Communications surrounding Plett Business Chamber’s invitation to attend a meeting at the municipality

Some questions have been asked as to why the Ratepayers’ Association did not attend a meeting with Bitou Municipality at the invitation of the Business Chamber.  Below is our communication with a member who inquired, and the communications with the Business Chamber to set the record straight.

16 March 2023

Dear xxx

Thank you for your renewal and your letter. Both are much appreciated.

First, I am disappointed to learn that misinformation about our non-attendance at Mr Scholz’ meeting with yourselves and the municipal officials is doing the rounds.

Fortunately we have a written record of what actually transpired which I attach below.

From that you will see that it was not a case of our chairman being irresponsible and disrespectful by not pitching up for the meeting.

Peter is, in fact, in the hospital in Cape Town and is very ill.  He stepped down as chairman this week to focus on his health and I will be taking his place in the interim.

Representatives of the RPA meet formally with the mayor, municipal manager and his staff regularly. These meetings deal with issues as per a pre-arranged agenda so we are, as a fact, in regular contact with the municipality on our members’ behalf.

The latest such meeting was on 13th March and dealt, inter alia, with municipal finances, the controversial loan and the water restrictions.

We go to great lengths to check facts and information before we disseminate them to our members. Unfortunately due to poor reporting, information is not always readily available. We often seek clarity on such issues from the municipality but sadly, they are not very responsive and straight answers are often not forthcoming. As a result, it does happen that misinterpretation and misunderstandings arise.

This very issue was  discussed at our recent meeting on 13 March  with them and we  are ever hopeful that improvements in communications and transparency will follow.

Our focus is on improving and supporting governance in our municipality which requires us to question and probe as part of our oversight role and our statutory duty as citizens to participate actively in the governance of our affairs. That unavoidably leads to tensions between ourselves and the politicians and officials. This was also discussed at our recent meeting and there is general agreement that it is our, and the public’s, right to know about and to participate in our own affairs and to hold them to account.

We try not to only criticize. We constantly offer the expertise of a wide and highly experienced knowledge base ranging from financial, engineering, waste management, legal and labour affairs. Our members as a whole have a large investment in property and business in Plett and we will obviously never do anything which is detrimental to the town and their interests.

It is inevitable, however, that there will be those who are uncomfortable with oversight, focus on governance and increased transparency. It is also extremely regrettable that some will go out of their way to spread untruths and denigrate the RPA to weaken our effectiveness.

Thank you for your support, Cindy, and thank you for bringing this to our attention and I hope that my explanation  serves to give you a better understanding of our role and mission.

Kind regards,

Steve Pattinson


Sent: 15 March 2023 09:05 AM
To: ‘Ratepayers Association Plett’
Subject: RE: Membership Renewal: 2023


Dear Peter


I am very appreciative of the work the RPA does on behalf of the citizens. Please can I raise my concerns.


I heard in the corridors that the RPA didn’t pitch up for a meeting with the municipality on finance, specifically the loan issue, last week or maybe the week before.
If this is so, this is of concern as I would expect my RPA association to honour meetings. My feeling is that there should be good relationships between RPA and the BM, even if challenging. Many were ridiculing the RPA – municipal and other citizens.


I hear of some “facts” that the RPA is challenging with the municipality, that are not totally informed, which means the integrity of everything RPA questions, comes into question. Better due diligence needs to be done before challenging council on some of the matters.


I have paid my membership for this next year. 


With best regards





From:Plett Rate Payers
Sent:08 March 2023 11:18 AM
To:Mike Scholtz
Cc: Neville Petersen
Subject:RE: Plettenberg Bay


Dear Mike,


Thank you for this email, which I’m afraid only reached me this morning.


Unfortunately, there appears to have been a misunderstanding.  Neville and I had a brief discussion on Monday during which he informed me that you were having a meeting on Thursday and were hoping that I, as a representative of the Rate Payers Association, would attend.  I replied to Neville that I knew nothing about the meeting and that I would be travelling on Thursday so would be unable to attend in any case.  I also said that I couldn’t ask anyone specific to attend as there was no meeting agenda.


