PROTESTS have taken front stage this week, with the residents of New Rest and surrounding areas demanding the government fulfill its promise and provide housing or land to those living there. Some estimate this battle over housing has been going on for the last 17 years but, however long, the people living in the informal settlements have to cope with the stench of sewage plants and pig sties on their doorstep, as well as being a long way from shops and schools. It was mooted when the Thornhill Project was announced that the houses to be built there were intended as a way to move the people in the informal settlements into houses, and then the shacks would be torn down. But that, apparently, did not happen as the shacks are still there and fully occupied.
ON the other side of the equation we have motorists who need to pass around the protesters on the R67 (Bathurst Street) and who have either been delayed, their cars stoned or, in one case, allegedly the driver dragged from his car with a burning tyre thrown into the driver’s seat, causing the vehicle to be burnt to a cinder. People are asking why local, provincial and national governments do not intervene timeously and remove protesters. Yesterday morning, the level of violence escalated with reports of guns firing live ammunition being fired by protesters. Two policeman were taken to hospital. A quick word to those involved; as soon as you become a mindless mass, firing weapons and damaging property, you lose your argument. There is no excuse for violence, no matter how valid or just your cause. You cannot claim to hold the higher ground and you will lose the support and sympathy of your neighbours, something you should avoid at all costs.
FOLLOWING the ANC NEC (National Executive Committee) meeting last weekend, President Jacob Zuma appears to have been given a new lease on life, surviving yet another vote of no confidence in his leadership. According to a poll conducted by a local TV news channel (not the beleaguered SABC), Zuma is not terribly popular, and 65% of those polled said they had no confidence in his leadership and he should resign. Well, if you remember the polls during the US presidential campaign last year you will probably not put much faith in polls. But Zuma has undoubtedly caused a great deal of damage during his time in power, escalating levels of racism throughout the country, presiding over a collapsing currency and a country where at least one in four South Africans are unemployed and living on welfare, so you can fully understand people’s concerns.
OH my, oh my, it looks as though we could be in for rolling blackouts again this winter, the dreaded “load-shedding” we experienced two years ago that plunged our economy even deeper into the mire due to businesses not being able to perform, from Iscor and Alusaf (two major export companies), to the shop owner around the corner. This warning came from Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane when he addressed the parliamentary steering committee on Tuesday. Ngubane claimed that the power utility could not guarantee that coal reserves would not run out as the colder weather approached and that national Treasury had denied the approval of four deals to ensure the generators stayed running. However, Treasury says that approved commercial practices were not employed during the procurement procedures so it will not sign off on the purchase. Treasury is still investigating the apparent illegal deal done with the Guptas newly purchased mine to provide Eskom’s coal (even though it is low-grade and, weight for weight, is considerably more expensive). When will these people learn? You cannot flagrantly ignore the rules and then expect to hold the country to ransom. Come on ANC, take some decisive action.
HAPPY birthday greetings to everyone celebrating a special day next week, with good wishes and many happy times for many more years ahead, especially for Gwen Arniston, Eddie Bentley, Elzaan van Heerden, Jocelyn Guest, Moira Hilton-Barber, Matthew Thorp, Ceagen van Rensberg, Lyn Lapham, Jenni Reed, Celesto Scheepers, Andy Jones, Sue Langley, Terry West, Bonita Skipper, Penny Elliott, Lou Coetzee, Kathleen Mills, Stevie Godson, Jenny Pincente, Noluthando Budaza, Dalys Sparg, Bev Radue, Thomas Barnardt, Wayne Reilly, Digby Pocock, Annelien Gouws, Jim Reynolds, Nicola Nel, Lara Lloyd, Raymond Webber, Mabel Coetzer, Pat Whitfield, Norman Turner, Cynthia Wise, Anne Fella, Karen Booysen, Deb Spencely and Anelle Groenewald.
CONGRATULATIONS and further success to all businesses and organisations on another anniversary with all good wishes for many more better years ahead, especially for Cycle Asylum, Compudoc Computer Services (19 years).
THE AA recently speculated that the price of petrol could go down by around 30c per litre as early as next week, so there’s the happy news. On the international front oil is fluctuating between $50 and $52 per barrel and the major currencies seem to be levelling off. At the time of going to press and with last year’s figures in brackets, the rand was trading at R13.10 to the dollar (R12.26), R16.83 to the pound (R18.71) and R14.70 to the euro (R13.65). Gold was trading at $1 264.14 per fine ounce ($1 188.34), platinum at $944.20 per ounce ($1 100.00) with Brent crude oil hovering around the $50 barrier at $50.56 per barrel ($64.84).
WE were sorry to hear of the death of Una Hawker, who passed away on May 17 in Port Alfred. Her funeral service will be held on Saturday June 3 at 10am at Titi Jonas Multipurpose Centre.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations and best wishes for many more even better years ahead to Malcolm and Penny Noel, Gary and Joan Boucher, Arthur and Lynne Manning, Johan and Kittie Joubert, Neville and Marjorie Henley (53 years).
THOUGHT for the week: “Too much happens to people in life for us to be able to understand all of it – but we do know good minds (and intentions) working together is always better than going it alone.”
BEST regards as always,