POISED AND READY TO OPEN RIVERMOUTH

With Eden Districts flood warning released yesterday, many will be watching the Swartvlei and Touw River mouths.  SANPARKS has given assurances that they are ready with the following press release:

The Eden District has released a flood warning predicting 50mm of rainfall starting from today (Friday, the 27th January 2017).
SANParks is monitoring the levels of water at both the Touws River estuary and Swartvlei estuary. The mouths of both estuaries are normally opened at between 2,2m and 2,4m for the Touw River and 2m for Swartvlei.

Jonathan Britton, Marine Ranger for the Wilderness park area which includes Sedgefield,  says  ‘ The excavator is already on site for the Touw River and another one will arrive this afternoon for the Swartvlei estuary.’
This will make it easier to open the estuary mouths at the right time to prevent flooding.
‘ The automated weather station donated by Sedgefield ratepayers also enables us to receive information live to make decisions,’ he adds.
As a precautionary safety measure, two of the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park’s popular hiking trails will also be closed on Friday and Saturday- Half Collared Kingfisher and Brown Hooded Kingfisher. Both are 9km hiking trails leading to a popular waterfall in Wilderness.

SLOWFEST SET TO GO

The Organising Committee are delighted to announce that Sedgefield will indeed once again be turning Orange over Easter, with the eighth annual Slow Festival inviting and encouraging locals, visitors and tourists alike to celebrate “Family Fun The Way It’s Meant To Be” in our beautiful seaside town! So diarise the dates 14-16 April and start planning/training for all your entries into all those events that you so enjoyed last year, and perhaps a few more!
The Slow Festival has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, becoming something that has a very special place in the hearts of locals as they showcase their town to the many visitors the festival brings. It has even established an international Cittaslow link – all this whilst the locals are having a whole lot of fun themselves.
The Committee who pull the festival together each year have once again committed themselves to the Slow Festival and the positive energy, great ideas and many suggestions for 2017 have already started flowing. However, more hands, suggestions and ideas are sought and needed! Would you like to join the committee in some way? Do you have a new event that you would like to add to the programme this year?
“It really is a festival for the people, by the people and that is what makes it such a success” said Festival coordinator Amanda Dixon. “We have no doubt that the support and input from Sedgefielders will ensure that this year is no exception.”
Be sure to keep an eye on, support and share all the social media channels- the Slow Festival Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ slowfestival.co.za), Instagram (@slowfestival), Twitter (@SlowFestival) and of course The Edge to keep updated with all the exciting plans for Slow Festival 2017!
“ There’s lots to do over the next few months, so dust off your orange accessories, and encourage your out of town friends, family and foreign visitors to book accommodation and join us for some good old-fashioned fun. Let’s get ready for Slow Festival 2017!” says Amanda.

600 000 DRUG BUST IN KNYSNA

 Sustained efforts by SAPS to eradicate drug trafficking along the main entrance and exit routes of Greater Knysna has once again yielded excellent results. This when members attached to the Knysna Crime Prevention Unit seized drugs to an estimated value of more than R600 000.00 and arrested two suspects in Knysna on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at about 21:45.

Preliminary investigation suggests that the SAPS members responded to information from a member of the public about a  black Toyota Tazz with an Eastern Cape registration number that was believed to be transporting drugs.

The members spotted the vehicle as it was travelling along Dahlia Avenue, Fraasig near Hornlee and, after pulling it over, escorted it to the Knysna Police Station. A search ensued and the members discovered the drugs concealed in the back door panels. Included were 4060 Mandrax tablets with an estimated street value  of R264 000 and 10 parcels consisting Tik with an estimated street value of R350 000. The drugs were confiscated, the vehicle seizedand the suspects (one 28 years old and the other 29) arrested.

One suspect is from Knysna and the other from Port Elizabeth. They were scheduled to appear in the Knysna Magistrates’ court on Friday, 20 January 2017 on charges of illegally dealing in drugs. They are still in custody and the investigation is ongoing.

The Eden Cluster Commander, Major General Oswald Reddy, commended the members involved for bringing these suspects to book. He said “ This confiscation is the second bust for the week and an indication that information from the public is vital to curb such crimes, and thus ensure that these drugs do not reach innocent youths on the streets. The special focus on ‘suppliers’ is starting to bear fruit and the arrest of these suspects will also send a message to would-be suppliers and pedlars of drugs.”

