Water restrictions inevitable – DA Ward 12 AGM

Mayor stresses need to save water

The August Municipal elections may have brought about a very much needed change in the make-up of the Kouga Municipal Council with the Democratic Alliance sweeping the board with 17 seats to the ANC’s 12. That the new council has already made a difference cannot be argued but sadly the now DA council is somewhat hamstrung by matters carried forward from the previous incumbents rule. Not only do they have to abide by an inherited 2016/17 budget but must also deal with the hangover caused by the blatantly poor management of finances, resources and personnel left by their predecessors.

Presenting to a rather disappointingly small group of DA supporters last evening at St Francis Bay Golf Club, Kouga Executive Mayor, Elza van Lingen  highlighted many of the positives that the new council have made during their short time in charge as well as some of the obstacles in the way to creating a better life for all in Kouga. Possibly the most concerning of all was the matter of the R48 million water account that the municipality has been slapped with by Nelson Mandela Bay. One can only hope, and maybe pray, that some sort of compromise, legal or other, can be reached.  A rough calculation of the annual rates collected from the St Francis region must add up not much more than the amount being claimed by  NMB water and it would indeed be a catastrophe if these much needed funds are lost to an already financially stressed budget. Van Lingen seemed quite positive that this matter will be amicably resolved and that a legal lifeline is being investigated.

And speaking of water! Unless one has their head in the sand we are all aware that South Africa is in the grip of a serious drought. If one listens to AlgoaFM, Darren Mann and his fellow jocks as well Atholl Trollip in his bi-weekly chats on the radion station, regularly speak of the necessity of saving at least 15% of water consumption.

Well guess what? We too in Kouga are required to make this 15% saving or face severe penalties. Now St Francis is a little different to all the metros and most towns in the country in that our resident population explodes over the holiday periods of Christmas and Easter and water consumption rises accordingly. With the tens of thousands of visitors about to arrive there is absolutely no way we can save 15% and in fact will possibly increase tenfold if not more. But panic not for the council, according to van Lingen, have formulated a method of calculating what will constitute a maximum allowance before penalties are imposed for exceeding water limits.

But penalties or not, water is scarce and we must all make every effort to save this valuable resource. Pack away your hose pipe, put a brick or two in your toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water used fir flushing. Use buckets to empty your bath to water your garden or wash your car, drink your scotch neat!  But seriously living without water is a lot harder than making an effort now. Queuing for a water truck as some of us experienced in Durban many years ago when floods destroyed pipelines is no fun.

Without wishing to make this post into a book, we will discuss more on our mayor’s presentation in future posts as well as a lot more on the water situation particularly once our visitors start arriving to try and motivate them into helping us save water.

Near disaster was averted at Natures Valley

A near disaster was averted at Natures Valley near Plettenberg Bay.

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

At 14h14, Tuesday, 29th November, NSRI Plettenberg Bay were called by a member of the public witnessing a group of teenagers, and at first believed to be about 8 teenagers, swimming in relatively deep water off-shore of Natures Valley River Mouth, at a beach known as Beach 8 – Natures Valley.

The bystander felt concerned because there are no lifeguards at that beach and he felt they had ventured too far out to sea and he was raising the alarm as a precaution although he could confirm that at that stage they were not appearing to be in any obvious difficulty.

While the bystander was talking to NSRI concerns were raised when the bystander noted that he could observe strong rip currents in the vicinity and he now counted at least 20 teenagers (not 8 as at first believed) and he then observed an adult, believed to be their supervisor, swimming out to sea in their direction.

While still talking to the NSRI, and although at that stage the bystander maintained that he was letting the NSRI know of the situation as a precaution because of his observed concerns, the bystander then confirmed that some of the teenagers had started to wave their arms towards the beach direction and the bystander, now obviously very concerned, requested NSRI’s intervention and he could confirm that some of the children were suspected to now definitely be appearing to be in difficulties.

Our sea rescue emergency siren was sounded and our NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew responded to the sea rescue station, where assisted by the SA Police Services beach foot patrol officers, who waded chest deep into the surf fully clothed to help us launch our sea rescue craft – in 4 minutes we launched all 4 of our sea rescue craft – Discovery Rescue Runner, Ray Farnham, Airlink Rescuer and Leonard Smith.

The AMS/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter was activated and Med-Life ambulance services and our sea rescue vehicle carrying our NSRI station doctor responded.

Two NSRI rescue swimmers who were nearby to the incident at the time responded directly to the scene in their private vehicles.

On arrival on the scene all of the teenagers and their tour guide were found nearing the beach line after they had all managed to swim safely back towards the beach, avoiding rip currents, and the first of the NSRI rescue swimmers arriving on the scene observed them reaching the beach safely without assistance.

Additional rescue and medical resources had by now arrived at the beach and while they were observed and assessed medically it was apparent that all had escaped unharmed and no injuries had been sustained.

Strong rip currents could be observed on each side of the route that they had chosen to swim back to land and it is fortunate that they had perhaps unknowingly avoided the rip currents while swimming back towards the shore.

All responding services were stood down as no longer required.

They are Foreign exchange students, believed to be from Denmark, Germany and Finland, and the man that had swum out to help them is their tour guide and supervisor – they are on a tour from exchange student residences in Gauteng and Mpumalanga and have a further 7 days on tour before returning to Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

NSRI are urging bathers to be cautious around our coast with summer holiday season now upon us.

The bystander who raised the alarm is commended for alerting NSRI to the possibility of the real and present danger of rip currents the group of foreign exchange students faced today.