“Laugh or Cry”

Snippets of council meeting held 31 May 2019.

We found the following snippets from the 31 May Bitou Council Agenda (and Draft Budget) interesting and thought provoking.
Sometimes one cannot help but try to find some humour in all this seemingly muddled thinking. If you don’t laugh you’re bound to cry.

1. Supply Chain Management quarterly report 1 January to 31 March 2019. The following tenders were awarded:

  • Provision of Handling of Fire Arms Training, awarded to Zibar Security Services, R380,707.
  • Provision of training for Operating a Mobile Elevating Work. Platform, awarded to Breerivier Training Development, R25,699 (We wonder whether equipment suppliers no longer provide operator training as part of the deal?)
  • Provision of training to cut felled timber (chainsaw), to Alvans Plant Hire, R62,100 (As above?)
  • Provision of comprehensive writing skills training, to Pearson Corporate Training, R112,024. (not low bid)
  • Provision of training for lifting, moving and loading using manual lifting equipment, to Ndwamato Training Solutions, R115,000
  • Rental of wood chipper for waste transfer station, to Shekynah Projects R135,000 (What happened to the huge chipper we already own?)

Average time for processing tenders was 41 days, compared to last quarter of 51 days. The target is 10 days.

Ms. H. Bester and Cllr Mbali attended CIGFARO Audit and Risk Indaba Conference in East London. R5,850 each. (The National Treasury cautions that CIGFARO is unaccredited. Unaccredited means useless and spending money on useless is undeniably wasteful. Will we hear a cry of; “Pay back the money,” rising from the council benches!?)

2. Water Management Devices.

The municipality is purchasing water meter devices for residences which will provide a predetermined amount of water to customers, will be read remotely by readers installed on municipal vehicles, will allow for prepayment when water allocations are depleted, sends alarms when tampered with and when there is a leak detected. Hopefully not from the same suppliers as the electricity meters and hopefully they will actually work? What will the training costs be?

3. IDP was approved.

Cllr Swart rightly said the current proposal for a Small Boat Harbor should be taken off the table before discussing new ideas for a small boat harbor in the IDP. Mayor Lobese immediately suggested he and others go overseas to look at small boat harbors and take photos. (Now there’s a plan… We can see a Mayoral Yacht in our future.)

4. Operating and Capital Budget for 2019-2022 was tabled.

The Electricity tariff will increase 13% on 1 July 2019.

Other tariffs will increase 5.6%.

Provincial grants: “The municipality over-spent the housing allocation this year by R19 million and this over-spending will have to be recovered from the R37 million allocation” from Province in 2019/20.

The estimated expenditure on free and subsidized services for indigents will exceed R42 million for the 2019/20 financial year.

Capital expenditure will decrease from R130 million in 2018/19 to R84 million in 2019/20. A R46 million decrease. Since funding from National and Province have decreased, almost half the capital budget is from internally generated funds. (We wonder how this lack of funds will affect Mayoral Golf Days, Gospel concerts etc.)

Legal services will continue to increase from R8.0 million in 2018/19 to R8.4 million next year to R8.9 million in 2020/21.

“Control of Public Nuisances” will halve from R15.1 million last year to R8.5 million next year… (Should we prepare for more public nuisances or maybe the firearms training will provide the cheaper solution…)

Roads expenditure will decrease from R9.6 million to R3.8 million next year. (Potholes! Now is the time to get that 4×4 you’ve always wanted.)

Contracted services increased to R99.1 million; 14% of the municipal expenditure. National Treasury says it should not exceed 6% of the operating budget.

Contracted services relates to provision of services where the necessary in-house skills are not available.

Air Transport will increase from R4.5 million to R5.9 million next year. I wonder what that includes. (Please not a Mayoral Jet…)

And last, but definitely not least, the Senior Managers of the Municipality budgeted a 38.9% increase in salary and benefits to themselves. The salary packages for the individual senior municipal officials are garbled on the budget. (No surprise?).

Other municipal staff are budgeted at an 11.6% increase.

Salary packages for the political office bearers are:
Executive Mayor R995,950
Deputy Mayor R766,385
Speaker R722,832

Despite indulging in a bit of levity, we are seriously concerned about what we have seen, and expect our concern to increase as we have time to analyse the budget.

Please join or donate   towards  the Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers Association and help us to restore good governance.

  • Written by Debi Nicholson


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