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.
New ward committee to be elected for Ward 11
A new ward committee is set to be elected for Ward 11 at Jeffreys Bay on October 27.
Kouga Speaker Horatio Hendricks said all Ward 11 residents were encouraged to attend the election.
“Ward committees are important because they represent the aspirations of various constituencies in a ward. They are also good platforms through which residents can keep us, their elected leaders, accountable,” he said.
The first election for Ward 11 had to be postponed due to a misunderstanding about the scheduled date. The second meeting, at which a committee was elected, was nullified by the Council after an appeal was lodged by one of the residents.
Hendricks said it was important that all ward committees were fully functional and were in a position to perform their tasks.
The elective meeting will take place at the Newton Hall at 18:00 on October 27. Ward 11 covers the areas of Jeffreys Bay Central and C-Place.
Eskom and Red Cross have partnered with Kouga Municipality to help strengthen communities at Longmore and Thornhill against natural disasters.
Representatives from Eskom visited the municipality on Tuesday (15 August) to hand over a cheque of R350 000 to the Red Cross for use in areas affected by the fire disaster of June 2017.
At the hand-over Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said the focus would be on Longmore, where more than 200 residents had to be evacuated when the runaway fire threatened their homes, and the surrounding farm areas.
The fire destroyed about 27 000 ha of vegetation in the Longmore and Thornhill areas, as well as farm land, buildings and equipment.
“Kouga fire-fighters were able to save the Longmore Village from burning down, but the community was left without electricity or water because of fire damage to the infrastructure,” Mayor Van Lingen said.
“We had to act fast to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Water was trucked in, a generator and portable toilets were installed, and hot meals were delivered to the village with the assistance of community volunteers and NGOs.”
Red Cross branch manager in Port Elizabeth and the Sarah Baartman district, Coralie Peo-Swartz, said the Eskom donation would be used to equip and train affected communities on how to prevent and survive disaster situations.
“The programme marks the start of an official relationship between the Red Cross and municipality. We are grateful to Eskom for the financial assistance,” she said.
Jongi Dyabaza, stakeholder coordinator at Eskom, said the parastatal was grateful that it could help Kouga through its partnership with the Red Cross.
“Eskom takes its social responsibility towards communities seriously and we are glad that we could be there for Kouga’s people in a time of trouble,” he said.
Mayor Van Lingen emphasised the role partnerships play in building strong governance structures and communities.
“We are humbled by what’s happening here today. We have been strengthening our partnership with Eskom over the past year and are now reaping the benefit of their partnership with the Red Cross,” she said.
“We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from all corners of South Africa during the crisis and are grateful for the ongoing assistance in helping our people recover from the terrible ordeal they suffered.”
Council approves appointment of two new directors
The Kouga Council approved the appointment of two municipal directors at a special meeting in Jeffreys Bay last week.
Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said Council had resolved to renew the contract of Victor Felton as Director: Infrastructure, Planning and Development while Krishen Moodley received the nod as Director: Administration, Monitoring, Evaluation and Special Projects.
Felton took up his position on 1 August while Moodley’s contract is being finalised. Both appointments will also be submitted to East Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Fikile Xasa, for concurrence.
The Mayor said the Council had resolved that the position of Director: Social Services Director would be re-advertised.
She added that the filling of the position of Director: Local Economic Development, Tourism and Creative Industries had been put on hold pending a review of the municipality’s portfolio and directorate structures.
“The manner in which directorates are structured, influences how effectively employees can perform their duties. Over the past year we have discovered that the existing structure does little to support interdepartmental cooperation and optimal performance. We are, therefore, reviewing the structure before finalising the appointment of further directors,” she said.
The five-year contracts of Kouga’s former Director: Administration, Monitoring, Evaluation and Special Projects, Thobeka Tom, Director: Local Economic Development, Tourism and Creative Industries, Carleen Arends, and Director: Social Services, Japie Jansen, came to an end on 31 July 2017.
New Municipal Manager
The new Municipal Manager Charl du Plessis took up his position in June 2017 while the contract of CFO Selwyn Thys runs till 2022.