15 January 2020
Published every Wednesday by CXpress 2006 (Pty) Ltd - PO Box 1449, Plettenberg Bay 6600 - 6 Park Lane, Plettenberg Bay - Tel: 044 533 1004 - Fax: 044 533 0852 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com Web page: www.cxpress.co.za Printed by Group Editors
Kick it up!
FREE Photo: Anja Wiehl
This image by Anja Wiehl was one of many excellent entries received by Plett Tourism for its seasonal photo competition - turn to page 9 for more. Although it’s back to school for most learners today, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in our Garden Route towns with various events featuring in the late-summer sports and entertainment line-up. Here’s wishing students of all ages an energetic kickstart to a great academic year, and a reminder to balance work with play for best results.
No arrests after NY day shooting p3
The road to 2021 reviewed p4
Wittedrift results tops in CX Country p5
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NEWS & VIEWS
15 January 2020
You don’t want to miss a wonderful evening with these angels of the opera PERA Angels are a diverse and exciting duo based in Cape Town: soprano and pianist Dr Lisa Engelbrecht and mezzo soprano Lindsay Thomson bring their audiences not only much-loved opera classics, but also their own splendid arrangements of iconic pieces through the musical ages. A renowned musician in both South Africa and Europe, Lisa has worked extensively across the globe as a performer, accompanist and coach. She combines her busy performance career with the position of head opera coach at the prestigious University of Cape Town Opera School. Lindsay has also worked both in South Africa and Europe as a performer with various opera companies, as well as developing her own classical shows. She met and began to work with Lisa whilst studying at the Opera School in Cape Town. Following their debut performances upon the Queen Victoria ship, Opera Angels have been in demand across the
Cape and the rest of South Africa. They create unique programmes to encompass many musical genres, whether it be an introduction to opera, an evening of cinema greats or a taste of Italy. Two light classical concerts with contrasting programmes of light opera, operetta, musical theatre and popular song are scheduled for January 24 and 25. Friday January 24 ‘Viva Italia!’ A joyous selection of Italian sacred and opera arias and duets from Handel to Mozart to Puccini, as well as Neapolitan songs such as O sole Mio and Torna a Surriento. Friday night’s programme will include a little musical theatre as well as iconic contemporary songs by Josh Groban, such as The Prayer and Gira Con Me. Saturday January 25 ‘Belle Nuit’ A beautiful showcase of French opera arias and chansons from Bizet’s Carmen to Offenbach and Saint-Saens,
CHANTEUSES SUPREME: Lindsay Thomson, left, and Dr Lisa Engelbrecht will share their musical magnificence with Garden Route audiences on January 24 and 25 at St Peter’s Church in Plettenberg Bay
including the Flower Duet from Lakmé, songs by Faure and chansons by Piaf (La Vie en Rose, Les Feuilles Mortes) and Brel. Popular songs from the silver screen will include compositions from the soundtrack of The Mission, The Piano, and more. St Peter’s Anglican Church Hall in Church Street, Plett, is the place to be. Doors open at 6:30pm and the concerts begin
at 7pm. Tickets cost R250 each (free seating) and are available from Barnie Barnard at The Market Square Information Centre on 044 533 3219. Lady Conyngham can be emailed at aconyngham@ telkomsa.net for further information. Refreshments will be served during the interval and all funds raised will benefit the St Peter’s outreach programme and Hospice Plett.
Notice Board • Tonight at 6pm, Mike Bayibhile - aka the Garden Route’s finest baritone - presents ‘A night of Classical Masterpieces’ at Piesang Valley Community Hall. Come and enjoy some masterful singing by one of Plettenberg Bay’s best-known home-grown talents, who has performed mostly in the Eastern Cape but also around SA with orchestras like KZN Philharmonic and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Orchestra. Tickets for the January 15 show cost R60 for adults and
35 for children and the concert runs from 6-8pm, making it particularly child friendly. Visit the Plett Tourism office at Mellville’s Corner in Main Street to secure your seat, or call 067 760 4486 to book. • Knysna Plett Concert Series kicks off the new decade in style by presenting Alissa Margulis on violin, accompanied by pianist Luis Magalhães on Monday February 3. Says Knysna Music Society chair Penny Smythe-Rathbone: “A new year, a new series
of wonderful classical concerts for your enjoyment! “We aim to offer only the best for our Knysna Plett Concert Series audiences and continuing the long tradition of inviting only top musicians; Alissa and Luis will perform three of Beethoven’s violin sonatas in honour of the great composer’s 250th anniversary. “Be part of the audience on this opening night and bring along friends and family to hear a superb concert.” As always, the action starts at
7:30pm at Knysna Dutch Reformed Church Hall in Fichat Street. Tickets are sold at the door from 6:45pm at R150 or R50 for scholars. • Diarise Friday February 14 and Saturday the 15th, when the sensational Cat Simoni celebrates her return to Bosky Dell - the exquisite rose farm situated off the N2 twixt Plett and Knysna - after four months singing in the clubs of the seven-star Ritz Carlton in Bahrain. Watch this space for all the details…
NEWS & VIEWS
15 January 2020
Still no arrests after New Year’s Day shooting of young KwaNokuthula woman Ludumo Tede
HE mist over who may be responsible for the killing of a 23-year-old woman in KwaNokuthula during the first few minutes of New Year’s Day, has not yet cleared. The incident happened near the KwaNokuthula taxi rank around 00:15 on
January 1, amid celebrations to welcoming the New Year. Two weeks have passed since the tragic incident occurred, but no one has been arrested or charged with murder, as it remains unclear whether the deceased was actually targeted by the shooter, or was simply caught up in the cross fire. According to a statement
issued by the Southern Cape SAPS media centre, it was only when the victim fell on the ground with blood on her face that her pals realised there was trouble. There is no mention of a fight or robbery prior to her collapsing on the ground. “It is alleged that the woman was walking with friends when she fell to the ground
with blood all over her face. She was taken to Knysna Provincial Hospital for medical attention, but was declared dead on arrival. “Preliminary investigations revealed that she sustained a gunshot wound to her head at the time of her death,” said Knysna SAPS spokesman sergeant Christopher Spies. By going to print, no lead received by KwaNokuthula police has resulted in the apprehension of the owner
of the gun, or the person who pulled the trigger, causing a stray bullet to claim the life of a young woman in the waking moments of a new decade. The public is asked to assist the police by sharing any information in connection with the young woman’s death so that justice can be served and the killer locked away. “All the circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation and
all leads are being followed up. The public is kindly requested to come forward with information that may assist the police with this investigation,” said Spies. If you know anything that may help the SAPS in their quest to solve this crime, please contact the investigation officer, sergeant Hopewell Gwama, on 044 501 4215, or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111. All information will be dealt with confidentially.