Pictured : Back – Constable Nenow Petersen, Constable Warren Ackerman, Sergeant Pierre Herwel and Warrant Officer Phillip Nqayi

Front –  Constable Heinrich Appels, Sergeant Virgil Cornelius and Constable Benjamin Windvoel with the confiscated items

OFF TO BIG SCHOOL

Picture by Emma Rorke: Short back and sides! It’s time for all the little Grade Ones to put on their shiny shoes and new uniforms and join the academic race as scholars. These children from Laerskool Sedgefield Primary and Smutsville Primêre clearly have mixed reactions.
Front: Misha George and Shadrico Jacobs – looking both nervous and excited at the prospect of school. Back: Connor Webster and Zenoshca ‘Pinky’ du Plessis (both brandishing scissors) seem very happy to assist in getting the incredulous Griffen Venter ship-shape and school rule ready. 

By Melanie Baumeister

Like every year since time immemorial, the end of the Summer Holiday means it’s time to go back to school! And surely, across the country it’s the same:- none can be more excited (or full of trepidation) than the little Grade Ones (excepting, perhaps, their parents).

Before the first day chaos descended The Edge contacted local schools to report on the influx of youngsters.

Laerskool Sedgefield Primary reports that their admission lists are full and that they have 38 new learners entering Grade One, half boys and half girls. They will be taught by Sone Rossouw. LSP has a total of 280 pupils gracing their desks this year.

Sedgefield Primêre (aka Smutsville School) boasts an intake of 35 new little scholars who will fall in with the 60 Grade R’s who successfully graduated last year. All these youngsters will be under the watchful guidance of their two Grade One teachers, Lauren Saayman and Inge Krieger. Smutsville School has a total of 653 children in their educational facility.
Ruigtevlei Primary, the little rural school on the road to Karatara, has ten new little souls starting their school careers in Grade 1 and there are 55 pupils in the school altogether. Their teacher, Juf. Elfriede Burger is sure to have her hands full – as they each assert their individuality.

According to efficient and well rested Principal Louw, Karatara Primêre is all set up and ready to go for the intake of 25 little Grade Ones. The Grade One teacher who will be welcoming them is Juf. de Bruin. Karatara Primêre has approximately 185 scholars this year. They are steadily growing!

Hoekwil Primary also has a number of our local children attending their halls of learning, and this year, according to Antoinette the secretary, there will be 32 Grade Ones received by Juf. Estelle. Hoekwil Primary has approximately 165 children in its care.

All the best, little ones, as you take your first steps in the journey of your academic careers!

LEVEL 2 WATER RESTRICTIONS STILL STAND

Despite the recent rain that fell on 2 January 2017, Greater Knysna remains on Level 2 Water Restrictions.  This means that potable municipal water is restricted to human consumption and businesses.

Initially implemented by Knysna Municipality on 21 December 2016, this level of water restrictions brought punitive water tariffs into immediate effect. An additional 50 percent of the approved water tariff will be applied to any consumption that exceeds 20kl/month.

“Although we are extremely grateful for the 16mm of rain that fell in Knysna and the 22mm recorded in Karatara, it is not enough to relieve the water scarcity in our area,” said Knysna Acting Municipal Manager, Johnny Douglas.

The municipality reports the Akkerkloof and the Glebe Dams as 55% and 5% full respectively, offering 37 days’ supply of water to Knysna at the recommended 8 Ml/day.

“Thankfully the water demand in Knysna was reduced from 16.2Ml/day (for the week between 18 and 25 December 2016) to 14.4Ml/day (between 25 December and 1 January), however this water consumption is still far over the recommended 8Ml/day. At this current rate Knysna’s water will only last for 33 days,” said Douglas.

Unlike Knysna, Sedgefield’s water usage increased dramatically from 2.8Ml/day for the Week 18 – 25 December, to a concerning 3.09Ml/day for the week 25 December 2016 to 1 January 2017.

“I appeal to all Sedgefield residents and their visitors to conserve water immediately.”

The Karatara and Homtini Rivers have low flow, and the Knysna and Gouna Rivers have very low flow. On 1 January, the Gouna River had no flow over its weir at all.

