Wednesday, 23 March 2011

South Africa : On the road to ruin

by Barney Mthombothi: Editor of Financial Mail.
South Africans seem to be in a bit of a foul and restless mood, with the gyrations of our philandering president and the rather large potholes on our roads being the subjects enjoying the attention of raspier tongues, especially among the chattering classes.

Jacob Zuma is, frankly, not worth our breath. He's best left alone. He's digging his own grave. Potholes - and the general decline of our infrastructure - are another matter, however. They are a serious matter, but only the tip of the iceberg.

Travelling around the country, one cannot but be shocked at the state of our towns and cities. The streets are a sorry mess, squalid, with overgrown verges, paint peeling off buildings - a general state of neglect and decay. It's as if nobody is in charge. It is as though since the last apartheid apparatchik was chased out of town nobody has cared to lift a finger even to sweep the place. And with the current obsession with renaming things, one is often even confused as to which town or street one is in.

In days yonder, a perfect date for a township dude, dressed to the nines of course, was taking her to the movies, and thereafter some "window-shopping" in town. Not anymore. It's all boarded up now. Whether it's Johannesburg , Pretoria , Durban , or any of the many small towns across the land, some parts of the CBD have become a jungle, and even a health hazard. No longer a place to dare to venture, let alone take a leisurely stroll. Capital has also taken flight.

The ANC woke up quite late in the day to the crucial role played by local government in the life of a nation. After the election in 1994, most of the organisation's bright sparks scrambled for seats in the national parliament. Positions in city and town councils were seen as nothing but crumbs from the table. It was left to its third string to run our towns and cities. And they've run them down.

Also, in trying to merge towns and townships and do away with the old apartheid boundaries, the ANC has lumped everything together to create huge metropolises which its hand-picked, often incompetent, mandarins have found almost impossible to govern. It created a gulf between rate-payers and city halls, hence the alienation.

But the biggest problem, which probably explains the nationwide protests over service delivery, is our system of local government, which ensures that town mayors and managers whose actions and decisions have a huge impact on people's lives are imposed by party bosses without any say by the governed. Such a system is obviously undemocratic, and is no credit to our much-vaunted constitution.

People in such positions are often not sensitive to ordinary citizens' concerns because they are not appointed or elected by them. They are accountable to those who appointed them, the party bosses. Which is why Amos Masondo, the dozy mayor of Johannesburg , can easily pooh-pooh the outrage caused by the potholes which have disfigured the streets of this metropolis. He's not bothered by the outrage. He was imposed by the ANC. And as long as the ANC is happy with this sort of incompetence, so is he.

The country holds yet another local government election next year. It will improve or solve nothing. We will exchange one group of incompetents for yet another bunch of ineffectual individuals. They're not to blame either. It's simply the outcome of an inappropriate system of government.

It's not surprising that as we approach next year's election, none of the political parties has suggested making the system more accountable. They won't. The current system suits them just fine.

If you want clean streets and refuse that's removed on time, agitate for elected representatives at local government. It's called democracy.

Friday, 18 March 2011

'n Plan om te onthou

Inwoners van Sasolburg het besluit om vanoggend (Saterdag, 18 Maart 2011) hul opgehoopte vullissakke op die stoep van die munisipale kantore te gaan neersit.

Vullissakke het tydens die staking deur munisipale werkers die afgelope twee weke by huise opgehoop.

Mnr. Kgothatso Moshanyane van die vakbond Samwu het gesê werkers staak oor beloftes van die Metsimaholo- munisipale bestuur wat nie nagekom word nie. Klik HIER vir die volledige berig in Beeld.

State of the Municipality Address

State of the Municipality Address
18 MARCH 2011


As we gather today to reflect on the state of our municipality let us take a moment to bow our heads in a moment of silence for fallen fellow citizens and comrades such as the late councillor Michael Tshume, a great man who has left a lasting legacy in the Kouga region.  

Madam Speaker, it is with pride and humility that I stand before you today to report on the state of our municipality, almost exactly five years since I delivered my inaugural speech as mayor of the newly-elected Kouga Council in Humansdorp on March 15, 2006.