Recently-concluded survey finds Knysna domestic violence cases fourth highest in Western Cape N January 13, the Western Cape’s Department of Community Safety (DoCS) released a statement on its census project, monitoring the level of compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) of 150 police stations in the province over a six-month period. The most reported forms of domestic violence included physical abuse (46%) and emotional, verbal and psychological abuse (29%). Of the total 34,209 incidents reported in 2018/19, the majority were reported in the Cape Flats areas of Mitchells Plain (3,155 cases), Delft (2,071), and Harare (1,716), with Knysna at 1,620 cases taking a close fourth place. Of great concern to the department is that the census revealed the W-Cape SAPS remained non-compliant with the Act, and that more volunteers were required for victim support rooms. Said provincial Community Safety minister Albert Fritz: “The DVA places several obligations on SAPS and other state departments regarding its implementation. DoCS is mandated to monitor and evaluate police compliance with the Act, and make recommendations regarding non-compliance.” Fritz reiterated the importance of victim support
rooms in addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV). “These rooms provide victims with much needed psycho-social support during periods of trauma. The results of the census project show that victim support rooms are undermined by a lack of volunteers. “I therefore call on all station commanders to work closely with their local Community Policing Forums, victim support units and neighbourhood watch structures to increase the number of volunteers at their stations. Additionally, I call on members of the community to assist their local victim support rooms by volunteering.” Further findings revealed that: • 67% of VISPOL and 74% of detectives at the top 20 stations have not undergone the five-day DVA training course (it was noted that domestic violence training was included in the basic training curriculum in July 2004); • In 2018/19, only 12 DVA courses were provided for the station level personnel of the Western Cape by the office of the provincial commissioner; • A lack of alignment between the DVA register and other records, including the Occurrence Book and
pocket books of members at certain stations; • Protection orders are not always served within the targeted 48 hours and copies are not filed correctly as they are not readily available at certain stations; and • A lack of trained volunteers in victim-friendly rooms at some stations and a lack of safe-house facilities within the precincts of many stations. Fritz said the serving of protection orders was another concern, as in some cases there was no proper record keeping. “This means that known perpetrators of GBV are free to roam the streets, directly threatening the lives and wellbeing of their chosen victims.” Fritz concluded: “Of the total 159 GBV-related cases monitored by the Court Watching Brief Unit between April 2018 and September 2019, 86 investigations were incomplete, 54 dockets did not arrive at court, 15 forensic reports were outstanding, and two accused were not brought to court within 48 hours of arrest, while two witnesses were not at court. “These factors contribute to cases being struck off the roll and are a complete miscarriage of justice, infringing on the constitutional rights of the victim.”
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NEWS & VIEWS
15 January 2020
Why are so few councillors privy to forensic report on corruption at Bitou Municipality? The letter below was received by CXPRESS on Monday, and is followed by a response from Bitou ward councillor Dave Swart understand from correspondence emanating from the Plett Ratepayers Association that the forensic report into corruption within Bitou Municipality, produced early in 2019, has been referred by MEC Anton Bredell to certain local councillors for comment. This report was supposed to be circulated to all 13 Bitou councillors. However, it was only forwarded to the mayor and his mayoral committee, which consists of himself and the six ANC councillors. None of the opposition DA councillors have had sight of it, despite ward councillor Dave Swart having repeatedly demanded the report. MEC Bredell has been advised of the situation and has been given the email addresses of all councillors, yet to date he has for reasons best known to himself not circulated the report to the DA councillors. It is obvious why the mayor and the ANC councillors do not want the forensic report circulated,
but why does MEC Bredell refuse to share it with our opposition councillors? And why do the DA councillors, other than Dave Swart, not stand up for their rights and demand access to the report, both from Bitou’s speaker and MEC Bredell? Are they all fast asleep? Do they appreciate that they should be acting at all times in the interests of Bitou ratepayers? There is a local government election next year, and I think our DA councillors need to publicly demonstrate a lot more energy, activity and opposition to the ongoing wasteful and irregular expenditure taking place within Bitou Municipality, if they are to be considered worthy candidates to stand for election for the DA in 2021. B Knight, Plett Bitou Ward 2 councillor Dave Swart comments: I cannot answer as to why minister Bredell has not sent the DA councillors a copy of the report, and can only assume it may
F like me you run in the political circles of Plett, rubbing shoulders with the powers that be, you’re likely to hear the four digits “2021” being said very often. Nope, it’s not an access code; they represent a particular year on the political calendar of South Africa. Yes, it’s the year that succeeds the current one, but what’s important is that the sixth local government elections take place in 2021. Among the debaters count those who see themselves as councillors or mayors next year, and those ordinary folk who are tired and fed-up and unashamedly vouch that, “come 2021, we’re voting this way or that way”. In fact, if I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard people mention 2021 in this context, I’d probably be rich by now. While some claim that 2016 was the biggest year for local government elections in South Africa (given how the ANC lost three of
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PROTOCOL OR WAITING GAME PLAYED? Bitou Ward 2 councillor Dave Swart says he learnt that the much-discussed forensic report was being sent to the legal department for an opinion, after which feedback would be given at the next council meeting on January 31
it was being sent to our legal department for an opinion, after which feedback would be given at the next council meeting on January 31. I don’t know if the forensic report has been circulated to anyone else since, but have been advised by the municipality that it has been referred to a local legal firm for an opinion. This prompted me to express my dissatisfaction at not receiving a copy, and to express this sentiment on my personal Facebook page. This post was approved by our caucus leader and other DA councillors, who have also shared my comments to their contacts - so these DA councillors are indeed making their dissatisfaction clear. • Visit ‘Councillor Dave Swart’ on Facebook to see the original post and comments from Plett residents and other interested parties. A copy of P Knight’s letter was sent to the office of minister Anton Bredell, but no comment was received by going to print.
