Hundreds of driver’s licences ready for collection

Hundreds of driver’s licence cards are awaiting collection at Kouga Municipality’s Traffic Department in Humansdorp.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said local residents were among the thousands of motorists affected by the countrywide delay in the printing of driver’s licence cards.

“Many motorists who came to renew their licences at the Kouga Traffic Department or who passed their driver’s licence tests have had to wait a very long time for their cards,” he said.

“The printing of cards is the responsibility of the national Department of Transport. The delay was caused by a labour dispute between the Department and the service provider they had appointed to print the cards.

“We are relieved that the national Transport Department has finally started catching up with the backlog, as it has been a source of great frustration for Kouga residents as well.”

He said that while the national Transport Department’s service provider would usually notify motorists that their driver’s licence cards were ready for collection, this has not been the case with the backlog.

“This means hundreds of driver’s licence cards have arrived at the Kouga Traffic Department without motorists having been informed.

“We will, therefore, be posting the lists of names of those whose driver’s licence cards have arrived on the municipal website.

“All motorists who have been affected by the delay, are asked to check if their names are on the list. The information will be updated, as more cards are received,” he said.

Then Transport Minister Blade Nzimande earlier this year issued an apology to South Africans for the delay.

He said his Department had issued a directive to provincial and municipal traffic authorities not to penalise motorists who did not have driver’s licence cards despite having complied with the prescripts of the application and renewal process.

To check if your card has arrived, visit www.kouga.gov.za

International delegates head to Kouga for climate talks

IT’s all systems go for the first international climate change partnership to be hosted in the Kouga region.

Set to take place from 9 to 11 October in Jeffreys Bay, the workshop will bring together more than 100 delegates from nine countries to discuss how municipalities can help minimise the harmful impact of climate change on communities.

“We are very honoured to have been chosen to host the workshop and look forward to three days of fruitful engagement with our counterparts from across the globe,” said Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks.

“The Kouga region has not been immune to the negative impact of climate change. We are facing one of the worst droughts in recorded history while rising ocean levels have led to widescale beach erosion in our coastal towns.

“The prolonged drought not only threatens water security for our communities, it also affects key local industries such as agriculture where jobs have already had to be shed.”

He said the workshop was a continuation of Kouga’s climate change partnership with the German municipality Ilsfeld.

“Other German municipalities have formed similar partnerships with municipalities in Africa and South America. It is 12 of these German municipalities and their partners that will be in attendance,” he explained.

The other participating countries are Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Namibia, Nicaragua, Peru, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

Hendricks said the main purpose of the workshop was for the partner municipalities to present and discuss the action plans they have been working on jointly for the past two years.

The workshop will include a talk by Dr Peter Johnston, a climate scientist from the University of Cape Town, on the role municipalities play in climate mitigation.

The delegates will also undertake site visits, including a mass tree-planting ceremony at the Kruisfontein Multisport Complex in Humansdorp.

Good rains but dams have shown little improvement

The dam level are expected to improve after good rains  over the weekend and yesterday but the latest dam reading taken yesterday, 30th September, show no improvement compared to August levels. Levels are nowhere near to what we need to avoid a drought disaster similar to, or worse than last year last year when some towns, Hankey and Patensie were severely restricted to water usage to limited hours of the day.  We in the NMB catchment area all share this precious commodity so spare a thought for our neighbouring towns and SAVE WATER.

The images below show dam levels, particularly Kouga, our main supply and Impofu are still at seriously low levels going into summer. We we are still a long way from having sufficient water to see us through the summer unless dam levels get another boost with more heavy rain before the end of the rainy season. 

So the answer?

We need to keep on doing all we can to save our precious water supply. It is up to each and every  one of us.

NOTE KOUGA DAM IS STILL 3% LOWER THAN A MONTH AGO AND IMPOFU 1% LOWER

Here is what we wrote just short of 13 months ago after the heavy rains, similar to those over the weekend, saw or dams recover from seriously low levels.

11th September 2018 – “A far prettier picture than a fortnight ago when we compare the dam levels. Although dam levels have risen significantly we are far from being able to relax on our use of water for the combined levels of the dams in the Nelson Mandela Bay catchment area are still below 40%. Hopefully we will still receive more good rains before summer and the expected influx of visitors to our shores for should our dam levels not increase significantly we will, come next winter, be back in the same position as we were this winter so we need to continue SAVING WATER.” See dam levels in September 2018

International delegates to plant 100 trees

One hundred trees are set to be planted at the Kruisfontein Multisport Complex in Humansdorp this October when municipalities from across the world will be in Kouga for an international climate change workshop.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the municipality was looking forward to welcoming more than 100 delegates from nine countries to the workshop.

Set to take place from 9 to 11 October at Mentorskraal Country Estate, the workshop will bring together representatives from Germany, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Peru, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

“As part of the programme, delegates will be visiting climate change hotspots in our region and take part in a massive tree-planting drive at the Kruisfontein Multisport Complex,” he said.

“The complex was upgraded a few years ago and is home to our region’s top-performing rugby club, Kruisfontein United, who has been keeping Kouga’s flag flying high in the EP Rugby Union’s Super League.”  