Pride – because of the tremendous progress we, as a Council and community, have made since that day to ensure that even the poorest of the poor now have access to proper housing and basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.    

Humility – because of the many people who still need our help, as leaders, to find their rightful place in this beautiful region we call home.

It is true that the challenge is daunting, but there was a lesson to be learnt in Saturday’s nail-biting World Cup Cricket clash between the Proteas and India for all of us who carry the welfare of our people close to heart – no matter how unreachable a target may seem, it CAN be reached (with a few wickets still in hand) if you have courage, determination and perseverance.           

Madam Speaker, with your indulgence I would therefore like to do more than just reflect on the current state of our municipality today.

As this Council prepares to hand over the reins of the municipality to a new Council on May 18, I would also like to remind you of the many boundaries we have hit over the past five years. We trust that this will inspire you never to give up hope but always to persevere regardless of the odds.


Kouga stands today as a leader amongst local municipalities. Numerous accolades have been bestowed on the municipality over the past five years in recognition of the groundbreaking work that has been done to uplift our community.

·         In 2010 Kouga was named the best-run local municipality in the Eastern Cape by Municipal IQ, a specialised local government data and information service.
·         Also in 2010, we were the highest-ranking local municipality in the province in the Blue Drop water quality management programme, and were one of only three municipalities in the country nominated for a Blue Drop Excellence Award.
·         Kouga further scored tops in the Cacadu region in a capacity assessment conducted by the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs as part of the Local Government Turnaround Strategy last year.
·         These accolades followed on what was probably our proudest moment during the past five years - being named the “Municipality of the Year” at the Govan Mbeki Provincial Housing Awards in 2009.

Kouga has dedicated itself over the past five years to creating a stable and effective governance structure focused on development.

New branding for the municipality, including the now well-known Kouga logo, was launched in December 2006. The initiative helped to create a greater sense of unity among the nine separate towns that had been combined to form Kouga Municipality in 2000.

After the 2006 local government elections, the municipality successfully moved away from the Plenary System to an Executive Mayoral System combined with ward participation. This had a major impact on our operations because the new Mayoral and Portfolio Committees could deal with issues of strategic importance timeously. In the interest of transparency and accountability, the minutes of Mayoral Committee meetings are presented to the full Council quarterly.

Executive management positions were filled as a matter of urgency following the inauguration of the new Council in 2006. This brought greater stability to the administrative arm of the Kouga Council. Perhaps the most important of these appointments was that of municipal manager Dr Eddie Rankwana in 2007. Under his leadership, monthly management and directors’ meetings were introduced to ensure that the performance of directorates were in line with development priorities.

A five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) was formulated and adopted by Council as required by legislation after extensive consultation with local communities in 2007. This document, which sets out the development priorities for the area and determines how Kouga spends its annual budget, has since been reviewed on an annual basis. The last review of the current document is currently underway. 

Ward participation has been encouraged over the past five years through the establishment of ward committees. The success of the ward committee system in Kouga has varied from ward to ward. A recent study by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs shows that the effectiveness of ward committees in South Africa as a whole has been hampered by a lack of legislative clarity regarding their roles and responsibilities. Kouga has been participating in this study, aimed at bringing about the necessary legislative changes to ensure ward committees are in a position to contribute constructively to development.     

Ward participation has been improved since 1996 by the establishment of offices for ward councillors in their communities. Eight wards already have ward councillor’s offices, with the most recent office established at Thornhill last year. With Kouga’s number of wards increasing from eight to 15 this year, seven more offices will have to be established by the next Council. 

An important aspect of the Kouga Council’s public participation programme has been the Mayoral Imbizos, which are held on an annual basis. The Imbizo programme was expanded to a full Executive Outreach in 2010, with ten well-attended community meetings taking place over a period of two weeks in November and December.

As part of its commitment to improve communication with stakeholders, the municipality launched a new website as well as its own newspaper, Kouga News, last year. The municipality had initially intended for Kouga News to be a quarterly publication, but there is simply too much happening at the municipality on a daily basis. For this reason Kouga News will now be published monthly.


Increasing the bulk infrastructure capacity of the area to meet the growing demand for basic services is one of the biggest challenges facing the municipality.

