JBay residents say: “No!” to Bisho taking over

The DA’s call that Kouga Municipality be placed under administration  has been met with resistance from the Jeffreys Bay Ratepayers Association.

The Association’s chairman, Trevor Watkins, expressed disappointment with the DA’s action at a public meeting of the association yesterday. Responding to an announcement by DA councillor, Brenton Williams, that his party had asked Local Government MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, to place the municipality under administration, Watkins said the association did not support the move and it was disappointed the DA had not consulted with the Association and other interested parties first.

The J’Bay Ratepayers Association is the biggest association of its kind in Kouga, with a large membership.

Watkins cautioned that should the municipality be placed under administration, its management would be taken over by outsiders with no feeling for the area. “We would far rather work with the new leadership of the municipality. Executive Mayor Booi Koerat and acting Municipal Manager Sidney Fadi are people we can work with,” he said.

The Executive Mayor and acting Municipal Manager were also at the meeting where they reported on the financial challenges facing the municipality. “The municipality is not bankrupt, but the new Council has inherited serious financial challenges,” Koerat said. “We have, however, already been able to clear our debt with Eskom and staff costs have been cut from 42% to 36% of the monthly budget.”

Koerat echoed Watkins’ disappointment in the DA’s call that the municipality be placed under administration. “My door is open to them, yet they took this action without ever discussing their intention with the rest of the Council. We have been trying to create a sense of unity in the Council because we firmly believe that working together is in Kouga’s best interest. This is a blow to the working relationship we’ve been trying to build between political parties,” he said.

Williams admitted that the DA had handled the matter internally and had not discussed its plans with any of its constituents.

Watkins called on the DA to be transparent in its actions. “The need for transparency does not apply to the ruling party only,” he said. “We all need to be transparent in our actions if we want Kouga to be a prosperous region.”

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