I, councillor Msimboti Peter Lobese, Executive Mayor of Bitou municipality, prefers to respond to the rebuttal media release by Minister Donald Grant, dated 20 June 2018. Minister Grant, I do not want the important matters of the community of Bitou to be reduced into a public spectacle and squabble between you and me, but I want to state the facts as it is known to me. You (minister Grant), have never accepted the invitation, but through your office, merely acknowledged receipt of the correspondence. Your visit this past Friday, 15 June 2018, came as a complete surprise, as I was in a series of meetings with the affected businesses and other stakeholders of Bitou, following the protests in Qolweni, last week.
I want to put it on record that there was never a formal appointment arranged and confirmed with my office. I’m fully cognizant of the fact that the minister is the political head and constituency manager of the DA in Bitou, but I believe oftentimes the minister wears his various hats (government minister and DA constituency head) inter-changeably, when he is attending to government business whilst in Bitou. So I have been at the receiving end of a regular, unfortunate and undignified practice for the minister to visit me as a passing (by the way) consideration, whilst he is in fact attending to party political commitments in Bitou and thus funding party political trips from the public coffers. I will not address the matter of the collapse of the AUF/DA coalition. The minister is aware that the coalition ended due to bullying from the DA and their big brother approach, with particular reference to him.
Despite all this; I want to reiterate that there was never a formal appointment, but with due respect minister, on Friday, 15 June 2018, I was supposed to still attend the SALGA Innovation Conference on Municipal Infrastructure Financing. This conference was held in Johannesburg, from 13 – 15 June 2018, and I had left Bitou to attend the conference on Tuesday, 12 June 2018. I returned earlier as a considerate, caring public representative, to address the urgent matter of the Qolweni unrest.
Finally minister, I got an e-mail from your Head of Office, Mr. Clive Roos, yesterday (20 June 2018), informing and inviting me of a public meeting in the New Horizons community, which will be addressed by you and the Minister of Human Settlements. I find strange that you invite me to a public meeting in New Horizons at 6pm (18h00), when you are aware that I have a public commitment to address the Qolweni community on the same date and time. Yet again, both you, minister Grant and minister Bonginkosi Madikizela, have not arranged to visit my office, prior to your visit into a community of Bitou. This just further illustrates your actual intentions not to be of any assistance to the ongoing efforts to find lasting peace and resolutions to the various service delivery challenges of the Bitou communities, despite your claim in the rebuttal press statement.
I would appreciate if both of you (minister Grant and minister Madikizela) can accompany me into public meetings with the Qolweni and Kurland Village communities, despite the fact that you have not officially and formally responded to invitations from my office and the memorandum from the Kurland Village community. We, as Bitou Council, expect nothing more and nothing less, as it is established protocol and practice, in terms of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, No. 13 of 2005.
Media Enquiries: Councillor Msimboti Peter Lobese
Tel: 044 501 3000
Issued by the Office of the Executive Mayor, Bitou Local Municipality
1 Sewell Street, PLETTENBERG BAY, 6600Last published 04 February 2019