First RDP houses handed over in Kouga in more than a decade
Thirty-five families from Humansdorp received the biggest Christmas presents of their lives today when the first RDP houses of the Kruisfontein 391 project were handed over.
Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said it was a joyful day for Kruisfontein. “No houses have been built in Kouga for the past 11 years and residents have been waiting patiently for this project to get going since it was approved in 2009. It is a big day for Humansdorp and our region as a whole,” she said. “It is heartening that local and provincial government were able to work together for the community and to ensure a new beginning for these beneficiaries.”
MEC Helen Sauls-August and the East Cape Department of Human Settlements were also in attendance as hundreds of residents gathered at Kruisfontein for the hand-over. Ribbons were cut at three houses while the remaining 32 beneficiaries were introduced to the community at a ceremony.
Among the first three beneficiaries who received their houses from the Mayor and MEC, was Paulina Magielies, a 62-year-old widow who depends on her pension to look after herself and two adopted sons, Shelton Boesak (14) and Clayton Magielies (12). Mrs Magielies said she and the boys have had to share a house with her mother as she could not afford to get her own place. “This is such a special day for our family. I have always trusted in God to look after us and today is an answer to my prayers,” she said.
Also among the first three beneficiaries, was Connie Kabani (37), whose mother, Georgina, was one of the original beneficiaries of the housing project but sadly passed away before her house was completed. “I had to leave school when I was in grade 11 to work and look after my mother, as she was very ill. I have been the breadwinner of my family ever since. It hasn’t been easy. Receiving this house is an incredible blessing,” she said.
The last of the first three beneficiaries were the Adams family, who earlier this year lost everything in a fire. Spaas Adams, who was at the hand-over with her 11-year-old daughter Ilse, thanked the Department of Human Settelements and Kouga Municipality for giving them a place of their own to celebrate Christmas and the new year. “It is a new beginning for us,” she said.
Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen keeping us in the loop
The feedback address by our Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen last Thursday had a fair sized attendance but one really would like to see a larger audience of younger bodies at these meetings. Ward 12 is made up of St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis and Paradise Beach and surely must represent several thousand residents so an audience of around 100 bodies is just a little disappointing. No doubt there will be many who bemoan the progress being made by the Mayor and her council but make not the slightest effort to find out what is really happening preferring to criticise rather what isn’t happening.
Kicking off the meeting the Mayor did a little soft sell on the new service app that the Kouga municipality has introduced. Kouga is only the second municipality, after Cape Town, under DA control to have this app and it certainly sounds an efficient way of not only reporting problems in the boundaries of the municipality but more importantly following up and seeing whether there is progress on one’s report. If you have not already downloaded the app you can do so for either Android and IOS at download.linkapp.co.za/#dl,
Next on the agenda and almost to be expected in spite of the recent good news was Thyspunt. It seems Eskom haven’t totally given up hope on Thyspunt but in van Lingen’s opinion it will not be happening in the near future although the Minister of Environment Affairs could still overturn Duynesfontein for Thyspunt, especially if you know who decides it will be so. Should that happen there can be no doubt Thyspunt Alliance will be in the forefront of the battle once more. Rumours that Kouga wwould receive a cash injection of some R4 billion were also apparently without substance but rather a wish list.
On the matter of finance, whist the situation is still dire after inheriting an all but bankrupt municipality from the ANC. Van Lingen stressed how they are now able to operate finance with a month in reserve, not although not ideal, dertainly an improvement on a year ago.
But to more serious matters which sadly some are still not taking seriously. Kouga along with much of the Eastern Cape is still facing severe water shortage and as we are supplied with water by the Nelson Mandela Bay we are totally in their hands. Apart from the fact that NMB water is unlikely to assist us with funding as the water shortage becomes more critical, the Mayor and her committee are redirecting funds from other services, wherever possible, so as to develop boreholes should the water crisis become that critical. These monies are most likely going to come from less essential services such as roads so if we have a few more potholes over the holiday period we can explain our visitors it was either potholes or water. Maybe a poster campaign will help our influx of visitors appreciate just how serious our situation is. Oyster Bay apparently is already past critical and they are in the process of drilling for water. The situation in the Gamtoos Valley appears equally catastrophic and the season hasn’t yet started.
From recent press reports Kouga has declared war on waste and the Mayor expanded on this with the intention of council to introduce Wheelie Bins to Ward 12. Certainly they are used throughout the world and certainly keep garge safe from marauding dogs and far easier and efficient with the right vehicles doing the garbage pickups. The problem will come when the public hears they will have to buy their own wheelie rather than being supplied one free of charge by council.
Some positive feedback on the APP
WE ALL HAVE TO DO OUR BIT – SAVE WATER!
More on the Mayor’s feedback tomorrow, the SRA, camera security, the riots and more.
Call centre and app to improve service delivery at Kouga
Kouga Municipality is making it easier for residents to report and track service delivery problems in their wards.
Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said the municipality had integrated its systems with an app called “Link” to form mobile communities for all 15 wards and improve service delivery.
The app and the municipality’s new call centre were officially unveiled at a media launch in Humansdorp this morning (23/10).
The Mayor said the municipality was very excited to partner with Link to improve communication with communities.
“Kouga has never before had a centralised point at which service delivery problems could be reported. This made it very frustrating for residents as they would often struggle to get hold of the relevant department and then receive little to no feedback once a problem had been reported.
“The Link app and call centre will give residents a direct line to the municipality to report issues and monitor what progress has been made towards resolving grievances,” she said.
Link director Charles Murray said the app was designed to encourage active citizenry and provide residents with local information.
“We are living in an age where communities are much more actively engaged than before. The Link app provides a foundation for better communication between the public and municipalities,” he said.
DOWNLOADING THE LINK APP
The free Link app is available for Android and iOS devices and can be downloaded at download.linkapp.co.za/#dl, from the Google Play or App Store.
Upon registration the app will request permission to access your location – this is important, be sure to accept.
To Link to your Ward, click on “+ and Add Channels”. Select the blue Municipal Ward icon, allow the app to geo-locate you and Link to your Ward as displayed.
If you download the app while away from home, please be sure to enter your address in the search bar after clicking on the blue Municipal Ward icon.
Further information about Link is available at www.linkapp.co.za
Kouga’s new call centre can be contacted on 042 200 2200..
How to Download the APP
A safety and security meeting is to be held at the Sea Vista Community Hall on Friday 21st July and the residents of St Francis are invited to attend a forum where leading members of the South African Police Services, the Kouga Mayor and members of the St Francis Community will provide an update of activities and strategies in our fight against crime.
This is your opportunity to raise concerns and provide input into a community based strategy. The vision is to consolidate resources in the fight against crime; the long term strategy is to make greater St Francis a better and safer place to live.
Included in the high profile delegates who will address the meeting is the Eastern Cape Police Commissioner Major General Liziwe Ntshinga. Also attending are SAPS Cluster Commander – Brigadier J Lebok, SAPS St Francis Station Commander -Captain N Gomoshe, Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen, St Francis Property Owners – Chairperson Wayne Furphy and Community Police Forum – Chairperson John Hammond.
It is important that residents make an effort to attend this meeting so as to illustrate in how concerned we as a community are at the state of crime in St Francis. Promises of a new police station were promised years ago but seem to have been forgotten as has the entire infrastructure of policing in St Francis. There is little point in complaining about our safety and security in terms of crime if we don’t make an effort to participate by voicing our concerns and possible solutions.
The meeting will be held at the Sea Vista Community Hall in Steenbras Street, Sea Vista from 10:00am to 12 noon on Friday 21st July.
PLEASE MAKE AN EFFORT TO ATTEND