VIP Motions to Council set No. 4

VIP Motion set no. 4

VIP - Voice of Independents Party
P O Box 10, Tulbagh, 6820
Tel. 023 230 2696
Fax to Email 086 665 9232

21 November, 2011

The Speaker
Witzenberg Municipality
P O Box 44. Ceres, 6835
Motions tabled by the VIP - Voice of Independents Party - set no. 4
1.     Full time Councillor managing his Law practice whilst employed as a full time Councillor and a member of the DA Mayoral Executive Committee.
The VIP Party objects to the fact that the DA Councillor Portfolio Chairperson is managing his Law practice whilst supposedly being in the full time employment of Council as a `full time Councillor and a DA Mayoral Executive Committee member'. This is in conflict with the Code of Conduct for Municipal Councillors.
2.     Committee for Rural Development and Planning      
The VIP Party proposes the new Portfolio of Rural Development and Planning be done away with in the interests of good and efficient governance and as a cost saving exercise. It has become clear to the VIP that this Portfolio is totally ineffective, unnecessary and a waste of public money. It is considered by the VIP that Development and Planning should be part of a restructured Technical, Development and Planning Committee.
3.     Encouraging Development and an Increased Rates Base
The VIP Party, is becoming increasingly concerned about the fact that the DA led Municipal Council does not appear to do enough to encourage development.  In the VIP motion to Council on 12 July, 2011 this very same concern was raised including the formation of a sub-committee for the purpose of evaluating the potential for development within the Municipality, assessing approved developments and establishing what the Municipality can do to accelerate the process of development. It should be very clear to Council, that Rates, Service Charges and Tariffs have reached a point whereby they have become unreasonably punitive to the Ratepayer, Consumer and Resident. An expanded Rates base is critical to wealth creation and a sense of contentment by the Ratepayer and the Consumer. The Party believes that the Consumer and the Ratepayer are paying more than enough and any increases that are proposed for 2012 will be vigorously opposed.
In the VIP's first Motion to Council, it was suggested that a Sub Committee be formed to investigate and do what is necessary to accelerate development to ensure that the Municipality increases its Rates revenue and Service Charge base without having to come to the existing Ratepayers and Consumers for more increases beyond which is already past the affordability level. No such Sub-Committee was formed to date and quite a few developments are stalled for what ever reason (which the VIP will elaborate on further in due course).
4.     Huis Disa Old Age Home - Provision of land for further expansion of the Tulbagh Old Age home.
Written requests have been made by Huis Disa for the Municipality to donate Erf 23 (which lies adjacent to Huis Disa) to the Old Age Home. The Home is filled to capacity and has no land for expansion. The VIP requests that a decision by Council must be made on this matter as the extra land is sorely needed for an expanding aged population. This was part of an urgent Motion to Council on 12 July, 2011. No decision has yet been made - FOUR months later. In fact it has not even been tabled at the relevant committee for discussion?
5     Kliprivier Park

The VIP submits its final proposals for the consideration of Council for a decision on the future of the Tulbagh Klip River Park and the surrounding land.

The VIP insists that Council this matter be tabled and that Council will finally come to this decision after near on10 years of procrastination after so many community participatory consultative meetings. The Park currently loses over R800,000 per annum (not including the cost of maintenance). Council is surely aware of the losses and is aware of the sentiments of the public by now?
7.          Fire Fighting
     The VIP raised this matter in its first Motion to Council. The VIP reiterates that a thorough investigation of the water reticulation systems within the Witzenberg must be made to ascertain the number of fire hydrants which are available for the connection to by fire fighting vehicles - including the water Bar pressure to every residential suburb A report must then be submitted to Council in order that Council can assess its capacity in respect of Fire Fighting.
     Furthermore, a report must be submitted by the Technical department to Council, as to what provision has been made for fire hydrants in the Tulbagh water reticulation system upgrade, as well as the municipal housing township development which is currently underway in Tulbagh (Chris Hani and Witzenville extension). The VIP would care to see a reticulation plan indicating every single Fire hydrant in Tulbagh.
     It would also be informative to Council to know what provision is being made for alternative water supply in the case of a disruption to the water supply which happened in May and which led to the burning down of a residence in Wolseley. Details of the number of fire fighting vehicles, where they are situated and where they get their emergency water supplies must now also finally be determined.
     This weekend of 19 to 20 November, 2011, two backyard shacks burned down in Witzenville - in one case leading to the loss of life of one of the occupants. The VIP inspected the water pressure and it was but a trickle - so the property owners could not even fight the fire themselves? The family told Clr. Veschini that they called the fire fighting services and they were told by the person on duty that he is not on duty? A full investigation is demanded by the VIP.
8.     Legal Cases pending against the Municipality
The VIP requests information from the Municipality of the Witzenberg as to the extent (of the possible liability to the Municipality and therefore the Ratepayer) in respect of legal cases pending against the Municipality - which are understood to substantially exceed R20 million! A letter written by the Councillor to the Municipal Manager on 23rd August, 2011, requesting details have to date been ignored.  Given the fact that we are heading for a new budget year, it is critical to be prepared for any contingencies and know the details of the cases for decisions to be made? Surely? It has also become apparent to the VIP that in at least one instance, the complainant is suing both the Municipal Manager and The Director Financial Services and the Ratepayer is paying their costs of defending their respective actions? The VIP would like an explanation as to who authorized the expenditure of the costs of defense action by the two Officials concerned and why?
9.     Cost of a connection to fight a fire

The VIP notes in the charges for availability of water for a fire hydrant which MAY be used at some time (maybe never) to fight a fire, carries a monthly availability fee of R2004.02. This is ludicrous and unacceptable when the hydrant should be available and be provided by the Municipality in the first instance? How can an old age home for instance (or any other establishment or enterprise for that matter) with two hose reel connections to the mains afford to pay R2004.02 x 2 per month for no water usage unless there is a fire? This is in addition to the connection fee of somewhere around R6,000? The VIP believes that this thinking is preposterous to say the least and believes that certain aspects of the Municipality's Water Policy and Tariffs should be revisited without delay and proposes that this tariff be revisited with a lower connection fee including a meter and to establish a charge for water actually consumed?

Yours faithfully,
Councillor John Veschini
VIP - Voice of Independents Party