Vandalism is costing the Municipality, and therefore the ratepayers of Mossel Bay, hundreds of thousands of rands annually. This does not only affect the cost of the Municipality’s services and rates negatively, but reduces the money available for other community projects.
The Municipality is therefore appealing to residents to report incidents of vandalism and help to bring the offenders to book.
“There is virtually no area in Mossel Bay where vandalism does not occur. Road signs are often defaced with paint or are simply broken off or are stolen. Graffiti is painted on municipal buildings and on electrical sub-stations. Even underground cables are stolen.
“The KwaNonqaba library building, for example, has been vandalised so badly that it can no longer be used and will probably have to be demolished altogether. The tragedy is that this sort of damage affects the people who live in the immediate vicinity of the vandalised facilities most as they often are the main users of the facilities.
“Large amounts of money have to be spent on repairing the buildings and other damaged items. This means that funds that could be used better for improving services, community upliftment and the improvement and maintenance of infrastructure have to be spent to undo the damage effected by probably a small minority of people in the community,” said the Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz.
Dr Gratz said that the ablution facilities at Mossel Bay’s beaches are particularly vulnerable and approximately R140 000 was spent recently to repair ablution facilities. About R70 000 was spent so far this financial year to repair damages at sports fields. It is an ongoing process at the sports fields to fix broken windows, damaged ablution facilities, stolen pipes, damaged gates and even damaged concrete fence panels.
The Municipality also suffers a lot of damage through the theft of manhole covers, the theft or damage of water meters and drains that are blocked because all kinds of items that are thrown into them.
“We therefore appeal to residents to report any act of vandalism to the Municipality at telephone (044) 606-5210 or by e-mailing the information to email@example.com. It is important that as much information as possible about the location and time of the act of vandalism, as well as the names of perpetrators, if possible, are provided to the Municipality to enable it to lay charges or to institute legal proceedings.
“This is unfortunately a problem that is affecting most communities, and the co-operation and support of the community are essential if we want to address the problem of vandalism effectively,” said Dr Gratz.