Tests could lead to water outages at Aston and Paradise

Expert contractors have been appointed to carry out a series of tests in the Kouga municipal region to help combat water losses.

Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Councillor Freddy Campher said the appointment was part of the municipality’s ongoing Water Loss Programme.

“The Re-Solve/EAS Joint Venture has been tasked to conduct discreteness testing in order to optimize the water reticulation system, as well as to locate potential leaks,” he said.

Campher warned that the tests could lead to a drop in water pressure or water interruptions for up to three hours in the areas where the teams were working.  

Tests will be conducted in Aston Bay next week, from 25 to 27 February, and in Paradise Beach the following week, from 4 to 6 March.

“The teams will, as far as is possible, conduct their investigations early in the week.  

“Residents will, therefore, most likely experience a disruption of the water supply on a Monday, but we recommend that they also prepare for possible interruptions on the Tuesday and Wednesday.   

He said the teams would be easily identifiable as they will be wearing brightly coloured safety vests and carrying ID cards.

“They will also be making use of branded vehicles and will have a letter signed by Kouga Municipality, indicating the activities to be undertaken.

“We ask that residents be patient during the execution of these activities in order to help us reduce water losses and ensure ongoing reliable service delivery to all residents.”

 
 

Coastal repairs underway at Oyster Bay

REPAIR and protection work has started along the beachfront of one of Kouga’s most pristine coastal towns.

Sand Dunes Oyster BayKouga Municipality this week started removing the dunes that have been overrunning Brander Street and properties at Oyster Bay.

“It will take about five weeks to flatten the dunes and open up Brander Street, the area under immediate threat,” said Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson.

“Once this has been completed, the rehabilitation work will commence and protective berms established to help prevent a recurrence.”

Benson said the municipality received environmental authorisation in 2016 to address the risk posed at Oyster Bay by encroaching dunes and the Slang River, whose flow has been changed by the build-up of sand at the river mouth.

“After receiving the authorisation, we started clearing the sand that was covering Brander Street and neighbouring properties.

“A protection wall was also built on the Slang River side, so that the river would run straight to the sea and not wash away buildings and infrastructure, as has happened in the past.  

“Some rehabilitation work was also undertaken, but because of the severe drought and water restrictions at the time, the vegetation did not grow and the sand eventually built up again.”

He said the municipality was finalising a dune rehabilitation plan to improve the long-term management of the area.    

“Berms will be created and strengthened with drought-resistant vegetation, so as to create a barrier and prevent the sand from creating dunes again. There will also be regular maintenance of the dune to ensure the success of the rehabilitation process.”

He said the current project was being funded from the municipality’s own income and would lay the foundation for the work to be done through the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working for the Coast Programme and Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP).

“Our aim is to use the Working for the Coast grant to employ local people to rehabilitate the dunes. The EPIP funding will be put towards infrastructure projects such as the replacement of the ablution facilities and parking area that washed away at the Oyster Bay beach more than five years ago.”

He said all work being done, was in line with the environmental authorisation and the approved Environmental Management Programme that had been issued.

“We are very pleased that we are now in a position to address the serious risk posed by the Slang River and encroaching dunes.

“Oyster Bay has one of the country’s most beautiful coastlines and we would like to ensure that it remains that way, in the best interest of our communities and the environment.”     

Sand Dunes Oyster Bay

Homeowners must play their part

New Risk Reduction Committee formed to minimize fire risks

A new Risk Reduction Committee has been set up by Kouga Municipal Fire Department to encourage all property owners to do their part to reducing the risk of fires in the region.
Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson commenting on the newly formed committee said  “All property owners have a role to play in preventing fires by ensuring that there are no unnecessary combustible materials on their properties,” .

He said overgrown erven were among the factors that increased the risk of fire and that the municipality was also accelerating its own bush-clearing program.

Property owners have a responsibility to identify potential risk and take measures to decrease these risks. “This  includes removing overgrown or dry vegetation, as well as safeguarding wood piles, garden furniture, chemicals and the like.”

Informal settlement unrest

That residents of the informal settlement vented their anger on Saturday morning is certainly a warning of things to come if nothing is done to uplift their squalid living conditions. It seems a lot of promises are made but little, if anything changes in the informal settlement of Sea Vista.

Council moots reasons for reduced levels of service to previously advantaged communities to their stated commitment of uplifting the conditions of the townships throughout Kouga. However there appears little visible evidence of any improvements to life, certainly in the Sea Vista informal precinct. In fact it seems to decay from one day to the next and the residents are obviously starting to react to the situation.

