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  • Writer's pictureHoedspruit Chamber Sakekamer

Newsletter - August 2023

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Community FAQ's - words vs actions...

On 18 April HCS had our monthly meeting with MLM management to discuss issues that are of public concern. Due to issues being on the increase, the request was put in with the Mayor that we collect questions from the community and bring it to MLM for the answers. Then HCS would create a presentation and invite the community to attend an evening whereby the Mayor would answer all questions and get to know the residents. The request was put out for the submission of questions and the community did not disappoint. On the 24th of April these questions were submitted to the mayor and directors of MLM.
On the 25th of July, after months of requests with the mayor's office for a meeting to discuss the answers, we got our meeting at long last. Unfortunately, the mayor could not attend so the Municipal Manager took our meeting.
The municipal manager requested that we resubmit the questions and she would send us the answers. The answers were received on the 13th of August. Not all the questions were answered, and we tried to get the rest of the answers to no avail.
We regret to inform you that the vision we had for a community evening with the mayor or MLM management to answer our questions does not seem likely at this point in time. We are extremely disappointed about their lack of cooperation in this regard and also frustrated with the fact that it took months to even get to this point. We have decided to publish the answers to your questions in the name of transparency.

To confirm: These answers were received from the Municipal Manager as is and have not been altered in any way. We also do not have any further information than what was provided.


Roads & Traffic

1

Why can’t the road signs be painted afresh - especially stop signs and bushes blocking signage along with "other" signs blocking stop signs be removed?

Road Markings will also be done on the 19/08/2023

Road Speed Measures on D5012 were reported to RAL and assessment was done together with Mr Mailula as he promised. The road is RAL competency and they have indicated that that it will be considered during their review in September 2023. The road was not part of the maintenance plan for 2022/23 hence it has to be considered latter due to compliance and budgetary constraints.

2

​Airforce Road bordering HWE (D5012) speed calming measures request – tests were compiled, letters & results submitted & approval given by RAL. To date no feedback has been received from Mr. Mailula or Mopani District DPRWI (REF: RAL7/11/1/D5012). Please can you provide feedback?

No answer provided.

3

The community would like feedback on the speed calming measures (speed humps) in the rest of town as per requests from numerous public service organisations?

The intension to put up speed humps in town still stands.

The municipality could not purchase asphalt at the time after the request was submitted due to procurement processes and system closure for stock items. As a result the process was put on hold till the new financial year.

Procurement process has been concluded and the construction will start on the 18/08/2023 (At time of printing conflicting information was received from the Technical Director that the work will only start 5 September if all goes well).

4

Please explain who is responsible for which roads in Maruleng with regards to signage, road markings, bush clearing & maintenance. Can you provide us with a list/diagram & escalation contact details?

R40 is a national road and all maintenance, upgrades, road sign maintenance is by SANRAL

R527 is a provincial road and RAL is responsible. The municipality is only responsible from Raptors stop sign to the police station stop sign

The municipality is responsible for all internal street.

5

My request is that all roads, junctions plus centre and sideline lining white lining is done properly. Presently, most lines throughout the town are indistinct. This leads to non observance of road signs, vehicle creep, cars cutting corners because they don’t see the correct path.

No answer provided.

6

Can the community get permission to do bush trimming around road signs.

No answer provided. The written email request has been submitted to the Accounting officer by HCS on 20 July. After the submission a meeting was held with the MM whereby she requested that the request be sent via whatsapp. This has been done on 26 July and 1 August with no response or feedback. MM to advise.

PS:The community is willing to fundraise for all the materials and do the work themselves – there will be no cost to MLM or MDM.

Spatial Planning & Development

1

Why does the Municipality keep approving plans for new developments when the centre of town is deteriorating and becoming derelict?

No answer provided.

2

Why does the municipality allow derelict buildings to remain in place along our main road (The R328), often for decades ?

Take note that properties in town are privately owned and we are taking note of your concerns. We will look into the matter during the policy review and see what measures can be put in place to encourage private owners to upgrade their properties.

The matter to stop approving development in hoedspruit will be submitted to council for debate and a decision or moratorium (if council is in agreement) will be taken in that regard.

3

Many parts of Hoedspruit residential is zoned as “rural residential”, however, some owners conduct business & short term rentals from these properties. What recourse is available to neighbors and why is this condoned by MLM if no rezoning was applied for and approved?

No answer provided.

4

Moose St is extremely dark at night, especially when turning off the main road toward Obaro. Is it possible to ensure street lighting particularly at the park?

Please also provide feedback on the rest of the lights that also need to have bulbs replaced or need to be fixed?

The municipality has delayed in purchasing Hydraulic boom lift(cherry picker) due to budget constrains to enable maintenance team to fix the street lights and an alternative method within the prescripts of National treasury has been look into. Feedback will be provided once the process is approved.

5

Why did spatial planning approve illegal wooden structures in Kampersrus despite title deed restrictions? And why are you now trying to retrospectively force a SPLUMA decision through with no thought for neighboring property values?

