Patensie wins EC round of Kwêla Town of the Year

A second Kouga town is in the running for the coveted Kwêla Town of the Year title.

Patensie was named the winner of the East Cape round of the annual competition on Kyknet’s Kwêla on Sunday. The Gamtoos Valley town beat two of the province’s well-known seaside towns, Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea, to claim the regional title.

Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks congratulated the Patensie community on the achievement and thanked everyone who had voted for the town.

“We would like to call on the whole of Kouga to throw their weight behind Patensie when it’s time to vote for the national winner,” he said.

“It was through a combined effort that we were able to win the title for Jeffreys Bay last year. Let us take hands and do the same for Patensie this year.”

The nine finalists are currently being announced weekly on Kwêla. Once all nine finalists have been revealed, voting for the national winner will take place from 26 to 31 May.

Nichola Uys, of Gamtoos Tourism, said they were elated to have won the East Cape round.

“This is a beautiful part of the world, with lots to do and see for visitors. The Kwêla competition is a fantastic opportunity to market the area and grow the local tourism industry,” she said.

The national winner will win free marketing worth R1-million through Kyknet, including a 45 second advert. KIA will also once again sponsor a “makietie” in the 2019 Town of the Year.  

Free Roadworthy Test ahead of Easter Weekend

Free Testing but Traffic Department closed over long weekends

Kouga Municipality’s Traffic Department will once again be helping residents to arrive safely at their holiday destinations this Easter weekend.

Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said the Kouga Traffic Department would be offering free roadworthy tests to residents ahead of the long weekend.

The free tests will be conducted from Monday, April 15, to Thursday, April 18, at the municipality’s vehicle testing centre at Humansdorp. The service will be available from 07:30 to 13:00 and from 13:30 to 15:00 on all four days.

“The safety of our residents lies close to our hearts,” Benson said. “Unroadworthy vehicles are one of the main causes of accidents on our roads; hence the municipality’s Traffic Department initiated this programme to help keep Kouga families safe.

He said no prosecution would be done if defects were found.

“The owner will receive a list of defects, if any, to attend to before embarking on their holiday trip.”

Residents are asked to take note that no certification will be issued as this is a free additional service being offered ahead of Easter.

The vehicle testing centre is situated at the Kouga Fire Brigade along the entrance to Humansdorp from the N2. For further information contact the Kouga Traffic Department at 042 200 2200.

Also note that the Traffic Department in both Humansdorp and Patensie will be closed over the upcoming long weekends in April and June.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said the Traffic offices were usually open on Saturdays so as to accommodate the high demand for licensing services.

“There are, however, three long weekends coming up and the offices will be closed for their duration, including the Saturdays,” he said.

The relevant dates are Easter Saturday, 20 April, Freedom Day, 27 April, and 15 June, ahead of Youth Day.

He further encouraged people to make us of the telephone booking system to avoid having to wait in long queues to make learner’s and driver’s licence appointments.

“Your telephonic booking does not secure a testing date. It secures a slot for you to visit the Traffic Department to make a date for the relevant tests,” he explained.

“Unfortunately, testing dates cannot be booked telephonically, as you also have to complete an eye test and your fingerprints have to captured on the Live Enrolment Unit. Only then can a testing date be confirmed through the eNatis system.”     

He reminded residents that learner’s licence tests and vehicle licence renewals can also be done at the Hankey satellite station at the municipal offices in the town.

To book a slot to visit the Traffic Department so that you can reserve a testing date phone 042 200 2200 and follow the automated voice prompts.   

Fish kill causes alarm at Seekoei estuary

An emergency application is due to be submitted to the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) this week for the breaching of the Seekoei estuary mouth at Paradise Beach, Jeffreys Bay.

Unlike previous occasions, however, the emergency is not high water levels endangering the lives of motorists crossing the causeway. Instead, the water level of the estuary has dropped to such an extent that fish have been dying in numbers.

“The water in the estuary has been evaporating rapidly because of the hot temperatures and strong winds,” Kouga Municipality’s Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said.

