Neighbourly Notes – 2 February 2017

TEAM SPIRIT: Station Hill Cricket Club members and their families attended the South Africa vs Sri Lanka One Day International last Saturday at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. Proteas won the first ODI by 8 wickets.

HOORAY! Water restrictions have been lifted, having been enforced during the holiday season due to pressure on the reticulation systems in the area. This was announced at the open council meeting, held at the council chambers in Campbell Street on Tuesday. This is good news for the avid gardeners in the area who have seen their plants dying as a result of a lack of our usual seasonal rains.

NDLAMBE Municipality released the auditor-general’s report at its first open council meeting of the year. Once again the municipality received a qualified audit, and it seems a case of the more things change the more they stay the same. Read about this in both the front page story and the Opinion piece by Talk of the Town’s news editor Jon Houzet.

ONCE again the price of petrol has increased from midnight last Tuesday, this time by 26c per litre, while diesel has increased by 21c per litre. The Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) decided that it would limit the production of petroleum products to enable oil prices to be hiked. The instability of the local currency is also blamed for the increase, but this seems disingenuous given that the Rand has proven particularly stable over the last few months against other leading international currencies. Of course, as is always the case, such an increase will mean a corresponding increase in the price of all commodities, putting increased pressure on already beleaguered South Africans.

WATCH out, as farmers in Limpopo, the North West and Free State have reported an unusual type of worm is ravaging their crops. It is proposed that the Fall Armyworm from north of our borders has been brought down, along with the maize the country imported due to the continuing drought in our country. Unlike the more indigenous armyworms, this species does not only affect grains and oil-seed crops but flowers, wild plants, fruit and vegetables. So far scientists have been unable to find a pesticide that effectively eliminates the threat, and farmers stricken by the severe water shortage are now on guard as they face another potentially devastating problem.

WHY do African countries want to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC)? Meanwhile, the official process to implement the Rome Statute of the ICC Act Repeal Bill in South Africa has got under way in parliament The bill, introduced to the justice committee on Tuesday, when Justice Minister Michael Masutha appealed for parliament to “assert its rights”. The committee is set to call for public comments on the bill, before it is processed in parliament. The decision followed several court judgments that the government violated the law by not arresting ICC-indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, during his visit to South Africa in June 2015. The argument is that the ICC appears to be narrowly focused on African leaders, but the truth is that it has been African states that have brought cases against former leaders, not the ICC (and the Office of the Prosecutor or OTP). To simply withdraw from the ICC is another reason why countries outside Africa do not take Africa seriously. If we are to combat human rights abuses and corruption, leaders need to be brought to book, and the Rome Statute, which led to the formation of the ICC, was the way to go. We must not protect leaders who have abuse their constituents.

GREETINGS and happy birthday wishes to everyone enjoying another special day in the week ahead, especially Odette van der Merwe, Heather Howard, Lara Sheffield, Len Clark, Ross Barnard, Cheryl Moss, Karen Cronje, Edith Blackbeard, Belinda Botha, Lindy Heny, Leon du Plessis, Nan Hanly, Sarie Gysman, Christopher Drew, Karla Venter, Jann Haig, Shannon Manning, Justin Venables, Annelize Botha, Andre Cothill, Clinton Berriman, Allan Horsfield, Tammy van Heerden, Steven de Kiewit, Cecily Gould, Tessa Henning, twins Keenan Henricks and Jenna Brownlie, Kris van Zyl, Tertia Hockin, Gloria Kamkam, Norman Wedderburn, TotT’s own colleagues – Rob Knowles and Phumla Pase, Juan Bessinger, Rocky Rowe, Doc Charles Louw, “Flame” Metter, Alfred Stevenson, Beverly Cockcrofft, Leandre Marais, Dianne Barnes and Victor Bowles.

WISHING all businesses celebrating an anniversary further success for the future, especially The Courtyard, The Roof and Truss Plant and Multi Security (Bathurst).

YESTERDAY, 18 years ago, the Swart family purchased the Fish River Diner. We wish you all the very best and are sure the Diner will be with us for at least another 18 years.

ON the financial front, the Rand appears quite stable and is holding its own against other international currencies. However, Tuesday’s petrol price increase is certainly going to impact on the price of goods to consumers, and stretch the average South African purse to breaking point. And with the possibility that President Jacob Zuma will reshuffle his cabinet, the position of finance minister remains a worry for the international community. Many billions of rand were lost when Zuma sacked former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015 and replaced him with “Weekend Special” Des van Rooyen. Quickly Zuma reappointed Nene’s predecessor Pravin Gordhan who, from all evidence, is trusted among international financial institutions. Time will tell if Zuma has learned from his mistake or will make another one in February. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against the Rand was trading at R13.46 (R16.15) to the dollar, the British pound at R16.99 (R23.32) and the Euro at R14.52 (R17.62). Gold was trading at $1 210.40 ($1 126.56) per fine once and platinum at $998.00 ($857.70) and Brent Crude at $55.70 ($33.34).

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

CONTINUING happiness and our congratulations to all couples celebrating another year of wedded bliss, especially to Thomas and Gayle Barnardt, Charles and Dawn Friderichs, Tiny and Doreen Steenkamp, Allen and Helen Thompson, Trevor and Beverley Els, Brian and Megan Wright.

THOUGHT for the week: “If you think you have someone eating out of your hand, it’s a good idea to count your fingers”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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