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Residents Association Q & A

1. Why should you become a member?
A Residents Association (RA) is a collective activity. Residents stand together to protect their rights in respect of the services that the municipality must provide.  As an individual resident or ratepayer, you are easily ignored. As a group of hundreds or thousands, your collective voice must and will be heard.

2. Who can join?
Membership is open to anyone resident in Wavecrest, Kabeljous, Central, C Place and neighbouring areas. Membership is also open to anyone who owns property and pays rates in any of the above areas, whether resident or not.

3. Are RA's successful? 
They can be, and have been in the Kouga area.  Bargaining power is the secret of an RA's success. The more members it has, the more bargaining power it will have at the municipality. Each member adds value and strength. It is a matter of group clout.

4. Who controls the RA?
You do! Members of the RA hold an annual general meeting once a year and elect the management committee. The management committee represents the RA as needed. Make yourself available! Amendments to the constitution are also subject to the approval of the annual general meeting.

5. How much is membership?
Voting membership for the full year (January to December) costs R100.
Voting membership for the half year (July to December) costs R50.
Non-voting membership is free.
Voting members may vote on resolutions proposed at the AGM and special general meetings. Non-voting members may not vote, but otherwise enjoy all the benefits of membership.

6. Why is there a membership fee?
To cover administrative expenses such as copying and postage.  In future the association will make more use of computer technology in this regard.

7. How do I join?
Click here for an application form in Afrikaans or here for an English one. Alternatively, you can simply register online here. Payment can be made via Electronic Funds Transfer to our bank account at ABSA 1940 420 527.

8.  How does the RA's management committee operate?
The committee meets once a month.  An agenda is pre-compiled and minutes of every meeting are taken. Each member has a field of expertise which he/she is required to attend to.

9. Are party politics involved in the RA?
Not at all. If a committee member accepts a party political candidacy for any governmental election, such a person is required to vacate his/her position. Party politics are not permitted at any meetings.  There is no objection if a management committee member supports the political party of his/her choice in any personal capacity, as long as it does not disadvantage the RA in any way.

10. Does membership have any personal benefit for me?
The most important benefit is that you have the collective muscle of the community to back you when you need it. You have access to useful information through the website. You have a place to register both complaints and congratulations regarding the municipality, and to monitor the responses. You can express your opinion on the RA blog, and read and comment on the opinions of others. If you are short on time, you can simply respond to the various surveys. You will be notified by email of important events and meetings. You can check the RA calendar for future activities. Through the RA, you have a say in the municipal affairs in your immediate environment.  

11. How do I get help from the Residents Association?
  • Check the website first. The answer you are looking for may already be there.
  • If you wish to record an issue such as a pothole or leaking water main, log an issue in the appropriate location on www.mobilitate.co.za.
  • Visit our Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/JbayRA to post photographs or opinions .
  • Send an email to chair@jbayra.com, describing your problem. 
  • Contact any committee member. Click here for their details. 

12. How long has the RA been in existence?
Since 1987. Obviously there is a difference between the association's activities before and after democratisation in 1994.

13. Is the RA affiliated with any other organization?
Yes,  with the Federation of Kouga Ratepayers' and Residents' Associations (FEKRRA). This is an umbrella organisation for residents associations in Kouga.

14. What is the difference between an RA and a ward committee?
  • An RA is an independent organisation that developed spontaneously amongst the residents. In our case, as early as 1987.
  • An RA rules itself. It can institute legal action and affiliate itself with any organization to its advantage.
  • Ward committees  are controlled by the speaker of the council. The speaker will always be bound to serve the interests of the municipality and, furthermore, the political party that governs the municipality.  
  • Ward Committees are relatively new. The Government introduced them in an effort to get residents more involved in municipal affairs.  Each municipal councillor must, in terms of the Municipal Systems Act, have a ward committee of 10 ward residents. The councillor is the chairperson of the Ward committee. These committee members act as the eyes and ears of the councillor. Unfortunately, ward committees have not been very active in the Kouga area, for many reasons. The JBRA is keen to work with any active ward committees in our area.
In essence both are watchdogs over municipal affairs in a particular municipal ward.
("Ward committee is perhaps not the best name, as political parties and even churches also have wards.)

