The Kouga Council is streamlining communication with wind farm developers so as to ensure local communities benefit optimally from their social responsibility programmes.
Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen, her Mayoral Committee and municipal directors recently met with senior representatives from six wind farms at Jeffreys Bay.
“Our focus was on the wind farms in the western half of the Sarah Baartman district,” she said. “We wanted clarity about the community trusts they are expected to establish and their social responsibility programmes.”
Four of the six wind farms are located in Kouga, with the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm and Kouga Wind Farm already having entered commercial operation.
Another wind farm is nearing completion at Gibson Bay while the construction of a fourth wind farm is set to commence near Oyster Bay next year.
The remaining two wind farms are the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm and Amakhala Emoyeni, near Bedford.
The Mayor said she was heartened by the information shared at the meeting.
“Many of the wind farms are already making a difference in communities through their social responsibility programmes. Education has been a major beneficiary, as well as primary healthcare, rural and enterprise development.
“What is important, is that these programmes must be carefully coordinated to ensure maximum benefits to communities across Kouga,” she said.
“The wind farms have also conducted various surveys in the area and have agreed to share this information with us.”
She said only one wind farm had thus far established a community trust and that she was relieved to learn that municipal employees and councillors were legally barred from being part of the trusts.
“We want to avoid a situation where individual politicians exercise undue power over who benefits.”