Residents must save water now

Kouga Municipality - logo

TAPS in Humansdorp are set to run dry should residents not drastically safe water with immediate effect.

“Due to technical problems at the Churchill Dam, which supplies water to Humansdorp, there is little to no waterflow at the specific dam and our local reservoirs do not receive enough water to supply in the current demand,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.

“Therefore, residents must immediately cut back on their water consumption.

“If they do not reduce their average water usage, the municipality will be forced to implement water rationing.”

This means that water will only be available from the taps for a few hours per day and will be shut off for the remainder of the day – as currently being implemented in Hankey and Patensie.

Teetering on a slippery slope

Stephen's Scribble

As I was driving back from the inevitably over crowded Point today I noticed two Xhosa women laughing. They held the hands of two white toddlers as they were jumping in puddles on the side of the road. I smiled in the hope that perhaps that image could soften some of the many assumptions that surround our beautiful country.

In the landscape of South African politics we find ourselves in a very interesting time. Last week the Nation was on tenterhooks following Jacob Zuma’s sentencing. At the 11th hour he turned himself in and many breathed a collective sigh of relief. But not for long …. soon after many parts of KwaZulu-Natal descended into chaos.

South Africa (Azania) has had a chequered history. Colonial rule followed by apartheid and more recently a democracy. All have been marked by inequality and corruption. One thing has remained consistent. The wealth has been steadfastly held by a select minority. Currently South Africa has surpassed Brazil in becoming the number one country in the world with the greatest disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. On one side of the fence luxury five bedroom homes with servants, swimming pools and triple garages. On the other, ramshackle make shift shacks without running water, electrification or proper sanitation.

The brazen looting and lawlessness over the last few days may have come as a shock to many but perhaps we’ve been sitting a proverbial tinderbox for decades. What is most scary is the speed with which things have unravelled. Many questions are currently being asked whether law enforcement in this country is capable of bringing the situation under control. If ever there was a time to show the strong arm of the law, surely it is now? What has been unfolding in certain areas of KwaZulu Natal is nothing short of anarchy. And it appears to be spreading. This is probably the most serious socio political unrest since the xenophobic violence of 2008. People are afraid …. and rightly so. Are we facing a revolution? One which many feel they were denied in the early 1990’s perhaps.

With governments sluggish response to the unrest it comes at no surprise that community security groups have become more active than ever. It is understandable that that if law enforcement can’t protect people’s families, businesses and property, community members will take action. It’s undoubtedly a dangerous playing field in more ways than one. Clearly there is quite a large contingency of civilians with weapons out there. Pretty scary stuff.

As a somewhat liberal “Soutie” I’m horrified by the rhetoric of certain “Grens Vegters”. Provocative talk such as “If they’re taking the law into their own hands, then so will we”. Irresponsible, illegal, aggressive action from this sector of our population may well have catastrophic outcomes. The path towards racial warfare is a slippery one. Protecting one’s family is one thing, poking a black mamba with a stick is an entirely different matter. It only takes a few incidents and sadly, it appears they’ve been happening already. Just yesterday in K.Z.N, an innocent black family of four caught in a hail of bullets while driving passed some white militia on a koppie who assumed they were a “threat”. It’s miracle nobody was killed. Gee, thanks guys for all the help.

To make sense of it all is nigh impossible. Who am I to judge? I was one of those kids who grew up with a pool. I’ve seen what life is like on the other side of that fence but I’ve never felt it. Perhaps a revolution in South Africa is destined to be …. who knows? Until a few days ago I’d never really entertained the thought. It certainly isn’t out of the question. One things for sure, I’m not ready to fight it though. With all that we’ve been through as a Nation it just doesn’t feel like something like this could happen. Have I been naive in thinking that there’s just too much to lose and we’d all see it that way? Cry the beloved country …..

Stephen Praetorious

Article by Stephen Praetorious

One at a time is all that it really needs

Following comments on Social Media regarding the potential of spreading the virus when several members of a single family all visiting our local SuperSpar when only one person should in fact be in the store, the management of The Village Square SuperSpar has  issued the following statement.

“At Village Square SUPERSPAR we are committed to the safety of our staff and all customers. We are currently only admitting half of our customers as per government legislation and regulations. We are monitoring our customer count on a daily basis and will take the necessary precautions as necessary as we did in the past. Whilst SPAR takes these precautions we urge customers to also exercise caution and common sense when visiting the store.”

A good idea for the more elderly is to make us of the Trolley Dolly’s service who will do your shop for you. For more details call Jo Brown on 072 920 6213.

