Kouga Tables Revised Draft IDP/Budget for Public Comment

Closing Date 16 June

Kouga Municipality - logoKouga Municipality has tabled a revised draft of its 2020/21 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and budget for public comment.

Kouga Speaker Hattingh Bornman said the original draft had been adopted by the Council on 26 March and advertised for comment, as required by law.

“Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, substantial changes had to be made to the draft,” he said.

“While the municipality is not legally required to advertise the revised draft for comment, the Kouga Council was in favour of opening up another round of public participation in view of the lockdown-related changes.”

Kouga CFO Riaaz Lorgat said the nationwide lockdown had impacted on the municipality’s revenue.

“The original draft budget was based on a 96% collection rate, but this has had to be decreased to 85% as many ratepayers and businesses have been struggling to pay their municipal accounts,” he said.

“The Council has further approved various payment relief options for municipal accountholders, which will also affect the municipal revenue in the new financial year.”

He said the revised draft operating revenue for the 2020/21 year was R904,99 million while the revised operating expenditure was R986,27 million.

“The focus has been on ensuring that the budget is fully cash-backed, with the deficit due to non-cash items,” he said.

He said the proposed tariff increases, effective from 1 July, were as follows:

  • Property rates – 5,25%
  •  Water – 8,1%
  • Sanitation – 7%
  • Refuse – 7%
  • Electricity – 6,25% average
  • Environmental Management Fee – 0%.

He said key expenditure items included bulk water and electricity purchases (28,36%) and employee-related costs (33,53%), the latter being in line with the norm set by National Treasury.

The draft capital budget for the 2020/21 year amounts to R62,95 million. A full list of funded projects can be viewed on the municipality’s website at www.kouga.gov.za and the municipal Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kouganews.

IDP manager Colleen Dreyer said the municipality’s development priorities for the coming year had been guided by the six narratives announced by Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks in his State of the Municipality Address. These narratives are Keep Kouga Serviced, Keep Kouga Clean, Keep Kouga Green, Keep Kouga Safe, Keep Kouga Smart and Keep Kouga Growing.

The development priorities can also be viewed on the municipal website and Facebook page.

In his opening remarks Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks cautioned that the societal and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, combined with the ongoing drought, was a serious concern.

He called on the political and administrative leadership of the municipality, the business and religious fraternity and communities at large “to help keep our ship steady through the storms, as I am sure, we will be hit by wave after wave as we try to navigate ourselves into calmer seas over the next few months and beyond.”

“Some difficult times lie ahead, but I want to give you the assurance that these challenges are not insurmountable,” he said.

“While many municipalities are flailing to survive in these times, Kouga has been rendering services consistently, keeping debts current on water and electricity, and managing to bring social relief in the form of thousands of food parcels.

He encouraged residents to take care of one another.

“Let’s keep our families safe through wearing masks when we are outside, practising proper hygiene by keeping our hands clean and making social distancing the new norm.”

Comments on the revised draft IDP can be emailed to cdreyer@kouga.gov.za and comments on the revised budget to sabrahams@kouga.gov.za. The closing date is 13:00 on 16 June 2020.

* The media presentation on the revised draft IDP and budget can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/226281930733233/posts/3498138366880890/

 

Covid-19 payment relief approved for residents and business

Kouga Municipality - logoVarious Covid-19 payment relief measures for residents and businesses have been approved by the Kouga Council.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the aim of the relief measures was to assist residents and businesses whose income had been negatively affected by the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

“Many businesses were unable to operate during the initial stages of the lockdown and suffered serious financial losses. Many residents were also unable to work and lost their income,” he said.

“The municipality was not spared, with the collection rate dropping by 19% in April. This had to be taken into account by Council in approving the final payment relief options for residents and businesses.”

He said some of the relief measures that had been approved, would automatically be applied to all municipal accounts.

“Then there are additional relief measures for which residents and businesses will be able to apply, if relevant to them.”

He said relief measures that would automatically be applied to all accounts, included a reprieve on interest charged on overdue accounts from the start of the lockdown to 30 June 2020.

“All debt collection measures have also been stopped for this period.

“Blocked electricity meters were unblocked in March and no money has since been taken off prepaid purchases for overdue accounts. This reprieve will remain in place until the end of this month (June 2020).”

He said from 1 July money would once again be taken off prepaid purchases for overdue accounts.

“However, this will be done at a reduced rate of 25% and not 50%, as was the arrangement before the lockdown.

“Residents and businesses will also then be able to apply for further relief.”

He said relief measures subject to application, included a retrospective payment holiday for the months of April to June 2020.

“Residents and businesses will also be able to apply for reprieve from interest on their outstanding accounts up to 31 December 2020. They will further be able to make three to six-month payment arrangements with the municipality.”

He said any household whose combined income had dropped to below R3 720 due to the lockdown would be able to apply for indigent service subsidies.

“These applicants will be placed on a Covid-19 indigent register for temporary relief. All households that qualify, will receive free basic services until the end of the year.”