That community services are the first to be destroyed in almost all service delivery protests countrywide may be puzzling to some but consider, the protesters have little else with which to show their discord. Thankfully in this instance it was only some litter and faeces on the R330, it could be worse if their dissent is aimed at more substantial facilities or the wealthier community facilities.

Why more and more poor souls are migrating to our part of the East Cape makes little sense for there is little, if any employment opportunities available. That the informal settlement expands daily must surely be a concern to the council if not the provincial authorities so why then is nothing being done to stop the migration?

There can be no doubt that someone is making money as a landlord of the shacks being erected adjacent the R330. If the DA is so committed to stamping out corruption maybe the council should do a little investigative work to identify the person or persons giving tenure to those building homes on this stretch of land. Considering all the graft, bribery and corruption withing  political circles it would not be surprising if this landlord holds some political clout to protect him if indeed he is not in fact a politician himself.

Fortunately the weekend’s unrest was short lived so there was minimal disruption to travelling between Cape St Francis and the outside world but it  highlights the importance of the roadway from Cape St Francis through the Air Park. Without this road St Francis would be effectively be cut off from the outside world were Sea Vista unrest to occur again.

We were in two minds of posting this but the plight of those living in the informal settlement needs to be addressed by council for it is a fuse just waiting to be lit.

More than 40 taxis impounded

MORE than 40 taxis were impounded by Kouga Municipality over the past two months as part of the institution’s drive to make public transport safer. Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said a total of 42 taxis were impounded by the Kouga Traffic Department this past December and January for operating without a public transport permit.

“The municipality has been holding weekly roadblocks with the South African Police Service to clamp down on illegal public transport operators and will continue with this joint programme to help make our roads safe for all,” he said.

He encouraged commuters to familiarise themselves with the documents required by public transport operators and to avoid making use of taxis that do not comply.

“There are four discs that should be displayed on a taxi’s windscreen – the red public transport permit, the operator’s disc, passenger liability disc and standard licence disc. If these discs are not visible and valid, there is a good chance that you are making use of an illegal taxi,” he cautioned.

Hendricks said the municipality established the depot for the impounding of vehicles at Humansdorp some 18 months ago.

“The depot has made it easier for our Traffic Department to execute their duties and keep commuters safe. The facility is not only used for taxis but also for vehicles that have been confiscated in drunken driving and other cases.”     

He said while some of the taxis impounded in December and January were second-time offenders, the majority were first-timers.

“The law is clear and we would like to appeal to public transport operators not to put vehicles and drivers on the road that do not meet the legal requirements.”   

The fees applicable for the release of impounded vehicles are R2500 for a first offense, R4000 for a second offense and R8000 for a third-time offense.      

Workers Intimidate Residents

Refuse removal workers harass and intimidate resident

garbage collection St Francis BayA St Francis Today reader contacted us recently to report a rather unpleasant  incident she encountered with Kouga municipal refuse collection workers recently. It would appear that this is not an isolated incident and should it happen to you it needs to be brought to the attention of the municipality.

The resident’s account of the incident follows.

“On Monday the refuse truck comes, the rubbish is always at the bottom of my drive ready for collection. It was just after my lunch when I usually take a short rest and a 10 min snooze. As I put my feet up I was alarmed at dreadful shouting on my drive. It alerted my dogs and the noise was somewhat chaotic. Of course I went out to investigate, looked over my balcony to see one of the refuse collectors standing under my balcony shouting to me to give him “ something, anything “   he continued shouting “ there are 2 trucks, this is my team, what have you got for us? “    I told him to leave and just take my refuse.  It didn’t stop there. He continued to get more and more aggressive shouting at me to give them something.  His behaviour was harassment, to say the least, with extremely intimidating. I ignored him and went inside closing the door.

When I’ve mentioned it in the neighbourhood I was amazed just how many residents have been harassed by this particular refuse collector demanding money from them.

I have phoned the call centre of Kouga Municipality in Jeffreys bay, the kind lady receiving my call was very apologetic and took all my details saying it will be followed up.

I hope it will be. On mentioning it to neighbours I am shocked at just how much of this severe harassment is going on, I think rarely is it reported. One neighbour even suggested “ if we report it we get accused of racism  “      

In my opinion no one should feel so threatened they are scared to report these incidents.  One lady did report it and the offender even came back to her house threatening her, shouting at her asking why did she report him, this of course scared the resident even more.”

If you have experienced something similar please add your comment below for if this is a common occurrence it needs to be brought to the attention of municipal management. 

Refuse collectors receive salaries way in excess of minimum wage and should not be tipped even over Christmas which the have come to expect residents to pay up.  By giving in to their requests we simply encourage the practice.