Michele du Plessis
On Wednesday, July 4th, the Sabie Ratepayers Association held the inaugural meeting at the Sabie Country Club. The SRA Constitution was accepted and the management committee elected. Captain Gwilym Rees, Chairman of the Sabie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and Director of SCCT, led the proceedings.
“I was recently contacted by one of our residents who asked why we should have a separate Ratepayers Association, essentially when we have had one before and it eventually failed. I believe that it is very important that the Sabie residents understand the motivation behind the move and support the initiative,” Captain Rees said.
“The previous SRA met its demise several years ago and while I accept that the cause of this might have been lack of interest and support, I believe that the situation has changed, especially in the past year and that requires people to be dedicated to taking issue with the municipality. It is not so much a breaking up of a “winning combination” in the SCCT as much as separating and focusing the efforts of the two entities, so as to make them more effective.”
The purpose of an independent Ratepayers Association is six-fold:
- The Sabie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism does not have any legal “teeth” to take on the municipality, whereas a properly structured Ratepayers Association, registered with the SA Ratepayers Union does have.
- The Chamber will still have a member of the Committee that is a representative of the Ratepayers Association Management Committee and will interact with the SRA accordingly.
- “We have learned that there is a resistance among certain residents to the Chamber and we are hoping to bring those residents into an organised entity so that we can continue to fight the municipality, with even more support than we have now, within the Chamber.”
- “While the Chamber’s Constitution requires that we are involved in the community, this should not be at the expense of trying to stimulate the business environment and Sabie’s economy. In the past three years that I have been Chairman of the Chamber, I have noted a trend where the focus is being drawn away from business issues and more towards the lack of municipal services, etc., thereby curtailing the Chamber’s core functions,” Captain Rees said.
- The municipality has become increasingly dysfunctional; the trend of engagement with TCLM will become more and more important.
- An independent Ratepayers Association will have a focussed mandate to act for the rate-paying residents of Sabie, with no influence of other factors.
What are the benefits of joining the SRA? Automatic membership of the SCCT; Representation to the municipality on an ongoing basis will be one, strong, concentrated voice and a new social media platform will be established for essential, fast and informative communication between members.
“I sincerely hope that this clarifies the matter and look forward to everyone’s support, for the overall good of Sabie,” Captain Rees concluded. For more information please visit www.sabie-info.com.
Caption: Johan van Eick, Rupert Culwick, Jeff Mawson, Mandla Ndlovu and Valerie Nel.