Village Common

A Village Common for St Francis Bay? (Updated)

Work is due to start on clearing the area today – 14th August!

With work due to start on the proposed village common today and  residents are invited to share any ideas on what you feel should be incorporated in the layout of the common. Add your ideas below or e-Mail them to Lyn at

St Francis Property Owners are also looking for helpers to assist in putting the finishing touches once the main bush has been cleared by the municipality. You can contact Lyn at SFPO offices on 042 294 0594

Original post 28 July

The eyesore of the area at the end of Lyme Road South just before the turn into the SuperSpar looks soon to be no more with plans to transform it into a Village Common. This area of bush that bounders on Lyme Road South in particular, has become a dumping ground for builder’s rubble and a refuge for vagrants, some of whom have made the surrounding bush their home.

St Francis Property Owners Association has been in negotiation with Kouga municipality and the Department of Education who own the adjoining erfs (400 & 554) and the municipality has agreed to have the entire area within the boundary of St Francis Bay Bowling Club (east) and College Drive (west) and Lyme Road South (north) and Assisi Drive (south) cleared of alien vegetation to allow the area to transformed into a Village Common.

The municipality has agreed to start clearing the site from 14th August and once the vegetation is cleared, plans are afoot to start beautifying the area. And this is where St Francis Property Owners Association is calling on the community for your help to transform it into a Village Common that will be available to all residents and visitors to enjoy. Several businesses and individuals have already offered to assist with funding, equipment and labour but if you would like to assist in laying out pathways, donating memorial benches or gardens or have any ideas on making this a focal point that St Francis Bay can be proud of, you are asked to contact Lyn Aitken at St Francis Property Owners on 042 294 0594.

This is truly an exciting development and there can be little doubt it will spawn so many activities to add to the lifestyle of the village. “Art on the Village Common”, “Music in the Park”. Certainly a cause we can all get involved with.

Village Common St Francis Bay

If not SRA then what?

If not a Special Rates Area, then what?

Following numerous questions from readers regarding the SRA, St Francis Today submitted some of the more pertinent questions to St Francis Property Owners committee to which they have responded in detail. READ SRA Q&A

Most concerning is their comment in the final paragraph of that Q&A post. Looking back to a meeting of St Francis Bay Residents Association held way back in October 2015 at St Francis Bay Golf Club, Nigel Aitken, and then chairman of the Residents association appealed to the younger St Francis community to take the baton and breathe some fresh ideas into the association. At that time Chris Gray, now one of the founder members of what is now the Saving St Francis committee member, was the first to rise to the challenge and along with Wayne Furphy, started the ball rolling by analysing each aspect of the failing infrastructure of St Francis, not only of the Bay area but rather St Francis as a whole.

These two gentleman were joined by equally accomplished and successful business leaders who have spent not only many hours of their time but also funded much of the work done to date on developing a workable plan to ‘Save St Francis’. None who have followed the development of ideas since the new committee can deny that they have accurately assessed, with the help of consultants, the declining fortunes of St Francis and come up with a workable solution to the failing infrastructure.

The Kouga municipality has made it quite clear they are unable to finance what needs to be done, even when a new budget is put into place in July this year. It is an incontestable reality that the poor will get the biggest slice of the cake whether one feels it is fair or not. That is the way it is all over our country and the previously advantage must ‘lump it or leave’.

So if the money isn’t generated by the local community, where is it going to come from?

As said in previous posts on St Francis Today, there has not been a single suggestion yet on an alternative. There certainly have been many criticisms on what the Saving St Francis committee has suggested as a way of arresting the decay but not one on a working alternative.

And so back to that final statement in the Q&A post.

That the committee will resign if the SRA is a rejected! This leaves us with a huge question. Who will step into these committed gentlemen’s shoes? Are there other experienced and successful business leaders who could be approached to take over? Methinks not, for those remaining experienced business folk would no doubt have voted YES to the proposal and as such would realise that any future efforts would be futile and a waste of their time and money.

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!.

Check your vote

Check your vote has been recorded

To ensure no votes go astray, St Francis Property Owners have put up a useful page on their website where you can check your vote and make sure your vote has been received and registered.

St Francis today has received comments on why the Voting Box is not a locked and secure box. To answer this ….

