Kouga hosts Youth in Energy Summit
Young people from across Kouga will take part in the first Youth in Energy Summit at Cape St Francis this week.
The summit will take place at 9am on Wednesday, 28 June, at the Cape St Francis Resort. It is being presented jointly by Kouga Municipality, Eskom, the Kouga Wind Farm and New Generation Mindset (NGM).
Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said the event was open to all young and aspiring business people, as well as those who are already in business.
“The summit will be jam-packed with information relevant to young entrepreneurs who would like to tap into the opportunities that are opening up in Kouga thanks to energy-related developments,” she said.
The keynote speaker at the event will be East Cape MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Sakhumzi Somyo.
Two youth entrepreneurs will also share their success stories.
Other topics and role-players on the programme are:
- Skills and Careers around Energy (Eskom)
- Energy Mix Prospects and Opportunities (Necsa)
- SMME support around energy (NGM)
- Supporting Entrepreneurial Development (NYDA)
- Wind Farm Development Plan and Youth Opportunities (Kouga Wind Farm)
- SMME Funding (ECDC)
- SMME Funding Support (IDC)
- SMME mentorship and support (The Hope Factory)
For further information contact Zingi Mdidimba at the municipality’s LED unit on 083 571 7976 or 042 2002227.
Dump or Drop-Off Zone urgently needed!
There have certainly been a number of visible improvements in St Francis since the DA took over council from the ANC. Obviously not everyone is happy for some expect more but council is doing what they can with limited financial resources. One of the most noticeable and certainly extremely important improvements is that of the honey suckers for they seem to have been working tirelessly and without the string of complaints of last holiday season.
We must empathise with Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen and her team for, inheriting a budget voted in by their predecessors, does leave them rather hamstrung, certainly until July when the new budget will be set, this time with a DA majority in place.
A priority on that budget must be a solution to the closure of the tip. Suitable land must be found and allocated for a drop off zone. This seems to have been the subject of so many meetings over the past 18 months but action is now a priority. The inherent laziness in people will cause them to find easy solutions to rid themselves of garden refuse and other garbage and so follows illegal dumping. In addition to a drop off zone, skips should also be budgeted for and these should be placed at strategic spots throughout Sea Vista to arrest the amount of garbage that is being dumped on open spaces by residents. One must consider the plight of many of the Sea Vista residents; most do not have vehicles to transport waste and hence will seek out the closest and most convenient disposal point.
A post on Facebook by Greg Christie over the weekend clearly identifies this litter problem and one would think the ANC ward councillor responsible for Sea Vista, now that Sea Vista no longer forms part of Ward 12 where Councillor Ben Rheeder is active, would take heed of his voters plight. But it appears little has changed in the ANC’s attitude towards service delivery in spite of their defeat at the polls and no doubt the only help they, Sea Vista, will get, will be motivated by the DA and not the ANC. Lemmings off a cliff.
Certainly the lack of rain has been largely responsible for the lack of potholes reappearing after being so diligently repaired by council prior to the influx of holiday makers. But we are faced with a Catch 22 for we desperately need rain so when the rains come, hopefully sooner rather than later, no doubt so will the potholes again start breaking surface. Repairing potholes really is like pouring money into a black hole, or rather a muddy hole, for filling them is really no better than putting a band aid on a severed artery.
Exciting times ahead for 2017, even if at times, somewhat challenging. Even with a new budget in July we cannot expect council to deliver miracles for only a very small, probably infinitesimal, portion of the budget will be afforded to St Francis. First come the many townships in Kouga, then municipal operating and capital expenses and then only the towns themselves, Humansdorp, Jeffreys Bay, St Francis, Hankey, Patensie, in no particular order.
Readers make comment on SRA
The purpose of some articles published on St Francis Today is sometimes to encourage dialogue and hopefully illicit comment from readers and nothing gives us greater joy than when readers comment, whether agreeing or disagreeing!
Of course the proposed SRA is not going to get the approval of every property owner and thus the need for the voting process. We live in a democracy and at the end of the day the number of YES votes against the number of NO votes will decide on whether the SRA goes ahead or not. Every property owner has the right, and must exercise this right for a fair result. So if yesterday’s article has prompted you to get your voting form in, whether for or against, St Francis Today has achieved what we intended.
Not everybody will be able to afford the levy and it will stretch their budgets to breaking point (including Collo’s, Kevin). It is for this reason that St Francis Property Owners chairman Wayne Furphy, during the Q&A session at the AGM, made it quite clear that exemptions or adjustments to rate for those that applied for relief would most definitely be considered for it is not the intention of the proposed SRA to force those on limited or fixed incomes to be forced into ‘poor street’.
More in question is whether we can afford to let St Francis to decay any further. The Kouga municipality has made it quite clear that they do not have the resources and will be able to offer a a little more in terms of essential services than the previous council but even this will not amount to enough to address the failing infrastructure and certainly have no funds for further capital expenditure.
So if the proposed SRA is not the answer what is? To date the SRA is the only suggestion on the table but maybe someone has a better idea.
“Dankie vir die artikel en skakels om die publiek so stadig maar seker meer in te lig oor “Special Rates Areas (SRA)”. Hoe langer dit neem om SRAs te aktiveer, hoe langer gaan ons ‘n vervalle infrastruktuur en verwaarloosde omgewing hê. Vir die komitee van ‘n gemeenskap wat die stigtingswerk onderneem, is dit ‘n reuse taak”.