“Combined with this, there has been almost no inflow of fresh water because of the drought and numerous farm dams that trap water in the catchment area.  This has caused the salinity of the water to shoot up alarmingly.”

He said tests conducted last week indicated that the salt content was more than twice that of sea water.

“Estuarine life simply cannot survive under those circumstances.”

He said the situation had been reported to DEDEAT and that an emergency application for the breaching of the mouth was being finalised for submission to them in line with section 30 of the National Environmental Management Act.

“It may sound strange to want to add sea water to the estuary to decrease the salt content of the latter. The salinity of the estuary is, however, so much higher than that of the ocean at the moment that the sea water will actually help to lower the salt content of the lagoon,” he explained. 

“Ideally, what we need, is strong rains to boost the inflow of fresh water from upstream, but that is beyond our control. “While the inflow of sea water will not solve the problem completely, it will help to decrease the salinity levels.”

Benson said the Seekoei Estuary Management Plan, that was developed by the municipality and is currently awaiting final approval by the East Cape Environmental Affairs MEC, would help to address this dilemma in the long-term. 

“We have been a bit frustrated by the delays in obtaining final approval for the implementation of the plan but expect to meet with the DEDEAT in this regard before the end of the month.”

He said a further frustration was the failure by the national Department of Water and Sanitation to address the many illegal dams in the catchment area.

“The Department recently indicated that they were aware of more than 100 illegal farm dams in the Kouga region, but they have been slow to take action. Once these illegal dams have been removed, there will be more fresh water flowing into the system.”

In the meantime, he cautioned residents against eating the fish.

Kouga Dam levels continue to fall

Hankey, Patensie water quotas up for review

The communities of Hankey and Patensie are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the review of their annual water allocation by the national Department of Water and Sanitation.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the water allocation to the towns was drastically cut by the national Department in 2018 due to the prolonged drought.

“The Kouga Dam, from which water is extracted for Hankey and Patensie, belongs to the national Department and they determine how much water may be taken from the dam for these towns,” he explained.

” Despite the dam level increasing significantly towards the end of last year, the national Department refused to increase the quota before they could conduct their annual review in June.”

He said the municipality had been gathering information to support its application that the water quota for Hankey and Patensie be increased.

“We believe the Department has been basing its allocation on outdated information. The population of the towns has grown considerably since the quotas were first calculated and this must be considered going forward to ensure these communities are treated fairly when the review is done.

“Water rationing has had a significant impact on the lives of these communities and must be brought to an end.”

He said the municipality had also prioritised drilling and connecting boreholes to the existing water supply for these communities.

“We want to break Hankey and Patensie’s dependency on the Kouga Dam so that, even if the national Department refuses to lift its restrictions, the municipality will be able to increase and normalise the water supply to these towns.”

While water restrictions remain in place for all Kouga towns, only Hankey and Patensie are affected by water rationing due to their dependence on the Kouga Dam.

SAVE WATER

In spite of the good rains we must still make every effort to save water. Restrictions still apply throughout the Kouga municipality and in spite of the good recent rains in St Francis, our main dam, Kouga Dam, continues to fall. We are in our dry period now with little rain expected until the rainy season so it is like Kouga Dam will continue to fall.

Draft municipal budget and IDP tabled for 2019/2020

Kouga Municipality - logoKouga Municipality’s draft budget and draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the new financial year, starting July, were adopted by the Kouga Council on Friday(29/03/2019).

Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the draft documents would now be taken to communities for feedback so that both documents could be finalised in line with legislation and what Kouga communities consider to be the priorities.   

“We’ve tried to keep the proposed tariff increases as low as possible, but there are factors beyond the municipality’s control,” he said.

“This would include, for example, how much Eskom and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro charge us for electricity and water respectively. 

” Municipalities are further compelled by law to cover the cost of delivering basic services through the income for that service.”

In terms of the draft budget the operating revenue for 2019/20 totals R833,972-million. This is an increase of 9,7% compared to the 2018/19 Adjustments Budget.

The main revenue sources are basic service delivery(54,75%), property rates (23,81%) and operating grants and subsidies (15,96%).

