From the Editor’s Desk
Welcome to the second Newsletter of the year.
February and March, what a roller coaster ride in Bushman’s, a period that included sunshine, thunder storms, high winds, Valentines’ day for the romantics, the passing of Jacob and hello Cyril, a very wet and a very stormy month end braai, cattle grazing in town, the completion of much needed repairs to the Mouton walkway at lookout point, at Ocean View Drive, and justice in the third test at Newland’s. As the old adage goes, “Cheats never prosper”.
So, let’s start with repair work that was carried out on the structure of the walkway. The walkway had suffered from some damage deterioration over the past few years and was in need of some structural repairs and a bit of a face lift. So, Corrie Swanepoel and his workers, over a two-week period, took apart the old structure, replaced timbers, and added some extra supports to make it a more stable, and it was all finished in time for the Easter Holidays. More photos will soon be on our ratepayer’s website, www.brrag.com, please feel free to take a look.
Community Month – end Braai
Freddy Mercury and Queen started their musical careers with a massive worldwide hit, Bohemian Rhapsody, which included the lyrics, “Thunderbolts and lightning very, very, frightening”. That basically summed up our February Community Braai night, which also included a power outage, and a torrential downpour.
But we weren’t ready to throw in the towel. We carried on, and to our utter amazement, we could see our foolhardy; but wonderful residents; battling the elements to reach the clubhouse. They came with their food and drink, they brought lanterns, and we even managed to have music, in what turned out to be an exceptional night under very trying conditions. We even managed to carry out the 100 Club draw of which 1st Prize went to Mike White, 2nd to Marietjie Marais, 3rd to Andrew Murry, 4th to Anton Mclean, 5th (attendance) Corrie Swanepoel. So, thank you, to those who braved the elements and made it such a fun evening. Our next month end braai night will be on Friday April 27th, 2018 at 6pm.
Notes from the Chair
We have been having a glorious autumn, with the most beautiful days interspersed with some welcome, and at time copious, rains. This has transformed the veld and bush from its dreary brown to lush green, just in time to welcome our Easter holiday makers. The maintenance team under Corrie Swanepoel’s management, had a tough time getting the regular grass cutting done at the same time as getting the Mouton walkway upgrades completed for Easter. We again experienced the generosity of concerned members when Pieter Mouton and Lorraine Campbell-Loader made generous contributions to towards the repair of the boardwalk. Incidentally, Pieter also provided the labour and material to repair the paving around the “Skinderboom”. Thank you to these generous folk, for without support like this BRRAG will be hard pressed to keep the Village in its present condition.
BRRAG continues to engage with the Municipality either directly, via the Ward Councillor or the Ndlambe Ratepayer’s Forum (NRF). Our present focus is bringing the municipality’s attention to its legal responsibility towards litter removal, especially green litter left behind by homeowners after cleaning out of premises during holiday seasons. We have also requested the municipality to remove the unsightly signage at the entrance to our Village. While progress is slow, we are making some headway. As an example, we got the municipality to clear the tree growth that was causing a serious traffic hazard on the corner of Krogscheepers and Main streets. The only problem was that the directorate clearing the tree growth, did not have the means to remove the green litter left on the sidewalk. So instead of improving traffic safety, the municipality increased the risk to both pedestrians and road users! Fortunately for BRRAG, Bill Northrop had returned from his travels and immediately took it upon himself to clear the mess left behind by the municipality.
Thus, while we cannot always get the results BRRAG would want, we will continue our efforts to get better service delivery from the municipality.
Community Fundraising Report
Our Easter Craft Market took place on Easter Saturday. The weather remained dry and we had a good attendance, of both, stall holders and holiday makers, to make it a successful fundraising event. We would like to say a big thank you to all of the people, who kindly responded to our plea and donated items for our fundraising White Elephant stall. All the monies raised from the stall are used in the upkeep of both the Old Village and Riversbend.
To finish I must tell you, I was standing with a group of local residents, all South Africans, one of which was new to Bushman’s. Upon hearing my accent, he said to me, “You must be English.” To which I replied in a flash, “No I’m actually Australian, but after the cricket I changed my accent.”
Seasonal Security Report
John Wesley Gerald Schmidt and Shelia Swanepoel Portfolio
We are very happy to get past Easter without any major crime incidents in the Bushman’s area. For this, we can thank the efforts of the community members, Hi-Tec security service and especially the SAPS for their continued drive to bring down crime, not just in Bushman’s, but in the entire area including the surrounding townships.
