SUPPORT AND RESCUE PLETT FROM FINANCIAL RUIN AND COLLAPSE !
A REQUEST FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO ALL PLETT RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND THE PUBLIC AT LARGE – 2019 MEMBERSHIP FEE AND LEGAL FUND.
At the Association’s AGM in December 2018, a member voiced his opinion that the proposed membership fee increase for 2019 was far too low to enable the Executive Committee to undertake necessary legal action against municipal officials suspected of misappropriating rate payers’ money with no thought to the future and efficient running of the town. He proposed that the fees be increased to R1200 per annum, payable in either a lump sum or at R100 per month. This was put to the vote and received overwhelming support from the many members and general public in attendance. The meeting having been properly constituted and having a full quorum the motion was passed. It is now your Executive Committee’s responsibility to act on the members’ mandate.
As you are aware from our chairman’s year-end report, which was circulated to our members and which also appeared in our local newspaper, this Association will not tolerate the deterioration of service delivery in our town for the benefit of a corrupt few. Nor will be accept excessive tariff increases in June because of wasteful spending by incompetent officials.
Discussions have already been held with our lawyers, but to properly take the rampant corrupt municipal officials to the next level and even High Court, if necessary, funds must be available. It is thus vital that our resources are built up. Our lawyers are ready to act on our behalf as soon as we have the necessary funds to proceed.
Below is what the Executive Committee has recently done:-
Actions has been taken to stop the financial malfeasance in Bitou, including calling in the Hawks, Auditor-General, National Treasury, and SARS to investigate
Excessive Municipal Salaries. A PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) application was submitted to Bitou Municipality on 21 November 2018, requesting information on the top municipal officials’ salaries and benefits — budgeted at R29 million! Because this seems excessively high, we asked for copies of their employment contracts, pay slips, bonuses, qualifications, paid leave, etc. The Government Gazette sets upper limits on municipal officials’ remuneration and we want to see if they are paying themselves beyond what is allowed. Having received no reply within the specified 30 days, we have filed the next required step which allows 30 more days to comply. Barring that, we will have no alternative but to make an Application to Court to force their compliance.
Asset Write-off for the Mayor. A PAIA was submitted on 7 December 2018 for a list of the Assets written off in the Office of the Mayor in the amount of a staggering R360 256. We want to know what these assets were and what happened to them … why were they written off? Again, we have received no response so have taken the next legal step and are awaiting a response.
Festivals/Entertainment. We have asked Council to show us the accounting and results for each festival/concert that Bitou sponsored in 2018.
It is a legal requirement that Council receive a prompt accounting, according to Section 67 of the MFMA (Municipal Finance Act) for “Funds transferred to organizations and bodies outside government.”
This should include an accounting for:
Council is wasting millions on entertainment.
Mayoral car. We interpret the newest legislation to say there is no allowance for elected officials, including mayors, to use municipal vehicles for anything but official use, nor is there allowance made for the exclusive use of a vehicle for a mayor. Doing so is illegal.
We have asked our ward councillor to instruct the Municipal Manager to ensure compliance.
We have asked that it be tabled at the next council meeting to get rid of the mayor’s car, the deputy mayor’s car, and the speaker’s car, if he has one.
If it was a council decision to provide cars for those officials, then council need to rescind those decisions. They need to bring the necessary changes to the car policy, if one exists.
We have asked the Minister of Local Government, Anton Bredell to ensure compliance since Bitou has multiple luxury vehicles and it is not to our benefit to have those expenses.
Municipal Manager resignation. Municipal Manager Ndlovu has resigned. According to a municipal official, he resigned to avoid charges of gross financial misconduct which, if found guilty, would ban him from working in local government for a term of 10 years, and if found guilty of criminal activity, he would face potential jail time. We have no reason to doubt it, based on past experience with Bitou Municipal Manager Lonwabo Nqolo, who in 2012 was dismissed due to irregularities.
If Ratepayers are forced to take Bitou Municipality to court to stop the wasteful and illegal spending, we will do so, but it will cost money. At our AGM in December, we received an overwhelming mandate from our members to increase our subscriptions and raise funds for possible legal action
We encourage all ratepayers in Plettenberg Bay to become members and support the EXCO in their fight to claim back our town.
The way forward: Those members who have already paid R200 for the current year will be invoiced for the balance due, i.e. R1000. Members have the option to pay this as a lump sum in February, or in monthly instalments over the next 10 months (February to November) i.e. R100 per month. To make the payment system easier, we are investigating the possibility of setting up a debit order system.
However, we fully understand that the increase in the annual subscription could be difficult for certain members. We earnestly ask members to support the Association to achieve our collective goals as clearly expressed in this and our previous communications to you. In the event that any member has difficulty in paying the increased subscription please contact our secretary Margaret Marshall and sympathetic consideration will be given to each individual circumstance in an effort to ensure your continued membership of the Association.
However, please remember that we do need a considerable Legal Fund to counter the rampant current maladministration in Bitou. Please encourage your family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and associates to join the Association. Our strength is in our numbers.
As your reference, please use your first and surname so we can identify and reconcile our bank account. Please send a proof of payment and your email address to enable us to send you a receipt.
As the Association is not VAT registered unfortunately we can’t issue a tax donation certificate.
Executive Committee Chairman
Box 162, Plettenberg Bay 6600
Tel: 044 533 4387
Cell: 082 970 7291
Email: [email protected]