Residents of the Kouga will have to pay a so called fire levy as from July next year. That is if the Kouga local municipality Council vote in favour of a recommendation put forward by the Mayoral Committee, according to the Jeffreys Bay Residents Association.

The purpose of the levy will be to subsidize fire services within the Kouga. The proposal was adopted by Mayor Booi Koerat and his mayoral committee in September and it will be tabled at the next council meeting.

The exact amount to be paid still needs to be determined, but if adopted in its current form, residents of Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St.Francis Bay and Hankey will pay double the amount that residents of Thornhill, Patensie, Loerie and Oyster Bay will pay. Indigent consumers will be exempted.

Stakeholders however, question the municipality’s capability to properly use the funds collected for special subsidies for the intended purpose.

St. Francis Bay DA Councilor Ben Rheeder alleged that of the three levies for special services that residents of the Kouga currently pay, two are not handled as prescribed in the Municipal Systems Act and the Municipal Property Rates Act.

Rheeder, in a motion put forward in the council meeting on Friday, December 9, said that the St Francis Bay Sewerage Levy and the Environmental levy are not properly ring fenced as required by legislation and the funds collected are not used for the purpose the levies were created for. He said “The prescribed legislation was ignored for the past four financial years.”

Rheeder insisted that the Municipal Manager and the Chief Financial Officer provide a plan to pay the last four years collected sewerage levy funds into the correct account and that these funds be used for extending the St Francis Bay waterborne sewer system.

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