Posts Tagged ‘kouga municipality’

SAMWU TAKES BACK SEAT IN COURT RULING

April 17, 2021

Kouga Municipality has welcomed the Labour Court in Port Elizabeth’s ruling in its favour after SAMWU’s urgent interdict against the municipality was struck from the roll yesterday.

SAMWU must, furthermore, pay the legal costs of the municipality.

According to Kouga Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, SAMWU applied for an urgent interdict against the municipality after 14 SAMWU shop stewards, who initiated an illegal and unlawful strike from March 9 to 16 and organised several protest actions afterwards, were charged with gross misconduct and were subsequently suspended.

“SAMWU demands that the 14 SAMWU shop stewards that were suspended after the strike, be reinstated with immediate effect.

These shop stewards were found guilty of misconduct after an internal collective disciplinary process and have been given 10 days to submit reasons why they should not be dismissed,” said Hendricks.

“The matter was struck from the roll yesterday and SAMWU must pay the legal costs of the municipality.

The municipality welcomes the ruling of the Labour Court in Port Elizabeth.”

According to Hendricks, the court ruling is a vote of confidence in the legal processes followed by the municipality.

“Yesterday’s Labour Court ruling vindicates the municipality’s position to continue with disciplinary processes against shop stewards of SAMWU,” he said.

“The ANC led strike is nothing but a political ploy to make Kouga ungovernable in an election year. We implore the members of SAMWU, who we valued for the last four years, to return to work and not to allow themselves to be further mislead by ANC deployed shop stewards.

“Let us put service delivery first. Let us make Kouga the best run municipality in the country.”

Hendricks, furthermore, said, “We want to assure members of the community that our single-most commitment remains to serve them to the best of our ability by striving for good governance through service excellence.

For that reason, we will do everything in our power to settle the matter swiftly.”

He said that it is disheartening to witness how SAMWU is misleading its members for political gain.

“This whole situation could have been prevented if they were only willing to effectively engage in previous negotiations.”

Refuse removal alert: Thursday 15 April

April 15, 2021

Refuse collection for today (Thursday), as per the regular refuse collection schedule, is on track.

Residents and businesses whose refuse were not collected, must please inform the Kouga Municipality’s Call Centre at 042 200 2200 (option 5) or send a WhatsApp to 081 760 9183.

Please include your name and street address.

Residents are urged to not take their refuse to the various drop off zones in Kouga.

These drop off zones are strictly for recyclables and garden waste, excluding garden service contractors.

Contractors must use the Humansdorp Landfill Site.

1500 rental units for Jeffreys Bay

March 3, 2021

Some 300 temporary and 20 permanent job opportunities will be created through a new housing programme in Jeffreys Bay.

The social housing programme was officially launched at the corner of Koraal Street and Dolphin Street in Ocean View, Jeffreys Bay on Monday, February 22, opening rental opportunities for residents who earn between R1 500 and R15 000.

With construction of the first phase set to commence in the 2021/ 2022 financial year, the target is to deliver at least 1 500 rental units over the next five years.

The Keep Kouga Growing campaign was also launched on the day. This campaign ties in with three other campaigns already launched: Keep Kouga Safe, Keep Kouga Clean and Keep Kouga Green.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said that the municipality had secured a place in the “Municipal Social Housing Support Programme” run by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), the agency of the Department of Human Settlements 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 social housing 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 1 500 rental units over the next five years, but according to SHRA, the project can be approved, built, tenanted and managed withing 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.”

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 Institute, in October 2019 for the planning and implementation of social housing and FLISP projects.

“This is the latest in a string of recent housing successes,” said Hendricks. “Social Housing, in particular, contributes to transforming urban spatial patterns as it promotes integration and densification in close proximity to economic and social amenities.”

Municipality disappointed at decision to close beaches

December 15, 2020

Statement by Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks:

Kouga Municipality is not in agreement with the national directive that all beaches and parks in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route District will be closed from 16 December to 3 January.

We are of the view that the closure of beaches and parks on specified dates only, as is the case for the remainder of South Africa, would have enabled a better balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods.

Unfortunately, the final decision was not ours to take and we now have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt.

While Kouga still has much to offer visitors, the beach is the main attraction over the summer season.

The impact of the 19-day beach closure will be devastating on our local businesses, job retention and creation.

In addition, there is concern that the closure of beaches and parks will simply lead to people congregating at other venues, including private residences, where the risk of infection is even higher.

We have raised our concerns with the Premier. Early indications are that the chances of the national decision being reversed are slim and that there is little likelihood of local municipalities and law enforcement agencies, as well as affected businesses, receiving support from a provincial or national level.

We are further awaiting clarity as to whether the closures affect all beach-related activities, as the Gazette only alludes to fishing for which an exemption will be made for those in possession of a permit.

We are also awaiting clarity as to whether the closure affects all bodies of water such as rivers and lagoons or only the sea. In the meantime, the municipality will be meeting with other law enforcement agencies today to discuss the enforcement of the stricter regulations, as announced by the President last night.

Regardless of whether we are in agreement with the closure of beaches or not, the COVID-19 pandemic is a reality and safeguarding our communities remain the priority.

We will continue to do all in our power to curb the spread of the coronavirus and to keep our residents and visitors safe.

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).

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.”

Hundred families powered up at Donkerhoek

July 24, 2020

100 families at Donkerhoek in Humansdorp received first-time access to electricity this week.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, switched on the power to 100 new electrical connections at the settlement on Tuesday.

Hendricks said the project represented another step forward for communities that for years were neglected by the municipality’s past leaders.

“There are still many improvements that we would like to make to this area, including additional standpipes and toilets,” he said, addressing residents of the area.

“We want to thank those living here for their patience and cooperation. You have not been forgotten and we are committed to helping you move forward as the municipality moves forward.”

Planning and Development Portfolio Councillor, Ben Rheeder, said the beneficiaries were families who had been relocated from Vaaldam to Donkerhoek, so as to enable the municipality to roll out basic services to them.

“Priority was given to the elderly, disabled and most vulnerable,” he said.

The switch-on brings the total number of sub-economic houses and sites to be electrified in Humansdorp over the past four years to 797.

This has included the 391 RDP houses built at Kruisfontein, as well as a further 306 sites at Donkerhoek.

“More than R23 million has been put into these projects, including the necessary bulk infrastructure,” Hendricks said.

“A further 100 connections are set to be installed in the current financial year.”

Chemical toilets have also been installed at the new section of Donkerhoek.

The residents have named this new settlement Mooi Uitsig (“Fair View”) – in recognition of both the beautiful views from the area and their hope for a brighter future.

The residents have been relocated to Mooi Uitsig from the Vaaldam area so as to enable the municipalty to provide basic services to them.

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.

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.