Michele du Plessis
“Don’t forget today’s IDP public participation meeting at 5 pm in Graskop town hall, it’s your only chance to voice opposition to the electricity, water, services and property rate increases planned for 01 July 2021,” Lance Gibson, Chairman of the Graskop Ratepayers Association posted on their WhatsApp group on April 29th. He was referring to this notice:
THABA CHWEU LOCAL MUNICIPALITY CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS ON THE REVIEW OF THE 2017-2022 IDP/BUDGET REVIEW OF THE TERM
Notice is hereby given in terms of section 21 of the Municipal System Act (Act 32 of 2000 as amended) that Thaba Chweu Local Municipality will be consulting different stakeholders on the Draft IDP/Budget 2021-2022 of 2017 – 2022 review. Members of the community and interested stakeholders are invited to attend the meetings scheduled as follows for Graskop:
Schedule of Meetings 29 April 2021: Ward Committee Meeting (Graskop Chamber) 10H00 Ward 10, Graskop Chambers (Stakeholders Meeting: Rate Payer’s Association, Taxi Association, Graskop Conservancy, Business Forum & Tourism Organizations) at 11H00 am; Moremela Hall at 14H00 Ward 10 and Graskop Town Hall at 17H00.
The notice included dates for the whole of Thaba Chweu Municipality.
Lance Gibson posted the following notice on April 30th: ‘Report back on last evenings IDP meeting. Unfortunately, we had a very poor response from residents (most notably those who have the most to say on WhatsApp groups) and Graskop TCLM unit management. Acting Unit Manager Vusi Mdhkuli was present at the meeting.
These very same residents will be first to complain when all the proposed increases are promulgated by the council. The fact that TCLM management did not attend shows their utter disdain and disrespect for residents. However, residents bring this on themselves through complacency when called upon to act. However, those of us who were there managed to have the meeting postponed until management can avail of themselves. A new date (if it ever happens) will be advised. Thank you to the residents who attended or who sent their apologies.”
During the conversation on the Graskop Ratepayers WhatsApp Group, the question was asked why the meeting was not broadcasted online. “I asked that can’t we have the meeting broadcasted online, no one answered, yet there are still complains about the attendance of residents.”
Lance Gibson, Chairman of the GRA responded: “It was broadcast on this group as well as accommodation and GRA group by me yesterday and earlier in the week. The councillor posted on the community group as well.”
It seems that the Graskop resident meant something else altogether by using the term “broadcasting”. “By broadcast, he meant something completely different. Big meetings are still a risk in our town and should not be encouraged. But then not your responsibility but should be facilitated by Thaba Chweu to make all-inclusive,” another group member responded.
“Thanks, I do realise now what the member was saying, but unfortunately in all honesty we all know that TCLM does not have the equipment or funds to broadcast on any medium. Their email accounts don’t even work. Indoor meetings to my knowledge can now be held for up to 100 people as long as Covid protocols are in place, which was. Only +- 15 residents turned up. We understand that some residents has valid reasons for not being there however most don’t. This meeting was not called by us but by the council whose aim is to bulldoze high increases and their will on us,” Lance Gibson said.
“It’s time residents take these meetings seriously to benefit all and not just sit back and complain please stand together,” one of the messages said. “Another reason why we want control of our own budget and spares. Join the Ratepayers association as unity is strength,” Lance Gibson concluded