Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Power theft costs R4.4bn

Illegal electricity connections cost Eskom and municipalities about R4.4bn in the 2009 financial year, Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.

"This would be more than 5% of turnover, indicating the seriousness of the problem," said Peters in reply to a question in parliament. Click here for the full report at News24.

Monday, 28 June 2010

To Boycott or not to boycott

In the light of recent calls for a local rates boycott, it is fitting to take note of the views of Clr. Nico Botha which he articulated in a newsletter to Ward 3 residents on 15 December 2009.

He expressed solidarity with local ratepayers who are extremely angry because they believe that the Kouga Municipality is riddled with mismanagement, nepotism, corruption, and inefficiency, not to speak of the perception that their rates are being squandered at such a rate that the municipality is heading for a financial crisis.

He wrote, “However, one must ask oneself: are our streets beyond repair; is our refuse and sewage removal nonexistent; is our electricity and water supply unreliable? Besides, how many ratepayers would be prepared to support a rates boycott? How certain are we that a court of law will agree that a boycott is justified? Can we afford prolonged lawsuits while the municipality uses our rates to fight us?”

Clr. Botha urged dissatisfied ratepayers to be aware of the fact that the municipality can take countermeasures against those who withhold their rates and taxes; that they might use payments for service charges to offset rates payments that are in arrears. “If this happens,” he continued, “the financial obligations with regard to water and electricity supply to homeowners could be viewed as being in arrears, with the result that services may be suspended.”

“So, what is the solution?” he asked

In his view, ratepayers should show the municipality that they are dissatisfied by writing letters of protest to local newspapers, and attending protest meetings in greater numbers. They should stand together, march together, and act together.

“Clearly,” he concluded, “unseating the ANC in the 2011 municipal election is the best solution by far.”

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Ons bestaan is geregverdig; ons grondwet word hersien

Daar is geen twyfel oor die bestaansreg van die Jeffreysbaaise belastingbetalersverenging (BBV) nie.

Dié gevolgtrekking is gemaak nadat die bestuur van die BBV vroeër vandeesweek ‘n werkwinkel gehou het oor die relevansie en toekomsrol van die BBV.

Die werkwinkel is gehou knap nadat Barry Vosloo as waarnemende voorsitter in die plek van die vorige voorsitter, Henda Thiart, verkies is. Sy het haar tot die aktiewe politiek gewend.

Inleidend tot die werkwinkel het Barry die doel daarvan soos volg opgesom: “Die kern daarvan is om te bepaal of die BBV nog ‘n rol het om te speel en, indien wel, wat die rol is. Voorheen was die BBV die onbetwiste spreekbuis van die belastingbetalers/inwoners van Jeffreysbaai. Met die koms van die wykskomiteestelsel, soos voorgeskryf deur die Municipal Systems Bill, is daar  nou ‘n ander speler op die speelveld wat die potensiaal het om die invloed van die BBV te ondermyn”.

Hierop het sekretaris Japie Bosch die doelstellings van die BBV en die wyskomitees kortliks uiteengesit. Hy het daarop gewys dat die grondwet van wykskomitees ‘n uitstekende dokument is. Dit bevat 15 duidelike doelstellings. Wykskomitees word as komitees van die stadsraad geag en val onder die beheer van die speaker van die stadsraad. Die BBV se doelstellings is, soos in sy grondwet vervat, wyd bewoord. Dit kom daarop neer dat hy die belange van die dorp se inwoners dien. (Die doelstellings is aan die einde van dié berig.)

Die komitee het die saak vir sowat ‘n uur en half gedebateer waarna Barry die bespreking soos volg opgesom het:

• Dat die BBV, vanweë sy onafhanklikheid en onverantwoorbaarheid aan ‘n ander gesagsliggaam, ‘n noodsaaklike en relevante rol vervul;
• Dat daar eenstemmigheid is dat die wykskomitees, vanweë hul gebondenheid aan die stadsraad, nie dieselfde suksesse as die BBV kan behaal nie;
• Dat selfs raadslede, vanweë die stadsraad (en moontlik hul politieke partye) se gedragskode waaraan hulle onderworpe is, nie met dieselfde intensiteit as die BBV standpunte inneem nie;
• Dat die missie en visie van die BBV duidelik geformuleer moet word;
• Dat die BBV se grondwet hersien moet word en
• Dat aanpassings in die BBV se werkwyse, voortspruitend uit die hersiene grondwet, by ‘n latere geleentheid oorweeg word.

