SMUTS UNITED ARE TOPS

Picture: The winning team (from top left ) Corne Melite, Ashley Melite, Jason Keswart, Joswine Rondganger, Alex Grootboom, Deayane Speelman, Gladwill Hartnick, Gladlinn Hartnick, Jeswin Wintwaai, Clinton April, Reginald Geland, Andre Plaatjies, Christiaan Arries, Aswille Van Rooyen, and Nigel Williams (Absent:- Substitutes Nathan Hartnick, and Francois Hartnick.)

Sedgefield’s Smuts United Football Club has been crowned Knysna Local Football Association (KLFA) champions for the 2019/2020 season. This after the association’s Executive Committee decided on 31 October that the team at the top of the log before games were stopped due to the COVID-19 crisis would be declared the winners. Competition is stiff in this domestic league, which sees 16 teams from Knysna, Sedgefield and Rheenendal competing.

With 57 points, Smuts United FC was two points ahead of the Red Eagles squad. Prior to the March lock down our local lads had been enjoying a very successful season – winning 19 of the 21 games they had played, and scoring an admirable 93 goals with only 21 conceded.
“They started this season as a dominant and highly focused team,” says Sam Hartzenberg, Secretary of the team’s very active management committee, “The number of goals scored and the match results were fruits of the hard work and dedication of the entire team.”
He says the whole Smuts United crew are very proud of the role that management, players and supporters played in achieving this.
“We would not have made it this far without the involvement of all parties and the magnificent support we received from Smutsville and the Smuts United football club family,” he told us.

Smuts United FC is under the leadership of Peter Hartnick (Coach) Adam Hartnick (Assistant Coach) and committee members, Johannes Laurens, Denwill Hartnick, President Ben, Winston Carolus, Samuel Hartzenberg, Bulelani Happyboy Mbanya, Moses Salters, Joseph Ruiters, Jethro Van rooyen and Freddie van Rooyen.
Sam says the team will need even more support, as they head into the SAB league play-offs in mid-November 2020. They are hoping to find a benefactor to assist them financially regarding these matches as they will probably all be held in Oudtshoorn.
“Smuts United has to be fanatically fit too,” he says, “Accommodation, food, and transportation has to be covered, so any support will be most appreciated, thank you.”

For more details please contact Bulelani Happyboy Mbanya 078 254 6354 or Samuel Hartzenberg 062 365 7830

PROTECT YOURSELF. PROTECT OTHERS. PROTECT OUR ECONOMY.

Whilst South Africans are relieved to be on level one of the COVID-19 lockdown, urgent calls are being made to remind members of the public not to drop their guard, and to continue taking the necessary precautions (masks, social distancing, hand-sanitising) to minimise the danger of a second wave.
Internationally it seems the battle against this unprecedented pandemic is far from over as we see infections increasing at an alarming rate in the USA, UK and Europe.
Whilst first world countries may have the wherewithal to survive another period of intense lockdown, there’s no denying the devastating effect such an event would have on South Africa’s already embattled economy. Particularly in the Garden Route, where a higher level of lockdown would pretty much turn off the local tourism tap which could have otherwise have meant a busy December season.
Says Western Cape Premier Alan Winde “The golden rules of hygiene remain our best defense against COVID-19. It is important that we all continue to do everything we can to prevent the further spread of the virus. The recent incidents we have experienced in some areas in the province must serve as a caution that we cannot let our guard down. Simple behavioural changes can help us to slow the spread of the virus. Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water, or cleaning them with sanitiser, the correct wearing of a mask and practising social distancing are the best defense we have against the virus until such time as a vaccine is found and made widely available.”
He adds that masks must be worn correctly- covering both the nose and the mouth, emphasising that they must be washed daily and put on and removed with clean hands.
“When you are out in public places or around other people, social distancing remains important. Keep a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and any other person, and do not frequent places or businesses where large crowds are allowed to gather and where ventilation is poor,” he advises.
“The citizens of this province have been remarkable in helping us to fight this virus, and I understand that there is some Covid fatigue. I however appeal to everyone to continue to fight with us to ensure that we protect ourselves and our loved ones, and allow us all to move forward safely,” the Premier concludes.
As of 1pm, Monday, the Garden Route Municipal area had on record to date 10530 cases of COVID, 9811 of which have recovered. Knysna’s total is 1593 (1524 recovered), and George 3735 (3484 recovered).
Let’s do what we can to keep these numbers as low as possible.