All votes are recorded as they come in and are then verified to ensure they are

  • There are no duplicates
  • They forms have been signed by the property owner or the designated signatory in case of a trust
  • That the vote corresponds with the correct ERF
  • That the vote has not been altered (ie a spoilt vote).
  • In the event that there is a spoilt vote or ERF or other information is incorrect the voter will be contacted to ensure all information on the form is correct
  • A list of all votes received are published on the Sf Francis Property Owners website where voters can visit and endure their vote has in fact been received.

Once the voting count reaches above 50% plus ONE point, either FOR or AGAINST, all votes will again be verified, this time by an independent auditor before the final outcome is announced.

So get your vote in TODAY!

If you have already voted you can check to see if your vote has been recorded at the following URL.

The Voter registration page is updated every evening.

Readers have their say on SRA

Readers make comment on SRA

The purpose of some articles published on St Francis Today is sometimes to encourage dialogue and hopefully illicit comment from readers and nothing gives us greater joy than when readers comment, whether agreeing or disagreeing!

Of course the proposed SRA is not going to get the approval of every property owner and thus the need for the voting process. We live in a democracy and at the end of the day the number of YES votes against the number of NO votes will decide on whether the SRA goes ahead or not. Every property owner has the right, and must exercise this right for a fair result. So if yesterday’s article has prompted you to get your voting form in, whether for or against, St Francis Today has achieved what we intended.

Not everybody will be able to afford the levy and it will stretch their budgets to breaking point (including Collo’s, Kevin). It is for this reason that St Francis Property Owners chairman Wayne Furphy, during the Q&A session at the AGM, made it quite clear that exemptions or adjustments to rate for those that applied for relief would most definitely be considered for it is not the intention of the proposed SRA to force those on  limited or fixed incomes to be forced into ‘poor street’.

More in question is whether we can afford to let St Francis to decay any further. The  Kouga municipality has made it quite clear that they do not have the resources and will be able to offer a a little more in terms of essential  services than the previous council  but even this will not amount to enough to address the failing infrastructure  and certainly have no funds for further capital expenditure.

So if the proposed SRA is not the answer what is? To date the SRA is the only suggestion on the table but maybe someone has a better idea.


“Dankie vir die artikel en skakels om die publiek so stadig maar seker meer in te lig oor “Special Rates Areas (SRA)”. Hoe langer dit neem om SRAs te aktiveer, hoe langer gaan ons ‘n vervalle infrastruktuur en verwaarloosde omgewing hê. Vir die komitee van ‘n gemeenskap wat die stigtingswerk onderneem, is dit ‘n reuse taak”.


“The proposed SRA levy – 50% of present property rates is not only an insult, but a joke to the ordinary home owner.

It sounds great, new roads, stormwater, sewers etc. – a complete new infrastructure! How many billion ?

Unlike the writer “Collo”, some homeowners pay their monthly rates and services timeously by forfeiting luxuries like new cars and medical aid schemes.

Just wondering how many of the retired home owners in the town will be exempt from this proposed scheme but allowed to vote.

How ironic we are being coerced to pay more monies to a municipality which has for years squandered our rates and led to the present disintegrated infrastructure.

Voting – No – limited finances for ever increasing living expenses”.


“Well done to Wayne Furphy and his committee. St Francis has gone thru many years of indecisiveness and squabbling as to what action should be taken regarding upgrading the infrastructure, replenishing the beach, safeguarding the spit etc, and we have long been in need of someone/persons to take the initiative and come up with a constructive and workable solution to preserve this special village we live in.Thank you for your time, effort and commitment”.


“What will be the priority areas that will be taken care of first? Does the spit swallow the bulk of the funds to the detriment of the rest of St Francis Bay, Santereme, St Francis on Sea”?


“Geen misverstand dit sal bil rande kos om dit tydelik reg te maak al gooi jy sement dolle soos in PE langs die Hi Way kan dit net tydelik wees
Maar weereens wil die in wooners op die cannels nie daarvan weet nie want dit lyk nie mooi nie
Ek dink ek praat namens almal wat hier in Santareme st francis on sea die port en otters landing ons sien geen nut waarvoor ons moet betaal nie
Die mense wat op die channels bly “deel with it”
Keep us out of your problem try the Goverment the sea belongs to them”. –