KMRRA

From the Chair

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.

Happenings:

KMCC re-vamp

Ladies prepping

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.

Committee members discussing the evening’s success!
Enjoying the evening
An evening enjoyed by all

The annual sardine and whale migration

Courtesy Raggie Charters

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.

Courtesy of Dylan from Great Kei Adventures

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

Courtesy of Dispatch Live

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.

Fire-fighting team

small trailer

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.

NSRI

NSRI

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.

KMRRA membership

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 ratepayers@keimouth.co.za 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.

Roadshow

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.

Fire Hydrant

Kei Mouth Residents Serious About Safety

KMRRA logo

Kei Mouth Ratepayers and Residents’ Association (KMRRA)

and

Kei Watch Action Group (KWAG)

have joined forces

Who are we?

Kei Mouth Ratepayers and Residents Association (KMRRA) is a community based, Non-Profit Organisation, run by volunteer residents. KMRRA represents Kei Mouth ratepayers and residents by:

  • Working to promote the development of Kei Mouth through holding relevant stakeholders accountable for their actions- or lack thereof
  • Providing an information service to its members through Keicountry.com
  • Working with affiliated associations to enhance and protect Kei Mouth and the surrounding areas.

Kei Watch Action Group (KWAG) is a registered Community Police Forum, run by volunteer residents, operating as a platform for community members, organisations and other relevant stakeholders and the police to meet and discuss local crime prevention initiatives. Crime prevention extends to ensuring that the surrounding areas are not an easy hiding place for criminals. The bush and veld surrounding the areas of Kei Mouth and iCwili are overgrown and pose a safety hazard in terms of criminals being able to hide in the bush, and a fire hazard.

The ratepayers and residents of Kei Mouth are serious about crime prevention and fire safety. As we head into the winter season the chances bush and veld fires increases. These fires are often started by accident and become uncontrollable at a rapid rate, especially when coupled with high winds. The reality is that the Kei Mouth fire station, under the management of the Amathola District Municiplaity, does not have the capacity to effectively fight out of control fires.

The members of the KMRRA and KWAG have joined forces to address the fire and general safety concerns of the residents. The Kei Mouth Fire Team has subsequently been created to address the concerns of property owners and residents.

The Kei Mouth Fire Team is made up of a group or volunteer residents working to supplement the Amathola Firefighting services in Kei Mouth. The purpose of this team is to assist the Amathola Firefighting services when needed.

The fire team have consulted with the Amathola firefighting services and have established a two-fold plan to assist Amathola firefighting services in Kei Mouth:

Fire hydrants:

  • Carry out an inspection of all fire hydrants in the Kei Mouth area
  • Map and share the location of the fire hydrants with the community
  • Establish which hydrants need upgrading
  • Raise funds to mark and upgrade fire hydrants to assist with improving reaction time in a fire emergency

Fire fighting trailer:

  • Raise funds to build 2 firefighting trailers to be on standby to assist the Fire Department when necessary.
  • Each trailer will have the capacity for a team of 3 trained people
  • Each team will be equipped with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment needed in a fire emergency.
  • Each team member will be trained in fire fighting skills and the use of the fire trailer
Fire Fighting Trailer

Fire Fighting trailer info:

This trailer is the smaller of the two planned trailers. This trailer is complete and will be showcased on the 29th of May outside Savemor. The value of this trailer is approximately R 20 000.

It is equipped with the following:

  • A water tank with a 500l carrying capacity.
  • A water pump with a petrol motor
  • A hose reel with 30m of hose
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • A rucksack sprayers, among other smaller pieces of equipment

Progress to date:

  • KMRRA gave the project a boost with a R10 000 sponsorship from funds generated from membership fees.
  • The team has raised another R21 000, that has been used to upgrade the fire hydrants and build the first fire trailer
  • The location and inspection of 37 fire hydrants is complete. This process continues as more hydrants are revealed through residents becoming aware of this project.
  • Funds have been secured to complete the upgrade of 12 key hydrants identified.
  • The cleaning, upgrading and marking of these hydrants has begun
  • The funds raised have enable the team to complete the construction of the first fire trailer

A BIG THANK YOU goes to all who have sponsored money, time and equipment for this project so far

What still needs to be done?

R 60 000 is needed to:

  • Complete the construction of the second fire trailer
  • Complete the upgrading and marking of the remaining 25 fire hydrants.
  • Purchase appropriate protective gear and fire fighting equipment for the firefighting teams

In addition to this the firefighting team will need to be trained by a recognised and accredited organisation.

What can I do to help?

This project is relying on the generosity of the community. To date sponsorship of equipment and monetary donations has raised over R 30 000. We are still short of R 60 000 excluding training costs.

Individuals and organisations can assist by making a donation towards the successful completion of this project. Donors will be acknowledged on the fire trailers and with permission, published in our newsletters and on keicountry.com.

Donations can be deposited into the KWAG bank account:

  • Bank account: KWAG
  • Bank: FNB (Beacon Bay)
  • Account no:  62793217285
  • Reference: Your Initials & Surname followed by FP

Join us for the big reveal, enjoy a boerie roll for R 30 & learn more about the fire fighting trailer

Between 10am and 12 on Saturday 29 May,

next to Savemor

Trailer viewing on Friday 28 May from 2 – 4 pm

From the Chair’s desk

KMRRA logo

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:

Library re-opening

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

KM 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

Recycling

Recycliny1-2-3

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.

Voters’ Registration

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

Fire-fighting trailer

Fire fighting

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

NSRI

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.

KMRRA membership

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 ratepayers@keimouth.co.za 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.

Vision Statement

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.

Mission Statement

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.

Transfer Station

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.

Rates accounts

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

Public toilets

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.

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