Springbok (Jenna Etheridge, News24)
Springbok - A hotel owner in the dry Namaqualand area, which transforms into a wildflower spectacle every year, said he would like to see rates and taxes decrease in the municipality.
Malcolm Mostert, 38, lives with wife Retha and their two young sons in Springbok in the Northern Cape. Their designer home is perched above the town and looks out over the expansive natural fauna in the valley.
The small town is close to his heart. He grew up here, studied in Cape Town and went overseas. But Springbok beckoned and he returned home.
His business, the Okiep Country Hotel, is a short drive away in the old copper mining town.
"Business is very great. We have got a lot of tourists that come past here on their way to Namibia and then also a lot of the mining business," a relaxed Mostert said on Thursday afternoon as he packed up his car for a holiday.
"We also get a lot of [business] reps that come this way."
Roads in his suburb are riddled with potholes, but the houses have a quaint charm to them, reminiscent of those seen in farming and mining towns.
High property rates
He feels there will always be questions surrounding the running of the Nama Khoi municipality, but that the administration was doing its best.
"For now, I am surviving as a business," he said, one hand in his pocket and the other clutching a water bottle.
"I would like obviously to see the rates and taxes going down because Namaqualand is a lot higher than Cape Town or other areas."
Local mayor Boeboe van Wyk told News24 that they used professional evaluators for property rates.
"It seems like our property rates are relatively high," van Wyk said. He qualified this by saying that the values of some properties had increased significantly.
"In Springbok, there is a market and the values of houses will increase."
Rates increased by 6.6% this year. There was no increase the previous two years, according to van Wyk.
Mostert said there was no doubt that he would be voting in the municipal elections next month.
When he drives to Cape Town, he notices many of the houses have solar geysers, even those on farms.
His vote would be based on the way the Western Cape was run. He loved the infrastructure, he said.
In another suburb of Springbok, which has established and large houses, Heather Burger said municipal services could be improved.
'DA can do a better job'
"There are potholes in the road and people standing around with their hands in their pockets when they should be working."
There were "too many chiefs and not enough Indians" at the local municipality, she said. She stressed the importance of voting.
Burger, 65, moved to the town with her dentist husband 30 years ago. She helped with his bookkeeping.
Overall, she said she personally felt safe.
"I think the DA can do a better job than the present municipality," she said as she and her daughter walked out of their home.
The neighbouring properties have manicured gardens and expensive cars behind walls or in garages. Parked under a tree is a private security vehicle.
Burger said their local DA representative, Rodney Kritzinger, kept them informed about service delivery issues on Facebook.
Springbok is a great place to live, she emphasised.
"The longer I live in Springbok, the less I want to leave."
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