Archive for the ‘Press releases’ Category

Fires contained but not under control

June 14, 2017

The Longmore fire is still not under control but is being contained. Firebreaks have also been created at Crossways to help contain the fire.

Photo: Dirk Erasmus

No structures are currently under threat. A fire that threatened a chicken farm was extinguished during the course of Monday night.

Some 120 fire-fighters are on the ground to deal with flare-ups and to do mop-up work. This includes 50 fire-fighters who arrived from across the Sarah Baartman district today.

Hot spots in the Kouga region are in the vicinity of the J-Bay Zebra Lodge near Thornhill, as well as the section between the R102 and N2.

Wind gusts are predicted for later this week, which could impact on mop-up operations.

A request has been submitted by the Joint Operations Centre to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) for air support in the form of helicopters to “water bomb” flare-ups in the region.

In addition to Kouga, the JOC included Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and SAPS. It was chaired by Major-General Johan Fourie.

Roads

Sanral has put up temporary road signs on the N2 asking motorists to reduce speed.

A large number of animals have been wandering into the road because of the fire. Visibility also remains problematic at places because of the smoke. There are also fire crews along the roads.

Water and electricity interruptions

The Longmore/Loerie area is currently without electricity or water after 1km of the 11kv electrical line that supplies power to the area burnt out. The line also supplies power to the Loerie Dam and related water infrastructure, hence, the interruption in the water supply as well.

According to feedback given at the JOC, the electricity is expected to be restored by this afternoon (Wednesday).

Damage and donations needed

The full extent of the damage is still to be determined but it is estimated that about 12 houses burnt down on farms and small-holdings in the Longmore/Thornhill area. About 60% (about 12 500ha) of the Longmore Plantation has burnt down.

There are people who have literally been left with nothing. The Department of Social Development is assessing how many households have been left destitute and what their needs are.

Fraud charges laid over St Francis sewage levy

July 30, 2013

On 23 July 2013 a case of possible fraud violation of the Municipal Finance Management Act was laid by Councillor Ben Rheeder, Ward 12, with South African Police Commercial Crime Investigation Unit (The Hawks) against the Kouga Municipality regarding the management of the St Francis Bay sewerage levy.

Councillor Ben Rheeder

Councillor Ben Rheeder

Residents in St Francis Bay whose properties are not coupled to the water borne sewer system are billed with a sewerage levy on a monthly base.

Funds received by means of mentioned levy must be ring fenced and when more substantial funds have accumulated it must solely be used for extension of the St Francis Bay sewer system.

Since 2006 no extension was done to the sewer system and Kouga Municipality not showing the funds collected in their financial statements notwithstanding various request by the Ward Councillor.

The legal action is deemed to be the only way to secure the funds for St Francis ratepayers due to lack of responding to numerous requests to Kouga Municipality to rectify management of the levy.

Operation clean audit – put the people first says the DA

April 20, 2012

Proper capacity building for senior managers in municipalities in the Eastern Cape is needed if the province hopes to achieve the goals of Operation Clean Audit in 2014.

During this week’s NCOP provincial week (17-20 April) it emerged that the capacity of senior managers is a serious problem, especially now that there is an amendment in the Systems Act where the officials must have the necessary qualifications and experience to be appointed to these section 57 and 56 positions and where these appointments are subject to the approval of the MEC.

The DA member of Parliament for the Kouga, Elza Van Lingen is driving Operation Clean Audit in the Eastern Cape.

The Auditor General, Singa Ngqwala, is clear in his stance that local municipalities do not manage their finances responsibly.  The laws, rules and regulations are plain and officials and politicians know very well what is expected of them. Financial management is not only the responsibility of the chief financial officer.

The audit reports are poor and of the 45 municipalities not one had achieved a “clean” or financially unqualified audit without findings of concern in 2010/2011. Thirteen municipalities achieved an unqualified audit with findings, which is an improvement from only nine municipalities in the 2009/2010 financial year. 

Thirteen municipalities got qualified opinions; two received an adverse opinion and seventeen a disclaimer of opinion.  This means that 71% of municipalities had qualified financial statements.  This is an improvement of 9% on the previous year.  But in spite of this there are still municipalities that deteriorated or received disclaimers for more than two years running.

The Auditor General (AG) and his office is now going out of his way to ensure that mayors present their financial statements to council (every 6 months) and the AG, because if the mayor as the accounting officer does the presentation he will know what is going on in his municipality – it is his responsibility.  The AG will visit each municipality on a door-to-door programme to ensure “… the right things are done correctly … and on time … according to all requirements”.

Most of the obstacles in achieving their clean audits are political infighting in some municipalities, the Grap 17 system, unbundling of assets and the costs involved, and the cost of the AG.  Furthermore, funds owed by national and provincial departments cause severe cash flow problems with small municipalities.
Political leadership and administrative leadership will be required reach the benchmark standards.  The AG will not change the prescribed standards. Councils and senior officials must serve the people first, not waste the ratepayers’ money and care about the service delivery in the local municipalities.

Kouga must play their part for Sea Vista school to be built

April 18, 2012

In a meeting today with the Departments Road & Public Works, Environmental Affairs and other interested parties regarding the building of the new Sea Vista Primary School it was quite clear that Kouga Municipality will have to address the storm-water problem for both possible sites.

Both sites, erf 3143 or erf 400 will need a proper storm-water drainage.

A new primary school is a must for Sea Vista and the community of Sea Vista is adamant that they prefer erf 3143 next to Tarragona Road as a site for the new school.

DA Councillor Ben Rheeder has requested that provision be made in the Kouga Municipal budget for 2012/2013 to address this problem. “The standing committees are the best starting point to address the storm-water problem regarding the new school” says Rheeder.

“The Department of Education have requested Kouga Municipality to make a written commitment that they will provide electricity, sewerage, water and storm-water for the school sites or the money for the building of the schools will be withdrawn”.