The road to 2021: Can the DA succeed where the ANC and AUF have failed? Wandisile Afrika Sebezo
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have something to do with following the correct protocol. To my knowledge, it has been sent to Bitou Municipality for circulation to councillors. During a DA caucus meeting on December 16 this matter was discussed and I asked the mayor via WhatsApp during this meeting when we would receive our copy. He replied that it had been sent to the speaker’s office and that I should contact him in this regard, which I did on the same day; I learnt that
the country’s major metros), I suspect that 2021 will be the defining year for Bitou. To me coalitions are a big NO - our experience as a town is telling, while judging from the shenanigans in Nelson Mandela Bay, the City of Johannesburg and Tshwane, the coalition option is not desirable for Plett. Either the Democratic Alliance (DA) or the African National Congress (ANC) should govern with majority. But which of the two deserves our vote? Here’s a challenge to the DA: can it succeed where the ANC/AUF pact has failed? (I’ll leave this question open…) The battle lines for 2021 will be drawn between these two parties, but in reality each should be judged on who they field for the mayoral position, firstly, and the entire councillorship. The biggest failure in the last four years has been a lack of leadership, which also implies corruption and bad governance. The endless civil unrest we saw last year testifies to this point.
So the DA and the ANC must think carefully when they choose which candidates to field; more importantly, they must listen to the people. We need a new breed of leadership come 2021 - one that is not tarnished by corruption. Come to think of it, Plett has not had a woman as first citizen since the advent of democracy in 1994. I could list many potential female mayors, sure to be of great value to our town, off the top of my head. People like me who play at the centre of the political spectrum, with a slight leaning to the left, are having difficulties with both the ANC and the DA. The former now in its 108th year - has a leadership crisis, while the latter has an identity crisis. The challenge for the DA is that its policies are antipoor and not developmental in nature, which makes it an unfavourable alternative. But judging from the mess of the last four years we had to endure under ANC/AUF rule, perhaps it can only go better…?
NEWS & VIEWS
15 January 2020
Full marks for Wittedrift High who leads the way with 100% matric pass rate Yolandé Stander
ITTEDRIFT High School made a big contribution to this year’s CX Country matric success, securing yet another 100% pass rate - the only public school in Plettenberg Bay and Knysna to do so. This also contributed to ensuring that the two coastal holiday towns did not only exceed the Eden District and Western Cape pass rate, but also the national tally. Plett and Knysna managed an 87.5% pass rate, while Eden received 84.1% and
the Western Cape 82.3%, while nationally 81.3% of learners made the grade. The district was one of eight in the province to obtain a pass rate above 80%. Only one district, Metro East with a pass rate of 78.3%, dropped below the 80% mark. The province, however, dropped to fourth place in the country from last year’s third spot, having been edged out by Free State at 88.4%, followed by Gauteng with 87.2% and North
West with 86.8%. Six of the seven schools in the two towns showed improvement on last year’s results with Wittedrift High School the only school in the area obtaining a 100% pass rate. The school’s five best-performing learners raked in the distinctions. Top of the class was Usiphile Matikiti with an average of 77% and four distinctions; close on her heels was Siphokazi Mtwa with an average of 76.3% and two distinctions.
PROUD PRINCIPAL: Wittedrift High School headmaster Jeremy Marallich addressed the Class of 2019 before they received their matric results at the school last Wednesday - Photos: Ewald Stander
Mart-Mari Koekemoer took the third spot with an average of 75.9% and three distinctions. Dylan Annandale managed an average of 75.3% for the fourth spot and also received four distinctions. Adam Shields secured the final spot in the top five with the same average, but two distinctions. Wittedrift High principal Jeremy Marallich said he was very proud of his school’s achievement and attributed the success to dedicated teachers and learners, and support from the Western Cape education department. There was great elation among the youngsters who gathered at the school to collect their marks. Concordia High in Knysna improved from 69.6% in 2018 to a whopping 81.9% while Knysna Secondary also edged up from 74.2% to 76.1%. Percy Mdala High showed massive improvement from 70.9% in 2018 to 82.9%. The only Knysna school that dropped slightly was Knysna High, which went from 97.2% in 2018 to 95.1%. In Plett, Murray High improved from 80.3% to
NOTHING BEATS 100%: Wittedrift High School matriculants, from left, Callum Shattock, Rickus Els, Ruben van Rooyen, and Anton Schnetler celebrate their school’s 100% pass rate
82.4% while Plettenberg Bay Secondary School showed huge improvement from 74.5% to 93.8%. Western Cape MEC for education Debbie Schäfer said she was very pleased with the performance of the Western Cape - “especially given the difficulties that we are facing as a result of inadequate funding and safety concerns. “I would like to congratulate all our learners, teachers and administrative staff, who have put in an immense effort,” Schäfer said. She added one of the highlights was that the province had maintained an above 80% pass rate, achieving an increased percentage pass rate from 81.5% in 2018 to 82.3% in 2019. Another highlight for
Schäfer was the increase in Bachelor passes from 42.3% the previous year to 43.6% in 2019. “The Western Cape also achieved the highest percentage of distinctions in the country.” She added, however, that the pass rates needed to be seen in the context of the retention rate from Grade 10 to 12. “It can be tempting to cull learners between Grades 10 and 12 in order to enhance the matric pass rate. “If we consider Grade 10 enrolment in 2017 (both public and independent schools) to those that wrote I am pleased that we have seen an improvement in retention of those entering Grade 10 in 2017 and those entering to write the NSC in 2019 from 62.9% in 2018 to 64.3% in 2019.”
