KOUGA executive mayor Booi Koerat said the municipality’s new top management team were taking measures about grievances submitted by residents during two recent protest marches.
Koerat’s response comes two weeks after he accepted memorandums of grievances from angry protestors.
The mayor, his mayoral committee and the municipality’s new top management team met last week to discuss residents’ grievances, the challenges facing the municipality and how best to resolve these to establish a culture of service excellence in the Kouga.
“Our new directors and municipal manager are a formidable team. The council is confident they have the necessary know-how, determination and drive to help us create a better Kouga for all.
“Directors are finalising detailed strategies to overcome the key challenges facing the municipality. The strategies will also address the nitty-gritty of the grievances outlined in the petitions,” said Koerat.
The strategies will be submitted to a special mayoral committee meeting this month so that they can be finalised, approved and implemented.
Koerat reminded residents that they too had a role to play in ensuring service excellence and encouraged communities to become part of the solution.
He said council and the municipal administration’s efforts would not succeed if residents did not honour their obligations (referring to the millions owed to the municipality in rates and service monies).
According to figures submitted to the council in June this year at the end of the financial year, residents owed the municipality more than R100-million for services and rates, of which more than R90-million was debt older than 30 days.
Koerat emphasised the R90-million could have been put towards maintaining and improving service delivery.
He further dismissed the belief that it was mainly poor communities who did not pay their municipal accounts.
“The wards that owe the municipality the most money are places such as St Francis Bay, and the more affluent areas of Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp. The municipality is also owed millions by people who own more than one property,” he said.
The exorbitant amount of money the municipality has to spend on legal fees was named as a factor that damaged the municipality’s capacity to render services effectively.
He said some grievances like education and healthcare services fell outside the powers and functions of the municipality.