Trolly Dolly St Francis

NOTE: The editor has taken to using Trolley Dolly’s service owing to his ever increasing deteriorating mobility and can highly recommend their service.

 

 

 

 

 

Vandals in our Reserves

FOSTER - friends of St Francis nature areas

FOSTER continues to look after and maintain the reserves and the paths in the 4 Cape St Francis Nature Reserves that it has jurisdiction over to the best of its ability. It does so to preserve the rich flora and fauna of this areas as well as for the benefit of the greater St Francis community and visitors who use the reserves for recreation and sporting activities.

Member of the team removing rooikrans in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve.A lot of ongoing work has been done in recent weeks in the reserves and with the first flowers now blooming, the reserves are looking stunning. With funding provided by a generous anonymous St Francis Bay resident, a team is also working to remove invasive rooikrans in the Cape St Francis Reserve and the impact of their work can already be seen. If you have not recently been in one of our reserves, do yourself a favour and spend an hour or two in one of them and come out feeling rejuvenated and, if not a member you might be tempted to become one. (https://foster.org.za/contact-us/membership/)

Our strategically placed cameras which pick up animal movement and which also allows us to measure the use of the reserves by walkers and runners have again been picking up the odd cyclists riding on paths that are clearly demarcated as non cycling areas. Why, when in conjunction with and funding supplied by the cycling club, there are many well maintained cycling paths in the reserves, some entitled individuals believe that they have the right to use these paths remains a mystery.

> A damaged and then reversed no cycling sign at one of the entrances to the Irma Booysen Nature ReserveEven more of a mystery is why, and one must assume that it is the same individuals, also have to damage and vandalise the non cycling signs. No doubt they get a sense of satisfaction from having “screwed” the system. Is it really that different to the vandalism on a much greater scale we saw in some parts of our country in July? These are probably privileged holiday makers that have come to St Francis as this type of behaviour seldom happens in the off season.

Building rubble dumped opposite trade winds in da Gama RoadAnother ongoing irritation that requires the use of our limited resources is the illegal dumping of building rubble either by contractors or home owners at the edge of our reserves. We know that it’s a schlepp to the Humansdorp tip, but lets preserve the pristine environment we are living in.

So, if you see people flagrantly disobeying the rules in our reserves or vandalizing signs please ask them why, maybe its time to name and shame them. To those responsible, please think about your behaviour and if it is really necessary to conduct yourself in this manner. Why not use the cycle paths in the reserves and in the greater St Francis area and the tip in Humansdorp.

JOIN FOSTER TODAY AND HELP PRESERVE OUR FAUNA & FLORA

FOSTER – 30 years of supporting St Francis’ Heritage

Friends of St Francis Nature Reserves

For many years, the membership of FOSTER remained fairly static at around 100 members which brought in around R30 000 of the R100 000 needed to maintain the reserves. The committee is pleased to report that for 2021 membership as at the end of June has increased to 189 members meaning that a 100% increase for this year is certainly attainable, (we do have an ambitious target of 300). Foster would like to thank all those who renewed their membership and welcome and thank the new members that have joined Foster. This means that that half of the annual running costs can now be covered by the membership fees generated.

A really positive development has been the number of new members from St Francis Bay who have joined and who realize that the reserves are for all who live in the greater St Francis area. We encourage everyone to use them and of course to become FOSTER members so that these unique and important reserves can continue to be an asset for all in our greater community.

Foster has always been dependent on donations and fund raising to cover the full costs and has been able to raise additional funds for special projects, meaning that the FOSTER reserves remain largely alien free with a network of well-maintained paths and trails for the use of our community to walk, run and cycle on. With COVID fund raising has been difficult, however there have been some remarkably generous donors who have come to the fore with one new generous member donating R50 000 meaning that our running cost will be covered for 2021 allowing FOSTER to consider tackling some additional projects if we are able to get some fund-raising initiatives in place despite the pandemic.

Those using the various paths will no doubt have noticed the widening of the path between St Francis-on-Sea and Cape St Francis making it safe and easy to use for both walkers and cyclists. Foster would like to thank the St Francis Bay Cycling club for their 50% contribution to the costs of the clearing and widening of this important path in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. We have also been able to now maintain the path leading to the lookout point next to the beacon in this reserve which offers the most spectacular views stretching across the two bays stretching from the lighthouse to Jeffrey’s Bay and the b Cockscomb Peak in the north. Maintenance is ongoing and once complete, will be named the Two Bay Trail and should be a must-to-do, for all able-bodied residents and visitors alike.