The income generated from service delivery and rates is simply not enough to address the immense backlog caused by the biased development priorities of the pre-1994 government as well as the unprecedented influx of people to the area post-1994.

The new Kouga Council of 2006 was quick to realise that the municipality would have to make full use of funding opportunities from national government. To this end a dedicated Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) Unit was established and staff trained, with immediate success.

Within a year – from 2006/07 to 2007/08 – the performance of MIG expenditure dramatically improved from 13% to 60%. The unit continues to function well and achieved 100% expenditure during the 2009/10 financial year. Expenditure for the 2010/11 year stood at 65% as at the end of February 2011.

MIG funding alone, however, is not sufficient to eradicate the bulk infrastructure backlog, estimated to total R350-million. Consequently, the municipality has also been entering into partnerships with developers while negotiations with national government departments as well as potential investors and donors, both locally and internationally, are ongoing. Extra measures are also being put in place to ensure developers pay their augmentation fees in full.

The day-to-day operations of the Technical Services directorate were improved last year through the purchase of vehicles and plant, including 14 LDVs, two suction tankers, three TLBs and a sit-on roller.

Electricity Services

Kouga has invested millions of rands over the past five years to ensure all residents have access to electricity.

·         In 2010/11 R4-million was spent on upgrading the electricity supply network of St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis.
·         The municipality’s target is to electrify 500 sub-economical homes per year. Last year the Old Golf Course settlement in KwaNomzamo, Humansdorp, was among the communities to received electricity for the first time as part of this commitment. Other communities to have benefited are Umzamuwethu, Kruisfontein and Ocean View.
·         Also in 2010, Eskom started the electrification of Rooidraai after extensive lobbying by the Kouga Municipality. This rural settlement, along with Hankey, Patensie and Loerie, is serviced by Eskom while Thornhill’s electricity is provided by the Nelson Mandela Metro.
·         A further 12 high-mast lights were erected across the region last year in Thornhill, Loerie, Hankey (2), Umzamowethu, Jeugkamp, Arcadia, Kruisfontein (2),  KwaNomzamo, Ocean View and Pellsrus.
·         The municipality is currently assisting Eskom with the installation of solar geysers at sub-economic houses. A total of 10 000 geysers will be installed.  
·         Other electricity highlights over the past five years have included the improvement of Jeffreys Bay’s electricity network at a cost of more than R10-million. These improvements benefited all sections of the community, from Wavecrest to Ocean View.
·         In addition to the electrification of sub-economic houses, R1,5-million  was also spent on improving the power supply to areas such as Arcadia and Moeras River in Humansdorp.

Water Services

The Kouga Municipality remains in the grip of a severe drought. Strict water restrictions were put in place in 2009, with penalty tariffs also being introduced last year to encourage residents to use water sparingly.

Despite this challenge, the municipality is committed to ensuring that every household in the region has access to clean, running water. Several projects have been completed over the past five years to bring water to Kouga homes.

·         The water supply to the Greater Kruisfontein area and KwaNomzamo in Humansdorp was improved last year when a natural dam, which is fed by an underground stream, was connected to the main water supply system.
·         Work has also started on a new R6-million reservoir for Kruisfontein to increase the water storage capacity of the area.

Previous highlights included:
·         The upgrade of the Churchill pipeline to St Francis Bay at a total cost of nearly R14-million. The upgrade increased the water supply to this area from 20 litres/second to 110 litres/second, adequate to meet the area’s growing water demand for the next 15 years.
·         R9,8-million was spent on upgrading and building reservoirs at Jeffreys Bay and completing the main pipe networks of the town’s CBD area.
·         The water pipe network of the Humansdorp CBD was upgraded at a cost of R6-million and a further R1,25 million was used to upgrade the bulk water supply to Kruisfontein Proper. The R3,8-million water and sewer reticulation of Gill Marcus was also completed.
·         Two water reservoirs were constructed at Hankey for R3,8m and R1,5m, as well as a rising main.
·         A new water reservoir and water treatment plant was completed at Oyster Bay (R3,6m) while a filter reservoir was built at Umzamowethu (R2,7m).

