Minutes of the Executive Committee of Bushman’s River Mouth Ratepayers Organisation meeting held on Tuesday 8 January 2018 at 16:00 at the Tennis Club Bushman’s River Mouth

  1. Welcome
    Mike White welcomed those present and opened the meeting.
  2. Attendance Register and Apologies
    In attendance: Gerald Schmidt, Lötter Wepener, Dalien Pachonick, Shelia Swanepoel, Corrie Swanepoel, Ference Toth and Mike White.
    Apologies: Jack Dell, Kevin Bates and Bill Northrop.
  3. Confirmation of previous Minutes
    Acceptance of the minutes of the previous meeting was proposed by Sheila Swanepoel and seconded by Lötter Wepener. (Any matters arising from the previous meeting will be discussed under the relevant paragraphs below.)
  4. Correspondence
    1. Correspondence received
      The agenda for the open Ndlambe Council Meeting held on 31st January 2019, together with the minutes of the previous meeting held on 28th December 2018, were received from the Municipality.An email thanking BRRAG for getting the potholes repaired and asking for the rainfall figures to be published in the newsletters was received from Stuart Pennington.An email was received from Janine Cotterrell thanking BRRAG for the newsletter and the December security arrangements.An email was received from John Charter offering his services to sit on the Committee.  Unfortunately, he resides in KZN and is not here regularly.  The Chairman thanked him for his offer and asked him to hold it over until he retires to Bushmans.
    2. Correspondence issued
      John Wesley requested the Ndlambe Water Services Development Plan and its related audit/performance report from the Deputy Director of Infrastructure, Thulani Maluleke, on 21st January 2019. (He has not yet received and a follow up is required by the Chairman.) Letters informing the Municipal Manager and the Municipal Speaker of the contact details of the 2019 BRRAG Chair were delivered to the Municipality on 25th January 2019. The BRRAG IDP input requirements were given to the Ward 3 Councillor, the Municipal Speaker and to the Deputy Director of Infrastructure on 25th January 2019. An up to date list of the non-functioning streetlights was emailed to the Deputy Director of Infrastructure on 25th January 2019. An email was sent by Lötter Wepener to Mr D de Villiers of the Dept. of Environmental Affairs on 31st January 2019 regarding the lack of response on the matter of the sand heaps removed from the Bushmans River from Mr G Pienaar of the Dept. of Environmental Affairs. A reply from either or both of them is awaited.
    3. Correspondence to be sent out
      The 2018 NPO annual report needs to be submitted before November 2019. If possible it will be submitted on the online website.  (We are not sure if the 2017 report which was sent by registered post to the Department in November 2018 has been received and put into their system. The Chairman will email them to confirm if they received the report.) The Chairman will check if the minutes of the meeting held with the Municipal Manager in November 2018 have been sent to him. A letter will be sent out thanking those who donated radios and spotlights to the community security watch members. (Ference Toth will provide the donor’s contact details.) A letter will be sent to Anton Maclean to thank him for his assistance at the tennis courts.A letter will be sent to the Municipal Manager to remind him about the need to remove green refuse from the streets and to ask the refuse department to stick to the refuse collection dates to prevent refuse bags from lying in the streets for days on end. A letter will be sent to the Municipal Manager to ask him the current status of what action the Municipality is taking regarding alleviation of the flooding problem and notifying him that there is a possibility that legal action may be taken. (Lötter Wepener will draft this letter.) The Municipality will be informed that a resident of Bushmans has offered to replace the existing damaged benches in Walker Park and at the slipway parking area with new benches and that BRRAG has no objection. An appeal for donations towards the cost of the new manhole and drain covers will be made to all village residents. 
  5. Legal matters
    1. Municipal issues
      Another notice regarding the application for the erection of a cellphone mast on Portion 1 of Farm 348 Alexandria Road was published on 31st January 2019. Written objections about this mast from 22 residents were previously collected and submitted by BRRAG to the Municipality on 23rd June 2017. The current application is a new one and a letter explaining the situation and giving details for the submission of fresh objections was emailed to all residents on our mailing list at the beginning of February and placed on the BRRAG website.
    2. Other legal issues
      As noted above a reply on action to be taken regarding the sand removed from the river is still awaited from the Dept. of Environmental Affairs.All the available information and correspondence regarding the flooding which occurred in 2012 has been given to B. Minaar. He is trying to find an Advocate who can take this matter further on behalf of the affected property owners if it becomes necessary. (BRRAG will write to the Municipality in this regard as noted in paragraph 4.3 above.)
  6. Fiance – Gerald
    A new treasurer has not yet been found. It was agreed that Mike White will manage the bank account and maintain the income and expenditure statements, budgets and the balance sheet but that Gerald Schmidt will remain as the Treasurer to check and sign the financial statements off each month for a few months until a new Treasurer is found. A new treasurer has not yet been found. It was agreed that Mike White will manage the bank account and maintain the income and expenditure statements, budgets and the balance sheet but that Gerald Schmidt will remain as the Treasurer to check and sign the financial statements off each month for a few months until a new Treasurer is found. Two suggestions for possible treasurers were made and will be followed up.
    1. Income and Expenditure
      Income received up until the end of January 2019 (two months into the financial year) amounts to
      R 285 120 versus the full budgeted income amount for 2019 of R 328 550. Of this amount, R 190 650 was received for the December security costs. Expenditure up until the end of January 2019 amounts to
      R 217 404 against the total 2019 budget amount of R 336 610. Of this amount, R 171 352 was spent on the December holiday security arrangements.
    2. Budget status
      The outstanding budgeted income for 2019 is R 43 430, of which R 17 890 is expected from the outstanding membership fees. R45 000 for the replacement of manhole covers and drain inlet gratings has to be added into the budget. The budget will then show a year end deficit of approximately R 50 000 unless more income is obtained from additional donations. An appeal for funding this item will be sent out. The planned budgeted expenditure will need to be monitored closely and cut if necessary.
    3. Membership
      The percentage of the budgeted membership income received to date is 78% of budget for Bushmans and 65% of budget for Riversbend. The number of paid up members so far for 2019 are as follows:
      Bushmans: 146 (2018 total = 181) 
      Riversbend: 24 (2018 total  = 38)

