Council Notes

JON HOUZET
Launch fee proposal rejected
A PROPOSAL to charge launch fees at the Port Alfred Small Boat Harbour was rejected by Ndlambe’s executive committee at a meeting on Tuesday.
 
The proposal by Pamcor was for a clause in its lease with the municipality to be amended, which would allow the Small Boat Harbour Company, appointed by Pamcor, to determine all fees and charges.
Municipal attorneys Neave Stotter perused the proposed variation agreement and amendments and indicated they foresaw no problem with the proposal.
 
But the municipality noted that boat owners had expressed discontent and that the installation of a boom gate at the harbour slipway was done “without meaningful prior consultation”.
 
The matter was tabled for discussion in all ten wards in Ndlambe, and four wards were in favour of the proposal, while five were against it. Ward 6 did not meet.
 
Two of the wards in favour of the proposed amendment also recommended further public participation.
Ward 10 councillor Ross Purdon, whose committee voted against the proposal, said it was a “contradiction” for other wards to be in favour of the proposal yet still call for public participation.
 
Mayor Sipho Tandani said the matter should go back to those wards for clarification. “They are recommending on something they do not understand,” he said.
 
Commonage
Ndlambe has acquired a new farm for commonage for stock owners in Kenton whose animals have been allowed to wander in Ekuphumleni township.
 
Tandani announced at the exco meeting the land had been transferred to the municipality.
 
He said he had had meetings with the Stock Owners Association and they agreed 60 head of cattle would be moved from the township to the farm.
 
When the issue of commonage for Alexandria came up later in the meeting, municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni said Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti was discouraging dependence on commonage and telling communities to rather move to commercial farming.
 
“We don’t have the capacity to manage commonages, from Alexandria to Bathurst,” said Dumezweni.
Councillor Monica Mateti said communities should be kept informed. “We shouldn’t just tell the community we won’t be providing commonage. We should tell them we’re moving in the direction of commercial farming.”
 
Tandani said he understood commonage was a cultural heritage.
 
Unlicensed businesses
Exco expressed concern over a growing number of unlicensed businesses, as well as RDP houses being sold to foreigners and converted into shops.
 
“What will be done if these unlicensed businesses don’t comply?” asked Purdon.
 
Dumezweni said most illegal businesses were being run in single-residential homes.
 
“Ward councillors should investigate this before officials enforce the bylaws,” he said. “Law enforcement is the tail end. Ward councillors should tell residents you can’t rent a house as a business.
 
“When we follow up and close these businesses there’ll be an outcry and it will lead to the officials, not to the ward councillors.”
 
Debt collection
Purdon reminded his fellow exco members that the auditor general and Cacadu mayor had been “particularly scathing” about municipal debt collection in Ndlambe.
 
“I suggest we have an urgent meeting with the new chief financial officer to plan the way forward. We can no longer afford to delay on this,” said Purdon.
 
Willows Caravan Park
Exco was against renewing a lease with the current leaseholder of Willows Caravan Park, a municipal property.
At the last Ward 10 meeting it was revealed the cc which signed the current lease was no longer in existence.
 
Ward 10 also recommended the rental should be in line with market-related value.
 
“We can’t enter into an agreement with a non-existent entity,” said Tandani.
 
He said the BEE element also needed to be considered. “As a public entity we need to promote broad-based BEE.”
 
No quorum for Ward 6
Purdon expressed concern that Ward 6 had not met for two cycles of meetings because councillor Marilyn Tarentaal could not form a quorum.
 
Councillor Siphiwo Funde echoed Purdon’s concerns. “It affects service delivery,” he said.
 
Dredge re-appointed
Council has re-appointed Howard Dredge as chief financial officer.
 
Dredge’s contract was only due to expire in July, but municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa said deciding on a new CFO was a matter of urgency as council was dealing with the budget.
 
In addition, the appointment of Section 57 directors had become more stringent as province had to sign off on it, said Mbolekwa.
 
Dredge was one of several applicants who were interviewed for the position last week.
 
Chief traffic officer
Chief traffic officer Fred Cannon collapsed at work on Monday and is being treated in hospital in Port Elizabeth.
 
Tandani expressed a word of sympathy for Cannon, wishing him a speedy recovery.

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