Frustrated with the crowds and queues

Tuesday is pensioners day at our local Spar and I would imagine most pensioners use this day to do their major shop  to benefit Village Square SuperSpar’s generous discount offer. So on Tuesday I set out to do my shopping. Being unable to walk more than fifty or so metres without a trolley as support I always try and park within the lower parking area. Well Tuesday there was not a paring spot anywhere in the vicinity so I gave shopping a miss.

Come Wednesday I had an appointment to see what the optometrist could do for my failing eyesight  and so after looking through a variety of funny lenses and told no need for new glasses I popped into the Humansdorp Spar, What a pleasure it was. Plenty of parking available with wide uncrowded aisles to ensure you could maintain required social distancing. And wow is their fruit & veg, bakery and hot food section enough reason to take the drive. The Humansdorp Spar doesn’t stock some of the higher end items and as I am diabetic I try and only eat the Spar All Seed bread but this was not available which was a pity but they had everything else  I needed, and didn’t really need. And so to checkout – no queue  and a truly helpful and friendly staff. It was like shopping at home away from home. Thanks for two great shops Rickardt and team (s).

No Jo of Trolley Dolley has long been offering her services at what I feel is almost embarrassing inexpensive for all the work she puts into this truly great service she provides for us oldies, particularly those of us who are less physically mobile. I will certainly use Trolley Dolly in the furure for my biggest shopping problem is I never make a list and using Jo will force me into a list instead of getting home and finding I have forgotten something.

And yes shopping in Humansdorp I bought everything I needed and a few things I didn’t but I forgot to buy eggs. So at 7:00am this morning I sht off to Spar. Not a single parking spot to be had so I turned around and decided I coukd go without breakfast today for I simply could not bear the thought of standing in a queue that would have delayed this our Christmas edition od St Francis Today.

Oh and whilst in Humansdorp pop into HoekHuis Coffee Shop for a snack to rebuild your energy aftter shopping. They can be found at 14 Piet Uys Street or cal them on 082 3751558 for directions if you don’t have a SatNav.

A plea from FRIENDS OF ST FRANCIS NATURE RESERVES (FOSTER) 

Matt Gennrick reveals damage being done to barriers intended to protect our reserves.

There are 4 separate nature reserves in Cape St Francis managed by FOSTER (Friends of St Francis Nature Areas) in accordance with an MOU with the Kouga Municipality, all offering nature trails and different experiences. Through membership fees and monies raised, FOSTER looks after and maintains the walking paths and trails and removes alien vegetation. 

The website http://foster.org.za/gallery/wppaspec/oc1/cv0/ab2 offers those interested in the vegetation, birds and wildlife an extensive list with photographs of the fauna and flora to be found in the reserves. It also provides maps of the walks, cycle tracks and membership details.

Who are these people?

FOSTERThe people who steal the speed bump signs on the Cape St Francis beachfront, the signs at the entrance to the reserves, the people who saw through the bolts holding barriers in place in our reserves and steal the logs, the people who are too lazy to do even that and just saw through the middle of the log to make access easier. The people who just cycle or walk where there are signs restricting this in the reserves, the people who litter where they feel like it?

Simple, these people are residents and holiday makers in our greater St Francis area, people you and I may well know. They believe that they are entitled to do what they want and where they want, yet I suspect that they are the first ones that complain about other wrong doings and ills in our land.

What possess them to believe that they are entitled to destroy what a few dedicated people are trying to preserve and build? Not so much for themselves but for future generations and all who call this area home?

Maybe they know, is it just entitlement, selfishness, or something they need to prove to themselves or others? Who knows but this blatant vandalism is not acceptable and does not belong here or anywhere. For FOSTER this means that we must use our limited resources to repair the vandalism, instead of using the money to preserve the reserves.

Maybe they want to change the nature of what Cape St Francis offers, resulting in things like foot patrols in the village and permits to enter the reserves.

I am sure that most people here do not want this, neither do we want to become a society where we spy on each other and report on each other. We all know where that ends.

But, if you see someone blatantly disobeying the simple rules in the reserves or vandalizing communal property consider what actions you will take to secure the beauty of our reserves and area.

