Neighbourly Notes – 26 July 2018

RUSH HOUR: Half a dozen cattle sauntered idly past the Port Alfred Magistrate’s Court on Pascoe Crescent on Monday on their way toward town. There didn’t seem to be anyone herding them so they were probably just visiting. Picture: ROB KNOWLES

BRICS, the much lauded grouping of developing nations that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are meeting this week to discuss investment and the Brics Bank. China has already committed almost R100-billion (USD14-billion) to help in South Africa’s economic recovery and this is due, in part, to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s schmoozing the big game players and encouraging investment in South Africa’s future. Eskom has been pulled out of a deep hole (for now) with a R33-billion bailout loan and Transnet was also a beneficiary. However, until all the holes in the current system are filled (and that means sacking and prosecuting the corrupt perpetrators) over time we will undoubtedly find ourselves in the same position.

PAY back the Mani. That’s the call to Walter Sisulu University student, Sibongile Mani, after R14-million was paid into her back account from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in September last year. Mani, a 28-year-old finance student (see the irony?), was back in court earlier this week on theft charges. She was only supposed to receive R1,400, but when the millions were paid into her account she didn’t seem to hesitate and spent R800,000 in three months on much-needed items such as smartphones and imported hair extensions. She is obviously in need of some basic education, never mind tertiary, as she must have realised that someone was going to notice the mistake. With R14m, it might have been better to transfer the money to a Swiss bank and buy a ticket to a non-extraditing country. But there are a number of issues here such as, who made the mistake at the NSFAS and what has been done about it? Why did Mani not report the mistake? How many students suffered as a result of Mani’s greed? But, surprising of all is the number of people who have publicly stated that they would also have kept the money for themselves.

ZIMBABWEANS will go to the polls on Monday July 30 to elect their president. This will be the first election since former President Robert Mugabe was ousted and things are really hotting up. But one interesting thing is that incumbent President Emerson Mnangagwa (formerly Mugabe’s enforcer and right-hand-man) stated that land expropriation in his country was a miscalculation and is now actively encouraging white farmers to return to help rebuild the country. I think Mnangagwa and our own Julius Malema should have a chat.

BLOOD is in the air or, at least, it will cover the moon on Friday evening when there will be a total lunar eclipse that will last for almost four hours, from 8.24pm to 00.19am on Saturday morning. The full eclipse (with the moon completely covered) will last for one hour and 43 minutes – the longest this century and very close to the theoretical limit of how long a lunar eclipse can last (1 hour and 47 minutes). A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, not as regular an event as you might imagine. The moon, however, will not be totally obscured as light from the Earth’s atmosphere will refract and make the moon appear red, what people throughout history have referred to as a “blood moon”. If you miss this one you’ll have to wait until May 16 2022 to see another. Oh, and while you stare at the moon, take a moment or more to see the Red Planet, Mars, as this will be at its brightest since 2003. You’ll also be able to see Jupiter and the swathe of the Milky Way galaxy more clearly.

HAPPY birthday greetings to everyone having a special day in the week ahead, congratulations especially to Valerie Wynn, Julie Bagshaw-Smith, the Strohm Quads celebrating their 26th birthdays – Jason, Candice, Amy and Byron, Samuel Hawkins, Val Baker, Phillip Smith, Johannes Loots, Awie Gretton, Billy Woods, Ann Hulley, Mattie Wood, Dagma Rampf, Lyndon Bartlett, Barbara Wesson, Patrick Atkinson, Brenda Thomas, Tim Dold, Renee Vroom, Kittie Joubert, Doreen Dold, Jean Jacques French, Maureen Thierson, Alex Gordon van der Merwe, Richard Legg, Athol Canny, Neville Henley, Lenard Smit, Tania Adams, Dion Rieger, Greg Reed, Khanyisa Daweti, Gary Bull, Wilma Kruger, Michael Austin, Charmaine Botha, Wendy Coetzee, Mitchum Haupt, Claude Cockcroft, Terri Harrewyn, Bruce Steele-Gray, Kei Macgregor, Rob Pringle, Billy Woods, Sue Broom.

BUSINESS anniversary congratulations and every success for your continued success to Coastal Spares (PA), Jumbo Store (Grahamstown), PA Kenrich Motors, PA Cement Products, plus 111 years of Scouting in the world this year.

WITH another petrol price hike predicted for the first Wednesday in August the DA and the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) are planning a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria (or Tshwane – although that’s the name of the metro, not the city) demanding a 20% cut in the petrol levy and an overhaul of the Road Accident Fund which currently carries a R160-million backlog). On the other hand, China has bailed SA out and we shouldn’t see strike action and load-shedding for a while (or until the R33-billion loan has been embezzled). With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R13.24 to the Dollar (R13.07), R17.41 to the Pound (R17.01) and R15.50 to the Euro (R15.20). Gold was trading at $1,224.34 per fine ounce ($1,244.34), platinum at $829.35 per ounce ($930.20) and Brent Crude oil at $73.87 per barrel ($50.59).

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, Emilene Bruwer, Jenny Groenewald, Mark Price, Rowena Collin and Chris de Wet Steyn.

CONGRATULATIONS to a wonderful couple, Dean Charter and Charis Will who got engaged recently in Dubai! May this new adventure be the beginning of a long, healthy and happy life together.

WEDDING anniversary congratulations and best wishes for many more to all couples celebrating another year together, especially David and Lisa Lawson, Juan and Julie Bessinger, Neels and Erika Snyder, Bevan and Linda Edwards and Dale and Leonie Wepener.

THOUGHT for the week: “Success is more permanent when you achieve it without destroying your principles.”

BEST regards as always, The Team.

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