On 21 December 2021, Together 4 Change (T4C) requested the Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning to investigate the appointment of the service provider, Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) by the Overstrand Municipality as they were of the view that the appointment was flawed.
Minister Bredell agreed to institute a Section 106 investigation. Section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act of 2000 empowers the MEC for Local Government to request information or to appoint an investigator(s) if he or she has reason to believe that “maladministration fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice has occurred or is occurring in a municipality”.
The investigation, which was requested by Mr Murray McGregor of T4C, was concluded and the outcome was communicated to the complainant. The investigation showed that the Municipality did not transgress any legislation with the appointment of HWS.
At the same time, Mayor Rabie launched a public consultation process during May, June and July 2022 by hosting a number of public meetings. Several proposals were received for community-based partnerships in dealing with baboon management, specifically in the ward 10 areas.
To give effect to these proposals the baboon management areas were separated into East (Hermanus) and a West (Hangklip/Betty’s Bay) as the management of baboons in both areas are distinct and unique. Tenders were then requested. By the tender closing date only one tender was received and only for the Eastern side, however this tender was non-responsive. A decision was then taken by the Municipality to continue with an expanded Eco-Monitor programme in the West.
With regards to the four problem male baboons in Pringle Bay, the issue was discussed with Minister Bredell, Dr Baard (Cape Nature) and Dr Laros (Dept Environmental Affairs) on 15 May 2023 to request assistance. Minister Bredell undertook to take the required action to remove the baboons from the area. Mayor Rabie followed up with Cape Nature and Minister Bredell on two occasions, without success.
Although the Provincial Cabinet assigned the management of baboons in the Overstrand area to the Overstrand Municipality for a limited period, it is not a Constitutional Mandate of the Municipality.
In the Council Meeting on 26 July 2023, Mayor Rabie again placed it on record that the Municipality will not continue with the project when the current assignment expires (7 December 2024). This is because, going forward, the Municipality does not have the financial means to implement the program, as no financial assistance is provided by the Provincial Government. This decision will be revisited should the Provincial Government assign the function with the necessary funding.
The view is held that it is simply disingenuous to implicate the Mayor in any matters on this issue, prior to her taking office. It is further placed on record that the baboon management matter was and remains the one that the Mayor dedicated most of her time to since taking office.
Residents are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the true facts before making unsubstantiated claims and announcements in or on any media platform, like the case is currently in Pringle Bay.