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
Rotary Club of Jeffreys Bay Awards Recognise Service to Community
Tracy de Jager was inducted as President of the Rotary Club of Jeffreys Bay for 2017/18 at the 19th induction ceremony of the Club held at De Viswijf Restaurant on July 15th. At the same event, Ivan Beaumont was inducted as Chairman of the Rotary Satellite Club St Francis marking the club’s 6th birthday.
A highlight of this year’s ceremony was the awarding of no less than six Paul Harris Fellows to members of the Kouga community in recognition of their outstanding contribution to their communities and their selfless dedication to service.
The first of these prestigious Rotary awards was presented to Sister Bertha Strydom for her selfless and dedicated service to the Sea Vista and greater Kouga community through her work running the St Francis Community Clinic in Sea Vista and in particular for her work in educating her patients on improved family health, child care and HIV and TB treatment.
Next in line for the award was Rotarian Francis Becker, for her outstanding work in establishing the Nomvula’s Knitters Trust and the resulting contribution to poverty alleviation through job creation and skills development in Sea Vista.
Hilton Thorpe and Trudi Malan were both recognised for their dedication to the fight to save Thyspunt from nuclear development through the Thyspunt Alliance and protecting the interests of the greater Kouga community.
Also honoured was Maryke Pretorius of the Jeffreys Bay Trauma Counselling Centre, whose selfless dedication over the past 11 years to the counselling of those suffering any kind of trauma from rape to home invasions to motor vehicle accidents.
Last, but certainly not least, Community Service awards were conferred upon both Jan Rademeyer and Mias Janse van Rensburg of Jeffreys Bay for their tireless efforts in transporting donated food, water and other emergency supplies to the fire fighting teams and victims during the recent wild fire disaster.
Article & Photo: Lynette Aitken
Steep water price increase from August
The price of water is set to increase steeply from August when Kouga starts charging emergency drought tariffs.
Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said the implementation of the higher charges – Part C of the municipality’s tariff structure – was approved by Council at the end of May. The Council also declared a local state of disaster at the same meeting because of the prolonged drought and looming water shortages.
Water restrictions and Part B (critical but not emergency) water tariffs have been in place in Kouga municipal since December 2016.
Van Lingen said Kouga had further been instructed by the national Department of Water and Sanitation to cut back its water consumption by 25% because dam levels had reached critical levels.
“If good rains don’t fall in the catchment areas soon, we are heading for a disaster that will have far-reaching negative implications for the region as a whole,” she said.
“We call on all residents and business to save water urgently. Every drop counts.”
She said an emergency action plan, aimed at conserving and increasing the water supply, would be tabled to Council.
“Emergency measures will include increasing consumer education and the sinking of additional boreholes.
“With the disaster declaration having been gazetted, we are now also in a position to apply for funding assistance from provincial and national government to implement the emergency measures.”
The implementation of emergency tariffs and call for water consumption to be reduced by at least 25% are also in effect in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Kouga purchases most of its water for domestic use from the Metro, which manages the dams on behalf of the Department of Water and Sanitation.
KOUGA WATER SHORTAGE
Eight crew still missing from capsized chokka fishing boat
There were still eight crew members missing from the ill-fated Chokka fishing boat Maredon that capsized off Thyspunt early Sunday morning. An extensive sea, air and shoreline search was called off late into the evening Sunday with the police, police dive unit and NSRI St Francis Bay remaining on high alert. The search for the missing crew will resume this morning.
NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) following reports of red distress flares reported by Chokka fishing vessels at sea off-shore of Thyspoint at around 03h30 on Sunday morning. The Chokka fishing vessel Silver Eagle had witnessed the red distress flares at around 03h00 and raised the alarm calling Telkom Maritime Radio Services and MRCC.
An EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon had then also been intercepted by MRCC and additional flare sightings were reported.
Two Chokka fishing vessels, Silver Eagle and Megalodon, diverted to investigate and the Chokka fishing vessel Maredon was then confirmed to have capsized.
NSRI St Francis Bay launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II in rough sea conditions with six meter swells and a gusting to 50 knots westerly wind and driving rain. It was confirmed that the vessel had 16 crew members aboard at the time of the disaster and a search commenced for survivors.
In addition to NSRI Spirit of St Francis II, the SA Police Services, Private Care ambulance services, local security company members, NSRI Jeffreys Bay and NSRI Oyster Bay, EC Government Health EMS, a Police Dive Unit and an NSRI Port Elizabeth NSRI ASR team aboard an SA Air Force 15 Squadron Charlie Flight BK-117 helicopter and the Kouga Municipality’s Fire and Disaster team also responded to assist in the search for the missing crew.
Silver Eagle reported a life-raft the life-raft had drifting too close into towards the rocks and could not be reached and the vessel Megalodon reporting it had recovered one survivor from the water. The survivor was transferred from the Megalodon onto the NSRI sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II and he was brought to shore where he was transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance services in a stable condition.
During a search members of the public, including the owner of other Chokka fishing boats and NSRI rescuers, recovered a deceased fisherman on the shore in the vicinity of Sunset Rocks and five survivors were found on the beach at Sunset Rocks. The deceased man was taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.
The Maredon was found capsized and hard aground at Sunset Rocks but surf conditions did not allow rescuers to get close to the stricken vessel during the high tide. As high tide approached waves caused the stricken vessel to roll over a few times and one survivor was witnessed climbing out of the vessel and NSRI rescue swimmers waded into the water and rescued the survivor who has been airlifted to hospital by the SAAF 15 Squadron Charlie Flight helicopter in a stable condition.
As the tide receded police divers were able to breach the hull of the boat using cutting tools but no crew were found inside the hull. Police and a Police Dive Unit will continue in an ongoing search and recovery operation assisted by NSRI St Francis Bay.
When the search was called off last light one deceased crew member had been recovered with seven survivors, six of whom have been hospitalised and are reported to be in stable conditions. Eight crew are still missing.
Commenting on the disaster, Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen commented on the emergency crews that reacted to the disaster.
“”They did a great job and we are very grateful for their efforts. We are only sorry that not all lives could be saved. Our deepest condolences go to the family of the fisherman who drowned and our prayers are with those still waiting for news of their loved ones.”
All involved in the search and rescue operation today are commended for their efforts in extremely rough sea conditions.
Sincere Condolences are conveyed to family, friends and colleagues of the deceased fisherman.
Police have opened an inquest docket and SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) are launching an investigation.
The search for the missing crewmen contiinued at first light this morning