Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie, decided to have public meetings in Wards 5, 6 and 12 in Hermanus after receiving complaints from these communities regarding the unavailability of electricity and the consistent vandalism of electrical infrastructure.
The meetings were held on 12, 13 and 15 September 2022 and her message was consistent in all three meetings that the unavailability of electricity to those residents who have legal electricity connections was a direct result of the vandalism and subsequent failure of the electrical infrastructure due to illegal connections.
In the previous month, the Municipality suffered the loss of a number of transformers, which were completely destroyed by unscrupulous individuals, who for self-gain, break open transformer doors to illegally connect to the network.
It was further clarified that the Municipality will not be able to constantly replace damaged transformers and that the community should assist with identifying these criminals and to safeguard the infrastructure.
The mood in these meetings was heated at some stages, as it was shared that communities are intimidated by these criminals and that they do not feel safe to disclose any information or to inform on tampering incidents when they occur.
Mayor Rabie requested them to assist the Municipality in identifying different means of securing the transformers and a number of suggestions are currently being looked at. The Mayor did indicate that she will be able to make an announcement on the electricity issue after she has met with the full Council at a Special Council meeting to be held on 20 September 2022.
A further issue that was also raised, is that of the intended march by the Land Party during the Whale Festival planned for the end of September. This matter was further emphasised by a statement from a resident that the Municipality receives millions from the festival.
Mayor Rabie wishes to state that she became aware of the intended march when a whatsapp message from the Land Party was shown to her. In fact, she has been aware that the party intended to march after receiving the memorandum at the march held on 8 July 2022.
She expressed her views that everyone has the freedom to march, and that the Municipality does not gain financially from the Whale Festival, in fact, the Municipality will provide support with regards to additional traffic, security and waste services as we do with all other events in the Overstrand. She also stated that disrupting the festival will not be to the benefit of this community, specifically as festivals contribute to job creation. The organisers, should they proceed with the march, will actually take away opportunities from the rest of the community to access jobs. Mayor Rabie also offered to provide the details of the Whale Festival committee to the organisers in an effort to get them to discuss their grievances.
Immediately after the meeting last night, a message was then circulated by the Land Party stating almost the exact opposite of what the Mayor have said. Never did she mention that the festival only benefits a “certain group of elites” or that the march should proceed so that people should proceed to disrupt the festival so that the privileged can understand the sufferings of the people in Zwelihle”. This is a blatant lie allegedly spread by an irresponsible Land Party councillor who was present at the meeting.
The meeting was recorded, and anyone is welcome to come and listen to it in support of the latter statement. The Mayor, on advice from her Mayco, will request the Speaker to investigate the matter.
Mayor Rabie once again would like to state her commitment to an Overstrand for All and would rather want to see collaboration between communities instead of actions that drives division and discontent.