The mayor of Kouga, Mr. Booi Koerat delivered a lengthy but uninspiring speech at the official opening of Kouga Municipality recently.
He turned a completely blind eye to the disastrous financial position in which Kouga finds itself and did not refer to any strategies to lead Kouga out of its financial doldrums – a deplorable state for which his own leadership and that of his ANC mayoral committee must be accountable.
What stunned the audience was his own admission that Kouga once again did not receive an unqualified opinion from the Office of the Auditor General. His own councillors even applauded the news of a qualified report. With reference to the adjustment budget that was recently bulldozed through Council he still is of the opinion that efforts must be increased to achieve a collection rate of 95% – a ridiculous assumption!
It was, however, heartening that he mentioned that corruption and stealing must be eradicated completely in Kouga Municipality and that perpetrators should be jailed for such offences.
His statement that Kouga is fast establishing itself as the “energy capital of South Africa” was loudly applauded by a section of those present. This topic is presently hotly debated by informed Kouga citizens and the pros and cons of the multitude of approved wind farms and the proposed nuclear power station at Thyspunt have not been fully exhausted.
Although he announced that the MEC for Local Government has finally approved the appointment of the five new directors, he omitted to inform the audience that the unlawful procedure followed by himself as mayor and his ANC mayoral committee was still subject to an appeal that is presently before the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein.
He highlighted some future plans for tourism in Kouga, but failed to address the real problem of the total neglect of and withholding of municipal funding for the tourism offices in Kouga.
Some other observations can be summarized as follows:
• He clearly said that all the work and discussions were taken by the mayoral committee. This surely indicates that they are responsible for all the mistakes and the bad state of our beautiful towns in Kouga, including the bad financial situation and un-paid creditors.
• It is interesting that the successes that he mentioned are mostly achieved with outside help and not by the municipality itself. Public participation was the worst ever and only took place on a limited scale in certain areas. Very little notice was taken of public inputs.
• Some Ward Committees function but received no support on recommendations or questions. CDW changed into political tools with a one-sided support to the communities.
• Skills development was reserved to a few political supporters of the ANC.
• Road maintenance was appalling and grass-cutting in most areas nonexistent.
• The annual statements and the auditor’s report are outstanding.