Cape St Francis Civics comment

There has been much written both in terms of articles posted on St Francis Today and comments in response to these posts regarding Cape St Francis’ participation in St Francis Property Owners Special Rates Area proposal. Recent communication with members of Cape St Francis Civics as well as an e-Mail from a committee member possibly clears up some of the, shall we call it confusion, with regard to how they, Civics, see things.

The following by mail from Shirley Cowling

The Cape St Francis Civic Association would like to put out the following statement:

it is not against the establishment of Special Rates Areas. In fact, we investigated the establishment of a Special Rates Area in September 2015: A  link to a newsletter dated 12 September alludes to the fact that an SRA was being discussed – see newsletter

We concluded that:

  • No vote to call for the establishment of a Special Rates Area can be called until the Kouga Municipality has a published and adopted By-Law, including policies and regulations, governing Special Rates Areas.
  • The By-law and policy will dictate the due process to be followed regarding the establishment of a Special Rates Area.
  • One of the first steps in the application process would be to determine the boundary of the SRA. We believed a smaller area would be better and more affordable for Cape St Francis residents. We must be mindful of affordability in our area.

As no by-laws for SRA’s have been promulgated in the Kouga, the current vote is nothing more than an indication to the Kouga Municipality that there is a need to promulgate the by-law to allow for SRA’s. There should be no fear that CSF is either left out or will not in future apply to be a SRA.

The committee decided, after extensive consulting with experts and other SRA’s, that it would not be detrimental to either St Francis Bay or Cape St Francis if two separate applications were made for SRA’s – both applications will be in line with the Integrated Development Plan for the area and therefore to the benefit of the entire area.

 The bottom line is that the current voting process is not in line with the prescribe procedures.  Nobody can be asked to vote until they know what they are voting for – there must be both a detailed business and an implementation plan.  Then there will be no need for any queries about ring-fencing funds Cape St Francis funds.


Recently we have had requests from readers to post their comments on published articles as new articles. To clarify this, comments are made against a particular article rather than as a new view on a subject matter and as such remain COMMENTS. These comments are held in the web archives and can be read at any time in the future as all articles too, are kept in the archives. To access all articles and comments visit

Reader Michael Hornsey has requested that we publish his comments on a letter submitted by Neil Brent for which we make this once only exception only because of a misunderstanding  by St Francis Today. We encourage readers to submit news  no matter how controversial such news may be but do ask that it be original rather than as a comment on what others have submitted. And we encourage comment on articles for whilst some readers my believe these disappear, they do not and are often read weeks and even months later  on Google searches.

St. Francis Today: Thank you for allowing me a reply.

Letter from Mr. Neil Brent 07/02/2017.

Well done Neil on some extremely valid points on the proposed levy.I must say that a number of them could be legally challenged with confidence.

On the one point regarding the voting rights of owners (rate payers!) of individual units within these developments, I have been the owner and ratepayer of my unit in a 7 unit complex for almost 30 years and would demand of this committee the right of an individual vote, and not having the chairman of the body corporate voting for me, or for any of the other 6 owners of the complex with ONE combined vote for the entire body corp. which may not reflect my wishes.I believe that ALL rate paying owners irrespective,MUST be allowed their right of a vote !!

I would also like to know that the voting forms have a Number printed on each form which would allow an independent audit of the final vote count.

My wife and I voted for the Democratic Alliance in the past election and were happy at their long fought success as our new municipality…HOWEVER the DA in their election manifesto promised to attend to the infrastructure problems of the Village.This we will now be forced to pay by an increased amount added to our existing rates payment legally enforceable by the DA Municipality!!



Michael Hornsey…(Erf. 1402/3)Santareme,St. Francis Bay.

More on SRA

Who is eligible to vote and when will SRA voting close?

Last Friday St Francis Today (SFT) published a letter from reader Rod Suter that partially supported the work being done by St Francis Property Owners (SFPO) committee but raised several uncertainties. SFT approached SFPO and received a very comprehensive reply to the queries which may set some hearts at rest.