The single incident of house burglary in a house with negligible security in Bushman’s just served to underline the need for all to take reasonable precautions to ensure that they, their home and belongings are safe. Suffice to say, the victim of the crime has since upgraded the security of the property.
Sadly, we have report that two incidents in Kenton-on-Sea dramatically showed up the vulnerability of senior citizens to criminals who prey on them. In both cases the victims were attacked in the early evening when returning home. In the one case, the victim was severely assaulted and ended up in hospital in Port Elizabeth, with only her handbag stolen. The second case almost went unrecorded as the victim was attacked as she entered her property. Fortunately, she keeps her “panic button” on her and managed to set off the alarm. When the alarm went off, the assailants immediately fled leaving her unharmed. The matter was not reported to the police as the victim felt she had not suffered any harm or loss However, the SAPS again requested that we appeal to all community members to report any incidence of crime, even if the victim is not injured or suffers no loss of property, as the criminals can still be convicted of a crime such as assault and the information contributes to the crime intelligence picture of the SAPS.
On the subject of crime-intelligence, BRRAG has loaned the SAPS a laptop computer for use by the Crime Intelligence office at SAPS Kenton-on-Sea using the Link application. Link is allowing the crime intelligence section to build up a comprehensive crime-intelligence picture much quicker using data supplied by the community and other sources. Coincidently, we have experienced a dramatic drop in the crime rate since the deployment of Link at the SAPS station. However, it is too early to draw any inference of the impact of Link on the crime rate, but the SAPS officers using Link are very happy to have it available to them. BRRAG will continue to encourage its members to use Link as the primary social media system to report crime. The app is free and is available for both iPhone and Android devices. Just search for “Link -powered by Vodacom” and install it.
On a lighter note, over the Easter weekend there was great excitement when a helicopter was flying over Riversbend. This initially caused some concern, but concern soon turned to excitement when social media indicated it was searching for buffalo that had escaped from a nearby game reserve. A local resident Vanessa Gibson, posted on Facebook: “You know you live a small town when the helicopter circling your neighborhood is looking for two escaped buffalo and not hijackers.”
What Vanessa neglected to also say about living in a small town, is that your family Sunday lunch gets interrupted by a great flurry of activity on the WhatsApp security channel, telephone calls and sms’s when a Rinkhals decides to pay a visit to a resident’s home and your husband has to go off to catch it and release it between the main course and desert! (See the full story further down).
We are ever grateful when events like these are the height of our community’s security concerns.
Community Camera Fund
In 2010, after the very sad attempted robbery and murder of a citizen of Kenton on Sea, a proposal was put forward to erect and monitor security cameras within the Village. A committee was formed, chaired by Jeremy Turner, and comprising Hi-Tec Coastal Security and members representing residents and homeowners.
The aim of the committee was to supply, erect, monitor and maintain security cameras throughout the residential and business areas. The fund was specifically designed to offer security benefits to all residents and businesses and was to be privately financed.
In 2010, an amount of R15.00 per month per home owner (or house lessee) was initially decided upon. However, as from 1 January 2018 this contribution, which has been in effect for 8 years, has been increased to R30.00/month. All residents and homeowners are encouraged to contribute to the fund. Invoices and debit orders are controlled by Hi-Tec and the proceeds banked separately into the camera fund bank account and financials are kept, which are reviewed by an auditor. The cameras are monitored continuously round the clock and this, together with all footage being recorded, has become invaluable in combating and preventing crime. It is further noted that the mere presence of the cameras is a deterrent to would be criminals. Statistics are available showing the effectiveness of the cameras.
The camera fund committee meets on a monthly basis and makes decisions as to where cameras are needed, the type of cameras dependent on the financial availability/requirements. Currently there are 76 security cameras installed throughout the Kenton, Boesmans, Riversbend and Merry Hill areas which are being monitored and maintained by Hi-Tec. With this substantial number of cameras to monitor, it became abundantly clear that, to be effective, a full time dedicated team was required to monitor the cameras. This came into effect as from 1 November 2017. This comes at a cost which, together with the increase of costs to supply and maintain the cameras, requires additional funding. Please note that cameras are erected in areas that benefit all private individuals as well as businesses and are funded by the Camera Fund. The fund will, however, install and monitor cameras in specific areas for individuals and businesses on request. In these cases, the cost of supply and erection is to be borne by the specific individual/s or business. To meet the increased costs, we have been forced to increase the private individuals’ monthly amount to R30.00/month (as stated above). Further we are currently negotiating with the Chamber of Business to enable us to come to an agreement on costs liable by their members.
