IN observing the R72 upgrade project, it is difficult to imagine it will be completed by the end of the year (actually, December 15 when the builders’ holiday begins). This project has taken far, far longer than originally anticipated and has been responsible for a number of traffic accidents (from bumper bashings to trucks overturning) and has likely put many tourists off from visiting Port Alfred. We all want to see a successful end to this project but, aside from traffic warnings about blasting or road closures (from Sanral’s PR company), Talk of the Town has never received any updates or even a timeline on the status of the project. Further to this, it seems, again from observation, that some jobs (such as paving or road finishes) are completed only to be partially dug up again to add another element of the project (concrete laid for paving, then dug up to access drains or place guardrail posts and so forth). I have never had any experience on road upgrades, so cannot comment if this is typical but, as an engineer, I can positively think of far more efficient ways (and less wasteful of resources and manpower) to get the job done. Yet some people are happy with the way in which Sanral (and its contractors) are performing and say that they have been involved and informed by Sanral and its contractors as to what is happening on the road upgrade project.
THE imminent closure of the private side of the Port Alfred and Settlers hospitals in Makhanda has generated a lot of comments this past week, and residents are worried that the clinic will not be able to cope with the number of sick people in the area. The alternative then is to either travel to Port Elizabeth or East London to visit a hospital there. This plan is not just an inconvenience, but a disaster in our area, particularly in an emergency situation. But, the question is, when did money become the primary objective of the healthcare system? I fully understand that doctors and other medical staff need to earn a living and that medical equipment costs money. But to put money above people’s health cannot be right. Is the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme going to be able to replace private hospitals? What are your thoughts?
TALK of the Town attended a special dinner last Friday evening at the Fish River Resort for the graduation of local women who were selected to learn catering skills as part of the Mantis Community Upliftment Programme, an initiative that trains those from less fortunate communities skills that should ensure them of employment in the future. Each of the students passed the course, conducted by Stenden South Africa, and given internships at Mantis hotels in the area (including the Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve, Halyards Hotel, the Royal St Andrews Hotel, My Pond Hotel and Fish River Resort). On the evening, attended by many of the suppliers, special guests and partners of the Mantis Collection, the students prepared the meals, which were delicious. The fillet steak (one of the items on the menu that I selected) was cooked to perfection and, as my father [a chef] would say, “so tender you could have eaten it with a broken jaw”. Well done to Ashley Palm under whose leadership at the hotel the course took plac, as well as to Mantis and Stenden. Look out for the centre-page spread on the evening and the Mantis Community Upliftment Programme in next week’s edition.
WE send bright thoughts and warmest birthday wishes to everyone celebrating a birthday and hopefully may it be the best ever. Congratulations, especially to Mike Millard, Buks de Kock, Kayleigh Parsons, Graham Strachan, Cindy Charter, Olivia Charter, Duncan Minott, Jill Bax, Colette Reid, Hilpert twin sisters Michaela and Monique, Lydia Atteridge, Lisa Tarr, Julia Stevens, Ann McCann, Bella Metcalf, Lynette Keeton, Jacquiline du Preez, Gladman Sontsonga, Geofrey Duruwe, Richard Rudman, Barry Allen, Peter Reed, Barbara Carolan, Martin Neethling, Mo Goff, Shalmedine Brooks, Gavin Keeton, Tyrone Dixon, Lindi Garner, Cecilia Paul, Anthony Stevenson, Mikayla Patterson, Denise Beresford, Michelle Rowe, Delene Deenik, Craig Dickie, Francois de Klerk, Carol Mentz, Jacques Tarrant, Benjamin Arnott, Omica Ngqowana, San Marie Vorster, Bruno Menin, Matthew Evans, Marion McPherson, Lodene Pohl, Ilse Wicks, Anita Thompson, Toni Metcalf, Kerry Charter, Sylvia Strydom, Brandon Handley. Special 50th birthday wishes to Angie Bezuidenhout last Monday.
CONGRATULATIONS and continued success to the following businesses celebrating another anniversary, especially to Mildek Garden Services, Cherrywood Nursery (Kenton-on-Sea), Kekkel en Kraai, Mabini’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant (Kenton-on-Sea), Try Me for Tours, The Corner Gallery (Bathurst), Rosehill Mall opened on November 27 2008.
IT is difficult to be positive about the state of the country. SA is hobbling along and hoping that the appointment of the new Eskom CEO (André de Ruyter) will turn the company around. Eskom debt is R400bn and, as the only official supplier of power to SA, is a strategically critical component of the economy. South African Airways staff are on strike for better pay. The company is seriously overstaffed (as are most, if not all, state-owned enterprises), but the unions will not allow redundancies to take place. A state-run airline is not critical to the country’s economy. Official enquiries regarding state capture and other forms of looting are taking place, but no-one has yet been imprisoned or even charged with these crimes. These are the reasons the country is not taken seriously as an investment proposition. Why invest in a country where it appears lawlessness in the form of looting is the norm? Added to this, the US/China trade wars have not yet been settled and, to top it all, the US and the UK are both n turmoil regarding impeachment, or Brexit and the December election. For these reasons, and others, the rand is suffering and, until we sort out our own domestic problems, it is unlikely that any of the billons of rand promised to SA through President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment strategy will be honoured. With 2018’s figures in brackets to compare against the rand was trading at R14.74 to the dollar (R13.97), R19.06 to the pound (R17.89), and R16.32 to the euro (R15.94). Commodities were trading with gold at R1,465.70 per fine ounce ($1,223.98), platinum at R893.42 per ounce ($844.85) and Brent crude oil at R61.96 per barrel ($63.50).
SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Emilene Bruwer, Jenny Groenewald, Derek Church, Jan Haig, Gavin Tessendorf and Lyn Charter.
OUR sincere condolences to the family and friends of Barry Purdon who passed away peacefully on Monday morning. A memorial service will be held at Rokeby Park Church this Thursday November 21 at 3pm. Donations in lieu of flowers to Sunshine Coast Hospice.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations and may there be many more years of continued happiness to Garth and Jenny Kieck, Jaco and Cheryl Delport, Matthew and Casey van Niekerk, Vic and Beryl Goddard.
THOUGHT for the week: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.”
BEST regards as always,