World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day

Feb 26, 2020 | News

World Wetlands Day, officially known as the Convention of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat is commemorated annually on 2 February. It marks the day of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian City of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997.

Wetlands are land which is transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water is usually at or near the surface or the land is periodically covered with shallow water. Under normal circumstances, this land supports or would support vegetation typically adapted to life in saturated soil (National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998).

South Africa has 26 Identified Wetlands, with a surface area of 563,005 hectares in total, which are of International Importance. The wetland ecosystems in South Africa are known to be critically endangered. The Ramsar Convention also created the Montreaux Record as a tool to protect, as a manner of priority, wetlands that are or will be threatened by technological development, pollution or human activity.

To understand the value and importance of wetlands, one needs to primarily understand what is meant by Wetlands as stated above. Wetlands play a vital role in ecosystems, wetlands contribute flood control, drought relief, nutrient retention, soil protection, fish nurseries etc. these contributions are critical in maintaining terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  Over the years Wetlands have become critically endangered due to Climate Change, eutrophication, water pollution caused mainly by anthropogenic activities (mining, development within and around wetlands) and by other processes (erosion, Invasive alien plants). This has led to Wetlands being regarded as of high International importance.

There are different types of wetlands such as marshes which are characterized by soft- stem vegetation. They are sometimes saturated with water and grasses growing in wet soil conditions. Marshes are classified further as tidal and non-tidal marshes both with different characteristics. Swamps are wetlands dominated by trees and other woody plants, characterised by wet soils. Bogs are freshwater wetlands dominated by green trees and shrubs. Many other types of wetlands such as Vernal ponds and Prairie potholes are found globally across the globe.

Rivers in the Saldanha Bay municipal area such as the Mosselbank (Paternoster), Bok (Saldanha) and Sout (Hopefield) Rivers also have wetland components because the areas in which they are situated are fairly low lying and flat. This results in pans and wetlands which are highly seasonal to the low rainfall in the region.

The Langebaan Lagoon is a large saltwater lagoon; is listed as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) and is situated in the West Coast National Park. The salt marshes contribute 32% of the entire saltmarsh habitat in the country. The lagoon furthermore servers as a nursery for the development of juvenile fish. the lagoon supports large populations of crabs and snails, marine algae, waterbirds (Waders in summer) and Palaearctic migrants.

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CELL C LAUNCHES WIFI PUBLIC ACCESS AND FTTH WITH SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY

CELL C LAUNCHES WIFI PUBLIC ACCESS AND FTTH WITH SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY

CELL C LAUNCHES WIFI PUBLIC ACCESS AND FTTH WITH SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY

Driving digital inclusion to positively impact lives

Cell C in partnership with Facebook and the Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM) have launched express public access hotspots and Cell C Fiber FTTH using the municipality’s fiber infrastructure.

The move is part of an ongoing initiative by Cell C to deploy free Wi-Fi hotspots to marginalised communities, students and anyone in need of free, reliable connectivity.

The programme will enable South African to connect to the Internet via Facebook’s Express WiFi platform. The partnership is part of a plan to roll out Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

The Saldanha Bay Municipality is the second Municipality to make its infrastructure available to the Program. The City of Cape Town was the first.

“We are currently rolling out to all the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in the metro, and looking for new opportunities that are aligned to the Municipal Model, says Schalk Visser, Cell C’s Chief Technical Officer.

“We are aiming at an additional 300 Access points in the Metro by the end of December 2020. Alongside that, we’re aiming at having another 100 access points or more with the SBM in the first quarter next year as we expand to other towns in the same Municipality,” he says.

The open access fibre network will enable connectivity for all residents of the Saldanha Bay Municipality, and forms part of a new beginning for the region’s basic utility service delivery and infrastructure development. The high capacity telco‐grade fibre infrastructure functions as the enabler for true convergence and the birth of a true Smart City.

The benefit in creating a significant fiber infrastructure asset is apparent: by reclaiming the municipality’s legal and regulatory rights to own fiber infrastructure as a utility, the asset can be leveraged as a new, additional and sustainable evergreen municipal revenue stream

“One of the strategic objectives of Saldanha Bay Municipality is to be an innovative   municipality on the cutting edge in respect of the use of technology and best practice,” says Alderman Marius Koen, the Executive Mayor of Saldanha Bay.

“With local government being the key to the tangible, on‐the‐ground service delivery strategy of the government, one of our nation’s most pressing challenges has become the need to strengthen local government and thereby further empower its citizens,” he says.