CRAZED MAN LAUNCHES ROCK ATTACK

On Sunday 27 October chaos erupted on the N2 when a seemingly drugged-up man stood in the path of oncoming vehicles and lugged huge rocks at their windscreens.
Whilst the police weren’t able to confirm details at the time of going to press, witnesses say that a young boy who was a passenger in one of the vehicles was badly injured and had to be hospitalised. The perpetrator was arrested on the scene but no news of his court date has been forthcoming.
One of the cars badly damaged was a Hyundai Elantra owned by Ivan Strydom, who was driving the long hall from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth with his wife, mother in law and five-year-old grandson in the passenger seats. When he told us his story a week later he was still counting his blessings that none of his family had been hurt.
It was about 7 pm and they were on the stretch of road between the Botha and Barnard furniture factory and Eagles’ Nest, only three or four kilometres from Sedgefield when he saw a man step onto the road about 100 metres ahead of them.
“I thought he was crossing the road, but then he stopped in the middle. As I got closer, I realised he was holding a huge rock. It was big enough for him to be using both hands to carry it,” he said.
With traffic coming the other way, Ivan was unable to swerve his car. As he braked the rock came crashing through their windscreen and landed between him and his wife in the front seats. Very shaken up, he drove a little further on before pulling the car over to the side of the road, just in front of another vehicle that was already parked there.
Inside this vehicle, a Mazda 2, was a Sedgefield resident (name withheld at her request) who had been driving along the same stretch only a minute or two ahead of the Strydoms when her wheel hit something in the road. Hearing a loud noise she immediately thought she’d had a blowout, and pulled over to the side. When she got out she saw her tyre was indeed flat. She climbed back into her car and locked the doors to consider her next step. Then the Strydom’s car came slowly past and pulled over in front of her.
At first, she was unsure what to do, not knowing who they were – but then, seeing the gaping hole in their windscreen and a middle-aged lady in the front seat, she went over to see what had happened and they exchanged stories. All quickly became convinced that the same man had been responsible for the rock in the road that her Mazda had hit.
“The couple very kindly insisted on staying with me, though I’m sure they could have carried on,” she told us later.
Another car then pulled up. The driver said his vehicle had also just been hit by a rock, fortunately with minimal damage.
As they sat, making frantic calls to the authorities and family members on their cell phones, along came the perpetrator himself. He had dreadlock hair and looked very disheveled as if he had been on the road for some time. His behaviour was erratic, and they were convinced he was under the influence of drugs “Dis EK wat die klippe gooi!” he shouted as he approached them.
Fortunately, the Strydoms had been successful in raising the alarm and it was at that moment that a traffic officer arrived on the scene, closely followed by the two Sedgefield men who had come to help change the Sedgefield lady’s tyre. While the officer made sure the three vehicles were not creating any further danger on the busy road, one of the local men changed the wheel and the other took charge of the perpetrator, instructing him to lie down so that he could not escape. The traffic officer then came over and handcuffed the perpetrator.
Not long after that, two police officers arrived to take the man into custody. Talking to the Strydoms, they explained that they had already attended the same scene earlier that evening after a BMW had been hit by a large rock. Sadly, in that particular incident, a young lad who had been sitting in the passenger seat had been seriously injured and taken to hospital.
Official confirmation of this was not available from SAPS at the time of going to press.
The already exhausted Strydom family followed the police vehicle back to Wilderness Police Station to make a statement and were only able to continue their journey at 10 pm that night – a shattered windscreen further hampering their progress.
Sedgefield’s Community Orientated Policing (COP) had received reports of someone throwing rocks on that particular stretch of road earlier in the evening, prior to these incidents, but after an extensive search which proved fruitless, they had presumed that the person responsible had made off into the bush.

QUICK ACTION LEADS TO ARRESTS

SEDGEFIELD’S CRIME FIGHTING TEAMS WORKING TOGETHER

Quick thinking action by Sedgefield’s security partnerships has led to the apprehension and arrest of two armed robbers, not long after they had held two schoolgirls up at knife-point.

