Present: Cllr Dave Ryder (Chair); Committee members: Ed Szudraweski, Rose McArthur, Bruce Dempster, Melika Singh, Chris Majola
  1. Welcome and apologies

    Dave Ryder welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies had been received from Nathan Chetty (working night shift) and Nozipho Mthembu (Indisposed). No apologies were received from Melanie du Plessis.

  2. Confirmation of the Minutes of 29 March, 2016

    Having been previously circulated, the minutes were taken as read and approved by Ed Szudrawski and seconded by Rose McArthur.

  3. Matters Arising

    1. Mother and Child Hospital

      Bruce Dempster informed the meeting that he had, earlier in the day, circulated via email to committee members for their records, the minutes of the Public Information Session hosted by Green Door Environmental at the Victoria Country Club on 18 February 2016.

  4. Final Municipal Rates and Tariffs for Msunduzi Municipality for 2016/17 and other budget information

    Dave Ryder handed out a short summary of the rates and tariff increases for municipal financial year starting 1 July, 2016. The information is reflected below:

    1)Rates and Tariffs Increases:
    MCB charge:7.64%
    Basic monthly charge:6%
    Basic monthly charge:6%
    Compulsory water loss insurance:R12.00 per month
    2)Salary Costs:
    Annual percentage increase:7%
    Budget for new posts:R45m
    3)Expenditure on Grants and Capital Projects:85%
    4)Indigent costs:
    Qualifying Ceiling:R3740 per month from all income sources
    Rebates: - 7kWh electricity free per month
    - No MCB charge and no Basic charge
    - 6kl water per month free per month
    - No Basic monthly water charge
    - 100% reduction on sewerage and refuse charges
    5)Collection Rate:88%
    6)Operating Budget Summary:
    Total Revenue:R4 473 006 billion
    Total Expenditure:R4 253 569 billion
    Surplus:R19 436 million

  5. Water issues and the proposed establishment of a water whatsapp group

    Dave Ryder said that there is a need for a more effective reporting mechanism in order keep residents in the ward informed when water outages in the ward are likely occur and if they do occur, the reason for the outage and the possible duration. One understands the difficulties caused by the drought and the decision taken by Umgeni Water to reduce the supply of water to the municipality. This requires our water staff to juggle the incoming water supply to try and keep all the reservoirs at functioning levels. This is not always possible and results in water outages in the areas served by the affected reservoirs. The importance of communicating with residents on water outage issues is paramount at this time. Bruce Dempster spoke on the possibility of including the information on the ward website. It was however recognised that for this to work effectively, the information on water outages would have to be transferred to Bruce Immediately it was received for inclusion in the web site. If Bruce was not available for any reason, the information would not be captured on to the web site until he became available to do this.

    After further discussion it was proposed that a specific Water Outage Whatsapp Group be established for Ward 25. Each of the neighbourhood watch groups operating in the ward could nominate one person to represent their interests on the Water Outage Whatsapp Group. Dave Ryder would receive information from municipal officials on water outages. He would forward it to members of the Water Whatsapp group who, in turn, would send it on to members of their neighbourhood watches.

    The crucial factor in the operating of such a Whatsapp group is the timeous receipt of information from municipal officials.

    It was decided that the final decision on the best mechanism to get information to residents on water outages, should be decided by those residents who attend the public meeting on 1 June. Two serious officials from the municipality will be present to do a presentation and answer questions relating to water issues in the city.

  6. Unauthorised Billboards in Town Bush Road

    Dave Ryder reported that he is communicating with Johan van der Merwe at the Legal Section of the municipality on this matter. All such correspondence is being forwarded to committee members to keep them up to date with developments.

    The adverts that materialised on these billboards appeared overnight in early April, 2016. The municipal signage inspectors became aware of the adverts and together with the Legal Section prepared the necessary contravention letters and will commence with legal proceedings against the new owners of the billboards.

    Officials from the Legal Section have had a meeting with officials from Economic Planning at the municipality regarding the unauthorised usage of these billboards for advertising. It appears that a further meeting is required. We await the outcome of this meeting.

    Dave Ryder said that he has asked for the names of any municipal officials who might have given permission to the new owners of these billboards to go ahead and display adverts on them, and the reasons why this was permitted. To date this information is not forthcoming.

    An article in one of the local newspapers around this fiasco will highlight that fact that it is an 8 year old problem that has still to resolved by the municipality. The ultimate prize is to have these billboards dismantled and relocated elsewhere.

  7. Transfer of the Allerton Wetland to Msunduzi Municipality

    Dave Ryder informed the meeting that the long-awaited transfer of the Allerton Wetland from the Department of Agriculture to the Msunduzi Municipality is underway.

    At a Full Council meeting on 25 May 2016, the following recommendations were approved:

    That authority be granted for the Environmental Management to begin engagement with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, and the National Department of Public Works to transfer the state-owned Allerton Wetland to the Msunduzi Municipality for municipal public open space purposes.

    That once a formal offer is received from Public Works regarding the donation of the Allerton wetland to the Municipality, a further report including a draft Memorandum of Agreement be submitted to Council for consideration

    That the Municipal Manager be authorised to sign the Memorandum of Agreement once approved.

  8. Progress report on the proposed Chase Velley/Otto's Bluff link road

    KSEMS, the company responsible for drawing up the Basic Assessment Report (BAS) for this project, returned to Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday 26 May to give a presentation of the Revised Draft BAS with particular reference to the Traffic Assessment Report. All interested and affected parties would have been informed of the availability of the Revised BAS Report and the date of the public meeting.

    Unfortunately the meeting was not well attended which was a pity as members of the company responsible for compiling the Traffic Impact Assessment were available to present the report and answer questions. It was however good to see some residents from Woodlands at the meeting.

    The Revised BAS contains the submissions done by various individual Ward 25 residents and the submission done by the Ward 25 Committee. At the meeting a number of questions relating to the Revised TIA were directed at the compilers, who responded to the concerns expressed.

    There has been ample opportunity for Ward 25 residents to access the various documents making up the Revised BAS to attend the public meetings held and to do submissions.

    The company who compiled the TIA has recommended that the road goes ahead and gives the impression that the concerns /objections expressed by residents do not give sufficient cause for the project to be reconsidered.

    The building of the road is supported by the Woodlands residents.

  9. Urgent Service Delivery Issues

    1. Street lights

      It is taking far too long for the municipality to respond to streetlight outages. It can often take 3 weeks or more between reporting a problematic streetlight and it being repaired. Residents are concerned that when the street lights are not working, an increase in criminal activity is likely. The municipality seems to have no plan in place to improve the operational efficiency of its streetlight network.

    2. Holes in pavement

      For over a year requests have been made to the municipality to fill in the four large holes that have been excavated in the pavement in Town Bush Road just up from Chatterton Circle. The holes were dug to accommodate new streetlight poles. Currently both the old and the new street light poles are in the holes. The plan is to replace the old poles with new poles. The job was started a year ago but never finished. The pavement is used by people visiting Greys Hospital further up the hill. The inability of the municipality to respond to the request to repair the holes is unacceptable. The municipality will help liable if a person is injured by stepping into one of these holes.

  10. Date of next meeting

    The date of the next meeting is Tuesday 28 June, 2016. It is likely to be our final ward committee meeting before the election on 3 August. Notice to follow.
Contact: Bruce Dempster Telephone: 084 500 7025 Email: [email protected]