The operating expenditure for 2019/20 totals R889,468-million, resulting in a budget deficit of R55,496-million. It is a 8,5% increase compared to the 2019/20 Adjustments Budget.  

The main expenditure items are employee-related costs (32,71%), bulk electricity purchases (25,71%) and depreciation (9,57%).  

The proposed tariff increases are:

  • 7,5% for property rates
  • 7,5% for water
  • 8% for sanitation
  • 8% for refuse
  • 5% for the Environmental Management Fee
  • 13, 87% for electricity (average increase in income). 

The draft capital budget for 2019/20 totals R89,932-million, which is a decrease of 57,08% compared to the 2018/19 Adjustments Budget. The decrease is mainly due to the allocation of the Water Services Infrastructure Grant to the municipality during the current financial year. 

Capital projects on the draft include R2-million for the acquisition of land for housing projects, a priority identified in the IDP for various communities. 

A further R2-million will be used to purchase wheelie bins for households and R1, 5-million for roads while almost R10-million has been earmarked for the upgrade of sport facilities, with the bulk going to KwaNomzamo.

Also included are upgrades to parks such as Yellowwoods at Hankey, Pellsrus and Kabeljous at Jeffreys Bay and the Cape St Francis Beach. 

Almost R16-million is set to go towards the completion of the Sea Vista Waste Water Works upgrade, R8,7-million for the  KwaNomzamo Waste Water Works and R4, 4-million towards the Patensie sewerage package plant.

A further R2, 3-million will be used for the municipality’s programme to eradicate the bucket system.

Several electricity projects have also been prioritized for the new financial year, including the electrification of houses at Ocean View and Kruisfontein. R1,2 million has also been earmarked for public lights. 

The full list of proposed capital projects can be viewed in the draft document.

 

Municipality to hold community consultation meetings

Kouga Municipality will be holding community consultation meetings in all wards this April to present the draft Integrated Development Plan and draft budget for the new financial year to residents.

The draft documents were adopted by the Kouga Council on Friday (29 March).

Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks encouraged all residents and stakeholder groups to attend the meetings. 

“It is an opportunity for citizens to give their input about the proposed tariff increases and the projects that have been earmarked for funding in the upcoming 2019/2020 financial year,” he said. 

“We would also like to make use of the opportunity to discuss the current free water allocation to indigent households, as well as credit control measures that affect prepaid electricity purchases.”

All meetings will start at 18:00.

The meetings will start on 11 April.
Three meetings will take place at the Sea Vista Community Hall (ward 1), Pellsrus Community Hall (ward 2) and the Kruisfontein Babs Hall (ward 4).

  • On 15 April the meetings will move to the Oyster Bay Hall (ward 1), Newton Hall (ward 3) and Kruisfontein Civic Centre (ward 5).
  • On 16 April meetings will be held in a marquee at the KwaNomzamo Community Hall (ward 6), Loerie Community Hall (ward 7) and the Newton Hall (ward 8).
  • On 17 April meetings will take place at the Dan Sandi Hall (ward 10), the Newton Hall (ward 11) and at the St Francis Bay Bowling Club (ward 12).

The next three meetings are scheduled for 23 April. A meeting will be held for Paradise Beach (ward 12) at the Marina Martinique while meetings will also be held at the Tokyo Sexwale Sportsfield (ward 14) and the Humansdorp Country Club (ward 15).

  • On 24 April meetings will be held at the Vusumzi Landu Hall (ward 9), KwaNomzamo’s Faith Mission Church (ward 12) and the Alec Ntantiso Hall (ward 13).
  • The meetings will conclude on 25 April at the Katrina Felix Hall (ward 7), the Vusumzi Landu Hall (ward 13) and the Aston Bay Hall (ward 14).

Queries about the IDP can be directed to the IDP manager, Colleen Dreyer, at cdreyer@kouga.gov.zaand about the budget to Budget and Treasury manager Shukree Abrahams at sabrahams@kouga.gov.za or phone 042 200 2200.

Media Reslease – Kouga Municipality