Municipality To Find Lasting Solution For Stray Animals

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KOUGA Municipality is looking at different approaches to find a permanent solution for roaming animals across the region.

Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said roaming animals were a serious threat to public safety and had been highlighted as a matter of concern by residents.

“The municipality has been leading investigations to find a lasting solution – especially now that there is no pound for stray animals,” he said.

“We have already engaged with roleplayers such as livestock owners in order to get a better understanding of the challenges and are working closely with the municipality’s law enforcement unit to identify and implement solutions.”

He said possible solutions include the establishment of a municipal-run pound or a pound managed by the SPCA Assisi in Humansdorp. The third option is a privately owned pound in the region.

Benson said two of the challenges identified, are the shortage of commonage land for local upcoming farmers and the easy availability of calves for purchase.

“This means that when animals are impounded, livestock owners simply buy new calves as this is cheaper than paying the fine and transport their confiscated cattle from the pound,” he said. “If we are going to stop this from happening, we need the support of the wider farming community and will be engaging with them as well.

“Furthermore, more education will be done in our communities on how to care for animals and the dangers they pose to residents once they are let loose and left unsupervised.”

Benson encouraged all livestock owners to ensure that their animals do not wander around unattended and that they are properly branded.

“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of livestock owners to keep their animals from damaging other people’s property and roaming around in the road, where they can cause serious accidents,” he said.

The keeping of livestock is subject to municipal by-laws such as the Road and Traffic by-law and Prevention of Public Nuisance and Keeping of Animals by-law. In terms of municipal notice 109/2016, published on 13 October, livestock owners have been granted seven days to comply with the by-laws, failing which their animals will be impounded.

Kouga Adds No Markup on Electricity Tariff Increase

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AS much as Kouga Municipality was mindful of the tough economic climate on residents, its recent electricity tariff increase was guided by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and Eskom.

From July 1 this year, residents were paying 14.59% more for electricity.

This despite the municipality voicing their concern through the participation process to NERSA earlier this year.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the municipality realised that the electricity hike would hit residents’ pockets hard given the current economic climate brough about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a bid to keep the electricity tariff as low as possible for local residents, the municipality did not add a markup to the awarded increased percentage by NERSA to Eskom – giving them the green light to charge municipalities more,” he said.

“The municipality is also on the receiving end as far as this is concerned, especially when it comes to electrical infrastructure service delivery and electrical bills that have to be paid.”

The step tariff electrical costs are as follows:

  • Block 1: 0 units to 50 units – R1.16 per unit
  • Block 2: 51 units to 350 units – R1.51 per unit
  • Block 3: 351 units to 600 units – R2.16 per unit
  • Block 4: More than 600 units – R2.60 per unit

Hendricks urged all residents to utilise electricity wisely, as well as to use less electricity from 07:00 to 09:00 and from 17:00 to 22:00.

Municipality to Clamp Down on Illegal Electricity

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Illegal electrical connections in KougaKOUGA Municipality, in conjunction with the local South African Police Service, is set to clamp down on illegal electricity connections in the region – no matter what it takes.

Thus, Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor, Willem Gertenbach, has called on all residents to support the initiative, which aims to safeguard communities against the serious threats posed by illegal electricity.

According to Gertenbach, illegal electricity connections are most prevalent in informal settlements across the region – especially Ocean View in Jeffreys Bay, Sea Vista in St Francis Bay and KwaNomzamo in Humansdorp.

“The loss of income due to illegal connections is estimated at about R280 million per year,” he said.

Gertenbach said illegal electricity poses a great danger to communities.

“Illegal wiring is generally not installed properly and often criss-crosses streets where children play, and people walk. These innocent people could easily be shocked and killed by this wiring.

“It, furthermore, presents a serious fire risk – especially in informal areas where structures tend to be more flammable and built closely together.”

He explained that illegal electricity further damage service delivery by overloading the associated infrastructure. “This means that illegal electricity could potentially blow the entire power supply to an area, leaving everyone, including law-abiding residents, in the dark.”

“The municipality regularly cut and remove illegal wiring, but perpetrators often simply replace the wiring and continue with their illegal activities once the municipal team had left.

“Workers who cut illegal wiring are also often threatened with violence by those guilty of stealing electricity.”

According to Gertenbach, residents who supply and use electricity illegally, put their entire communities and their own families at risk.

“It is a situation that cannot be tolerated, and we call on communities to report such activity and to support the municipality in its efforts to clamp down on it,” he said.

“Residents who supply electricity illegally are issued with stiff fines the first two times they are caught. Smaller circuit breakers are also installed to their homes to limit the amount of electricity they can access.

“If offenders are caught a third time, their electricity supply is disconnected permanently.”