Greater Knysna businesses are instructed by the municipality to implement water recycling systems and artificial water features and fountains may only use recycled water.

“We are urging all resident to retrofit their taps, showerheads and other plumbing equipment with water efficient devices,” asked Douglas.

Greater Knysna residents and visitors are urged to save water wherever they can and refer to the municipal website (www.knysna.gov.za) for water saving tips.

South Africa is considered to be a water scarce country and, if the current rate of water usage continues, demand is likely to exceed supply at some point in the not-too-distant future.

“So it is imperative that all South Africans, not only our communities in Greater Knysna, improve their water conservation and water-use efficiency as a key priority. We, the Knysna Municipality would like to thank those residents and businesses who have heeded our call to save water,” concluded Douglas.

TRAGEDY AT FISH EAGLE GREEN

What started off as a Christmas celebration for a Sunday school ended up as a heart-wrenching tragedy on Sunday 11 December, when well known and much loved community member Neville Stuurman (41) drowned in the Swartvlei Lagoon.
He and his wife Bettliana were picnicking with other families on Fish Eagle Green on the water’s edge, when Neville went for a swim with the kids. A while later members of the group realised that he had not returned and, when their increasing frantic search turned up nothing, emergency services were called in.
The family’s worst fears were realised when NSRI and Police divers located Neville’s lifeless body and brought it to shore.
His parents, Sedgefield postman Tim Grootboom and wife Sophie, had not been at the picnic and thus received the terrible news by phone call at home.
Neville was born in Swartvlei and lived in Sedgefield his whole life. He worked for T&B log homes for a number of years.
The funeral will take place at 09h00 on Saturday 17 December at the Agape Ministry Church in Smutsville.

NEW ACTING MUNICIPAL MANAGER A FAMILIAR FACE

During the Knysna Council meeting of 6 December, it was agreed that Johnny Douglas will act as Knysna Acting Municipal Manager from 3 January, 2017.
This appointment was done in accordance with municipal legislation.

Douglas will be the third Acting Municipal Manager appointed since Municipal Manager Grant Easton was suspended at a special council meeting held on August 30, pending disciplinary proceedings against him.
At that time Carl Mattheus was appointed as interim Municipal Manager until such time as Provincial Local Government MEC, Anton Bredell found a suitable candidate. Mattheus resigned from this position on 10 October and was replaced the following day by Bevan Ellman, the director of Corporate Services. Ellman resigned last month to take on a position in the private sector.
Douglas was suggested as the Acting MM candidate by Bredell’s office, and his position was confirmed at the council meeting.
Douglas will be remembered by many for his time as Knysna’s Municipal Manager in the five year period from 2006 to 2011. Under his management Knysna was rated as one of the top Municipalities in the Western Cape.
According to the 2010 Municipal Productive Index (MPI), Knysna Municipality, under Douglas’ watchful eye, was rated as the third top municipality in the Western Cape. His administration further received several Blue and Green drop water accreditations.
Knysna Executive Mayor, Eleanore Bouw-Spies said that she is looking forward to Douglas taking over the reins in January. “Although Mr. Douglas and I did not always see eye-to-eye while I was in office, there is absolutely no doubt that he runs a tight ship. We will be welcoming him into our fold and hope to see several improvements while he is at the helm.”

THEY’RE JUST TOO GOOD!