Just before twenty minutes to three in the afternoon of Monday 5 October, Juanita van der Westhuizen – a member of Sedgefield’s Community Orientated Policing (COP) – received a telephonic report about a robbery. She was informed that two high school girls had been dropped off on the N2 after school and were heading back to their homes in Smutsville along Aloe Street when they were approached by the two perpetrators.

The girls reported that the men had walked up to them quite casually and demanded that they hand over their phones and money threatening that if they didn’t, they would be killed. The perpetrators backed up this threat by brandishing knives. When the girls handed over their two phones and fifty Rand the men fled with their bounty in the direction of the N2.
On hearing the report, Juanita immediately alerted COP’s security partners – Phangela, Fidelity ADT and Suiderkruis – as well as the Sedgefield Police. As the search for the two men ensued she scoured the area from her own property situated at an elevated vantage point. Seeing two men who fitted the description she had been given by the girls, she was able to direct operations and eventually guide security vehicles to the perpetrators.
Security personnel swiftly intercepted both men on the N2 as they ran in the direction of Knysna. As they closed in and attempted to make an arrest one of the men pulled out a knife and threatened them. However, this did not deter them from bringing them both down. The perpetrators were duly disarmed and cuffed and, when SAPS arrived minutes later, both were arrested and taken into custody. They had in their possession both the girls’ phones and their money, as well as items of clothing presumed to be intended for ‘quick changes to avoid recognition.

It has since been ascertained that neither of the suspects is resident in the Greater Knysna area.
“This teamwork which resulted in such success once again proves the effectiveness of our COP and emergency services partnership,” commented Michael Simon of COP.

SEDGEFIELDERS ADD VOICE TO ‘MOVE ONE MILLION’ CAMPAIGN.

By Melanie Baumeister
On Saturday, the 5th of September, hundreds of Sedgefielders ignored predictions of inclement weather to gather along the national highway. Their mission – to be part of MOVE ONE MILLION – a global uprising of people standing in solidarity against crime and corruption in South Africa’s government, and the poverty, inequality and other adverse issues that are experienced daily by so many citizens of this nation.
Notwithstanding the seriousness of the issues at hand, the united local community put its usual festive spin on the occasion. The town was certainly not going to go quietly about the business of ‘being heard’, and in true African form there were Dj’s ‘laying down beats’ and some very enthusiastic dancing in the streets – all socially distanced and, for the most part, masked up for COVID.
The crowds were a real mixed bag, from all walks of life and all areas in and around Sedgefield. Standing proud in their black and white t-shirts (produced locally, and sold for no profit), waving their South African flags and displaying their placards proudly – the sense of patriotism was palpable, portraying the undying hope that the community has for a better future.
Under the mosaic heart on the corner at our only traffic lights, it really felt like people were determined to make a difference and bring about change! Especially when local Zumba ladies took to the tar to add some oomph with a performance of the dance craze ‘Jerusalema’.
And as the word had been put out by local organiser, Sonette Jacobs to stay within the law, all the highway traffic could pass through Sedgefield unhindered, and the supportive tooting of hooters and waving at local people lining the streets in their droves was definitely the order of the day. Local law enforcement was no doubt suitably impressed that they didn’t have to get heavy-handed. After all, what we all want is tolerance and peace, and Move One Million might just be the vehicle that’s going to get us there.
As well as the national drive, Move One Million has garnered significant traction amongst South Africans abroad, with expats from 16 other countries taking part, via social media. Many have posted photos from their towns where they are seen with their families proudly holding up the SA flag. The largest recorded gathering outside South Africa was in London, UK where more than 600 people got together for the cause. They and others abroad expressed their solidarity, showing that they still have a vested interest in the future of their home country.
With the founders of the movement steering the wave of resistance to corruption and crime, using all the platforms of social media, their manifesto is simple: ‘We are in a battle for the heart and soul of South Africa. We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear for one more minute!’
We have been assured that MOVE ONE MILLION is not a fly-by-night group, and that 5 September was just the beginning. Indeed the next peaceful protest has already been set for the 24th of October, and those that can will be on the streets again – making some noise and taking up space, getting noticed for the plight of all of South Africa’s people.
Will Move One Million pave the way for a better future for all South Africans? Perhaps, but only time will tell. In the very least it served to unite an often divided people behind a common and most admirable cause.

