GEORGE NEWS - The four newly elected ward councillors of George Council were welcomed during a special council meeting held virtually on Monday 30 November. Bazil Petrus, one of three elected DA councillors, could not attend his first meeting back in Council due to medical reasons.
Petrus is a political stalwart who has made a comeback to the DA, four years after he registered his own party (Sac) in 2016 with one seat in George Council.
The party has since been deregistered. He now holds the position of ward councillor of Ward 8 (Parkdene). The other two elected DA ward councillors are Melvin Roelfse (Ward 14, Rosedale) and Brendon Adams (Ward 17, Conville).
The Good party's first elected councillor, Richard Hector (Ward 27 Pacaltsdorp), was granted an opportunity on Monday, during the council sitting, to introduce himself to his fellow councillors. He didn't take long to settle in and by the looks of it, Council can recon on his contributions on items discussed.
Agenda items of interest
• Council approved the use of internal funds to bridge finance a portion of the capital budget funded from external loans. "The 2020/21 adjustments budget was done to incorporate additional funding from national and provincial treasury as well as the approved roll-overs. It is not a new budget, but simply a budget to add the additional funding we received," said Acting CFO Leon Wallace.
The total external financing required for the 2020/21 period is R238,3-million. The budget office is in a process of preparing for an adjustments budget early in the new year, where the final external funding amount needed will be known. The process of securing external funding will then start. In the meantime, the departments need to start with the roll-out of their projects. The necessary supply chain management processes also needs to start, necessitating bridge financing the projects.
• Council resolved not to implement ministerial directions on a 30-day extension to the 21-day appeal period applicable to decisions on land development applications.
Acting director of Planning, Clinton Peterson, said the time frames issued by Minister Angela Thoko Didiza mean that the department would have an additional 30 days to process an application. "The George Planning Department uses an electronic submission system that allows us to cut out 60 days of processing time, leaving enough time to process applications within stipulated time frames. The additional 30 days appeal period means that developers and property owners would need to wait 51 days before they can implement their approvals and submit building plans."
On a question whether the department currently has enough man power to cope with the work, Peterson said, "The Planning and Building Control departments are presently understaffed and vacant posts are in the process of being filled. The department therefore prioritises applications of economic and social importance to the city, while also completing minor applications."
• An item on the relocation of South Cape College main campus to a location situated on the Old Airport Road has been withdrawn in order to include historic information and align the item to comply with legislation. "This will not impact the recommendation or final decision in any way. It is purely a technical withdrawal," said municipal spokesperson Chantel Edwards-Klose.
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