Devastating fires in Knysna and surrounding towns have caused a trail of destruction and forced thousands to evacuate their property. Many lost their homes and several, their lives. The fire was propelled by strong winds from a storm that ravaged the affected area since Wednesday.

Damage in the Eden District so far is said to be beyond calculable, reports Overstrand Fire Chief, Lester Smith. “Our Firefighters from across the country are still working on containing fires around Knysna and we ask residents to please stay away from those areas,” he requested. Chief Smith also reminded motorists to give way to emergency vehicles.

Many Overstrand residents, various businesses, and charities have answered a call for much-needed donations for those who have lost everything. These have already been delivered during the past weekend, thanks to kind people who made their vehicles available and gave up their time to make the deliveries.

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The full Council of Overstrand Muncipality has unanimously approved its Integrated Development Plan and a R1.135 billion budget for the 2017/18 financial year.

The total 2017/18 budget is comprised of a capital budget of R97.6 million and an operational budget of R1.038 billion.

With the exception of property rates, which will increase by 7.4%, other service tariffs, will, on average, increase by 6%. Electricity consumption increases by a maximum of 1,88%.

The charge for the first 6kl of water increases by 11,5% or 46 cents per 1 000 litres. Indigent households, will continue to receive 6kl of water free per month

OPERATING REVENUE BUDGET

The total operational revenue amounts to R993.2 million, with a budget deficit of R44.6 million.

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The much needed rain has arrived, bringing welcome drought relief throughout the Western Cape.

The SA Weather Service says downpours will continue for the rest of the week and temperatures are expected to drop significantly.

“Rain not only reduces visibility, but also the amount of grip on your tyres,” says Senior Superintendent: Traffic Services Xen Titus. “So it is important to use common sense when driving during foul weather and increase stopping distances,” he added.

“Please make sure all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are functioning properly so other drivers will see you during downpours," he requested.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to stay safe while travelling, is choosing to wear a seatbelt.

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Overstrand Municipality, working with all relevant stakeholders, is geared up to deal with incidents of possible disaster as heavy rainfall and abnormal strong winds are expected later tonight.

All emergency services, including Fire and Disaster Management, as well as the offices of all area managers, are working together on contingency plans ahead of tonight’s storm.

Additional staff is also on standby to support/assist where possible and needed.

Loud hailing in all informal settlements will start shortly, and SMS texts alerts will notify residents of expected gale force winds and heavy rainfall.

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No one can deny the profound influence advertising has on a business; nor the importance of it.

“Unfortunately signage on certain street poles, including those on stop streets, as well as A-boards and illegal trailers that are parked along the roads and is causing an obstruction, can distract motorist while driving, therefore becoming a hazard and that is why there are by-laws about it,” Mayoral Committee Member for Protection Services, Cllr Arnie Africa explained.

In addition, outdoor advertising and signs should not compromise the functioning and safety of traffic and/or pedestrians. Neither should it affect the character of a town by way of appearance, size or illumination. Illegal signage on fences and dustbins can also have a negative impact on the environment as a whole.

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