Mayor declares war on potholes

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks has declared war against potholes.

A special Mayoral intervention programme, aimed at strengthening the municipality’s capacity to repair roads, will be rolled out across the region over the next six months. Hendricks said R3-million had been set aside for the programme so that more muscle and machinery could be hired to improve the quality of pothole repairs.

“The municipal road teams have been doing a commendable job and repaired almost 8 000 potholes over the past financial year, but there are not enough of them to deal with the problem decisively.  Kouga’s roads were not maintained by the previous regimes, resulting in a backlog of more than R500-million. This is more than half the municipality’s total annual budget,” he said.

“While the intervention will not mean the end of all potholes, it will set a new standard for repairs and bring us closer to a more permanent fix.”

He said 70 contract workers would be hired and trained to assist the road teams as part of the intervention.

“We’ll also be hiring in specialised equipment to improve the quality of repairs, so that fixed potholes don’t simply wash open every time it rains.”

He said the focus would be on high-risk roads with heavy traffic flow, especially in the Gamtoos Valley area.

Hendricks said the municipality would also be going on tender to appoint a contractor to reseal roads.

Thirty-two roads and parking areas, with a total surface area of 140 977m², were resealed in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis, Hankey and Patensie over the past financial year.

“We’ve had good feedback from communities about the recent resealing programme, with towns such as Hankey never before having benefited from such an initiative. We look forward to expanding the programme and will continue looking for innovative ways to get all our roads up to an acceptable standard,” he said.    

Suspect in St Francis murder appears in court

The 35 year-old man arrested Monday in connection with the murder and robbery at the Lethbridge residence in St Francis Bay last Thursday appeared briefly in the Humansdorp Magistrates Court yesterday. Named as Bongani Faku, the suspect has been remanded in custody and will appear in court again on the 29th August.

Duncan Lethbridge, 76, a pioneer in the yacht building industry in St Francis Bay, was found dead on the lounge floor of his home in St Francis Bay last Thursday evening after intruders gained access to the home, tied up and gagged Lethbridge, his wife, who was also severely assaulted, and the couple’s housekeeper. It appears from the post mortem results that the cause of death was suffocation possibly caused by the sellotap gag on Mr Lethbridge.

After gaining access to the couple’s safe the perpetrators fled the scene with stolen cash and valuables.

The alarm was finally raised  when the housekeeper managed to free herself of her bonds.

Police spokesperson Captain Gerda Swart said more arrests were expected in the case.

 

SRA Supporter suggests dialogue with CRA 

An open letter to the chairman of the Concerned Residents Association (CRA)

The following is a letter forwarded by the author for publication in the hope that possibly that all in St Francis should work together for a common cause.

“Dear Angela,

As you know I am an active supporter of the SRA and also an active supporter of the collaborative resolution of issues by a unified SF Bay community.

I am writing this in my personal capacity with a view to continuing to build bridges between the two organisations in the interests of our community.

I remain concerned that there are a number of fundamental misconceptions on the part of the CRA, which better communication, on a “we” rather than “us” and “them” basis, would resolve.

Your concerns have been encapsulated under 3 categories.

Legal Basis

You state quite clearly, that the CRA are not opposed to the SRA as such, but at the same time it appears that you are seeking it’s abolishment through the legal proceedings.

Considering the enormous task that it took to get to the point that actual constructive progress could be made, you can understand how disappointing it is for those who have spent considerable time and money to try to establish the SRA.

This was done with the full knowledge that our rates and taxes have, thus far been mismanaged with the consequent deterioration of the infrastructure, and that even when the DA addresses this, the majority of their budget will of necessity go to the electorate who live in dire circumstances.

The big picture is that Tourism is what drives the towns economy. If we do not re-establish our beaches, save the canals and improve the infrastructure and safety and security, then we will no longer be a destination of choice and property values will continue to decline. The pensioners in particular will be worst hit, as their biggest assets are most likely to be their properties. If the local economy thrives, then Property prices go up, shops do well and more jobs are available for the Sea Vista community and of course the tax base goes up which allows the Municipality to improve their living circumstances.

Exclusion

In view of the number of properties in Santareme that are not built on, and many untraceable owners, it was not possible to get the requisite number of votes from that side timeously.

The Strategy was quite simple, that we needed to start somewhere and then we would extend the base to INCLUDE all as soon as possible. Dave Harpur is actively working on that as a Santareme resident, and would love the help of your supporters in achieving this.

If we had not done it this way, we would have lost valuable time in trying to save the spit and in addressing other infrastructure and safety and security concerns.

I am aware, incidentally, that there is a view that the beach and the spit are not the problem of people whose properties aren’t on them.

This is of course a very short sighted view, as evening cruises on the canals, are a unique draw card for St Francis and strolls on the beach are fundamental to beach holidays. So even if certain residents never do this, they can now understand that the value of their homes is underpinned by the healthy existence of both of these.

The SRA would welcome active participants who can be a part of the solutions to issues rather than being part of the problem, so it is more of the case that the CRA individuals have excluded themselves from the process by not being part of finding solutions. Joining the discussions where the issues can be understood and solutions found, would then deal with the concerns surrounding the Levy structure, means test and project selection.

Naturally it will be almost impossible to get everybody’s priorities the same, but that should not be for lack of trying. Where there is a spirit of compromise in the best interests of the broader community, fundamental to all successful relationships, solutions will be found.

It is highly unlikely that St Francis will have this opportunity to deal with the pressing issues that face our community in the South Africa of today, again. One might be critical of aspects of the SRA implementation, but Wayne and others have spent inordinate amounts of time and energy, for no personal gain, on our behalf and we should all be extremely thankful that we have people of such intellect and energy applying their minds as best they can.

Please feel free to call me to discuss anything and I urge you, and other members of the CRA, to withdraw the legal action and to join forces with the SRA to find better solutions to the issues you raise.Kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Miles Japhet”