“The proposed SRA levy – 50% of present property rates is not only an insult, but a joke to the ordinary home owner.
It sounds great, new roads, stormwater, sewers etc. – a complete new infrastructure! How many billion ?
Unlike the writer “Collo”, some homeowners pay their monthly rates and services timeously by forfeiting luxuries like new cars and medical aid schemes.
Just wondering how many of the retired home owners in the town will be exempt from this proposed scheme but allowed to vote.
How ironic we are being coerced to pay more monies to a municipality which has for years squandered our rates and led to the present disintegrated infrastructure.
Voting – No – limited finances for ever increasing living expenses”.
“Well done to Wayne Furphy and his committee. St Francis has gone thru many years of indecisiveness and squabbling as to what action should be taken regarding upgrading the infrastructure, replenishing the beach, safeguarding the spit etc, and we have long been in need of someone/persons to take the initiative and come up with a constructive and workable solution to preserve this special village we live in.Thank you for your time, effort and commitment”.
“What will be the priority areas that will be taken care of first? Does the spit swallow the bulk of the funds to the detriment of the rest of St Francis Bay, Santereme, St Francis on Sea”?
“Geen misverstand dit sal bil rande kos om dit tydelik reg te maak al gooi jy sement dolle soos in PE langs die Hi Way kan dit net tydelik wees
Maar weereens wil die in wooners op die cannels nie daarvan weet nie want dit lyk nie mooi nie
Ek dink ek praat namens almal wat hier in Santareme st francis on sea die port en otters landing ons sien geen nut waarvoor ons moet betaal nie
Die mense wat op die channels bly “deel with it”
Keep us out of your problem try the Goverment the sea belongs to them”. –
St Francis Property Owners AGM propose an SRA
St Francis home owners packed the conference room at St Francis Links to overflowing last evening to attend the St Francis Property Owners AGM. After welcoming those in attendance, SFPO chairman, Wayne Furphy handed over the microphone to Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen who covered some of the challenges facing the DA led council since ousting the ANC in the August 2016 municipal elections. Of matters van Lingen briefly covered, most interesting was the proactive stance council is taking with regard to Thyspunt.
Also covered in van Lingen’s address and later during the Q&A session were the availability of funds, or rather lack thereof, for any capital expenditure, particularly in the wealthier areas of Kouga. Whilst some may believe that the rates and taxes paid by St Francis residents should be allocated to St Francis this is never going to happen as understandably the majority of the municipality’s budget is spent on the upliftment of poorer areas of which Kouga has more than its share. We all must accept that we live in a very different South Africa to what existed pre 1994 and realise we are not alone for lack of funding of for many cities, towns suburbs and villages across South Africa suffer similar lack of funding hence the growing number of SRA’s presently in force or being proposed across South Africa.
So what to do?
Wayne Furphy briefly sketched out the “St Francis Vision 2030” (read it if you have not already done so) before getting to the nitty gritty of the SFPO AGM and the reason for the overflowing meeting venue, how we can save St Francis.
At last year’s AGM, Furphy appealed to those present at that meeting to consider making donations to “Saving St Francis” fund. Over the year, donations amounting to a little less than R5 million were made, a drop in the ocean to what is needed to “Make St Francis Great Again”.
And so the alternative, declare St Francis a Special Rates Area (SRA).
St Francis property owners, business and home owners alike, pay amongst the lowest rates in South Africa. To further compound the lack of contribution to the municipal coffers, 80 to 90% of homes are unoccupied for most of the year resulting in the municipality collecting substantially less income from profits derived for electricity and water usage that contribute significantly to the treasuries of most cities and towns.
By instituting a special rates levy, proposed at 50% of current rates, sufficient funds would be generated to upgrade and maintain all services and facilities over a proposed 10-year period. The mutterings that “why should I pay for the repairs for the spit, the beach, the dredging of the Kromme, et al, I don’t use them” really hold no ground because these assets, and others, make up the what St Francis is all about and why people buy property in St Francis be it as an investment, a holiday home or a permanent residence or why they holiday in our tiny enclave. How many home owners would sell up should the Kromme silt up and is no longer be navigable by small craft? If the beaches are left to erode how many holiday makers would choose alternative holiday destinations. If we are worried by declining service delivery whilst out local economy is still buoyant, what service delivery can we expect if home owners start selling up and holiday makers no longer choose us as the holiday destination. Will we still have a Superspar, a chemist, doctors, vets? Without tourism, local and international, will our golf courses, our B&B’s, our restaurants survive?
Without going into all the details of the proposed SRA, these will no doubt be posted of the St Francis Property Owners website in due course, can we afford not to support the concept of an SRA?
The SRA requires a majority vote of 50% plus one to be implemented and so the SFPO will be undertaking a voting poll where property owners will be asked to vote either FOR or AGAINST the proposed SRA. You can cast your vote today by SFPO-SRA Voting Form completing it, signing it and returning it to the SFPO offices now situated in the Alva-Merle building at 115 St Francis Drive, mailing it to PO Box 18, St Francis Bay, 6312 or scanning the completed and SIGNED form to email@example.com.
NOTE: A 50% levy would constitute 50% of your present rates – ie. Should your present rates be R1000 the levy would be R500. Certainly the SFPO has considered those who simply cannot afford the full levy and Furphy stressed that exemptions or reductions will be considered where such situations arise.
It is important to note that all funds collected from the SRA levy would be allocated directly to St Francis, not the Kouga municipal funds for use elsewhere.