Voortspruitend hieruit is die volgende besluite geneem:

• Dat die bestaansreg van die BBV opnuut bevestig word;
• Dat ‘n sub-komitee van die BBV die grondwet hersien;
• Dat die sub-komitee bestaan uit die Barry Vosloo, Japie Bosch en Henda Thiart;
• Dat die sub-komitee se vertrekpunt ‘n nuut-geformuleerde missie en visie is;
• Dat die sub-komitee kommentaar van bestuurslede aanvra, soos hy met sy werk vorder;
• Dat die BBV in Augustus 2010 ‘n buitengewone algemene vergadering hou waartydens lede onder meer ingelig word oor die uitkoms van hierdie vergadering en dat die grondwet in ‘n hersieningproses is.
• Dat die hersiene grondwet by ‘n latere vergadering van die bestuur oorweeg word;
• Dat, voortspruitend uit bogenoemde, die hersiene grondwet aan die volgende algemene jaarvergadering voorgehou word.

Doelstellings van die BBV

1. Om ‘n goeie gesindheid teenoor die Vereniging en samewerking tussen die inwoners van Jeffreysbaai en die Munisipaliteit Kouga (EC 108) aan te moedig en te bevorder;
2. Om die belange van sy lede daadwerklik te bevorder en in die algemeen oor die belange van die inwoners, met uitsluiting van godsddienstige en politiek
e belange, van Jeffreysbaai te waak;
3. Om met die Munisipaliteit Kouga (EC 108) oor enige aangeleentheid te skakel en behulpsaam te wees waar die Vereniging dit ag om in belang van sy lede en/of inwoners van Jeffreysbaai te wees; en
4. Om, indien dit wenslik geag word, kandidate wat lede van die Vereniging is vir verkiesing tot die Kouga Munisipaliteit (EC 108) te benoem. Sodanige benoeming geskied by ‘n Buitengewone Algemene Vergadering wat spesiaal vir die doel belê word.

Objectives of ward committees

1. To express the needs and concerns of the residents within the ward.
2. To identify development priorities within the ward.
3. To promote and facilitate interaction between the Council and the community in a particular ward.
4. To respond to the concerns of the residence within the ward.
5. Involve the residents in the ward in identifying and prioritizing needs.
6. Identify resources in the ward for meeting the development needs.
7. Promote accountability of the Municip ality to the residence of the ward.
8. Assist residents in the ward to request Municipal services, taking into account the financial capacity of the municipality and other development projects being executed within the other wards.
9. Participate in the development of their area;
10. To monitor Municipal programmes and services in its ward in line with the policies of the Council.
11. To foster good relations between the Council, community and all other sectors and institutions within the community.
12. To establish sub-committees as required to deal with issues such as health, transport, sports and education etc, and may for this purpose co-opt other persons from the ward with skills in particular relevant fields.
13. To assist in establishing programmes that would effectively deal with poverty, crime and aids,
14. Promote friendly relations between the residence in its ward, the Municipality and community organisations.
15. To deliberate on issues affecting the ward, and to take decisions through consensus that will be submitted by the chairperson to serve as recommendations before the Council.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Clean municipal audits or senior heads will roll

The minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, has staked his political future on cleaning up rampant corruption in South Africa's municipalities.

On Friday he committed his department to ensuring a clean audit for 60% of municipalities by 2012; 75% by 2013 - and 100% by 2014, the Sunday Times reported on 20 June 2010.

Many would call this Mission Impossible, given that only 2% made the grade last year.

Asked if he had included these targets in his own performance contract co-signed by President Jacob Zuma, Shiceka said all officials, himself included, were bound by them.

"You can't get a bonus if you get a disclaimer or adverse audit opinion. And you can't stay in your position. In the past we have been very lenient."

His newly appointed director-general, Elroy Africa, would be the first to go if municipalities did not deliver, he said. "We are putting our heads on the block. If he doesn't perform, why should he keep his job? Before I go, I must start with him."

