the upgrade of gravel roads.”

He said the bulk of the capital expenditure would go towards waste water management, including the eradication of the bucket system, the upgrade of the sanitation system in old Hankey and the Patensie sewer plant, the construction of an overflow pond at the Koraal Street pump station in Jeffreys Bay, the upgrade of the Loerie pump station and the installation of waterborne sewerage at St Francis Bay.

He said the electrification of informal settlements and areas marked for RDP housing would continue, with R4,5 million budgeted for this purpose.

“With the drought being an ongoing concern, an additional R3,2 million has been budgeted to augment the water supply and minimise losses,” he said, adding that the municipality was currently finalising the R152 million drought disaster programme.

“This will include R2,3 million for the replacement of old main lines at St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay, R600 000 to upgrade the Hankey water plant and R300 000 to repair the leaky water tower at Paradise Beach.”

Capital expenditure

Other capital expenditure includes R1 million for wheelie bins and R2-million for CCTV security cameras at high-risk crime areas, as well as securing municipal infrastructure from theft and vandalism.

A total of R4,25 million will go towards the upgrade of sport and recreational facilities.

Hendricks said the municipality would continue to support businesses, struggling due to the extended lockdown.

“We are reviewing our Supply-Chain Management Policy, as we want to ensure that, as far as is legally possible, local businesses get preference when it comes to municipal procurement.

“Our Local Economic Development section has been helping affected businesses apply for Covid-19 relief funding and will also be establishing a business support centre at Ocean View in Jeffreys Bay this coming year, with R300 000 being budgeted for this,” he said.

Keeping the grass short and the economy growing

July 3, 2020

Kouga Municipality is doubling up its efforts to keep grassy public areas neat and trim.

Twenty industrial lawn mowers, 38 brush-cutters and 12 grass-blowers were delivered to the municipality last week.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said the equipment procured at a cost of almost R750 000, would strengthen the municipality’s efforts to keep town entrances and sidewalks clean and attrac-tive.

“It will also improve the maintenance of public facilities such as sport fields, cemeteries, community halls and caravan parks, as well as the lawns at municipal buildings.”

He commended the municipality’s Parks and Public Amenities section for the good work they have been doing to keep grassy areas neat despite the constraints they faced.

“They also assist schools and crèches to keep their premises tidy and safe for Kouga’s youngest residents.

“This purchase more than doubles their arsenal of equipment, which will allow them to do even more in their pursuit of service excellence.”

He said regular grass-cutting not only boosted public health but also had the potential to help grow the economy.

“Investors are drawn to areas that are well looked after. That was one of the reasons the Keep Kouga Clean campaign was launched and we are pleased to be taking it another step forward,” he said.

Applications open for payment relief on Municipal accounts

June 15, 2020

Kouga municipal account holders can now apply for Covid-19 payment relief.

Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the aim of the relief measures was to assist residents and businesses whose income had been negatively affected by the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Application forms are available on the municipal website under “Finance”, as well as from the revenue section at the municipal units in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay and Hankey.

Once completed, the form and supporting documents can be emailed to abontshi@kouga.gov.za or submitted to the revenue section at the above offices.

The closing date for applications is 30 June 2020. Residents are encouraged to submit electronic applications if possible so as to avoid long queues and social contact at offices.

Hendricks said two types of relief measures had been approved by the Kouga Council – relief measures that would automatically be applied to all municipal accounts and relief measures that municipal account holders would need to apply for.

He said relief measures that would automatically be applied to all accounts, included a reprieve on interest charged on overdue accounts from the start of the lockdown to 30 June 2020.

“All debt collection measures have also been stopped for this period.

“Blocked electricity metres were unblocked in March and no money has since been taken off prepaid purchases for overdue accounts. This reprieve will remain in place until the end of this month.”

He said from 1 July 2020 money would once again be taken off prepaid purchases for overdue accounts.

“However, this will be done at a reduced rate of 25% and not 50%, as was the arrangement before the lockdown. Residents and businesses will also then be able to apply for further relief.”

He said relief measures subject to application, included a retrospective payment holiday for the months of April to June 2020.

“Residents and businesses will also be able to apply for reprieve from interest on their outstanding accounts up to December 31. They will further be able to make three to six-month payment arrangements with the municipality.”

He said any household whose combined income had dropped to below R3 720 due to the lockdown would be able to apply for indigent service subsidies.

“These applicants will be placed on a Covid-19 indigent register for temporary relief. All households that qualify will receive free basic services until the end of the year.”

These free basic services include 50kwh electricity plus the basic charge free, 12kl water plus the basic charge free, free refuse removal and free sewer, based on 12kl water consumption.

Those who qualify will also not have to pay the Environmental Management Fee and will receive rates relief for an additional R85 000 on their properties.

COVID-19 Symptoms? Contact Humansdorp Hospital to make an appointment & get tested

May 20, 2020

Kouga residents who are experiencing possible symptoms of the coronavirus (Covid-19) can phone the Humansdorp Hospital to set up an appointment to be screened and tested, if necessary.

The hospital has made available a dedicated line for this purpose – 042 200 4243.

Current symptoms reported for patients with Covid-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness with a dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever (38 degrees or higher).

