Bush-clearing to help keep Humansdorp safe

Major bush-clearing is under way at Humansdorp in a joint effort to keep Kouga communities safe from crime.

Bush Clearing in Humansdorp

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said about 60 men and women from Humansdorp and St Francis Bay had started clearing alien vegetation in crime hotspots.

“The areas they are currently focusing on includes Graslaagte and the open spaces adjacent to the PJ Meyer Hospital and Matt Mellville,” he said.

“These areas are very bushy, which provides the ideal cover for criminals who have been targeting pedestrians on their way to or from work, town and schools.”      

He thanked the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) for taking hands with the municipality to bring the bush-clearing project to fruition.

“GIB has for many years been one of the implementing agents for Working for Water, an initiative of the Department of Environmental Affairs,” he said.

“They agreed to assist us with the bush-clearing project in Humansdorp as an extension of this programme. We value their concern for the well-being of our residents and their willingness to go the extra mile to keep communities safe.”

GIB CEO, Rienette Colesky, said the Working for Water programme held many benefits for communities.

“Clearing alien vegetation helps to preserve and restore the groundwater supply, which is critical in this time of severe drought,” she said.

“It also improves the safety of people in the vicinity by reducing the risk of fires breaking out and making it more difficult for criminals to hide from their intended victims or the police.

“In addition, it provides temporary work to thousands of residents who would, otherwise, be unable to put food on their families’ tables.”

She said GIB was overseeing the implementation of 34 Working for Water projects, stretching from Matatiele to the Tsitsikamma.

Mayor Hendricks said bush-clearing was among the strategies the municipality would be pursuing to help make Kouga the safest region in South Africa.

“Partnerships such as these are essential if we are to achieve this goal,” he said.

“The municipality is compiling a public safety plan for the region and will be engaging with stakeholders from various sectors to get their input.”

He invited all stakeholders who wanted to become involved in the drawing up of the plan to contact Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, at dbenson@kouga.gov.za or 073 766 4816.

Warning to estate agents

Kouga Municipality - logoEstate agents are reminded that it is illegal for the municipality to supply them with the details of property owners in the region.

Kouga Finance Portfolio Councillor, Brenton Williams, said CDs with this information were available to estate agents in the past.

“This practice was, however, ceased three years ago due to legislation protecting the privacy of property owners,” he said.

“Estate agents already in possession of these CDs were also cautioned at the time that they were no longer legally allowed to use these to obtain the details of property owners.”

He said that should anyone be aware of estate agents making use of these old CDs or the municipal database to contact property owners, it be reported to the municipality’s Revenue Manager, Ria van Heerden, at rvanheerden@kouga.gov.za.

“Should anyone be aware of municipal officials making this information available to estate agents, we ask that this also be reported to the same email address as above.”

Good rain, but dam levels remain low

Kouga residents and businesses have been urged to continue using water sparingly.

“Some much-needed rain has fallen in the catchment areas, but not enough to make a significant difference to the dam levels.

“This means we cannot relax yet and must continue doing all we can to save water,” cautioned Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.

He said the level of the Kouga Dam had increased by almost two percent this month following some rainfall in the Langkloof catchment areas .

Kouga Dam levels end of September

“The dam level was at 8,09% at the end of September. This climbed to 9,03% on Monday this week, with further inflow expected.

“While this brings some relief, the level remains dangerously low and is not expected to increase far beyond 10%,” he said.

According to the latest information from Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the level of the Impofu Dam inched up from 18,55% at the end of September to 18,97% this week.

The level of the Churchill Dam increased from 53,08% to 62,92% over the same period and the Loerie Dam from 29,97% to 44,84%.

Kouga Dam

Photo by Jacques van der Merwe: The level of the Kouga Dam has increased slightly over the past week.

Roadshow to empower Kouga SMME’s

Established and registered SMMEs from the Kouga region have been invited to attend an empowerment roadshow at the Newton Hall in Jeffreys Bay next week.

ROADSHOW TO EMPOWER SMMEs

Kouga Local Economic Development (LED) Portfolio Councillor, Frances Baxter, said the roadshow would be presented by the national Department of Small Business Development, in conjunction with Sarah Baartman District Municipality and Kouga Municipality.
“The purpose of the event is to introduce various programmes and offerings that the department has in support of SMME development,” she said.

