HRA Quarterly Report: September 2023

“One of the basic tenets underlying municipal systems and structures is the principle of public participation.”

A reflection

During my time as a member of the HRA I have come to understand more clearly the complexities involved in running a municipality. One would imagine that municipal legislation is designed to enable service delivery and to promote the interests and the rights of communities. To a certain extent this is true but there are many instances where rules and regulations make it difficult to get the job done.

One of the basic tenets underlying municipal systems and structures is the principle of public participation. The HRA needs committed individuals to get involved in helping to make things happen. We need individuals who feel strongly enough to join and pour their energy into holding the authorities to account. Since its establishment in the 1960’s the HRA has been doing just that, and we need to carry on this proud tradition.

Brian Wridgway, Chairperson

The EXCO has been applying its collective mind to our association’s future and putting in place building blocks to secure its sustainability, aligning with the strategy we shared in May, the commitments we made at our AGM, and the core principle of involving the public.

There is currently a new air of optimism and energy among us which has been absent for some time. This bodes well for the future.

Some organisational matters

A new team!

New members have been recruited for the EXCO. Aloma Jonker has been appointed to oversee Environment, Christine Hibberd is now our Treasurer, and Anne Stern has taken on the role of Vice Chairperson. You can meet them on our EXCO page.

There are still some important portfolios which need to be filled and the search for suitable individuals continues. One key concern is our role in fostering social cohesion and our engagement with the broader Overstrand community.

A new membership drive

Our newly formed Marketing sub-committee has drafted a strategy aimed at recruiting new members and reviving the membership of those who have allowed it to lapse. Membership for the rest of 2023 is free. The member database is undergoing an update to guarantee accuracy and comprehensiveness in our records. You may soon be asked to verify the information you’ve given us in the past.

Enhancing our means of communicating with you

Recognising that email is no longer the most efficient communication method, we will be expanding our use of alternative channels. We intend to connect with you more frequently through platforms such as WhatsApp, the local press, and Facebook.

Down to business

In our May Quarterly Report we set out the sequence of actions we were to take in implementing our strategy for the HRA during the balance of the year. Despite having had a period of recess during June we are making progress.

This is some of what is going on:

  • We have briefed a market researcher regarding a member survey which will commence before the end of the year.
  • We commented in some detail on the Draft By-law relating to the keeping of Dogs and Cats which seeks to consolidate by-laws from the pre Overstrand era and to modernise the approach to pet ownership taking both societal and environmental factors into consideration.
  • We continue to scrutinise planning applications to monitor what is planned for the built environment and make comments where appropriate.
  • We are undertaking a serious review of the Ward Committee rules following consultation with the Mayor.
  • We continue to participate on the Ward Committee where issues affecting our community are discussed and decisions made. Discussions are currently underway to review the list of priorities which will be fed into the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and into the OM Budget for 2024/2025.
  • Our mediation efforts regarding the Hermanus Country Market have come to an end but we are hopeful that the progress made will not be lost as the parties continue their negotiations to secure the continued operation of this important part of what makes Hermanus so special.
  • We await feedback from the Premier on our submission regarding the Hermanus CBD Bypass Road.
  • We are in discussion with the Environmental Department regarding the completion of the Grotto East berm.

In the wider context

  • We have been invited by the Sandbaai Forum to participate in a gathering of interested parties to examine the processes pertaining to the last property valuation process.
  • There is also a move to arrange a gathering of representatives from Ward Committees across the Overstrand in order to discuss issues of common interest and concern. This appears to be a worthwhile exercise and we are keen to participate. 
  • There is concern that in its attempts to balance the budget and to deal with service delivery the OM is not fulfilling is obligation to take adequate care of the environment, specifically Fernkloof Nature Reserve. This is not from a lack of concern but because it lacks the resources and the capacity. Civil society is going to have to step up to the plate.
  • Feedback from the OM Water Committee is that extraction from the Aquifers is lower than normal owing to load shedding and that as a consequence greater reliance is being placed on the De Bos dam. Residents are encouraged to make sparing use of water until the situation is normalised. Happily the quality remains unaffected and of a consistently high standard.

In conclusion

With the Rugby World Cup underway I am reminded of the Shosholoza song we sang in ’95 encouraging one another to move forward together, and more recently in 2019 to welcome home the winners. May the same happen in 2023, uniting us in hope.

Brian Wridgway and the EXCO

If you are not yet a member, please join our ranks. Membership for the remainder of 2023 is free.

DOWNLOAD the official report in PDF.

6 thoughts on “HRA Quarterly Report: September 2023”

  1. Trevor Edwards

    To Brian and the rest of the rate payers team
    Thank you for all the excellent work you do on behalf of the Hermanus residents. Well done . Together we can achieve more .
    Trevor Edwards CBD revitalisation cluster

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback. We really welcome this and meanwhile thank you for your positive comments.
      Anne

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