      A reminder to pay outstanding membership fees was included with the last newsletter.  Another email will also be sent to those members who have not yet paid.

    4. Fundraising
      The fundraising efforts over the Christmas period went far beyond any expectations that may have been set prior to Christmas. The total amount raised came to R18,487 – fantastic work by everybody. As we are all aware that fundraising depends on people making themselves available to assist with such things as the making of pancakes, cooking of boerewors rolls, the setting up of the Market within the town hall, collecting monies, etc. This forthcoming Easter market being held on the Easter Saturday will be bereft of some of the regular volunteers so all committee members are asked to see if there are willing hands within the community that might assist with the market, especially with the making of the pancakes and with the braaing of the boerewors.

       

      Bevan Gardner was approached regarding a river cruise up the Bushman’s river and he said that the larger vessel (the double decker) is beyond economical repair. The small boat which takes a maximum of 12 persons is available but it may not be possible to launch from the Sandbar if it is closed. When we have further confirmation from Bevan an email with details of the cruise will be sent out to see what response we get. 

      Jack Dell suggested that, as previously suggested by Neville Loader, we install a chalk board notice board on the way into Bushman’s in order that people would be made aware of forthcoming events, as not everybody looks at our notice board at Nicolls supermarket. The committee agreed with the proposal and Mike White offered to liaise with Jack Dell to erectthe sign in a visible, safe position. (Suggestions were made to erect it near the emergency number sign on the entrance to Bushmans and possibly to erect another sign where the emergency numbers used to be displayed at the entrance to Riversbend.) 

