A personal message from Gwilym Rees, the current SRA Chairperson:
The Sabie Ratepayers Association (SRA) was founded on 4th July 2018. The inaugural meeting was very well attended and since then we have expanded our membership which currently stands at 66. Unfortunately, in a town of our size, this is dismally small and very disappointing.
We “broke away” from the Sabie Chamber because the Chamber was spending most of its time and energy on Ratepayers issues instead of their true focus which is Business (of which Tourism plays a major role) and upliftment of the community.
The Committee and the Directors of the SRA are all volunteers, some of which have served since the SRA was started. Some of us are retired and some of us still work. Personally, I do both but I am extremely grateful to those who have to do an 8 – 5 job and still give of their time and energy to be on the SRA Committee.
The challenges facing us are enormous, but not overwhelming !
The Thaba Chweu Local Municipality (TCLM) is widely regarded as one of the most dysfunctional municipalities in the Country and has demonstrated this by numerous failed Auditor General Reports as well as the fact that they are (once again) under Administration. There is a litany of reports about fraud, corruption and mis-management. Our municipality has failed us for the umpteenth time and continues to do so. This is evidenced by the fact that the senior officials can drive around in fancy cars but they cannot afford to provide a standby pump to serve our town’s main water supply. There are just too many examples to mention here in this short message.
We have some very special TCLM employees here in Sabie that should not be included in the generalisation above. Our Unit Manager (Stanley Nyalungu), Plumber (Willie “Vellie” Nkosi) and Electrical Supt. (Georg Landsberg) are amongst them. These guys keep Sabie going, even with little or no support from Lydenburg and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
We (the SRA) communicate regularly (generally in one direction only because we get very little response from TCLM Lydenburg) to the municipal manager and others regarding Sabie’s woes when it comes to service delivery and infrastructure failure but in the main, this falls on deaf ears. That said, we won’t give up and every communication goes into a file that we are building up for our lawyers so that they, in turn, can build a strong enough case to have the municipality dissolved. This has been done in other areas but don’t be fooled that this is a “quick fix” – it takes a lot of time, cost and energy; this from your Committee of dedicated volunteers. At the moment, legal costs are being privately funded by concerned individuals but sooner or later, the SRA will need to pay costs for legal representation.
Which brings me to another point: The SRA’s only source of income right now, is from subscriptions. Do the Maths: 66 Members x R 240 = R 15 840 per year. We spend some money on essentials (e.g. to keep water pumps running) but we need more if we are to really make a difference. It is hardly enough to “fight the good fight” on behalf of the citizens of Sabie but we cannot do this without financial resources. There are three immediate solutions:
- Get more Members and increase subscriptions,
- Fund-raise – we need volunteers prepared to go out and help us to do this; we don’t have them at the moment,
- Contributions from those prepared to donate to the SRA (rest assured that every cent will be accounted for).
There are undoubtedly other solutions as well, but we really need participation from our community to achieve them.
So, folks, where do we go from here ? I’m NOT a quitter! Do we try, as a Town, to beat the odds and make our Town successful again ? We can do this if we all stand together; if we don’t, we are headed towards the oblivion of another failed “platteland dorp”, thanks to our government who imposed the combined municipality on us in the first place. Do we give up ? NO !! We have to fight back, but we can only do that if we stand together !
Yes; Sabie is my Town, but it is also OUR TOWN
Folks, please search your hearts and help our wonderful Town of Sabie to decide its destiny … we owe this to the Town that we live in and we love.
My most favourite words are from Margaret Mead, an Anthropologist, who said:
Who says that a small group of concerned citizens cannot change the World ?
Indeed … it’s the only thing that ever has !
Please come to the SRA AGM on 28th October (Country Club, 17:30) and give the SRA your input ! Non-members are welcome; we’ll sign you up there and then !