Posts Tagged ‘kouga municipality’

Kouga, a South African success story

September 17, 2021

No matter how bad things are in many parts of South Africa, the story of Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape shows us that things can turn around swiftly with the right leadership.

Kouga is home to some 200 000 people living in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay and the surrounding areas.

When they gave the DA an outright majority in the 2016 local government elections, we inherited an indebted municipality collapsing under years of ANC neglect and corruption. To make matters worse, it was also the start of a prolonged drought.

Five years on, Kouga is a place of hope and progress, where the promise of “a better life for all” is real for people. The difference between 2016 and 2021 is striking. Consider the progress made in the following delivery areas.

Housing: The ANC-run council had neither built nor facilitated the building of a single house in Kouga since 2007. Since 2016, the DA-run council has completed 611 houses and another 3025 are in the pipeline while a further 2790 are being held up by land and infrastructure issues.

This is against a backlog of about 15 000 houses needed, meaning that real progress is being made.

Fleet: In 2016, only 4% of Kouga’s vehicle fleet was operational. Today, 96% of the municipality’s vehicles are on the road every day to service communities, and 57 new vehicles have been added to the fleet.

Roads: From 2011 to 2016, the ANC-run municipality spent an average of R3.5 million per year on road maintenance. The DA-run municipality has tripled that delivery rate, spending on average over R10 million per year on repairing and upgrading roads in the past five years.

Public amenities: In 2016, public amenities were in a state of disrepair with little to no maintenance happening. Since 2016, the DA council has undertaken a massive maintenance drive and upgraded community halls, ablution facilities, sports facilities, parks, and campsites.

Investment: By 2016, investment in Kouga had all but dried up and local businesses did not want to take on contracts for the municipality because of its reputation for non-payment. Kouga is now an investment hub. A brand-new hospital is being built in Jeffreys Bay, while R4 billion has been invested in two housing developments, and several large companies have set up in Kouga.

But the municipality isn’t just content with getting these basics right. It is actively innovating, to take Kouga from good to great.

The municipality won gold at the Eco-Logic awards last year for the first plastic road in Africa, built in Jeffreys Bay using recycled plastic (equivalent to 1.8 million plastic bags per kilometre of road).

This revolutionary new approach to tarring could increase the lifespan of roads while reducing maintenance costs and plastic pollution. If ever there was hard proof that the DA goes the extra mile, this is it.

Kouga has its sights on becoming the country’s leading Bioeconomy Zone. An SA subsidiary of Hive Energy is set to develop a waste-to-energy plant, a solar plant, and a biochar plant that turns invasive alien vegetation biomass into “green charcoal” which has several environmentally friendly applications.

The first biochar units have been manufactured to kickstart the project.

The council has built a new state-of-the-art waste water treatment works and is upgrading its three other waste water treatments works, one of the many ways this municipality is fighting off Day Zero during a devastating drought which has brought the Kouga Dam level to below 5% this week.

Day Zero may be just weeks away but if it happens, Kouga residents will know their municipality pulled out all the stops to avoid it. It is aggressively pursuing water security by every means possible, including through groundwater supply and water conservation and demand management initiatives.

All this investment and innovation comes at a cost, and yet Kouga’s finances are in a much healthier state now than five years ago when the DA council took over. In 2016, Kouga was heavily indebted. Today, this debt has been paid off yet cash on hand is almost double what it was back then.

Kouga is a wonderful South African success story that needs to be replicated in municipalities across the country. What are the keys to its success?

First is meritocracy. People and service providers are appointed based on their ability to get the job done for the benefit of the public, rather than on political connections for the benefit of the party. This is why the people of Kouga are at the centre of everything council does.

Second is accountability. Before 2016, corruption was rife and went unchecked.

Since 2016, the approach has been one of zero tolerance for corruption, driven by an anti-corruption unit which has seen two officials suspended for fraudulently issuing drivers licenses.

Third is decentralization. By collaborating with community groups and the business sector, they’ve managed to get much more done than would have been possible working in isolation.

The trick to getting stuff done in government is to understand that government is not so much about doing stuff as about enabling stuff to get done. South Africans are super entrepreneurial and innovative. They just need a government that’s working for them rather than against them.

The story of Kouga shows that the first step to building a successful South Africa is to vote DA. In the local government elections on 1 November 2021, a vote for the DA will be a vote for success because the DA gets things done.

Kouga Municipality adds no markup on Electricity tariffs

August 26, 2021

As much as the DA governed Kouga Municipality was mindful of the tough economic climate on residents when setting the 2021/22 budget, the recent electricity tariff increase was guided by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and Eskom.

From July 1 this year, residents were paying 14.59% more for electricity.