This month auditor-general Terence Nombembe tabled his latest report on local government audit outcomes. He gave only four out of the 247 municipalities who had submitted financial statements on time a clean bill of health.

He told the Sunday Times none of the 36 municipalities who had filed late were likely to receive clean audits - "so there has been no improvement since last year in clean audits".

But interviews conducted with the mayors of every municipality in six provinces had given him grounds for hope.

"Strengthening political oversight is the key to getting clean audits, and I am seeing new commitment (to this) at a political level," he said.

Municipal riots and rates boycotts have become commonplace in smaller centres and peri-urban areas as services grind to a halt amid widespread corruption and mismanagement.

Shiceka said he believed the key to solving the crisis lay in improved financial management. "If we can clean up the system, we will be able to combat corruption because we will know what money was used for."

The worst-performing provinces were the Northern Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape and North West, where so-called section 139 notices are regularly served, allowing provincial governments to appoint administrators to take over the running of dysfunctional municipalities.

Shiceka said he expected Mafikeng in North West to be next to be served with such a notice, pending cabinet approval: "There has been a lot of corruption going on there."

The state's anti-corruption Special Investigating Unit is looking into the affairs of 25 municipalities in North West alone "to unravel the details of the corruption", he said .

The Municipal Systems Amendment Bill, expected to be signed into law this year, contains another key intervention. Proposals aimed at professionalising the civil service, already approved by cabinet, include banning political office bearers from occupying top municipal posts. "We want to depoliticise municipal management. The key is employment of skilled people," said Shiceka.

For rates boycotters, his message was clear: "It's illegal. We must obey the rule of law."

Shiceka himself faces claims that he cooked his CV and used state resources to throw a party for his mother at his home village in the Eastern Cape. The allegations prompted calls by Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi that he should be investigated for corruption, along with the minister of communications, Siphiwe Nyanda.

But Shiceka insisted the claims did not dent his credibility as a self-proclaimed corruption buster. "I have never faked my CV anywhere and I used my own money for the birthday party," he said. "I'm very careful about that (because) it comes back to bite you. My conscience is clear."

Monday, 21 June 2010

Geen belastingweerhouding

Our Times het op 18 Junie 2010 berig dat “ratepayers in the Kouga are considering withholding their rates following the breakdown in talks between various ratepayers’ associations and the Kouga Municipality.”

Hoewel die Jeffreysbaai-belastingvereniging (JBBV) nie genoeë neem met die Kouga-munisipaliteit se gebrek aan samewerking in verband met die aangeleenthede wat in die berig vermeld word nie, is dit belangrik om daarop te let dat die oproep om ‘n boikot-aksie van stapel te laat loop vanuit die geledere van die St. Francis Bay Ratepayers’ Association (SFBRA) kom en nie van óf die Federation of Kouga Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Associations (FEKRRA) óf die JBBV nie. Die JBBV kan nie sonder ‘n mandaat van sy lede ‘n belastingboikot steun nie, maar is wél bereid om op ander maniere druk op die munisipaliteit uit te oefen,

Die JBBV het oor die jare heen ‘n goeie verhouding met munisipale amptenare opgebou en verkry derhalwe goeie samewerking van hulle af. Die JBBV is ongeneë om hierdie vertrouensverhouding goedsmoeds in die weegskaal te plaas. -- Barry Vosloo, voorsitter.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Nuwe voorsitter en sekretaris; twee nuwe lede

Barry Vosloo is gisteraand as waarnemende voorsitter van die Jeffreysbaaise belastingbetalersvereniging (BBV) aangewys. Japie Bosch is die waarnemende sekretaris.

Dit volg nadat Henda Thiart, voorsitter, en Gerrie Botes, sekretaris, uit hul poste bedank het, omdat hulle hul toetrede tot die aktiewe politiek gemaak het. Albei het hulle as kandidate vir die Demokratiese Alliansie vir aanstaande jaar se munsipale verkiesing beskikbaar gestel.

Die poste is by ‘n bestuursvergadering van die BBV aan Vosloo en Bosch toevertrou tot die volgende algemene jaarvergadering in Augustus 2010.

