Neighbourly Notes – 9 January 2020

SCENIC PROPOSAL: It was an idyllic setting at the Riet River when Peter van der Spuy got down on one knee and proposed marriage to his long-time girlfriend Nadia Schwarz. The proposal came as a complete surprise but was something that Van der Spuy had been planning since February 2019. ‘I love him with all my heart and I am so excited to start this year as his fiancé, and I cannot wait to be Mrs Van der Spuy. I’m absolutely giddy,” Schwarz beamed.

BY now we should all be aware of the imminent danger of there being no water in the Ndlambe area. Ndlambe is only one of numerous municipalities in the Eastern Cape, and country, that is suffering from drought, and something needs to be done urgently about this problem. The residents of the townships seem to be the worst affected and people in the high-lying areas, including pensioners, have had no water for days or even weeks. In an area on the coast where water appears plentiful, it seems ironic that we should be suffering drought conditions, but potable (drinkable) water is a very scarce resource in many places around the world at this time. It is easy to blame climate change as the main culprit to our current water woes, and it certainly has and will continue to present us with problems. But the main problem is far more prosaic – the government (from national right down to municipal levels) has no strategy to remedy the situation. It has thrown taxpayers’ money at many short-term projects, most of which have failed abysmally to fix the problems and have simply exacerbated the situation. Aside from costing millions so far, Amatola Water, appointed by the provincial government to provide potable water to the area, has bled the water from local farms dry, rendering them unsustainable while delivering absolutely no benefits. Fixing the problem will take political will, coordination and a determination to hold accountable those who are responsible, but this is something that is sadly lacking. Don’t miss the public meeting to take place on Tuesday January 14 at 5.30pm at the civic centre.

THE 2019 matric results were announced on Tuesday for the IEB (Independent Examination Board) exams and yesterday for the National Senior Certificates. Well done to Kuyasa Combined School which just managed to pip Port Alfred High School to the post by just half a percentage point and with a matric pass rate of 89.83%, and making it to fourth position overall in the district among the NSC matriculants. And big congratulations to DSG, who sit the IEB exams, for not only attaining a 100% pass rate, but also 100% for bachelor’s passes. As far as government schools go, it appears that effort, great and dedicated teachers and the support of the community are the most important factors in achieving top results. Unfortunately though, Ikamvalesizwe was the bottom school in Ndlambe and the district with a pass rate of just 34.37%. Perhaps the school needs to speak to the principal of Kuyasa to find out what they are doing right. Nevertheless, well done to all the matrics who passed but a word of condolence to those who failed to make the grade. There is nothing stopping you from resitting your exams or, even better, have a look at the many non-academic jobs available. Good luck to you all; you are our future.

LOADSHEDDING raised its head again at the end of 2019 and, despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assurances that we would not experience loadshedding until January 13 at the earliest, it began again over the weekend. There is no solution to the problems at Eskom while the current management, who have had years to resolve the issues of conveyor belts and wet coal (surely an afdak would keep the coal dry?) is in place. The debacle at Medupi and Kusile power stations is due to bad design and incompetent construction, and has cost the taxpayer billions. It is being used as a scapegoat to explain why loadshedding is necessary, while the real reason is that Eskom management has no idea what to do and, due to union pressure, lacks the courage to implement the necessary lay-offs from its bloated workforce, or appoint independent power producers into the mix. These solutions have been recommended by international experts who have faced similar problems in the past. The situation will continue unless the government takes stand to support the 56 million people they are supposed to represent, instead of the few hundred who may be laid off.

BIRTHDAY greetings and congratulations to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead. May the year ahead bring you most of what you wish for, especially to Debbi Reed, Michelle Jones Phillipson, Myrtle Fleming, Gift Wallace, Jurie Wessels, Andy Simpson, Michael Gardner, Wade Cox, Dudley Callaghan, Janice Shelver, Ronelle Botha, Bob Hobbs, Marlene Bowdler, Nola Johannsen, Lindsay Wilmot Steyn, Neale McCabe, Janet Hyde, Nicky van Lavieren, Lee Howard, Leonie Beetge, Jonty Lentz, Lora Waters, Jackie Anderson, Celia Bradfield, Jaco van Rensburg, David Gwilliam and Lorraine Mobbs.

CONGRATULATIONS on another successful year to the following places and businesses enjoying another anniversary, with best wishes for many more years to come – The Fish River Diner, Eastern Cape Motors, The Royal Alfred Marina.

ONCE again, SA finds itself at the mercy of international conflicts beyond its control or influence. US President Donald Trump’s latest widely criticised assassination of Iranian number two, Qasem Soleimani, has the potential to throw the world economies into turmoil due to its control of oil, and could even begin a new arms race and a war. The ANC’s condemnation and support of Iran is disturbing and will not help us at a time when we need international support (but then, supporting terrorists is just par for the course for the ANC). Added to this is the threat from North Korean supreme leader and chairperson of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim Jong-un, in continuing testing his nuclear arsenal. The international financial systems are therefore unsteady and, at the time of going to press (with 2019’s figures in brackets) the rand was trading at R14.25 to the dollar (R13.95), R18.75 to the pound (R17.76) and R15.92 (R15.95) to the euro. Commodities such as gold were trading at $1,566.60 ($1281.46), platinum wa trading at $986.40 ($834.90) and Brent crude was trading at $68.48 ($59.86). With the price of Brent Crude rising significantly, the latest relief to motorists that saw a reduction in price at the pumps may be very short-lived.

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 best wishes and heartiest congratulations to all couples celebrating another year of wedded bliss, especially Phil and Pam Hopper, Rob and Maureen Edlmann, Gary and Odette Gailey and Charlton and Shireen Hilpert.

THOUGHT for the week: “The greatest guarantee that you will leave the legacy you desire is how you live every day.”

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

Leave a Reply