THIS last week has been a rather tumultuous one for the citizens of South African with the appointment of a new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, his inaugural State of the Nation Address (Sona) and, yesterday, the budget speech by current finance minister Malusi Gigaba.
WITH state capture, gross violations of the constitution and corruption seemingly everywhere, and with the Guptas evading the long arm of the law, ministers shuffling their feet in anticipation of some major changes in governmental structures and the anticipated and long-awaited cabinet reshuffle, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) attempting to make up for lost time by seemingly waking up and implementing myriad arrest warrants, we haven’t seen this much action in years. We are also waiting, our breath bated, for some move on what is going to happen to former president of the republic, Jacob Zuma.
IN order to settle you down so you can enjoy your weekend why not attend the Bathurst Agricultural Museum auction fundraiser at Pike’s Post at 6pm on Friday and bid for weekends away, wine hampers, game drives and more. And, for those who prefer a more sedate form of entertainment, why not book your seats for Classics at the Castle where there will be a sax and piano recital, also at 6pm on Friday. On Saturday morning at 10am, get to Red Leaf Nursery for a talk by Jacqui Holmes from Port Elizabeth on the wonders of pomegranate seed oil. And, on Sunday at starting at 8.30am, there is a church service at St Paul’s Anglican Church to celebrate the birth-date of Boy Scout and Girl Guide founder, Sir Robert Baden-Powell. See our Diarise This section below for more information.
IT’S also time to consider how and where you are going to spend the Eater holidays. The area always experiences high levels of visitors during this time, but this year it is likely to be even busier than usual with both the Amanzi Festival taking place from the first through the second weekend of April and the Bathurst Agricultural Show on the second weekend. These two events are not to be missed and should encourage any residents who might usually leave town over this period and stay home to enjoy the excitement of these two premier events.
AND, on the subject of excitement, news from South African Bodyboarding coach Clinton Millard (and taken from his Facebook page); “It’s official everyone. West beach Port Alfred will be hosting its first ever APB (Association of Professional Bodyboarders) world tour event this year. The contest will run in conjunction with the normal SABA (South African Bodyboarders Association) West Beach Warfare. APB pro entry forms will be out this weekend. For any info please mail Clinton at firstname.lastname@example.org or Karl at email@example.com Well done Clinton, as well as to Zwelinzima (Sxeaks) Nkwinti and Dave Lawson, the organisers of the Amanzi Challenge. We are all very excited and proud that world-tour events are taking place in our little town. This will lead to even more visitors this year as well as for many years to come.
CONGRATULATIONS to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead, and with every best wish for many more to Phillip Swanepoel, Ankia Hunke, Kelly van der Merwe, Terrence Lansdell, Josephine Goliath, Lorna Bradfield, Desmand Hand, Wesley Mcmahon, Carolyn Clarence, Wendy Clayton, Jonathan Steck, Jenna Henning, Jennifer Worrall, Annette Coetzee, Nicole Owen, Pam Taylor, Günter Johannsen, Peter Whittington, Rita Hope, Lorna Els, Teagan Shaddock, Sheryl Ann Drennan, Jessica Green, Ange Hutchinson, Andrew Dempers, Chenelle Freeman, Danielle Spaumer, Storm Gretton, Bianca Twynham, Sophie Bessinger, Felix Clark, Zola Kerr, Caryn Bruyns, Jason Currie, Louise Wiggett, Drewnei Potgieter, Adele Broodryk, Wim Slieker, Greg Short, Allan Nonqulo, Patrick Grafton, Belinda Van Zyl, Jennifer Kukard, Pat Campbell, Monica Watson.
EVERY success for many more years to follow are the wishes we are conveying to the following businesses and organisations on another anniversary, especially Adviceworx and Rocky Ridge Farm Stall (en-route to Bathurst).
BY this morning we will already be aware of what has happened at yesterday’s budget speech. And another R12.4-billion is going to be required to finance free tertiary education for the poor. This may have resulted in an increase in sin taxes (almost inevitable as these get nailed at every budget speech). But the frightening thing is that VAT may have been increased, and this will hit our pockets hard. Many South Africans view the financial markets and the rand exchange rate as something nebulous and not really their cup of tea, but they play a critical role in our standard of living, our careers and the price of basic foodstuffs. But this year’s budget was different in that, in order to ensure Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poor’s (S&P) does not downgrade the country further, finance minister Malusi Gigaba needed to reduce the R50-billion budget deficit accumulated during the previous president’s terms of office. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R11.74 to the dollar (R13.08), R14.45 to the Euro (R13.75) and R16.34 to the Pound (R16.35). Gold was trading at $1 329.01 per fine ounce ($1 234.03), Platinum at $1 006.95 per ounce ($1 004.10) and Brent Crude trading at $65.17 per barrel ($56.85).
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.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations and continued happiness to all couples celebrating this special occasion. Wishes extend to Shawn and Tammy Peet, Andrew and Ronel Bartlett, Allan and Michelle Miles, Trevor and Stephanie Warner, Rob and Sami Schofield, Clive and Christine Haworth.
THOUGHT for the week: “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow”.
BEST regards as always,