CLARENS RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION (CRA)
of the Annual General Meeting held at the Methodist Church Hall, Clarens on Wednesday June 24, 2015 at 16h30
Present from the CRA Executive Committee:
Pat Raubenheimer (PR) Rodney Wainwright (RJW)
Ralph Raubenheimer (RGR) Santi Meintjies (SM)
Sjoerd de Boer (SDB)
Members of the Community: – As per attached Attendance Register.
The meeting opened at 16h30 and PR presented the following to those present.
- The current CRA team:
P Raubenheimer (Chairperson) Rodney Wainwright (Vice Chairperson)
Ralph Raubenheimer (Treasurer) Godfrey Allcock (Secretary)
Santi Meintjies Sjoerd de Boer
She reiterated that as had been stated in recent communications, Rodney, Ralph, Santi and she would not be standing for re-election and that volunteers were being sourced from the community. To date, Chris Green had advised that he would be interested in joining the committee.
- What is CRA
PR explained that the CRA was a non-profit, voluntary association, formed to promote the rights and interests of residents with the purpose of ensuring an acceptable level of quality municipal services at an equitable cost and improvement of infrastructure. The CRA worked with the Conservancy and Fire Associations with the aim of protecting the environment. The CRA endeavoured to ensure that economic development was within the constraints of the infrastructural capacity of the Town and this involved engagement with Local, Provincial and Central Government.
- Key Area of Focus
The key areas of focus for CRA were Service Delivery – water & sewerage, roads, rubbish removal, village cleanliness, Municipal Accounting. There was a 4/5 year check on valuations to ensure fairness across the board. Experience had shown that when the new valuations are put forward, properties were missed and some incorrectly valued. CRA had input to the Spatial Development Framework, the Integrated Development Plan and to the Budget process.
- Achievements to date
The CRA have built good, productive relationships with previous Dihlabeng Municipal Managers (4 in all), with the Chief Financial Officer, Raymond Provis, Pubic Works, Town Planning, Building Inspectors, Councillors and Local Unit Managers (3). This allowed us to be consulted on matters mentioned above. We also had input to the determination of rates over the years which allowed us to ensure equitable rates increases; we were now at a stage where other associations in Dihlabeng were also invited to participate. PR advised the meeting that the Municipality’s Chief Financial Officer, Raymond Provis, with whom we had worked for many years, had resigned and would be leaving the next day. Raymond had always been helpful to and supportive of ratepayers associations in general and Clarens in particular and his leaving and the fact that we still did not have a replacement for Peter Reed in the Clarens Unit, did not bode well for Clarens.
The CRA had successfully objected to the first pass of valuations in 2009 and 2013; ensure that the Golf Estate properties were correctly valued and reflected on the Municipal system. A 50% reduction in sewerage rate charges had been negotiated for those village residents whose property had septic tanks and small bore pipes. A reduction in property rates for pensioners had also been negotiated. The CRA had input to and liaison with the Ward Committee; had at the request of the Municipality, worked with then and the Provincial Government to implement Street Numbering to ensure they were in line with other South African Towns and to effect easier location of properties by emergency services. This project had started in 2006, but due to the numerous changes of personnel in both the Dihlabeng Municipality and the Provincial Department with whom we were dealing, this project had taken considerably longer than at first anticipated. It was now completed and the new, sequential numbers had been appearing on the Dihlabeng Accounts since November 2014. There was some push back on this from some Villagers, but over time the street numbering would be fully implemented. Members of the CRA had been assisted with objections to certain property developments, but this assistance was only given when such objections were considered to be within reason and the development believed to be to the detriment of the Village. At the request of certain residents who were adversely affected by the construction of the alterations to the Village School, CRA had secured representation on the Community Steering Committee, but unfortunately had not been involved from the inception of the project. There were numerous complaints about the denuding of the site and the noise of the construction over weekends and late into the night.
CRA had covered the cost of the missing street signage in the Village as the Municipality had no money to cover this and had objected to the siting of the MTN 3G Mast behind the Museum; alternative sites had been put forward as we believed the Mast was necessary.
- Issues facing Clarens going forward:
PR reported that as mentioned previously, a replacement Municipal Manager had not been successfully appointed and that whilst someone had been appointed some months ago by the Municipality, the appointment had not been approved by Council and the incumbent had been suspended. With regard to the appointment of a Clarens Unit Manager, the position was still vacant and the staff were endeavouring to carry on without direction; although Michael and Linda trying hard to keep things going.
With the increase in tourism and the additional dwellings built over recent years, Clarens’ water supply was under strain, more particularly when the Village was busy at the weekends, as had been experienced over Christmas 2015 when for 2 weeks the supply was intermittent. Our water supply and quality has to be constantly monitored.
The promise of a new water treatment plant, which had appeared on the IDP, was not considered a priority by the Municipality – this had become evident at the Budget Meeting – as the Municipality did not have the funds to cover their portion of the costs. PR explained that the majority of the funds for such a project would come from MIG. However, MIG only funded projects for the previously disadvantaged and whilst they would pay say 75% towards this project, given that Kgubetswana residents would also benefit, the remaining 25% or so would have to be covered by the local Municipality.
The next property valuation process would start again in 2017 and would have to be reviewed, as would the annual rates increases to ensure fairness. And, whilst a new township had been planned for a number of years behind Phahameng, providing 500 houses, no further information was available.
PR said that she and the outgoing Committee members felt that it was necessary to have a fully functioning Ratepayers Association. Should the CRA be dissolved, then the assets would not be paid to members but would be transferred by donation to the Conservancy and Fire Associations as specified in the Constitution. A discussion ensued with no volunteers coming forward. RJW said that in terms of the Constitution, a minimum of 4 but no greater than 8 Committee members were required; with the addition of Chris Green, there were now 4. Further discussion ensued and it was agreed that PR, SM, RJW, RGR would remain until the CVC AGM in two months’ time. Until then, everyone was asked to canvas the community to find volunteers.
The meeting was advised that there were currently 306 paid up members, comprising 69 from the Village and 237 from the Estates. Unfortunately, it had been our experience that the Village membership typically increased whenever there was a crisis, which was not an ideal situation. The CRA Executive believed that the membership fee of R300 per annum, which afforded membership to the CRA, CVC and Fire Association, was not excessive, given the work done and the fact that it was carried out by volunteers.
A high level view of the financial were presented and accepted, the meeting being advised that copies of the financials and any other documents could be obtained on request.
The meeting closed at 17h15.
Chairperson Date: 2nd July 2015
Certified as a true reflection of the contents of the meeting.