Opening of councill

Maggie White
LAST Tuesday the inaugural Kouga council meeting was held at the Culture Centre in Humansdorp.
Welcoming the smartly attired guests, Speaker Magdalene Dlomo said that this year was special as it marked the centenary celebrations of the ANC.
She also said that since the present council took office in June last year it had been a challenge from which they did not shy away, and they had demonstrated that they were not afraid to make tough decisions.
She also reminded the councillors that they were elected to serve the people of the Kouga by the people, and urged them never to forget this.
"Play your part creating a better life for all. The community wants to see improvement in services. You are political soldiers and therefore must be ready at all times,” said Dlomo.
After the meeting was officially opened Kouga mayor, Booi Koerat took the stand highlighting several issues.
He said Kouga's population was growing at a rate of 2.8% with unemployment that was getting worse.
He reminded councillors that the municipality's value system required them to be honest, transparent, accountable, people-centred, professional, consistent, accessible and equitable. The efforts to ensure maintenance, rehabilitation and the expansion of basic, economic and ecologically-friendly infrastructure are a priority focus.
He said that the municipality intends to facilitate the development of economic rural communities. Agrarian reforms and land-tenure reforms will be fast-tracked by building agri-villages.
The mayor emphasised that councillors were an important link between residents and the council. They are establishing ward councillor's offices in all wards and will appoint ward secretaries to improve customer care.
In an effort to be more transparent the council wants to encourage the public to attend council meetings so that communities of Kouga can witness local government in action. Meetings will in future also be held in other Kouga towns.
Hankey is set to receive a fire station in the near future. Tenders to the value of R1-million will be advertised shortly. Libraries in the Kouga will be upgraded. The clearing of cemeteries will create 40 new jobs.
An amount of R800000 has been set aside for the maintenance of parks and sports fields.
The mayor admitted that the municipality was faced with cash-flow problems, but announced that over the past 10 months they had been able to turn matters around. He said that the municipality had reduced creditors by R20-million since June last year.
Although staff-related costs amount to 37% of the budget this still uses up almost half of the monthly cash-flow.