Sanitation Services

Due to the rapid development of and influx of people to Kouga over the past five years, one of the municipality’s current priorities is to address the backlog in the area’s bulk sewerage infrastructure.

Despite having invested millions of rands on improving the sewerage infrastructure, sewerage plants are operating at maximum capacity because of the many developments.

Current projects include the R6,5 million upgrade of the sewerage system of Ramaphosa Village, Patensie, and the construction of a R7,9-million rising main at Hankey. The R40-million upgrade of the Jeffreys Bay waste water treatment works is also underway.

One of the first challenges that faced the new Kouga Council five years ago was the eradication of the bucket system. The target that had been set for the eradication of the bucket system in formal areas was December 2007. Kouga met this target in June 2006.

Other  highlights of the past five years included:
·         Thornhill – A waste water treatment plant was completed at a cost of R3,7m while R4,9-million was used to install internal sewer reticulation.
·         Humansdorp – Two waste water treatment plants was constructed at a cost of over R2-million to service the sprawling town, which includes KwaNomzamo and the Greater Kruisfontein area. More than R5-million was also spent on sewer reticulation.
·         St Francis Bay – A waste water treatment plant was completed at a cost of R1,2-million.
·         Hankey – R5,1-million was spent on a new pump station and rising main.
·         Jeffreys Bay – R2-million was spent on the internal sewerage reticulation of Wavecrest so that homes could be connected to the waterborne sewerage system and a further R3,6 million went towards improving the Jeffreys Bay gravity network. A pump station and rising main were also constructed at Ocean View.  


Kouga’s funding priorities over the past five years have been basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity. As a result, there has been limited funds available to expand and upgrade the road network.

Nevertheless, existing tar roads are in a fair condition, with the municipality also maintaining important thoroughfares such as Da Gama Road in Jeffreys Bay which, strictly speaking, is the responsibility of the provincial Department of Roads and Transport.

The focus of the municipality over the past three years has been gravel roads in disadvantaged areas. A labour-intensive road paving project was started, aimed at upgrading roads in these areas whilst at the same time creating jobs.

R7,5-million has thus far been budgeted for the project and almost nine kilometres of road paved since the inception of the project in 2008/09. Communities that have already benefited are Vaaldam, Weston, Tokyo Sexwale, Pellsrus, Ocean View, Gill Marcus, Arcadia, Philipsville, KwaNomzamo and Ramaphosa Village.

Planning and Development

A total of 3924 building plans were submitted to the municipality’s Planning and Development Directorate from 2006 to 2010, peaking in 2007 when development in the area was booming.
A total of 720 land-use applications were processed in this same period. These applications were for subdivisions, rezonings, departures, removal of restrictive conditions, consent use and secondary use.

A highlight for Planning and Development  was the approval by Council of the combined Kouga Spatial Development Framework in December 2009. This important planning document  includes spatially-based policy guidelines so that the development needs and growth of the region can be managed orderly to the benefit of the whole community.


Two years ago the municipality officially launched one of the biggest housing initiatives the Eastern Cape has seen. Named “Siyaqale Manje” (which means “we are beginning now”), the project consisted of 8 613 units to be built across Kouga.

Today I am proud to announce that work on 2 111 of these houses started this month and that the beneficiaries will be able to move into their new homes between six and 18 months from now. 1 500 of these houses will be built in Ocean View, 391 in Kruisfontein and 220 in Pellsrus.

The past two years have been used to complete the necessary processes. Environmental Impact Assessments had to be done and a housing needs database had to be compiled. As soon as the processes for the remaining houses have been completed, the Department of Human Settlement will release funding for the construction of these houses as well.

This project once again confirms the leading role Kouga is playing in housing delivery, a fact that was recognised two weeks ago when the Department of Human Settlements named Kouga the best-practice municipality in the Eastern Cape for housing delivery. Two years ago the municipality received the prestigious Eastern Cape Govan Mbeki Housing Award.

With the housing backlog in Kouga estimated to be about 10 800, Siyaqale Manje is expected to cut this backlog by 80%. Our target, however, remains 100%. Consequently, the municipality’s housing unit is already working on plans to ensure decent housing is provided to the outstanding 20%.