Vosloo is ‘n voormalige skoolhoof, dosent en onderwyskundige van KwaZulu-Natal. Bosch is ‘n voormalige joernalis van ‘n Johannesburgse dagblad en hoofuitvoerende beampte van ‘n munisipale instituut.

Thiart en Botes sal as lede van die bestuur aanbly totdat hul kandidature vir die DA bekragtig is.

Met sy ampsaanvaarding het Vosloo sy dank vir diensbaarheid aan Thiart en Botes uitgespreek.

Hy het ook die vraag gestel: “Waarheen mik die BBV in die toekoms?”

Teen dié agtergrond sal die BBV-bestuur eersdaags ‘n werkwinkel hou. Die hoofdoelwit is om te sorg dat die BBV relevant bly.

Intussen is twee nuwe lede gekoöpteer. Hulle is
  • Willie Eksteen, ‘n voormalige hoofinterne ouditeur by ‘n mynmaatskappy, en 
  • Ludwig Vorster (Vossie), ‘n voormalige mynboubestuurder.

Inwoners gewaarsku teen rondloperhonde

Nadat die BBV in Maart sy kommer uitgespreek het oor rondloperhonde wat die natuurlewe in die Noorsekloof bedreig, het die munisipale bestuurder laat weet dat die munisipaliteit natuurbewaring as ‘n saak van erns beskou. Hy het ook te kenne gegee dat hulle alles in die werk stel om ‘n oplossing vir die probleem te vind. Lees ook die berigte wat op 16 April 2010 en 11 Junie 2010 in hierdie blog verskyn het.

Links: At Röscher het dié pragfoto van die grysbokkie geneem. At woon langs die Noorsekloof en die bokkie wei dikwels in sy tuin.

‘n Afvaardiging van die BBV het op 14 Junie 2010 ’n opbouende gesprek oor die aangeleentheid gevoer met ‘n aantal munisipale amptenare onder leiding van mnr. Stanley Baartman, die hoof van veiligheid en sekuriteit.

Daar is ooreengekom dat die munisipale wetstoepassingsbeampte alle inwoners wie se eiendom aan die Noorsekloof-natuurreservaat grens, skriftelik sal inlig dat hulle vervolg kan word indien hulle toelaat dat hulle honde los rondloop en sodoende die dierelewe in die kloof bedreig. Hierbenewens sal ‘n algemene kennisgewing eersdaags by munisipale dienste-rekenings ingesluit word wat inwoners daarop wys dat hulle wetlik verplig word om hulle honde te alle tye onder beheer te hou.

Baartman het gesê dat die munisipaliteit tans op soek is na ‘n omgewingsbeampte wat sal moet omsien na die behoud van die Kouga se natuurlike bates.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

It's Gone

What happened to the website of the Kouga municipality?  It just disappeared. It used to be at:

Monday, 14 June 2010


Die BBV het op 31 Mei 2010 weer eens by die munisipale bestuurder navraag gedoen oor die ontbossing van die kloof tussen Poplar- en Bushwillowstraat. Daar was geen reaksie op ons vorige skrywe van 26 Januarie 2010 nie.

Die BBV het daarop gewys dat daar intussen helder oordag by die huis van die Stroebel-gesin ingebreek is terwyl mev. Stroebel tuis was. Dié huis grens aan die kloof. Dis nie bekend of sy beseer is nie. Die boewe is in die beboste kloof daar naby deur die SAPD vasgetrek waar hulle geskuil het.

Die munisipale bestuurder het op 8 Junie 2010 laat weet dat die munisipaliteit aanvanklik weens ‘n tekort aan geld gedurende die 2009/10-boekjaar nie aan ons versoek kon voldoen nie. Die aangeleentheid sal egter gedurende die 2010/11-boekjaar aandag geniet, aangesien geld vir ontbossing nou beskikbaar is. Die Direktoraat van Gemeenskapsdienste identifiseer tans die bosagtige gebiede wat voordeel sal trek. Die kloof tussen Poplar- en Bushwillowstraat is as ‘n prioriteit vir ontbossing geïdentifiseer.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Geen sokkerkaartjies nie!

