Neighbourly Notes – 5 January 2017

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COMEDY CENTRAL: Comedian Tony de King, left, gave another stand-out performance at the Lions show which took place at the Port Alfred High School on Tuesday evening. With him is his wife, Nicola. Picture: ROB KNOWLES

WELL, that’s the end of the Christmas season for most people, and the start of a brand new year. Let’s hope that 2017 will see less violence and crime, less corruption at all levels, along with more jobs for the people of South Africa.

FOR those who have already travelled back home, we hope you had a safe journey, and to those yet to leave, may your travels be without incident.

WHILE on the subject of travel, the cost of petrol went up by 48c and 50c at midnight on Tuesday, adding considerable hardships for motorists who have witnessed the price of petrol increasing dramatically (despite a decrease in August last year) throughout 2016. The reasons iven are nebulous, citing a cut-back in oil production by the major energy companies on a ruling from Opec (they do this purposefully to increase demand and thus the price of their commodity). However, Gauteng motorists are asking if this is government’s retribution for them not paying e-tolls. If that is the case then all South Africans have been left to carry the costs of government’s very contentious decision to implement e-tolls on existing freeways.

A big well done to the police, emergency services and volunteers in Ndlambe who implemented roadblocks to find unroadworthy vehicles and, specifically, catch drunk drivers (in this sense, ”drunk” means above the legal limit). Well done also to those police, emergency services and volunteers who made sure of the safety of partygoers on New Year’s Day. Both operations seemed to have gone smoothly, and pedestrians as well as legal road users were grateful for the effort they put in, particularly over a period when everybody else was enjoying themselves.

IT was sad to hear about the three drowning accidents that occurred on our beaches on New Year’s Day. At this point we do not know if the victims had been drinking (all were adults) but it is nevertheless critical that visitors understand that the no-drinking in public provincial law and local by-laws are not meant to spoil people’s enjoyment, but are there to protect beach users. It is understandable that there are calls for a total ban on alcohol on the beaches, and protests that such calls are discriminatory are simply populist attempts to make the headlines.

IT is time for tears or shouts of joy this morning as the 2016 matric pupils receive their results. We will be covering the local schools as soon as the results are available to give an overview of how successful they have been, and will publish our findings on our web page www.talkofthetown. co. za and on our Facebook page.

HAPPY birthday greetings and best wishes to everyone celebrating this special occasion in the week ahead, especially Ryan Vermaak, Chris Shaddock, Jacques van Wyk, Justine Hulley, Devon Coetzee, Tony Tarr, Angela Fourie, Ian Hattingh, Audrey Barnard, Averil Oosthuizen, Daniel Paterson, Maxi Mclellan, Tracey Butt, John Butt, Ross & Clayton Lloyd, Kelly Avis, Shaun Botha, Gift Wallace, Jurie Wessels, Michael Gardner, Debbi Reed, Michelle Jones-Phillipson, Wade Cox, Marlene Bowdler, Dudley Callaghan, Myrtle Flemming, Janice Shelver, Ronelle Botha, Bob Hobbs, Nola Johannsen, Margie Siegers, James Charter, Dominicue Averbuch, Ivy Gulliford, Jo Wilmot, Vanessa Hilton-Barber, Russell Shelton, Anina Blouw.

ANOTHER business anniversary and our congratulations and wishes for more future success to Winston Vermaak’s Colin’s Garden Service, The Wharf Street Tab, Historic Pig & Whistle and MR Financial Services.

WITH little money left in our bank accounts, now the holiday season is over, some good news about the economy would be good for a change. But the truth is the severe drought suffered by our farmers in 2016 has meant that South Africa is currently reliant on imported food products in order to feed the nation. Unfortunately, this is a costly business and higher costs are passed on to the customer, with the middlemen adding their percentage all along the line. The rand has remained fairly stable for the last few months, as has the price of Brent Crude (although that is now steadily escalating). Perhaps if energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson had not sold off our oil reserves in May last year the increase would not have been necessary. At the time of going to press the rand was and trading at R13.74 to the dollar (R15.63), R16.83 to the pound (R22.93) and R14.31 to the euro (R16.82). Commodities such as gold at $1 162.01 ($1 080.30) per fine ounce and platinum at $904.50 ($889.00) with only Brent crude oil at $55.89 per barrel ($37.07).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folks who are not well, and are having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. “Sterkte” to Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, June Hart, Linda Hulley, Dot Fetherstonhaugh, Ben Kember, Blake Squires, Llewellyn Wicks, Malcolm Cock, Philly Dell, Myrna Keet, Barbara Tee, Bevan Edwards and Brenda Shelton.

WISHING all couples celebrating wedding anniversaries congratulations and continued happiness for many happy times ahead. Good luck to Lou and Annette Coetzee, Willem and Marlene van Rensburg, Alan and Brenda Hulley, Phil and Pam Hopper, Chris and Cindy de Wet Steyn, Tom and Liz Webb and Grant and Tricia Campbell.

DECEMBER was a terrible month for the entertainment industry abroad with so many artists dying. First, best-selling author Richard Adams (Watership Down) died on Christmas Eve. Then George Michael passed away on Christmas Day. Just two days later, Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame (Princess Leia) died, followed a day later by her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds.

WELL done to the Proteas on winning the Family Day test in St George’s Park against Sri Lanka. Yet it was all nerves on Monday when Family Day hero Stephen Cook went out for a duck, leaving Dean Elgar to fight as the lone opener. Yet Elgar did a great job, reaching his highest test score of 129 from 230 balls. Having not forced the follow-on (which could have seen the Sri Lankans beaten by an inning) South Africa is in a very good position to thrash the Sri Lankans again (weather permitting), not just in this test series but generally, as the Proteas bound toward their previous position at the head of the test series rankings.

THOUGHT for the week: “As we start the year, be kinder than necessary. Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle and you never know when a moment and few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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