  7. Village maintenance
    1. Grass cutting and bush clearing
      The tree branches leaning on the tennis court fence have been trimmed –  thanks to Anton McClean. Grass cutting and road edge trimming is progressing as usual. Grass cutting in part of the cemetery is not currently possible due to the presence of a bee hive. The Chairman will try to find a beekeeper to move them.
    2. Road markings and street signs
      A few loose road signs in Bushmans and Riversbend have been fixed. Road marking is only scheduled to take place later in the year. Further attempts will be made to get the Municipality to do this but if unsuccessful BRRAG will do it if funds are available. A quote of R 700 has been obtained by Bill Northrop to repaint the faded emergency telephone number sign at the beach parking area. It was agreed that the sign would be repainted.
    3. Refuse removal
      Some green refuse dumped on the roadside during the holidays has been removed by BRRAG. A letter will be sent to the Municipal Manager regarding the removal of green refuse as minuted in paragraph 4.3 above.
    4. Other maintenance issues
      A quote will be obtained to service the large lawnmower.
  8. Village infrastructure
    1. Ward committee
      The preliminary ward meeting was held on 24th January 2019 to prepare for the first ward committee meeting which was held on 12th February 2019. This preliminary meeting was attended by Sheila Swanepoel and Mike White and a list of BRRAG’s IDP requirements was given to Councillor Cynthia James for her information. Other items which have been on the ward committee’s agenda for some time were resubmitted by Sheila for discussion at the ward committee meeting. The Ward 3 committee meeting held on 12th February 2019 was attended by Sheila Swanepoel who submitted a report on the meeting to this committee. Only one project was undertaken in Ward 3 in 2018 – the upgrading of School Road in Klipfontein.  No projects are currently scheduled for Ward 3 in 2019.  The Klipfontein community requested fencing of the community hall to prevent vandalism and it was agreed that this project would be put on the Ward 3 IDP input list.  The project list is already very long with many projects dating back to 2012 have not yet been attended to.)  No Municipal Directors attended the ward meeting so no answers to queries on these issues could be obtained.  An off licence outlet was agreed for Klipfontein and no objections were raised.  At this meeting it was noted that the community is getting increasingly angry about the lack of housing and inadequate service delivery. No representatives from the housing department were present to answer the community’s queries.The Deputy Director of Infrastructure stated that the parts for the non-functioning street lights have been ordered and that the non-functioning streetlights in Ward 3 should be repaired by the middle of March.
    2. Municipal IDP
      Copies of BRRAG’s IDP requirements that were given to Ward 3 Councillor Cynthia James were also given to the Speaker and to the Deputy Director of Infrastructure Mr T Maluleke for their information on
      13th February 2019. No notifications for any formal IDP planning meetings have yet been received from the Municpality.
    3. Ablution blocks
      The Chairman spoke to the cleaners employed by the Municipality and asked them to keep the Municipality informed of any water leaks or damage to the beach toilets as soon as they notice it. The toilets are currently in a reasonable condition and they are checked by the Chairman two or three times a month.
    4. Water, sewers and storm water drainage
      The Municipality has attended to a sewage blockage in 3rd Avenue, Riversbend.  They have also repaired a broken water pipe outsid Nicholl’s shop in Bushmans – the road repair still has to be done!  Measurements of the new manhole covers and drain gratings required in Bushmans and Riversbend were taken and two local contractors were asked to provide a quote to manufacture and install new galvanized steel manhole covers and drain gratings. One contractor replied that he was not able to do the work and the second contractor submitted a quote for R45 200 including VAT.  The Committee agreed to accept this quote and the contractor will be instructed to proceed with the work.
    5. Car parks and slipway
      The offer to pave the slipway parking area made at the AGM will be followed up by the Chairman.
  9. Security
    1. Liaison with HiTec
      Ference Toth was asked to take up the following issues with HiTec:
      • Poor checking of properties after an alarm has been responded to.
      • The failure to set up and ask for access codes when querying an alarm signal.
      Ference Toth mentioned the importance of maintaining and regularly checking of alarm systems and updating emergency contact numbers. An email will be sent out to members reminding them of this as well as the importance of setting up access codes with HiTec.
    2. Security incidents
      There have been 9 break-ins in Riversbend and 3 in Bushmans since the Christmas security guards were stood down in early January. The neighbourhood watch group has also been kept very busy and have dealt with at least 20 potential incidents that would have probably occurred without their presence. The neighbourhood watch group is looking for more volunteers who can carry out occasional night patrols, particularly in Bushmans, in order to deter potential criminals from entering the area.
    3. Camera fund
      The current priority is to upgrade the camera control system as there are too many cameras now operating on the old system. After that the replacement of the old static cameras with new cameras that can be tracked and zoomed onto suspected incidents must be prioritized. The first step will be to appoint an independent specialist to make recommendations on the necessary upgrades required. Ference Toth and Gerald Schmidt sit on the camera fund committee and will follow this up.
    4. Security fence maintenance
      Mike White will reassess the current arrangements for maintaining the fence and confirm who will be responsible for this task in 2019. Ference Toth will contact Walter Biggs and ask him to remove the sign in his property which has fallen across the security fence.
    5. Liaison with SAPS
      The current liaison between the SAPS and the neighbourhood watch committee is satisfactory.
    6. Liaison with local neighbourhood watch groups
      Liasion and co-operation between the Bushmans, Riversbend, Kenton and Boknes neighbourhood watch groups is on-going and is currently good.
  10. Firefighting
    A visit to the new fire station has been arranged for Monday 18th February for the volunteer firefighters who would like to see it.
  11. Website
    Jack Dell has approached his son in law to look at our website to see if he can improve it. However, we have not yet availed ourselves of his services as the current website hosting contract only expires at the end of July 2019. The Chair met with Tessa Mactaggart to review the status of the current website and to discuss how it could be improved.