Mnr Pravin Gordhan, minister van finansies, het aan munisipaliteite 'n boodskap gestuur dat hul begrotings nie bedoel is om aan sokkerkaartjies en aandenkings vir politici te bestee nie.
  •  Het die politici by Jeffreysbaai se munisipaliteit hiervan kennis geneem?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Onwettige plakkers naby dorp se waterbron

Die BBV het op 31 Mei 2010 sy kommer teenoor die munisipale bestuurder uitgespreek oor ‘n aantal onwettige plakkershutte wat naby Jeffreysbaai se boorgate opgerig is. Daar is geen toiletgeriewe nie en die vrees is uitgespreek dat een van die dorp se belangrike waterbronne besoedel sal word.

Die munisipale bestuurder het laat weet dat die munisipale wetstoepassingsbeampte die terrein besoek het en dat die hervestiging van die plakkersgesinne tans deur die Direktoraat van Beplanning en Ontwikkeling hanteer word.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Rondloperhonde in Noorsekloof

Nadat die BBV in Maart sy kommer uitgespreek het oor rondloper- honde wat die natuurlewe in die Noorsekloof bedreig, het die munisipale bestuurder laat weet dat die munisipaliteit natuurbewaring as ‘n saak van erns beskou. Hy het ook te kenne gegee dat hulle alles in die werk stel om ‘n oplossing vir die probleem te vind.  Klik hier en lees 'n vorige wat in hierdie blog verskyn het.

Daar het egter tot dusver niks daarvan gekom nie, met die gevolg dat
die BBV weer eens ‘n dringende versoek tot die munisipale bestuurder gerig het om aan die saak aandag te gee.

Op 8 Junie 2010 reageer die munisipale bestuurder soos volg: “The municipality’s Protection Services Manager will contact you by no later than June 11 to set up a meeting regarding the matter.”

Nuwe wykskantoor in Wavecrest

Die munisipaliteit het ‘n netjiese en funksionele gebou langs die Wavecrest-begraafplaas in Maplesingel opgerig vir die gebruik van Wyk 3 se raadslid, dr. Nico Botha en sy wykskomitee sodat hulle meer toeganklik vir inwoners kan wees. Soortgelyke geriewe is tot die beskikking van alle wyke in die Kouga geskep. (Klik hier om meer te lees wat 'n wykskomitee behels:  spesifiek punt 13 tot 15.)

Dié gebou staan egter drie maande ná voltooiing steeds in onbruik. Selfs die verf aan die pilare begin al afdop. DAtanet het betroubaar verneem dat die munisipaliteit se geldsake só chaoties is dat daar nie binne die afsienbare toekoms fondse beskikbaar sal wees om ‘n telefoon te laat installeer of om meubels en toerusting te voorsien nie.

Intussen word die mense van die Kouga se belastinggeld deur die ANC-beheerde munisipaliteit wanbestee. -- Met erkenning aan DAtanet, mondstuk van die Demokratiese Alliansie, Jeffreysbaai-streek.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Click here for a report: Feedback on meeting with Kouga Municipality.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Thyspunt nuclear plant news

The controversial nuclear plant remains news, especially in St Francis Bay. Clicks here to read:
  • A short summary of the nuclear details at Thyspunt;
  • Concerns raised by the community and
  • The way forward.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Die land hou van Jeffreysbaai

Uitsoekdorp, Uitsoek-vakansieplek. Uitsoek-blyplek.

Dit is Jeffreysbaai -- een van die drie Oos-Kaapse finaliste in Rapport en Kwêla op kykNET se “Dorp van die Jaar”-kompetisie. Die ander twee finaliste is Graaff-Reinet en Patensie. Nogal betekenisvol dat twee uit die drie in Kouga is.

“Hierdie kompetisie word nie deur burgemeesters en belanghebbendes bepaal nie, maar deur ons lesers en kykers self,” skryf Rapport.

“Dié is ’n kompetisie nié vir die skoonste dorp of die dorp met die beste munisipaliteit nie – daarvoor is daar ander kompetisies wat op ’n politieke vlak bedryf word. Nee, dié kompetisie gaan oor waar Rapport se lesers en Kwêla se kykers hulself tuis voel.”