On the question of whether residents of private estates (e.g. Links, Homestead, Airpark, Royal Wharf, River Glades, etc.) would be liable, SFPO responded that it is in consultation with these estate body corporates rather than individual property owners within the estates. As there are overlaps in levies charged, it becomes a complex but not insurmountable situation. Certainly improvement to St Francis as a whole is beneficial to all residents and thus the ideal is for all 3500 property owners to take ownership of the region rather than 2150 property owners who fall outside of these estates. Equitable solutions are being investigated with each estate body corporate and this obviously is taking time but no doubt most estates appreciate the importance of improving the overall infrastructure of St Francis.

On the subject that business (industrial / commercial) erven within St Francis, these Mr Suter feels should be contributing significantly more in terms of the rates they presently pay. There are only 70 such erven out of the 3500 plus properties in St Francis and SFPO suggests that to escalate these rates more in line with other industrial / commercial hubs would make little difference to the income generated for the SRA. There is little enthusiasm to develop St Francis into an industrial hub as the St Francis 2030 vision clearly indicated and even by escalating the industrial rates, the estimated income the proposed 50% levy would still under recover what is required. Considering the huge numbers of unemployed in Sea Vista, keeping business rates relatively low would ensure minimal job losses.

Mr Suter continues that “The process appears to exclude anyone other than individual ratepayers/property owners; this is clearly not in accordance with the requirements of the Act to include also residents, civic organisations, NGO’s, visitors and disadvantaged communities”. SFPO’s reply begs to differ in that in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act, Act 6 of 2004, the municipality is obliged to consult the local community and to obtain the consent of the members of the local community who will be liable for paying the additional rate (Section 22 of the Act). The distinction is thus made between the public participation process where the broader community and all interest groups are consulted but with the voting itself restricted to ratepayers.”.

On the question of political interference in the future, the act (Section 22(3)(d)), clearly states that “a consultative committee of the special rating area, after its establishment, will advise the municipality in this regard and not the politicians. It was agreed with the municipality that an NPC will be registered (an NPC has already been formed) and the additional funds will be ring-fenced and controlled by the directors of the NPC consisting of representatives of the proposed special rating area.”

Several readers have questioned the security and validity of the vote. As per an earlier article in St Francis Today (“Consent or Vote”) the SRA is neither a national referendum, general nor municipal election and as such does not fall under the watchful eye of the IEC. Voting will close once the vote exceeds a 50% plus one vote either YES or NO and results will be both audited and available for scrutiny by the public. It is important to note it is not a percentage of those who vote as in an election but the total number of votes received and counted against the maximum number of votes, That is if all property owners the number is 3500 potential votes thus the 50% plus one would be in the region of 1750 plus 0ne. If private estates are excluded the vote count would be 1075 plus one either for or against.  A daily record of those who have voted is published on the SPFO website and whilst the website does not display whether it is a YES or NO vote, voters are quite within their rights to check and view their vote to ensure is has not been altered at any time before or after the count.

In essence what SFPO is working towards is to first restore St Francis’ infrastructure to a first class environment with decent roads, effective security (CCTV camera infrastructure) throughout the residential and commercial areas, water borne sewage replacing the honey suckers, beautiful Blue Flag beaches and an easily navigable river. First class infrastructure will attract first class investment by way of new home buyers developing vacant land thereby generating more income to make St Francis one of the best, if not best,  holiday destination and residential towns on the South African coast. Better infrastructure equals more investment.



St Francis Today is soliciting neither a YES or NO vote but rather putting information out into the public domain. To date, over a month since our first article on the subject, a few readers have made it quite clear they will not support the SRA but no one has suggested even a hint of an alternative of how our deteriorating infrastructure can be reversed. Certainly there have been criticisms but little by way of constructive suggestions. Ignoring a problem won’t make it disappear so if your vote is NO, what is your suggestion to reverse the decay of our beautiful town. We would love to hear from you and so would other readers, we are sure!.

