St Francis Today received the following comment in respect of the SRA regarding a post “Time to talk to each other, not the lawyers” published on Tuesday 9th October. On reading the comment we decided it necessary to solicit comment from St Francis Property Owners (SFPO) as the claim that there were “shenanigans used in coming up with the ‘majority’ deserves probing. If SFPO were indeed up to ‘shenanigans’ in the voting process then surely they, and the Kouga Municipality must be called to account for the reader is suggesting the process was fraudulent. However if the voting process was above board, the commenter’s claim of ‘shenanigans’ could be deemed slanderous
The readers comment follows
“Although I reluctantly voted ‘yes’, I was never really on board as regards the SRA because of living abroad, of living in the village and because the stated SRA infrastructure improvements were of minimal value to me. Now I suddenly learn and am informed of the existence of the CRA, it’s serving of papers, the fact that CRA ‘members’ are not paying the SRA levy, that the SRA levy is hidden and not outlined or mentioned in my municipal rates statements and of the shenanigans used in coming up with the ‘majority’. All very dodgy/shady to me now and yes I am certainly seriously concerned and would like to know how I may rescind my yes vote, join the CRA or at least refuse to pay my portion of the SRA, whatever that amount may be!”
The Chairman of SFPO replied to our request for clarification with the following.
“We at the SFPO are disappointed that you would accept on face value what this group, the CRA, are claiming. We have spent 3 years of our own personal time and money to establish a way in which we can save St Francis and reverse the downward trend of the real value of our property investments in St Francis Bay.”
“The CRA members, whoever they are as there is no membership list available publicly, and whether they actually are bona fide property owners within the Canals and Village, have taken a stand against the SRA to have it set aside. They are litigating against the Municipality.”
“The Municipality is blessed with a very old Financial system that has had some problems with introducing the SRA levy. The problems include the fact that they were unable to list the SRA levy as a separate line item on our July Municipal invoice. This was corrected in August. They also did not include the SRA levy in the amount collected on direct debits in July and August. This was corrected in September.”
“The shenanigans you claim (on hearsay) that we used to come up with a majority vote is outrageous. Every single Yes vote was verified in terms of the erf number (verified against the Property Deeds Register) and validity of the voter, be it whether the owner of the property was an individual, a company or a trust. This was independently verified by a firm of attorneys in Port Elizabeth, McWilliams & Elliot. The claims of this group are preposterous, and the court will decide. We do live in a democracy where the majority vote actually determines what a society/community is willing to do. In our case we are doing what we consider necessary to save our property investments and this town from further decline.”
Interestingly St Francis Today also received a press release from the Concerned Residents Association (CRA) which is a little confusing for it states “the CRA is not opposed to a Special Rating Area for St Francis Bay and in fact “welcomes it as this is clearly the route to follow in order to uplift out beautiful village”.
If the CRA is not opposed and feel it is clearly the route to follow, why the litigation which is no doubt going to cost either the CRA or the Kouga Municipality a whack of money that could be better spent on the village? Surely if the CRA agrees it is the way to go there should be no need for litigation?
Or is there some sinister reason for their discord that they are not making public. We would welcome more comment or at least clarification on the reasons for the litigation if they concur that the SRA is the way forward. The public surely deserve clarity and we ask the CRA spokesperson to submit comment or further press releases to keep residents informed of their reasons for litigation which is confusing at best.
The press that the CRA asked St Francis Today to publish follows below.
Concerned Residents Association Protestations on Special Rating Area for St Francis Bay
The Concerned Residents Association (CRA) is not opposed to a Special Rating Area for St Francis Bay and in fact welcomes it as this is clearly the route to follow in order to uplift out beautiful village.
Regrettably, the CRA was then formed to allay the fears of concerned residents where no objections were entertained.
This has led to a High Court application. This document will be available shortly for perusal by arrangement with the secretary.
For further information, or to become a member, please contact:
Concerned Residents Association
Phone: 072 842 3796