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Mayor’s Newsletter for George Herald of 11 August 2022

During the July Council meeting, reference was made to expenditure that had been incurred in the January-June 2022 period to prevent occurrences that would adversely affect our citizens. This included R15,4 million to acquire back-up generators to keep key water and wastewater pumping stations operational during periods of loadshedding and R2,8 million to provide uninterrupted power supplies to traffic lights at 40 intersections.

On the other hand, our small law enforcement unit is at full stretch dealing with the effects of cable theft that has become very prevalent across George. In June 2022, there were 101 incidents of cable theft. The costs incurred in these investigations and the repairs are extremely costly.

These incidents are occurring throughout the country with detrimental effects on the economy. National Government has belatedly issued a government gazette draft policy to address the theft of infrastructure metals.

I would like to appeal to our citizens to be on the look-out for any activity that may indicate incidents of tampering, the digging of holes in the vicinity of electrical pylons, streetlights, etc. These incidents should be reported immediately to our 24 hour emergency number, 044-801-6300. The theft of such cables is also being enabled by the purchasers of these materials who are keeping the thieves in business by on-selling stolen goods. Citizens should be reporting such transactions to SAPS.

Improvements in the safety of our communities will receive attention during the present financial year. Additional law enforcement unit officers will be recruited with approximately R12 million to be spent on broadening the existing network of over 600 CCTV cameras across George. It is planned to expand the control room operation monitoring these cameras to a 24-hour operation by the end of 2022. The expansion will also make provision for the introduction of numberplate recognition cameras.

It is vitally important that collaboration with neighbourhood watches is improved to ensure coordination (with law enforcement agencies) and reaction from the control room. In due course, discussions will take place to encourage the business sector and neighbourhood watches to collaborate through the linking up of existing CCTV cameras. Additional cameras that are compatible with the existing operation can also be contributed by these groups to cover more areas across the municipal area.

We continue to experience incidents of illegal electrical connections in informal settlements as well as illegal dumping (R7,5m) that also costs the municipality millions.

It is crucial that all these issues are addressed within community groups (and by church leaders and in schools). Suggestions can be forwarded to: