The effects of COVID-19 are being felt across the length and breadth of South Africa. The national lockdown, while necessary to curb the spread of the virus, is having a devastating impact on the economy of the Overstrand. As we enter the fourth week of lockdown many self-employed people and casual workers are struggling to make ends meet and small businesses are wondering whether they will be able to survive.
The Overstrand Council implemented a number of measures to assist businesses and residents during this period, these include the deferment of payment of Municipal accounts for April and May for those who find themselves financially strapped at this time. Businesses may apply to pay these accounts over six months and individuals over a maximum of twelve months.
In addition to this all residents who had their water reduced to a drip system have had the flow opened for the duration of the lockdown and no auxiliary charges will be levied on prepaid electricity purchases during this period. People who rent property from the Municipality and are unable to use it for the purpose for which it was rented, will not be charged rent for these two months. While we cannot dictate to private landlords, we trust that they too will find a way of assisting their tenants, particularly small businesses, who have not been able to use their rented premises because of the lockdown.
While the various credit control measures will not be implemented during the lockdown, businesses and residents who are able to pay their full Municipal account are requested to do so, in order for the Municipality to continue to provide essential services to the community and assist the most vulnerable of our people.
To this end a number of Food Kitchens have been started throughout the Overstrand providing food to those in need from Buffeljagsbaai to the Kleinmond Hangklip area. There are currently fourteen food kitchens operating and this will increase to twenty during this week.
We would like to thank every organisation and every person who has generously donated non-perishable foodstuff at the various grocery stores throughout the Overstrand.
Also to those who have opened their hearts and made cash donations which have varied from thousands of rand to just a few rand - every donation however small is greatly appreciated and you may rest assured that every cent reaches the most vulnerable in our community. Cash donations made to various organisations assisting with the Food Kitchens exceeds R400 000.
We have also been advised that the Western Cape Government will provide R100 000 toward the Food fund and the Overstrand Municipality has made R500 000 available. We would like to thank all the organisations and churches, our councillors and individuals who are assisting in preparing and distributing the food.
The Department of Education also started feeding school children last week and we are very grateful for this initiative.
We have been advised that the Department of Health will start testing for the COVID-19 virus in the Overstrand. This week staff at businesses that have been trading during the lockdown as well as Municipal staff preforming essential services will be tested and from 28 April they will be testing people in the community.
I wish to thank all our Municipal staff and other essential service personnel who are working to serve us during this difficult time.
We encourage everyone to continue to stay at home during the lockdown. This is not a matter of obeying regulations it is to protect your life and the lives of others. Please keep safe wash your hands regularly and try not to touch your face.
May God bless and keep us all.
Ald Dudley Coetzee