“The sessions with SMMEs will be followed immediately by a workshop with the municipality’s LED unit, Special Programmes units and Community Development Workers.”

The Kouga SMME Roadshow will take place on Tuesday, 20 October, from 9am to 11am at the Newton Hall.
Baxter said that strict compliance with COVID-19 restrictions will be followed.
For further information contact Xolile Wagosa from Kouga Municipality’s LED unit at xwagosa@kouga.gov.za or 067 107 9154.

Kouga partners with soup kitchens

kouga soup kitchensMore than 1 000 residents are set to benefit from new social relief partnerships initiated by Kouga Municipality.

“The municipality has taken hands with six soup kitchens, most of which were established during the COVID-19 lockdown to help address the escalating shortage of food in homes,” Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said.

“Despite COVID-19 restrictions having been eased, many families are still struggling to recover from the impact the lockdown has had on the economy and jobs.”

He said that while social relief was the mandate of the Department of Social Development, the lockdown had made it clear that the Department could not cope with the demand.

“As a caring government, the municipality has resolved to continue supporting social relief efforts despite this falling outside our mandate,” he said.

“Our support to soup kitchens is a continuation of our recent social relief efforts, which saw the municipality partnering with community groups to procure and deliver almost 15 000 food parcels to families in need.”

He said the municipality would mainly be assisting the soup kitchens with equipment and groceries.

“We would also like to connect them with potential donors so that they can sustain their programmes. This is critical as the municipality will not be able to support them indefinitely,” he explained.

Large gas burners, gas bottles, pots and a month’s worth of food supplies were delivered to four of the soup kitchens on Friday.

At the hand-over were the Masakhane Givers from Loerie and three projects from Humansdorp, namely, Feeding Hands, Kouga Social and Rural Development and the Humansdorp Community Feeding Action Group.

“These four groups provide a meal to almost 1000 residents, young and old, at least three times a week. They are doing an incredible job and we are honoured to be able to support their efforts,” Hendricks said.

Jacques Alexander, from the Humansdorp Community Feeding Action Group, said the donation meant a great deal to the beneficiaries.

“The need in our communities is great and the municipality’s support will help us to continue bringing relief to those who struggle to put food on their tables,” he said.

Hendricks said the donations for the remaining two soup kitchen, from Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp, were also being finalised for delivery.

Jacques Alexander, from the Humansdorp Community Feeding Action Group, thanks Kouga for the support:

Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks, at the hand-over of the donation:

Combatting fires in informal areas of Sea Vista

Families living in informal settlements are being equipped to help safeguard their homes from fire.

Twelve residents from informal areas at Sea Vista have been armed with innovative new fire extinguishers, designed to kill small fires and saturate the immediate vicinity so as to prevent flames from spreading.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said the municipality would be piloting 50 of the new extinguishers, designed, manufactured and donated by the Port Elizabeth-based company Fire Killa.

Fire extiguishers fro informal settlements

According to the company, the extinguishers differ from standard ones in that they are made from plastic and are not pressurized.

The unit consists of a plastic bottle, containing a non-toxic solution of a special formula, water and a foaming agent. There is also a cartridge containing an activator which, when required, is released into the water by means of a hand-activated plunger.

Once activated, the extinguisher produces about 10 to 12 litres of foam, dispensed through a nozzle at a rate of about one litre per second, to cool and smother the flames.

The extinguisher is re-usable and can be recharged by replacing the cartridge and solution.

Benson said 12 residents from Sea Vista had been trained to use the new extinguishers and had each received a unit to help combat fires in their settlements.

“We will also be training and arming residents in other informal areas at high risk of fires,” he said.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks thanked Fire Killa for piloting their product in the region.

“We believe innovation is key to achieving service excellence and keeping our communities safe,” he said.

“We are especially pleased to be able to support South African innovators and entrepreneurs as opposed to looking elsewhere for solutions.”

Member of the East Cape Provincial Legislature, Vicky Knoetze, commended the municipality for being open to new ideas.

“That is the difference between Kouga and other municipalities of the same size. Kouga is bold and not scared to embrace innovation. That is what will take the region forward,” she said.