NEWS & VIEWS
15 January 2020
Oakhill matrics ‘step up to the plate’ AKHILL School’s Matric Class of 2019 has achieved excellent results, both individually and collectively, in their final Independent Examinations Board (IEB) Exams. Hanro Hay and Gabriela Kilzer both achieved an IEB Commendable Achievement recognition certificate, having performed within the top 5% of candidates nationally in five subjects, and in addition earned an A in life orientation. Their remarkable results have placed Oakhill among the top achieving schools in the country, the majority of which are significantly larger independent schools. Joint 2019 Dux scholars Daniel van Zyl and Hanro earned eight and seven distinctions respectively, while Gabriela and Jessica van Strijp also each achieved seven distinctions. Remarkably, 19 of the subject distinctions were marks into the 90s. Special mention must be made of Hanro (with 90%+ in five of his seven distinctions) earning an aggregate of 93.5%, and Daniel who achieved eight distinctions and an overall aggregate of 89%. Five Oakhill pupils also placed in the top 1% of candidates in individual subjects nationally. Hanro performed in the top 1% of candidates in Afrikaans first additional language, life sciences and physical sciences; Famke Beukes in Afrikaans first additional language, Daniel in geography, Jessica in life sciences, and Angelina Faria in visual arts. Head Jannie de Villiers congratulated the Class of 2019 on doing Oakhill, their parents and themselves proud. He commended the teachers at Oakhill Pre-Prep, Prep and College on their contribution over many years, which brought this group of learners to the point of leaving school with excellent matric results - and so much more. Says De Villiers: “They had a tough act to follow after the excellent performance of our 2018 matric group, but they stepped up to the plate with yet another 100% pass rate and 98% Bachelor Degree pass, as well as various other exceptional group and individual achievements.”
TOP ACHIEVER: Daniel van Zyl, here with proud parents Ann and Deon, grew up in Knysna and has been in Oakhill since Grade R, during which time he made it his mission to achieve his goals and leave a lasting memory. As top student in drama, English and information technology, Daniel earned awards for mathematical lateral thinking and computer programming, as well as for music and drama, to claim joint Dux scholarship. He says drama and IT will always hold the top spots as his favourite subjects, and that he will always remember Oakhill for its teachers: “I don’t think there are many schools that allow you to form such personal bonds between students and teachers.” Daniel will be studying BSc Computer Science at Stellenbosch and is determined to solve problems and leave a legacy. He says: “If you leave Oakhill without having some great laughs, or without memories that you will keep for the rest of your life, you’re probably doing something wrong.” WORK HARD, SURF HARD: As 2019 joint Dux Scholar Hanro Hay excelled in both academics and sports throughout his school career, winning numerous academic awards as well an award for first team hockey Player of the Year. Having grown up in Joburg, Hanro moved to Sedgefield in 2015 and joined Oakhill in Grade 8. Around this time he started surfing, which he reflects became a very important part of his life. He says: “I love being active and spending time in the ocean. I also enjoy hockey, rugby and athletics, and travelling.” Having enjoyed working with numbers, Hanro says his favourite subjects were maths and physics. He has been accepted to study BCom Actuarial Science, but has elected to live in New Zealand for the duration of 2020, where he will be working at a school, assisting with sports coaching, tutoring and hostel duties. He plans to come back to SA to study thereafter.
KNYSNA BORN: Gabriela Kilzer, here flanked by Angelina Faria and Neve Canny, right, was born and raised in Knysna and says family and friends are extremely important to her. “When I am not in the kitchen helping out with the family business, I am spending my time with friends. I enjoy many outdoor adventures and expressing myself creatively.” Gabriela’s favourite subjects were visual arts, English and history, and what she loved most about Oakhill was the sense of family and feeling of home. Although accepted into UCT and Cape Town Creative Academy for studies in 2020, Gabriela has opted to take a gap year to travel and work before she settles down for studies in 2021. Her personal motto taken from the highly esteemed Disney film ‘Nemo’ is an encouragement for younger pupils. “Just keep swimming, no matter what life throws at you or how terrible it feels in that specific moment. Keep putting in the effort and you will reap the rewards of your hard work.”
GREAT OUTDOORS GAL: Jessica van Strijp, pictured here with friend and fellow matriculant Jenna Hankins, left, was at Oakhill for the duration of her high schooling after living on a farm in Zimbabwe and moving to SA as a youngster. She is known to be really active and enjoys being outdoors with her favourite sporting activities of horse riding and hockey. Her family, friends and horses are a very important part of her life. She represented Eden for hockey, and the Oakhill first team for three years. Jessica led on the sports field and was also awarded for epitomising everything that Oakhill stands for. Jessica will be focusing on equestrian competitions in 2020 and will spend time during the year to determine where her passion lies. With life sciences and physical science as her favourite subjects, Jessica anticipates that she will study these in her chosen career path which will either be in sports or biology/science. Her advice to younger pupils is: “Remember to make the most of every situation and that hard work does indeed pay off. I personally believe that a person must also live a balanced life of work (academics), sport and social events, along with time to relax. Proper time management has allowed me to continue with my sports, yet not resulted in me neglecting my academics, and I still made sure that I had some time to relax.”
