31 May 2018 - The deterioration of municipal services
When the latest Auditor General’s report (May 2018) was released, the end result was not surprising to most of us. When studying the audit report (MFMA report 2016-17) you will notice that most of our municipalities operate literally under bankruptcy. In the companies act the law is clear about the consequences for the directors when operating in a state of insolvency. We are of the opinion that the Mayors, Municipal Managers and the Directors (executives) must be held personally responsible (accountable) for the state of affairs, similar to any Director and/or Executive of a company. The problem is accountability and once we hold the executives personally accountable, things will change. Our municipalities are protected by the law and according to the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003, the accounting officer must promptly report any unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure as stipulated in section 32 of the act. This includes reporting to the South African Police Service for further investigation as his/her actions is clearly an offence. The Community forums and Business Chambers must take action now and lay charges with the Hawks, as millions of tax payers contributions are involved on irregular and unauthorised expenditure.
Secondly, through public participation we can change the world. As Community Forums and Business Chambers we are entitled to enter into a typical PPP-model with our municipality and take charge of our basic service delivery programs and run it as a non-profit business benefiting solely the communities. We all became apathetic towards public services due to the bad experience with politics, however our municipalities should not be driven by politics. Once an office bearer takes on the task as a public servant, politics should not influence his judgement and the law is clear about this. It is our own fault that our municipalities has turned into nothing less than a political battle ground instead of serving our communities. Through genuine public participation we can make a difference!
To illustrate the concept allow me to elaborate on how quick public participation can work. During 2016 we participated with the intervention program to ensure the delivery of portable water to our communities in Rammulotsi and Viljoenskroon. Our waterworks was literally dysfunctional. Accept for helping the operators due to non-availability of municipal support, we assisted to develop proper monitoring programs and keep daily records of the water produced for statistical use and future planning. All this was non-existent. With the help of The Department of Water and Sanitation we built two coffer dams within two weeks to stop the destruction of water source namely the Renoster River. See our earlier reports dated June 2016 (SITREP) on our website. This worked for just a year, when our municipality continued to destroyed the coffer dams and resumed with the old habit of destroying our river(see picture 1 and 2). Yet another offence we have to take further, we need to take action against the responsible office bearers. This is cost to the detriment of the state and against the water act.
The same happened with our sewage system. Millions was spend to upgrade the system and it was apparently handed over to the municipality as completed project end of last year. During the upgrade we asked numerous questions about the work done and program they followed. Little to nothing worked and every time we visited the site, most of the systems were and is still not functioning. How did the municipality sign off for final payment? Office bearers and project managers must be held personally responsible for any loss and negligence. At the end of the day the Mayor and Municipal Manager is ultimately personally responsible for the day-to-day management of our municipalities and it is time to hold them personally responsible for miss-management.
Without wasting time on all the bad things, the question is what can we do as public participants? The Constitution and Municipal Act is clear about the power of public participation. The National Government and/or Provincial Government cannot interfere with Local Municipality affairs. It is only through public participation we can make a positive and sustainable difference. Through public participation we can support National Government to ensure good and clean governance. As illustrate above, apart from knowledge, sustainability is the key to success. The only factor in the equation that is constant, is the population and this is where we will find sustainability. If we study the collapse of the great civilisations we will noticed that the ruling political body and other community leaders may change, but usually the working classes tend to remain and provide continuity. Politicians and office bearers come and go, they are in office from a political perspective and hardly operate in the best interest of the people. Political promises are window dressing and politicians will change as the wind blows as this is how politics works.
Public participation must be structured and address each community’s specific challenges. Only the public can change their own future in a non-political way.
25 May 2018 - Moqhaka for the People
During April 2018 we have experienced public participation in its real sense. Moqhaka for the People (MFP) were formed as an a-political community organisation in Kroonstad. All business chambers, community forums, churches, etc. are now joining forces to seek for solutions to stop the total deterioration of our communities and municipalities within our local municipality due to poor service delivery and mismanagement of our municipality. The impact of poor service delivery has a severe negative impact within every sphere of our community and business. It created an unstable atmosphere and no business growth will take place under such conditions. The state of affairs is purely the result of a fallen municipality.
Since end of April 2018, MFP was working with the municipality to ensure the municipal budget 2018/19 comply with what is stipulated in the various acts for municipalities. On 23 May 2018 the Auditor General’s (AG) report was published and we received the audit report for Moqhaka Local Municipality which clearly indicate that our municipality is in a state of insolvency. It is a criminal offence to keep on doing business under such conditions and you have to apply for business rescue or to be placed under administration. It is also suggested by the AG that our municipality require intervention.
Through real public participation we met with the municipality on 25 May 2018 during a public hearing to discuss the state of affairs. The MFP offers their assistance to the municipality because on its own the municipality cannot overturn this negative situation. Our constitution and municipal acts are clear with regards to the importance of public participation. Through public participation we can stop looting and squandering of tax-payers money and therefore we have to work together to prevent further deterioration of our municipality.