In your meeting agenda, you mention that municipal officials will be attending the meeting.  As an Association, we are in regular contact with a variety of municipal officials, to keep us well-informed as an Association.  Your agenda makes no mention of which municipal officials will be attending and what topics they will be addressing, so the purpose of the meeting remain unclear.


In my earlier email I mentioned that I was under considerable time pressure at present but would be happy to have an informal meeting with you at a mutually convenient time in the near future.  This still applies but, for tomorrow’s meeting, I must ask you please to accept my apologies and those of the Rate Payers Association.







From:Mike Scholtz
Sent:07 March 2023 02:15 PM
To:‘Plett Rate Payers’
Subject:RE: Plettenberg Bay


Dear Peter,


Having had a discussion with Neville, I was led to believe you will be sending a representative or two to the meeting the Business Chamber has arranged with certain officials of the Municipality. I am pleased you will be represented. As the officials are going to explain and clarify certain matters that we as citizens are unclear about. Of great importance to the town would be to try and iron out any differences and get all the roll players on the same side and make this town the No. one in the western Cape
The meeting has been set up by the Plett Business Chamber for 11h00 on the 9thMarch at venue to be confirmed. Representatives from the Business Chamber, Rate Payers Association  and Plett Tourism will be present and our guest will be representatives from the Bitou Municipality.


As this is envisaged to be the start of a great working together relationship, we will keep the meeting as informal as possible, finding one another and building on a good working relationship.


Welcome and introduction


Short overview of reason for meeting


Presentation by senior officials of the municipality


Questions and answers


Thank you for assisting in improving our town for all its people
PS: notification regarding venue will be sent Wednesday PM


Kind regards
Mike Scholtz



From:Plett Rate Payers <>
Sent:Wednesday, February 22, 2023 6:06 PM
Cc:Len Swimmer <>
Subject:Plettenberg Bay


Dear Mike,


Thank you for your letter of 15 February requesting a meeting with the Plett Ratepayers, which Len Swimmer has forwarded to me as I would want to be involved.


The next few weeks are very busy for me , so if you do not mind, I will contact you later for a mutually convenient time in which to possibly meet.


Kind regards,
Peter Gaylard





From:Mike Scholtz <>
Sent:Wednesday, February 15, 2023 11:52 AM
Cc:Bruce Richards <>; Barries Ferreira <>
Subject:FW: Plettenberg Bay




Dear Len


Bruce Richardson, Chairperson of Plett Tourism passed your details on to me.
I would like to introduce myself, Mike Scholtz,  I Chair the Plettenberg Bay Business Chamber


I suggested to Bruce that we try and set up a very informal preliminary get together over a coffee attended by a representative of 3 of the most influential organisations in Plett being the Rate Payers Association, the Business Chamber and Plett Tourism.


At this stage there is no prepared agenda but the objective is to commence a process, as primary role players in the town, all with the wellbeing of our town and people at heart, to improve the level of communications and cooperation between the three role players –  I believe that the best way to commence such a process is to share some thoughts over a cup of coffee and basically share common goals and concerns, hopefully just a open confidential discussion of how to improve our little town.


It is my hope that this will lead to a better “working together” approach and lead to representatives of the three entities (Rate Payers, Business Chamber and Plett Tourism) having a meeting with certain key representatives of our municipality to build relationships and to get a clear understanding of certain issues. This I feel is extremely important as we have certain opportunities to right the wrongs of the past and definitely be more informed than in the past. I believe as our slogan clearly states “to be the best together” that we should all work together to achieve the best possible outcomes


If acceptable, would you be kind enough to let me know when we can have a short get together to pave the way forward.


Awaiting your reply
Thanking you in anticipation


Kind regards


Mike Scholtz
Plettenberg Bay Business Chamber
O82 449 6383