Road upgrades back on track in Kouga

May 19, 2020

The DA led Kouga Municipality is once again busy with upgrading the road network after a lockdown enforced disruption to the much needed repairs.

Kouga has a R 500 million backlog in road maintenance after many years of neglect.

In the current budget, R 25 million was made available for road repairs and main arterial roads have been identified for resealing.

This includes Dolphin Drive in Aston Bay, Koraal Street and Noorsekloof in Jeffreys Bay as well as roads in Humansdorp and St Francis Bay.

Over 250 potholes were also repaired last week after the lockdown was eased to allow more Municipal staff back to work.

The Municipal draft budget included a further R 25 million for road repairs in the 2020/21 budget but with Covid-19 expected to severely impact Municipal finances, the budget it being recalculated and it is expected that less money will be available to roads in the upcoming financial year.

COUNCIL TO CONSIDER PAYMENT RELIEF FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS

May 15, 2020

The Kouga Council will be considering various payment relief options on municipal accounts to help businesses and residents whose income has been affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said all debt collection measures on outstanding accounts, including the disconnection of electricity, had already been stopped.

“The municipality is also currently not charging interest on any outstanding payments,” he said.

He said additional measures under consideration, included rates rebates, payment “holidays” and allowing residents and businesses to make arrangements to pay off outstanding monies without being penalised.

He said the final measures would be tabled to the full Council later this month for approval.

“The measures and qualifying criteria are currently being finalised as part of the budgeting process for the new financial year, starting July. They will be formally announced once Council gives the go-ahead.

“Qualifying residents and business will then have the opportunity to apply for the relief measures relevant to them.”

The Council is scheduled to meet on 29 May.

MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS RE-OPEN FOR ACCOUNT PAYMENTS AND ENQUIRIES

May 14, 2020

The municipality’s income section, including the cashiers at all units, is once again open to the public.

The Jeffreys Bay unit opened for business yesterday. All other units will be open from today (Thursday, 14 May).

The operating hours during the Covid-19 lockdown will be as follows:

* Mondays to Thursdays: 08:30 – 15:00
* Friday: 08:30 – 13:00

While this means residents can once again pay their accounts at the cashiers, we would like to encourage those who can, to make use of the online options instead.

EFT account payments can be made into the following bank account:

* Name: Kouga Municipality
* Bank: First National Bank
* Account number: 52540033504
* Reference: Your municipal account number and surname

Payments can also be done online through pay@.

This service can be accessed through the following link, including the unique code given to each account – https://payat.io/qr/yourcode

Your unique code can be found on page two of the municipal account next to the pay@ option. For example: https://payat.io/qr/1137400000.

Balance and general account queries can also be made by contacting the municipal call centre at 042 200 2200 (option 3).

Cars can be serviced, bought and sold in Level 4 lockdown

May 13, 2020

Car dealerships in Kouga can get back to work and buy and sell new and used cars.

Roadworthy assessment and testing centres will also be permitted according to Regulation R524.

Vehicles can also be serviced under strict conditions.

All dealerships and used car outlets will operate with up 60 % capacity until 8 June 2020.

However, under Phase 1, only 30 % capacity is allowed, subject to a maximum of one employee or customer per every 9 square metres of floor space.

The majority of car sales have be done remotely via the internet, eCommerce or telephone.

Personal contact has be kept to a minimum and only upon appointment under very strict hygiene and social
distancing conditions in line with the Regulations.

Test drives will be conducted on appointment only and home delivery of vehicles with full sanitisation will be mandatory.

Where possible, electronic, or virtual signatures will be used for finance and insurance documentation.

All car maintenance and repairs will have to be confirmed through appointment only.

Unsolicited walk-ins will only be allowed under exceptional and emergency circumstances.

Members of the public will not be allowed, under any circumstances, to enter the workshop environment. These workspaces will exclusively be reserved for technical and support staff.

Car owners are to maintain or service their cars within their own municipal boundaries unless in case of extraordinary circumstances.

The following categories are not classified as emergency car repairs:

  • Cosmetic repairs, such as minor scratches and dents or cosmetic enhancements;
  • Voluntary or routine servicing that is not overdue in terms of manufacturer’s service intervals; and warranty campaigns of a cosmetic nature unless the warranty is due to expire within 30 days of the intended repair date.

Funeral guidelines during Covid-19 Lockdown

April 25, 2020

Funeral parlours, bereaved families and mourners are asked to keep the following guidelines in mind if they are burying a loved one this weekend in Kouga:

1. No more than 50 people may attend a funeral, according to lockdown regulations.

2. Funeral services can be held at home or at church.

3. It is recommended that attendance be limited to close family only, especially for home services.

4. All safety precautions must be followed.

5. Church funeral services must provide hand sanitiser, attendees must wear face masks, maintain social distancing and take extra care not to be put each other at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

6. The funeral procession and service should be finalised within an hour.

7. No night vigils, overnight church service, after tears or other gatherings are allowed before or after the service.

8. No mass catering is allowed nor the serving of refreshments.

9. The funeral service provider must ensure that an attendance register is kept of all those present.

Let’s work together and stop the spread.