Through FOSTER’s persistent efforts, it was able to arrange for the Working on Fire to clear a firebreak in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve bordering the CSF houses, and for the Kouga Municipality to remove the cuttings.  

Other paths and trails continue to be maintained including the dedicated cycle paths in the reserves by Dave Bowmer and his team. The St Francis Bay Cycle Club has agreed in principle to fund 50% of the cost of maintaining the pedestrian trails shared by the cyclists. Having a good relationship with the Cycling Club is important to FOSTER. Therefore, we have created a dedicated portfolio on the committee to ensure that this relationship is nurtured and maintained. The Cycling Club remains fully responsible for maintaining the dedicated path in the Seal Bay Nature Reserve around the Lighthouse.

The 4 reserves that Foster looks after cover about 300 hectares which is home to shrublands of fynbos with patches of thicket, and even forest trees. Whilst plants seldom elicit the same kind of response in people as animals do, our reserves contain some rare locally endemic plants well worth preserving for the current and future generation. As an example, an endemic sub species of sea lavender grows in the Seal Point nature reserve that has not even been cataloged yet. There are of course animals to be seen as well in the reserves, ranging from bushbuck, caracul, Cape genet, bushpigs and otters to name a few, the bird life is also abundant and many a birder as been able to boast of rare sightings especially in the Seal Bay nature reserve.

Most people are not aware that when they walk the paths around the lighthouse that that are in the Seal Point Nature Reserve. So, whether a regular visitor or a first timer, please consider supporting the work that FOSTER does to maintain these special reserves and consider becoming a member or making a donation (or both). It’s just R300 per year for a family or R200 per annum for individual membership, details on our website at foster.org.za. You can either do an EFT or pay via snapscan.

Remember the FOSTER-managed reserves are for all to use and enjoy and are not the preserve of the residents of Cape St Francis, the Committee or any other groupings, but we your membership fees to continue with the work that FOSTER an PBO does.

Shared cycle/pedestrian trail through CSF Nature Reserve widened to safely accommodate both types of users, and for firefighting access. The maintenance vehicle shown is removing the cuttings.

Cycle groove needing repair in the Seal Point reserve

Widening of shared cycle/pedestrian trail in Irma Booysen nature reserve

Resurfaced shared cycle/pedestrian on shortcut between driveway to Johnson’s carpark and Queen of the West

Municipality to install Water-Flow Restrictors

Kouga Municipality - logo

KOUGA Municipality is set to start installing water-flow restrictor discs in the homes of high-water users across the region – should their water consumption not reduce significantly.

This as the combined levels of the dams that supply water to the region totalled 9.44% on July 6 as per the latest information from Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. The two biggest dams, Kouga and Impofu, stood at 4.2% and 14.38% respectively. The Churchill Dam was at 14.84%, and the small Loerie Dam balancing at 28.85%.

“If the water usage is not reduced significantly by the end of July, water-flow restrictors will be implemented across the region,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.

“These meters allow a water supply to each household until the daily limit of 1 000 litres per household is reached. The meter then automatically turns off the water supply until 05:00 the next morning.”

Hendricks continued should this fail to be effective; the municipality will be forced to implement strict water rationing. “This means that water will only be available from the taps for a few hours per day and will be shut off for the remainder of the day,” he said.

“Any planned restrictions will be carefully considered and proper consultation with affected parties will take place before water curtailing measures are implemented.”

Meanwhile, the municipality has been working around the clock to implement measures to circumvent the prospect that the Kouga region run out of water.

This includes the possibility of connecting additional viable boreholes across the area to the various water treatment works, while the drilling of exploratory boreholes is also being investigated. The municipality is, furthermore, in the process of erecting five 5 000l designated water points in Hankey to ensure residents have access to clean drinking water.

“As part of the municipality’s efforts to manage water usage, municipal taps are turned off at public open spaces, all municipal buildings will be equipped with rainwater harvesting tanks, and stringent measures have been put in place to ensure that the restricted allocation of water – 50l per person per day – is adhered to,” said Hendricks. “The municipality is also working with law enforcement to enforce compliance.”

Residents are remined that the current water restrictions prohibit the connection of a hose pipe or an irrigation system to taps supplying water from the municipal system.

Pools may not be filled or topped up, and the washing of paved areas, roofs and walls with municipal water are also not allowed.

“Every one of us has a role to play in preventing Kouga’s taps from running dry – we must do all we can to save water,” said Hendricks. “Every single one of us should be taking active measures to save water in our daily lives.”

SAVE WATER NOW