Neighbourly Notes – 26 October 2017

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BEAUTIFUL MUSIC: One hundred and fifty musicians from the Diocesan School for Girls and St Andrew’s College performed ‘Conquest of Paradise’ by Vangelis on the Monument Theatre stage during their recent prize-giving ceremonies.

IT was a great celebration at Clumber Church’s 150th anniversary as you can read on our front page. News editor Jon Houzet was there on Saturday and Sunday and said it was a good event, raising much-needed funds for the church. It’s funny to think that this, the third incarnation of the church building was built just 12 years before Edison invented the electric light bulb.

THIS weekend includes the opening of the Alexandria Museum at the Dutch Reformed Church, showcasing the history of Alexandria. The grand opening will be on Friday evening at 6.30pm, and the museum doors will be open to the public from Saturday. On Saturday at 1.30pm, there will be the El Alamein Parade, hosted at the MOTH Hall (behind the Ski-boat Club).

THE weather has been a little hectic lately, with the cold days interrupted by warm ones (some incredibly hot) followed by cold. Rain is intermittent (and desperately needed by our farmers) and the wind blows holes in roofs and pushes water towers over. Welcome to springtime in the Eastern Cape.

ROBERT Mugabe; One minute World Health Organisation goodwill ambassador, the next he’s not. Surely someone had to be joking or on serious medication. The man destroyed the health system (a very fine one) in Zimbabwe. What could WHO have been thinking?

IT’S difficult not to get involved when we hear all the stories about corruption and state capture. There is so much going on in parliament that it’s hard to know where to begin, and the upcoming ANC national conference, including the race for the party’s number one spot, is not exactly showering the ANC in a hail of glory. In fact, the current diabolical reshuffling of cabinet seemed to be more a diversionary tactic to take the public’s mind off the very serious State of Capture report. The only thing that seems to have shaken our leaders, is the fact that the FBI and British Intelligence are now also investigating the Guptas. Poll leader (at this time) Cyril Ramaphosa, cleverly distanced himself from President Zuma by calling on the Hawks to carry out an investigation on the Gupta family, adding he felt shame that they hadn’t already done so.

SASSA is in trouble again. Social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini, did not even bother to appear at a parliamentary hearing (although she chose the date) regarding grant payments. There was no excuse given and all that was established at the meeting was that Sassa will definitely “try” to have the new grants payment system up-and-running before the extended Cash Payment Services contract (which, according to the Constitutional Court was illegal) expires. We have seen such arrogant behaviour from Bathabile Dlamini in the past, but placing the livelihoods of over 30 million South Africans in jeopardy is totally irresponsible.

ANYONE want to buy a phone company? Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, announced in his first medium-term budget speech yesterday. Apparently the money from the sale of Telkom shares will be used to back-up bailouts for other state-owned enterprises (SOE), namely South African Airways and the South African Post Office. He also confessed that the budget deficit (the difference between income and expenditure) will widen to 4.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and this is due to failure of SOEs and weak growth. It is also directly attributable to a general lack of confidence in the South African economy, and a subsequent lack of international investment. By the way, the government target for the budget deficit was 3.1% of GDP. How is at possible that a country so rich in talent can be in such a state? It is our leaders who have let us down, and continue to do so.

HAPPY birthday greetings to everyone celebrating and enjoying a special day in the week ahead. Congratulations to all with wishes for many more, especially Dr Glenda Hicks, Chris Hammond, Patricia Maqanda, Graham Frost, Kadekile Nosilda, Kyle Menin, Jeremy Briscoe, Heine Aylward, Gail Elliott, John Elliott, Chadley Alexandre, Rebecca Simes, Claudine Riddle, Alma Surmon, Val van der Bergh, Clinton Schultz, Benita Gibb, Janine van der Merwe, Maude Cannon, Andre Mahne, Patrick Moran, Erin Paige Bowker, Laura Mileham, Rose Ryan, Gwen Laubscher, Tarryn Purdon, Merwyn Jones.

BEST wishes for your success to all businesses or organisations having or adding another anniversary to their score, especially The Kowie Museum, Pig ‘n Whistle (when they reopened in 2008), Sew Smart, Village Gossip Hairstylists, The River, Wharf Street Brew Pub and Kowie Sounds (Biscay Road).

AS already stated, there is so much going on the government side it must be very difficult for foreign investors (except, perhaps, the Guptas, if they actually invested) to pour money into what appears to be a sinking ship. This is reflected in the continuing weakening of the rand against other currencies. As we go to press, with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the rand was trading at R13.91 to the dollar (R13.80), R18.40 to the pound (R16.85) and R16.42 to the euro (R15.07). Gold was trading at $1274.99 per fine ounce ($1 271.08), Platinum at $926.50 per fine ounce ($964.00) and Brent crude oil at $58.54 per barrel ($50.28). Watch out, it’s likely another fuel hike is imminent.

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, Howard Dredge.

SINCERE condolences to the family and friends of Cheryl Rose who passed way peacefully on Friday October 20. May wonderful memories of time spent together bring comfort to you in your sadness.

OUR condolences also to the family and friends of Arlene Agnes English who passed away at Port Alred Hospital on October 15.

WEDDING anniversary greetings and our congratulations to all couples celebrating an anniversary, especially Ray and Moira Pitout, Dave and Ann Tyrrell, Greg and Elzette Reed, Rico and Belinda Viljoen, Christo and Deirdre Muller, Emil and Wilma Jurgenson, Trevor and Sue Langley, Colin and Joan Purdon, David and Lauren Drennan and Athol and Elaine Waters.

THOUGHT for the week: “Many good minds working together are always better than one working alone – teamwork certainly makes the dream work!”

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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