CAN you believe that it has been 391 days since the national lockdown was first announced? Today it is common to see people wearing masks around town, but also just as common to see people totally ignoring lockdown regulations. At a time when some countries in the world are experiencing a second or even third wave of the Covid-19 virus, SA’s identified cases are on the decline, along with the death rate, and this decline seems contrary to the fact that a supposedly more virulent SA variant had developed. Vaccine “rollout” seems like an oxymoron as we simply don’t have much of a plan and virtually no vaccines to roll out. A visit to the Royal St Andrews Hotel on Sunday turned into a chance discovery of two interesting stories. First, the Institutional Student Parliament (ISP) from the University of Fort Hare (UFH) were staying at the hotel for a workshop to study proposed amendments to the ISP constitution. UFH is known as a politically active university and the organisers of the event said they had chosen Port Alfred as it was a peaceful place and a time for calm discussions to fix perceived problems with its constitution. Then, in the Paper Nautilus there was a group from Pretoria who were on a mission to discover all the secrets SA keeps undercover and expose them to a wider audience. “People are too interested in going overseas when we have a world of interesting destinations in South Africa,” said Pretoria’s tourism manager Ezile Fakade. He was accompanied by Sihle Zizi, Ayabulela Matshezi and Aviwe Jalamba. Domestic tourism is a critical element for the entire tourism industry and, due to the slow speed of the country’s vaccine rollout, will become more important during 2021 and into 2022. Port Alfred is the hub to exciting game drives, river cruising and various water sports, historic landmarks and the place of Frontier War battles, unspoilt beaches, forest walks and wildlife photography. Ndlambe, in general, has so much history to share; from old and refurbished mills to the country’s longest continuously pen pub, the Historic Pig and Whistle. We need local tourism as this will enable our businesses to survive and for the towns in the area to grow.
LAST week’s news on the missing money at the Ndlambe Lockdown Support Group has upset a lot of people, particularly those who have donated money, time and effort into the project. From TotT’s social media presence it is clear that many people are angry that something intended to assist the poorer members of our community could be so abused. However, the evidence still has to be examined in court and the alleged perpetrator of the fraud, Christopher Stylianou, be given the opportunity to present a defense. We will have to wait and see how this plays out when Stylianou appears in court again on June 7.
IT will not be long now before several things are due to happen on the political front. The effective 30-day notice given to ANC general – secretary Ace Magashule is almost up but, so far, Magashule remains adamant he will remain an ANC member until the day he dies. The Constitutional Court is deliberating on the actions it must take with former President Jacob Zuma and Western Cape Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, who was aiming to beat Alan Winde for the Cape Town mayoral position, and apparently lied about his qualifications. What is going on and will SA ever be free of corruption? NOW, a week into Ramadan, we wish all our Muslim readers, Ramadan Mubarak.
MANY people don’t like to be reminded they are getting older, but there are others who maintain it is just about a number, as they feel the same in their hearts. Anyway, here’s to wishing everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead a wonderful birthday and best wishes for many more, especially to twin sisters Jean Reed and Willie Adams, Ric Wilson, Derrick Kleynhans, Hazel Peterson, Erna Macpherson, Tyler Stevenson, Kate Beavis, Lana Marais, Joan Mould, Kevin Mileham, Shane du Plessis, Moira Hilton-Barber, Donné Brent, Dave Hawkins, Jill Japp, Desmond Burger, Jessica Rudman, Peggy Southey, Pam Nel, Danielle Dugard, Claire Hall, Colleen Shaw, Ginger Naude, Ray Hicks, Erica Janse van Rensburg, Sue Simpkins, Ronin Beetge, Pieter Pretorius, Hazel Whitham, Glenn McCreath, Taylor Thorp, Tony Border, Andrew Marshall, Dries Meyer, Wally Vandermeulen, Jacoba Maritz, Lauren Brunette, Warren Currie, Grant Marais, Paul Crous, Jed Thurgood, Mercia van der Westhuizen, Cecile Oosthuizen, Thulani Makinza, Geoff Broo and Rowena Collin.
CONTINUED good luck and success to all businesses celebrating another year in trade. All the best to C’est la Vie (Stewart Road) and Home Essentials (Rosehill Mall).
THE Rand is bouncing up and down as a result of international pressure on all currencies, but the country is not helping itself with numerous scandals and reports of political/financial mismanagement. Keep an eye on the price of Brent Crude which has increased dramatically this week due to OPEC (the Organisation of Oil Producing Nations) production issues. At the time of going to press (and with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against), the Rand was trading at R14.25 to the Dollar (R18.77), R19.93 to the Pound (R23.36) and R17.20 to the Euro (R20.40). Commodities such as gold were trading at $1,771.58 per ounce ($1,686.41) and platinum at $1,214.82 per ounce ($789.95). Brent Crude is trading at $67.05 per barrel ($33.86).
CONGRATULATIONS to Michael and Septi Gardner on the birth of your beautiful boy Mason Stephen Gardner on April 14. Also, huge congratulations to local grandparents Steve and Kim Gardner.
HUGE congratulations to our former colleague Amber (neé Bryant) and her husband Alexander Berry on their little bundle of joy Archer Charles who was born on April 12. We’re sure Jax loves his new role as big brother.
HEARTIEST congratulations to everyone celebrating a wedding anniversary, especially to Sai and Burnette Pieterse, Eric and Lisa Strydom, Nigel and Joy Coster, Christopher and Hilda Green, Kudu and Beryl Pancoust, Dennis and Sue Chandler, Matthew and Antoinette Buchholz, Jannie and Elsabe Badenhorst, Des and Tosca Spenceley.
THOUGHT for the week: “I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”
BEST regards as always,