KAROO NEWS - Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality (BNLM) residents unhappy with recent tariff and municipal salary increases will have to wait for their petition to be recognised by the necessary stakeholders.
Mayor Deon de Vos recently said that he was unable to receive the petition, signed by over 3 600 residents, until Municipal Manager Edward Rankwana, completes his self-isolation.
A whopping 3 688 residents signed the petition, which expressed their unhappiness about lack of services, that BNLM employees must not receive the 6,25% salary increases and that the 6% tariff increase must be lowered to 4%, in line with inflation.
In a statement by Graaff-Reinet Residents' and Ratepayers' Association, one of the organisers of the petition, they explain why the budget implemented by BNLM is deemed illegal for various reasons.
Firstly, the council must approve a new budget before the start of the financial year, and if not the provincial executive must ensure that the necessary steps are taken for the budget to be approved, including dissolving the council and appointing an administrator until a newly-elected council has been elected and approve a temporary budget and revenue-raising measures. This did not occur.
Secondly, residents were asked in June to submit their reactions to the suggested increases by 22 June. Although 91 letters were received, most of these were not acknowledged. Furthermore, the 2018/2019 Annual Report was not accepted by residents in March 2020 and BNLM approved the report without revision on 29 May. "The 6% tariff increase is insensitive and mindless during this Covid-19 time when businesses are closing and people are losing jobs," the statement read, adding that the salary increase for BNLM employees is also unacceptable.
Organisers of the petition include Melvis Pietersen of the Umasizakhe Water Crisis Committee, Sias Smith of Graaff-Reinet Action Committee and Michelle Erasmus of Graaff-Reinet Residents' and Ratepayers' Association.
De Vos is yet to announce a date on which the petition can be received.
The DBNLM has been approached for comment.
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