The Knysna Municipality’s inefficient communications department, run by Christopher Bezuidenhout, has posted their first press release this month. It’s a follow-on, sanitised version to my previous road blog, ‘Oh, Lord, Please Help Me’.
In this, they confirm the figures i related but it’s interesting how, after my repeated demands for our town’s financial situation to be be revealed, Mayor Georlene Wolmarans has alluded to telling us the truth, for the first time. “Remember, Georlene, truth isn’t diluted and undiluted truth arrives with criticism which is undoubtedly one reason why you haven’t before. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help now as it’s not the same as increasing the road budget. Elections are coming. Oddly, as is human nature, potholes will cost you more votes in some areas than most issues.”
Lauren Waring has also gained her revenge on the opposition parties who, as i told you in ‘Death and the New Budget’, negotiated their ward councillor allocations of R200 000 each. Here she snidely adds, “Councillors can also allocate their R200 000 ward project budget towards road maintenance, should they wish.” I’m betting some of the councillors can be forced to do exactly that if we add pressure.
Unfortunately, where one thing is gained, another must be lost. That is the status of the Knysna budget for the foreseeable future.
Here’s their press release:
The Technical Services Directorate of the Knysna Municipality tabled a report recently outlining the road maintenance strategy for the Greater Knysna area.
Municipal Manager Lauren Waring said that due to budget constraints, it was decided to spend funding on the most important and most used areas to create the biggest benefit for residents. “A road hierarchy system was drawn up and funds were allocated to the various wards according to this system. The R4,910 million approved budget was divided into R1,620 million for resealing, R1.3 million for general road maintenance and R1,990 million for gravel roads. Due to the upgrade of the Grey Street sewerline, at amount of R4,2 million, the road surface will also be re-done.”
She said although there were specific items included in the budget, like the resealing of the Hornlee taxi route, the ward specific amounts will be at the discretion of the Councillors and the Ward Committees. “The R1,620 million budgeted for resealing will be used to repair the taxi route in Hornlee. We have asked Councillors and their respective Ward Committees for plans on how and where this money should be spent, and once we received their recommendations, these will be added to the schedule for implementation. Councillors can also allocate their R200 000 ward project budget towards road maintenance, should they wish.”
Waring said that it was also decided to follow a seasonal approach with the maintenance programme. “We will be able to plan and manage resources better and it is more likely that we will have the best appropriate conditions to ensure quality work done. This means that in winter the stormwater systems will be maintained and all temporary road repairs done, like the plugging of potholes. In spring and autumn road patching will be done and resealing in summer.”
Executive Mayor Georlene Wolmarans says Council is in agreement with the approach currently being taken. However she stated categorically that this was simply not going far enough. “I have asked the Speaker to convene a very urgent meeting of all Councillors to discuss the on-going deficit relating to our infrastructure. At this meeting some hard facts will need to be brought home and far-reaching decisions must be made. Knysna is not a wealthy town and, as with all coastal towns, will continue to feel the effect of the economic downturn for a number of years still. It simply cannot be business as usual.”
For further enquiries re specific work that will be done in the various wards, the public can contact their Knysna ward councillors here.