Dit is yslike kompliment vir Jeffreysbaai.

Dit is juis op hierdie punt dat die burgemeester, sy uitvoerende komitee, die stadsraad en die amptenary ‘n bietjie moet stilstaan en dink. So ook die sakelui en die inwoners.

• Rapport is nie ‘n hierjy-koerantjie nie. Dis die grootste Afrikaanse koerant in die land. Sy sirkulasie is elke Sondag digby 300 000 en sy lesertal naby 1,6 miljoen. Die afgelope Sondag (6 Junie 2010) is ‘n hele bladsy aan die Oos-Kaapse finaliste afgestaan.

• kykNET se Kwêla is eweneens baie gewild. Dié program bestaan reeds 10 jaar. kykNET het ‘n kykertal van 1,7 miljoen mense (2009).

(Gratis nasionale advertensies wat andersins derduisende rande sou gekos het.)

Die land sê dus: ons hou van Jeffreysbaai. Ons voel tuis daar.

Toegegee, die kompetisie is in die Afrikaanse media, maar hoekom sou anderstalliges of wie en wat ookal anders dink?

Jeffreysbaai is nie net nog ‘n dorpie iewers nie. Landwyd hou Jeffreysbaai ‘n bekoring in vir mense. Deurdat die dorp ‘n finalis is, sal hy nog meer aanklank vind. Jeffreysbaai word in dieselfde asem as van die mooiste en gewildste ander dorpe in Suid-Afrika genoem. Ons het die see, see-sporte, die klimaat (behalwe soms), die natuurskoon, dolfyne, skulpe, blyplekke, kuierplekke, mooi dorpe rondom ons, die mense en wat nog.

Ander finaliste vir 2010 wat tot nou bekend is, is:
  • St. Lucia, Utrecht, Vryheid (Kwazulu-Natal); 
  • Cullinan, Heidelberg, Henley-on-Klip (Gauteng); 
  • Hartbeespoort, Sannieshof, Potchefstroom (Noordwes); 
  • Upington, Springbok, De Aar (Noord-Kaap); 
  • Dullstroom, Barberton, Wakkerstroom (Mpumalanga); 
  • Thabazimbi, Mookgopong (Naboomspruit) Haenertsburg (Limpopo).
Menere en mevroue by die munisipaliteit, ons Jeffreysbaaiers is danig oor hierdie prestasie van ons dorp. Maar ons is nie danig oor alles wat daar in die binnekamers van die munisipaliteit gebeur nie. Die Jeffreysbaaise Belastingbetalersverenging steek sy hand uit en sê: laat ons Jeffreysbaai saam ‘n nog mooier en gewilder plek maak. Ons wil nie ‘n finalis wees nie. Ons wil elke jaar ‘n wenner wees, maar daar is tekens dat dit anders gaan word.  Luister na inwoners, luister na die land.  Waak daarteen dat ons infrastruktuur verval en dat ons belasting- en dienstegeld verkeerd gekanaliseer word.
  • Lesers kan soos volg stem vir die gunsteling dorp in die Oos-Kaap: stuur ‘n SMS met die naam van u keuse uit die drie finaliste – Jeffreysbaai, Patensie of Graaff-Reinet – na 33157. Elke SMS kos R1,50. Jy kan 100 keer van een selfoonnommer af stem. Die sluitingsdatum is Dinsdag, 15 Julie 2010. Daar is pryse om te wen. Lees Rapport of kyk Kwêla. – Japie Bosch.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Councils 'urged' to publish all spending over £500

Councils in England and Wales are being urged to publish details of spending above £500 as part of a government "revolution" in transparency.

They will not be forced by law to open their books.

The government denies this is a climbdown from the coalition agreement which said councils would be "required" to do so.

Government sources said "measures would be taken" against councils that did not co-operate.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has written to local authorities urging them to work with the Local Government Association to deliver the reforms.
'New ideas'

Commenting on the move, he said: "The swift and simple changes we are calling for today will unleash an army of armchair auditors and quite rightly make those charged with doling out the pennies stop and think twice about whether they are getting value for money.

"Throwing open the council books will open the door to new businesses and encourage greater innovation and entrepreneurship.