One of these plans is the creation of rental stock for those who earn less than R3 500 per month but do not qualify for a housing subsidy. The Department of Human Settlements has already chosen Jeffrey’s Bay and Humansdorp for two rental stock pilot projects. Work on 300 units in the Ocean View/C-Place area is expected to start in May at a cost of R69-million. Work in Kruisfontein will begin as soon as the necessary environmental processes have been completed.

The name “Siyaqale Manje” is deceptive because these are by no means the first houses Kouga will be delivering to our communities. Over the past five years 2933 RDP houses have already been completed at a cost of R140,5-million.  while remedial and SCCA work has been completed on a further 1 946 units at a cost of R26,5-million. A further 208 units are also already under construction in Kruisfontein, with 77 already having been completed. The total cost of this project is R13,8-million.

 Protection Services

·         The Kouga Traffic Department has grown from strength to strength over the past five years, as proven by the recent holiday season. No serious accidents happened on Kouga’s roads thanks to the vigilance of our traffic team. In the municipality’s continued bid to save lives, a zero-tolerance approach to traffic offences have been adopted this year. Two fines of R5 000 were issued in February to drivers caught doing more than twice the speed in a 60km/hour zone.
·         Based in Humansdorp, the Traffic Department improved its service to the public over the past five years by opening a driver’s licence centre at Hankey.
·         The hours of both the Humansdorp and Hankey centres were extended to include Saturdays. New technology was also introduced to speed up the service to drivers applying for the renewal of their licences.
·         The Kouga Fire Department, based in Humansdorp, was also strengthened over the past five years through the acquisition of new fire-fighting vehicles. Satellite stations were also established at Jeffreys Bay, St Francis Bay and Hankey to improve on the response times to these areas.
·         The Disaster Management Unit has over the past five years assisted hundreds of residents left destitute due to fire, floods or other natural disasters. A Disaster Management Plan is in place and was reviewed in November 2010. The amended plan will be tabled for adoption to Council this year after which it will be made public.
·         Despite the vast area that needs to be policed, the Law Enforcement Unit has strengthened its presence throughout Kouga over the past year. The Unit recently acquired a truck for the confiscation of stray farm animals, especially where they pose a danger to road users.
·         Security has also been beefed up at all municipal units.       

Parks, Cleansing and Waste Management

·         The performance of these sections of the municipality received a significant boost in 2010 when 15 new bakkies were added to their fleet. The bakkies  have enabled staff to respond faster to call-outs. In addition, the municipality is also saving money on monthly rentals. The fact that the bakkies was purchased at a Humansdorp dealership further means that the municipality was able to plough money back into the local economy.  
·         The Kouga Municipality provides a reliable, weekly refuse collection service to both domestic and commercial properties.
·         Despite recent clean-up campaigns, illegal dumping remains a problem. The municipality will accelerate its efforts to address illegal dumping this year through awareness and clean-up campaigns as well as through improved law enforcement.
·         Kouga has made significant progress towards waste management over the past five years. It was the first municipality in the Cacadu district to adopt an Integrated Waste Management Plan (IWMP), which was used by the Cacadu District Municipality to assist other municipalities finalise their plans. It was also the first municipality in Cacadu to receive a permit for a land-fill site. In addition to the waste sites in Humansdorp and Hankey, transfer stations operate at Paradise Beach and Oyster Bay while the rehabilitation of the St Francis site will begin shortly to be replaced by a transfer station. A new transfer station is also set to be established in Jeffreys Bay to replace the C-Place station that had to be demolished due to environmental health concerns due to its location. A Waste and Environmental Manager was appointed in 2010 to ensure Kouga complies with the strict legislation governing waste disposal and the IWMP will be reviewed this year in line with the new Waste Act of 2009. This would include the introduction of recycling initiatives.

Environmental Health

Maintaining health standards in the local hospitality industry was a focus of the Environmental Health Unit during 2010. Regular inspections took place at establishments selling food. The unit also organised a workshop, presented by experts in the field, for the local industry. Under discussion were the new smoking regulations as well as ways to improve safety standards in the food industry.  