NEWS & VIEWS
15 January 2020
They keep their heads while everyone is in holiday mode - hats off to Plett Lifeguards Plett Surf Lifesaving Club chairman JAMES STEWART provides feedback on the season that was LETT Surf Lifesaving Club (PSLC) has a long tradition of being the feeder mechanism for supplying Bitou Municipality with lifeguards to work on the many beaches around the bay, including Keurbooms and Nature’s Valley. Every year new lifeguards are trained and examined under the structure of PSLC and Lifesaving SA. These qualifications make them eligible to be employed as lifeguards anywhere in South Africa and also in numerous foreign countries. This past season has been a very busy one for our lifeguards, with reports coming in about their good work that so often goes unnoticed. The Club received a letter from a long-distance swimmer, which demonstrated the diligence and work ethic that one expects of people in these positions. “I swam from Solar Beach assisted by a SUP paddler to Central Beach and back. As I approached Beacon Isle Hotel two of the Plett Lifeguards (both PSLC members) approached me and insisted to escort me around the rocks to Cen-
tral Beach. “Every now and again one of the lifeguards (I believe his name was Tyron) handsignalled a senior lifeguard, standing on the rocks, to confirm that we were OK. They paddled with me to The Wedge and back around Beacon Isle. “I thanked them and swam off. I was so impressed by their initiative to assist me and would like to thank Plett Lifesaving for an outstanding performance this holiday.” The Club was recently able to offer four of the more senior lifeguards a course in Basic Life Support. The course has given these and - hopefully more candidates during the year ahead - the skills to seamlessly integrate with the NSRI and paramedic services when involved with lifesaving procedures. Days after completing the course we received this message from one of the trainees: “Thanks James for the opportunity to do the BLS course this week. We had an incident on the beach and what we learnt really helped. Thank you, Plett Surf!”
With Nature’s Valley being the most exposed, distant and dangerous beach in the area, our most experienced guards are stationed there and, showing seamless integration with Plett’s NSRI Station 14 crew, have been involved in some heroic and truly lifesaving situations this year. Plett is extremely lucky to have the structures in place that go a long way to making our beaches safe, and a municipality that avails a budget for training, employing, and kitting out the lifeguards. Credit is also due to the NSRI for next-level water safety, and to the concerned private citizens and businesses who pledge funds towards the lifeguards and beach safety initiatives in general. A big thank you to all the guards who have been on our beaches daily while everyone else was in holiday mode. Thanks also to the public who in most cases have followed the advice of the lifeguards and thus stayed out of trouble in the water. Plett Lifeguards continue to live by the Lifesaving South Africa moto ‘Vigilance and Service’.
Here’s how Stone Age cave dwellers could teach us a thing or two…
LEARNING FROM HISTORY: Dr Peter Nilssen, right, unearths insights from the past at Pinnacle Point - Photo: Anna Pinto
N Wednesday January 22, the Wilderness Ratepayers Association kicks off 2020 with a fascinating talk by archaeologist Dr Peter Nilssen. Peter is best known for his collaborative research at Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, which unearthed the worldfamous discoveries that contributed to the unfolding story of humanity’s origins. That research began in 1997 when he was working on an Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed Pinnacle Point Estate and recognised the research potential of several sites there, most particularly Cave 13B. The main focus of Peter’s
Point of Human Origins tourism initiative (started back in 2012), Cave 13B is famed for revealing how Middle Stone Age people lived between 170,000 and 100,000 years ago. Using the archaeological record as a lens to examine the state of humanity through time, Peter will discuss the drivers of human behaviour and how we have shifted from a thriving to a barely surviving species. Beliefs and knowledge systems are key to this unfolding drama, and at the core lies “connection, coherence and belonging” as vital ingredients in shifting human consciousness. Peter’s career has led him
INIMITABLE: Catch Dr Nilssen in action next Wednesday
to specialise in communicating archaeology and its underlying value for education and conservation, so don’t miss this History Lessons for Our Future talk at 6pm for 6:30 next Wednesday at Wilderness Hotel. Entry costs R10 for WRRA members and R20 for non-members. A cash bar will be available, as will the opportunity to become a Wilderness Ratepayers and Residents Association member. Call John Miller on 084 959 4243 for further details. • Talking about history, there’s an excellent line-up of presentations scheduled as part of next month’s Plett History Festival. See the advert on page 5 for details.
15 January 2020
Delightful insults These glorious insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to four letter words… • A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.” “That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.” • “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” - Oscar Wilde • “He had delusions of adequacy.” - Walter Kerr • “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” - Winston Churchill • “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” - Clarence Darrow • “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway). • “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” - Mark Twain • “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” - Groucho Marx • “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
friend… if you have one.” - George Bernard Shaw (to Winston Churchill). • “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.” - Winston Churchill (in response). • “I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” Stephen Bishop • “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” - John Bright • “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” - Irvin S Cobb • “He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” Samuel Johnson • “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” - Paul Keating • “In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” Charles, Count Talleyrand • “He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” - Forrest Tucker • “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” Mae West • “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” - Billy Wilder
Grins and snickers MITH climbs to the top of Mount Sinai to get close enough to talk to God. He asks the Lord: “God, what does a million years mean to you?” The Lord replies: “A minute.” Smith asks: “And what does a million dollars mean to you?” The Lord replies: “A penny.” Smith asks: “Can I have a penny?”
The Lord replies: “In a minute.” --John was on his deathbed and gasped pitifully: “Give me one last request, Dear.” “Of course, John,” his wife said softly. “Six months after I die,” John said, “I want you to marry Bob.” “But I thought you hated Bob,” she said. With his last breath John said: “I do!”