HAPPY WOMEN’S MONTH

Picture: The special ladies of Smutsville symbolically ‘releasing their troubles’.

Sedgefield’s own ‘Wonder Woman’, Marti Rooi took advantage of Women’s Day to host a special event for ladies in the community who she felt needed upliftment, encouragement and a whole lot of spoiling.
The event was very emotional, yet joyful, with entertainment, motivational speakers and advice from social workers doing so much to lift the spirits of the ladies present.
Andrew Solomons, who was called in to read a poem to the ladies, said that the day was so very special, and all who were present truly appreciated Marti’s selfless efforts.
He believes the biggest motivation of all is Marti Rooi herself.
“I am humbled by her endless passion for helping others in her community, especially those in need,” he said.

HEAT OVER COUNCIL’S RENTAL RESOLUTION

R2408 per month for Knysna Heads Property

It seems that the controversy worm has dug its way deep into the woodwork of Knysna Municipality – the latest upheaval being the Council’s decision to refurbish a municipal-owned flat on the Knysna Heads and rent it out to the current Acting Municipal Manager at what many are saying is a substantially reduced rate .
It was resolved during a Council meeting held online on 6 August, that the Municipality would perform cosmetic upgrades to its apartment at Senza Restaurant, at The Heads, and that the unfurnished apartment would be leased to Acting Municipal Manager Dr Scheepers at a market related rental amount. Dr Scheepers three month contract is set to expire on 12 September, though there is a chance that it may be extended for a further three months.
At the Council meeting, the DA councillors opposed the idea, with Michelle Wasserman citing that the rental is certainly not market-related and that spending R50 000 on refurbishment costs when the Municipality is already cash-strapped didn’t make any sense.
But although the DA spoke and indeed voted against it, the ANC, COPE and KUC coalition had the numbers, and the resolution was passed.
In a press statement issued later, Executive Mayor Ricky van Aswegen described the idea as a win-win situation.
“Aside from rendering the apartment habitable and capable of generating an income, it is important to maintain Council property,” he said, “The flat at Senza was one of two properties under discussion, and proved to be the least expensive option to spruce up right now.”
The statement explained that Dr Scheepers currently rents a flat in a block where three other residents have been tested positive for Covid-19. This has meant that Dr Scheepers has already had to self-isolate for a total of four weeks.
“While Dr Scheepers did work remotely during these periods of quarantine, it is important to have the head of the administration at the office,” the statement quotes van Aswegen as saying, “Renting an apartment separate from other people greatly reduces the risk of exposure to infected persons and the related potential need for self-isolation.”
“Council has a responsibility to maintain its properties and having someone living on-site will add an element of security to an otherwise deserted site,” it concluded.
But it seems others are certainly not seeing the situation as ‘win-win’. Indeed, when the statement hit social media via the Knysna Municipality’s Facebook Page, there was quite an outcry, with no less than 181 comments, mostly negative, made by residents of Greater Knysna.
Knysna Ratepayers Association made no bones about their views on the subject, publishing a post entitled THUMBS DOWN TO HEADS LEASE FOR KNYSNA’S HEAD HONCHO. On the same post, they shared a lengthy statement in Afrikaans which they attributed to Mayor van Aswegen. The statement suggests that the complaints against the leasing of the property were all racially motivated, and symbolised an arrogant and selfish attitude.
