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.

Mountain View Mountain View

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.
10 August 2017 – AHI and CogTA
(Department of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs)

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 Public-Public-Partnership. Certain guidelines was highlighted and we are confident that we can fulfil the co-operation started with our Municipal Manager.

Once we comply with all the regulations we trust to offer more concrete support with regards to basic service delivery to our communities.
20 July 2017 – Safe City/Smart City “Proof of Concept”

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 and processes.

Safe City deployments are an integrated, multi-sectorial/-layered/-facetted 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 society.

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 2017.

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.


May 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 turbidity.

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 coffer dam.

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 proven fact.

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 Renoster river.

On 1 May 2016 we measured a turbidity of 64,7 NTU.

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 Beers Group.

The mud/silt blockage yesterday 8 June 2016 The mud/silt blockage large portion submersed within 18 hours
New Pump The water outlet at the Renoster river

Orkney 27 May 2016


In 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.

All 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.



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