Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch

Late yesterday I received an SMS from a close friend asking me to attend the neighbourhood watch meeting being held at St Francis Bay Golf club at 6:00pm. I immediately replied that I would try but for personal reasons probably wouldn’t attend. A return SMS asking that I please attend I guess motivated me into a change of heart as and so it was off the golf club for the second night in a row having attended the DA AGM the previous evening.
When a similar spike in crime as to what we are presently experiencing beset St Francis in August this year I was invited, more formerly, to attend a meeting to initiate a neighbourhood watch. Following that meeting I published article titled (read Neighbourhood Watch or CCTV) in St Francis Today.

It would appear that a group of volunteers did form a watch and according to comment early on in the yesterday’s meeting, it did serve as a deterrent to criminals resulting in a decrease in crime. As stated in the August article the concept ticks all the right boxes and there are many very effective watch groups operating successfully in South Africa. But sadly the reality of so many neighbourhood watch groups is that interest wains rather rapidly and one by one volunteers fall by the wayside leaving a small group of committed diehards to carry the flag.

Initially it seemed the purpose of the meeting was to motivate for volunteers to join up and form groups that would ‘patrol the lonely streets at night’ but somewhere after an unconvincing start where nobody seemed to certain of what to say next, John Hammond somewhat reluctantly at first, spoke up and got the meeting on track by inviting both SAPS Captain Gomoshe and Warrant Office van Heerden to address the meeting. They gave some insight on the state of crime and the problems facing SAPS as with so many state entities being hindered not only by budget cuts but also by bureaucracy and red tape. The Captain was confident that things were about to change once a SAPS General, due to visit St Francis in the near future had been to visit the station.

After a long discussion where some asked on statistics of SAPS  personnel and other topics, Greg Christie thankfully stepped in and stopped a dialogue that was going nowhere by pointing out that without facts on how SAPS deployed personnel based on population, not much could be done to motivate for more police.

One member of the audience then took the floor, apologies I left the meeting early and was unable to ascertain his name, brought up interesting information on nearby holiday town, Plettenberg Bay. After experiencing similar crime waves to what we are now seeing, Plett installed some 100 CCTV cameras. Crime, according to the speaker has dropped dramatically.

On August 30th, John Hammond set up a meeting at St Francis Links which only a handful of people attended. The purpose of the meeting was to see a demonstration on the benefits of CCTV. Again St Francis Today published a post on that meeting (CCTV makes sense) and as Hammond commented last evening, the St Francis Property Owners (SFPO) board is actively looking at ways to finance installation of CCTV initially in ‘crime hotspots’ and eventually expanding to cover most of St Francis.

By way of interest, several of the gated communities effectively use CCTV and in a recent incident where this scribe’s car was broken into, CCTV prevented the perpetrators stealing nothing but a pair of binoculars, which were soon and the CCTV footage captured led to the arrest of a suspect a few hours later.

Which brings up another matter raised by Mr Hammond, that of how unfortunately the justice and correctional services are the major problems regarding crime by either not prosecuting unless a watertight case against a suspect is in place or releasing suspects out on bail only for them to return to their community and continue their criminal activities. Please be aware this is not something the police have control over and it must frustrate them as much as it does us.

Finally a little gripe!

The St Francis Property Owners board were criticised for not having a representative at the meeting was rather unfair for several reasons. Firstly did they actually receive an invite? Had it not been the SMS from a friend asking me to attend I would not have been unaware of the event for I never saw it advertised. Secondly there was a wind farm function on at the same time so considering that the wind farms in the Kouga district contribute some R40million a year into the upliftment of the Kouga community, would their time not be better spent networking with those who can and are making a difference and possibly motivate that some of that money come st Francis’ way.

And lastly, was the purpose of the meeting intended  not to attract volunteers to “prowl the empty streets” by way of forming a neighbourhood watch? If this was the purpose of the meeting is there an expectation then that these SFPO board members, who are already doing a huge amount of work with the “SAVING ST FRANCIS” initiative now also expected to volunteer to spend even more time driving the streets at night? These board members who are retired business men give up countless hours of their time to say nothing of their generous financial contributions to the Saving St Francis funding.

If every resident did their part and made whatever contribution they could afford, be it monthly or even once off, maybe St Francis residents would not have to be asked to “prowl the empty streets”. That there are presently only some 150 paid up members of the residents portion of SFPO is an indication of lassitude that exists and rather than boosting the profits of Caltex and further damaging the ozone layer, joining the SFPO would surely better serve the community, not only in reducing crime by installing CCTV but also by having finances to improve the roads, the beach and so many other services that need urgent attention. Membership is just R450 a year (pensioners pay R300) and if you want to do good by contributing rather than complaining maybe take a step in the right direction. You can sign up for membership at

http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/the-association/membership/member/

And should you be able to contribute more to helping the community either financially or in kind, why not join the St Francis Property Owners Non Profit Company (NPC). To see those making a real contribution to ‘Saving St Francis’ visit
http://stfrancispropertyowners.co.za/saving-st-francis/st-francis-property-owners-npc/npc-members/

Near disaster was averted at Natures Valley

A near disaster was averted at Natures Valley near Plettenberg Bay.