Incensed by the whole matter, Councillor Wasserman issued a statement about the matter, clearly challenging the integrity of the resolution and indeed the Mayor.
Here follows an edited version:-
On 6 August 2020 the Acting Municipal Manager, Dr Scheepers, requested that Council consider leasing to him the 86m2 flat on top of the old Senza restaurant at the Knysna Heads, for the duration of his employment with Knysna Municipality.
The motivations for the lease (to the Acting Municipal Manager) presented in the item to Council were that:
1. Leasing the property on a short-term basis would yield rental income for the Municipality; and
2. Having the property standing vacant exposed it to further vandalism and theft.
Despite the fact that the market-related rental given by DDP Valuers in February 2020 for the property in its present state was between R5500 and R6850 per month, Dr Scheepers felt that a suitable rental for the property (taking into account what two other Directors are paying to rent Municipal properties) would be R28 per square metre i.e. a rental amount of R2408.00 per month.
Another request made by Dr Scheepers was that the flat should be renovated.
The Democratic Alliance voted against approving the requested lease.
Our position was that:
1. Knysna Municipality cannot afford to spend this kind of money (R50,000.00 estimated, but probably more) on the renovation of this apartment for a Municipal employee.
2. A market-related rental should be paid for any municipal property. Our view was that R2408.00 per month is not a market-related rental and that an investigation needs to be done into the rental amounts being paid for other municipal properties by members of staff (R4650.00 cannot possibly, for example, be considered a market-related rental for a two-bedroom seafront property in Buffalo Bay).
3. Furniture should not be provided at the Municipality’s cost.
Although the COPE Mayor and the ANC and KUC councillors agreed with the DA that a market-related rental should be paid and that the apartment should not be furnished by the Municipality, they felt that it would be acceptable to spend R50,000 (or more) on renovations and they voted in favour of a lease to the Acting Municipal Manager on those terms.
Imagine my surprise today when I saw the Municipality’s Facebook post that gave an entirely new reason for the lease (The Acting Municipal Manager having to self-quarantine due to other residents in his block of flats testing positive for COVID -19)
Astonishing that this “reason” is given, despite the fact that it didn’t appear in the item to Council, nor in the Council debate on the matter.
Even more astonishing is that it completely contradicts an earlier Municipal Facebook press release (dated 13 July 2020) that said that the reason Dr Scheepers had to self-isolate for four weeks was that “a member of staff with whom they had close contact with on Friday developed symptoms”.
So, which was it, Mayor van Aswegen? The fact that three residents in Dr Scheepers’ block of flats had tested positive for Covid-19? Or because a member of staff with whom he had close contact developed symptoms? It can’t be both.
And then, just when I thought things couldn’t get more bizarre when a resident commented on the Municipality’s Facebook post objecting to the rental, Mayor van Aswegen responded with the following:
“I could nor remember that you vote for me. So why should I take your comment seriously.”
Please take note, Cllr van Aswegen, that when you accepted the nomination and were voted in as the Executive Mayor of Knysna, you became the mayor of everyone, not just for those in Ward 6 that voted for you.”

