Posts Tagged ‘kouga municipality’

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.

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.”

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.

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).