DEMI-LEIGH, OUR MISS SA SEMI FINALIST

Our very own Demi-Leigh Nel Peters has been selected as one of the 26 Miss South Africa 2017 semi-finalists. This was announced at at an event hosted at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton City, Jo’burg.

This former (2009) Head Girl of Laerskool Sedgefield Primary has gone from strength to strength in her modelling career over the last few years, having been featured in a number of national magazines – often on the cover – as well as various fashion bill boards and promotional material.

Still in her final year of studying towards a BCom, Demi-Leigh is one of an impressive group of SA’s most beautiful women, representing six of the country’s nine provinces: Six women are from the Western Cape, 14 from Gauteng, three from Kwa-Zulu Natal and one each from the EasternCape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
She and the other ladies will compete for the prestigious Miss SA title at the Sun City Resort Superbowl on 25 March 2017 in an event which will be televised live and simulcast on M-Net and Mzansi Magic.

ANOTHER FIRE IN WILDERNESS

Many local residents will be wondering about the noise of emergency vehicles and helicopters heading in the Wilderness direction earlier today. It seems that only weeks after the fire in the Lakes area destroyed several homes, another was started there – once again in the exceptionally dry reeds at the water’s edge, this time towards Ebb and Flow. The ground crew for George Fire Brigade were quickly on scene and a fire-fighting chopper  deployed.

As of lunchtime the George Municipality reported the fire as being under control and by 3pm it was all but done and clean up operations were underway.  A case of arson is being investigated by SAPS, who are also looking into where the original point of ignition took place.

According to Nandi Mgwadlamba – Communications Officer for SANParks, that entity  also deployed resources to assist the George FireBrigade. She says says today’s fire was better managed due to institutional arrangements strengthened after the first incident two months ago after which fire authorities refreshed MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding agreements).

In these agreements the authorities (George Municipality, Eden District Municipality, the SCFPA and SANParks) undertook to:

  • Devise a proactive plan to respond to unforeseen changing weather conditions
  • To revisit emergency procedures and the better integration of resources

It is hoped that there will be no more flare-ups, but residents are advised to keep watch and act with precaution.

OCEANS 11 TAKES THE CUP

Congratulations to local soccer lads from the Oceans 11 team who outplayed George All-Stars yesterday afternoon to win the Sedgefield Soccer Tournament, facilitated by Bongani Dyani and sponsored by Engen Garage.

The highly contested tournament, played at the Smutsville Sportsgrounds, attracted teams from throughout the Garden Route and even as far afield as Cape Town. Local supporters who have been cheering their lads on for the last few weekends were delighted to see them reach the finals on Sunday afternoon, and when the 2-0 victory over the George team came about the stadium erupted in celebration. Both goals were scored by strikers in the first half, the first by Bennet and the second by Mlite Junior.

Dyani is exceptionally impressed with how the tournament has grown since its inception two years ago, and has welcomed the input of Sedgefield’s Engen One Stop this year.

“They have been very good to us – it has been a pleasure to have them on board,” he said, “I know that with their assistance in future this will become one of the best tournaments in this area.”

SEDGEFIELDERS WALK FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS

In the true community spirit that has become the hallmark for Sedgefield, the turnout for this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Walk was brilliant – in fact brilliantly pink if the truth be told.

We are still awaiting for the total tally of entries to come from the CANSA crew, but any passers-by will surely attest to the veritable ‘river of pink’ that wound its way along The Island roads.  The cheerful participants had certainly gone that extra mile in dressing for the cause, and some of the more wild and whacky outfits drew titters from the walking crowd as they made their way along. The 5km event was organised by Sedgefield Striders and enthusiastically promoted far and wide by Belinda Hobson of our local tourism office.

The start and finish lines were outside the bowls club premises, where the prize-giving took place afterwards. Whilst there was no award for first place (it certainly wasn’t a race!), prizes for best dressed were handed out as well as numerous ‘spot’ prizes donated by local businesses.

A well-organised, happy event, which certainly leaves no doubt that the Sedgefield community is serious about cancer awareness. Congrats to all who were involved in any way.

LIONS BEERFEST & BRAAI A GREAT SUCCESS

The inaugural Sedgefield Lions  Beer and Braaifest took place on Heritage Day (Saturday 24 September) and certainly was a roaring success!

Thirty teams competed for the fantastic first prize – a state of the art stainless steel gas-braai with enough bells and whistles for even the most passionate ‘braai-master’, whilst others chose to come down to the village green venue to enjoy all the stalls and entertainment laid on, and sample the craft beers and wines that Mitchells Breweries, Sedgefield Breweries, Delheim wines, Bramon Wines, N2RS wines and Brand Republic had on offer, not to mention the potjies.