Contact:

Eugene Neethling

Baobab Programme Manager

083 326 2672

eugene@amoebatsc.com

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URGENT GENERAL PUBLIC NOTICE – SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

URGENT GENERAL PUBLIC NOTICE – SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Saldanha Bay Municipality would like to inform and assure the public of the following:

All SBM tender processes are handled by its Administration and no Councillors are involved.

The Disaster Management is overseen by the Director responsible for Public Safety Services and an internal coordinator was appointed to oversee and facilitate our humanitarian relief initiatives.

EPWP (extended public works programme) appointments are done according to standard operating procedures.  The Speaker’s office serves as the link between Ward Councillors and Administration to ensure an effective roll out of the programme.

During the national lockdown and under regulations, of the cigarettes that were confiscated 4653 packets have been returned to shop owners.

  • Only one incident occurred of theft and was dealt with by means of an internal disciplinary process.
  • Another incident is currently under joint investigation between SAPS and SBM’s Law Enforcement division.

All confiscated alcohol was as result of a joint operation with SAPS.  SBM assisted with the transportation of the confiscated material.

Appointments of official are done according to relevant policies and overseen by Administration.

H F W METTLER
MUNICIPAL MANAGER

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SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF IRREGULAR PROCESSES AT ITS DISATER MANAGEMENT CENTRE

SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF IRREGULAR PROCESSES AT ITS DISATER MANAGEMENT CENTRE

UPDATED: 16H00

Saldanha Bay Municipality herewith contest the accusations that are made with regards to the management of its Disaster Management Centre and declares that the information currently circulating is untrue and void of substance. This message is to protect the integrity of our organisation and meant to provide the community and the reader with accurate information.

The SBM Disaster Management Forum, chaired by the Municipal Manager, was established in terms of the Disaster Management Plan as adopted by Council. All operations were managed under the strict supervision of the relative Director as delegated by the Municipal Manager. All information pertaining to the progress of activities, including confiscations and humanitarian relief, etc. were recorded and further escalated to the West Coast District Disaster Management Centre.

A contract position was created to ensure effective and efficient administrative operations, especially in relation to the necessary interaction with the community and various organisations. An internal coordinator was appointed at the start of the national lockdown and tasked to coordinate all relief activities which included the distribution of food parcels, coordination of donated items, coordination of shelter arrangements for destitute persons and the coordination of soup kitchens. This coordinator was also primarily responsible to capture all collated data that had reference to relief activities within the municipal area. The coordinator worked closely with the community in order to oversee and ensure the fair distribution of relief items.

More than 117 soup kitchens registered with the Disaster Management Centre and all of them were provided with food items, maize meal, etc. Most of the soup kitchen had to collect their parcels from the centre and the coordinator recorded all these activities in order to ensure that the specifications and requirements from our sponsors were adhered to.

We hereby vehemently refute allegations that anybody other than the assigned coordinator, managed the humanitarian centre.

H F W METTLER

MUNICIPAL MANAGER

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SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF IRREGULAR TENDER PROCESSES

SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF IRREGULAR TENDER PROCESSES

Saldanha Bay Municipality herewith contest accusations that is made with regards to the 2019/20 Security Tender and declares that the information currently circulating is untrue and void of substance. This message is to protect the integrity of our organisation and meant to provide the community and the reader of accurate information.

The Security tender is a rates’ tender in which the estimated number of guards required are determined by the security requirements of the municipality. The process of appointment was transparent, fair, competitive, equitable and cost-effective in terms of the Constitution.

Two appeals were lodged against the award of the security tender. The relevant Appeal Authority dismissed both appeals after due consideration. It was evident that the appellants accepted the outcome as the courts was not approached with a review application.

Registration with PSIRA is a statutory requirement and was included as a requirement in the tender document. The appointed service provider met all the requirements in terms of specifications, terms and conditions and legislative requirements. The Auditor General audited the tender (RFI 64) and no findings were raised.

In April 2020 the appointed security firm abruptly cancelled this tender. As the municipality must secure its property, a decision was made to employ these guards internally. The municipality is currently busy with the tender process to appoint a new security firm. It is estimated that the procurement process will be completed by the beginning of 2021.

The municipality also repudiates with dismay, the allegation that Councillors are involved in municipal procurement processes. It is herewith affirmed, as founded by the Auditor General, that no Councillor or Office bearer is involved in the SBM supply chain processes.

