SFPO responds to misleading post on Facebook
Last Friday the war of words on the SRA proposed by St Francis Property Owners (SFPO) took a turn for the worse when longtime detractor Rod Suter decided to publish a letter under the guise of an anonymous contributor apparently also opposed to the SRA. One wonders why someone so opposed would choose to remain anonymous or maybe things not quite what they seem.
The anonymous letter makes so many incorrect statements and assumptions it would probably be better classified as ‘Fake News’ but sadly some serious aspersions on the integrity of the SFPO committee gave cause for Wayne Furphy to reply to Suter and anonymous and clarify some of the points raised as well as to challenge serious accusations contained in the letter
Furphy’s response to the Facebook letter follows.
“In reply to the anonymous letter, let us (the SFPO) begin by saying that we do not know to whom Anonymous has spoken or whether this is a misrepresentation in itself, but in our interaction with the current senior management and leadership in the Municipality, we have only received support. SRAs exist as part of the Municipal legislation to allow local communities to invest in their communities.
The reality is that the Government (National, Provincial and Local) and local property developers have not fulfilled their responsibilities over many years resulting in:
- The loss of our beach and s The Municipality has not maintained our beach, spit, river, roads and stormwater drains for over a decade. Instead, they allowed some of our residents to convince them to pay for the beach pipe solution which was an abject failure, wasting our taxes and losing our beach and spit. Eight years have been wasted and by now a proper system could have been put in place and the beach re-established. This is an environmental and economic disaster for our town. Fortunately, we now have a Municipality that is willing to work with us to try to fix these problems, and that is why we have made progress.
- St Francis Bay property values have stagnated over the past 10 years compared to the trebling of property values in Cape Town and doubling of property values in Plettenberg Bay. Given inflation over the past 10 years, we as property owners in St Francis, have lost approximately half of our capital invested in our properties. This is a financial disaster for most of us. The SRA is our only hope of recovering from this dire situation.
- We have not disseminated false information about the inaccuracy of contact information. It is a fact because we tried to call and email all property owners using Municipal contact information. The results were poor and we had to build our own database of contact information. We were told in December that there was an unacceptable level of payment arrears to Municipality. To say that this was only “wealthy property owners” is disingenuous. How does this so-called Municipal official know who is wealthy or not?
- The SRA does not represent a tiny portion of St Francis Bay. It represents over 1,600 properties in the Canals and Village area. Santareme to Otters Landing has some 1,250 properties. The Canals and the Village will contribute approximately half of the funds required for the SRA projects. The balance will come from the River estates, the Riparians Association (Canal homeowners again), the Port, the Municipality and very generous donations from some 80 property owners who took the trouble to understand what and why we were proposing an SRA, starting some two and a half years ago.
- The accusation that most of the money will be spent on the Canals is wrong. Please read what we have communicated. The full proposal is available for scrutiny on our website. More than half the money required will be spent on restoring our beach, all 2.7kms of it, which will benefit the whole town.
- Where has Anonymous been over the past 2 and a half years? The facts presented are wrong, malicious and misleading.
Finally, Mr Suter, you have also published an open letter that the SFPO Committee members and Board Directors are “dishonest”. This a serious accusation you have made against the following people who are SFPO Association committee members, SFPO NPC Board members or SFPO NPC Technical Committee members : Wayne Furphy, Chris Gray, Simon Picton-Turbevill, Norman Dyer, Louis van der Merwe, Nigel Aitken, Lyn Aitken, David Truter, Dave Harpur, Paul Pezarro, Greg Miller, Gert Vorster, Peter Mountford, Deon Pienaar and Craig Northwood. Your suggestion that this group is dishonest is defamatory. All legal rights are specifically reserved in relation to this inaccurate and defamatory attack.”
The anonymous letter can be read at https://web.facebook.com/Question-SRA-St-Francis-676232779246946