Congratulations to the winning team Slow Go-go Girls (Team leader Joanne Scholtz), the runner up : Hair at Monroe’s (Team leader Savannah), and third placers SEA – Real Estate (Team leader Andre Scheepers).  Other results were:- Best Main : Mount Noah Lodge (Oudtshoorn) – Smoked yellow tail – Hugh Warrington;  Best Dessert : SEA – Sedgefield Estate Agents -apple crumble.  Best Traditional pot : Twee buffels met een skoot mors dood geskiet Rugby Club (team leader Pieter Nel) Best Gees : Sotheby’s International Realty 1 (Kandy & Marianne) Best Stand : SEA – Sedgefield Estate Agents.  Wild Card : Skal Garden Route. Innovation award – Dish: Karoobian Lamb on flatbread.

“We are very pleased with the turnout of this event,” said organiser Lion Jurgens van der Walt. He and the Sedgefield Lions Team are hoping that this event will become an annual fundraiser for them, and judging by the enthusiastic turnout – it will surely grow from strength to strength.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

It was an emotional time at Die Gaatjie, Smutsville earlier today (22 September), when some households got to experience electricity for the first time. Resident John Hardnick was brought to tears as he flicked the switch on and his small home was bathed in light, with Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies and Ward 1 Councillor Levael Davis applauding excitedly as they recognised his joy.

The Knysna Municipality and the Department of Energy have provided this spark of hope, and indeed dignity, to 120 families living in Sedgefield’s poorest suburb.
These residents have lived without electricity for many years and joined in the official switch-on with great excitement and enthusiasm.
The Knysna Municipality’s Integrated Human Settlements Department applied to the national Department of Energy for electrification of Die Gaatjie. The Department approved the application and agreed to providing electricity to these families at a cost of R900 000.
The Municipality has faced several challenges regarding the formalising of this area as it is established on an old dump site, which meant it failed to meet the requirements of the Environmental Planning Department. Despite this the area has been provided with basic services such as taps and temporary toilets.
Knysna Executive Mayor Councillor Eleanore Bouw-Spies was thrilled to attend the second switch on since her recent inauguration and said: “Just two weeks ago I stood in Lapland in Rheenendal and witnessed the joy of residents as they received electricity. Today I am over-the-moon that these 120 dwellings in Die Gaatjie have joined the millions who, at the flip of a switch literally have light.”

The Mayor said that she would be able to sleep much better at night knowing that the families in Die Gaatjie would have simple things that many take for granted, such as light for children to do their homework, or  power to charge cell phones. She did point out to the residents that having electricity also brings responsibility.

“Use it wisely as the cost of this power is determined by government and does not come cheap. I hope to come back in a few months and see just what positive affect electricity has had on your lives.”

Bouw-Spies concluded, “I am pleased with the progress that our Integrated Human Settlement Department has made in providing our people in the Greater Knysna with basic services. I would like to thank the Manager of the Department, Mawethu Penxa and a big thank you to the Department of Energy.”
The municipality’s Integrated Human Settlements Department is committed to upgrading informal settlements by providing access to basic services such as potable water, sanitation, access to roads electricity and incrementally providing those that qualify with access to top structures. This is done in line with the Provincial Strategic objective 6, an approach that is endorsed by Provincial Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela.

MASITHANDANE TURNS 10

Sedgefield’s biggest charity organisation has hit the landmark of ten years, and the positive impact this wonderful enterprise has had (and continues to have) on the community surely proves that they have got the recipe right.

Their celebration of this decade of service takes place this Friday – 23 September – from 9.30 onwards (see advert on page 10) and they would love the community to come and take part.

The seed of Masithandane was first planted in 1992, when Celia and Otto Kossar arrived in Sedgefield with their young family and set up a non-profit ministry “Grace Fellowship Sedgefield” in order to “minister to the poor as a witness to the rich”. The next 14 years were spent prayerfully gathering the right people, ascertaining what and where the most help was needed, and gaining the trust and friendship of the community.

‘Masithandane’  (which means ‘Let us love One Another’ in IsiXhosa) was registered as a non-profit organisation in 2006 and its mission was and still is “To serve the community where it is needed the most, especially those infected by or affected by HIV/AIDS and TB.”

In 2007, Masithandane, as the hands and feet of the ministry of Grace Fellowship had five staff members and ten volunteers who delivered services to 365 beneficiaries a year.

Masithandane has in the last decade grown into a large organisation with a multimillion Rand budget, 30 salaried staff members, 120 plus volunteers and is supported by government, non-government, church and private funds.
It boasts a whole array of projects and programmes that have impacted on the lives of thousands of beneficiaries.

Services are provided mainly in the greater Sedgefield area including the peri-urban and rural areas, but special projects such as drought-relief and targeted feeding, in collaboration with government, have reached communities as far away as Beaufort West, Riversdale, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay.