I had a crazy dream that I weighed less than a thousandth of a gram. I was like 0mg!
Only once in a lifetime man walked into a bar on a slow night and sat down. After a few minutes, the bartender asked him if he wanted a drink. “No thanks. I don’t drink. I tried it once but I didn’t like it,” the man replied. So the bartender said: “Well, would you like a cigarette?” “No thanks. I don’t
smoke. I tried it once but I didn’t like it,” he said. The bartender asked the man if he’d like to play a game of pool, and again he said: “No thanks. I don’t play pool. I tried it once but I didn’t like it. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be here at all, but I’m waiting for my son.” The bartender said: “Let me guess, your only son?”
A school teacher in court HEN asked for her occupation, a woman charged with a traffic violation said she was a school teacher. The judge rose from the bench. “Madam, I have waited years for
a school teacher to appear before this court,” he smiled with delight. “Now I want you to sit down at that table and write ‘I will not pass through a red light’ five hundred times!”
15 January 2020
Photos: Gigi Lewis
DREAMING OF KATHARINE: Gigi Lewis shared these pics and wrote: “Superyacht Katharine cut an impressive silhouette when moored at Knysna Quays for the last few weeks. Custom built in 2000 by CRN Ancona, Italy, and refurbished in 2017, the cost of a week’s charter will set you back (‘from…’) $322,000 - not an exorbitant price when you’re in that league, I guess. At a length of 61.3m, the yacht has ample legroom for the super-rich to play in. If you’d rather prefer water toys such as wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddle or knee boards, these are some of the gadgets available, including electric bikes for shore excursions. Relax afterwards in one of the six lavishly decorated bedrooms, comprising a master suite, one VIP stateroom, three double cabins and one twin cabin. Designed for up to 12 guests and a crew of up to 16, you’ll be in the excellent care of South African skipper Mike O’Neill, who has 18 years as charter captain under the belt, and his colleague Vladimir Nikolov, who was born near the Black Sea in Bulgaria. But the crown jewel when it concerns locals must be the fact that M/Y Katharine’s chief stewardess, Rosey Finn, grew up in Knysna where she developed an early affinity for sailing and a love of the vast Indian Ocean, from the vantage point of our beautiful coastal town.” Gigi took these pics when witnessing the spectacle of the super-yacht departing Knysna through The Heads on Saturday January 11, after the previously scheduled departure on January 8 was cancelled because of bad weather. This time ‘round, glorious sunshine and moderate winds created the perfect climes for Katharine to be waved off by a bevy of drooling spectators!
Photo: Geoff McIlleron
People, places & events TAKING FLIGHT IN NATURE’S VALLEY SURF: Widely lauded and awarded birding expert Geoff McIlleron shared this pic of a different kind of ‘flight’, and wrote that he took the photo in Nature’s Valley on the morning of December 28, when the 32nd annual Trans Agulhas Challenge set off from Plettenberg Bay to finish in Gordon’s Bay on New Year’s Day. Dubbed the ‘toughest inflatable boat challenge in the world’, the crew pictured here formed part of a 40+ fleet to tackle the 700km route over five long, hard, salt-sprayed days.
THEY WON WITH #PLETT SUMMER: Residents and visitors were invited to capture “shimmering summer days and magical evenings” by the Plett Tourism crew in charge of the recently concluded photo competition. “Share your perspective on our Plett Summer Festival and you could win tickets to some of the coolest events on our summer calendar,” enticed the team and win big these photographers did! Images were shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and this is a selection of some of the top entries.
15 January 2020
082 251 8134 MPC
Plett Animal Welfare Service
ON THE SOAPBOX
15 January 2020
Letters to the Editor
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Fax: 044 533 0852 - PO Box 1449, Plett 6600
Your unsightly blight on pathway is also a or, at the very least, a very of brown, dried cuttings, serious fire hazard slow recovery of the veg- with very little hope of This is an open letter to an irresponsible homeowner in Trinity Street, Plett. I represent a number of permanent residents who have been walking our dogs along the brick pathway in front of your house for the past eight years. At the beginning of December we were extremely distressed to find that the natural vegetation in front of your house had been hacked most destructively, obviously to afford you a better view. Not only was this done in a most insensitive manner, but the huge volume of resultant cuttings were simply dumped on top of the vegetation that had been hacked. Plants on your own prop-
erty had also been cut back and these cuttings simply added to the others. We are sure you ought to be aware that, firstly, it is illegal to cut indigenous vegetation on public land and, secondly, that it is illegal to dump any form of waste (plant material or otherwise) on public property. There is a clear sign prohibiting any public dumping, right next to the area where you cut back the bush. Quite apart from the illegal dumping and hacking, it is damaging to the natural environment to dump such a large volume of cuttings on top of living vegetation as it results in die-back of the plants
etation. The accumulated dry material also poses a serious fire hazard. We have no issue with owners of holiday homes pruning the vegetation in front of their houses, as long as it is done in a moderate and careful way, and in conjunction with the relevant department at Bitou Municipality, so as to preserve the indigenous bush. We would also expect the owners to arrange for the removal of the cuttings from this public space, just as they would arrange for removal of cuttings from their own private property. Your destructive hacking has left a huge area resembling a waste-land
recovery in the near future. This is not responsible pruning, but a selfish demonstration of a total lack of respect for your fellow residents who have to be confronted with this unsightly mess every day. We have referred the matter to the municipal manager as well as Bitou’s Law Enforcement department for follow up. We would encourage you to have the plant waste removed as soon as possible, and the site properly tidied up. We are deliberately remaining anonymous as it would serve no purpose to have, what will undoubtedly be, an unpleasant confrontation with you. ‘Brick-pathfinders’, Plett