The MFP were invited by the municipality to assist. A Task Team were formed that will meet on Monday 28 May 2018 to assist with the preparation of the Budget for 2018/19 which was clearly dredged with mistakes and misrepresentation of the real state of affairs . We trust that this will be the beginning of greater public participation in the true sense and that we can limit and/or prevent further looting and squandering of tax-payers money. We trust that we can institute proper mechanisms to ensure a stable platform within Moqhaka Local Municipality to bring about sustainable growth and prosperity for all.
28 Feb 2018 – Purpose of Business Chambers
Business chambers in most cases experience difficulty to exist. In the metro business chambers in most cases is just a place to share your business cards with other people. In rural areas it serve no purpose to issue your business card during monthly meetings because it is always the same people (members) around the table. Further than that, you have once a month a nice dinner and a guest speaker. Most of the time you have to pay dearly for the table as a way to create an income for your business chamber. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing done by the business chamber to stimulate growth of the business sector and/or industry. There is also no input on how to keep the community alive and offer community services. In most cases we thought it is the municipality’s responsibility to look after the community. All other community services is left to any kind of non-coordinated NGO’s that popped-up like mushrooms and further drain the money pot of the community. If the community is failed, then business will feel it in some way or another.
We may then ask ourselves what is the purpose or reason for having a business chamber? Over years business chambers followed some kind of a tradition and that may be the reason why it failed its real purpose. Business chambers should be the catalyst to develop and ensure continuous growth in the city/town. This must include community and business. Business people are the entrepreneurs and they must initiate all the research and development on to keep the town alive and safe for the community whom they serve and who is mostly their market.
These shortcomings were realised two years ago and RavCom Business Chamber originate from that great need for survival and more so, our purpose to serve the people who is our market. In order to grow business we need a safe and stable environment. This is something only your community and business forum can take care off as an ambarella organisation. All other services such as the schools, churches, social-welfare organisation, Rotary clubs etc can only serve their own specific discipline and/or specific mandate. There is no other organisational structure that can bring together all these island organisations to cooperate and ensure we address every need of our community in an orderly manner. Nobody is analysing our communities to ensure all the needs are addressed and taken care off. We either wait for government and/or the municipalities. This will never happen because it is not their mandate. Government organisations is to administered and that is where it stops.
It is important that community- and business- forums are formed and worked as one organisation to address every sector and/or discipline within a community. In this way we can address all needs for survival in a holistic manner.
August 2017 – AHI and CogTA
(Department of Corporate Governance and
As a business chamber we normally
affiliate and co-operate with our
national structures. In the beginning of
2017 we had various meeting with the AHI
to assist and help to provide continuity
and sustainability with business
chambers in the rural areas. It is also
important to ensure that business
chambers and/or any organisation is
structured in such a way that it is
never person dependent. It is also
important that the people take ownership
and in that way ensure continuity and
sustainability. Since the beginning of
the year we had various meetings with
all the role players to develop and
secure the “RavCom-model” as a possible
solution to assist our local
municipalities. The AHI will be the
custodian of the project to ensure the
sustainability within the local business
sector. The AHI also took the lead by
engaging with CogTA and the AHI signed
an MOU with CogTA.
The “RavCom-model” is basically the
proposal we have made to our local
municipality to enter into a
Public-Public-Partnership with our local
municipality. Our Municipal manager gave
us a mandate and we signed an MOU during
2016 to cooperate in the best interest
of our communities. The concept of
Public-Private-Partnership is well
documented by National Treasury (NT). A
meeting was arranged with National
Treasury on 7 August 2017 to seek
guidance and support with regards to the
procedures to follow with the
guidelines was highlighted and we are
confident that we can fulfil the
co-operation started with our Municipal
Once we comply with all the regulations
we trust to offer more concrete support
with regards to basic service delivery
to our communities.
July 2017 – Safe City/Smart City “Proof
On 12 January 2017 we started a “proof
of concept” for a project called “safe
city/smart city” in Viljoenskroon. In
brief the following to take note off:-
The Safe City is a concept for returning
security, safety and quality of life to
today's complex cities through the use
of technology, infrastructure, personnel
Safe City deployments are an integrated,
approach with the aim to improve the
liveability of cities and quality of
life for all residents, based on the
premises that good urban governance,
planning and management can improve
safety and prosperity.
Safe City can assist in early detection
of threats and if not preventable faster
response and recovery, with the aim of
reducing loss of life and property
thereby and bringing justice and
normality to and ever more urbanised
Safe City is a community-based
initiative that unites law enforcement,
businesses, residents and city officials
through a project intended to maximize
safeness and minimize theft and other
crimes in communities.
From a Safe City you eventually grow to
a Smart City. A smart city is an urban
development vision to integrate
information and communication technology
(ICT) and Internet of things (IoT)
technology in a secure fashion to manage
a city's assets. ...