by Melanie Baumeister
For the third year in a row the little drama group from Smutsville, Sedgefield has walked away with all the prizes at the Eden Drama Finale. This Saturday, 26 November, at the finals held at Knysna Secondary School, the adjudicators felt that Team Xplosive was so good that it had outgrown the development festival and moved up to the level of professional theatre practitioners. They underlined this by giving the team an ‘upgrade’ into the Zabalaza Main Festival.
Over the weekend the Garden Route was assured of some amazing local talent on display at the Eden Drama Festival Finale in Knysna. The event was hosted by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) in collaboration with the Knysna Municipality, the Zabalaza Festival at the Baxter Theatre, Absa KKNK and the Lunchbox Theatre in Plettenberg Bay.
But it seems that despite knowing they would be faced with the top local drama talent, the judges did not expect the levels they saw in Xplosive’s ‘Afsny Punt’. Described as ‘simply being on a different level’ – the Xplosive Team received the prizes for Best Director – Samuel Jumat; Best Actor – Llewellen Bond, Best Actress – Brutney Singrew, and Best Script – Samuel Jumat and Llewellen Bond.
“What awesome stuff – They were brilliant!” said Stuart Palmer of Lunchbox Theatre in Plettenberg Bay, who was one of the judges.
Due to this growth of talent, it was then decided that the production group Cay-Cay, who were initially second, would be the overall winner of this years Eden Drama Festival with their production of ‘Draaiende Wiel’.
The Eden Drama Festival has been on the go for six years, the Cape Winelands is in its fourth year and the Overberg in its second year. The initiative is funded by the local municipalities and no expense is spared to bring the art of drama to our local communities. Starting just over six months before ‘curtain up’, each team builds a script, which is then workshopped, edited and put through stringent production sessions. The actors and directors work consistently, alongside their usual every day lives of school, jobs , family and friends.
Team Xplosive’s piece “Afsny Punt’ centres around ‘Kyle’ (Llewellen Bond) who is locked in a closet with a pile of toys. Whilst taking a slow and calming breath he suddenly hears strange voices talking to him. He responds, but the question is: Who is he talking to?
Project Manager Moeniel Jacobs, of Knysna, said, “Well done to the youth for showing great commitment with this programme over the last six years, showing the hunger and need to better themselves with the arts and through the arts.”
Well done Team Xplosive! We certainly hope to see this award winning play performed in Sedgefield sometime soon!

FIRE GUTS STORMS RIVERMOUTH TOURISM HOTSPOT

 

On Friday 25 November, just a week or two prior to the start of the peak tourist season, a fire left the Tsitsikamma Cattle Baron Restaurant and the adjoining shop at Storms River Mouth SANParks camp in a smouldering heap of ashes.

The fire, which started on Friday afternoon and spread quickly through the connected timber structures, was fortunately kept to just those buildings, affecting none of the lodges and chalets.

SANParks spokesperson Nandi Mgwadlamba said that whilst the cause of the fire is under investigation it is believed to have broken out in the restaurant kitchen. Furthermore, even though the restaurant and nearby shop have been burned down completely, the rest of the camp is open and safe.

” A chopper was dispatched in time to protect the fire from spreading to the forest area,” she assured the media in an email dispatched at 9am Saturday, “It is currently under control and no injuries have been reported.  Park officials are meeting on site this morning to assess the extent of the damage, insurance teams will be on site tomorrow . The rest of the camp is safe and visitors carry on enjoying their stay in The Park.”

She added that activities such as hiking would still be accessible, and the popular route route to the suspension bridge was expected to be open by noon.

CELL PHONE TOWER DEEMED ILLEGAL

With mixed reaction from local residents to the cell phone tower which seemingly appeared overnight in Sedgefield’s Cola Beach area, the Knysna Municipality was called to comment on whether or not the correct procedure had been followed and approvals given. Whilst some living in the area were delighted to see the mast go up, believing that it would surely bring improvement to the terrible cellphone reception in that neighbourhood, others felt that the structure was not appropriate, and questioned why no-one living in Cola / Myoli had been given the chance to object.
“This is insane, the middle of a conservancy and residential area!” said one resident.
 
According to the Municipality, permission for the tower had not been granted.  A statement from Acting Municipal Manager Bevan Elman reads as follows.

The Town Planning Department conducted a site inspection on Thursday, 14 November. Officials found an illegal free standing base telecommunication station. This type of structure is not permitted on a residential property without prior municipal approval.

“As proper procedures were not followed by the property owner, the neighbouring property owners were not consulted prior to the erection of this structure. “A notice informing the owner of this transgression has been drafted and will be sent to the property owner’s postal address. The owner has 30 days to take one of the three actions that are in accordance with Section 87 of the Knysna Municipality By-law on Municipal Land Use Planning (2016), which are as follows:

  • To remove the structure and any other appurtenances related therewith with immediate effect; or
  • To submit an application for the approval, subject to the payment of a contravention levy, of the mast in terms of the By-law within 30 days of the service of the compliance notice and to pay the contravention levy determined in accordance with Council policy within 30 days after approval; or
  • To object to the notice by submitting written representations to the Municipality within 30 days of receipt of the notice.

Furthermore, the property owner has been advised that the submission of an application cannot be construed as a guarantee that the application will be approved.”