Kouga Adds No Markup on Electricity Tariff Increase

Kouga Municipality - logo

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

Kouga Municipality - logo

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.”  

International Lighthouse Weekend celebrated at Seal Point Lighthouse this Sunday.

 

Seal Point Lighthouse

This beautiful photo of Seal Point From Landscape Collection by Photographer, the late Martin Barbour.

This coming weekend is International Lighthouse Weekend where Lighthouse managers, keepers and owners are encouraged to open their lighthouse or light station and related visitor centre to the public with a view to raising the profile of lighthouses and preserving maritime heritage.    Lighthouses all over the world have become involved in one or another lighthouse activity.   

One of the major international events is the ILLW (International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (see illw.net) run by the Amateur Radio Group and attracts over 500 lighthouse entries located in over 40 countries.  It is one of the most popular international amateur radio events in existence.  There is little doubt that the month of August has become “Lighthouse Month” due largely to the popularity and growth of the ILLW.

For the first time ever Seal Point lighthouse in Cape St Francis has been chosen by local amateur radio presenter, Keverne  Burger from the Port Elizabeth Amateur Radio Society to be a participating lighthouse.  Keverne will spend Saturday and Sunday inside the tower of the lighthouse communicating with other radio enthusiasts based in or near lighthouses around the world.  Keverne says “The aim is to make contact with another radio station, wherever they may be.  We give the reference of the lighthouse, the signal report and the name of the person talking.    Under normal circumstances we chat with people around the world and make friends.  It’s a great hobby!   We have also worked successfully with a youth development programme where we train underprivileged youth and get them licensed.”

Sunday also happens to be Family Day at Seal Point Lighthouse to raise funds for Talhado Children’s Haven and Montessori Preschool in Seavista which educates and runs a feeding scheme for close to 100 children aged between 3 and 6 years old.  A yoga session with Jade Dace will kick off the day at 9am, followed by a fun run/walk around the pristine grounds surrounding the lighthouse at 10am.  Food, juice, baked goods, seedlings, art and other goodies will be available to purchase.  Talhado’s very own marimba band will be playing in the grounds of the lighthouse.  And, of course you can take a trip up the tower of the lighthouse to enjoy the views from the top, and on the way up you will probably see Keverne in action, connecting with lighthouses around the world.

Clinton Hempel, one of the owners of Petrel Ventures, the leaseholder of the Seal Point Lighthouse Estate, said he and his fellow shareholders are delighted to welcome Keverne and all Cape St Francis residents and visitors alike to the Seal Point Lighthouse on this special weekend.  “We have spent an enormous amount of time and energy over the past 18 months refurbishing the Seal Point Lighthouse Estate, to bring this iconic Cape St Francis fixture firmly back within our community.  We look forward to a fun-filled weekend, all in aid of an excellent local cause”.

If you would like more information on the fundraiser please visit our Facebook page, Talhado Childrens Haven, or contact Cath on 0764126090. ‘

Article by Cath Hempel

So many ways people are helping FOSTER

FOSTER - friends of St Francis nature areas

FOSTER as an organisation is managed by a small committee of dedicated volunteers with different portfolios and responsibilities which is ably chaired by Richard Cowling.

To maintain the reserves and the various trails and paths used by walkers, cyclists and trail runners, funds are needed, and these are generated through membership fees, donations, or fund-raising initiatives. In addition, there are people in our community who give of their time, others who help financially or find ways to help FOSTER with its work, most of whom would like to remain anonymous. Having these generous and open-hearted residents as part of our community makes the work that FOSTER does rewarding and restores ones faith in humanity.

Foster recently received a most generous donation of R50 000 from a local homeowner, to put this in perspective that is equivalent to 166 family memberships. (Foster currently has 196 members) This unexpected and welcome contribution will go a long way in helping stretch our maintenance budget for the reserves and allow us to upgrade some existing paths.

Then there is the CSF resident who personally maintains and cuts back the encroaching vegetation onto the paths in the Seal Point Nature Reserve with his trimmer and cutter. One of our active members pays the monthly admin fees to ensure that our books are accurate and up to date and whose company donates building materials for the maintenance of the paths.

Not to forget the St Francis Bay resident who was concerned about the increase in Rooikrans in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve and came forward and offered to fund a project to help eradicate this alien species that is beginning to reappear. He is passionate about our area and the reserves and the need to protect what we have and is putting his money where his mouth is.