"Organisations that might have been effectively locked out before, including voluntary sector and small business, will be in a much stronger position to pitch for contracts and bring new ideas and solutions to the table."

At one stage, in opposition, the Conservatives were considering passing laws forcing local authorities to publish spending above £500, in return for more powers in other areas.
But the LGA, which is setting up a programme to help councils achieve greater transparency in line with ministers' aims, said legislation was "never on the table" in discussions with Mr Pickles' department.
'See and scrutinise'

An LGA spokesman said legislation forcing councils to publish financial details would fly in the face of the government's commitment to "localism".

He said he was confident most councils would comply with the plan, adding that some already published such details and others had "systems in place" making it relatively straightforward.

According to the timetable announced by Mr Pickles, by September councils will be expected to make details of spending above £500 on all goods and services available for the public to "see and scrutinise".

This would include such items as car hire, software, consultancy fees and utility bills.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says all councils in England and Wales "should be doing this as a matter of course by the start of next year", as well as publishing invitations to tender and final contracts on projects over £500.

The government has said it will "consult on greater disclosure of senior staff salaries by name and job descriptions".

It is also urging "greater clarity" on councillors' expenses and for the minutes of meetings, saying what was discussed and decided, to be routinely published.

Other proposals including publishing job vacancies online, to reduce advertising costs, and publishing council tax collection rates and data about the performance of services such as rubbish collection and recycling.

A raft of other data, including pub licensing decisions, planning discussions, food hygiene reports should also be made available to the public, the DCLG says.

Some of it is already in the public domain but it should be republished in a more accessible form and made available to outside groups without charge or copyright claims, it adds.

It comes after the government published millions of public spending data in a bid to increase transparency.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Beware of World Cup criminals

Due to the large number of Police (SAPS) that will be required to actually police the event, the criminals and the security advisors are aware that the World Cup period is going to be like another holiday period for the criminal fraternity. The SAPS will be concentrating on the areas most frequented by visitors/tourists. These will be at the Football stadiums, the Fan parks, OR Tambo airport, hotels in the cities and the routes to the stadiums. This leaves the criminals to have a free run at the suburbs! The criminals are fully aware of this too. They understand that the reaction time for SAPS to get to an incident will be long - if they come at all.

The crimes that will increase are home invasions, driveway robberies and carjacking at your home.

The above is a summary of Major MP Boyle, Staff Officer Coordination, British Peace Support Team (South Africa) who recently attended a World Cup security brief presented by Mr Aubrey Pieters, an independent security advisor.

Home invasions: These are likely to take place when the criminals see a number of cars in driveways of homes. This would indicate that there are a group of friends watching a match who will be distracted. Normally alcohol is involved and there is usually a door open where the guys have been at the BBQ. They will attempt to jump the fence or get into the property and rob everyone of their personnel effects.

Carjackings: No change to the normal brief from Aubrey. Gangs will target women (normally) in a supermarket and inform other gang members who are in the car park waiting to follow you home. The advice is to pay attention to who else turns the same way as you do at junctions. The car tailing you is likely to be 3 or 4 cars back. If you think you are being tailed head to a petrol station or large shopping centre and get out the car and phone for help. Do not try to get home and get in the front gate. Either phone ADT and get them to meet you somewhere. They will not be involved in football match security.

Driveway robberies: Be very aware of who or what is in your street or outside your house when you approach it. If somebody is loitering or if you pass a car with one or two occupants apparently sat idly, do not enter your drive. Always pull up parallel to your drive and open the gate. Never pull up in front of the gate and then open it. That will be the time when you get boxed in by the car full of trouble and you won’t have much time to react. They are then likely to steal what you have on you (wallets, purses, rings, mobile phones, laptops etc) and then shoot off or worst still get you to open the house and go in with you.

For those of you who are going to the games, the trouble you are likely to come across will be either a few drunken yobs looking for a fight or pickpockets. The security agencies are aware that major public gatherings like the World Cup will attract international pickpockets from around the world. These guys are experts and you will not know that it has happened until many hours later. Gents wallets are normally kept in the back right pocket of trousers. Move it. Split your money and cards. Be careful.

