THIS week Talk of the Town’s front page story is about the rape of an eight-year-old boy by an older male pupil at an Alexandria school. Having reported on school toilets in the past, it is apparent that some schools do not monitor the pupils sufficiently when they are using the toilet, and it is common to see faeces on the floors of these buildings that are often in serious need of repair and maintenance. Nor is it the first time we have reported of sexual abuse of young boys by older ones. Special care must be taken in ensuring that small children are accompanied to the toilets when necessary and that children are taught right from wrong at home. They must be taught not to prey on younger children and, more importantly, they must understand as early as possible that sexual predation is unacceptable in any form. It is not only at schools that such incidents occur, so it is the responsibility of not just teachers, but also parents, to educate their children on what is right and what is wrong.
WHILE everyone seems to be pointing fingers at everyone else, it is clear that the problem of stray cattle on our roads or on our properties is a joint one, and the only way it will be resolved is to have all parties speaking to each other. That means the police (who issue fines if cattle are unmarked), the municipality (who must impound the animals and issue fines), as well as the cattle owners, need to agree on a strategy to ensure our road users are not in danger. There is no purpose to laws and bylaws that are not enforced. The law requires that all animals are tagged for identification purposes. Many farmers are reluctant to do this as it could implicate them should their animals cause an accident. Cattle should also be branded, and this is a skill that can be taught to the cattle owners themselves, potentially a new industry in the emerging farmer marketplace. The 24 cows impounded at the Port Alfred police station over last weekend were but a drop in the ocean when it comes to the number of stray cattle on our roads.
GRAHAMSTOWN is the place to be this weekend for the final few days of the National Arts Festival (NAF) which ends on Sunday. As far as we have heard, the festival has been a great success with plenty of shows to see – from comedy to drama and classical music to afro-electro beats. Do yourself a favour and get to the NAF and catch some great live entertainment.
THE ANC’s National Policy Conference has drawn to an end and factionalism has raised its head, despite the fact that the party ordered the delegates to refrain from announcing their preferences for the next party president. Even if things go according to plan for the opposition parties, it is highly likely this next ANC president will become the president of the country in 2019. For a prediction of what might happen over the next few years, read The Fall of the ANC by Mzukisi Qobo and Prince Mashele. Agree or disagree, what they published in 2014 seems to be coming true.
THE Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) did not make a mistake when it placed a multibillion-rand contract through Swifambo Rail Leasing for the Spanish-built Afro4000 locomotives. The Johannesburg High Court found the tenders were irregular and that the actions of the then Prasa board were fully aware of the corruption. The trains, when they arrived, were too tall to travel on our rail network, something that even someone with limited intelligence could have established before spending R2.4-billion (later to become R5-billion) on trains that are useless. And now Swifambo is being asked to pay back the money, but the company director (and one of only a handful of people working at the company) is to appeal the decision, so the process of recovery might take forever, if ever. Just think what a boost R5-billion would be to our school system, or in the provision of more houses, or in training farmers and others. What a gigantic waste of our taxpayer money.
CONGRATULATIONS, greetings and wishes for a happy birthday to all enjoying such an event in the week ahead. All good wishes for the year to follow, especially to Maurice Bradfield, Connie Austin, Ann Leese, John Potter, Leslie-Anne Phillips, Carel Swart, Gay Ford, Derrick Newson, John Crawford, Jolanta Hanstein, Simon Boucher, Ian Cunningham, Lydia Gimbel, Cheryl van de Spuy, Liezel van der Westhuizen, Lynette Matthews, Neville Williamson, Brandon Phillps, Layla Jonker, Phyllis Futter, Ben Beetge, Justin Maddocks, Steve Gardner, Jacques Johnson, Pat Smith, Joan Boucher, Joshua Linforth, Siobhan Stötter, Peter Metcalf, Pumeza Maronya, Vanessa Avis.
BUSINESS anniversary congratulations and continued success for many more years to come, to GBS Mutual Bank, Trellidor, Eugene’s Plumbing Services.
ON TO finances, and crude oil has seen a sharp increase in price over the last week, reaching higher than $49 per barrel, but it seems to have settled down to between $46-$47 a barrel at the time of going to press. At the same time, platinum, which plunged sharply in the market about a year ago, has again dropped significantly in value and might even drop lower, to below $900 per ounce, in the short term. With last year’s figures shown in brackets for comparison, at the time of going to press, the rand was trading at R13.40 to the dollar (R14.88), R17.31 to the pound (R19.25) and R15.17 to the euro (R16.45). Gold is trading at $1 218.23 per fine ounce ($1 368.94), platinum at $917.40 per ounce ($1072.40) with Brent crude oil at $46.59 per barrel ($48.04).
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, Dot Fetherstonhaugh, Ben Kember, Myrna Keet, Barbara Tee, Brenda Shelton.
BEST wishes for many more and our heartiest congratulations to the following couples celebrating an anniversary: John and Sharon Nicol, Colin and Joan Purdon, Godfrey and Meryl Howes, Biff and Gordon Todd, Schalk and Nicole Voster, Eddie and Jenny Hoseck, Mark and Tracy Pederson, and Darryl and Jolanta Hanstein.
AND finally, a belated happy 65th anniversary to Fanie and Baps Behrand for yesterday. May you enjoy many more.
THOUGHT for the week: “Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay”.
BEST regards as always,