Neighbourly Notes – 19 January 2017

FISHY STORY: Anglers young and old had an amazing time fishing in Port Alfred over the Christmas holidays. Amber, left, and Mark van der Riet went deep-sea fishing with their father, Andrew, on his cat ‘Go For It’ and caught huge kob, the biggest being about 18kg.

THE protests at Kenton/Ekuphumleni took a more violent turn on Monday, when petrol bombs, apparently thrown by residents of Ekuphumleni angry at the non-payment of wages for work on the RDP housing development, were hurled at at least one house in the area. This is an escalation of the violence and was perpetrated against people who had nothing to do with the protest. Police were only made aware of one incident of petrol bombing and could only say it was likely perpetrated by the Kenton protesters. But a neighbour of one victim claimed that two more petrol bombs were thrown at another house but, fortunately, caused no damage. Surely, no matter how just the claims of the protesters are, such mindless acts of violence against people who are not involved in the dispute are reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. The same goes for the children who stood behind the fence dividing the township from the R72, throwing stones at vehicles on the road. Violence simply begets violence. Few would dispute that protest action was warranted, but violent protest is never justified.

MINISTER of Rural Development, Gugile Nkwinti, visited schools in the area this week. At some schools, such as Nomzamo High, he was full of praise for their successful matric pass rate, while at others, Nkwinti attempted to motivate this year’s matric pupils to perform better than last year’s class. One of the biggest problems schools in the area face is a lack of space at high schools. There are currently more primary schools than high schools, leaving some pupils with no place to go when they reach Grade 8 or Grade 9. However, working together, principals and teachers are attempting to address these issues by themselves. Something needs to be done about classroom sizes, the number of teachers, as well as the lack of space at high schools in the area. These are the most pressing issues to be addressed and, after they are fixed, we can then talk about matric pass rates.

THERE were a few cross words this week about the crossword. Unfortunately I was at the Kenton protest last Wednesday and unavailable to check the clues. I had originally had 3 down as STARRY, but then changed two other clues so the two Rs became two Ps. I therefore changed the answer to SLOPPY, but did not change the clue (Don Mclean’s song, Vincent, begins “Starry, starry night”, not “Sloppy, sloppy night”). Please accept my apologies for the error.

ON to national news – another document has been leaked, this time regarding the fitness of the SABC board to hold office. It seems that political manipulation was indeed rife at the public broadcaster, and everyone on the board, along with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, who is also implicated. It is clear, however, that there are big problems for the SABC if it continues on the path as laid out by former COO, then corporate affairs executive and now unemployed Hlaudi Motsoeneng. However, must be laughing all the way to the bank as the mind-numbingly strange antics at the SABC have opened the door to better programming by the independent TV channel, capturing shows that the SABC will no longer broadcast.

SEVERAL municipalities around the country are in darkness after The North Gauteng High Court endorsed Eskom’s bid to switch the electricity off during peak times because of non-payment of their electricity bills. This is another case where ordinary people are penalised for municipal neglect. Apparently the 22 affected municipalities have attempted to negotiate repayment plans with the power utility, and some have been exempted from the original list of defaulters, but others in the North West Province, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga have experienced power cuts during the week and at weekends. It seems that municipalities may spend the money they receive on anything they like and there are no consequences. However, law-abiding citizens who have paid their bills are cut off due to municipal corruption or incompetence. This is similar to the situation where consumers are protected from bad products and services by the Consumer Protection Act, but this is not applicable to smaller municipalities. When will government understand that those in charge of the municipalities are the guilty parties and take action against them, not the end-users?

ANOTHER year has passed and another birthday has arrived for those celebrating a special day in the week ahead. Congratulations and all good wishes on this occasion to Wendy Kretschmann, Lisinda Hanstein, Clinton Millard, Samantha Jones-Phillipson, Candice Larken, Cecil Jones-Phillipson, Peter Keeton, Stanley Richter, Pat Clough, Pieter Ehlers, Twiggs Britz, Warwick Strachan, Sai Pieterse, David Krige, Steven van Rooyen, Claudia Blumrick, Brendan Bessinger, Cheryl Cock, Robin Collett, Sylvia Avery, Antony de Bruin, Daphne Stott, Bella Metcalf, Derek Blair, Beryl Goddard, Jaco van Rensburg, Bronwyn van Zyl, Bella Crabtree and Chris Butt.

WE forgot to wish John Gie a very happy 85th birthday for last week. We hope you had a super time.

CONGRATULATIONS, well done and wishing all businesses having an anniversary all the best for further success in the future. Good wishes especially to The Health and Wellness Centre, JD Electrical, El Shaddai School, St Andrew’s College and Seafield Liquor Store.

GOVERNMENT and business officials are currently at the World Economic Forum’s meeting at Davos in Switzerland. They are arguing the case that South Africa is in a far healthier and stable position than ratings agencies such as Fitch, S&P and Moody’s would give us credit for. Good luck to them, but all the talking in the world will not prevent a negative rating if the country fails to grow substantially in the next few months. The main supporter of the African cause seems to be China, whose president, Xi Jinping is attempting to ingratiate his country with the power-houses of the African continent.

WITH last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the rand was trading at R13.59 (R16.89) to the dollar, R16.75 (R23.90) to the pound and R14.52 (R18.52) to the euro. Gold was trading at $1 213.10 ($1 093.96) per fine oz, and platinum at $977.30 ($829.70). Brent crude was trading $55.79 ($28.15) per barrel.

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, and who 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.

WEDDING anniversary congratulations and sincere good wishes for many more happy years ahead to Gavin and Delene Deenik, Rob and Ann McKay, Gerrie and Pat Bosch, and Warwick and Lindy Heny on their anniversaries. And also, Kevin and Sheilagh Scott, who celebrated 39 years of wedded bliss yesterday.

THOUGHT for the week: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

BEST regards as always,
The Team