Leon Kirchner and Wynand Engelbrecht (chair person of No Afrimat Furnace Committee) met with the mayor and councillors Hack, Parsonson and Jones late afternoon on the 27th May 2014.
Mr Engelbrecht distributed what served as an agenda to all.
His feedback of the meeting was as follows:
The purpose of the meeting was to bring to the attention of the councillors the extremely high degree of frustration all residence are experiencing:
1. The Glen Douglas mine operation with specific reference to the fact that it is not actually understood what role the council plays in this entire debacle .
2. Service delivery on a great number of levels.
3. The issue of the proposed Afrimat kiln.
Three pertinent questions relating to policy, were submitted together with a list of current service delivery issues/questions to which we need answers/action to be taken.
I expect we will get a written reply to those three questions from the mayor.
The mayor undertook to attend to those service delivery complaints which can simply be circulated to the departments concerned and will manage the other issues as best he can. ***
We requested in our submission that:
a) A workshop of one day duration be held where the mayor and the management committee as well as the heads of departments, work with representatives from Henley and Daleside, so that we can work through the mining operations peripheral issues and service delivery complaints in detail.
b) That a special public meeting, dedicated to a debate concerning the proposed kiln, be called; the idea was that we want to hear how the individual councillors express themselves concerning this matter. I actually worded the request that it should be a motion submission which should serve in a special council meeting; however, the practicalities and merits of this was discussed and it was clear from protocol that it is not possible to have such an official council meeting.
To (a) the mayor replied he is not available for the next two weeks but that he will make arrangements for such a workshop for a date after his return.
I believe this is a very positive gesture and one rarely made in any local authority; we should therefore make the best of the day when the meeting is called.
We need to strategise properly beforehand so that we make the very best use of the opportunity.
This will include discussing service delivery specifics, matters of policy, the mining operations issues, etc.
(b) proves to be more difficult than anticipated, simply because of the logistics of such a public meeting.
There is this concession that we can work with in the mean time, and which may alter perceptions: the individual councillors opposed to the kiln are free to open state such opposition. At the protest march on Saturday they will be recognized by name and in this way hopefully we will better understand which councillors ‘are on our side’.
It was once again made clear that Council as a collective entity cannot act until such time as an application is submitted, but herein lies another, more dangerous matter: if the powers that be classify the kiln as a mining operation, there will be no application to council; if however the kiln is classified as an industrial operation, there will be an application as the land use zoning comes into play.
I believe in moving forward we need to publish the names of the supporting councillors as much as need be so that their support becomes a matter of public record, so that when the time comes for official council discussions on an application, we are at least assured of the continued support of those councillors.
The stickler here still centers around the classification of the kiln (mining or industrial) and then secondly on the zoning issue.
Part of our request (a) had direct bearing on Glen Douglas mine operations; here Cllr Parsonson felt we would be best served by taking our issues up with the Glen Douglas mine forum; we feel strongly however, that the item must form part of the agenda for the one-day workshop as there are plenty issues which need to be dealt with by Council and which will not necessarily be solved by the forum (i.e.traffic law enforcement, roads network solutions, etc.)
With two Councillors in the forum we then need to press harder in the forum for Council action concerning on-property matters such as hours of operation and so on).
In conclusion: was it a fruitful meeting?
Most certainly yes. We have most definitely been able to impress upon the councillors the immense sense of frustration and the perceived lack of communication from Council to the residents and how we reckoned it could be remedied.
I hope I have given a concise report on the afternoon’s activity.
The Mayor and the three Councillors are copied herein to ensure I have not quoted anything out of context.
The issues in our two communities may not necessarily be unique in general, but the mine angle certainly makes for a great challenge.
With strong, sober leadership, a positive approach and transparent action, we will be able to put the issues to bed in the medium term.
Chairman – NoAfrimatFurnaceCommittee
076 453 4589
*** We on the Daleside side have over past months submitted service delivery issues directly to officials at the various departments; although it gave us
a benefit in working directly with officials it has the disadvantage that the mayor cannot gauge the temperature (so to speak) when
he monitors the complaints line input as our information does not appear there.
We undertook to send complaints / queries/ etc directly to the complaints line at: firstname.lastname@example.org