IT IS now 447 days since Covid-19 restrictions were announced and we are at level 2 of the lockdown, as amended. Restrictions on crowd sizes for both indoor and outdoor events are in place, and some events have been cancelled, but the ones that are held are not necessarily heeding the rules. Take for example the recent car show event that, despite the organisers stating otherwise, appeared to have more than 250 in attendance, and that is not the only potential superspreader. Whenever patrons sit down to eat in restaurants or drink in bars and taverns, the masks come off, people engage in conversation and the potential to spread germs is there. It has been this way for months, and cases of Covid-19 are uncommon in our area. But Nelson Mandela Bay and East London are regarded as hotspots in the Eastern Cape. Flu, which seemed to completely disappear last year, has also been doing the rounds lately. However, many people remain concerned about Covid-19 and over 60s have been queuing at the Port Alfred Hospital for the vaccine rollout. However, some people, including patrolling police officers, still ignore the rule to wear masks. While some of the command council’s rules have been difficult to understand, most rely on us simply changing our habits.
AFTER years of water shortages and the promise of a reverse osmosis (RO) plant for the greater Port Alfred area, along with delays in the contractor appointment, failed tenders and postponements, the new seawater RO plant was supposed to go online this week. This plant was intended to supplement the water supply from the Sarel Hayward Dam and boreholes, but now it will actually replace those dwindling supplies. It will not resolve the water crisis in the area.
WATER is still being taken from the hydrant in Bathurst and residents there are complaining. Though they had complained about the number of vehicles taking water and the rudeness of the drivers, and even had the registration numbers of legitimate users from Ndlambe Municipality, unauthorised vehicles are still taking water. This has led to a shortage of water for the residents of Bathurst; a service they are not only paying for but also an inalienable constitutional right. If contractors need water for their projects, it must not be at the expense of citizens of the country.
ANOTHER crisis has arisen due to the USFDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) instructions to destroy two million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine being held at the Aspen facility in Gqeberha due to possible contamination of the product. Stephen Saad, the CEO of Aspen Pharmaceuticals, said the batches tested here were uncontaminated but that they would dispose of the vaccines rather than give rise to possible adverse effects that might occur. Apparently, the emergent Biosolutions factory in Baltimore was contaminated. Saad assured the public that, as a company with its roots in SA, it would now produce its own vaccines from uncontaminated ingredients. He also said 300,000 doses had arrived to inoculate teachers and other educators. Saad also said Aspen would deliver two million doses in the next 14 days.
CONGRATULATIONS and happy birthday greetings to everyone who is celebrating a birthday in the week ahead. Special greetings and many more to Kaylee Hanstein, Lilah van Heerden, Hilary Smith, Shirley Lassek, Annette Laas, Annelize Lloyd, Joan Buckley, Shane le Roux, Kris Gallager, Driekie Strauss, Cecelia Morris, Gordon Reynolds, Jean Page, Andrew du Plessis, Calla-Ann Faca, Gavin Breeden, Lynette Hansen, James Boucher, Marie du Plessis, Cary Davies, Jennifer Groenewald, June Barnes, Emma Myburgh, Noxolo Kiviet, Jeff Earle, Lyn Harbrecht, Karel Prins, June Smith, June Hart, Dominique Willat, Helen Purdon, Amanda Ludick, Roarke Penn, Beverley Welsh, Des Gallagher, Vaughn de la Mare, Lyndon Coltman, Pat (Paddy) Thorp, Beatrice Crawford, Lloyd Stevenson, Andrew Nell, Megan van Niekerk, Yvonne Surtees, Lee Botha, Claire Burriss, Beverly Oosthuizen, Peter van der Merwe, Matthew Dell and Delina van Heerden.
CONTINUED success and warm congratulations to the following businesses/organisations on another anniversary, especially Siliseal, Olofs Motor Spares, Niché, PA Art Club on 62 amazing years and the PA Scouts Club.
THIS week, public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan announced Takatso Consortium as a new strategic equity partner in our flailing SEO, SAA. But not everyone is happy and Gordhan’s plan was very short of details. Economists and the general public are asking, after losing billions of rand in attempting to save SAA, why not shut the entity down. The Eskom crisis caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce the ten-fold increase in the threshold exemption of renewable energy generation projects, allowing independent power producers (IPPs) to increase capacity on the grid. This was essential but took too long, costing more billions at a time when the country is facing Stage 4 loadshedding due to an acknowledged lack of maintenance. As we go to press, and with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R13.79 to the Dollar (R17.09), R19.41 to the Pound (R21.62) and R16.72 to the Euro (R19.34). Gold was trading at $1,864.81 ($1,730.18) per fine ounce, platinum at $1,187.00 ($824.55) and Brent crude oil price at $72.86 per barrel ($39.35).
SINCERE condolences to the family and friends of Brenda Faye who passed away recently. May memories of happy times spent together comfort you in this sad time.
OUR heartiest congratulations to all celebrating their wedding anniversaries, especially Robert and Emily Blenkinsop, Stefan and Kelly Ferreira, Neil and Tarryn van de Linde, John and Debbie Ford, and Chris and Mariane Walwyn.
THOUGHT for the week: “If you don’t have a plan for personal growth, then don’t expect to grow!”
BEST regards as always,