IT is now one year, four months and 30 days, including today, since the initial Covid lockdown restrictions were announced. That’s 517 days in total.
THE latest unemployment figures were released by StatsSA this week and show that 34.4% of South Africans eligible to work were without jobs in the second quarter of the year (April through June). This is a new record high, up from the first quarter’s record high of 32.6%. The expanded definition, including those who are no longer seeking work for whatever reason, is an astronomical 44.4%, meaning 11.9 million South Africans are out of work. Most of the job losses in this quarter are attributed to the financial sector. From a local perspective we have seen the effects of the lockdowns, even though only a small percentage in the Eastern Cape have succumbed to the virus, many more have been impoverished through the lost revenue in or local tourism and hospitality industries. Since the announcement of lockdowns and its various restrictions almost a year and a half has passed where major events such as the Bathurst Agricultural Show, the Amanzi Challenge and many others have been cancelled, reduced in size or move d to other locations. Local entertainers, of which we have many, have been unable to perform because of regulations. In order to survive locals need to support each other. The unemployment percentage is ridiculously high with almost one in every two people without work or a regular income. Crime is at an all-time high and, with the uncertainty about the future, is not likely to improve any time soon. That is why we must support local businesses wherever possible. One of the local events that we should support is the Van der Riet Street Spring Festival, taking place on the Street on Saturday September 4. Or, the Build it charity golf day for the Port Alfred Soup Kitchen on September 25 or any other local event. This will generate revenue to pay employees and help to get Port Alfred and the rest of Ndlambe back on its feet.
THE water situation is untenable. After hundreds of millions of rands having been spent, Port Alfred is receiving less water than at any other time in recent history. While South Africa, as a whole, is water scarce and droughts have exacerbated the problem, the municipality, provincial and national government must shoulder responsibility for delays in viable interventions and a massive waste of money and resources. Local councillors, as well as local civic organisations, seem to be apologists and have become little more than spokespeople for the municipality. But it is the locals who are suffering the most with the elderly without water for months at a time while the local RO plant is providing very little water. We cannot continue hiding from the fact that water is a basic human right that is being denied by our municipality. It is not the drought that has affected us as much as the failed water projects. The situation needs to be resolved immediately.
ONE event that is happening the weekend is the Run-Henry-Run campaign, where Eastern Cape everyman, Henry Cock, is attempting to beat the Guinness world record by completing 133 half marathons in just 133 days. He will be joined by local runners at the Port Alfred town hall on Saturday at 7.30am to complete another leg of his journey to raise over R4-million for The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). Join us there and join in the fun to support this worthy cause.
LAST week I mentioned the diary. Please do not forget, if you want your local event published in the TotT diary, then e-mail me with details at the above address. We can start it online for now.
CONGRATULATIONS and every good wish for the coming year to everyone who is having a birthday this week, especially Jake Lacey, Mollie Seeney, Jill Macgregor, Sylvia Ehlers, Wendalyn Kelbrick, John Potter-Sayman, Lionel Timm, Reay Squires, Megan Hobson, Elna Barnard, Bronwyn Fick, Luke Charter, Charlene Oosthuizen, Errol Jacobs, Celine Hilpert, Ross Elliott, Dennis Coghlan, Ros Oliver, Charles Frederichs, Charles Randall, David Bradfield, Adrian Moss, Stasha van Rooyen, Tina Hon, Mandla Hendele, Val Pote, Cameron Kretschmann, Kirsty Clayton, Carol Ford, Dawn Hains, Charles de Bruin, Donne Kolesky, Sanume Esterhuyse.
BUSINESSES enjoying an anniversary at this time of the year are the following, and we congratulate them and wish them many more successful times in the future – Sunshine Coast Hospice, Kenton Primary School.
AS was previously stated, the latest unemployment figures for South Africa means local jobs are at a premium and spending will be significantly reduced until we are able to create and maintain employment in the area. The dollar is at almost 15 to 1 against the rand, and Brent Crude, staple to our industries, is at almost at $71 per barrel. This has a direct effect on the cost of electricity and transportation, which is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices in the shops. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the rand was trading at R14.94 to the Dollar (R16.78); R20.50 to the Pound (R22.05) and R17.53 to the Euro (R19.87). Gold was trading at $1,793.38 ($1,927.84), platinum was trading at $977.00 ($924.35) and Brent Crude Oil at $70.93 per barrel ($45.04).
OUR heartiest congratulations to all couples who are celebrating another wedding anniversary in the week ahead, especially Jim and Maureen Truscott, Neville and Rita Hope, Wesley and Janine Sparg, Trevor and Winsome Collett, Hendrik and Pietie le Roux, Willem and Sue Horn.
CONDOLENCES to the family and friends of Sino Bakaqana who died under tragic circumstances recently. Sino was loved as a coach at Port Alfred High School and as one of the friendliest and most attentive waitrons at Tash’s Craft Bar. He will be missed.
THOUGHT for the week: “Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well”.
BEST regards as always,