Homo horrendous

Appeal to fishermen to act more responsibly

Reader John Suckling forwarded the following article to St Francis Today and we publish in a hope of raising an awareness amongst fisher folk to the importance of discarding fishing line properly “The following was received from Hugh who carries serious gravitas in the world of birds nationally and internationally. The message is graphic, powerful and relevant to our day to day pollution issues – and we have a large local fishing community who might not be aware of the dangers involved with nylon on land let alone under water.”  

Below article by Hugh Chittenden

The following set of photos graphically illustrates some of the worst traits in humans, and I for one hang my head in shame at our irresponsibility, and the knock-on effects to wildlife that we profess to care for.  How have we become insensitive to our surroundings? In this case, the blame for discarded fishing line lies squarely at the feet of fishermen. Not all fishermen behave irresponsibly of course, I have friends who are keen fishermen & I know they act very responsibly and would never discard a single matchstick at the water’s edge, let alone bunches of discarded fishing line. Sadly however, and judging by the amount of fishing line that one sees lying around on the margins of dams and along beaches, the majority of fishermen seem to have no concern for the way they litter! All the photos below show fishing line injuries to three separate Woolly-necked Storks. Stork Nos 1 & 2 photographed at Albert Falls Dam near Pietermaritzburg (March, 2019), and Stork No 3, photographed at Mtunzini, June, 2014.

Stork No 1 with left foot entangled in fishing line.

When storks become entangled in fishing line, the line often becomes tight, stopping the flow of blood, resulting in swelling and eventually foot or toe loss. This also means that the entangled birds can no longer roost on tree branches at night as they no longer have the capability to clasp onto the branch when the wind blows.

Stork No 1, with the right foot showing stump-end & loss of toes from a previous (healed) fishing line injury. Left foot now undergoing similar constriction and potential further loss of toes.

Stork No 1 attempting to find aquatic prey along the shallow margins of Albert Falls Dam.

Stork No 1 in flight.

A woolly-necked Stork on the edge of Albert Falls Dam, completely oblivious to the danger of fishing line just one meter behind where it is standing!

Stork No 2. Within minutes of photographing the first Woolly-necked Stork entangled with fishing line, a second bird was seen limping badly with a swollen toe dangling and about to fall off!

Stork No 3. This bird, in obvious pain, was found limping badly at the edge of the Umlalazi Lagoon, Mtunzini. Umlalazi Nature Reserve is managed by Ezemvelo.

Finally, in November of 2015, a Palm-nut Vulture, was photographed at Mtunzini with fishing line attached to its one foot. The insert (below) shows one toe badly swollen and would have in all probobility lost that extremity shortly after this photograph was taken!Although this article is some

Msinsi Holdings manage the Albert Falls and Midmar Dam resorts, and do a good job of running these facilities. However, there should be more accountability with not only keeping water margins clean of debris, but also signage to alert and educate fishermen re the dangers of items such as discarded fishing line.

Although this article was written some time back in a place a thousand kilometres from St Francis it is just as relevant here as there, for our birdlife, and indeed sea life is equally threatened by not only the nylon of fishing lines  but also the hooks, sinkers and of course the plastic that pollutes our coastline.


Fishermen are urged to act more responsibly, both along coastal shore lines and at inland fishing sites.


Should you have an article you would like to share on St Francis Today please send your story to news@stfrancistoday.com and we will be thrilled to publish it under our HAVE YOUR SAY blog

Former chairman calls for SRA dialogue

Following a meeting of ‘St Francis Bay Concerned Residents’ held on Thursday addressed by an attorney from Graaff Reinet, and an advocate from Port Elizabeth regarding the SRA, St Francis Today has received the following letter from a former chairman of St Francis Bay Residents Association and Kromme River Trust. SFT has long been suggesting dialogue between those for and those against  to find common ground but rather than positive input there has really only been criticism of SFPO efforts to improve security. the roads, beach and spit rather than any constructive input. Maybe this letter from Hilton Thorpe, below, will encourage this much needed dialogue to not only find common ground that has been so elusive but also correct the facts of the SRA and dispel rumours of excessive spending by SFPO on office space and staff salaries which simply is not true but seems to have incensed some.

The only winners if this matter goes to court will be the legal fraternity for no matter the final outcome, it is this St Francis Bay community who will have to pay the legal bill one way or the other.

“Dear Collo,

Yesterday Julia & I attended a meeting of the above Association, which has been set up specifically to oppose the SRA plans of the St Francis Bay Property Owners Association. It was a well-attended, and well-organised meeting, addressed by an attorney from Graff Reinet, and an advocate from Port Elizabeth. The retired population of St Francis Bay was well-represented there, with the affordability of a 25% increase in rates on top of normal annual increases high on the list of concerns.

It quickly became apparent that the St Francis Bay community is caught between a rock & a hard  place. The Chairman of the Concerned Residents made it clear from the outset that they are not opposed in principle to a Special Rate to address the major problems confronting St Francis Bay, but they could not agree to the cost being met by one section of the community.  This being the case, they were preparing to take the matter to the High Court, and had already prepared preliminary documentation. There is no doubt that the objectors’ concerns are real, and we share them.