Once again, we wish to reiterate that, it has been proven that this project is invaluable in assisting the combating of crime and we thus urge all community members to support this project. You might not need the information camera now, but what about in the future?.
Currently the Camera Fund Committee is as follows:
|Mike Peter||Chairman||082 550 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Esté Franz||Secretary/Rivers Bend||084 507 email@example.com|
|Gerald Schmidt||Treasurer/BRRAG||083 625 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Andrew Warren||Chamber of Business||082 398 email@example.com|
|Andrew de Jager||KOSRA||071 136 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mike Sparg||Merry Hill Estate||084 586 email@example.com|
|Andrew Butters||Hi Tec||082 652 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|André Wille||Hi Tec||083 277 email@example.com|
|Chris Barnard||Hi Tec||071 897 firstname.lastname@example.org|
If you are not already contributing and want to, please contact Sherry at Hi-Tec (046 636 1660) or Gerald Schmidt (083 625 3764)
Please note that membership fees of R300 can be deposited at Standard Bank, A/c 281 116 393 with reference: Mem/ your street number and street name. Eg. Mem/21 Main.
Community General Information
Cattle in town
They say that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and as such, we had stray cattle roaming along River Rd, Main Rd, and elsewhere in the Village during February, to take advantage of the lush green grass that was available to them. Although it sounds and looks quite amusing, we did report this incident to the appropriate authorities to take action. No one wants to drive into cattle at night.
How many people are aware that we have our own snake catcher living here in Bushman’s Riversbend ?. No, It’s not the guy from Snakes in the City. It’s Warren Gibson.
Warren is our snake catcher and has already helped people in Natures Landing and Riversbend, by capturing and releasing these snakes away from human habitat. The snake in this picture is a Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus).It grows to an average of 1m but may reach or exceed 1.5m and is very dangerous. Warren has also captured and released Puff Adders from the same area. Warren has a strong belief in community and currently provides his services free of charge. Warren would prefer contributions to be made to the upkeep of both Bushman’s Riversbend and Bushman’s River Mouth. If you find a snake in; or on; your property, and you are not sure what to do, you can call Warren on 083 548 0946.
As a follow on to this article, one of Warren’s own dogs (Named Rogue) was last Saturday bitten on the face by a Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) that had gotten into his yard. The dog attacked and killed the snake, but not before it got bitten on the mouth. The dog was rushed to the vet, who applied anti venom, which luckily was available. By Sunday the dog had gone home still very sick, and probably needing an operation in the near future to remove tissue that had died, as a result of the Puff Adders venom. These snakes (Puff Adders) are very dangerous, and very active after sunset, and are very active in the area at the moment, and people with children and dogs, should be very, very, alert to that fact, especially in bushy areas, and at night on tar roads. Always carry a torch with you at night and use it.
On the Roads – Motoring
There have been two incidents of “abusive road rage” in Bushman’s, which are both unpleasant and totally unnecessary. So for those few people who think there is no speed limit in Bushman’s, think again. The speed limit whilst driving in Bushman’s is 40 KPH. The entrance into Bushman’s is clearly marked in yellow, on the road surface, indicating 40 KPH.
We also had a collision in Bushman’s involving a car and a tree and guess which one came off worse. Luckily, so I was told, no one was hurt.
So please, drive carefully while in Bushman’s.
News from Riversbend.
Dalien Pachonick and Kevin Bates
There has been some serious liaising with Ndlambe Municipality regarding their lack of service delivery in several areas.
Kevin and Dalien met to discuss some planned activities for the year. One of the items identified is because of all the nice rain we had, Kevin can now get on with the spraying of the invasive vegetation.
A reminder to the members in Riversbend who have not paid their membership fee of R300 for 2018 as yet, to please pay it as soon as possible. To all of those who have paid, we say thank you. Please help with the recruitment of new members (friends and neighbours). Keep in mind that the more members we have, the more funds will be available for projects in Riversbend.
For your convenience, a membership form will be in future attached to the newsletters. Please make use of it!