Neighbourly Notes – 11 February 2021

SUNSET OVER THE BEACH: Richard Daneel’s emotive and serene photograph of West Beach, looking toward Kelly’s Beach.

IT is now 322 days since the national lockdown was imposed, almost a full year of no large social gatherings, people working from home and three alcohol bans. Families have missed getting together at Easter, Christmas and the New Year. We have missed our sporting events such as the RSAH Amanzi Challenge and social events such as the Bathurst Show and more. Some families have not been able to comfort elderly and sick relatives and sometimes loved ones have had to die alone. Many have lost jobs, while others no longer have the resources to survive. And then we are told there are vaccines, safe and effective, but the government did not order on time. Instead, SA was sold 1.5- million doses of a vaccine that apparently has no significant affect unless the effects of the virus are serious. Yet we don’t actually know that yet, and so the government halted its vaccination programme to await further results from more tests. But this is not really an option as the vaccine doses received expire in April. Either our scientists or our political leaders (or both) got this completely wrong. The chances of 80% of the population being vaccinated this year is unlikely. This implies Covid-19 will be around for a long time, possibly mutating every year (just as influenza does) and that yearly booster shots will be required. For these reasons and to avoid a possible third wave (and further mutations), Covid-19 restrictions may remain in place for some time to come. This latest debacle gives vaccine-skeptics another reason to doubt the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. Also of concern to many is the way governments around the world have interpreted the data and implemented their lockdowns and safety protocols.

OH, to be on stage again. It is difficult to explain to people who are terrified of being on the stage, but artists are having a difficult time with the lockdown restrictions. Artists have not been able to perform before a live and present audience for almost a year, and it’s getting tough. There has been no income from the gigs where dancers, bands, solo artists and comedians would usually perform. Though restaurants and pubs are open again to serve alcohol, the opening times are reduced and social distancing still applies. Port Alfred desperately needs a party to lift our spirits and reenergise us but that is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.

SEWAGE spills are another problem our area has to contend with, Van der Riet Street, Campbell Street, Masonic Street and Biscay Road in Port Alfred (part of the Kowie Flats) seem to be the worst affected. Added to this problem is the water crisis we have been living with for years and will probably have to live with for many more. Ndlambe wants to construct two reverse osmosis plants (but one has already been delayed twice and no work has begun on the other).The first is a seawater RO plant that will extract saltwater from the Kowie River and purify it. This plant is a 2 mega litre per day facility. The second plant is for a waste water RO plant that takes waste water from the sewerage system and purifies it (might sound revolting but it is done all over the world and water quality from the system is tightly controlled and more than safe to drink). But wait, if we are only producing 2Ml from seawater, and only some of this is used for washing and toiletries, how do we extract 3Ml from sewerage? Perhaps the municipality needs to rethink its strategy.

HAPPY birthday greetings to everyone celebrating a birthday in the coming week. We wish you all good health and happiness, especially Judta van Heerden, Melanie Elliott, Jenny le Roux, Michelle Swanepoel, Leonie Fourie, Sally Thompson, Brandon Wicks, Jeremy Elliott, Blessing Nkosi, Megan Sharrock, John- Luke Collyer, Jessie Bohnen, Eben Groenewald, Jenni Waters, Greg Timm, Wendy Pieterse, John Forster, Anelisa Yoli, Cornelle Coetzee, Ryan Heathcote, Sylvia Gwebile, Jenny Louw, Val Williams, Matt van Eeden, Chelsea van Eeden, Ashley Bamber, Joy Smith, Carl van Heerden, Herma Purdon, Marizka Burgess, Tiffany Gudzman, Karelde Jaeger, Peter Lear, Hendrick Koekemoer and Russell Kearney. And a happy belated birthday to Gloria Siyolo.

BUSINESS anniversary congratulations, plus further success and good wishes to Fresh Stop at Andy’s Service Centre and DP Engineering.

WATCH the oil price which has increased from about $US55 to just over $US60 per barrel. This increase will have a significant effect on our economy and costs will rise significantly. Power was off last weekend and the new two-and-a-half hour loadshedding schedule was introduced. Apparently, Eskom employees have no idea how to keep coal dry (despite having some of the largest furnaces in the country). Seriously, any mechanical engineering apprentice could figure that out. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, and at the time of going to press, the Rand was trading at R14.77 to the US Dollar (R14.79), R20.35 to the British Pound (R19.19) and R17.88 to the Euro (R16.15). Gold was trading at $1,839.98 per fine ounce ($1,565.76), Platinum at $1,164.00 per ounce ($973.24) with Brent Crude Oil at $60.34 ($55.10) per barrel.

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 and Lesley Stevenson.

WITH the hint of romance in the air and the celebration that another year of marriage is lovingly added, it’s congratulations to all couples on their anniversaries. Vaughn and Carla de la Mare, Mark and Jacquie Kieck, Jona and Mel Arnott, Devon and Kelly Brittle, Terry and Helen Lansdell, James and Lindy Robinson, Malcolm and Kathy Robinson, John and Karen Fletcher.

TO all romantics – have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. To those who are not (romantics) – enjoy all the specials on offer from many businesses.

THOUGHT for the week: “The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”

BEST regards as always,
The Team

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