This despite the municipality voicing their concern through the participation process to NERSA earlier this year.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the municipality realised that the electricity hike would hit residents’ pockets hard, given the current economic climate brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a bid to keep the electricity tariff as low as possible for local residents, the municipality did not add a markup to the awarded increased percentage by NERSA to Eskom – giving them the green light to charge municipalities more,” he said.

“The municipality is also on the receiving end as far as this is concerned, especially when it comes to electrical infrastructure service delivery and electrical bills that have to be paid.”

The step tariff electrical costs are as follows:

Block 1: 0 units to 50 units – R1.16 per unit
Block 2: 51 units to 350 units – R1.51 per unit
Block 3: 351 units to 600 units – R2.16 per unit
Block 4: More than 600 units – R2.60 per unit

Hendricks urged all residents to utilise electricity wisely, as well as to use less electricity from 07:00 to 09:00 and from 17:00 to 22:00.

Kouga’s Finances are stable

August 20, 2021

Ratepayers in Kouga can sleep easy at night with the knowledge that the finances of the DA led Kouga Municipality are being well-managed, despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, Council decided to budget on an 85 % collection rate for the 2020/21 financial year as the economy of the region was being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown – including the closing of beaches, which was devastating for the tourism industry.

At that point in time (March 2020), Council was collecting 96% of revenue. However, it was recognised that the pandemic would have an impact on the stability of ratepayers to meet their financial obligations.

“We settled on a prudent approach and decided to budget on an 85% collection rate as the consequences of hard lockdowns and the shutting down of the tourism industry would have an effect on our ratepayers,” said Kouga Finance Portfolio Councillor, Brenton Williams.

“We are really grateful for the vote of confidence that the ratepayers of Kouga have placed in the leadership of the municipality by paying their municipal accounts and ensuring we could continue with service delivery during the turbulent times we went through during the 2020/21 financial year.”

According to Williams, in February 2021, Council adjusted their collection rate upwards to 90% and by the end of the financial year in June, the actual collection rate was 94%.

“This is probably the best collection rate in the Eastern Cape with some municipalities collecting between 30% and 40% under their budgeted collection rates,” he said.

“At the same time, we had to make provision for COVID-19 related expenditure, such as having to supply masks and sanitisers, as well as supporting a homeless shelter in Jeffreys Bay.

“We also had to budget for drought related expenditure, which included bringing additional bore holes online,” said Williams.

Revenue and expenditure

Property rates brought just over R200 million into the municipal coffers, while sales of electricity amounted to R289 million.

Water revenue amounted to R80 million.

The biggest expenditure items were employee related costs of R316 million, which came in at 10% under budget after overtime was reduced. This despite COVID-19 related regulations, which meant that the municipality had to assist the police with the enforcement of the regulations – often after hours.

Bulk purchases of electricity came in at R254 million, while other expenditure amounted to R117 million.

“This amount included payments totaling R6 million to the Bargaining Council, said Williams.” This is a result of the illegal municipal workers strike, which the municipality successfully defended legally, while keeping municipal infrastructure safe which also came in at a financial cost.”

Hire charges amounted to R33 million, primarily due to hiring extra suction tankers as well as water tankers.

R60 million was spent on the repair and maintenance of municipal properties, which was 92 % of the approved budget.

“These figures are unaudited, and the Auditor General will conduct their audit of the financial information over the next few months,” said Williams.

“Kouga Municipality received a clean audit on the finances during the 2019/20 financial year. Findings were made on performance management within the institution.”

New Substation to provide reliable electricity supply to JBay

August 19, 2021

The new R3 million substation at Ocean View in Jeffreys Bay is set to provide more reliable electricity and services for residents and businesses in the area.

After five months of construction, the substation now brings Ocean View almost double its original capacity, from 4 Mega Volt Amps (MVA) to 7.315 MVA. This is the equivalent of lighting up 28 134 sixty Watt light bulbs.

Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor, Willem Gertenbach, said it was decided at the end of last year to move the substation from its previous location to a more secure and safer site after numerous acts of vandalism by residents – causing major power failures in the area.

Municipal officials were also threatened and victimised when conducting repairs at the substation.

“The substation will not only increase the reliability of the electricity supply, but it will also improve network capacity, strengthen the electricity network, and ultimately reduce power interruptions,” he said.

“Residents from Pellsrus, Ocean View, and Tokyo Sexwale are set to benefit from the project, while the substation will also provide electricity to the planned housing project in Ocean View once completed.

“Marina Martinique residents, as well as homeowners from Aston Bay and Paradise Beach will also benefit, as there will be fewer power failures in the area due to illegal electricity connections.”

Gertenbach said the new substation shows residents where they municipality spend the money that is received from electricity tariffs.

“About 6% of the income that we make from electricity tariffs goes towards the repair and maintenance of our electricity grid, which includes new substations, power lines and meters,” he said.