Smash and grabs will increase too. Tourists will leave cameras, phones and bags on car seats. Rich pickings for the smash and grab gangs. If you don’t already have the smash and grab film on your car windows go and get it done now. If you can’t afford it, the advice is to drive with your windows down about half an inch. This makes it 4 times harder to smash the window.

For those with children the World Cup is going to be a particularly bad time for child abductions. In South Africa there are 15 abductions/kidnappings every day and they see this as a crime which will get out of hand over the World Cup period. Human trafficking gangs know that the schools are all on holiday over the tournament. They will target shopping malls, cafes, cinemas, public toilets and toy departments in shops. The SA authorities estimate that approx 300 000 Africans will come over the borders for the tournament. The borders will not be able to cope with the surge and checks will be cursory in most cases. Babies will be abducted for scrupulous adoption agencies in Nigeria and the like. Children aged 4 - 8 will be targeted for the porn industry. Those children around 9 - 13 for prostitution. Keep an eye on your children! Do not send them off to the toilets alone. Do not let them go to the toy section while you do the rest of your shopping.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

What can yóú do for the ratepayers?

"Ask not what the Jeffreys Bay Ratepayers’ Association (JBRPA) can do for you, but what you can do for the ratepayers of Jeffreys Bay."

That was part of the response from Barry Vosloo, a committee member of the JBRPA, to a certain Nancy Bruwer’s comments about the association.

On 28 May 2010 Nancy wrote: “ … the ratepayers would support the association if the committee were to become more confrontational about issues where the ratepayers' money was being wasted. What has the Ratepayers Association done for their members up to now? Tell us about your successes (if you've had any) and your projects (if there are any) so that we can become enthusiastic support you. This blog is an excellent forum in which to advertise your benefits. No one is going to give their hard earned income to anything which does not prove to be beneficial to them.”

Barry replied as follows: “I am tempted to respond to Nancy Bruwer's message paraphrasing an erstwhile US President: "Ask not what the JBRPA can do for you, but what you can do for the ratepayers of Jeffreys Bay.” Of course, she is probably correct in implying that the JBRPA is, in effect, a toothless tiger. But what would become of us if we stopped trying to bring pressure to bear on the local municipality? I could refer her to various utterances in the local press (and this blog) by Gerrie Botes, Joe Oosthuizen, Davy Crockett and various others with regard to the incompetence of the local municipality. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if the municipal bigwigs actually read this blog! I have it on good authority that they are acutely sensitive to criticism published in the media. In addition, the president of the JBRPA, Henda Thiart, regularly meets with the local municipal manager and other officials in her attempts to right the wrongs brought to her attention by local ratepayers. In fact, this blog regularly reports on such contacts. Please page through the index in the sidebar.
  • So, Nancy and likeminded ratepayers, take hands with the JBRPA and at least try to make a difference.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

JBay Police lead the way with street children solution

Jeffreys Bay has children living on the street just like any other city or town in South Africa.

The reasons these children are on the streets are varied. One big concern is that the Eastern Cape has been identified as having the highest percentage of HIV orphans in South Africa by the Human Sciences Research Council.

These are kids that have lost their families and have turned to the streets simply to survive. They grow up without protection, without any moral values being instilled and generally have to resort to crime just to survive.

Harsh living conditions at home are also to blame with alcohol and drug abuse often contributing factors to children deciding to move onto the streets.

It has become clear that society can no longer turn a blind eye to what is a worldwide problem.

W/O De Lange from the Jeffreys Bay Police has decided to take a pro active approach to the problem of street children in Jeffreys Bay.

“We need to come up with solutions instead of just highlighting the problems all the time”, said De Lange. “By the time street children become a police problem it means the system has failed them and we need to help them before they drift into a life of crime”.

A meeting was held at the Jeffreys Bay police station that brought together the various role players who can make a difference.

Mrs Grootboom from the Department of Social Development attended the meeting and mentioned that the problem of street children is a difficult one to resolve and that it is necessary for the cooperation of various departments, institutions and individuals to find the correct means of dealing with the current situation.

A committee has been formed to come up with solutions for Jeffreys Bay before the problem escalates and becomes out of control. W/O De Lange can be contacted on 082/065-9314 for further information. --