Posts Tagged ‘ben rheeder’

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.

Kouga Municipality fails its statutory obligations to its employees

February 6, 2013

The Democratic Alliance represented by Cllr Ben Rheeder, has laid charges against the municipal officials for criminal neglect (Jeffreys Bay – CAS 13/07/2012).

This was due to the fact that Cllr Rheeder was approached by workers who complained that they had received letters from their pension and provident fund managers informing them that their contributions were in arrears.

DA honour your past

Cllr Rheeder, a former trustee of one of the funds was also informed by the fund manager of Kouga Municipality’s failure to pay the monthly contributions since February 2012.

Several letters issued by the DA to the municipal manager regarding defaulting on payments had no effect. This left the DA no choice but to lay official charges against the offending officials. Cllr Rheeder, as trustee had to do everything in his power to ensure that Kouga Municipality executed its fiduciary obligations to its employees in terms of the various acts.

Adv. N Henning on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Eastern Cape (Grahamstown) has rapped Kouga’s Municipal Manager Sydney Fadi, and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Carlien Burger over their fingers for not paying pension fund deductions from employees over to the various pension and provident funds the municipality subscribes to.

Although no prosecution will be implemented now, judgement will hold for a period of two years provided no further complaints are submitted after the judgement was passed on 20 December 2012.

It is completely unacceptable that the Municipal Manager and the CFO can knowingly and wilfully mismanage funds of the employees. Adv. Henning said that pension fund contributions and tax payments are considered statutory obligations and have preference over the payment of any other creditor.

Furthermore, these contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 and the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999 speak of complete disregard for the law, which should guide these officials in their portfolios. The disrespect for those whose pension contributions are involved is appalling.

Cllr Rheeder, who was side-lined as trustee of one of the funds still established for Humansdorp and St Francis employees before 2000. He has served on this fund as trustee for many years and was now replaced by an ANC councillor.

One wonders if the same actions would have been taken by the incumbent trustee and what this individual has done since taking on the new position as trustee.

The main problem is that Kouga Municipality deducted the contributions from the workers monthly salaries, but those funds were never paid over to a regular basis since February 2012.

This means that the employees were losing out on:

  • Growth in their investments of the fund
  •  Losing benefits provided for in the individual funds for instance disability or funeral benefits
  •  Kouga Municipality was well aware of the fact that it was contravening the law and that workers were losing out on benefits. There is also proof of an employee who lost disability benefits for the same reason.

When the DA first raised this matter in the press last year and laid charges, the employees went on strike for about 3 days. A meeting for the employees was called by the officials and some ANC Cllrs, where the ANC promised to pay over the contributions and the employees were also threatened to go back to work or else …..

The DA will continue to follow up on this matter to ensure the interests of the employees are protected. If Kouga Municipality is to adhere to the conditions set by the Director of Public Prosecutions, all outstanding payments should have been made by 7 January and again on 7 February 2013.

If any of the employees receive any further letters from their fund managers, they should immediately notify Cllr Ben Rheeder at 082 848 2514 or leave contact details at the DA office in Main Street, Humansdorp (Tel: 042 295 1851).

“The DA Caucus in Kouga will also drive this matter until Kouga Council, the governing party and its officials adhere to the law.

I will also take up the matter with the Financial Services Board, the Auditor General and the various fund managers for failing the employees of Kouga Municipality for the lack of action against the municipality” said Elza Van Lingen.

TITELAKTES VIR SEA VISTA

July 18, 2012

Councillor Ben Rheeder

Die inwoners van Sea Vista het vir meer as agt jaar gewag vir die titelaktes.

Raadslid Ben Rheeder het die titelaktes bekom en het so die inwoners gehelp om bewys van eienaarskap te bekom vir hulle huise.

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”.

Straattekens in St Francis

April 10, 2012

Die photo is meer soos die ware beeld van Kouga Munisipaliteit en nie die rooskleurige beeld wat Burgermeester Koerat tydens die openingsrede van Kouga Munisipale Raad geskilder het nie.

Dit is maar net een van die tale straattekens wat stukkend geroes het en wat net nie herstel word nie. Hierdie situasie in Kaap St Francis en St Francisbaai is al verskeie maal gerapporteer maar daar word niks aan gedoen nie.

Ben Rheeder

DA Ward Councillor