KOUGA Municipality was rated the best performing municipality in the Eastern Cape – one of only two municipalities in the province that is not in the danger zone of collapse.

This is according to the latest News24 Out of Order Index, calculated from a set of data collated over the last two months by a News24 team.

The data used draws on National Treasury’s budget data, the Auditor General’s reports, and Statistics South Africa. It includes not only financial metrics, but also measures of unemployment, poverty and basic service delivery to households.

On a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is a failure and 100 is perfectly performing, the municipality obtained a score of 61.

“Over the last five years we have turned the fortunes of a municipality that was on the brink of collapse into a place of hope and possibility where the pursuit of happiness and prosperity is real for everyone,” said a proud Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.

“Paying of historical debts, bolstering the fleet from 4% operational to a proud 95%, cleaning up areas to restore a sense of dignity, unlocking human settlement developments that froze-up since 2007, implementing an asset management strategy and making the municipality investment ready.

“We did this through grit and determination, by building trust and partnerships, and placing value on the social contract we formed with our people.”

Taking Kouga Forward

According to Hendricks, service delivery highlights include the connection of more than 20 boreholes across the region, and the construction of a cutting-edge water treatment works in Kruisfontein, as well as the resealing of roads and the tarring of gravel roads.

“Close to 1 800 households received access to electricity, while more than 600 keys were handed over to new homeowners in disadvantaged communities and a total of 3 056 title deeds were delivered to the rightful beneficiaries,” said Hendricks.

Kouga has, furthermore, become one of the first municipalities in the Eastern Cape to launch a virtual portal for the submission of building plans.

The Link service delivery app was introduced just more than three years ago – an effective link between the municipality and communities.

“Big investors have already started approaching Kouga, excited by the improvements they have seen in the region and are eager to play a role in growing our economy and opening up thousands of temporary and permanent job opportunities,” said Hendricks.

Financially strong

According to Hendricks, the municipality has paid of most of the debt inherited in 2016 and has simultaneously invested in 60 new vehicles to further improve service delivery.

“Despite the uncertainty brought about by COVID-19, prudent budgeting and the collection of revenue saw a collection rate of 94% in the previous financial year – which is most likely the best collection rate in the Eastern Cape,” said Hendricks.

“Local business owners are prepared to do business with the municipality as we have ensured that creditors get paid within 30 days, something that has never happened under previous governments in Kouga.”

He said this had ensured that Kouga plays a meaningful role in the economy by supporting local business.

Good Governance

“While there are many mountains we still need to climb, and a virus that we need to combat together, we are on track and determined to deliver a system of good governance through service excellence,” said Hendricks.

“I would like to thank the Speaker, my Mayoral Committee, the Municipal Manager, and all municipal staff for their hard work and unwavering dedication this past five years to make Kouga the best municipality in the Eastern Cape.

“The support from our business sector, community-based groups and individuals has also been nothing short of amazing and we are confident that, with you by our side, no obstacles will ever be too big for us to overcome and build a strong and united Kouga.”