Community Facilities

·         The target of the Kouga Municipality is to ensure that all communities have access to a community hall. Thornhill residents last year became the proud owners of their own community hall, built at a cost of R3-million.
·         The maintenance of sports fields was improved during 2010 been through the appointment of caretakers.
·         The Jeffreys Bay Golf Club was given a new lease on life when the municipality renewed its five-year lease of the municipal grounds that have housed the club for more than 60 years.
·         Other highlights of the past five year have included the upgrade of the Humansdorp Sport Field.


The Kouga Municipality operates libraries in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, Kruisfontein, KwaNomzamo, Hankey, Philipsville, Weston, Patensie, Ramaphosa Village and Loerie.

Highlights of 2010 were the launch of a mini-library for those with visual impairments at the Humansdorp Library. This mini-library was officially opened by the Eastern MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Craft, Xoliswa Tom, in February this year. Both the Humansdorp and Ramaphosa Village libraries were also upgraded during 2010.

Further highlights of the past five years have included the introduction of free internet access at libraries to members.

Primary Health Care

The year 2011 marked the end of an era for Primary Healthcare in Kouga. All clinics in the region, which had previously been under the management of either the Kouga or Cacadu Municipalities, have been fully provincialised and are now managed by the Department of Health in line with their legislative responsibilities.

The new clinic at Andrieskraal, which had been built by the municipality, was also transferred to the Department.

The Kouga Municipality will continue to support local health campaigns such as the provincial HIV/Aids Day event which was held at Humansdorp on December 1 last year.


There is a need for more cemeteries in Kouga. An assessment of the area’s cemeteries was completed last year and land was identified in Hankey and wards four and five, Humansdorp, for the development of new cemeteries. The public participation process will take place over the next three months as part of the required Environmental Impact Assessments.

The upkeep of existing cemeteries was one of the concerns raised by communities during the Executive Outreach at the end of 2010. The cemeteries in Weston, Centerton, Kruisfontein and KwaNomzamo were subsequently cleaned up and an action plan will be drawn up to ensure they are kept in a good condition.


It was with great disappointment that Kouga learnt of the Blue Flag committee’s decision to strip Dolphin Bay in Jeffreys Bay of its Blue Flag status in December 2010 due to the problems at the nearby La Mer Sewerage Pump Station.

The decision was all the more disappointing because the committee conceded that Dolphin Beach still complied with the requirements for Blue Flag status, including water quality. Instead, it was the ongoing bad publicity drawn by the problems at the pump station that had forced them to revoke the beach’s Blue Flag status.

The municipality respects the committee’s decision, however, and has already investigated ways to minimise the risk of sewerage spills at La Mer, especially at peak holiday times. Funding options are now being explored.    


Education is not a core function of the municipality but the institution has never hesitated to assist local schools where possible. This assistance includes the tidying up of sports and playing fields at schools in disadvantaged areas on a quarterly basis. Transport for learners who are unable to get to schools are also provided when funding is available.

The municipality has over the past five years actively lobbied the Department of Education to improve the conditions of local schools and to build new schools to cater for the growing number of learners in the area. Land has already been donated by the municipality for a high school in Jeffreys Bay and land has been secured for a new primary school in Sea Vista.

The municipality this year started upgrading the dilapidated structure of Patensie High School following numerous unsuccessful please to the Department of Education to attend to the condition of the school as a matter of urgency.

The municipality also started an external bursary programme as part of its commitment to empowering young people. Forty-three matriculants and students  received bursaries of between R 2500 and R12 500, depending on the qualification they were studying towards, in 2010. The focus of the programme is on encouraging young people to acquire scarce skills such as engineering and urban development.

Sports Development

South Africans are a people who are passionate about sport. The Kouga Council is no different and have over the past five years supported the development of sport at a grass-roots level through the introduction of an annual Mayor’s Rugby and Soccer Cup. Congratulations once again to Kruisfontein United and the Loerie Super Eagles who were the champions of the 2010 Mayor’s Rugby Cup and Mayor’s Soccer Cup respectively.

The Kouga region has further become a favourite venue for regional and provincial sports events and tournaments, with the municipality providing logistical support.