15. Is there room for both RAs and ward committees?
Of course, even if they overlap. An RA belongs to the people of an area and they have the right to take legal action if they deem it necessary.  Ward committees provide support to councillors and their activities are governed by law.  Both should work in the interests of the residents.

16.  What is the RA’s current viewpoint regarding protest actions and a rates boycott?
The association’s official viewpoint is:
  • The RA will negotiate to the best of its ability with the Kouga Municipality in a courteous and constructive manner
  • In the event of negotiations with the Kouga municipality breaking down,  it will support appropriate alternative measures.

17. Who do I first ask for help, my councillor, the RA or a ward committee member? 
  • Start with the municipality. Click here for a list of Municipality phone numbers.
  • If you wish to report a problem such as a pothole or a water leak, you can add an incident report on Mobilitate.
  • Should this be unsuccessful, contact your councillor or a ward committee member.
  • If that is also unsuccessful, contact a residents association committee member

18. If I first have to contact the municipality and then a councillor and only then the RA, what is the purpose of joining the RA?
  • Municipal officials are paid to do their work – with money from the pocket of the residents.
  • The same goes for councillors. In addition, councillors would like the voters to see that they are doing the job for which they were elected. At the next election they want your vote. Allow them to do their work.  After all, that's what you're paying them for.
  • The RA's management committee consists of volunteers. However, they have access to the municipal manager, senior officials and the media due to their group strength. Therefore, the RA is the last resort if the officials and councillors fail in their task. The RA can even, if necessary, mobilise people within a short time to launch a mass protest. This has already been done -- with success.
19. Where does FEKRRA feature?
FEKRRA stands for the Federation of Kouga Ratepayers 'and Residents' Associations.
FEKRRA is the mouthpiece of its affiliated associations.  It can only act if it receives a mandate from its members.
This organisation currently consists of representatives, (normally the chairperson) of the following (all in the Kouga municipal area):
  • Aston Bay Community Association;
  • Cape St. Francis Civil Society;
  • Jeffreys Bay Residents Association;
  • Oyster Bay Ratepayers Association;
  • Paradise Beach Community Association;
  • St Francis Bay Ratepayers Association and
  • Humansdorp Ratepayers Association (still trying to get established).
They meet from time to time to address common, broader municipal problems.
If necessary, they will jointly negotiate with the municipality. This too represents the power of local people, but on a broader basis.
The following places in Kouga do have not ratepayers’ or similar associations and do not have representation on FEKRRA: Centerton, Gamtoos Mouth, Hankey, Cross Road, Kwanomzamo, Loerie, Ocean View, Patensie, Pellsrus, Ramaphoza Village, Sea Vista, Thornhill, Tokyo Sexwale, Umzamowethu and Weston .

20. Councillors, ward committees, the RA, FEKRRA and political parties. It's confusing. Furthermore, they all want my support.  Where do I slot in?
It may look overwhelming, but rest assured, they all aim to protect you and your environment.
  • Support your councillor He/she was elected to represent you. The ward committee is the councillor's responsibility. 
  • Join the RA to ensure that you have a strong Representative body in your area.
  • Your association’s management committee will do the work at FEKRRA.
  • Political parties are your personal choice.

21. What is expected of a member of the management committee of the RA?
An interest in municipal affairs that affect you and your neighbour and all the residents of the town. A commitment to advance the members' interests. Please make yourself available at the next annual general meeting. Make contact with existing management committee members so that they know that you're interested. If you are an expert in a certain area, even better. The RA needs you. The town too.

22. And ward committees?
Ward committees are usually elected after a local government election. Make contact with your councillor. 

23. The RA is not an alternative municipality
The RA is not an alternative to the municipality and does not endeavour to be one. The same goes for FEKRRA and ward committees. None of the above may instruct the council officials, control their work or access their documentation. However there are some documents that the municipality must make available to the public by law. These include the annual budget and the integrated development plan (IDP).
Naturally, there are confidential meetings of  the municipality to which the public do not have access.
However, anyone may attend council meetings. Public meetings are held annually where anyone may provide input regarding the annual budget and the integrated development plan.  Unfortunately these have been poorly attended in the past.

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