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					                   FEDERATION OF
      KOUGA RATEPAYERS & RESIDENTS ASSOCIATIONS
                                    (FEKRRA)
    e-MAIL: jopro@telkomsa.net                                   PO BOX 131
                                                                 JEFFREYS BAY
    Tel/fax: 042-292 0959                                        6330

The Municipal Manager                                                 23 October 2009
Kouga Municipality
33 Da Gama Road
Jeffreys Bay
6330                  (By hand)

cc Mr R Dennis, Executive Mayor

Dear Sir

This communication is addressed to you on behalf of FEKRRA, the umbrella body of
Ratepayer and Resident Associations within the Kouga region.

It is intended to convey a feeling of no confidence, anger and mistrust in the manner
in which the management and administration of municipal affairs in the region is
conducted by officials, staff and other representatives of the Kouga Municipality.
These concerns also extend to elected Council members in their capacities as decision
makers, and jointly as the ultimate controlling body of the Municipality.

It is our contention that the application of sound business and effective management
principles and practices are concepts that are becoming increasingly further removed
from the governance of our Municipality, and this conviction is strengthened by:

   A failure by officials and ruling party councillors to be available, within
    reasonable limits, to their constituents, various representative bodies as well as
    individual clients. Critical e-mails and other correspondence are in most instances
    not responded to, and prearranged (and confirmed) meetings are frequently
    cancelled just prior to the scheduled time, regardless of the inconvenience to other
    attendees, often traveling from afar.

   The ongoing deterioration being experienced in the delivery of essential services,
    let alone steps to improve these services to acceptable levels.

   The lack of any meaningful management processes being applied to ensure staff
    productivity and discipline.

    members: aston bay community association, cape st francis civic association,
             jeffreys bay ratepayers association, oyster bay ratepayers
              association, paradise beach community association, st francis bay residents
             association
   The veil of secrecy – in a supposedly transparent enterprise – that hangs over
    many decisions made by both Council and officials.

   The apparent presence of political agendas in every aspect of day-to-day
    management clearly has a negative affect on the ability of the Municipality to
    perform properly and effectively.

   The wanton wastage of financial resources that occurs with the blind
    implementation of each and every new recommendation made by SALGA
    regarding remuneration in every form to officials and councilors alike,
    irrespective of local impact or relevance.

   The ongoing failure of the Finance directorate to comply with normal and
    acceptable accounting practices, controls and standards.

   The continued refusal by the municipal organism to accept qualified assistance in
    any constructive capacity.

   The reprehensible recruitment and appointment processes that are followed
    throughout the Municipality.

In short, the perception existing in the community of the performance of the Kouga
municipal region as a successful business entity cannot even be recognised as
moderate. It is, in fact, wholly inadequate, and deteriorating on a continual basis.

Hereunder are listed various areas of poor performance that are inevitable
consequences of the dearth of applicable skills, talent and experience in the
management of Kouga.

Financial Management
The latest Municipal Budget forced through Council by the ruling party’s councillors
adequately displays the dubious state of financial management within the Kouga
Municipality. This budget was built on a flawed valuations roll supplied by a
contractor who had been awarded the contract under irregular circumstances,
shortcomings that were pointed out to Council in detail prior to the budget being
implemented. This hugely extravagant budget is characterized by expenses which
were allowed to increase by 36%, despite the outcry and objections from all the
ratepayer bodies within Kouga, and which puts at risk the financial well-being of the
region and all its residents. The entire budget process has been placed in jeopardy,
and the budget is unsustainable. Furthermore, the lack of financial control in many of
the municipal departments has pushed the Municipality to the brink of a financial
crisis – the fact that overtime was allowed to exceed the previous year’s budget by
over 400% being but a prime example – and there is a very serious danger that the
Kouga Municipality is moving irrevocably towards insolvency.
Fraudulent activities within the Municipality have been well documented in the media
and by the Auditor General, but it is indeed disturbing that these issues are allowed to
continue for unacceptably long periods – all at the expense of ratepayers.
The addition of perks such as entertainment allowances and the so-called twinning
exercise in a time of a depressed economy world wide is unworthy of the trust placed
in elected officials by their constituents.

Management of Human Resources
The current employment situation within the Municipality is decidedly unhealthy.
Officials are dismissed or “redeployed” whenever they lose favour with the political
leadership within the governing party. Long-term suspension of employees, unfair
dismissals and/or “golden handshakes” is costing ratepayers millions of Rand
annually.
Employment practices that enable the Municipality to employ people not qualified to
fill crucial positions or people who have been dismissed for dishonesty in other
organisations, are most undesirable, and contributes nothing to the Municipality’s
already depleted skills pool.

