Neighbourly Notes – 27 May 2021

HARD AT WORK: Bushwillow Primary School teachers Zanele Seteni, left, and Yvonne van Breugel, sawing poles in preparation for the construction of a ‘shop’ for the children’s playground. Picture: SUPPLIED

TODAY we are on the 426th day of national lockdown, and people are becoming restless. You can see the Covid fatigue manifest in their faces and their actions and, while some people adhere strictly to the mask regulations, others only wear them when they enter a shop or building that denies them access without one. Even in this area, which experienced a fairly intense time during the first wave (more from fear of contagion than actual reported cases and deaths), there is a general apathy developing among the locals who feel they are being manipulated in some way through fearmongering. According to official figures from countries all over the globe on Worldometers.info, Covid- 19 has infected about 168.5- million people worldwide, of which about 150-million have recovered and 3.5 million have died. There are 14-million active cases. The recovery rate based on closed cases is 98%. Confusing messages from world leaders have tended to scuttle the entire vaccination process (take the vaccine, don’t take the vaccine ). It is true that we are learning as we go, but some of our politicians in SA seem to be on a mission of their own. We need strong and decisive leadership if we are to get out of this lockdown cycle. Are we sure that any of our politicians are fit for the job? SO, we’ve entered election season again. Though the municipal elections will only take place in October, political parties are already making moves to capture voters and the annual protests have begun. Protest action by Makhanda residents on Monday blocked the R67. This is likely to be the first of many such incidents as the elections draw closer. However, the blockading of roads (together with the burning of tyres and destruction of property) does little more than hurt neighbours and has little or no effect on municipal policy. Protest action will never have an effect unless we all (black, white, coloureds and Asians) protest together. Our concern is, which organisation is able to unite us behind a common cause apolitically and without attempting to impose its own agenda? As the song goes, “United we stand, divided we fall”.

STILL on the local beat, while walking up Albany Road on Monday I spotted a black plastic bin bag on the grass next to the pavement. On closer inspection I observed the bag contained the body of a dead dog. Now, aside from this being a route to and from school, used by children every day, who put a dead dog in a plastic bag and left it at the side of the road? Was it a beloved pet, hit by a passing car? Or did the dog die naturally and the owners felt it the responsibility of the municipality to take it away on refuse collection day? What are the rules about the disposal of dead animals? TotT asked the municipality for answers and will inform readers of the response.

OH dear, even our health minister, Zweli Mkhize, has been tied up in Covid-19 scandals. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is at an advanced stage in its investigation of R90m that seems to have been paid to members of Mkhize’s family members. The original R150m contract to supply media services during the pandemic was awarded to contractor Digital Vibes in a closed tender, and Digital Vibes is owned by two very close associates of Mkhize’s. What possible faith can we have in our government?

HAPPY birthday greetings with good wishes and many happy times for many more years ahead, especially for Natalie Horn, Lisa Fonseca, Antoinette Swartz, Candice Goeda, Caleb Kieck, David Haid, Jesse Vogel, Graeme Kelbrick, Zelda Odendaal, Louise Wilks, Candy Dell, Terri Stander, Ted Phillips, Nikki Bendeman, Bruce Lloyd, Kathy Knight, Bruce Venters, Crystal Carelse, Jessica Maritz, Kevin Heny, Cassandra Griffiths, Dylan Shardelow, Eddie Bentley, Elzaan van Heerden, Noluthando Budaza, Raymond Webber, Mabel Coetzer, Pat Whitfield, Anne Fella, Karen Booysen, Deb Spenceley and Anelle Groenewald.

THE price of petrol is likely to decrease next week, but diesel might rise slightly. That is the latest word on the streets. The decrease, if any, will be just a few cents. Meanwhile, Brent Crude has steadied below the $70 per barrel mark but might not remain there. Markets are steadily improving but the recent decision by the EU and main players in the G8 to reduce carbon emission rate by 55%, and thereby limit overall global temperature rise by 1.50 by 2030 (it was previously 20) is very ambitious and will most certainly effect economies throughout the world. But jut stating figures is pointless unless followed by action (which did not happen after the much applauded Paris Climate Accord, signed by the UN in 2015), so we will have to wait and see if these targets are even reachable. At the time of going to press and with last year’s figures in brackets, the Rand was trading at R13.84 to the Dollar (R17.43), R19.58 to the Pound (R21.48) and R16.96 to the Euro (R19.19). Gold was trading at $1,883.03 per fine ounce ($1,708.09), platinum at $1,184.00 per ounce ($852.40) with Brent crude oil at $68.46 per barrel ($31.59).

WEDDING anniversary congratulations and best wishes for many more even better years ahead to Malcolm and Penny Noel, Gary and Joan Boucher, Arthur and Lynne Manning, and Johan and Kittie Joubert.

HEARTIEST congratulations to Graham and Madeline Petty on their milestone golden anniversary (50 years) on May 29. We wish you many happy and healthy years ahead.

CONDOLENCES go to the family and friends of some of our neighbours who have died recently. Our thoughts are with the families of Joan Taylor and Laura Forrester. May the good times you had together supplant the sorrow of your loss.

THOUGHT for the week: “Too much happens to people in life for us to be able to understand all of it – but we do know good minds (and intensions) working together is always better than going it alone.”

BEST regards as always,
The Team

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