These are the facts regarding nuclear leaks and levels of dangerous by-products Your correspondent’s query on maintenance at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station refers [read ‘Radiation leak much more dire than water or steam’ on page 15 of the January 8 edition]. As a former general secretary of Koeberg Alert and later national chairperson of the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy, it was my arduous duty to both research and monitor con-
stantly the performance at the station. The difficulty, as your correspondent correctly suggests, arises from the presence inside the nuclear reactor of two major by-products of nuclear fission, namely Strontium-90 and Cesium-137. The former is a boneseeker and causes cancers of the blood, such as leukaemia and lymphoma, while the latter
affects the tissues, causing cancer in the female breast and so on. The problem rests on the accumulation, however, since they have half-lives up to 30 years, meaning that they are hazardous for up to 200 years. The Eskom management team at Koeberg are obliged by law to report every three months on emissions and effluents escaping from the
power station to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), who in turn have set Annual Authorised Quantities (AAQs) under which measures Eskom is allowed to continue operating. Statistically, therefore, any unscheduled increase in ambient levels of Strontium-90 and Cesium-137 outside of the station would have to be officially reported. Mike Kantey, Plett
Open letter to airline: why did my child have to fend for himself? A week ago, my 10-yearold son flew from Plettenberg Bay to OR Tambo Airport. I hereby express my utter shock and disgust as to how this incident unfolded and would like some answers from yourself, the owner of the airline. As the pilot of the flight in question, you were handed the unaccompanied minor paperwork by a gentleman at Plett Airport when my son boarded your aircraft, making you and your crew fully aware that there was a minor aboard. Yet, when the plane landed at OR Tambo no arrangements were made to assist my son getting from the plane and being handed safely over to myself and my wife waiting at domestic arrivals. I would like to know how you and your crew can allow a 10-year-old child, whom we have entrusted and placed in your care, to disembark your aircraft and wander around an international airport alone and unsupervised. Fortunately my son had the sense to follow the fellow passengers from the
plane to the baggage carousel where he phoned us to ask for help and where he needed to go once he had collected his bag. For us as parents having to receive that phone call and being stuck at the domestic arrivals doors with no way to enter the baggage claim area to assist our son was a truly traumatic experience. All we could do was to calmly talk him through the procedure and guide him to where we were waiting. I shudder to even think of the various scenarios that could have unfolded due to the gross incompetence of your company and staff. I would imagine that you are a parent, and I would like to know how you would feel if the above had to happen to one of your children. Please answer the above questions as a matter of extreme urgency, and advise how you are going to prevent this from happening to other passengers and parents. Glenn Youell, Joburg The airline’s CEO
responded as follows: There are very clear procedures for attending to unaccompanied minors. Once a child is placed in the care of the check-in agent, the child is supposed to remain under constant supervision until care and custody is handed over to the nominated person at the end of the journey. Each time care is handed over from one representative to another during the journey, a signature is required from the receiving party so that a complete and clear chain of custody for the minor’s journey is retained. Although your son was booked and accepted as an unaccompanied minor and the requisite form was completed, the station staff in Plettenberg Bay did not follow procedure and accompany the child to the aircraft and have the flight attendant sign for him. The form was placed with operational documents and the cabin crew was unaware of his situation. As he is 10 and close to the upper age of the unaccompanied mi-
nor programme, it was not immediately apparent to the flight attendant that something was amiss and he was regarded as a normal passenger for the remainder of his journey. I of course understand your concern and apologise for the occurrence. I am obviously pleased that the situation had a good ending but these things cannot be left to chance. Action has been taken against the person concerned and as a result of this unfortunate incident we are relooking at whether we will accommodate unaccompanied minors on future flights. Although the service is not charged for directly, the unaccompanied minor service is ticketed at the highest fare class. The ticket for your son was purchased on December 6 at R3,899.42. At the time lower fare class tickets were still available for R3,266. As compensation for the lack of service received we offer to refund you the difference. Again my apologies for the issue.
Mr Cohen’s moving concern for sand sculptors Late last month, I responded to a post on the Plett in Stereo Facebook group asking for someone to write a professional letter. I fully expected it to be something along the lines of a normal business letter, and off I went to see what was required of me. Great was my surprise when I had the absolute pleasure of meeting a charismatic gentleman in his mid-90s. I spent a delightful morning with him, chatting over tea about the reason he needed someone to write a letter for him. It was anything but a normal business letter, and within minutes he had my full support. Longtime Plett resident Eddie Cohen, 96, asked me to submit a letter [see letter below] re-
garding the seasonal vandalising of the Central Beach sand sculptures on his behalf to various media channels, which I have done. What struck me most, however - apart from our shared sentiments on the subject - was how spritely and passionately this nonagenarian went about getting his message across. His love of our town and its people is tangible, and the feedback received once the letter was posted proved that Plett loves him right back. Karen Putzier, Plett (Anyone with information in this regard can email email@example.com and we will forward it to the relevant authorities, while also copying Mr Cohen. - Eds.)
