Neighbourly Notes – 16 February 2017

NEWBIES AT PROBUS: Probus president Dough Southerland, centre back, and past president Raul Probert, right, inducted Tony Border, left and Dennis Perks into the Probus Club on Tuesday. Picture: ROB KNOWLES

IT’S another fairly quiet weekend. Of the events open to the general public, let’s start with El-evation, an eight-piece band that will play songs from the past as well as some modern ones. The show starts at 8pm at the Kenton Community Hall. For those spiritually-minded folk, the Grace and Truth Church on Albany Road is holding a Revival Meeting with Curry Blake of John G Lake Ministries on Friday and Johan van Rensburg.

WITH generous donations from pineapple farmers, the Bathurst Agricultural Museum is happy to hold its new Pineapple Shed roof-wetting this weekend. The shed will allow many of the agricultural antiquities, currently outdoors, to be housed and protected against weather erosion. Well done to the farmers for preserving our local heritage.

ON the local front, if you ever walk up the steps from Stocks Avenue to the R72 you may have noticed Port Alfred’s new rubbish dump that’s been developing. Each day the pile grows; from plastic bags filled with household rubbish to an old-style turntable. Weeks ago there was a broken laptop and a badly beaten hard drive among the refuse, perhaps plunder from a robbery, and on Wednesday morning, about 20 empty wine bottles sat atop the rancid mess. Not only is this an eyesore (particularly since municipal workers have cut down the bush that surrounds the steps), but it is a health hazard. Come on municipality and police, please do something to clean up the mess and prevent it from happening in the future.

TALK of the Town and MyPond Hotel held its popular Quiz Night in aid of the Port Alfred Soup Kitchen last Thursday, raising R8 050 for the charity. Well done to quizmaster Jon Houzet who tailored the questions to his audience and carried the entire evening with aplomb. Thanks also to scoremaster Bryan Smith who made sure the points were recorded accurately. Keep your eye out on the Diarise This section of TotT for the next exciting and fun quiz.

SONA 2017 was another gigantic waste of time, with major opposition parties having either left or been physically ejected from the house. This is how the world sees South Africa, as a group of unruly despoilers. This is not the image we need to project if we are to encourage foreign investment in order to grow our industries and create jobs. There are growing concerns the ANC is divided into factions, and the upcoming leadership battle could lead to the ruling party being broken apart. The question is, should the ANC fall, which party is ready, in terms of leadership, knowledge and experience, to take over?

FINANCE minister, Pravin Gordhan, will present his 2017 budget next Wednesday, and has few options to relieve the massive headache the budget will no doubt cause. Currently South Africa is in a very vulnerable position financially, with no money in the coffers to fund many of its promised projects, including subsidising poorer students who cannot afford tertiary education. Over-committed and bruised following his run-in with the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority, Gordhan must now consider innovative ways of raising money. One of his options is to raise VAT rates, but this will have a direct impact on the poor, something the minister has said he is loath to do. There is bound to be an increase in so-called “sin” taxes, those levied on alcohol and tobacco products, but fingers crossed that only those who can afford it are punished with higher personal and luxury taxes.

INTERNATIONALLY, did you hear that the half-brother of North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, Kim-Jong-nam, is now dead, the victim of a poison attack that many are calling an assassination? Nam was exiled due to his criticism of Un’s leadership and opposed the hereditary transfer of power in his family. Last week North Korea posted videos of a delighted Un, celebrating the test launch of an inter-continental missile, nuclear ready. How long will the world sit, watch and take no action against the little dictator, Kim Jong-un, while he threatens peace in the region?

HAPPY birthday greetings to everyone celebrating a birthday in the coming week. We hope that the year ahead will bring you all good health and happiness, especially to Carl van Heerden, Herma Purdon, Shirley Pheasant, Marizka Burgess, Tiffany Gudzman, Gillian Rautenbach, Jill Dickie, Bess Radue, Don Wood, Arthur Haig, Lindsay Drew, Marilyn Michau, Mandy Pretorius, Debbie Duncan, Edmund Hall, Grant Keeton, Brendan Welsh, Cole Gailey, Tracy Willemse, Chloe-Anne Rademan, Lisa-Jane Bezuidenhout, Sue Bradfield, Phillip Swanepoel, Ankia Hunke, Carolyn Clarence, Jonathan Steck, Karel de Jaeger, Peter Lear, Joyce Webb, Sonia Nginase, Pat Campbell, Karel de Jaeger, Hendrick Koekemoer, Terrence Lansdell, Kelly van der Merwe, Josephine Goliath.

BUSINESS anniversary congratulations, plus further success and good wishes to Fresh Stop at Andy’s Service Centre, DP Engineering and Pic-Kwick’s Restaurant in Bathurst.

WITH the 2017 budget to be announced next Wednesday the whole country should be watching to determine how it will affect them. One thing is for sure, additional tax will be levied on petroleum products. Internationally, the price of oil seems to have settled in the $55 to $56 band, for the time being at least, as oil fields cut down on production to keep the price at that level, or even escalate it in the near future. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, and at the time of going to press, the rand was trading at R13.02 to the dollar (R15.72), R16.22 to the pound (R22.50) and R13.74 to the Euro (R17.49). Gold was trading at $1 226.20 per fine ounce ($1 202.40), platinum at $1 002.70/oz ($9 325.80) with Brent crude oil at $55.97 ($32.18) per barrel.

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.

CONGRATULATIONS to the following couples also enjoying their anniversaries this week – Mark and Jacquie Kieck, Rodney and Myrna Keet, Jona and Mel Arnott, Simon and Clare du Plessis, Devon and Kelly Brittle, John and Lodene Pohl, James and Lindy Robinson, Malcolm and Kathy Robinson, Shaun and Tammy Peet and John and Karen Fletcher.

CALLING all cruciverbalists, last week’s crossword was inspired by one supplied by George Armstrong. Should you wish to try your hand at creating a crossword puzzle, please drop off your crossword (plus clues and answers) at the TotT’s offices. Remember that the grid needs to be 13×13 and mirrored about both the horizontal and vertical central axes.

THOUGHT for the week: “The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team

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