Municipality plans effective communication with ratepayers

Actions proposed by St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay Residents’ Associations (SFBRA and JBRA) highlight the need for an effective and sustainable communication channel between Kouga Municipality and residents associations.

“To address this the Office of the Municipal Manager will be setting up a meeting between the municipality and residents’ associations,” a statement from the Kouga Municpality media department said today.

The statement follows a SFBRA newsletter published on the organisation’s website this month that says it has instructed lawyers to start legal action to have allegedly “damning” (sic) reports (Gobodo and KPMG reports) tabled and released.  “The Council has been sitting on these for many months and has ignored all our previous, repeated efforts to get them released,” the newsletter asserts.

The newsletter also says the SFBRA will compile a list of the behaviour and history of the municipality for legal action to declare a Municipal Services District (MSD). “An MSD would ensure more control over services. We are not getting services we pay for,” maintains Tony Moore, the new SFBRA chairman.

The SFBRA with its list aims to find the following alleged faults: customers that have not been paid;  errors made by the municipality;  that the municipality is bankrupt, not managing funds correctly and that there is poor service delivery.

“From the list a professional multi-tiered PR strategy going up all the way to national level highlighting the municipality’s mismanagement needs to be developed,” the newsletter says, adding that Lynette Aitken has agreed to help the SFBRA with this.

Meanwhile the JBRA also put out a statement this month recommending that individual ratepayers and residents with a specific problem formally declare a dispute with the KM through legal channels.

Asked by St Francis Chronicle to comment on the above,  the municipality said the main objectives of its meeting with the residents’ associations will be to decide jointly on a communication channel acceptable to all parties. “While it has been mainly political principals and directors who have met with the associations in the past, all managers will be in attendance at this specific meeting so that they can gain a thorough understanding of the frustration being voiced by the associations,” the municipality continued

“There are many challenges facing the municipality because of mistakes that were made in the past by previous leaders who are no longer with the institution. The new leadership has already introduced several initiatives to turn the situation around, including weekly financial recovery plan meetings to monitor revenue and expenditure.

“While the necessary improvements cannot happen overnight, progress is being made every day.  This progress will, however, be hampered if the municipality is in conflict with its constituents.

“Consequently, the municipality will do all in its power to build a constructive relationship with stakeholders such as the residents associations,” the municipality’s statement added.

All articles written, all photos taken, plus all adverts designed, by the Editor and printed in the St Francis Chronicle are protected by Copyright.  Reproduction or copying of any part of the contents of this newspaper and its concept and design can only be done with the Editor’s written permission.