Overflowing audience at St Francis Property Owners AGM

St Francis Property Owners AGM propose an SRA

St Francis home owners packed the conference room at St Francis Links to overflowing last evening to attend the St Francis Property Owners AGM. After welcoming those in attendance, SFPO chairman, Wayne Furphy handed over the microphone to Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen who covered some of the challenges facing the DA led council since ousting the ANC in the August 2016 municipal elections.  Of matters van Lingen briefly covered, most interesting was the proactive stance council is taking with regard to Thyspunt.

Also covered in van Lingen’s address and later during the Q&A session were the availability of funds, or rather lack thereof, for any capital expenditure, particularly in the wealthier areas of Kouga. Whilst some may believe that the rates and taxes paid by St Francis residents should be allocated to St Francis this is never going to happen as understandably the majority of the municipality’s budget is spent on the upliftment of poorer areas of which Kouga has more than its share.  We all must accept that we live in a very different South Africa to what existed pre 1994 and realise we are not alone for lack of funding of for many cities, towns suburbs and villages across South Africa suffer similar lack of funding hence the growing number of SRA’s presently in force or being proposed across South Africa.

So what to do?

Wayne Furphy briefly sketched out the “St Francis Vision 2030” (read it if you have not already done so) before getting to the nitty gritty of the SFPO AGM and the reason for the overflowing meeting venue, how we can save St Francis.

At last year’s AGM, Furphy appealed to those present at that meeting to consider making donations to “Saving St Francis” fund. Over the year, donations amounting to a little less than R5 million were made, a drop in the ocean to what is needed to “Make St Francis Great Again”.

And so the alternative, declare St Francis a Special Rates Area (SRA).

St Francis property owners, business and home owners alike, pay amongst the lowest rates in South Africa.  To further compound the lack of contribution to the municipal coffers, 80 to 90% of homes are unoccupied for most of the year resulting in the municipality collecting substantially less income from profits derived for electricity and water usage that contribute significantly to the treasuries of most cities and towns.

By instituting a special rates levy, proposed at 50% of current rates, sufficient funds would be generated to upgrade and maintain all services and facilities over a proposed 10-year period. The mutterings that “why should I pay for the repairs for the spit, the beach, the dredging of the Kromme, et al, I don’t use them” really hold no ground because these assets, and others, make up the what St Francis is all about and why people buy property in St Francis be it as an investment, a holiday home or a permanent residence or why they holiday in our tiny enclave. How many home owners would sell up should the Kromme silt up and is no longer be navigable by small craft? If the beaches are left to erode how many holiday makers would choose alternative holiday destinations. If we are worried by declining service delivery whilst out local economy is still buoyant, what service delivery can we expect if home owners start selling up and holiday makers no longer choose us as the holiday destination. Will we still have a Superspar, a chemist, doctors, vets? Without tourism, local and international, will our golf courses, our B&B’s, our restaurants survive?

Without going into all the details of the proposed SRA, these will no doubt be posted of the St Francis Property Owners website in due course, can we afford not to support the concept of an SRA?

The SRA requires a majority vote of 50% plus one to be implemented and so the SFPO will be undertaking a voting poll where property owners will be asked to vote either FOR or AGAINST the proposed SRA. You can cast your vote today by SFPO-SRA Voting Form completing it, signing it and returning it to the SFPO offices now situated in the Alva-Merle building at 115 St Francis Drive, mailing it to PO Box 18, St Francis Bay, 6312 or scanning the completed and SIGNED form to

NOTE: A 50% levy would constitute 50% of your present rates – ie. Should your present rates be R1000 the levy would be R500. Certainly the SFPO has considered those who simply cannot afford the full levy and Furphy stressed that exemptions or reductions will be considered where such situations arise.

It is important to note that all funds collected from the SRA levy would be allocated directly to St Francis, not the Kouga municipal funds for use elsewhere.

You can download the voting form here.