OUR front page story this week is about builders not conforming to the conditions stipulated in the title deeds of land in Forest Downs. This is an issue that the municipality must address. However, in their reply to questions the municipality did not explain who allowed these undersized homes to be constructed. There cannot be two sets of rules. The title deeds require any houses to be 150m² in size and neither house comes close to that (one at 118m² and the other 70m²). These conditions are not negotiable and must be obeyed. This area of Forest Downs is reasonably unoccupied at this time, but if some builders get away with transgressing the conditions then others will follow. The municipality needs to get on top of this problem before the situation becomes unmanageable.
CANNABIS will be featured at the Bathurst Agricultural Show this April and, as one of the oldest and most prestigious shows of its kind in the country, the news is generating a lot of excitement. This is great news for the agricultural sector, particularly emerging farmers with limited space as cannabis can be grown on the smaller farms. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% (dry, by weight) of the psychoactive component in Cannabis (THC). It has been used for over 10,000 years and might well have been one of the first cultivated plants in the world. Once harvested, the plants can be sold to factories where stalks and husks can be processed into oils, animal feed, textiles or further processed for medicinal purposes. Even better, the municipality should consider building a factory to do this in Ndlambe and build an industry to alleviate poverty, reduce unemployment and even generate some revenue. After all, the chicory industry it supports is not doing well at the moment with cheap imports, so this could present a golden (or green) opportunity.
CORONAVIRUS is a virus that has killed over 100 people to date and thousands have been identified as probably infected. The problem is that it appears to be easily transmitted by touching an infected person, but can lie dormant for up to 14 days. Symptoms are similar to the common cold so, until blood samples are taken, it is difficult to diagnose. Countries are recalling their citizens from China, the epicentre of the outbreak, but it appears that at least six countries, most in Asia but at least one case in Germany, have identified infected persons. In fact, in the case of the German, it is someone who has never been to China. We still know very little about coronavirus, its transmission, dormancy period and whether it has mutated (like HIV has done). Now, here’s the problem. Our hospitals are overloaded and ill equipped already (and we cannot build a hospital in a week like the Chinese have) so I am uncertain how the South African minister of health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, was able to confidently assure viewers on SABC 2’s Morning Live on Wednesday morning that his staff had the matter in hand. Confidence is one thing but ignorance is something else entirely.
GREETINGS and happy birthday wishes to everyone enjoying another special day in the week ahead, especially Denis Brummer, Mike Beaumont, Kirsty Jooste, Heston Botha, Fransje Spieker, 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, Cecily Gould, 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). Other important dates to remember this week are the 42nd annual Sun Met (previously known as the J&B Met) Horse Racing Day, which is on this Saturday February 1. The theme for this year’s illustrious event is “African Luxury: Visionaries”. They are calling on all race-goers to feel inspired by their inner vision, creativity and innovation and arrive ready to transform Africa’s Richest Race Day into a harmony of visionary imagination.
AS has been the case for years, the rand fluctuates daily due to external matters. While President Cyril Ramaphosa is schmoozing international investors, the continuous bail-outs of dysfunctional state-owned enterprises like SAA, which has just received a R3.5bn bailout by the state-owned Development Bank of South Africa (state-owned means that taxes are used — so the people are effectively bailing SAA out, not anyone at the bank). Added to this, Eskom needs to hike up the price of electricity more than the national energy regulator (Nersa) has allowed for. When do people pay more for a service or product that they do not receive? The situation is making the country look like a banana republic. These bailouts must stop and, if the company then fails, so be it. There will always be another in the wings waiting to pick up the pieces. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R14.62 (R13.60) to the dollar, R19.03 (R17.80) to the Pound and R16.09 (R15.83) to the Euro. Gold ws trading at $1,571.42 ($1,285.35), Platinum trading at $991.20 ($793.10) and Brent Crude was $60.02 ($61.77).
HEARTFELT sympathy to the family and friends of Robert Edlmann who passed away on Monday January 27. A funeral service will be held on Monday February 3 at St Paul’s Anglican Church at 11am.
SINCERE condolences to the family and friends of Andy Swanepoel who passed away peacefully on Saturday January 25 at Settlers Park. May happy memories of wonderful times together comfort you all at this sad time in your lives.
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.
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, 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,