Autumn has made its presence felt and there has been a definite nip in the air, along with some very windy days. However, the sun is still shining and our beaches are as beautiful as ever. For those of us who are fortunate enough to live here permanently, it is a wonderful place to be.
Our revamped Country Club is looking beautiful and we would like to thank all involved in the refurbishment. The new ambiance was enjoyed by all at the “Build a burger” launch evening. The limited tickets were sold out and the bar was fuller than it has been for a long time. It was a very festive evening.
The annual sardine and whale migration
We have been treated to wonderful sightings due to the annual migration of sardines and whales. Our thanks to all those who have posted pictures and videos for all to share. A whale sighting or watching dolphins off shore is always thrilling, no matter how many times you have seen them before.
The short video clip below demonstrates how exciting this can be! – Thanks to Dylan from Great Kei Adventures for sharing.
Ward Committee and other meetings
The ward committee meetings are a chance to inform council about any complaints, queries or requests from the community. I encourage all to make use of this process by sending any of the above to me so I can add to my monthly report. The meetings are also a chance for us to receive information. For example, the Councillor can issue proof of residence forms. Should anyone need one, please contact me.
A resident’s pro-active attitude led to a meeting with Department of Sanitation
This positive meeting came about after Rob Nel noticed a sewage spillage in the village. He immediately reported the incident and contacted the relevant authorities. We (KMRRA) met with Ms Magodla and Mr Moodley from the department on 13 May. They inspected the various sewage substations and the leaks in Coral Street, which emanate from the Police Station. They filled in a report at the Police Station and will compile a report for ADM who will have to address the issue around substations that are not working effectively. Rob subsequently found more stations that are leaking and has forwarded this information. We are confident that these issues will be addressed.
I would like to thank Rob for being pro-active and making things happen.
As a small committee, we cannot be aware of or tackle all the problems in our village. Hence, we encourage all residents to be proactive and to contact us for support, as Rob did. Together, we can make a difference.
Feedback on the Ferry Incident
On Monday, 3 May, a vehicle rolled off the ferry and was submerged in the river. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and the vehicle was recovered, however, distressed community members requested that the ferry be stopped and GKM suspended all operation of the ferry. KMRRA was approached and in line with our objectives, we made contact with the relevant authorities. Subsequently, they allowed the transport of passengers, on Tuesday, as it was a pension day. We pursued the matter and facilitated a virtual meeting between GKM, the owners and other stakeholders.
A further meeting was suggested at a later date, but we continued to negotiate with authorities on behalf of the owners and the full operation was allowed to resume on Wednesday.
GKM contacted me to inform all stakeholders of the subsequent meeting which was held in the Kei Mouth town hall. A successful meeting was held and Captain Emile van der Merwe of SAMSA confirmed that the vessel met with all safety requirements. The owners have introduced a check list to be completed for each trip.
We believe that the discussions we had with GKM are indicative of our improved working relationship with them.
It is wonderful to be part of this great initiative and to see the results of the synergy created when we work together.
The first trailer is ready for action, although we hope it won’t be needed . A significant portion of the cost was covered by KMRRA which we believe was money well spent. Well done to the fire team for all your hard work.
The trailer will be on view on Friday and Saturday, 28 & 29 May, outside Kei Mouth Savemor. On Saturday there will be boerewors rolls for sale. Please support this initiative as we are collecting funds to buy fire fighting equipment and protective gear, as well as to build a second trailer and to continue servicing and marking hydrants.
Our station continues to grow. I would like to thank Monica Maroun and Deborah Robertson Anderson for their continued work behind the scenes. They organized Dr Cleeve Robertson, CEO of NSRI to come from the NSRI head office in Cape Town to do NSRI medicals for volunteers on 24 April and coordinated the training by NSRI trainer Sam on 14 and 15 May.
Our station saw action this week when a yacht was in distress in very rough seas off the coast near the river mouth. We were called to be on standby to assist with radio communication and in case a helicopter was needed. Luckily, an NSRI vessel was able to reach the yacht and all crew were lifted to safety. The vessel was abandoned as it was taking on water.
The communication on the NSRI Kei Mouth Whatsapp group reflects the community involvement in keeping track of the vessel which was found near Kobonquba Mouth. Well done to all those involved.
Our thanks to all who gave updates throughout the incident as this highlights one of the roles volunteers can play for NSRI.
Coast watchers are volunteers who have a view of the sea and can be on the lookout and keep NSRI informed of any activity in their area. I encourage you to join the NSRI group of volunteers.
Below are some images of the incident taken from various facebook posts:
Consider donating to the NSRI:
Below from NSRI website
When you donate to Sea Rescue, we value your contribution and pay you respect by managing donations wisely. Our rescue crew are all unpaid volunteers and they do not draw salaries. We make every effort to fund administrative costs out of specific corporate donations for that purpose so that individual donor funds go towards boats, fuel, safety equipment, bases, medical equipment.
Your donation will earn you a tax rebate (since we have been awarded SARS 18A status) as well as points for your company BBBEE scorecard. It is important to note that SARS does not allow rebates on entry fees to events or competitions nor where there is a financial, business or other benefit to the donor.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Dealing with GKM
Local GKM contact
We have developed a good working relationship with Zuko Patuleka who works in the local municipal office and have met with a representative of the EPWP workers. We have a better understanding of the problems that are faced by both teams and are working to improve the situation. We are developing a list of work that can be done by the EPWP workers and are working with Zuko to develop a way to manage it. These small jobs will go a long way to improving our village.
Traditional leader meeting
KMRRA organized transport for several representatives to attend this meeting. All five wards were represented and any claim for traditional Chiefs to be recognized was denied. The local people do not want Chiefs. They believe the modern way is representation through Ward committees and counselors
Revenue office visits
The first of these visits happened in March and we processed 18 account issues on behalf of our members. The second of these visits happened on the 19th May and several issues were resolved in spite of a power outage. We are confident that these visits will continue on a regular basis and we see this as part of a determined effort to improve service delivery on behalf of the revenue office.
We attended the roadshow where the Draft Budget and Integrated Development Plan were presented. We were also informed that there was a claim for traditional leaders to be recognized. Our consultant attended the roadshow and pointed out that any claim on the part traditional leaders needed to be dealt with at a National rather than a municipal level.
Reminder that pensioner rebate applications must be submitted by 30 May
Valuation Roll and increase in rates
At the end of 2020, KMRRA made the decision to join a collective made up of Ratepayers Associations from Morgan Bay, Haga Haga and Chintsa East
The reason for this was to combine our resources and seek a legal opinion with regards to the rate increase and poor service delivery. To this end, we each contributed R7500 for a legal opinion from an advocate. We received this opinion in February and felt that it had no real value. We have met with the CFO and are currently in negotiations in this regard
Our way forward
We do not believe that pursuing the legal route is the best approach as it is costly and could go on for a number of years. We would be paying legal fees and GKM would be using our rates to pay their legal fees instead of using the money to improve the infrastructure and service delivery. We do not see this as a win-win situation and we have, therefore, withdrawn from the collective who are putting in more money for a revised opinion from the advocate. We have decided to follow a negotiation route and have hired an experienced consultant to negotiate on our behalf. Not only will he consult on rates and the valuation role, but also negotiate a way forward with regards to the caravan park, transfer station and other service delivery issues.
Ultimately, we are all working towards the same goal and if either the legal route or the negotiated route is successful, we will all benefit.