Storm Water
Inadequate development and servicing of such in terms of maintenance and cleaning
is a problem with every major rainfall event. These are issues well within the ambit
and capability of the Municipality, but are either not managed or merely ignored. The
ingress of storm water into sewerage systems is not adequately planned or controlled,
resulting in a serious health hazard.
In certain areas the lack of properly planned drainage systems endangers the lives of
residents. Calls by representative bodies for a holistic study to be done in order to
effectively resolve the problems existing in various towns within the regions, have
not been heeded. National Disaster relief monies have apparently been paid out to the
Municipality, but the funds have not been forwarded to the injured parties or been
used proactively to resolve potential future problems – a case in point of the latter
being the causeway linking Paradise Beach to the rest of Kouga.

Road Construction and Maintenance
Roads throughout the Kouga region are in a state of disrepair. Maintenance is being
done in a haphazard fashion, and is generally of a poor standard. As is the case with
most budgeted items, there is no transparency in how and where the relevant
budgeted funds are to be spent, and the considered inputs from representative bodies
are once again totally ignored. Lack of transparency makes performance delivery
difficult to monitor, and as such, accountability is seriously compromised.
Sewerage
The inadequacies of this service are very evident given the poor network of water
borne sewerage systems, despite levies that have been imposed for years to expand
this network. Proper services have not been provided for in many of the newly-
established – and built – housing settlements, resulting in a health hazard, particularly
during the rainy season. The squalid conditions in informal settlements, with virtual
lack of sanitation, exacerbates the situation even further, especially where these
settlements have arisen on top of crucial aquifers and the sources of drinking water.

Planning Department
The lack of technical competence within this department places the orderly expansion
of all towns and areas within the region at risk. Uninformed and irregular decisions
are being made by a Director without the technical skills to fill this important role.
There is also a litany of highly irregular authorisations being given to developers to
proceed with developments that do not comply with municipal or National building
regulations or legislation, and in instances are totally inappropriate and in conflict
with the esthetics of the area or the applicable zoning. A typical example would be
the irregular re-zoning of Portion A of POS Erf 554 in Sea Vista, where a dispute has
been lodged. Problems within the Planning Department have been highlighted by
allegations made by the Auditor General against the said Director and a top official,
and these irregularities have now finally resulted in a long awaited – and overdue –
disciplinary hearing.
Critical issues such as adequate water supply to towns such as Paradise Beach and the
upgrading of the afore-mentioned causeway are not receiving the necessary attention.
This results in tensions between residents in the affected areas and the Municipality.

In conclusion, it must be stated that those issues discussed above are far from a
definitive list of what ratepayers see as a failure of performance. A few critical
aspects have been targeted – those that are believed to pose either significant
economic threats or health and safety hazards to person and property. Virtually all
aspects or municipal government responsibility are in similar disarray within the
region, and under law, the ratepayers have a right to the recourse of self-defence. It is
believed that the threat posed to property and, more importantly, person in the areas
mentioned, comprises a meaningful danger in this regard. It is also hereby placed on
record that over the recent period of time, the situation regarding each of the factors
mentioned, has deteriorated, and continues to do so unabatedly.

Ratepayers, too, have rights under law, as well as the constitution of the country. In a
spirit of goodwill, therefore, one last opportunity is hereby extended to the
Municipality to allow for constructive and meaningful dialogue and negotiation to
take place between the parties involved in an attempt to restore the trust that
ratepayers should have in those holding public office within the region, and in
municipal officialdom. Failure to do so will unfortunately leave ratepayers with no
other option but to embark on a path of irreversible conflict.
To this end, the following proposal is made in good faith:
 that the Municipality and FEKRRA engage in a two day workshop to determine
    the way ahead in a timeframe mutually acceptable to both parties;
 that a group of delegates be decided upon by each party;
 that the workshop be facilitated by an experienced mediator acceptable to both
    parties;
 that the venue be one of the municipal council chambers; and
 that the objective be the formulation of an agreement concerning the performance
    of general and specific activities by the Municipality.

A response in writing indicating acceptance of the proposal (or otherwise) is to be
made by the Kouga Municipality within a period of 21 days after delivery of this
letter. Failure to do so will result in the ratepayer organizations to proceed as they
deem appropriate.

Yours faithfully



J du P Oosthuizen
Chairman

				
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