Thyspunt back on the table

Opening an e-Mail in my inbox titled “SA Nuclear Plan to go ahead” yesterday afternoon was really came as no surprise as it really has been quite a long time coming following the court case won by the anti-nuclear activists. That court case was always just a delay tactic and it was only a matter of time before the mention of Thyspunt would again raise its head and no doubt the ire of many in St Francis and Jeffreys Bay.

The court case was only about the procurement process that had been rushed through Parliament rather than whether the nuclear build would go ahead or not. It was never going to happen that Eskom was going to ditch nuclear in favour of renewable energy and their recent reluctance to sign off agreements with wind and solar projects was warning enough that nothing had changed their mind about the way forward with nuclear and probably Thyspunt in particular.

The ANC has far too much at stake to not see Thyspunt proceed for there are sure to be some cadres who have been promised lucrative pay-outs by way of either  supply contracts or if not legitimate contracts, then certainly through well-earned  backhanders for supporting Zuma and the ANC.  And let us not ignore the huge tracts of land that Eskom owns in the proximity of the proposed nuclear power station. It was purchased for a reason.

The anti-Thyspunt activists will have had time to catch their breath knowing it was only a matter of time before they again have to man the battlements. Whether they have used this breathing space to see how many more “bumps” they can put in the road and possibly even find a “pothole” or two only time will tell.

No doubt the gloves will be off as the bell rings for what could well be the start of the “Mayweather / McGregor” of nuclear bouts.

Equestrian Success

St Francis College horse riders achieved top results at this month’s Homestead Equestrian Estate Dressage show. They all achieved first place rosettes and several second and third places. Pictured with riding instructors Leandi Smit (back left) and Tracy Kennedy (back right) are Molly Dalton (Grade 7), Micaella White (Grade 2) and Samara Howell (Grade 6)

Stormy St Francis

Such a topsy turvy week of weather ranging from the most beautiful spring day on Sunday to the frightening storm weather complete with heavy hail and gale force windson Tuesday with the week ending off with storm surf that seems to have caused damage to the recent improvements made to the parking and access at Ann Avenue.

Ann Avenue parking area

Cape St Francis

Seals parking area with the sea right up to the pathway

Wildside – Cape St Francis

School Musical

Sensational School Musical Great Entertainment

Statue in the Park – a musical through the ages – this year’s St Francis College theatrical production was nothing short of sensational! The performance took place at the NG Church in Humansdorp on 2nd August and featured song and dance routines with a selection of popular tunes by the Beetles, Spice Girls, Michael Jackson, Vanilla Ice and many more. There was even a special guest appearance by the amazing John Travolta (headmaster Franzl Bause)

The cast included Roark la Combré in the key role as The Statue who had his costume painted onto him by Burcu Cunneen, one of our nursery school parents who is a gifted artist and art teacher, using her living art form. Other key roles were Noah Peens as The Mayor, Phoebe Costanza and Jamie Lindsay as Jenny and Chris, and Molly Dalton and  Makai Kabot as the Boy and Girl.

As always there are so many folks to thank for making this production so successful. In particular we must acknowledge our talented script writer Elizabeth Carpenter and Mrs Anderson and Mrs Brown for all the drama and music lessons to prepare the pupils for their roles. Thank you to Miss van Olm for the costumes, Mrs Ackerman for the props and Mrs Marais for the makeup.

Last but certainly not least, we want to thank our generously supportive parents and our wonderful teachers for their commitment who made all of this possible.

Article & Photos – Lyn aitken

Help FOSTER

FOSTER needs your help

A letter by the chairman FOSTER (Friends of St Francis Nature Areas) and recently published on their website bears republishing to highlight the difficult situation that FOSTER finds itself in the hope the St Francis community will show their support for this important association in all that they do in protecting our nature areas.

Dear friends of FOSTER

This is a special message from your Chair. The message is simple: financially, FOSTER is going under, owing to dwindling income and increasing costs. We need your donations to keep us afloat.
Take a glance at the graph below and you will see what I mean.

Our income from membership fees and donations – the funds we use for routine management of the reserves – is not keeping up with our costs. This is alarming.

The reason for this is that FOSTER has inherited over the past few years two new and demanding tasks, namely the management of the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve (the one to the east of Cape St Francis) and the maintenance of the fire access routes established after the Feb 2016 fire. The first task is the mandate of Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, and the second is the mandate of the Kouga Municipality. Neither organization has the capacity to adopt these mandates, at least for the next few years.

In the interim FOSTER is committed to the judicious management of our reserves. However, to do this we need to raise R100 000 per year from our members. What we can deliver in return is extraordinary cost-effective management. At R400 per hectare per year, our costs are minuscule compared to the average cost of R8 000 per hectare per year incurred in small, state-owned fynbos reserves in the Cape in 2000 (the figure has more than doubled by now!).

Let’s imagine what will happen to our reserve network should FOSTER no longer be able to continue with its management programmes. Paths will become overgrown and littered; the fuel load will become augmented with invading rooikranz; fire access routes will become impassable; and there will be a steady increase in poaching, snaring, livestock grazing and bush dwelling. It won’t be safe to walk in the reserves.

I’m not kidding. We at FOSTER have responded to all of these threats on various occasions over the past two decades.

Please don’t tell us to approach the Kouga Municipality – the land owner of most of the reserve system – for our funding needs. We have been to many meetings and sent countless messages, to no avail. The shift to a DA government has made no difference whatsoever. Our recent attempt to get the KM to maintain the fire access routes has come to naught. We may have to wait many years before the KM develops the capacity to assist us in managing its land.

I won’t elaborate upon our dealings with the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, which is responsible for managing Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Suffice to say the response has been underwhelming.

What about fund-raising events as a source of income. Well, to be honest, our experience is that in most cases the returns do not justify the effort required of our committee members, all volunteers. Our December 2016 Fun Run, a demanding event to stage, yielded a paltry R12 000. We now have a December slot for a Golf Day; this is likely to raise much more. However, and importantly so, we use the money raised by these events to fund capital projects (e.g. signage, walkways, fire access routes) and not routine management.

To conclude: In all likelihood, the decline of our precious green spaces will impact negatively on property prices and increase our vulnerability to wildfires. For this reason alone, all property owners in Cape St Francis should support us. And for those of you, wherever you live, who cherish our beautiful places where nature has primacy, donate, and donate generously and regularly. And please, renew your membership and encourage others to join FOSTER. We need your money but we will spend it wisely.

You have my word.
Kindest regards

Prof Richard Cowling
Chair: FOSTER”

MEMBERSHIP: If your name is not on this list maybe you would like to add it. Click here for more details and to add your name!.

Fees are R100 per person or R150 for family or corporate membership.

FOSTER is a registered Public Benefit Organisation – all donations over R200 are tax deductible and we will issue the relevant receipt.

Fill in the form  or send us your details with your receipt.

BANK DETAILS:

Friends of St Francis Nature Areas
First National Bank
Br code: 210115
Acc no: 62179531598

PLEASE USE YOUR SURNAME AS THE BENEFICIARY REFERENCE

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