PEACEFUL PROTEST FOR SURVIVAL

Between 12 noon and 2pm on Wednesday 22 July, several local eateries took part in the “Million Seats on the Streets” campaign lead by the Restaurant Association of South Africa. This was to show their extreme frustration regarding the effect on their industry of the stringent lockdown rules set out by the government.

The protest portrayed a visible image of the situation that many businesses in our mostly tourist-based economy are facing. With positive cases of the COVID-19 rising at such a rate that the Garden Route continues to be declared a ‘hot spot’, it is understandable that serious precautions need to be taken by everyone.
But many business owners have voiced concerns that some of the laws in place are both unnecessary and debilitating for their businesses, and if they remain unchanged the result will be closure and the collective loss of thousands of jobs along the Garden Route.

These businesses are calling for some of the lockdown laws to be relaxed, particularly with regards to the hospitality industry, so that they may continue to trade – albeit with strict safety precautions in place for all patrons and staff.

Whilst the ‘Seats on the Streets’ protest went off peacefully in Sedgefield and other smaller centres, in Cape Town it came face to face with the full force of the law. No doubt a sure sign that the powers that be are not considering the request for relaxation just yet.

INVASIVE CARP FEED OVER 1000

The netting of invasive carp in Groenvlei provided a rich source of protein for over 1000 people in Smutsville on Saturday 25 July, when just under 400kg of the fish was handed out to members of the community.
The carp were netted the night before by a team of Sedgefielders who have long been working on reducing the problem of the invasive carp that have had a devastating effect on the lake for the last few years. From the nets, the large catch was placed straight into the ‘Gift of the Givers’ refrigeration truck so that they could be frozen before distribution.
Recipients, who had been identified by the Municipal Social Services team, were exceptionally glad to receive the fish, and Gift of the Givers Southern Cape Volunteer Area Manager Mario Ferreira said that it made all the logistical work worthwhile just to see their reaction.
Working according to Government Health Department specifications, the fish had been tested by local Microbiologist Nico Alberts of Outeniqua Laboratory Services to make sure it was fit to eat – and it passed with flying colours.
10 of the fish- about 45kg – was given to Sedgefield Mobile Meals, and Chairman
Jim Mitchell was able to serve it up with vegetables to feed 80 families in need.
“We were worried as Carp has a reputation of being a muddy fish – but the feedback we got from the recipients was that they would like this to be a regular thing!” he reported back.
What really makes this a win-win project is the positive effect the removal of the carp has on the Groenvlei Lake itself.
Petro van Rhyn of Cape Nature says that Groenvlei is an important natural lake from both a conservation and recreational angling perspective. It contains two small indigenous fish species, the estuarine round herring and the Cape silverside as well as several species of alien fish.
“Carp were illegally introduced to Groenvlei in the 1990s,” she explained in an email, “Subsequently, their numbers have increased to such an extent that they cause great concern amongst scientists and conservationists.”
She went on to point out that feeding habits of carp cause habitat degradation (reduction in aquatic plants, increases in turbidity) by disturbing the lake bottom, clouding the water and thereby reducing visibility which hinders other fish from finding food. Carp also prey on the eggs of indigenous fish.
Cape Nature believes that the gill nets are an effective control method and that as custodians of Groenvlei, they partner with the local team of fishermen, Knysna Municipality and Gift of the Givers to supply the carp to the local community as a food source.

SEDGEFIELD WELCOMES A HOST OF ‘VISITORS’ TO OUR SHORES

By Mark Dixon
Every now and then, Sedgefield welcomes some unique and rare ocean visitors to our shores – and even on to our magnificent beaches. June and July 2020 have been an exceptional period of unusual marine visitors.
In June, The Strandloper Project team was fortunate enough to see a Hawksbill Turtle while conducting a dive survey at Gericke’s point. Hawksbill Turtles are considered to be the second rarest marine turtle with an estimation of fewer than 8000 females in the world.
While they don’t breed on our coastline, they do migrate to feeding and breeding grounds in tropical regions and this one was probably taking a break at our iconic peninsula before heading off to some tropical island up north.
Another interesting find for the Strandloper Project crew was an African Penguin that had come ashore on the western side of Gericke’s Point. Every winter a few of these birds wash up either ill or dead on our beaches. This one was looking underweight and docile and was most likely suffering from exhaustion from the recent rough seas as well as avian malaria which they can contract mid-year.
The penguin was captured and taken to a vet for treatment and rehabilitation and will be released when healthy again.
Then, just when we thought that the season of incredible encounters was over, the Strandloper Project recently got a call to assist with a rescue of an immature Rock Hopper Penguin on Cola Beach. Jean and John Dickens found the little penguin while on their morning walk. It was roosting on the beach at the high-water mark, flanked by the towering fossil dune cliffs.
Good fortune was surely shining on the penguin because the couple’s son, John (Bobby) Dickens, is a marine scientist who has been conducting research on some Sub-Antarctic Islands, studying a number of Antarctic penguin species.
When he arrived on the scene, he was able to make a quick identification of the species, though due to it lacking its adult plumage, was unable to determine which sub-species it was. Considered a rare species of penguin in South Africa, SANCCOB reports that two or three do wash up on our beaches every year.
An initial assessment was that the penguin was underweight, but still feisty and capable of preening itself.
Once captured, it was taken to a SANCCOB sanctioned vet in Plettenberg Bay. An examination revealed that it was healthy, but had an injured leg and will be held in isolation for rehabilitation before being released. The need for being held in isolation it to reduce the chance of it contracting any disease from local penguins and other bird species and then transferring the disease to the Sub-Antarctic when it returns after release.
With the next cold front aiming for the Garden Route, we can’t wait to see what other marine creatures will seek refuge in our magnificent bay.