Community Municipal News

Community Meeting feedback from SRA

Michele du Plessis

Feedback from Gwilym Rees, Chairman of the Sabie Ratepayers Association regarding the Community Meeting held on 16th September.

TCLM

Just in case you didn’t know: the municipality is currently under administration under Constitution section 139 (b). They, therefore, have to have a “Financial Recovery Plan” overseen by the Province. We are currently trying to find out whether TCLM is complying with this (quite difficult). If they are not complying, then our ultimate aim is to have this elevated to section 139 (c) which requires the dissolution of the municipality.

ESKOM

The Eskom Appeal was heard in the Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal on 27th / 28th August.

Judgement has been reserved and we await the outcome with great anticipation.

We have referred the TCLM electricity tariff restructuring debacle to Richard Spoor (Advocate).

He has advised that if we can get enough “evidence” together, he is confident that he can build a case for us to take TCLM to task. To do this, however, (and THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) we need at least 30 to 40 Members to provide us with clear copies of their accounts, if possible going back some 6 months. THIS WILL BE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL AND NO NAMES OR OTHER DETAILS WILL BE DIVULGED.

This includes those who purchase electricity on-line; most bank systems will provide a mechanism to show these purchases. We need a cross-section of residential (those businesses and those residents who pay according to their municipal accounts as well as those who buy on-line). We appeal to you, therefore, to contact the Committee and provide those details to us. At the end of this Bulletin, I will give you the Committee’s contact details. The more responses we get, the more credible will be our argument. At this moment, please remember that your municipality has simply put the tariff restructuring “on hold” – they have not withdrawn it. Therefore, we have to stand together to make this permanent.

POTHOLES

This campaign has got off to a slow start. The task is quite overwhelming and unfortunately, we do not currently have the support of York as we did during the last Campaign. I will ask York to assist if / where they can but as a Town, we really should not expect York to bail out the Town (yet again).

Right now, Simon Nkosi, the Sabie Unit TCLM Sabie Roads & Stormwater Superintendent has a total of 12 bags of asphalt – enough to fill one medium-sized pothole. He has requested several thousand bags but so far, this appears to have fallen on deaf ears in Lydenburg – the same deaf ears that (don’t) listen to any of the issues reported to them by the SRA.

Folks; we need volunteers to get this Campaign up and running. We are not looking for manual labour (we’ll engage people to do that). We are looking for volunteers who are prepared to give some of their experience/expertise, time and energy to assisting the Committee to manage the Campaign, maybe even to go door-to-door to ask for contributions. Given the fact that our municipality is so sadly lacking, if we want to fix this, we have to do it ourselves. In 2017 when we did the last campaign, we had quite a good response, based on the premise of “I’ll fix a pothole in my street”. This was successful to a degree, but the situation has changed due to our current economic climate.

None-the-less, we will appeal to everyone in our Town to contribute to this Campaign. Why? Because it improves all of our lives and will make our tourists’ experience all the better for it. Please contact me or Jeff Mawson and we’ll put your name on the list of volunteers and we will contact you individually to see where you can be of greatest benefit.

WATER PUMP STATIONS

You all know how the SRA stepped in to replace the main town water pump. We found the replacement and made sure that it was installed. At an inspection last week we found that the pump is still “running sweetly” but has had no weekly maintenance. It runs 24 / 7 because we still do not have a standby unit! We have submitted several reports to TCLM regarding the appalling state of our pump stations. Predictably, we have not received a response of any meaning (if at all). In addition to the lack of stand-by pumps and the general lack of maintenance, we have also reported the lack of HSE (safety) to the Department of Labour (building inspectors) because yet again, TCLM has not responded to this critical issue.

Did you know that Waterfall Plots have been without a regular water supply for over two weeks because the failed pimp has not been replaced (a small matter of about 22 K)? This is against the Constitution!

FORESTRY INDUSTRIAL PARK

We have all seen the “white elephant” outside Nelspruit – the “Agri-hub” has just not happened after a few years and a massive cost escalation.

The same people now want to build a “Forestry Industrial Park” on about 260 Hectares of land just on the outskirts of Sabie, on the Graskop road at a proposed cost of about 1, 7 Billion (just imagine what we could do with that money to uplift our entire town instead of some “white elephant”?). The SRA has no objection to and welcomes any economic improvement to our Town, BUT (and it’s a big “but”) the Town’s service infrastructure (water, sewerage, electricity, roads, etc.) in its present form, just cannot support such a massive proposed development, let alone asking who will occupy/utilise it (currently no “anchor tenants” that we know of)?

The number of jobs potentially created has not been pinned down and we are afraid that this might create false expectations.

If you have any queries/comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any other Committee member.  Contact details: gwilym@plrm.co.za or mawsonjeffrey@gmail.com.

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