The lawyers came up with a list of legal technicalities which, in their view, amounted to failure to observe due process, and could be challenged in court. However, litigation is extremely expensive, slow and would achieve nothing towards solving the current impasse. This should be a last resort. It would surely be far preferable if the opposing parties were to sit down, debate the issues raised, and try to find some consensus on a way forward.        

The problem is really caused by the inability of the authorities to solve the problems here, and the legislation with regard to Special Rating, neither of which is the fault of the SFBPOA. They have spent two years, and expended large amounts of time and cash seeking a solution, and have been driven to their present position by the lack of government capacity and by very demanding legislation.

No special rate can be imposed by the Municipality without the approval of 50% + 1 of ratepayers. In the case of Santareme and St Francis-on-Sea, there is a large number of undeveloped stands, and, despite huge efforts by the SBPOA, it has not been possible to identify or communicate with many owners. Incorporation of these suburbs would mean that the 50% +1 target is unattainable, and no action of any sort can be taken. It was not clear that sufficient thought had been given to this by the objectors. Their demand for full participation by the whole community will simply lead to stalemate.

In our view, we should be very grateful to the committed group of able people who have bent over backwards to accommodate all the conflicting currents in this complex situation. It was very sad to us to see such a deep division between two groups, both of whom have the interests of the village at heart, but who seem to have little common ground on how to go about securing this.

A solution to all this is critical to the future of St Francis Bay. Failure to move forward would be a tragedy for the village. Let us hope that common sense will prevail, and that a spirit of co-operation and compromise on the part of both sides will replace the litigious mind-set displayed at yesterday’s meeting”.

Hilton Thorpe
Former Chairman of the St Francis Bay Residents Association and of the St Francis Kromme Trust

??? Namba Wan

Geagte Redakteur,

In u St Fr Today het ek al baie nuttige info gekry. Dankie daarvoor. Die afgelope ruk ondervind ek egter heelwat frustrasie want die nuus wat ek op u website kry is meestal NIE, dit wat u in u lysie van nuus wat belowe word, kry nie. Dit dui vir my op ‘n gebrek aan belangstelling van u kant af. So asof u ‘n taak aan iemand anders opgedra het en nooit die resultaat nagaan nie. Ek hoop dat ek verkeerd is? Sê nou net die akkuraatheid van u nuus is ook maar so onnoukeurig??

Dalk is daar iets wat ek nie mooi besef nie. Help my dan asb reg.

Beste wense.

To FNB or not to FNB

To FNB or not to FNB that’s the question.

A reader sent this as a “Have Your Say” post

I recently received the obligatory annual increase from FNB where I hold a business account.

It got me to thinking, as they tried to justify the increase with additional services that I don’t need, that I should in fact be receiving a discount from FNB on a monthly basis given that the St Francis Branch is only open three days a week .

Open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays relates to just over 50% of the service due to you by FNB for the fees that you pay. Second to that only one teller is provided regardless of the queues of frustrated customers shaking their heads and muttering under their breath.

And that’s not all as the teller doubles up as a trainer for all those people who have not had bank accounts before and leaves her station to accompany the customer outside to explain the entire process. This is clearly a necessary service but it’s at the expense of all the other customers standing patiently in line looking at a blank booth for 15 to 20 minutes.

One has to wonder what boardroom table this decision was made around as surely there is no logical business reason behind irritating your existing client base. One has to assume that their rent is the same regardless of whether they are in the branch or not. So no saving there.

Perhaps the plan is to utilize the two staff members elsewhere on the 2.5 days when they are not present in St Francis Bay thereby making marginal saving off the bottom line but losing your customer loyalty in the process. There is no logical business explanation to justify this situation.

On our travels we have driven through many small towns in the remotest places one of them being Koster which one would argue is smaller than most. Take a guess how many days a week the FNB branch in Koster is open for. No prizes for guessing standard banking trading hours. So what makes us so special to deserve less service than Koster or any other outlet for that matter?

It’s a bad decision and I am not happy and I am sure there are other account holders who feel the same. I am paying for a service and you (FNB) are giving me less than what I am paying for. Something not right about that! I am sure there is a consumer counsel case in this somewhere but couldn’t be bothered. Imagine Vodacom shutting your cell phone down for 2.5 days per week. Do you think the FNB management would have something to say about that?? You bet.

Get with the programme FNB

Cancer – The Dread Disease



Introduction to cancer
Overview of available treatment
Promising new research from Australia

in aid of Hospice

Talk by Dr DJ Comyn

Specialist Anaesthetist
Past president of Critical Care Society
Founder member of the Resuscitation Council

Tuesday 10 July   9:30 for 10:00

St Francis Bay Golf Club


Light refreshments will be served

This event was published using our “Have Your Say“. Join us in informing the local community by having your say on events, news, concerns or anything else you would like to say.