ANC left a 'dysfunctional institution' at Kouga: Mayor van Lingen

OCTOBER 7, 2016

Kouga Local Municipality Mayor, Elza Van Lingen, on Friday said that after forming her Mayoral Committee in August and taking over the running of the municipality, her administration has encountered many instances of poor municipal management by the former African National Congress (ANC) led council.

"We have discovered a dysfunctional institution, as was expected, with very little management and leadership being shown throughout the organisation," she said in a statement.

"Financially, we discovered that the PE Metro has been underpaid for water in Humansdorp (R30 million) and Paradise Beach (R15 million). Hopefully, no other towns have been undercharged but this remains to be seen."

She said that water losses remain a concern and Cllr Brenton Williams did an inspection of water meters around the Kouga area this week. He discovered a number of meters that are not working or inaccessible to the water meter readers (which means they are simply not being read) and even some meters that have been bypassed by large consumers of water.

"The potential undercharging for water will probably run into the millions of Rands.

"The long-term solution possibly lies in outsourcing this function to a company that can install smart meters and all residents will then buy prepaid water and electricity with electronic monitoring," van Lingen.

She said that the Unions have been engaged in an effort to build relationships with labour and a number of issues have been raised regarding suspensions, arbitration awards, problems with the organigram, officials acting in other positions on a semi-permanent basis, contract workers and working conditions.

"There are major financial implications involved and a number of arbitration awards that have been granted against the Municipality that have to be paid."

Last week, the Mayor said that charges would be laid against Sidney Fadi, the Kouga Local Municipality Municipal Manager, for the poor state of the Humansdorp sewage plant, which sees sewage spills flowing into a nearby dam as well as in a canal next to the side of the road leading to Kwananzamo.

In September, van Lingen said that her municipality will not be bullied into accepting the Thyspunt Nuclear Power Station, which looks likely to be built outside St Francis Bay, citing a questionable process in which the former administration entered into an agreement with Eskom over the power plant.

However, former Ward Councillor and Portfolio Head of Local Economic Development at the municipality, Phumzile Oliphant, said the Mayor's sentiment was ill-conceived.