Neighbourly Notes – 15 April 2021

WELCOME VISITORS: Friends visiting from Stellenbosch, from left, Karalee Kleinschmidt and Clive Hunter, met at Tash’s Craft Bar on Sunday with locals the Cullen family, Cloé, Caroline and Shawn Picture: ROB KNOWLES

IT’S day 384 of the national lockdown and most things are back to some semblance of normality. However, residents in the Port Alfred area are wondering what is happening with regard to the water situation. In January, it looked as though we had finally come to the end of our water supply but, for most parts of town, water has been available throughout the March and (so far) April months. Residents in Forest Downs and the East Bank are still suffering with a lack of water, but it seems water is getting through to most taps in town. Having been informed of the delays in establishing the new seawater RO plant, it was generally believed water would not be available until this project was completed. However, residents are asking if the rains over March and April have increased dam levels. The municipality should publish the latest dam levels and send them to Talk of the Town and we will ensure our readers (plus Facebook and Twitter readers) learn of the latest situation regarding water. In the meantime, water restrictions are still in place, which means no car-washing, no using a hose from a municipal supply, no watering gardens and other restrictions. Let’s not waste water and conserve as much as we can. The Eastern Cape is still a water-scarce area.

SEWAGE is a big problem in the Port Alfred area and, despite the municipality hiring contractors to unblock drains, the stench of raw sewage is overpowering in some areas of town. Having ageing infrastructure is not a good enough excuse. Maintenance and replacement should have been an ongoing exercise, as it always was in the past, from the time the that current political leadership took over the reins. You should not wait over a quarter of a century without doing maintenance and then claim the infrastructure is old. Municipal officials and workers are among some of the highest paid employees in the area, yet it is residents’ money the municipality is using. It cannot be right that we pay more and more for services that are not being provided (sewage tariffs have increased by 5.5% this year). Our problems with a lack of water and sewage spilling onto the streets have a detrimental effect on our tourism industry. If we lose our tourists, there are a lot of businesses that will simply not survive. As the municipality seems to have no answers to these issues, we need a plan of action and the municipality should call upon local expertise in the area to establish a permanent solution to the problems of sewage.

ON a national level, some unbelievable news from the Department of Basic Education which has now ruled that teachers found guilty of sexual abuse will receive a life-long ban from teaching. What? Was this not already a rule?

WESTERN Cape high court judge president John Hlophe has been found guilty by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal of gross misconduct, and it only took 13 years to come to that conclusion. There are children in high school today who weren’t even born when Hlophe committed the acts of which he has been found guilty, and now the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) will make a recommendation to parliament asking that the judge be suspended until a ruling by parliament has been pronounced. If removed from office, Hlophe will lose his judge’s pension and all other benefits. Let’s hope the money he may have received from the arms deal will assist him over this trying time (sarcasm).

CONGRATULATIONS and happy birthday greetings to everyone enjoying a special day in the week ahead. Good wishes for the year ahead, especially to Jaida Ball, Leeanne Swart, Bruce Findley, Alexandra Albers, Barbara Morgan, Gerhild Scholz, Julia Jamieson, Colwyn Holshausen, Di Gruneberg, Sonai Owsley, Chene Vosloo, Laela Cannon, Emma Alberts, Peggy Southey, Geoff Broom, Slade Proctor, Brenda Carthew, Etienne Mouton, Kirstie Ganter, Merle Barnard, Dina Puzilewicz, Sallly-Ann Odendaal, Neil Chemaly, Michael Cholwich, Sherine du Preez, Lisa Lawson, Mandy Roesstorff, Marianne de Vos, Caroline McIntosh, Anton Wiersma, Gerenique Denston, Daniel Mahloko, Ron Gush, John Zweistra, Chante Pote, Miliza Rickson, Chix Pearson, John Rodgers, Lynette Lambert, Jennifer Cumming, Marielle Ford, Darren Wicks, Adricha Diedericks, Lee Pearson, Cathy Braans, Tori Stowe, Claire Hall, Lauren Brunette, Grant Marais and Cecile Oosthuizen.

CONTINUED success and congratulations on another anniversary for the following businesses, with best wishes and even more success for many years to come to Kwena Air (Wesley Hill), Kowie Vet Clinic and PA Home Industries.

COVID-19 is still playing a role in the world financial markets, and a country’s credit worthiness seems intimately tied to its ability to rollout the Covid-19 vaccines. In this sense, SA is way behind many other countries in the world, including some other African countries. Meanwhile, the US economy is beginning to show signs of recovery, as is that of the UK. However, Europe is seriously lagging behind. If Covid has taught us nothing else, it has certainly highlighted SA’s dependence on the support of other countries. At this time, the rand is at the mercy of other international currencies and its value will continue to rise and fall until we have a comprehensive vaccine roll-out plan (and, of course, when we have also received sufficient vaccines). With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R14.64 to the Dollar (R18.06), R20.12 to the Pound (R22.61) and R17.36 to the Euro (R19.80). On the commodities scene, gold is $1,737.42 per fine ounce ($1,690.80), platinum is trading at $1,183.00 ($759.50) and Brent crude oil at $63.24 ($32.57) per barrel.

BEST wishes and congratulations to other couples also celebrating an anniversary at this time, especially Stuart and Shannon Hawkes, Helgard and Erica Janse van Rensburg, Kevin and Gwen Bode, Nicole and Aiden Norden, Terry and Gisella Brickhill.

THOUGHT for the week: “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them”.

BEST regards

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