The first quarter of 2021 has flown by and we have had a few extremely busy months. We have attended meetings, written letters and made many phone calls. However, I believe we are making progress with a variety of issues.
There is so much activity happening in the Kei Mouth area that many of us are unaware of and hence the launch of our Kei Country website is so exciting. Our thanks to Monica Maroun for all her work in making this happen. I believe it will be of great value to residents and holiday-makers alike.
Thanks goes to:
A lot of effort and emotion went into getting the library and Hazel Jeffries Shell Museum re-opened. We succeeded, albeit a few days later than desired. A big thank you to librarian Melusi Sotomelo and his assistant Loli, the students from TW Student Project, Monica Maroun, Deborah Robertson-Andersson, Elise and Eckhart Haber, Cheryl Forword and Gary Roberts for all your work and to Spar Savemore Kei Mouth for the donation of sanitizer and cooldrinks.
WESSA Green Coast
Our thanks as well to Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson of Chrysalis Nature Training and the WESSA Green Coast Award committee for putting together a comprehensive WESSA Green Coast report
The very comprehensive Kei Mouth Green Coast Report for the period 28 September 2020
to 19 February 2021, 54 pages long, was submitted and makes very interesting reading.
Click below for the full report
Our thanks goes to Roz Sarton who initiated and continued to drive the Kei Mouth Recycling initiative.
We sadly bid “au revoir ” to Roz Sarton who continued to drive the recycling initiative till her last day in SA. She has trained the students from the TW Student project to continue working with Johan. Thank you to all those whose contributions cover the cost of taking the recyclables to East London. Click below to find out how it works and how you can contribute.
Ward Committee representative
On 1 March, we were overwhelmed by the show of support from the residents who attended a public meeting to elect myself as a ward committee representative. It was a clear indication that the residents of Kei Mouth can pull together when needed.
Through the process of electing our new ward committee we also learnt that it is possible to check, confirm and update your address. You can also check your registration details and find your voting station. You can download the app on your phone it is: IEC mobile app. You can also visit the website from here
We would like to thank Anthony Selby for his ongoing work to make our village safer by spearheading the drive to obtain a first response fire-fighting trailer.
This, together with the lack of co-operation and resources available from ADM, prompted the formation of a combined KMRRA/KWAG fire sub-committee. KMRRA have allocated R10,000 of our funds to this project and the fire committee has also raised money through a raffle and further donations. They hope to have the first trailer up and running by June this year. We would like to thank all involved in this worthwhile project. Information regarding this project and details should you want to contribute to this project, can be found under Firefighting tab on keicountry.com
NSRI visited Kei Mouth in March and have committed to beginning the practical training for life guards with the aim of having NSRI trained lifeguards manning our local beaches.
A big thank you also goes to Monica and Deborah and the NSRI committee, who are assisting volunteers to complete application forms and to sign up on the learning platforms. To date there are over 30 people who have signed up. Chrysalis Nature Training is also offering Wi-Fi access for NSRI online training on Wednesdays from 16:00-18:00.
Our membership drive has resulted in more ratepayers joining our organisation, however, the Association is also open to residents and we encourage them to join us as well. Please send emails to email@example.com to let us know of any issues that you may have and we will do our best to support you in getting answers.
The more members we have, the more bargaining power we have.
Vision and Mission
It was recently brought to our attention that we have not shared our Vision and Mission Statement with our members, therefore I have included it in this newsletter. Any comments or input would be appreciated and taken into consideration.
The Vision of KMRRA is to be a knowledgeable and pro-active, independent body for Ratepayers and Residents in Kei Mouth, including Cwili township, advancing the interest of the community by working together with associated organisations and with all the spheres of government to enhance our environment and to ensure responsible, transparent and accountable governance and efficient service delivery.
The KMRRA is a non-political, community driven, non-profit organization representing and promoting the interests of Kei Mouth residents and ratepayers through improved effective communication and collaboration. We aim to ensure municipal services are delivered an economic, effective, efficient, transparent and accountable manner and to promote the development of Kei Mouth, ensuring the sustainability of the natural environment.
Dealing with GKM
Local GKM Workers
While we are encouraged by the efforts of local GKM workers, in particular Zuko (Ronnie) Patuluka and the acting supervisor, Mr Gqanabisa, who are busy managing the clean ups around the village, we continue to face the frustration of trying to resolve the ongoing issues , including the transfer station, state of the roads, removal of alien vegetation and firebreaks, and last but not least, the caravan park.
