Neighbourly Notes – 10 September 2020

LOCAL CONCERNS: Bathurst resident Clare Rothwell was the last person to leave the Move One Million protest on the Nico Malan Bridge last Saturday, where nearly 200 people had gathered for about 35 minutes with placards denouncing farmer murders, gender-based violence and government corruption. Rothwell’s placard was specifically local, referring to the money the Ndlambe Municipality spent on a reverse osmosis tender that was set aside by the Grahamstown High Court. Picture: JON HOUZET

CAN you believe that today is the 168th day of the national lockdown? What ever happened to 2020? Tuesday this week was the first day of spring and has brought warmer evenings and sunny skies, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. There are still rainy and cold days to come before the season truly kicks in.

AS things begin to return to some level of normality with businesses opening and at least local tourism possible once more, it is important to understand that concern about Covid-19 has not gone away. The government initially warned about a peak yet to come and is also still warning about a supposed second wave of the virus. So, unless we want more interference and unnecessary bans from the government we still need to abide by the regulations. OUR front-page article refers to the RO plant tender and the machinations in the process that saw Ndlambe hand over R20m to a company for a tender that was declared unlawful and overturned by the high court. Now the municipality proposes to spend another R10.5m to purchase the equipment the tenderer apparently manufactured and acquired to build the RO plant. This after the company was unwilling to pay back the R20m. Well, if they get this additional R10.5m they still come out winners, and we get part of an RO plant.

AT the same time as businesses are reopening for trade it appears that the sewerage systems are unable to cope and leaks have been reported from all over Ndlambe. To blame ageing infrastructure is simply a diversion from the real problem that, along with so many other government run institutions, the municipality has failed to maintain a system they inherited many years ago. Our current sewerage system probably requires a complete overhaul and possible replacement at this time. There are still parts of Port Alfred that are not on waterborne sewerage. Our towns are growing as more people decide to live or retire along the Eastern Cape coast and therefore our infrastructure (water, sewerage and electricity) must be expanded to meet the ever-growing needs of residents. Yet, this expansion cannot be done while neglecting current infrastructure. Sewage flowing down our streets or pooling in what have become cesspits in some areas does not attract new residents and is especially unwelcome in the CBD. The municipaliy addresses the problem on a piecemeal basis by sending out workers to fix leaks as they occur, and this invariably requires overtime payment. But, in other cases where the situation is dire (requiring firefighters or doctors and so forth) personnel work shifts and this is probably what should happen at the municipality. We cannot hope to attract visitors while the problem of leaking or broken pipes remains unresolved.

ON to some national news and the EFF were out once more, this time protesting the hair shampoo advert from Clicks depicting problems with different hair types. It seems that Clicks may not have foreseen the reaction they received and quickly apologised. However, EFF commander-inchief, Julius Malema, did not regard the apology as sincere or sufficient and Tweeted to his followers to “attack” Clicks stores countrywide on Monday. The local protest seemed quiet by comparison to others where EFF members raided stores, destroyed property and, in one case, actually petrol-bombed a Clicks store. EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu said the EFF would enter stores when they opened and stop operations, referring to those who would lose their jobs as “unfortunate collateral”. Clicks has since been granted a court interdict to prevent the EFF from intimidating and threatening staff and customers and disrupting their operations, but the company still closed all their stores nationwide on Wednesday. Clicks also announced key saff members involved with approving the advert had resigned. What Clicks did might seem insensitive to many, but what the EFF has done and continues to do is criminal.

GREETINGS and birthday wishes to everyone enjoying another special day in the week ahead, especially Marion Barnard, Lionel Wilson, Matthew Neethling, Keith Cunning, Veronica Mansfield, Ryan Owsley, Helen Emslie, Patrick Kenny, Kelly Bradfield, Trish Versfeld, Stephani de Bruin, Heather Tyson, Jordan Faca, Twins Natalie and Caroline Ross, Colin Wiggett, Clare du Plessis, Dee Squires, Corrie Groenewald, Tony Versfeld, Anne McCreath, Nigel Difford, Val Thorncroft, Robyn Cock, Karen White, Robyn Solwandle, Jenna Pretorius, John Mobbs, Selby Tarr, Jamie Kleinhans, Jenna Rowe, Mandie Cirhakazi Mangesi, Dean Charter, Doris Emslie, Carl Haller, Isobel Meyer, Jan Pearson, Alec Clark, Dennis Crowther, Nomawethu Seti, Sonelle Muller, Nolonwabo Mani, Denise Rutgers, Van West, Janice Pearson, Dianne Menin and El-sje Willis.

BUSINESS anniversary congratulations and may success continue to grace your doors, is the wish we send to all businesses and organisations celebrating, including Kowie Key, Pick n Pay Liquors, DA Office and Diaz Cross Bird Club.

FIGURES announced on Tuesday show that the South African economy shrank by an unprecedented 51% in the second quarter of 2020. A contraction in GDP was expected but it was hoped that the decline in the economy would be less than this. It seems that the harsh lockdown has cost more in terms of hardship than was initially anticipated and, in order to resolve the problem the government needs to raise at least R800bn to steady the fiscal ship that is currently listing to the point of capsizing. It is clear that bans on goods that could have raised considerable tax revenues has had an effect on the economy but this is only the tip of the iceberg. The overriding issues that need to be addressed are endemic corruption and our inability to maintain an adequate power supply. With last year’s figures in brackets for comparison, the rand was trading at R16.85 to the dollar (R14.69), R21.81 to the pound (R18.12) and R19.83 to the Euro (R16.21). Gold was trading at $1,928.89 per fine ounce ($1,491.53), platinum at $914.10 ($935.00) and Brent Crude oil at $41.65 per barrel ($62.80).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Jenny Groenewald, Jan Haig, Bev Young, Fred Golombick and Graeme Sunny Hill.

WEDDING anniversary greetings and congratulations with wishes for many more wonderful times ahead to Rafe and Debbie McKinnon, Fred and Heather Tyson, Andrew and Judy Elliott, Mark and Tracy Deenik, Chris and Janice Housten, Chris and Erica Alexandre.

THOUGHT for the week: “Success is peace of mind, a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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