Neighbourly Notes – 15 July 2021

OPEN FOR SIT-DOWN: Marja and Dirk Pansegrouw were delighted to sit down for a meal at Burksies after the
restaurants were allowed to open again on Monday.

TODAY marks 475 days of lockdown restrictions and, following Sunday’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa, restaurants may again be open for sit-down dining, but still with the prohibition on selling alcohol. Additionally, restaurants must still close by 8pm to meet the curfew that runs from 9pm to 4am daily. This is unlikely to attract many late afternoon or early-evening diners, one of the most profitable times for many restaurants. The ban on alcohol will also continue to hurt business as most diners like an alcoholic beverage with their meal. Pubs and taverns may not open at all. As before, the booze ban also provides encouragement to a black market trade. Does the government really believe that people simply won’t drink over this period? Who is fooling who, and who is actually benefiting from the ban?

RAMAPHOSA addressed the nation again on Monday evening to appeal for calm amid the riots and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng precipitated by former president Jacob Zuma’s incarceration. But what Ramaphosa said was too little and too late. We understand that the president’s speech is written for him, but his delivery sounds as though he is reading a script prepared by others and does not sound convincing or decisive. In an attempt to avoid another Marikana, Ramaphosa delayed the deployment of the SANDF, leaving the matter to the SAPS who, as has been proven in the past, are woefully ill-equipped, undermanned and lack the training to cope with wanton lawlessness (except when chasing surfers on the beach or spraying pensioners with water cannons). Since when does a hungry person need to steal a huge flat-screen TV, or raid a blood bank? The rioting, destruction and looting should have been dealt with at source and not allowed to escalate as it has. Ramaphosa should have been more timely and decisive in his address to the nation and in his deployment of law enforcement agencies. Many of the looters have been caught on camera, so it will be interesting to see how many of them are arrested in the coming weeks, and how much of their ill-gotten gains will be recovered.

NDLAMBE has a water crisis and has experienced water issues for the best part of half a century. Although many attempts have been made, politics always seems to get in the way. The entire debacle at the newest RO plant is a prime example. Despite a court order declaring the original tender unlawful and ordering contractor QFS to pay back the R20m already paid to them, the same QFS was actually paid a further R10.5m and won another tender to install two RO plants. What happened to the (now) R30.5m? The 2MLRO plant QFS built was repeatedly delayed due to various excuses, and finally came online this month, only to be delayed by a burst pipe no one had thought to test before bringing it into service. Port Alfred (including Nemato and Station Hill) still has no water and, even when the RO plant is fully operational, it will only serve to replace the supply we were getting from the Sarel Hayward Dam (which is empty) and not resolve the water issues in the area. There is no transparency in the dealings of the municipality whose services are paid for by the residents of the area. Yet we have engineers, accountants, mechanics and all manner of skills who reside in the area, more experienced and qualified than those at the municipality, who would volunteer to get the system up and running properly. Why do we not use those people and help train the municipal officials and workers how to do their jobs, as it is apparent that they do not know how to fix these problems?

THE torrential rain that was threatening the area on Monday failed to materialise and rooftops and gutters were hardly moistened by the small amount that did fall. It seems the strong winds blew the clouds away. Then, on Tuesday evening the rains did fall and water tanks in the area began to fill again but, be aware, the forecasts state that there is little chance of more rain until around Tuesday next week.

CONGRATULATIONS on another year and very happy birthday wishes to everyone celebrating such an occasion in the coming week, especially Hayden Hanstein, Jacqui Reed, Dylan Cox, Charl Hilpert, Kenny Turner, Ben Ford, Taryn Gutsche, Ed Gutsche, Alice Torr, Marlene Tarrant, Delene Hawkins, Janet Basson, Oliver Davies, Peter Pinnick, Gilbert Coetzee, Melissa Tweedie, Marion Bartlett, Len Eaton, Heather Grimbeek, Chante van der Merwe, Dave Cockcroft,Janet Thatcher, Val Human, Adriaan Potgieter, Stephanie Forward, Pumeza Maronya, Matthew van der Schyff, Barbara Matthews, Maureen Thierson, Alex van der Merwe, Richard Legg, Kerry Butt, Eric Taylor, Russell Geard, Mavis Venables.

BUSINESS anniversary wishes and best wishes for your continuing success to all having an anniversary, especially L&W Couriers and OK Furniture.

THE US Federal Stimulus package currently being reviewed by Congress, the after effects of Brexit on the rest of Europe as well as on the UK itself, the rate of Covid-19 rollout and viral mutations – these are the issues the Western world is focused on at this time. Africa’s problems are a world away and, aside from being the source of much of the world’s natural resources, is being left to deal on its own. The rioting and looting currently taking place in centres around the country are another deterrent to investment which, even in a peaceful South Africa, has not exactly been flowing into the country. The current state of civil disobedience is unlikely to have investors clambering to place their money here. With 2020’s figures in brackets to compare against and when going to press, the rand was trading at R14.51/USD (R16.82), R20.11/£ (R21.07) and R17.20/ß (R19.09). Gold was at $1,809.00 per fine ounce ($1,801.34), Platinum was at $1,122.00 per ounce ($848.55) and Brent Crude Oil at $75.62 per barrel ($43.08).

WEDDING anniversary greetings and best wishes for many more years of love and happiness to everyone having a wedding anniversary, especially Claude and Susan Mclellan, Thomas and Antoinette Trollip, and Andrew and Isobel Meyer.

THOUGHT for the week: “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you today just the way you are.”

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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