Neighbourly Notes – 11 January 2018

CREATIVE FLAIR: Lara Heny at work on her clock at the Crazy Clock workshop at Red Leaf Nursery last Saturday. Children were encouraged to be imaginative in the design of their clock faces. Picture: JON HOUZET

THE matric results, as released last week, were disappointing to say the least. While some schools improved on their results from last year, many fell short of the mark. All that being
said, a special word of congratulations to Inga Mpepanduku, of Port Alfred High School, who scored the best marks for the class of 2017 matriculants in the entire Sarah Baartman District. Mpepanduku said there was no substitute for hard work, and she certainly put in the time and effort required to achieve this result.

STILL on the subject of matric passes, it is alarming that so many children who begin their school career at Grade 1 (or sometimes before that), spend 12 years studying and then do not even bother to sit the examinations in Grade 12. Even worse is the number of pupils who begin Grade 1 but fall out of the system even before they reach Grade 12, some of them well before. Boyce Xanesi, headmaster of Nompucuko High School in Marselle, expressed his disappointment at the lack of effort exhibited by his pupils. Only two out
of 53 pupils passed matric in 2017 and he explained that many did not even show up for the examinations. But why is this? Could it be that telling children that entrepreneurism
is the way forward for the country is encouraging the pupils to consider that matric is irrelevant if they are not going to enter the formal sector? Are we giving the wrong message to our children? Perhaps we should be telling them that there is no going
forward unless they are literate and can add and subtract (perhaps much more than that). If they want to start a business they will need to be able to write business proposals,
compile cash-flow statements, be able to calculate profit and loss, present to potential investors, use a computer and the internet, and generally be able to think on their feet. How will they be able to do this if they did not attend school, at least until Grade 12?

DID President Jacob Zuma survive the first meeting of the ANC’s newly elected 80-member National Executive Council (NEC) in East London yesterday? We will know the answer by the time the paper is published. Zuma’s surprise announcement that he had appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Mnyamezeli Mlungisi Zondo to head up the state of capture inquiry was almost certainly aimed to disarm those members of the NEC who were gunning for Zuma on his reluctance to set up the inquiry and his waste of government funds. However, Zuma really had little choice after the North Gauteng High Court dismissed his attempt to have former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report put aside, ruling his attempt was frivolous, and ordering the President to comply with Madonsela’s recommendations and to pay costs. If Zuma is recalled, which seems unlikely at this time, then deputy president of the country and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will
undoubtedly become South Africa’s fifth head of state since 1994.

BIRTHDAY greetings and congratulations to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead. May the year ahead bring you most of what you wish for, especially to Wade Cox, Dudley Callaghan, Janice Shelver, Ronelle Botha, Bob Hobbs, Marlene Bowdler, Nola Johannsen, Lindsay Wilmot Steyn, Neale McCabe, Janet Hyde, Nicky van Lavieren, Lee Howard, Leonie Beetge, Jonty Lentz, Warren Vermaak, Lindy Pieterse, Claire McKinnon, Sandra Knight, twins Connan Hill and Shannon Hawkes, Tanya Elliott, Shaun Uys, Buck Buchholz, Lora Waters, Jackie Anderson, Celia Bradfield, Jaco van Rensburg.

CONGRATULATIONS on another successful year to the following places and businesses enjoying another anniversary, with best wishes for many more years to come – The Fish River Diner, Eastern Cape Motors, The Royal Alfred Marina.

ALTHOUGH the rand strengthened at the announcement of Cyril Ramaphosa’s election to president of the ANC, the current problems of state capture, free higher education and uncertainty regarding the stability of a fractured ANC are having negative effects on the
economy and are threatening the gains made. Whether Ramaphosa favours populism or takes the steps necessary to re-stabilise the country, only time will tell. In the meantime,
at the time of going to press and with last year’s figures in brackets, the rand was R12.38 to the dollar, R16.74 to the pound and R14.80 (R14.47) to the euro. Commodities such as gold were trading at $1 314.49 ($1 187.98), platinum was trading at $964.80 ($982.50) and Brent crude was trading at $69.18 ($54.08). Brent crude oil is being artificially bolstered by Opec (the organisation of oil producing nations that controls both the flow
and the price of the commodity). Although the Iranian energy minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has stated that the price of Brent crude should remain below $60 a barrel, it is
likely to hit $70 shortly. Opec is currently losing the massive influence it has had over crude oil prices as more shale oil (not under Opec’s control), as well as renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and wave power, begin to take over the existing fossil-fuel
markets. This could lead to some interesting developments over the course of this year, so watch out for some interesting announcements on Brent crude in the future.

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. SINCERE condolences to the family and friends of Colleen Fick, who passed away on Tuesday January 2. She will be sadly missed by Steven,  Tarryn and family. How fortunate we all are that in our hearts we keep forever the wonderful  memories of those we love and the time we shared together.

OUR best wishes and heartiest congratulations to all couples celebrating another year of wedded bliss, especially Greg and Jann Kieck, Rob and Maureen Edlmann and Gary and Odette Gailey, Charlton and Shireen Hilpert.

THOUGHT for the week: “The greatest guarantee that you will leave the legacy you desire is how you live every day.”

The Team

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