No answer provided.

6

WATER & SEWERAGE INFRASTRUCTURE – why is MLM still approving developments in Hoedspruit & Kampersrus when fully aware of the limitations on on our current systems?

What is being done to remedy the situation and complete upgrades on the system?

Can ETD dates be shared?

(Kampersrus has been without water for weeks….)

The matter has been reported to the district and we are awaiting their intervention. We are unable to indicate when process intervention on water shortages and spilling of sewer in Lebamba will commence since it is the competency of the District.

We will communicate such information once the District indicate to us in writing.

7

When is Spatial Planning going to look at the T-Junction entrance to Kampersrus and remedy the dangerous nature thereoff?

The matter requesting a subway has been reported to RAL and it has been indicated that the request is noted and the project will be considered in 2024/25 and subject to approval

8

Is it possible for MLM to create a special panel to assess the water situation in Kampersrus and come up with a sustainable soluion?

The suggestion to establish water committee has been submitted to the district since all challenges related to water are of the District competency

9

Hoedspruit Mall - who approved this and why is the development allowed to proceed based on an outdated EIA that was apparently done for a school rather than a retail complex?

MLM approved the mall since it met all land development and land use requirements within the SPLUMA

Rates & Valuations

1

Please provide the community with the formula on how property valuations are calculated?

No answer provided.

2

Is there discount on rates for pensioners?If so, what percentage?

Yes, pensioners from age 60 is eligible.An application form is available from MLM and has to be submitted by 30 August 2023.

3

VERY IMPORTANT: There are a lot of complaints about the valuation roll. Community is aware about individual complaints procedure, however, many don’t check the valuations or have very low valuations, which mean that those with adjusted valuations will carry the whole of MLM’s new rates structure. Residents feels that this is unfair. Some community members are considering legal advice or recourse.

Answer provided by HCS after comments in the meeting from Municipal Manager: The valuation process has been handled very well by MLM and the community was well informed via communications from MLM per email, social media and Whatsapp groups. MLM provided a courtesy period extension for objections to be handed in. The objections are handled by the valuations department and each resident will receive feedback. If no feedback is received, the MM has made herself available to discuss any further issues. It can be confirmed that very little objections have been received in relation to the social media outrage shown by the residents.

4

We are aware that only about 11.3% of MLM is currently contributing towards the rates.Please comment on why the other 88% is not paying.What classifies them as exempt rather than discounted?

The indigent policy outlines the classification of non-paying rate payers and National treasury provides and indigent grant to subsidise those classified as such.

5

The community has requested that MLM create a rates feedback report with regards to who is paying their taxes, who is not and what the money is being applied for. This has been one of the most asked questions.

“Why do we pay, what are we paying for, what is it used for….etc”

No answer provided.

6

Hoedspruit Businesses pay rates & refuse removal, however, many businesses do not get the service.Will you please advise who is not viable for this services, what the exceptions are and why these businesses are not exempt for those refusal levies?

No answer provided.

Informal Settlement & Trading

1

How can the municipality allow the encampment (which is now spreading in front of the Build it parking area) ? This area falls outside of the terms of the human rights commission, no water, sanitation or lighting is provided. This encampment is amongst the worst anywhere in South Africa?

The municipality has land available for the relocation of plastic view, however it is not the competency of municipality to build free houses and we currently do not have the financial capacity build low cost housing. We have requested Coghsta to consider our request to assist in this regard. Feedback on their response will be given in due course.

2

Is it legal for informal trading to be conducted without a permit?(Traders pose traffic hazards & leave areas of trading in a mess – for example behind PME and along the Le Bamba pathway).

No answer provided.

3

Why can Plastic Village not be dealt with? It’s not just an eyesore, it’s unhealthy for the people there and a source of much of the petty crime that occurs in town. During COVID lockdowns, it was determined that the vast majority of the residents of Plastic Village already have government provided housing in other communities. Why is this tolerated?

The municipality has land available for the relocation of plastic view, however it is not the competency of municipality to build free houses and we currently do not have the financial capacity build low cost housing. We have requested Coghsta to consider our request to assist in this regard. Feedback on their response will be given in due course.

Community Services

1

Why is residents & businesses responsible for town clean up duties when we pay rates & taxes?

No answer provided.

2

Public urination – this is a shocking issue that has been noticed by tourists & residents as being on the increase.At the bus stop there are toilets available but in the park not – is it not possible to fine people where toilets is within walking distance and erecting toilets where there are none available?

There are public toilets at the bus stop for both men and woman. The municipality does not have a law to monitor and penalise those that urinate in town. When you develop an by-law it is important to consider if the control measures are within your constitutional mandate and if the municipality has budget to appoint peace enforcement officers in that regard.

3

When will MLM implement noise/noise nuisance control bylaws and regulations?

No answer provided.

4

What is MLM going to do about the illegal shebeen, drugs, prostitution & noise from the “Plastic View”?