This continues to be unmanaged, disgraceful and a serious health hazard. In spite of promises made to KMRRA and MBRA alike, and our assisting GKM in getting quotes to clear the station, no actions have been implemented yet. We will continue to put pressure on the GKM municipal manager and Mayor in this regard.
At the meeting on 5th March, arrangements were made for officials from the REVENUE OFFICE TO VISIT THE COASTAL villages on a regular basis to deal with account issues in person. On 25 March, GKM officials from the Revenue Department spent the day in Kei Mouth. In order to streamline the process, KMRRA collected the queries on behalf of our members and our thanks goes to Monica Maroun who helped them process over 18 queries for various ratepayers.
If you still have problems with your accounts, including updating account information, opening new accounts, not receiving account, pensioners rebate, please contact Olive at ONgwanya@greatkeilm.gov.za
A reminder that applications for pensioners rebates have to renewed on an annual basis by 31 May. Application forms can be found by clicking the button below
When we brought the appalling state of the public toilets to the attention of the local GKM staff, they had them cleaned and removed the rubble. In return, KMRRA will pay for the plumbing to be repaired. This will go a long way in resolving the concerns of the long queues of people outside the Post Office waiting for payment of grants.
Valuation Roll and increase in rates
On March 5, representatives from the Collective of Ratepayers Associations had a positive meeting with the CFO of GKM. GKM are aware of the problems with the valuation roll and are trying to sort out the issues with the valuers, Sizanani. They are also aware that many objections were emailed directly to Fanelwa Fikeni and, therefore, were lost as she was dismissed. Hence, they have extended the period to lodge objections until the end of lockdown. KMRRA have requested ratepayers to send us copies of their objections so we can follow up on their behalf. Several ratepayers have already received adjusted valuations. We have also been informed that ALL valuations that are 10% or more than the previous values of 2014 will automatically go for review at the APPEAL BOARD which is scheduled to sit from 20 – 22 April, probably in Chintsa, but this is to be confirmed.
You can contact Pumla in this regard at PNdolose@greatkeilm.gov.za
The objection forms are available on keicountry.com under downloads.The second issue was the increase in the rates tariff which was erroneously implemented. Our thanks to Ray Brown of Morgan Bay who is looking at the figures in this regard. It is an ongoing struggle to get the information required and hopefully, we will still be able to find a way to fix the mistake without having to go the legal route as this is extremely expensive. However, we are prepared to do this if necessary.
Ward Committee and other meetings
Kim Roberts attended a ward committee meeting chaired by Councillor Kantshashe at the beginning of March. Ward committee meetings are held monthly and members report on what is happening in their wards. It is very informative and good to hear about issues that we have in common with other wards. It is also a good opportunity to inform the councillor about any grievances.
Kim also attended a virtual DA meeting to discuss the collapse of the GKM with John Steenhuisen and Mlinda Nhanha in the hopes of getting more information on how best to hold officials accountable for lack of service delivery. The answer given was to attend meetings and put pressure on officials. In light of this, Kim also attended a virtual Ordinary Council meeting, chaired by the Mayor, where they went through the report on the Integrated Development plan. It was a tick box process and not an opportunity to have input. She has also met briefly with the project manager for the surfacing of roads in the village and expressed concern over the lack of public participation in the selection of roads to be surfaced. While we wish there was less time spent on meetings and more time spent on getting the work done, we encourage all ratepayers to attend these meetings so we can place more pressure on officials to deliver the services we pay for. Also visit their website, greatkeilm.gov.za or Facebook page, Great Kei Municipality to keep track of notices and tenders. Deborah Robertson-Andersson and Dominique Lees attended the Amatole Offshore MPA stakeholder meeting. They both felt that is was a tick box exercise with no opportunity for public participation, however, there is a very interesting website about this unique stretch of coast. You can visit the website at https://www.marineprotectedareas.org.za/amathole-offshore-mpa
Court order pertaining to stray animals
Agri Eastern Cape and Komga Farmers Association recently obtained a court order against GKM to enforce bylaws pertaining to keeping of animals in residential areas. More information in this regard can be found on http://www.agriec.co.za/blog
TW Student Project
The TW Student project is designed to to uplift communities by giving school leavers options and hope. Students work for a stipend, while
they are taught skills that may help to supplement their income. They are encouraged and supported in furthering their qualifications. In return, they are expected to “Pay it Forward” and help others, thereby spreading hope and happiness.
The TW students are taught about the importance of conservation and assist with the KMRRA recycling initiative.They recycled old newspapers into “paper clay” to make the “Easter” items to sell at Yellow wood market. The experience was very successful, learning not only how to make and present the items, but also financial implications of cost and net profit.