THE Special Rates Area (SRA) is a concept that has been very successfully employed in Cape Town since 2000. As from July 1, five more areas came into being, bringing the total to 31. It was first brought to the attention of the residents of Richmond Hill about two years ago by the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA).
There have been at least 10 public participation meetings where all aspects were shared. Notices appeared in our local papers and, lastly, the ratepayers living within the perimeter of the defined area were called upon by canvassers. The results were that the majority agreed to the formation of this company.
The SRA policy, the company’s business plan and budget were placed before three layers of meetings and were accepted and approved at the end of March this year. The suburb has had regular monthly meetings in a local church hall. Constant calling for folk to supply their e-mail addresses so they can be kept informed, allowed us to have about 400 on our mailing list.
The minutes of these meetings are sent to all. Communication has always been important to show open information to all.
The writer’s questions [in an e-mail to The Herald] were answered directly on April 9.
The forums which are referred to, have existed for years. The forums are made up of volunteers from the Richmond Hill community who have been concerned in bringing down the crime rate and dealing with poor municipal services. They have patrolled the area in their own time, using their own transport at NO remuneration.
These are residents who have answered the call to improve the suburb and keep it clean, tidy and free of criminal activities.
They have collected money and funded a small bakkie that, besides patrolling the area also aids in collecting and removing garbage bags missed by the collection trucks.
The non-profit company is awaiting its registration, the opening of a bank account and the signing of the financial agreement with the municipality.
This is currently in the hands of the lawyers and “powers that be”.
In good faith, the treasury applied the SRA levy as from July 1 this year, in accordance with the approval of the policy, business plan and budget. The monies received are being held until the opening of the bank account and the signing of the agreement. They will then transfer funds and the company will commence operation.
A leaflet expressing seasonal greetings [and giving] information regarding tips on home safety during the holiday season, as well as information regarding the SRA was placed in ALL letterboxes prior to Christmas last year.
We trust that this clarifies the situation and stress that we do try to keep all informed wherever possible.
Kevin Slattery Richmond Hill SRA director