Neighbourly Notes – 6 February 2020

FAMILY TIME: Enjoying Sunday Lunch at the Pig and Whistle in Bathurst recently were, from left, Arlene Bassett, Margaret Schroder, Josh and Chris Alexandre, AJ and Tracy Morris, with Erica and Romy Alexandre. Picture: ROB KNOWLES

THIS weekend is another quiet one on the Kowie but there are still many things to do in and around the area including great food at our many fine restaurants and cafés, or socialising at one of our pubs and other drinking establishments, or simply strolling along any of the beaches along our magnificent coastline. However, for the sportier minded, why not get to the Kowie Bowls Club on Friday evening for Pick n Pay Night Bowls? This is a whole lot of fun, either as a player or a spectator, and the Lions are at hand to provide food, with the bar open for liquid refreshments.

ARE you from Settler Stock or just curious about the almost 4,000 settlers who arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1820? In this bicentennial year Courteney Bradfield will be talking about the 1820 Nottingham Party who made Clumber their new home. For more information on these or any other events in the area, see our Diarise This section, below.

AS a result our lead article in last week’s Talk of the Town, Housing Contraventions, we have received responses from several sources who have complained about other properties that are either in contravention of municipal bylaws or title deeds conditions, or else are currently occupied without completion certificates. Talk of the Town will further investigate this and report back in a future edition.

WATER restrictions are still in force, despite recent rains, as dam levels remain critical. Municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni told council at last week’s meeting that tariff breakpoints would be lowered, meaning that higher tariffs will kick in earlier than originally planned (see the new tariff breakpoints in our Council Notes article). Following the municipality’s decision to restrict water to certain areas in order to relieve the burden on our dams, Talk of the Town has received many requests for updated water schedules. People in Nemato, for example, want to know if they are on the West or East Bank. The problem is that TotT is reliant on the municipality providing those schedules to us for publication and so far, Port Alfred is the only area provided on the lists. Other complaints come from those in more remote high-lying areas that do not receive water even when the schedule says they should. This is a problem with gravity, as opposed to the municipality. When the pipes are empty they begin to fill from he lowest point so, even if water is available to a specific area, those in higher elevations might not receive water at first but will be the first without water when there is no supply as water flows to the lower elevations. And yet, walking around town one can still see people washing cars, water pouring from hydrants and a general incomprehension that when the water runs out there is no more. Everyone must be careful with the water they use.

CAN we believe anything we are told about Eskom? After a promise from President Cyril Ramaphosa that we would not experience load-shedding until after January 13, and even when they began a week earlier, Eskom stated they would keep the lights on during peak hours to assist traffic flow. Neither turned out to be true. But the biggest problems loadshedding causes are to the economy. Although this is inconvenient, we could probably learn to live with it. But businesses have been forced to wind down or even shut down and employees worry they might be forced into the long lines of the unemployed, official 29% at the end of last year. In reality, it is running closer to 40% overall, with youth the most prejudiced (Stats SA records unemployment of those aged between 15 and 24 is over 50%). South Africans are tired of excuses as to why Eskom is failing, and want to hear how it is succeeding, yet this seems unlikely to happen as it would be regarded as a “political failure”. Generally, people are not worried about poitics, they just want the services they are paying for and a country that actually works.

CONGRATULATIONS and greetings to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead. Happy birthday, especially to Tammy van Heerden, Steven de Kiewit, Tessa Henning, Keenen Hendricks, Kris van Zyl, Tertia Hockin, Phumela Pase, Norman Wedderburn, Rob Knowles, Nonyameko Siyolo, Juan Bessinger, Rocky Rowe, Jessie Bohnen, Hillary Bryant, Des Wright, Suzanne Fitchet, Fay Smith, Rowen Loretz, Roy Bowles, Jack Malan, Blessing Nkosi, Melanie Noel, Jenny le Roux, Michelle Swanepoel, Leonie Fourie, Brandon Wicks, Jeremy Elliott, Megan Sharrock, John-Luke Collyer, Frikkie Coetzee, Marlene Wiese, Gloria Kamkam, Hendrik Koekemoer, Sandy Thomas, Mike Neave, Magda Loubser, Edmund Hall, Marilyn Michau, Linda Smuts, Russell Kearney.

BUSINESS and service organisation anniversary congratulations with wishes for further success for the future to Jumbo Store, The Jewellery Shop, 2nd Time Around, The Port Alfred Hospital and Woollgar Attorneys.

THE Rand is in the doldrums and probably won’t escape further depreciation until, and if, the problems of parastatals like SAA and Eskom are resolved. But these are just the SOEs in the spotlight at the moment, and most of the country’s state-run companies and divisions are in a dire state. President Ramaphosa has taken the public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to court after her report implicated him in corrupt activities, while Ramaphosa’s predecessor, former president Jacob Zuma, skipped out of his arms deal corruption case with yet another delay due, he claimed, to ill health. These matters also turn investors off and further plunge the economy into turmoil. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R14.72 (R13.48) to the US Dollar, R19.21 (R17.46) to the British Pound and R16.24 (R15.35) to the Euro. Gold was trading at $1,552.16 ($1,312.13) per fine ounce and platinum was trading at a $965.68 ($819.95), Brent Crude was $55.39 ($61.44). Crude oil was the saving grace and fuel prices reductions have been announced for next week.

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. Congratulations to all couples on their anniversaries. Best wishes for many more great years ahead to Lance and Rose Parker, Warren and Kate Venter, Warren and Lisa Tarr, Allen and Helen Thompson.

WELL done to the Proteas (Really? Could we not name our gladiators something other than a flower?) who thrashed England in their first ODI at Newlands on Tuesday. It was a great day for newly appointed captain Quinton de Kok, who scored his first ton as captain alongside Temba Bavuma who so very nearly made a century himself (out with his score at 98). But let’s not count our chickens and remember the test series where we won the first test and then badly lost the remaining three.

THOUGHT for the week: “The greatest healing therapy in life is friendship and love”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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