Municipality shocked and disappointed by decision to close beaches

Kouga Municipality - logoStatement by Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks:

Kouga Municipality is not in agreement with the national directive that all beaches and parks in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route District will be closed from 16 December to 3 January.

We are of the view that the closure of beaches and parks on specified dates only, as is the case for the remainder of South Africa, would have enabled a better balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods.

Unfortunately, the final decision was not ours to take and we now have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt.

While Kouga still has much to offer visitors, the beach is the main attraction over the summer season. The impact of the 19-day beach closure will be devastating on our local businesses, job retention and creation.

In addition, there is concern that the closure of beaches and parks will simply lead to people congregating at other venues, including private residences, where the risk of infection is even higher.

We have raised our concerns with the Premier. Early indications are that the chances of the national decision being reversed are slim and that there is little likelihood of local municipalities and law enforcement agencies, as well as affected businesses, receiving support from a provincial or national level.

We are further awaiting clarity as to whether the closures affect all beach-related activities, as the Gazette only alludes to fishing for which an exemption will be made for those in possession of a permit.

We are also awaiting clarity as to whether the closure affects all bodies of water such as rivers and lagoons or only the sea.

In the meantime, the municipality will be meeting with other law enforcement agencies today to discuss the enforcement of the stricter regulations, as announced by the President last night.

Regardless of whether we are in agreement with the closure of beaches or not, the COVID-19 pandemic is a reality and safeguarding our communities remains the priority.

We will continue to do all in our power to curb the spread of the coronavirus and to keep our residents and visitors safe.

Covid-19 leads to delays in Municipal Services

Kouga Municipality - logoKouga residents and visitors are advised that there may be delays in service delivery this festive season due to an increase in the number of municipal employees who have contracted the coronavirus.

Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said contingency plans were in place to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on essential services such as water, electricity, sanitation, waste management, fire and disaster management.

“Despite these measures, including the appointment of 110 seasonal employees, service delays and interruptions may still occur,” he said.

“We ask that residents and visitors please bear with us. Service updates will be posted on the Kouga Municipality Facebook page, especially where services have been interrupted or municipal offices closed due to COVID-19.”

He said the number of municipal employees with COVID-19 currently stood at 48 and that a further increase was expected.

“Employees who have tested positive are in isolation while those who had close contact with them are in quarantine. The municipality is, in essence, working with a skeleton crew,” he said.

He said the municipal sections hardest hit by the current active cases included:

  • Water, sewer and electrical services in Jeffreys Bay and the St Francis area.
  • Waste management, including refuse removal, in Jeffreys Bay.    
  • Parks & Public Amenities in Humansdorp and Patensie, with all grass-cutting teams in quarantine or isolation.
  • The Jeffreys Bay Revenue section, including the cashiers and enquiries desk, at 33 Da Gama Road. The building has been closed to the public and will re-open on Monday, 21 December. The Revenue sections at the Humansdorp, St Francis Bay and Hankey offices remain open.
  • The Planning & Development section at the municipality’s offices in Woltemade Street, Jeffreys Bay. Employees are working from home, but no site inspections will be conducted in Jeffreys Bay till 11 January. Online plan submissions can still be made.

Hendricks said that, in addition to essential services, pothole repairs would continue to be prioritised.

“Pothole repairs were delayed as many of our teams were in quarantine or isolation,” he said.

“They are back at work and will be assisted by 38 temporary workers to help get road repairs back on track.”  

The Mayor commended the work that was being done by the municipality’s 110 Disaster Management volunteers.

“They monitored several funeral services over the weekend to ensure COVID-19 safety precautions were being adhered to. They made a visible difference at these gatherings and we would like to thank them for their dedication.”

 

Hendricks said further contingency plans would be rolled out depending on the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa tonight (Monday, 14 December).

 

“This will include plans for our beaches and parks. No final decision has as yet been made as to whether these facilities will be closed over the festive season. The President is expected to give clarity about this in his announcement tonight,” he said.

St Francis Tourism pulling out all stops to save the season

We have been following social media since the ridiculous announcement that the beaches will be closed and it is great to see St Francis Tourism and its members going all out to promote alternative entertainment. Here is one of the campaigns they are promoting to show that there is more to St Francis than just the beaches,

St Francis Tourism closed beaches campaign

St Francis Tourism closed beaches campaign