And, while Kouga did not have the pleasure of hosting any of the 2010 Fifa World Cup matches or practice session, the 2010 fever was alive and well throughout the region. Municipal employees and residents proudly wore Bafana Bafana’s colours every Friday in the build-up to this soccer spectacular while the municipality organised Public Viewing Events at ten venues across the region. 


The role of municipalities in Local Economic Development (LED) is to create the right conditions for private developments to take place.

The Kouga Council has over the past five years embraced this role whole-heartedly, resulting in tremendous economic development and job creation. The building industry boomed thanks to thousands of new residential units being built. Massive new shopping centres were also constructed, creating sustainable employment for hundreds of residents. Among the success stories have been the Fountains and Equinox Malls in Jeffreys Bay, and the Village Square in St Francis Bay. Kouga further took full advantage of the golf estate craze, with the St Francis Links at St Francis Bay and Zwartenbosch Golf Estate at Humansdorp leading the way.

Backed by an LED Plan, the LED Unit of the municipality focused on developing small business entrepreneurs, particularly from disadvantaged areas. Entrepreneurs received training in various aspects of running a business, from writing a business plan and establishing cooperatives to applying for funding and complying with government’s supply-chain procedures.

Office space was made available to SEDA at the Kouga Cultural Centre so that communities would have easy access to business advice.

Job creation projects were also initiated. These included a basket-weaving project in KwaNomzamo, leather work in Loerie, brick-making in Hankey, fabric painting in Kruisfontein, ceramics in Weston and sewing initiatives throughout the region. 

A highlight of 2010 was the establishment of SMME Forums in all ten Kouga wards. These forums serve as a networking and support platform for local entrepreneurs.

The municipality has also over the past five years built a solid working relationship with the Kouga Development Agency (KDA) and has been helping the agency to draw up a database of the area’s SMMEs and unemployed. The database will be used to ensure that as many locals as possible benefit from the development projects KDA has in the pipeline.

The municipality has also been assisting KDA with plans to rejuvenate the Jeffreys Bay Central Business District (CBD) to boost economic growth. A draft proposal was presented to stakeholders for inputs at the beginning of the year and the final proposal is now being finalised so that funding can be sourced.

Tourism remains one of the greatest potential job creators in the Kouga region. Over the past five years good progress has been made to unite tourism organisations across Kouga so that the area’s diverse attractions could be marketed as one package. A joint Kouga website, DVD and brochure have already been created. The Kouga Municipality also facilitated the establishment of the Kouga Local Tourism Organisation in 2009 which brought all tourism offices in the region under one umbrella. A dedicated Tourism Unit was established as part of the municipality’s Strategic Services Unit in 2010 so that the municipality could offer greater support to the tourism industry.

The past five years have further seen the launch of one of the most talked-about tourism projects in Kouga - the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance. A joint initiative of the municipality and the Department of Arts and Culture, the Centre will be built on land adjacent to the hill where this famous Khoisan icon lies buried. Architects were invited to submit designs for the Centre in 2009 and the winning design was unveiled at a massive Women’s Day function at Hankey last year.

Also of importance to the local tourism industry was the twinning agreement concluded between Kouga and Ubatuba, a municipal council in Brazil.

Local communities have been reaping the fruit of rural and agricultural development thanks to the support of the Kouga Municipality. The municipality is currently assisting emerging farmers to conclude production sharing agreements with a massive new tomato paste processing factory at the Coega Industrial Zone. In addition to land and skills development, more than 100 jobs are expected to be created this year in the pilot phase of the project.


The year 2010 started on a high note when the municipality received its first unqualified audit report from the Office of the Auditor-General for the 2008/09 financial year.

A Supply Chain Management Unit and Risk Management Unit were established as part of the municipality’s commitment to comply with legislation and to fight fraud and corruption.

The devastating after-effects of the worldwide economic recession were, however, starting to take hold of the region. Businesses struggling to survive financially had to close their doors and job losses escalated.

This, in turn, had an impact on the anticipated income of the municipality as an increasing number of residents and businesses were unable to pay their municipal accounts. This also affected the municipality’s plan to alienate land to fund its capital budget because prospective buyers were unable to submit market-related tenders to acquire the land.

