Knysna residents club together for a smoother festive season drive into their tourist town

Published Dec 18, 2023


Through the collaborative efforts of Knysna residents, a section of George Rex Drive has been repaired just in time for the town to welcome visitors over the festive period.

This comes as reports emerged recently that the municipality faces an unprecedented financial crisis which has been affecting service delivery.

According to Leisure Isle Residents Association (Lira) chairperson Colin Mathiesen, they took the lead in the project together with other stakeholders to fix the deteriorating state of the road as the municipality had allegedly done nothing about their complaints for years.

Mathiesen said: “Lira led the meeting with the municipality and obtained permission from the municipal manager to allow us to do some repairs to the road.

“Although we weren’t the only people, we together with residents from other suburbs initiated a meeting with the municipality and got co-operation,” said Mathiesen.

He said residents were feeling frustrated and concerned as the state of the road was becoming dangerous.

The repair project had cost around R70 000, to which Lira donated R10 000 and the difference was made possible through the donations of residents, he said.

“We just got frustrated as the road got worse and knowing that the municipality was in financial difficulty, we realised that there were no prospects for the road to be repaired this year or in the near future.

“A portion of the road, the worst section, has been repaired,” said Mathiesen.

Resident Gail Sofianos said that as community members they had to “jump in and save the day”.

“While this is a temporary fix, we are glad that it could be done in time for the festive period and we are glad that this could be done to accommodate tourists who flock to the town.

“This was done out of sheer need and desperation by residents and homeowners. There are many other issues that need attention as everything is in disrepair due to poor governance,” said Sofianos.

Knysna municipal manager Ombali Sebola said a meeting was held with Lira on November 17 “to cultivate communication and understanding between the municipal administration and the community”.

“During the meeting, residents of Leisure Isle voluntarily assumed responsibility for rectifying potholes in their area and George Rex Drive. They have committed to utilising their own materials and labour for this initiative.

“This collaborative engagement underscores the importance of community-municipality partnerships.”

“Our Roads and Storm water section updated their maintenance programmes for potholes, storm water and the blading of roads to ensure that these issues are dealt with in a structured manner and to maintain these elements throughout all wards,” said Sebola.

Meanwhile, in an update on the water situation in Khayalethu, Dam-Se-Bos and Edameni Dam, the municipality said at the weekend that laboratory results confirmed that the water is now deemed safe for consumption.

Earlier this month, the Cape Times reported that the municipality had been battling with water service delivery and sewage issues.

“In light of the favourable lab results, the municipality is actively working to recommission the reticulation line supplying the Dam-Se-Bos and Edameni reservoir. We anticipate that the water supply will be fully restored within the next two to three hours.

“The Khayalethu area is restored, and the Nekkies, Hlalani and Oupda areas will also be restored,” Sebola said.

“In the meantime, water trucks are still roaming the areas affected when needed.”

Cape Times