A smart city is promoted to use urban
informatics and technology to improve
the efficiency of services.
There may be a number of options but we
decided rather to do a “proof of
concept” to ensure the concept is
suitable for our specific situation. The
aim is to support and strengthen our
Community Police Forum (CPF) and to
ensure we develop a stable platform for
peace and stability form where we can
develop economic growth for our
community. The safe city concept include
specific software we developed to assist
our Police and CPF with crime prevention
by way of probability reports, tendency
reports, traceability, hotspot
prediction, etc. Once the software is
fully evaluated and tested we will
deploy it with all the CPF units
collaborating with us. Deployment is
envisage by no later than 30 September
At the present moment we collaborate
with CPF units from the following
neighbouring municipal areas, Matjabeng,
Nala, Moqhaka, Ngwathe and Mamusa. We
also work with National Disaster
Management Centre to assist with the
development of Incident Command
structures to manage any possible threat
to our communities be it natural and/or
man-made. In order to be successful we
have to approach the project in a
holistic manner to ensure success as far
as possible. Further meeting with all
the role players are in progress.
2017 – Eskom
The AHI has regular meetings with her
corporate Clients. Eskom happens to be
one of the corporate member of the AHI.
On 20 March 2017 the AHI had a meeting
with Eskom and RavCom was invited to
participate. We discussed the
shortcomings of municipal structures to
maintain and upgrade their facilities
and what we can do to assist. We also
discussed RavCom’s vision to enter into
a PPP-model with our local municipality
and Eskom. This all in an attempt to
assist with the process of uninterrupted
supply of electricity to our
communities. From the discussions the
need for a forum to discuss outstanding
municipal accounts was established.
Further meetings were held on 4 May and
at CogTA’s workshops. The discussion and
consideration of a PPP-model for
electricity is continuing.
Sitrep – 22 June 2016
Rehabilitation and repair work at the
Viljoenskroon Water Treatment Facilities
started on 31 May 2016. Our backwash
water was released directly into the
Renoster river for years and it has
blocked the river and limit the free
flow of water. It also negatively
influences the water quality and worsen
The negative impact on the Renoster
river is clearly visible in picture 1
taken on 6 June 2016.
The first step was to build coffer dams
and stop the direct release of the
backwash into the Renoster river.
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)
deploy a construction team and on 31 May
2016 the construction of the two coffer
dams started. Within 2 weeks the
backwash water was rerouted to the first
The final result of a task well done
clearly visible in picture 2.
On 22 June 2016 we were privilege enough
to take the first water samples from the
backwash water that flow through the
coffer dams. A picture is worth a
thousand words and in this case it is a
Picture 3 was taken on 31 May 2016 to
show the quality of the backwash water.
On 22 June 2016 the first pictures of
the overflow from the coffer dams to
illustrate the improvement of the
backwash water released into the
Renoster river (see picture 4).
To fully understand the impact, we
measured the turbidity of the water
released from the cofferdam and it is
cleaner than the water we extract from
the Renoster river.
On 22 June 2016 we measured a turbidity
of only 6.11 NTU for the backwash water
released from the cofferdam. You will
remember in our report dated 15 June
2016 we refer to the improvement of the
water quality of the raw water in the
On 1 May 2016 we measured a turbidity of
On 15/16 June 2017 we already measured a
turbidity of just over 17 NTU. As
mentioned, this is partly due to more
“clean” water from the Vaal river but
also the fact that we have stopped
releasing our own backwash into our
river. Thanks to all who participate in
this part of the ongoing project.
Sitrep – 9 June 2016
On 3rd June 2016 the only pump at our
Vaal river pump station eventually
resign. De Beers Group step in and
assist us with a rental pump which was
installed on 7 June 2016. Everything was operational on
Wednesday 8 June 2016 and we started the
pump at 15H25. On arrival at the Renoster river, the outlet flow was
clearly visible but the sound was proof
of a very strong flow. Within less
than 24 hours the Renoster river level
shows a visible difference. The amount of
water supply vs water demand is now
positive and we are confident that we
can keep up with the demand. We
appreciate the support received from De
blockage yesterday 8 June 2016
blockage large portion submersed within
The water outlet at
the Renoster river
Orkney 27 May 2016
the early hours of Friday 27 May 2016 a
crime syndicate severely damage the
Eskom power point at Viljoenskroon water
reservoirs next to the R501 to
Potchefstroom. According to Eskom the
syndicate(s) was quite active and
similar theft and destruction were done
close to Orkney and Welkom the same
night. They cut through the fence and
after the transformer was pulled down
they cut it open with a gas cutter.
copper inside the transformer was
removed as well as the cables to and
from the transformer. Eskom worked
through the night and all power was
restored at 03H50 on Saturday morning.
We had a meeting with our neighbourhood
watch and steps will be taken to protect
the key point in the future. We thank
all who work so hard to restore the
water service to our communities.