CHARGES against two elderly men accused of raping and sexually molesting two underage girls from the Ekuphumleni Township were dropped by the National Prosecuting Authority this week, and both are now free men. However, how do you pick up your life after being accused of something like child rape? It was clear during the initial bail applications of both that the investigating officer had very little if any evidence that tied the men to the alleged crimes. The NPA reported that the charges had been dropped because, “there was no reliable evidence and the DNA evidence was negative”. Several appearances by the men naturally evoked strong feelings among the Ekuphumleni residents, but most were working on emotion rather than fact. It is hoped that future police investigations will be better conducted and that strong evidence is discovered before allegations of child rape are promulgated.
THE news that local lad Cameron Reeder was visciously beaten outside a Plettenberg Bay venue has sent shockwaves through the town. The fact that Reeder has been left with brain injuries that will prevent him from playing any contact sports, is a travesty as, although only 18 years of age, he was a keen and respected surfer with a bright future ahead of him. Mindless violence can never be condoned and the two perpetrators of this horrible attack must be made to pay for their crime. We wish Cameron Reeder a speedy recovery and offer our condolences for the incident.
ALTHOUGH it happened in February, just a quick thanks to the Nemato Foundation and its Dutch parent, Stichting Nemato, specifically Ellen Fober, for all their hard work in raising money to build a new playground at the Child Welfare Port Alfred cluster foster home. To see the joy on their faces as the children played on the swings and climbed ropes, was well worth any effort it took in raising the money. It is encouraging to know that people from outside the country wish to help the less fortunate in our area.
THE OD Inggs Memorial Run (classic cars) occurred on Saturday and Sunday, and it was pleasing to see the number of locals at Rosehill Mall who wandered around the car park admiring the old motor vehicles – all polished and serviced better than some of their modern counterparts. Added to this, learning just what it takes to even compete in the race is mind-bogglingly intense, as navigators must judge times and distances with no access to speedometers, tackometers or odometers (in other words, reliant only on road signs and markings). Well done to all those who competed and completed the course.
LAST week, the pupils at Qhayiya received a talk on the dangers of TB and HIV/Aids, as well as those associated with teen pregnancy from the departments of health and social development, SAPS and the local CPF. The girls also received sanitary pads from the Confident Girls project, and gifts from Stenden South Africa’s SRC and the community development worker (CDW) Xolelwa Njadayi. More of these sessions need to happen all around Ndlambe as the proliferation of disease and unplanned pregnancy in the area is reaching dangerous limits. However, there is so little being done to entertain teens in the area that many of them resort to drugs, crime or relationships with the wrong people. This is not, as many might want to believe, a black or white problem, it is a problem with the youth in general, and local government needs to take a grip on these matters before they get completely out of hand.
THE Ward 10 war room initiative got under way yesterday, and other wards will follow in due course. We wish those who participate the very best of luck in your endeavours. Yet, the idea of the war room is one that is not clearly understood by everyone, and many people are asking what all the fuss is about. These particular war rooms have nothing to do with those established by the ANC in order to spread misinformation during the last local government elections. These war rooms are established to attempt to recifiy problems that have slipped through the cracks, or have not been addressed by the conventional structures. It is commissioned to monitor and record complaints by residents regarding service delivery by the municipality and apparently has direct access to MECs and even the provincial premier. The question must be asked, however, as to why the conventional systems have failed, and one is left wondering if a parallel structure (manned by volunteers rather than paid officials) will have any better luck or exercise more authority to get the work done than the existing ones.
GREETINGS and good wishes to everyone celebrating a birthday next week, especially Hannah Beukes, Amillia Snyman, Susan Hunt, Rocky Pang, Nadine Vertue, Belinda Nel, Bronwyn Norman, Brendan Samuel, Aimee Roesstorff, Walter Probart, Sallie Bryant, Jan Scholtz, Daphne Smithers, Jarryd King, Jean Pierre Hunke, Julie Davidson, Babette Vermaak, Cherie Antrobus, Jaden McKinnon, Ethan Tulk, Janay Clayton, Paula Stander, Lindi Dickie, Michelle Henn, Wendy Lenard, Nicole Muller, Mike Brown, John Dell, Hannie de Flamingh, Wilf Slade, Theo Botha, Ken Humphreys, Jacqueline Samuel, Mary Hobbs, Jean Thomas, Ken Humphreys, Karizaan de Vos, Sandra Cherry, Rosalie Hare, Sally-Anne Phillips-Page, Okkie du Plessis, Joy Geard, Bettie Hodges, Richard Pullen, Sandra Catherine and Denise Clayton.
EVERY success for many more years to all businesses and organisations on another anniversary. Best wishes to The Kenton Workshop and the 107th anniversary of the Full Gospel Church of SA.
LOCAL currency is still strong against those internationally, despite even more scandals being revealed during the course of the week. Obviously, everyone is waiting to see if their social grants will actually be paid on April 1 and, if not, this might have a significant impact. Brent Crude is still under $52 a barrel, and that may be a result of public opinion on the use of fossil fuels as much as an oversupply problem. Let’s be grateful for small mercies. At the time of going to press, the rand was trading at R12.61 to the dollar (R15.24), R15.71 to the pound (R21.60) and R13.61 to the euro (R17.05). Commodities were trading with gold at $1 245.64 per fine ounce ($1 223.40), Platinum is at $975 per ounce ($974) and Brent crude oil at $50.23 per barrel ($41.66).
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, Myrna Keet, Barbara Tee, Brenda Shelton.
SYMPATHY to the family and friends of Gill-Wendy (nee Skinner) who passed away on Saturday March 18.
BEST wishes for many more and congratulations to the following couples on their upcoming wedding anniversaries – Clifford and Candy Dell and Michael and Cornelia Cholwich.
THOUGHT for the week: “For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat”.
BEST regards as always,