Hendricks said the three-day workshop would be a continuation of Kouga’s climate change partnership with the German municipality Ilsfeld.

Twelve German municipalities and their respective partners from Africa and South America will be in attendance. Two South African municipalities, Kouga and the Alfred Nzo District Municipality, also from the Eastern Cape, will be among the delegates.  

“The purpose of the workshop is for the partner municipalities to present the joint programmes of action they have been working on since the kick-off conference in Germany in October 2017.

“It will serve as a platform for municipalities from different parts of the world to learn from each other’s shared experiences and to unlock potential funding for projects aimed at minimising the impact of climate change on local communities.”

The partnership programme is being spearheaded by Global Engagement’s Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW), a unit specialising in cooperative local development, together with an amalgamation of stakeholders called the Landesarbeidtsgemeinschaft Agenda 21 NRW.

It is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BZN).

“It is a golden opportunity for participating municipalities to prepare their communities for climate change through the development and implementation of concrete programmes of action, including objectives, measures and allocated resources,” he said.        

Kouga searches underground for pothole solutions

Could a mining solution be a way forward toa more permanent solution to repairing portholes?

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the municipality would be piloting a new pothole filler similar to shotcrete used underground in mines for ground consolidation, rock reinforcement and water control.

“We are very excited to be putting this product to the test. Kouga has been looking for innovative solutions to fix pothole-ridden roads. If this roadcrete works as promised, it will be a giant step in the right direction,” he said.

Hendricks recently launched a special Mayoral intervention programme to boost the municipality’s capacity to repair roads.

As part of the programme, 70 additional workers have been employed on a temporary basis while 32 permanent staffers recently completed intensive training on road maintenance.

“Our road teams have been doing a commendable job and repaired almost 8 000 potholes this past financial year. One of the great frustrations, however, is how quickly potholes wash open again when it rains.

“The purpose of the intervention programme is to strengthen the municipality’s ability to maintain its roads. It will not mean the end of potholes but will set a new standard for repairs and bring us closer to more permanent fix,” he said.

Kouga is piloting the new pothole filler in partnership with Amathole MTC, a mining technology company.

Jonathan Auld, from the company’s Bedford office, was in Jeffreys Bay to introduce the product to the municipality and demonstrate its application.

“There is a standing joke in our company that we have been operating underground for too long,” he said.

“With road conditions in South Africa deteriorating fast, we realised there was also a market above ground that could benefit from the technology we have been using in mines.”

He said the cement-based roadcrete product had better adhesive qualities than traditional asphalt and bitumen mixes.

“This means it locks better with the tar and filled potholes are then less likely to wash open when it rains. If applied properly, we estimate the roadcrete plug could stay in place for anything from 10 to 25 years.”

He said the application of the product further required less manpower and machinery.

“Roadcrete is currently more expensive than bitumen and asphalt mixes, but this is off-set by the reduced cost of labour, fuel and machines, which can be cut by up to 90%.

“The fact that the same pothole will not have to be repaired over and over again also saves on costs.”

He said a total of 120kg roadcrete will be applied to potholes in the Kouga region for the pilot.

Jonathan Auld (right) show Jacques Jenneker how to level the roadcrete while (from left) East Cape MPL Vicky Knoetze, Kouga municipal workers Eric Bezuidenhout and Julio Manuel look on.

Meanwhile, work is also under way on Kouga’s eco-friendly road, incorporating waste plastic.

“The stormwater infrastructure is in place at the pilot project in Jeffreys Bay and work on the sidewalks and curbing is almost completed,” Hendricks said.

“The contractor expects to start stripping off the tar soon and will then lay the top layer which includes the special plastic mix.”

Local youth pass tough lifeguard exam

Eighteen new professional lifeguards have been added to Kouga’s pool.

New Kouga Lifeguards

Kouga has 18 new home-grown lifeguards, with another seven set to take their Lifeguard Award exam

The 18 youngsters, including top junior surfers Angelo Faulkner and Jeremy van Wyk, passed their final lifesaving exams with flying colours at Jeffreys Bay on Sunday.

“Each of the youngsters will now receive a Lifeguard Award,” said Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson.

“This qualification is recognised internationally and can help them secure work as a lifeguard anywhere in the world.”

He said a further four candidates were unable to complete the time test for swimming due to rough conditions and would be re-examined within the next two weeks.

“Another three candidates are also set to take the exam. Should all of them qualify, we will have 25 new home-grown lifeguards to look after holiday-makers on our beaches this festive season,” he said.

The group includes young people, aged 18 to 30, from Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp and St Francis Bay.

Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks commended them for their hard work over the past six months.

“The training requires immense stamina and commitment. Many candidates dropped out along the way, but these 25 refused to give up.

“They trained tirelessly, with no remuneration or incentive other than their determination to become professional lifeguards.”

He further thanked Kouga’s senior lifeguards for the fine work they had done in training the youngsters.

The candidates responded to an invitation from the municipality earlier this year for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 to register for free lifeguard training.

Benson, whose directorate is responsible for lifeguard services, said the aim of the initiative was to increase the local pool of lifeguards and give young people the opportunity to benefit from seasonal employment opportunities.

The training was open to Kouga residents only.