As is John Lagaay, another St Francis Bay resident who is an avid fisherman and decided to fund the removal of rubbish and debris brought in by the sea from the boats along the shore of Shark Point, which is part of the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Apart from making this an ongoing initiative, he also contributed substantially to the cost of having the wreck of the Barcelona largely removed and the area cleaned up so that it can no longer be used as a shelter by poachers and other undesirables. When asked why he replied, partially for selfish reasons, as I love fishing in a pristine environment and whilst many of my fellow fisherman obviously don’t, I want to keep my favourite fishing area as nature intended, the fact that this helps FOSTER is so much the better.

FOSTER will shortly be launching its new logo and an updated website. A huge amount of work has gone into the redesigned website by one of our committed members, and together with the generous help of Alex & Dominique Gotte from local media company DNA Online, will now be much more user friendly and includes updated easy to follow trail maps. DNA Online also hosts our website for a nominal annual fee.

The new logo will feature the endemic flower Satyrium princeps Bolus or commonly known as coastal Satyr which is on the red list of South African plants.

There are of course numerous other supporters of Foster, too many to mention, who make regular donations, or simply pay a much higher membership fee or find ways of supporting the work of FOSTER. The time and work that my fellow committee members contribute to FOSTER with no or little thanks also deserves a mention.

So, if you have ideas, want to give of your time or financially support Foster in any way, please contact us at info@foster.org.za.

 

The Experience Northern Cape Namakwa Challenge Is Approaching

The inaugural WSL Speciality Event for the Northern Cape region, the Experience Northern Cape Namakwa Challenge presented by Billabong Adventure Division, will take place in the Hondeklip Bay environs from August 23-31, 2021

The event, presented by Amandla Surfing Foundation, will most definitely score epic Northern Cape waves, with a 9-day window period. On top of this, only 20 surfers have been invited to compete.  

According to Abraham Vosloo, MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, “Tourism remains one of the most important economic contributors in the Northern Cape Province. We are constantly in pursuit of tourism growth. As part of our global and domestic marketing campaigns, we have continuously invested in sports projects to attract more visitors to the province. This is done to strengthen our brand position as a mecca for extreme sports and outdoor adventures and to draw the global media spotlight to the Northern Cape,” explains MEC Vosloo. 

SA Open Champion Joshe Faulkner sampling the Northern Cape treasures
© Van Gysen

The competition will be the first-ever professional surfing event hosted in the Northern Cape. It will do much to help grow surf tourism in the area and to develop surfing as a sport and lifestyle along the Northern Cape coast”, concludes Vosloo. 

According to Mr Avron Thomas, a District Manager for the Provincial Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in the Namakwa region, the event comes at the right time to unearth surfing talent to the locals. 

The event organiser is looking forward to the start of the event in the Northern Cape. “Due to a large outbreak of Covid-19 in Hondeklip Bay, a tiny community with limited medical resources, we have taken the decision to move the Namakwa Challenge to a remote surf spot in Namakwaland. At this new location, the surfers and crew will camp in isolation. While we are disappointed to not show off the wonderful town, we have to take a sensible decision for both the community and our surfers. We are very happy that we have the wide, open spaces of Namakwa. This will allow us to move the event to an area where we will not impact the locals. We will still be able to show off the rugged beauty and great waves of the Northern Cape,” says Kai Linder, Amandla Surf Foundation General Manager.

Top talent that will be in action during the Men’s Speciality Event will be top African Surfers, including World Longboard Champion Steven Sawyer (Jeffrey’s Bay) and Joshe Faulkner (Current SA Open Champion). In addition, hard-charging surfers like Matt Bromley (Billabong) and Dale Staples have been given wildcards to the event. Luke Thompson will also participate in the event.

“I’m very excited for the contest,” said Matt Bromley. “It is such a remote and beautiful part of the world, and the waves are powerful, which will definitely suit my style of surfing. West Coast power, I love that stuff.”

Bromley loves it when it gets nice and powerful. Seen here at Dungeons big wave spot in Hout Bay © Van Gysen

In further exciting news, Amandla Surfing Foundation has brought the NGO, Protect the West Coast on board as our environmental partner. They are doing sterling work to protect the Namakwa Coast from invasive mining and environmentally damaging activities on the coast.  

The event is presented in partnership with Amandla Surfing Association, the World Surf League, the Northern Cape Tourism Authority and Billabong.

Complimentary high-resolution images are available for media outlets on request.