     

    The website has now been updated with the latest meeting minutes, planned events, the January newsletter and an updated membership form. Other items on the website which were outdated have also been attended to and some improved wording and revised page titles have also been introduced to make the website easier to find and to use. The website name has been changed from BRRAG to Bushmans River Ratepayers Organisation (BRRAG) to make it more likely to appear when searches for the word Bushmans are done but it should be noted that the website search ranking is determined by the number of hits on the website which cannot be controlled by the website manager and, to a lesser extent by the number of articles on the website with the word Bushmans in them. Searches for BRRAG or Bushmans Ratepayers association bring up the website immediately but in generic searches for Bushmans we have to compete with many other commercial organisations who generate far more web traffic and are therefore ahead of BRRAG in the rankings.

    It is now up to the Committee to ensure that the website manager is fed with sufficient articles to ensure that it remains up to date and attractive. The more articles on the website the more “visible” it will become. Anyone has any new photographs of the village, of the work that BRRAG do in the village or of any of our recent social events to put on the website please email them to Mike White.

    When the current website management contract expires at the end of July it can be reviewed for renewal. Tessa Mactaggart indicated that the costs would be reduced from the current R 750 a month (which includes a monthly payment for the initial website development costs) to only R 400 a month – R 100 for hosting the website and R 300 for maintaining and updating the website. This monthly fee of R 400 will also include the cost of bulk emailing newsletters and any other notices which the Committee wants to send out – previously the bulk emailing was done by Gerald Schmidt.

    The new bulk emailing programme provides feedback on responses to our community emails and it will be seen if direct links to the website and the membership form can be included with the emails. The website manager will be asked if she can link notices regarding BRRAG community activities to the Kenton, Alexandria and Port Alfred Facebook event sites. She will also be asked to provide the website access codes for our records.

  12. Newsletter
    The January newsletter was prepared by Jack Dell and translated into Afrikaans by Barbara Meiring. It has been sent out to members and to other local residents on our mailing list and it has also been placed on the website. The newsletter contained an appeal for people to consider volunteering to serve on the committee and also a reminder to pay the annual membership fees and to encourage their neighbours to join BRRAG. (These will be repeated in every newsletter).  A request to include rainfall figures in the newsletter was received. This will be done.
  13. Estuary Care
    Estuary Care have employed someone to help with the riverside cleaning and maintenance work and he is available for Bushmans and Riversbend two days a week.
  14. Ndlambe Ratepayers Forum
    John Wesley represented BRRAG at a joint water crisis meeting held on 17th January and continued at the Kosra Executive Committee Meeting on the 18th of January 2019. The meeting resolved to write to the Mayor, the Municipal Manager and the Director of Infrastructure regarding the impact of the water shortages on Wards 3 and 4. John Wesley suggested that we should study the Ndlambe Water Services Development Plan and its related audit/performance report in order to take a proper view on the way forward. (He requested these documents from the Deputy Director of Infrastructure, Thulani Maluleke, on 21st January 2019 – not yet received and a follow up is required by the Chairman. A joint meeting was held by Kosra on 28th January 2019 to discuss the proposed changes to the property height restrictions and property servitude widths. Unfortunately, the Chairman was unable to attend at the last minute and sent BRRAG’s apologies. We have not yet received the minutes of the meeting.
  15. Chamber of Business
    BRRAG currently has no representatives on the Kenton Chamber of Business.
  16. Any other business
    A resident of Bushmans has offered to replace the damaged benches in Walker Park and at the slipway parking area. The committee had no objections to this and will inform the Municipality that we intend to replace the existing damaged benches.
  17. Closure and next meeting
    The meeting was closed by the Chairman at 12h15.
  18. Next meeting
    The next meeting will be held on Friday 29th March at 08h30 at the tennis clubhouse.The next meeting will be held on Friday 29th March at 08h30 at the tennis clubhouse.
  19. Future meeting dates

    The following 2019 meeting dates and times were confirmed – all meetings to be held at the tennis clubhouse: 

    Saturday 27th April at 10h00         
    Thursday 9th May at 16h00
    Saturday 15th June at 09h00       
    Thursday 11th July at 16h00       
    Saturday 31st August at 10h00
    Saturday 28th September at 10h00
    Saturday 26th October at 10h00
    Saturday 30th November at 10h00
    Saturday 14th December at 09h00 

    Mike White – Chair