These free basic services include 50kwh electricity plus the basic charge for free, 12kl water plus the basic charge for free, free refuse removal and free sewer, based on 12kl water consumption. Those who qualify will also not have to pay the Environmental Management Fee and will receive rates relief for an additional R85 000 on their properties.

He said the application forms were available from the municipal website at www.kouga.gov.za/documentlibrary/finance, as well as from the Revenue section at the municipal units in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay and Hankey.

Once completed, the form and supporting documents can be emailed to abontshi@kouga.gov.za or submitted to the Revenue section at the above offices.

The closing date for applications is 30 June 2020.

Residents are encouraged to submit electronic applications if possible so as to avoid long queues forming at offices.

The form cn also be downloaded here Kouga Covid-19 payment relief application

Don’t light a fire today & tomorrow

Photo by Colleen Ebersohn of Cape St Francis Fire from Wildside

A burn ban has been issued by Kouga Fire & Disaster management for the remainder of this week due to extreme weather conditions predicted. Warning of Hot North to North western gale force winds expected for next 2 days with a cold front to follow.

the weather system is developing and from today we will experience very hot, dry and North-westerly windy conditions (35 degrees). The system looks similar to the one that was experienced three years ago during the Knysna/ Bitou fires. Models now indicate wind speed gusting at similar speeds as those experienced in 2017.

St Francis Disaster Volunteer Group (DVG) are at the ready should another disaster threaten and will be swopping hazard vests for distributing food parcels in Sea Vista for fire goggles, gloves and of course, MASKS!

 It is predicted that wind speed will calm down during Tuesday night , but it will be even stronger on Wednesday as well as Thursday this week.

You certainly won’t be needing a fire to warm your house tonight and tomorrow so if you decide to braai, make sure you take every precaution to make it safe..

Please report any sign of fires to the Fire department at 042 291 0250

4 Best Ways To Enhance Your Health And Fitness Using CBD Oil

In the past decade, everyone has positively observed a boom in the appearance of cannabis, CBD, or marijuana in their news feed, suggested posts, or even in promotional emails.

Why is that so? Because CBD can alleviate pain, treat epilepsy, and improve your health in more ways than one can list in one go.

The following are four best ways to enhance your health and fitness using CBD oil, go through these to rocket your health towards well-being.

Effective workout relief with CBD

If you exercise enough to stay on the healthier side of life, then let’s face it – you have to go through pain after every intense session of exercise. And that pain is nothing close to the word ‘good’.

What if you could boost your endurance for pain? What if your threshold capacity just surged? Wouldn’t that be just wonderful?

Well, it can be possible with CBD. Even the veterans of a sport like MMA believe it, and to date act on it.

Rashad Evans retired UFC fighter openly claims that he used CBD oil after intense workout sessions and fights to nullify pain significantly.

In an internet announcement, he even admitted that if he knew about the wonders of this Magical Plant, then he’d take advantage of it in his prime youth.

Apart from the verbal referral, a Washington study also suggests CBD can be useful in treating pain.

According to the study, CBD oil molecules act on the CB2 receptors and activate them. CB2 receptors are known to suppress pain and inflammation in the body.

Thus, CBD proves to be an integral solution for pain by acting on CB2 receptors of the Endocannabinoid system in our bodies.

Improved sleep with CBD oil

Apart from exercising and nutrition, sleep is also an essential aspect of a healthy life. Without a proper sleep schedule, all those exercises and fitness regimes are futile.

That’s where cannabis oil Canada can provide you a healthy sleep routine.

With CBD oil by your side, anxiety, and sleep-related problems will stay at bay. A research report by the University of Colorado, Denver, has also termed CBD as a novel treatment for sleep and anxiety issues.

CBD oil proves to be an effective solution for people who don’t seem to get benefits from OTC drugs for sleep. CBD oil is a non-addictive method to put the body’s sleep-wake cycle in good shape.                     

CBD for better sex health

Almost all men, at least once in their life, go through low times of Erectile Dysfunction. It’s a condition when the man can’t get his penis erect enough at the time of penetration.

There could be many underlying causes of such conditions. But undoubtedly, CBD oil is one of the few effective means to treat ED forever.

For starters, a person could have ED due to psychological conditions like performance anxiety. Or tissue damage could be the one to cause trouble. But it’s mostly backed by stress.

CBD can reduce anxiety and stress by manifolds and may prove to be an effective way to treat ED by relieving the mind of endless stress.

Another prominent factor in ED can be diabetes and disrupted blood-sugar levels. CBD can help that condition, too – by controlling the untamed pancreas. CBD does so by acting on the body’s endocannabinoid system and its receptors – CB1 and CB2.

The last and rarest reason that promotes erectile dysfunction can be pain during intercourse. Yes, men can also feel pain during intercourse, and it’s not limited to women.

And genital pain isn’t the only factor hindering someone’s sex life. It could be a chronic pain in the back or in some joints, which keeps them from getting physical.

CBD is the top player here too. As discussed above, CBD may treat chronic and acute pain easily, without having any side-effects on the body, except if someone ODs on THC.