Senseless destruction of sand sculptures has far-reaching effects I would like to bring the public’s attention to a matter which is weighing heavily on my heart. You may have already seen the beautifully crafted sand sculptures on both Central and Lookout beaches. The gentlemen who design these sand sculptures use the beaches every year to showcase their skill and bless our town with something to delight young and old alike. I am incapacitated and can only move around with the aid of a wheelchair, so it is a special treat for me to visit Central Beach and watch the three gentlemen at work on their sand sculptures. One can see their passion and attention to detail, as well as the care that goes into selecting each and every shell used to decorate the sculptures. These outings bring me great enjoyment, I spend time chatting with the gentlemen and am always mindful to give them a donation for their efforts. It was therefore an absolute shock for me to discover on my last visit that persons unknown had vandalised all the sand sculptures at Central Beach, totally destroying each work of art until nothing but heaps of sea sand remained. My shock at this wanton vandalism must pale in comparison to the sorrow these gentlemen probably feel, seeing their work destroyed so viciously. What kind of human being can derive pleasure from such a despicable act? These gentlemen use their sculpting skills not only to create a thing of beauty for all to enjoy, but also as a means of earning income. Times are hard for everyone and instead of resorting to begging, they have shared their talents in an uplifting way. The destruction of these sculptures is an insult to their
dignity, and it pains me greatly that my fellow man can be so devoid of morals. This is not the first time the sand sculptures have been destroyed, the same occurred last year, also around the first week of December. The timing of these acts of vandalism coincides with the influx of students into Plett for Matric Rage. Is it possible that the destruction of the sand sculptures is the result of alcohol-fuelled ‘fun’ had by these visitors to our town? It is not a pleasant thought, considering the lengths everyone goes to in order to make these teenagers feel welcome. It is understood that they will push the boundaries of harmless fun and even border on reckless behaviour, but when that behaviour has a direct impact on the ability of hard-working people to earn a meagre income, then it should be addressed. I was present at the same time six members of our Plett police force were there to view the scene. They were visibly as upset and angry as I at the vandalism. Our tourism slogan is that Plett is a feeling, and this type of destructive behaviour goes against our sense of community in every way. Perhaps our local teenagers heard some talk about this vandalism during Rage - had the perpetrators been bragging about what they had done? It may prove difficult or even impossible to track down those responsible, but the police would welcome any information. I strongly feel we need to take measures to ensure this vandalism does not happen again next year. Otherwise, these gentlemen will soon choose another seaside town to bless with their works of art and I for one will be extremely saddened by their absence. E Cohen, Plett
SPORT & ADVENTURE
15 January 2020
Attakwas Extreme: ‘The Season’ starts here T HE South African mountain biking season starts on Saturday January 18 with the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme presented by Biogen. Known as ‘The Hell of the South’, it is a 121km-long traverse of the Klein Karoo, fabled Attakwaskloof, and rolling roads through the Outeniqua Mountain foothills. It is also the traditional season opener for SA’s mountain biking community. Boasting UCI status, as the opening round of the UCI MTB Marathon World Series, the 14th edition has attracted a stellar field of local and international talent. Southern Cape locals Matthys Beukes and Robyn de Groot start as favourites. Beukes will, in fact, be looking to add a fourth title and his third successive win to his palmarès. The PYGA Euro Steel star notched up victories in the 2012, 2018 and 2019 editions. De Groot meanwhile will be keen to show that her late 2019 form signalled a true return to her best after iliac artery surgery early last year. But they won’t have things all their own way. The elite men’s race in particular features an exceptionally deep field. Alongside Beukes there is a former winner in SA national marathon champ Karl Platt, Arno du Toit, Beukes’s teammate Philip Buys, and Matt Beers, who returns for the first time since 2015. The list of potential winners does not end there, however. Nico Bell, Wessel Bo-
ROUGHING IT: The rugged Attakwaskloof, inaccessible to mountain bikers outside of the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, helps provide the challenging route that gives the race its ‘Hell of the South’ nickname… Photo: ZC Marketing Consulting
tha, Gert Heyns, Nicol Carstens, Marco Joubert, Timothy Hammond and Keagan Bontekoning, Sebastian Stark, Tristan de Lange, and Jan Withaar all deserve special mentions - as do two recent WorldTour road racers returning to mountain biking, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter. How the former Dimension Data (now Team NTT) riders, who are racing as Team First Move, will fare on their return to wide tyres will be one of the race’s main subplots. A major battle is likely to unfold between a group of three five-star favourites; Beukes, Buys and Beers. Beukes holds the aces of Attakwas Extreme winning know-how. He dipped below the fivehour mark in both his 2018 and 2019 winning rides, and if given enough assistance by his rivals in 2020 he, or the eventual winner, could well break
Urs Huber’s four-year-old course record. In Buys, Beukes has a partner for much of the race. The pair both ride for the PYGA Euro Steel team and should work together to minimise the risk posed by NAD Pro MTB’s Beers. Beers for his part will find support from teammates Bell and Botha. Should it come down to a sprint, team tactics will be vital, but it is unlikely that the rolling roads towards the finish line will allow a group to reach the Pine Creek Resort in Great Brak River together. This is exactly, however, what happened in the 2019 elite women’s race, when Yolande de Villiers held off Samantha Sanders and Jennie Stenerhag to win the title. Injury enforces the absence of SA national marathon champion Sanders, and De Villiers’ ongoing rehabilitation from a broken
leg means that De Groot is the clear favourite. It would be unwise though to write De Villiers off completely. The woman from Oudtshoorn knows the route like the back of her hand and could spring a surprise on more highly-fancied riders in the field. Third-place finisher in 2019, Stenerhag remains a constant threat in the race too. As do Sarah Hill, Theresa Ralph, Amy McDougall and Sabine Spitz. The unknown quantity in the elite women’s field is the Hungarian debutant, Barbara Benko. She has however spent ample time racing and training in South Africa in recent years, so the conditions should not be too alien to her. The Ghost Factory Racing star is arguably the only elite rider, in the men’s or women’s field, with serious Olympic aspirations for later in 2020. So, it will be interesting to see if she is prepared to empty herself in pursuit of victory on Saturday with such a long season still ahead. Mountain biking fans can follow the action live; with pre-race interviews from the Queens Hotel in Oudtshoorn from 3pm on Friday. Racing gets underway at 6:30am from Chandelier Game Lodge on Saturday. Live updates will be posted to the race’s official Twitter handle, @at takwas, throughout. Follow @attakwasmtb on Instagram, like them on Facebook, and visit www.atta.co.za for more information.
15th January 2020