By the time you read this the Local Government Election 2016 will be history BUT this does not mean your participation in local government affairs need necessarily end with the three X’s cast on Wednesday. Your choices need to be monitored to ascertain whether they were/are effective and worthwhile.
In my opinion this is what we, the electorate, failed to do during the last Council term; we allowed the nine who represented our interests [four ANC, four DA and one Independent who sided with the ANC in return for the office of Deputy Mayor] to conduct affairs without being truly accountable to the electorate.
The so-called “imbizos” were a dismal failure … a one-way street bulldozed by the Executive Mayor to tell the people at extraordinary length what the Cape Agulhas Municipality – CAM – was going to do. There certainly was no meaningful interaction.
A Mayoral Imbizo is described as, “an on-going Mayoral Outreach Programme aimed at bringing government closer to the people, whereby the Municipality interacts with communities regarding upcoming service delivery projects in their areas and progress on existing ones.”
For a moment I want to go back to a July 2, 2015, meeting; a meeting between the chairpersons of three residents associations in the region and the Executive Mayor, Municipal Manager and the Chief Financial Officer of CAM.
The meeting was held at the request of the Residents’ Associations, namely, Suidpunt [covering L’Agulhas, Struisbaai and Suiderstrand], Bredasdorp and Napier to object to the process followed with the acceptance by CAM Council of the 2015/2016 budget, a budget heavily burdening residents with across-the-board tariff and rates increases.
There was a lot of talk at that July 2 meeting, 2½-hours of it. If there was one notable quotable quote to come out of that marathon encounter it is possibly that of the representative of the Bredasdorp Residents’ Association.
“Upon conclusion of our meeting with CAM and the absolute frustration and realisation that we had exhausted all possible existing channels open to us without hope; I realised that the best of the entire exercise of the day was that it was the first time that we three Associations had gathered as a united front. I am of the opinion that it is in the interest of all if we could meet more regularly and share information.”
This is so true. Prior to 2001 each of the towns within the Cape Agulhas region had its own municipality, council and set of personnel. For the last 15 years we have been ONE municipality and THREE separate residents’ associations. It rather seems, from where I’m sitting, the municipality has gone ahead into the 21st Century – warts and all – while the residents’ associations are wallowing in the last Century.
I believe, now that the election is behind us the mood is right to act in unison – one force – for the best interests of all in the Cape Agulhas Region. I know there have been initial talks but am unaware of how far the concept has progressed. It needs to get “wings”.
Finally, our thoughts move to be in support of the Gauteng Lions tomorrow Saturday [August 6] at 09h35 when they meet the New Zealand Hurricanes in Wellington [New Zealand] in the Super Rugby final.
The Hurricanes beat the Chiefs 25-9 in Wellington in the first semi-final delivering an outstanding defensive effort and out-scoring the visitors three tries to nil.
The second semi-final in Johannesburg saw the Lions beat the Highlanders 42-30 to book their place in the final.
The Lions playing in Johannesburg scored five tries to the Highlanders four and were always ahead in the encounter.