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

At 14h14, Tuesday, 29th November, NSRI Plettenberg Bay were called by a member of the public witnessing a group of teenagers, and at first believed to be about 8 teenagers, swimming in relatively deep water off-shore of Natures Valley River Mouth, at a beach known as Beach 8 – Natures Valley.

The bystander felt concerned because there are no lifeguards at that beach and he felt they had ventured too far out to sea and he was raising the alarm as a precaution although he could confirm that at that stage they were not appearing to be in any obvious difficulty.

While the bystander was talking to NSRI concerns were raised when the bystander noted that he could observe strong rip currents in the vicinity and he now counted at least 20 teenagers (not 8 as at first believed) and he then observed an adult, believed to be their supervisor, swimming out to sea in their direction.

While still talking to the NSRI, and although at that stage the bystander maintained that he was letting the NSRI know of the situation as a precaution because of his observed concerns, the bystander then confirmed that some of the teenagers had started to wave their arms towards the beach direction and the bystander, now obviously very concerned, requested NSRI’s intervention and he could confirm that some of the children were suspected to now definitely be appearing to be in difficulties.

Our sea rescue emergency siren was sounded and our NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew responded to the sea rescue station, where assisted by the SA Police Services beach foot patrol officers, who waded chest deep into the surf fully clothed to help us launch our sea rescue craft – in 4 minutes we launched all 4 of our sea rescue craft – Discovery Rescue Runner, Ray Farnham, Airlink Rescuer and Leonard Smith.

The AMS/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter was activated and Med-Life ambulance services and our sea rescue vehicle carrying our NSRI station doctor responded.

Two NSRI rescue swimmers who were nearby to the incident at the time responded directly to the scene in their private vehicles.

On arrival on the scene all of the teenagers and their tour guide were found nearing the beach line after they had all managed to swim safely back towards the beach, avoiding rip currents, and the first of the NSRI rescue swimmers arriving on the scene observed them reaching the beach safely without assistance.

Additional rescue and medical resources had by now arrived at the beach and while they were observed and assessed medically it was apparent that all had escaped unharmed and no injuries had been sustained.

Strong rip currents could be observed on each side of the route that they had chosen to swim back to land and it is fortunate that they had perhaps unknowingly avoided the rip currents while swimming back towards the shore.

All responding services were stood down as no longer required.

They are Foreign exchange students, believed to be from Denmark, Germany and Finland, and the man that had swum out to help them is their tour guide and supervisor – they are on a tour from exchange student residences in Gauteng and Mpumalanga and have a further 7 days on tour before returning to Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

NSRI are urging bathers to be cautious around our coast with summer holiday season now upon us.

The bystander who raised the alarm is commended for alerting NSRI to the possibility of the real and present danger of rip currents the group of foreign exchange students faced today.

St Francis Bay Bridge Club Charity Tournament

Charity Bridge Day at the St Francis Links

Bridge players came from far and wide to participate in the popular Charity Bridge Day at the St Francis Links on 20th September 2016. Dinks Liebenberg started fund raising for the National Sea Rescue Institute, Station 21, about 20 years ago by organising an annual bridge tournament and the tradition has continued growing in strength and enthusiasm.

Players came from Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Jeffreys Bay, Port Elizabeth, and even as far afield as Pretoria and enjoyed a really successful, well-run tournament. There were twenty-two tables (four players per table), two of which were set aside for novice players, providing them with the opportunity to experience tournament conditions, which can be rather daunting at first.

The St Francis Links came to the party once again and pulled out all stops to provide the perfect venue and a delicious lunch. Jeff Clause, CEO of the Links, offered an extremely generous prize of 18 holes for a four-ball, including golf carts (worth about R2000). This was auctioned by John Boonzaier and secured by a thrilled Di Klette from Plettenberg Bay.

The club was honoured to have Heidi Atkinson participating. She is the Chief Tournament Director of South Africa, President of the Southern Cape Bridge Union, and is on the board of the South African Bridge Federation. She had this to say of the tournament: “I am impressed by the dedication of the St Francis Bay Committee who provided bridge for both newcomers and experienced players. They work hard and do it with love, always going the extra mile.”