(Continued on page 5)

The general approach to programmes is holistic and integrated so that families, children and the elderly are cared for and supported physically, psycho-socially, emotionally and spiritually.

To be a bit more specific, the Home and Community Based Care Programme, managed by Sister Barbara Pitt with a team of nine Community Health Workers provided Home-based Care as well as Wellness Centre Services (at Masithandane) to over 700 patients, as well as Emergency First Aid and Welfare services to over 800 clients last year. More than 1500 visits per month to the Wellness Centre were recorded.
The Community Food Security Programme provides meals to adults and children on a daily basis, fresh produce parcels on a weekly basis and food parcels on a monthly basis.
The Sedgefield Mosaic Community Art Tourism Project is an Income generation programme which has rejuvenated the Sedgefield CBD and outlying areas with mosaics, creating a base for Art Tourism.
Through this project crafters get technical skills training, product development skills and then further mentoring and training in the carrying out of commissions.
The Literacy Programme at the Sedgefield Primêre Skool is run by an English volunteer group which works with Grade 3 learners and an Afrikaans group which focuses on Grade 1 learners.
Ikhaya Lemfundo (Place of learning) provides Early Childhood Development for 27 learners
Bursaries are provided to assist learners with transport to enable them to get to school, hostel fees, books, uniforms and toiletries.
There is also the CHERISH Programme, through which Ginny Viner and her team of volunteers have, over the year, gained the trust and affection of the children in this very special support group with its varied programme. They meet once a week.
Masithandane is also involved in and often organises special events, days and festivals such as Youth Day, World AIDS Day, National TB Day, the Slow Festival and the Eden Kite Festival.

Masithandane takes its governance role very seriously. The Management Board oversees all programmes and projects. The Board meets monthly and all members are allocated portfolios. All aspects of performance are monitored on a regular basis through monthly reports submitted to the Board. All funding is accounted for separately and the annual financial statements are audited.

Masithandane welcomes assistance from its many volunteers who assist with driving and transport, children’s programmes, food parcels, gardening, counselling, governance and prayer for the organisation on an ongoing basis

As well as celebrating its 10th birthday on Friday 23 September 2016, Masithandane will be officially opening and blessing their new Care and Respite Centre – House under Grace/ Huis uit Genade.

THANK YOU …..
The 10 year journey has been paved with many blessings. Masithandane thanks God and all the funders and friends, who have contributed in cash or kind, prayed and worked with and for the members of our impoverished communities to date. We thank you all most sincerely on behalf of those who have benefited. We really do appreciate all the help and support that we receive.
For more information please call 044-3431616 Fax 0865146989 or e-mail weaverjacky@gmail.com
If you would like to make a donation the bank details are:
ABSA – Account Name Masithandane – Account No. 4067253575 – Branch/Code 632500 – Reference Your name and contact number.

C.O.P ISSUES CRIME ALERT

The following is a warning from Community Orientated Policing (COP).
This past week has seen a sudden spike in burglaries throughout Sedgefield. In fact we have not seen such activity for a very long time. Should this trend continue, we will definitely be on par with crime that occurred back in 2009/2010 (according to figures gathered by Sedgefield Community Intelligence Centre – SCIC)..Current Modus Operandi’s are as follows:
1) One particular criminal is targeting properties at night, despite residents being at home or not. On one particular evening this past week, he targeted several properties along Flamingo, Heron Walk & Crane Walk. Despite a presence of COP, ADT & SAPS personnel, he continued to move between properties in the dark. In one incident, he was cornered by a resident in a property where he attempted to steal laptops and a handbag, but managed to slip away after dropping the goods. We believe the same individual returned to the Sedgehill area last night, only to throw a brick through a window and snatch a laptop whilst the residents were in the house. This individual is brazen!!
2) Another group of criminals have been breaking through house roofs by removing the tiles, climbing into the ceiling and, in most cases disabling the alarm system, before selectively stealing jewelry and cash. These incidents have occurred when the residents have left the house for a period of only 1 to 2 hours.
We can assure you that these criminals sit and watch your property and hit it as soon as you leave. They are professional as they know how to get past the perimeter areas which are not covered by detector beams. They also know exactly where and how to disable your alarm system before it can notify the security company.

We are appealing to all residents to please be more vigilant and to take every precaution possible to avoid being a target. If you believe your house or a neighbours house is being watched by criminals, or if you think there is a prowler doing his rounds, call us immediately on 0745067242.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

With such feelings about the continued problem of dangerously poor service from SAPS, simply due to lack of manpower and other resources for Sedgefield and surrounding areas, the local Ratepayers, Community Orientated Policing and other role-players in the crime protection field have taken the bull by the horns and asked for answers at provincial level, through the following open letter.

