HAPPY New Year to all our readers. In this week’s Neighbourly Notes, the first for 2021, we should look forward to a brighter year ahead, but that is difficult with the spectre of Covid just waiting to pounce. Today marks 287 days under lockdown, now back at level 3. Everyone is charged with wearing a mask when in public, there are no social gatherings except funerals, international travel is a no-no and social distancing is still in force. So, where do we go from here and what can we hope for in the year ahead? Most businesses have already experienced severe cutbacks and have had to reduce their staff complement. Should the lockdown continue, many will be forced to shut up shop, and this is no better highlighted than in the tourism industry where travel bans caused devastation around the world last year. The beach bans implemented in December further exacerbated the problem as tourists cancelled travel plans to the coast. Our guest houses and hotels were the first impacted; some will never be able to make u the loss of funds and support. Our restaurants, some of which are world-class, were stymied and, during what should have been the busiest time of the year, were laying staff off and closing their doors. In 2021 we should make a special effort to buy local. Don’t moan about businesses closing, use them. Save your money and spend it in supporting local businesses. The entertainment industry is another that has been virtually decimated during the lockdown. Remember the live bands we all enjoyed in the past at the great venues we have in the area? Remember the number of national and international performers who graced our stages? You have to have a good memory as the last major concerts here happened at least 12 months ago. It has been great that some artists have taken to the internet and have even given free concerts for our entertainment. Thank you all, we are sorely in need of some positivity, and music, comedy and even virtual plays have and will help us get through this. Bottom line is: Support local busineses.
TO vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That was the question on people’s minds at the end of last year as vaccines began to be rolled out. That is not the most pressing question for South Africans at this point as, until at least April, there is no vaccine planned for the country. Is this because of the incompetence of those in charge, or did the government play it smarter than virtually every other country in the world? The excuse for only placing orders for vaccines once they were approved has left South Africa at the end of the Covid-19 queue. Therefore, if Covid-19 continues to mutate – which viruses do – we will not see any dramatic drop in transmission (particularly since many will not abide by the rules) until May or June. If it persists that long, South Africa may become a pariah to the rest of the world who will not allow access to South Africans until we get the virus under control.
JUST a quick shout-out for Child Welfare. Buy a raffle ticket (R10 each or three for R25), and you can stand a chance to win great prizes. Visit the Interact Club PAHS on Facebook for further details.
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, twins Ross and Clayton Lloyd, Margie Siegers, Tracey Butt, John Butt, Kelly Avis, Shaun Botha, Myrtle Fleming, Gift Wallace, Jurie Wessels, Andy Simpson, Michael Gardner, Wade Cox, Dudley Callaghan, Janice Shelver, Ronelle Botha, Bob Hobbs, Marlene Bowdler, Nola Johannsen, Jonty Lentz, Lora Waters, Jackie Anderson, Celia Bradfield, Jaco van Rensburg, David Gwilliam, 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.
THE price of fossil fuels increased at midnight on Tuesday; between 40 and 43c per litre, diesel by a whopping 55c and 54c per litre and illuminating paraffin by 55c per litre. The reason, we are told, is the strengthening of the Rand against the US Dollar as the government is not making enough from the fuel levy. That’s strange, because when the rand was weak fossil fuels also went up. There seems to be no way to win this one. Mind you, South Africa aren’t the only ones to fall into this trap. In the 70s the UK used North Sea oil revenue to offset its balance of payments deficit, and the same thing happened – as oil prices went up so did fuel prices, but when oil came down in price the government didn’t get enough to offset debt so fuel prices went up. We need some innovative fiscal strategies but I’m unsure the government understands the problem and is not addressing it. At the time of going to press (with 2020’s figures in brackets) the rand was trading at R14.83 to the dollar (R14.25), R20.11 to the pound (R18.75) and R18.19 (R15.92) to the euro. Commodities such as gold were trading at $1,419.23 ($1,566.60), platinum was trading at $1,080.71 ($986.40) and Brent crude was trading at $51.78 ($68.48).
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.
DEEPEST sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Tanya Carter, mother of Louise Carter (ex-TotT reporter). Our thoughts are with Louise, and Tanya ’s son Jonathan, son-in-law Mitch (ex-TotT salesman) and her pride and joy, Grayson, her grandson. May happy memories sustain you during this traumatic and sad period, and may Tanya rest in peace. Our thoughts are with you all.
SINCEREST condolences to the family and friends of Vivienne Reid, who passed away recently. May memories of good times spent together carry you through this difficult time.
CONGRATULATIONS to Michael and Septi Gardner who were married on December 12 in Indonesia. Michael is the son of Spinning Reel owners Steve and Kim Gardner. May you have many happy and health years together.
OUR best wishes and heartiest congratulations to all couples celebrating another year of wedded bliss, especially Dean and Charis Charter 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,