The municipality has established a committee in plastic view that is assisting in managing the noise.

The shebeen owner is yet to submit the required approval of his shebeen. We are also awaiting a response from liquor licence on his status. Feed back will be given in due course.

It has never been difficult to support SAPS to regulate the social ills in town. MLM has always been part of the raids commissioned by SAPS as it is within their mandate to commission such.

5

Why do the EPW team not assist with town cleanups and general duties as per agreement with them?Can they be introduced to community service organisations so that we know who to speak to, who they are and what their tasks are?

We have appointed EPWPs and the introduction of those will be done with the ward cllr. They report to Ms Mashile Priscilla. Any request can be done with herself and she will seek approval through the necessary protocol. Community member are encouraged not to demand or give instructions to Ms Mashile or her team for better working relations and good response.

Complains can be forwarded to Director Phasha: community services at 0825503130

6

How difficult would it be for MLM to implement an “environmental CPF” program and employ 2-3 community volunteers to write out fines to offenders and hold them accountable with support from SAPS?For example noise, illegal dumping, urinating in public, etc. (similar plan as was implemented by Ethekwini - Nuisances and Behaviour in Public Places by-law)

The municipality recruitment process is with the legislative framework and structures, among others, the employee bargain council which does not permit the municipality to appoint volunteers. Those that wish to volunteer may seek approval of the municipality with the understanding that the municipality will not be liable for compensation, any costs or any injuries; and volunteers will be liable for damages to municipal property.

7

How can it be that the local fire department does not have a functioning fire truck?The truck has gone in for servicing more than a year ago and has not been returned.

No answer provided.

General

1

Most of the MLM email addresses published are not working or the officials are simply not getting back to senders. This causes a lot of frustration. Can this be addressed with officials and is it also possible to implement a phone system whereby messages can be left for officials, as many times the phone just keeps ringing or doesn’t ring at all.

The complain has been considered and the emails are currently working.

2

If the Mayor and municipal government have no role in the following areas, then what do they do? What is the mayor responsible for when it is not the areas below ?

i) Policing/public safety - SAPS and Limpopo Traffic

ii) Roads - SANRAL and Limpopo Road Agency. Potholes being

fixed by members of the community.

iii) Water - DOD and AFB Hoedspruit

iv) Electricity - Eskom

v) Keeping the area clean - there’s garbage everywhere and if it

wasn’t for the efforts of Christine du Preez to keep Hoedspruit

clean, the town would be a tip. Other areas of Maruleng are

even worse.

No answer provided.

3

Why is it so difficult to start public meetings on time? Many people have to leave before meetings start.

No answer provided.

4

Why has an organisation that is under investigation for corruption been entrusted with assisting the municipality develop new projects? How was this choice made? Surely there must be organisations that are clear of corruption.

The municipality can only disqualify one that is black listed and prohibited by National Treasury and the court of law to conduct business with the state.

5

There are still many questions surrounding the tenders that are currently in the process of mobilisation of funds. The community would like to know if you are going to commit to appointing a committee of local citizens to serve as advisors and give input during the early stages to avoid public opposition once the projects are financed in later stages?

Other questions: Where would each be located, what is the supporting infrastructure, how was the investment amounts calculated

The investors companies were appointed through an open competitive bidding advertised in a national newspaper.

The land allocation for this projection has not been concluded since the department of public works and rural development are yet to conclude the discussions with the municipality. The investors are busy with pre-feasibility studies that will indicate whether the land is suitable or not. A public participation will be held once such studies are concluded. The investors are appointed at risk and the municipality is not carrying any cost towards the studies. The investment projects are been commissioned through the “Built Operate and Transfer Model”.

National treasury will in the main play an oversight role as we progress.

6

The mayor always mentions to having an open door policy, however it is extremely difficult to get a meeting and also to get feedback from previous meetings held. What can be put in place to make it easier for the mayor as well as the community to communicate more effectively and actually get the feedback?

Some people have resorted to submitting letters for receipt signature but still don’t receive feedback.

The policy still stands and the Mayor has continued to discuss matters with all that come to his office.

The PA has a responsibility to manage the Mayor’s diary and she is obligated to still ensure that the Mayor attends meetings of many other structures of government that requires him to attend.

Those that feel they are being refused access may report to Accounting Officer Ms Hoaeane at 0787979849. When your call is not responded please utilise whatsup text since MLM policy permits.

We hope that many of you have the answers to your burning questions. We know some others may not. We hope that the relationships we build with the municipality, community organisations and affiliate partners, will continue to grow. The more membership support we get from the community, the more bargaining power we will have. Send this article to friends, and urge them to join our organisation. We have said it before and we will say it again, we cannot make a difference without you. One of our biggest commitments remains holding residents, organisations and businesses accountable for their actions. If you think we can improve in any area, we welcome suggestions and critique.

This is quite a bit of information for the month, we will be back next month with hopefully some good news stories. Remember to send us your stories if you would like to be included. Email: hoedspruitcs@gmail.com
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