An inspiration to young and old

Stephen's Scribble

It’s wonderful to feel inspired. It gives us that extra zest for life. Albeit trying something new or re-inventing the way we already do something, inspiration adds flavour, colour and motivation to our existence. Inspiration comes in many forms and we are all inspired in different ways. Albeit a new idea, the wonders of nature, watching X Factor, an oil painting, a beautiful piece of music, an architecturally designed home or following a person on social media …. inspiration is at our fingertips all the time.

Recently, Dr Otto Thaning from Cape Town completed yet another Robben Island swim. A serious accomplishment for any endurance swimmer. What sets Otto apart is he’s 80 years old! Otto also holds the record for the oldest person (at 73) to have swum across the English Channel. I met him in 2018 in Dover where he was attempting to break his own record. Sadly the weather conditions weren’t favourable and Otto lost his window of opportunity, but that didn’t seem to phase him too much. As a retired heart surgeon Otto also worked with Dr Chris Barnard back in the day. His life story is absolutely fascinating yet when you meet him, he comes across as a vibrant, energetic every day sort of person. No air and graces yet when you look at the sparkle in his eyes you know that he has wonderful insight on life and how to lead it to the full.

Otto & LewisLewis Pugh another hugely inspirational character was on board the pilot boat while Otto did the swim. It took Otto 2Hrs52min. The water was 16 degrees centigrade. He was wearing a speedo, swimming cap and goggles. Think about that for second. The water locally has been cold lately, a pretty similar temperature actually. How on earth can an eighty year old man endure such cold while swimming a marathon!? It boggles the mind. I caught up with Lewis (The human Polar bear) about that experience and what it was like to witness one of his hero’s complete this epic swim.

“You know Stephen, your bodies thermostat doesn’t actually work so well once you get passed 75”, he started. “When you have a Father figure and friend that is in agony, on the verge of hypothermia and on the edge, it can get emotional. I had to remain completely calm. My job was to give feedback on water temperature, distance to go, motivate on how well he was doing and never ever lose sight of the end goal. I knew he had trained well and what what he is capable of mentally. He was very very cold …. but there was never any doubt”

On completion of the swim, (over a lovely warm drink no doubt) Lewis asked Otto what his secrets were to longevity and living such an incredibly active life. The good Doctor shared 4 of his secrets.

1. Genetics. Otto acknowledges being blessed to have be born with good genes. It’s a bit like drawing a strong card at birth.

2. Nutrition. Otto has followed a healthy well balanced diet his entire life and never been entrapped by any of the vices that are ever present in modern day society.

3. Exercise. Get the blood pumping four times a week says Otto. Learn how to push the boundaries without injury. Love being in your body.

4. Mental Health. Stress is not good but it exists. It can be reinvented through a positive healthy mindset. There are a multitude of different ways to nurture our minds. Make that part of your daily routine.

Stephen PraetoriousHaving put down the phone to Lewis, I took a moment to reflect on some of the people in my life that have inspired me. The list is enormous. In fact I was so inspired by how many inspiring people exist in my life that I feel inspired to share more inspiring stories. What better place to start than right here in St Francis where so many incredible people live. If you have an inspiring story or know of that special somebody who has inspired you, leave a comment …. these sorts of stories are so worth sharing.

Article by Stephen Praetorious

Council Approves Draft Budget Unanimously

Kouga Municipality - logo

Just in case you haven’t yet seen it

KOUGA Municipality’s cash-backed draft budget and tariffs for the 2021/2022 financial year, starting July 1, were approved unanimously by Council on Wednesday, March 31.

This despite challenges such as maintaining an acceptable employee related cost ratio, curtailing electricity and water losses at acceptable levels and increases cost associated with bulk electricity purchases.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said that every effort had been made to ensure that the budget was pro poor and fully funded.

The total draft budget amounts to just over R1 billion, of which just over R1 074 million is for the operating budget and R61 million is for the capital budget of the municipality.

“The operating budget will be funded from various sources, the major contributors being property rates (22.65%), bulk electricity (34.61%), sanitation (6.07%) and refuse (5.77%),” said Hendricks.

The total operating expenditure for the 2021/2022 financial year amounts to just over R1 074 million, with the major operating expenditure items being employee-related costs at over R378 million (35,24%) and bulk electricity purchase at over R290 million (26.99%).

In order to fund the operating budget, the following increases in property rates and service charges were approved, with effect from 1 July 2021:

Property rates: 5.25%
Water: 7.1%
Sanitation: 6.5%
Refuse: 6.5%
Electricity: 14.59%
Environmental Management Fee: 0%

Hendricks said that the municipality had kept tariff increases as low as is possible.

“In some instances, especially when it comes to electricity, this proved to be a challenge, with Eskom increasing its bulk tariff to municipalities, he said.

“R10 million was set aside to cater for the ongoing road resealing project throughout Kouga – including Tokyo Sexwale and Pellsrus. The upgrading of gravel roads received a budget of R14.2 million.

“The Sea Vista Sports Field in St Francis Bay will, furthermore, be upgraded at a cost of R4.1 million this year, while the sanitation system in Hankey will be upgraded to the tune of R9.2 million.

“Other projects include the electrification of RDP houses at a cost of R6.7 million.”

Kouga Speaker, Hattingh Bornman, said, “Members of the ANC refused to comply with the Rules of Order and decided to leave the meeting at own will.

“We will continue to provide excellent services for all communities and build on previous successes in the next financial year.”

New Outfits for Preferred Kouga Car Guards

Kouga Municipality - logo

THE multicoloured, the blue . . . the preferred car guard.

In a renewed bid to clamp down on illegal car guards operating in Kouga – especially at the main beachfront and Central Business District (CBD) in Jeffreys Bay – Kouga Municipality equipped several preferred car guards with light blue outfits. 

Kouga Car Guards

Sporting their new outfits are preferred Kouga car guards (from left) Neville Peterson (a car guard for 20 years), Johnny Skosana (six years), Sydney Barends (19 years) and Elvis Nqabisa (15 years). They are joined by Kouga Municipality Law Enforcement Officer, Johnny Hayward.

The first four car guards received their brand-new outfits last week, while more will receive their outfits later this month. 

Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said a total of 20 car guards will receive new uniforms. “All the preferred car guards will be wearing identical and easily identifiable uniforms.”

The new uniform consists of a light blue jacket, with two orange reflector lines in the middle and at the bottom. Each car guard’s name and photo appear on his jacket. 

They, furthermore, received a blue T-shirt and mask – also sporting their name and photo. 

“This is in order to minimise the risk of other unpreferred car guards using the specific uniform,” said Benson. “We cannot afford having everyone calling themselves ‘car guards’ and having easy access to people’s vehicles and other valuables.”

The new uniform was sponsored by local businesses.

Benson encouraged motorists to make use of the preferred car guards to avoid risk of disappointment and loss. 

“Let us support those who are making an effort to be presentable, polite and properly qualified to look after vehicles, so that we can eliminate those who tend to me more of a nuisance than helpful,” he said. 

“While the preferred car guards will continue operating independently and are not officially employed by the municipality, there will be better coordination and they will be monitored closely to ensure they are sober and presentable. If any of them step out of line, they know they will lose their uniforms immediately.”

According to Benson, this is not a strategy to prevent people from making an income – it is about the safety of motorists and their belongings.