Improving skin conditions with CBD

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. And it has more to it than making you look your best. And no one loves a bad skin day, let alone years with skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.

Psoriasis is a skin condition accompanied by scaly patches that inflict pain. This is a direct result of proliferating skin cells.

As per research by Nottingham University, CBD may pose to be a novel treatment for psoriasis by slowing down the abnormal growth of affected cells.

Another skin condition that CBD oil might treat is acne. It is a kind of inflammatory condition. And there’s no doubt CBD can help combating inflammation. 

CBD has a two-headed arrow to ward off acne – suppressing inflammation in the affected area & by slowing down hyped up sebum production.

Sebum is an oily secretion of the human body, which, when produced in an unusually high amount, causes conditions like acne.  

Before you buy a CBD oil bottle online and get started with treating any of the above conditions, we’d love to measure some precautions for this wonderful product.

  • Start with microdoses. Do not be impatient and try to take more than the required dose when starting.
  • Gradually increase your CBD oil dosage, under the supervision of a doctor.
  • Make sure your CBD oil doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC in it. Otherwise, you could end up in legal trouble. Even you can get high and feel like not doing anything – highly unproductive.
  • See if your seller has got third-party lab certificates justifying the authenticity of the CBD oil they are selling.

There are many other benefits of CBD oil for the betterment of health and fitness, but the limits of this article don’t allow us to list them all.

But to make this a quick endnote, you may use CBD for the following conditions too. Although these all are not backed 100% by human trials, there’s no harm in trying:

  • CBD oil may slow down the growth of melanoma cells to mitigate the damage caused by skin cancer.
  • Another research showed that CBD might treat high-blood pressure better than Placebo.

 So if you have never tried CBD oil for skyrocketing your health and fitness, then there’s no time like the present

Jessie.

Concern for the oceans drives consumers to ‘vote with their forks’ for sustainable seafood

South African consumers are leading the world in consumer activism to protect our oceans and the seafood we all love. Choosing seafood with the blue MSC label is just one easy way to take action for our oceans this World Oceans Day.

High levels of concern for our oceans are driving a growing wave of consumer activism, research for the Marine Stewardship Council reveals, as consumers increasingly ‘vote with their forks’ to safeguard our oceans.

The largest survey of its kind, involving more than 20,000 people across 23 countries and conducted by independent insights consultancy, GlobeScan, reveals that 77% of South African seafood shoppers already made changes to the way they choose and buy seafood in the last year, in order to protect fish in our oceans.

Consumer activism includes switching to brands or products that say they help protect the oceans or fish (37%), buying different seafood species (22%) and changing where they buy seafood (18%). Nearly 9 out of 10 South African seafood consumers are prepared to take further action in the future to safeguard our oceans.

These actions are being fuelled by the worry held by 42% of South Africans that their favourite fish won’t be available to eat in 20 years’ time. For plenty more fish to be left in the sea, seafood consumers say buying fish and seafood from sustainable sources is vital.

Among the preferred fish and seafood species, a third of South Africans indicated their love for hake. Now in its 16th year of MSC certification, South Africa’s hake trawl was the first hake fishery in the world, and the second groundfish fishery, to be certified against the MSC Fisheries Standard. Brands such as I&J, SeaHarvest and Woolworths’ homebrand sell a wide range of MSC certified Cape Hake.

A number of long-term ecological and economic gains have been achieved by the hake fishery since its first certification in 2004. Optimised fishing practices have led to major environmental improvements including a 90% decline in seabird mortalities associated with the fishery.  

A third of South African seafood lovers say they look for ecolabelled products when shopping, particularly 18-24 year olds and shoppers with children1. Choosing products with the blue MSC label allows consumers to enjoy eating seafood in the knowledge that they have made a positive choice to support well-managed, sustainable fisheries.

Oceans contain up to 80% of life on earth 2, with seafood providing an important source of protein to more than 3 billion people across the world 3.  However, a third of fisheries around the world have been fished beyond sustainable limits, and a further 60% 4 are fished to their maximum capacity.

This World Oceans Day (8th June), the independent, not-for-profit Marine Stewardship Council is launching a new global campaign Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future. The aim is to encourage more consumers to switch to seafood that is certified to its rigorous ‘blue label’ standard.

Rupert Howes, Chief Executive at the Marine Stewardship Council said: “With overfishing, climate change and pollution putting increasing pressure on our oceans, the choices we make as consumers have never been more important. This survey shows people really do care where their seafood comes from and how it is sourced.

At a time when the seafood industry is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we can all play a part in supporting fishers committed to sustainable practises, helping to protect marine ecosystems and safeguarding our seafood supplies for future generations. Choose certified sustainable seafood by looking out for the blue MSC label.”

Please see additional comments and contributions by industry and environmental conservation and sustainability organisations below.

#Ends#

For media enquiries please contact:

Louanne Mostert
Marketing & Communications Manager, MSC South Africa
Louanne.Mostert@msc.org