THIS weekend is another fairly quiet one. Tonight, weather permitting, Port Alfred High School Junior Section (grades R to 3) will be holding a Carols by Candlelight evening at the school rugby fields that should get people in the Christmas spirit and, on Saturday, there is the “Fix her Crown” women’s event at St Paul’s Church in Port Alfred. For information on these and other events in and around the area see our Diarise This section, below.
WELL, we needed rain, and we certainly had a lot over the first part of the week although Wednesday was clear and sunny and even hot in the afternoon. The forecast for the weekend looks like it will rain a little and the wind will become breezy, but temperatures should stay in the low 20s. And, when the area gets waterlogged and the drains back up, people tend to think, “What water restrictions?” But the Eastern Cape is one of the provinces that declared a water crisis, and Ndlambe is particularly vulnerable to water shortages. Amatola Water had a meeting at the Bushman’s River RO plant on Wednesday that we were unable to attend due to deadline constraints, but many people do not believe Amatola Water has the solutions to our drought situation. In fact, after spending more and more on the so-called “quick wins” and “bulk water” projects, our water situation has actually worsened. The RO plant just north of Port Alfred is a white elephant due to a dispute between Amatola Water and its appointed contractors. This situation cannot continue and requires political will to fix the problems, as well as the provincial government taking a stand and sanctioning companies that take money (our money) and abuse it while providing nothing in return. This has happened in many of the projects undertaken by either the province, Sarah Baartman District Municipality and by Ndlambe. At the same time, people are making requests to mine sand in highly sensitive areas under the pretext that they will provide much-needed jobs. There is a huge backlog with respect to housing in the area and this is not being properly addressed. Ndlambe needs more schools, specifically high schools, and we need to fix those already in operation. And people need to understand that they must pay for the services provided to them, such as electricity, water and sanitation.
OUR front page story is about Netcare pulling out of the area due to a lack of demand for services. This is difficult to understand and is more likely to do with the people of this highly depressed area not being able to afford private healthcare rather than in a lack of potential patients. The clinics will therefore be required to carry an even greater load than they do currently and it is clear from observation that the clinics cannot cope with the number of patients they currently have to serve. This is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed. Healthcare should not be a matter of shareholders’ profit margins, but of caring for the health of the people. And, with the government’s plan to introduce the National Health Insurance (NHI) it is also clear the infrastructure to implement such a plan does not currently exist.
ANOTHER year has passed, so it’s time to wish everyone a very happy birthday, especially to Helen Lansdell, Tyla-Leigh Keeton, Emke Klopper, Harold Dodd, Loretta Krein, Wilson Makeleni, Malcolm Slater, Zoey Harris, Blake Botha, Ian Sawers, Jenny Hoseck, Amy Wilmot, Jenny Nel, Peter Godson, Andre Crous, Denise van der Merwe, Jacques Westraadt, Shelley Handley, Des Spenceley, Clive Haworth, Sandra Hayward, Fiona Timm, Ruan Cannon, Kathleen Hill, Cordelia Quma, Tarryn Hickman, Lettie Plaatjie, Deleste van den Meulen, Lynn Roberts, Josh Alexandre, Chan Kahn, Gary Gailey, Susan Gombert, Basil Terry.
CONGRATULATIONS and even more success for the future, to all businesses celebrating an anniversary, especially the Christie’s Complex in Campbell Street, The Bathurst Farmers’ Market on 20 marvellous years, and The Goat Shed Bush Bistro at Woodlands in Kenton.
IT seems like we say the same things over and over again regarding the state of the economy. President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to be doing his best to secure investment in the country and, following negotiations with business at the South African Investment Conference in Johannesburg recently, things should be looking up for the country. Ramaphosa is in Brazil for the Brics investment conference where it is hoped he will secure even more funding from the member nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to enable him to achieve his goal, stated in April 2018, to raise $100m (R1.2-
trillion). But the problem is not entirely in raising investment, but in the way lots of investment is squandered and looted by maleficence on the part of those in charge. That is what the IMF, the ratings agencies and potential investors are interested in. And, in the meantime, the US/China trade wars continue; oil prices sit above the $60 per barrel mark and the SA rand hovers around the R15 to the 1$US mark and above R19 to the £1. As we go to press, and with last year’s figures in brackets, the rand was trading at R14.94 to the dollar (R14.40), R19.20 to the pound (R18.64), with the euro at R16.45
(R16.24). Commodities such as gold were trading at $1,462.23 per fine ounce ($1,200.18) and platinum is trading at $873.01 per ounce ($842.35). Brent Crude is at its lowest price for some time, now trading at $61.73 per barrel ($66.09)
SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are unwell, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte to Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Emilene Bruwer, Jenny Groenewald, Marian Eaton and Gavin Tessendorf.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations and all good wishes for many more to all couples celebrating this special occasion next week. Especially Jan and Yvette Eloff, Roly and Lorna Clayton, Mark and Suzanne Wyllie, Malcolm and Carole Christie, John and Jaida Ball. Tim and Imare Patterson, John and Sharon Dailkin, Leon and Reonette Jansen van Rensburg.
THOUGHT for the week: “Success, happiness, peace of mind and fulfilment…are available to all among us who, without exception, make things happen…in the world around them.”
BEST regards as always,