THE first thing on everyone’s mind at the moment is the dearth of water that has been available to residents of Port Alfred (including Nemato) over the last week. Although the matter is dealt with elsewhere in this week’s paper, it has to be said here that Ndlambe Municipality has a great deal of work to do with respect to fixing the problem. Unfortunately, the infrastructure is very unstable and old pipework plus a lack of maintenance has led us to the point whereby when something in the system fails, it presents a crisis to the community. Even if all the current leaks are fixed, one has to wonder how long it will be before something else bursts and the water crisis starts all over again. It was great that the municipality had the foresight to meet with Talk of the Town to discuss the matter, but many people are still experiencing a lack of water. I was even asked yesterday whether the municipality would refund – or compensate residents – for not being provided water (as per their mandate and the constitution). The simple answer is no, but you can try if you want. The Consumer Protection Act does not apply to small municipalities. Whether it should is another matter, but imagine how much they would have to pay Bathurst, Kenton and Alexandria residents for all the times they have gone without water.
FRIDAY is the Port Alfred High School Amanzi Day (not to be confused with the Amanzi Challenge that will take place in April). Then on Saturday there is the Rotary/Lions Swim-a-thon at Port Alfred High School. Then, on Sunday, there’s a talk at St James Catholic Church Hall where Norbert and Ingrid Nowotny will present, “Overland, through Africa”.
STENDEN South Africa presented its annual awards at the Academic opening, held at the Royal St Andrews Hotel on Monday evening. This meant that what normally takes place over two separate events was fitted into one, so there were a lot of speeches to start off the evening before the awards ceremony took place. This, in turn, made it a very long evening for those present but, as usual, quite entertaining. Student Representative Council president Vongai Chocuda was in top form as she addressed the students present and seems to have made a real impact on students’ lives during her term in office.
VARIOUS stakeholders got together at the end of January to discuss the land issues in the province and some interesting ideas emerged from this three-day seminar. However, there still seems to be a tendency to “blame” white people for the lack of action on behalf of government with such accusatory comments as, “The land was taken by force and the laws were formulated later,” which many will consider inflammatory. For sure, certain people were dispossessed of their land by the government of the day and forcibly removed and such citizens have a right to claim compensation at the very least. But if we are talking about the 18th and 19th century, it is critical that one considers that the country was at war, not just whites against blacks but inter-tribal wars and a war between the Afrikaner and the British. To the victor the spoils. If not, will the former Ndwandwe tribe claim their land back from the Zulus, along with the many tribes who lost their land (and lives) at the start of the Mfecane? Let us move forward with the idea of land redistribution, but let us be led by our minds, not our hearts, and only provide land that will be used productively and only to those who are equipped (or are to be trained) on how to work it efficiently. Food security is going to be one of the next big issues we will face and the former attempts by government to “redistribute” just caused farms to be run into the ground and livestock to die through lack of food, water or care. But let us not look to blame people who died two centuries ago for the injustice of our current situation. If the government were serious about land, this would have been high on the agenda at the beginning of their 24-year tenure, not just during vote-seeking season.
GREETINGS and happy birthday wishes to everyone enjoying another special day in the week ahead, especially Denis Brummer, Mike Beaumont, Brendon Wicks, Mya Schultz, Brigette Muller, Sally Davidge-Pitts, Val Astrup, Glynn Gudmanz, Amanda Rathbone, Odette van der Merwe, Heather Howard, Lara Sheffield, Len Clark, Ross Barnard, Cheryl Moss, Karen Cronje, Edith Blackbeard, Belinda Botha, Lindy Heny, Leon du Plessis, Nan Hanly, Sarie Gysman, Christopher Drew, Karla Venter, Jann Haig, Shannon Manning, Justin Venables, Annelize Botha, Andre Cothill, Clinton Berriman, Allan Horsfield, Tammy van Heerden, Steven de Kiewit, Cecily Gould, Tessa Henning, Doc Charles Louw, “Flame” Metter, Alfred Stevenson, Beverly Cockcroft, Leandre Marais, Dianne Barnes and Victor Bowles.
WISHING all businesses celebrating an anniversary further success for the future, especially The Courtyard, Fish River Diner, The Roof and Truss Plant and Multi Security (Bathurst).
THE World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is now concluded but there was very little flag-waving to speak of, unlike the exuberance experienced at the 2018 session. This time trade wars, the recoil of people against big tech companies, volatile markets and a lot more dampened the mood. Artificial intelligence became an issue and its impact on society and governments. It is also predicted that another global recession is possible during 2020. So, with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R13.60 (R11.83) to the dollar, the British pound at R17.80 (R16.74) and the Euro at R821.55 ($1,006.35), and Brent Crude at $61.77 ($68.50).
SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. “Sterkte” to Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Jenny Groenewald, Rowena Collin, Marian Eaton, Malcolm Cock and Brenda Shelton.
SO sorry to hear of the death of Peter de Coning, and our condolences to the family who would like to thank the Kleinemonde community, the Ladies Friendship Tea, Lala Lapa and MultiSecurity for all the love and support they have received during the tragic loss of Peter.
CONDELENCES to the family and friends of Alwyn Cedric Oosthuizen who passed away on January 24.
CONTINUING happiness and our congratulations to all couples celebrating another year of wedded bliss, especially to Thomas and Gayle Barnardt, Charles and Dawn Friderichs, Trevor and Beverley Els, Brian and Megan Wright, Roger and Mary-Anne Gailey, Angus and Yvonne McDonald.
THOUGHT for the week: “If you think you have someone eating out of your hand, it’s a good idea to count your fingers”.
BEST regards as always,