H F W METTLER

MUNICIPAL MANAGER

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SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY REJECTS ALL ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD AND CORRUPTION

SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY REJECTS ALL ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD AND CORRUPTION

Saldanha Bay Municipality is particularly proud of its outstanding, corruption free record of over at least the last nine years. It is therefore of great concern to the Management of this municipality that false information, clearly political by nature, are now being circulated in the media as a malicious attempt to tarnish the Municipality’s reputation. The facts are as follows:

The Western Cape Provincial Government and the West Coast District Municipality granted R700,000 and R50,000 respectively towards Saldanha Bay Municipality.

DEBUNKING ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD
1. COVID-19 Grants:

(a) Procurement and distribution of Care Packs
Prior to the allocation of the abovementioned grants, the Municipality made R674 257 available towards humanitarian relief during this difficult time. In partnership with the local business community, the Department of Social Services and other Good Samaritans in the area, under the auspices of the local Disaster Management Joint Operations Centre, the Municipality was able to provide care packs or so called “food parcels” to beneficiaries. The distribution across the municipal area was carefully planned and documented. Furthermore, the team also provided supplies to registered soup kitchens.

The total number of care packs distributed:
5068 parcels to households and soup kitchens plus additional 824 smaller parcels to persons in need.
Distribution period: April and May 2020

(b) Shelter for Destitute Persons
The R50 000 grant from WCDM was used to provide daily meals for destitute persons that made use of a temporary, safe shelter provided by Saldanha Bay Municipality. This was further augmented by donations.
The total number of destitute persons taken care off:
43 (total over the period)
Number of Meals provided: 2 meals daily
Facilities Available: shelter (tents), ablution facilities, toiletries, masks, medical screening for COVID-19 infection, medical examinations when needed.
Municipal shelter area actively used: 1 April to 14 May 2020

During the latter part of the previous financial year a tender for the supply of care packs was advertised with the objective to utilise the funds made available by the Western Cape Provincial Government for such procurement. Unfortunately, the municipal financial year closed on 30 June 2020 and it was unable to spend the allocated R 700 000 grant from the Western Cape Provincial Government before the closing of the financial year. The Municipality will apply for a roll-over of these funds to the new financial period before 31 August 2020.

All COVID-19 related expenditure was disclosed in reports that served before Council on 14 May 2020 and 24 July 2020. These reports are available for public perusal. It is important to know that a record of all expenses was diligently kept, and all details were submitted to the Western Cape Provincial Treasury and to the Office of the Auditor General for auditing. All COVID-19 related expenditure will be a special focus area in this year’s external audit for all municipalities. It must be emphasised that no funding received, and funding specifically earmarked for COVID-19 relief, were under any circumstances, used by the Executive Mayor for personal benefit.

2. Political Support Staff

The appointment of political support staff in the Office of the Executive Mayor is common practice at municipalities. Council has approved such appointments over many political terms before. The municipality’s approved organogram provides for these positions and it is subsequently budgeted for as a human resources expense. At the beginning of November 2019, five of these contracts with support staff expired. The positions were advertised as vacancies in the media. Applicants were interviewed and the appointments of successful candidates were made.

The appointment of these support personnel was audited by the Auditor General and the report must be read within the context as the finding related to all funding dating back to 2010 and is related to the method of employment.

3. Government Subsidised Housing (RDP Housing), Laingville

The Municipality informs residents that no housing development in Laingville town has been blocked and it remains optimistic to roll-out its Housing Plan as per strategy, with the top structure Phase One of the Laingville 309 housing project, budgeted for this financial year and Phase Two for the next, should bulk infrastructure be completed. The Municipality continues to engage with the community of Laingville in this regard. A Gap Housing development is also in the process of development.

The Saldanha Bay Municipality Council and Administration remains committed to responsive and transparent governance.

4. We value our employees

Municipal Management was taken by surprise and distressed to learn about the assault on and racist remarks towards one of its local municipal workers, Mr Johnnie Rooi, Caretaker at the Tabakbaai landfill site. An incident occurred on Wednesday, 15 July 2020, when a private citizen visited the Tabakbaai landfill site. According to Mr Rooi, a resident drove over the flower beds and greenery at the site. When Mr Rooi asked Mr Marais about this behaviour, he was allegedly physically assaulted and further had to endure verbal, racial abuse from the resident. This incident is currently investigated internally, and various line managers and role players are consulted in this regard and appropriate action will be taken when the outcome is available. Mr Rooi will continue to receive support and counselling via the municipality’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

The municipality will not tolerate any form of assault, racist remarks, hate speech, disrespect or discrimination or inciting of racial conflict by or towards any of the its employees at his or her workplace.

H.F.W. METTLER
MUNICIPAL MANAGER

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