Stricter financial controls were subsequently implemented so that basic service delivery would not suffer as a result of the loss in income. This included cutting back significantly on overtime and introducing new strategies to deal with after-hour service requirements  in a more cost-effective manner.
A Revenue Protection Forum has since been established. The Forum consists of officials from all municipal directorates. Its aim is enhance the municipality’s income without overburdening residents and to identify and implement cost-saving measures. A full assessment of the municipality’s revenue section is currently underway and will be followed by an assessment of the expenditure section.

Thanks to this careful financial management an adjustment of only R18,2-million was required for the 2010/11 expenditure budget. This decreased the total amount of money available to fund operations and projects from R447,2 million to R429-million. 

Statistics at the end of February indicate that the financial position of the municipality has already started to improve. 57% of the operating budget has been billed and the R203-million expenditure incurred during the first half of the 2010/11 financial year has been fully funded. Stricter credit control measures have also seen the payment of accounts increase to 87%.        
However, we are not clear of the woods yet.

While there are residents and businesses who are genuinely struggling to afford their municipal accounts, it is alarming how many account holders who can afford to pay, don’t.

We would, therefore, like to appeal to residents to act responsibly for the sake of service delivery and to pay their accounts. We further urge those residents who genuinely cannot afford to pay their accounts to visit our finance directorate so that we can make a plan together. The municipality has been strengthening its credit control section and services to both residential and commercial properties will be cut if accounts are left unpaid.

The finishing touches are also currently being made to a Financial Recovery Plan for the municipality. All municipal directorates are involved in drawing up the plan which will shortly be submitted to Council for adoption.

Residents are also reminded that the deadlines for the 2011/12 budget have been brought forward because of the local government election taking place on May 18. A Council usually has until May 31 to adopt a budget for the new financial year, which starts in July. National Treasury, however, recommended that municipalities finalise their budgets for 2011/12 by the end of April due to concern that there would not be sufficient time for the new Council to complete the necessary internal and external processes before May 31.


Significant strides have been made over the past five years to ensure that all staff matters comply with legislative requirements. An approved organogram is in place and staff are recruited in strict accordance with legislative and policy requirements.

Good labour relations are encouraged through the Local Labour Forum which meets monthly.

In an effort to boost staff morale and performance, an Occupational Health and Safety Unit was established in 2010 to look after the well-being of staff. The unit finalised an Occupational Health and Safety policy statement towards the end of 2010. The statement is on display at municipal units and is an important first step towards finalising our Occupational Health and Safety Policy.

Another early achievement of this Unit was the launch of an Employee Assistance programme, which gives municipal personnel access to free, confidential counselling about work or personal matters.

Performance Management continues to be fine-tuned. Agreements and Performance Plans are in place with the Municipal Manager and each of the Directors. Performance evaluations are conducted on a quarterly basis. These evaluations are not simply a review of what had been accomplished but also focus on the improvement of performance.

Kouga’s approach to improving performance has been the development of employees through job-related training interventions. Employees have been exposed to training interventions across the full scope of municipal operations over the past five years, resulting in an improvement of their overall performance. The next step is to cascade the Performance Management System down to all other levels of staff, from managers to general workers.

The municipality will also be conducting an operational work study this year. Funded by the Development Bank of South Africa, the study will assess the effectiveness and productivity of staff in their current positions. The study, which has already been discussed with the unions, will be used to restructure the institution to maximise productivity as part of our commitment to service excellence. 

Looking back at the past five years it is clear that we, as a Council and a community, have good reason to celebrate our municipality and the progress that has been made towards fulfilling our developmental responsibilities.

Madam Speaker, on a day like today I do not wish to dwell on the destructive negativity that has beset sections of our community, particularly over the past year, but I would like to end off with a quote from South African businessman and social commentator Jarred Cinman which speaks directly to them:

“Saying negative, depressing, pessimistic stuff about South Africa is of absolutely no help to anyone. It’s a cynical form of entertainment that lubricates the otherwise dull days of middle-class life. It’s so obscenely ingrained in our culture that it’s become a social disease ... Basically, I’m saying this: Get over your negativity. I’m excited and happy to be here. Come join us in the light.”

I thank you.