OPEN LETTER FROM SEDGEFIELD RATEPAYERS AND RESIDENTS.
TO DAN PLATO, WESTERN CAPE MEC FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY, AND CLUSTER COMMANDER MAJOR GENERAL REDDY
WITH REGARD TO LACK OF SAPS SERVICE TO KNYSNA SECTORS 5 AND 6 (SEDGEFIELD / KARATARA / RHEENENDAAL), WE WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THE FOLLOWING.
1. Over the last 20 years the population in Sedgefield, Karatara, Rheenendal and Buffalo Bay has quadrupled to an estimated permanent population of 15 000 (info from Knysna Municipality).This figure at least doubles over the seasonal holidays.
2. Other towns much smaller in area and considerably lower in population have fully fledged police stations.
3. Sedgefield was promised a fully fledged station ‘by the end of the year’ back in 2004 by SAPS Director Dirk Mentoor. At the time we were informed we were third on the list. To date nothing has happened.
4. The existing satellite station has no holding cells. On more than one occasion, the community has offered to build and fund holding cells – this has been turned down each time with the promise of a new police station. In some instances criminals apprehended have escaped whilst incarcerated at the inadequate police station.
5. Land situated in a better position than the current satellite station ie. more easily accessible to the low income groups, has been offered by the Municipality to SAPS Management. Once again this has not been accepted by SAPS.
6. On most occasions there is only one SAPS vehicle available. Often it is in Knysna – 25kms away, Karatara – 21kms or Rheenendal – 27 kms.  This leaves the village open for criminal activity. It is common to wait several hours or sometimes days for response.
7. Most of the local residents know that the two police shift changes which take place daily, leave the various outlying sectors without any form of policing or response to complaints whatsoever. This open window period is often used by criminals to commit crimes.
8. Sedgefield has a huge drug problem – with almost ‘open trading’ because SAPS do not have the resources to police this. This results in the lack of control of criminal activity. Children are finding crime attractive as there does not seem to be a consequence to criminal actions.
9. Neighbourhood Watches and Community Policing are having to take on more and more of SAPS responsibilities on a first responder basis. This puts them in dangerous positions. Residents are also starting to take the law into their own hands – there are obvious dangers associated with this too.
10. Lack of trust in SAPS is growing. Residents are no longer reporting crime as they fear reprisal and no protection from SAPS. They are also not reporting because it is believed to be a waste of time.
11. There is a low conviction rate – no doubt due to overworked and understaffed detective and police units. Growing disrespect for SAPS from offenders, who are happy with the good chance of being back on the streets soon.
12. Complaints to Knysna Police Station Commander have yielded no results.
We appeal to the above persons to consider the plight of this town and its residents and install the fully fledged police station as promised years ago. In the meantime we ask for the current station to be reasonably staffed and equipped so that we are not left at the mercy of criminals.
A copy of this letter has been forwarded to MEC Plato’s offices and those of Cluster Commander Major General Reddy, as well as our local SAPS chain of command. At time of going to press no response had been received.

SEDGE MELODRAMA HITS THE STAGE

Last night saw the long awaited opening of one of Sedgefield’s favourite shows – The Melodrama – or ‘Melo-Mix’ as the 2016 edition has been billed.

Judging by the reaction of the audience on preview night (when the elderly residents from Sedgefield and Smutsville were treated to a sneak preview) ticket holders will be in for a grand show.

The enthusiastic cast of nineteen locals have certainly pulled out all the stops for director/producer Bev Fowler, and the months of rehearsing not only dance moves but lip syncing and some seriously rapid costume changes are finally ready for public enjoyment.

And the hard work has certainly not been limited to those on stage. The crew operating ‘behind the scenes’ have been equally busy, not to mention those responsible for ‘front of house’, ticket sales and everything else connected with running a successful show.
Since its inception in 2009 the Sedgefield Melodrama has always been such a win-win recipe for the community. Whilst audiences get to laugh at the antics of local folks (from teachers to hairdressers to estate agents to lifesavers) stepping so far out of their comfort zones that they probably get dizzy, the many thousands of Rands raised provide a huge boost to Sedgefield’s charities.

Indeed in the last seven years almost R800 000 has been raised – including last year’s ‘Melomania’ which hit the R115 000 mark!

This year the benefiting charities will include The Living Cornerstone Home for Alzheimer’s Patients, Masithandane Early Childhood Development Centre, Slow Town Mobile Meals, Laerskool Sedgefield Primary, LifeLine Sedgefield, NSRI Wilderness, Sedgefield Animal Matters and Fresh Start.

There are still tickets available at Sedgefield Tourism Offices (044 343 2007) Show dates left are Thursday 25, Friday 26 and Tuesday 30 August, as well as Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd September. It is run on a ‘bring your own picnic’ basis. Tickets are R90 per person and tables seat eight.