Photo: At the substation are Kouga Area Engineer (Jeffreys Bay), Ndumiso Nongcaula (left) and Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor, Willem Gertenbach (right).

Ablution facilities delivered in Thornhill

August 6, 2021

Residents of the informal settlement in Thornhill will soon have access to ablution facilities.

The last of three container ablution facilities – each consisting of both male and female amenities – were delivered in Thornhill earlier today.

It will now be connected to the existing sewerage infrastructure – benefitting local residents.

The DA led Kouga Municipality continues to improve the lives of all residents within the Municipality.

New security Estate launched in St Francis Bay

June 23, 2021

Ongoing multi-million Rand investments in Kouga has seen the launch of a new modern and secure lifestyle estate in St Francis Bay last week Friday – raising the profile of the region.

Developed by Ntaba Holdings, the new Homestead Views Security Estate – located on the outskirts of St Francis overlooking the town with spectacular sea views – will offer a variety of turnkey sectional and full title units that are meticulously designed for contemporary living.

Homestead Views Security Estate is located on the outskirts of St Francis Bay overlooking the town with spectacular sea views. Kevin Penny (Ntaba Holdings Marketing Director), Andrew Govender (Highpana Projects), Kouga Acting Mayor, Brenton Williams, Mzimkhulu Nxumalo (Ntaba Holdings COO), and Skhulile Ndlovu (Ntaba Holdings CEO) attended the official launch on Friday, June 18.

Construction of the internal services are scheduled to start in the next three to four months.

Designed and built in the traditional St Francis Bay style, the estate will consist of 59 full title units and 40 sectional title units, ranging from one-bedroom to three-bedroom houses and apartments. There is also an option between single and double storey homes.

“The different units will boast energy-saving features such as gas hobs, LED-lighting, and rainwater harvesting,” said Penney. “The estate will be access-controlled and secured with an electrified perimeter fence, while it will feature brick-paved roads, waterborne sewage, and breathtaking north-facing views.”

According to Ntaba Holdings Marketing Director, Kevin Penney, 16 full title and sectional title units have already been sold, respectively.

Penney said that one of the brick-paved roads, Cooper Crescent, has been named in recognition of Peter and John Cooper’s contribution to the establishment of Homestead Village and in memory of John Cooper.

Future projects by Ntaba Holdings include a development in Port St Francis, as well as 240 affordable housing units in Humansdorp.

Kouga Acting Mayor, Brenton Williams, said he was excited about the large-scale development that will see St Francis Bay securing a well-deserved spot on the map as a world-class lifestyle destination for young and old.

“We are excited about these kind of projects as they bring much-needed jobs for the people of Kouga, as well as bring big investor confidence,” said Williams.

“It is one of the municipality’s most important goals to create a business-friendly environment in which economic growth can be sustained – helping to create a safe space where people can work, live, and play.”

Service delivery gets fiery boost

June 4, 2021

A state-of-the-art water tanker and fully equipped fire and rescue vehicle are set to significantly enhance the DA governed Kouga Municipality’s ability to respond effectively to emergency situations across the entire region.

The two new vehicles were procured at a combined cost of R3.5 million – boosting Kouga’s emergency fleet to 14 fire and rescue vehicles which are stationed across the Municipality.

The new fire and rescue vehicle replaces the old bakkie that will now be solely used for rescue operations. The municipality’s Housing Department, furthermore, boasts a brand-new Nissan double cab bakkie.

“We are very proud of this latest addition to the municipal fleet,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks. “The two new fire-fighting vehicles will strengthen the capacity of our fire department to keep Kouga safe, while the newly-purchased bakkie will help to improve service delivery.”

He said the three new vehicles brought the number of vehicles that had been added to Kouga’s fleet over the past four years to 58.

The vehicles procured include eight TLB’s, eight Toyota LDV’s and two chippers. A new 4×4 bakkie and quad bike have also been purchased for the municipality’s lifeguards, as well as five brand new bakkies for the municipality’s Electrical Services Section.

“The municipal fleet was in a terrible condition when we took over control of the municipality in 2016,” said Hendricks.

“This had a devastating impact on service delivery and the morale of staff who had to struggle to get things done without the right equipment on hand,” he said.

“We have since then been implementing a fleet replacement plan. In addition to the new vehicles, we strengthened the capacity of the municipal workshop. “The workshop team has been doing an incredible job and has refurbished over 115 vehicles, adding further muscle to the municipality’s service fleet.

”One of the latest refurbishments is an old Komatsu TLB and a MAN tipper truck, two cherry pickers and one old fire truck.

They have also repaired and refurbished four sewerage suction tankers, and one old redundant refuse compactor has been converted into a sanitation truck.

“Kouga continues moving from strength to strength and we are grateful to everyone who has supported our drive to establish a culture of service excellence across the region,” said Hendricks.

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.”