Tournament Directors for the day were well qualified locals Eileen Ellis and Judith O’Hara who were able to participate as well as performing their duties with consummate skill. This enabled Heidi Atkinson and Patrick Verner (TD from Pretoria) to play without officiating, much to their delight.

An additional fund-raising raffle produced R855. The winner was committee member John Boonzaier who immediately donated it to the NSRI.

Geoff Ellis, President of the Bridge Club, expressed his appreciation to the members of the bridge club and the business community of St Francis who so generously gave prizes for the day. Everyone went home with something and a good time was had by all who attended.

The visitors were impressed by the exemplary organisation and Patrick Verner, Tournament Director from Pretoria, commented on the lovely, relaxed and pleasant atmosphere and the outstanding competence of the St Francis Bay committee.

Much to the delight of everyone concerned, a sum of R8 500,00 was raised for NSRI Station 21.

The tournament was played in two sections:

Winners of the Green Section: N/S Una Moolman and Jill Browning (J’Bay), E/W John Boonzaier and Darryl Hendricks (SFB).

Winners if the Maroon Section: N/S Mike Lowe and Bobbie Walker (PE), E/W Wendy Mackenzie and Liz Horne (SFB).

Charity Bridge Day at the St Francis Links

Photo: Winners of the St Francis Bay Bridge Charity Tournament in aid of Station 21 of NSRI (left to right) Liz Horne, Wendy Mackenzie, Mike Lowe, Bobbie Walker, Jill Browning, Una Moolman, Daryl Hendricks and John Boonzaier.

Article & photo Yvonne Bosman

Spring Wellness Expo

Spring Wellness Expo for St Francis Animal Rescue

Wellness Expo

It’s all happening this Saturday when St Francis Animal Rescue hosts a Spring Wellness Expo at The Links Clubhouse from 10.00 am until 5.00 pm.

The focus of this Expo is on enhancing the health of your mind, body and soul through a variety of Healthy Body, mind & souldnew-age therapies, treatments, exercises and nutritious eating plans – and there will be thirty experts in every field exhibiting on the day.

  • Massage in St Francis Bay
  • Five beauty salons in St Francis will be promoting their individual skin care ranges and face and body care treatments to keep you looking slim and trim with a beautifully healthy, glowing complexion.
  • You can experience different types of massage including; Deep Tissue Massage, Shiatzu Massage and Reflexology.
  • Discover all you need to know about healthy exercise for your body type from our gym and personal trainers.
  • Let Body Stress Release show you how to eradicate stress and replace this with positive energy.
  • Purchase the best vitamins and supplements and health foods available today – and listen to what qualified nutritionists have to say about developing a daily diet plan to make your body feel younger, Healthy foodhealthier and more energetic.
  • Find out how drinking clean, filtered water detoxes and hydrates your body to restore youthfulness and well-being.
  • Relax through yoga, meditation and deep-breathing – and find out how ‘Mindfulness’ works to alter your thoughts and behaviour to create a sustainable change in your life.
  • Demonstrations on the day include yoga, meditation, deep-breathing, Pilates, karate, spinning, body building and cardio exercise.
  • You may know of Pollen – the fabulous florists in PE – who are bringing a display of flowers, pot plants and gifts to commemorate the beginning of Spring at our Exp.
  • Chef Brad, from St Francis Links, will be talking about incorporating the right breads into a healthy diet – and serving a range of snacks and meals that are not only delicious but also good for you. You can also purchase scrumptious smoothies enriched with super-foods and pick up tips on making quick and easy wrap fillings the whole family will enjoy.

Tickets are selling at R100.00 on the day. All children under 16 are allowed in for free.

All funds raised on at our Expo go towards St Francis Animal Rescue to fund the ‘Open Your Eyes and Sterilize’ campaign which seeks to spay and neuter township cats and dogs to prevent the over-breeding that results in cruelty and neglect of kittens and puppies.

In support of St Francis Animal Rescue the 5-Star luxury hotel Plettenberg Park Hotel & Spa is offering a 2 night stay for two people to indulge themselves in luxury. A winner in the Luxury Hotels of the World, Plettenberg Park has played host to many distinguished guests, such as Nelson Mandela and Richard Branson, amongst many others and you too could be soon enjoying a truly memorable getaway. Recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor which reflect the great reviews this outstanding hotel, perched on the cliffs just a little way west of Plettenberg Bay offering outstanding, unhindered views over the ocean, has received over the past year, A limited amount of tickets will be on offer to win this amazing offer valued at over R16000.

Plettenberg Park

The St Francis Animal Rescue team are grateful for your kind support. See you at the Spring Wellness Expo!

Press Release from St Francis Animal Rescue – Edited