Reappointment of Municipal Manager.
Bitou’s municipal manager who was dismissed in 2012 for serious financial misconduct has been rehired by Mayor Lobese to be Plett’s municipal manager once again. Not only that, but Bitou has paid him R1.5 million as a retrospective “severance package” — even though he was fired! The PBRA has solicited the assistance of the Minister of Local Government to intervene and ask the High Court to take it on review and have it set aside, and hopefully recover the funds.
We believe money is being siphoned out of the municipal coffers in the guise of funding elaborate festivals, much like state capture. Council has passed motions to have these festivals funded for the next three years, regardless of their success. We have written to the Hawks, Auditor-General, National Treasury, Provincial Treasury and SARS for assistance and investigation. This process is ongoing.
Municipal Housing Abuse.
The mayor is allowing friends and family to live in municipal houses at no or below-market-value rental. We have asked our ward councillor to request a report be brought to council, and are making our suspicions public to put extra pressure on the officials.
Theft by Municipal Officials.
We suspect the huge, unexplained increase in fuel expense is theft, and the huge increase in For Hire expense and postage is irregular. These and many other questionable Supply Chain Management expenditures are being investigated and will be reported to the Hawks and if justified, criminal charges laid.
We need to get rid of our mayor who is costing us millions every month. We have appealed to Minister of Local Government Bredell to suspend him using relevant legislation, and appealed to Alan Winde and Helen Zille to encourage him to do his job, but so far no success. We will continue to put political pressure on him.
Bloated Municipal Salaries.
We suspect municipal officials are paying themselves excessive salaries, were hired without the requisite qualifications, and paying themselves unjustified bonuses. We are in the process of applying to Magistrates Court to force them to provide us with requested documents.
Irresponsible town planning decisions.
Council wants to put low-cost housing in the open erf between Shell Ultra City and Santini Village, at the entrance to Plett, which we are also protesting on 10 April.
The PBRA are appealing to all levels of government and institutions of government to help us combat the financial mismanagement and misconduct. If we find it justified and necessary to take them to court, and if funds allow, we will protect our town with legal action. That is why we are appealing to homeowners to help us build a legal fund.
The corruption within Bitou is rampant. We hope you will join us in fighting it, and continue to give us your suggestions.
Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association
Box 162, Plettenberg Bay, 6600