The beauty of debate
Whatever the problems we have in Grahamstown, we ought to give ourselves the metaphorical pat-on-the-back for agreeing to debate.
On just this page is one of the more forceful arguments that has been made against the proposed revenuegenerating plan at the Grey Dam. There is also another letter, this time praising black-skinned women – presumably against the constant refrain of “lighter is lekker” in the fashion/beauty industry.
The debate about the role of elected officials and the bureaucracy (not to be interpreted as a negative word) at Makana Municipality has been rather lively, especially over the last few months. Sadly, we have to acknowledge that debate alone cannot a city fix. If those who write in these pages cannot effect change through the force of their argument, there is obviously something wrong with the nature of our local democracy. It’s not to say that those who write in Grocott’s Mail have a monopoly on suffering. They are often the more well-educated and not-exactly poor residents of this good city. And while their pet peeves almost always cut across the racial, and especially the class divide, the issues might not necessarily resonate with those who struggle to have one hot meal a day.
Those people exist in Grahamstown too, or the soup kitchen that is run in the CBD would not be doing such a roaring trade. What is heartening is that no matter how many times issues are raised and sometimes not attended to, as the cattle-in-the-city story has been, there is always someone willing to bring it up again.
In a democracy, constant refrain is a good thing because it puts elected representatives on notice that they are being watched. It also presents a record against which performance can be measured, for example during elections. What would have been really exciting is to have officials of Makana Municipality joining the service-delivery debates. They for example did not pay Eskom all its money.
There are reasons, some justifiable, that might be known to the general public, that could enrich our debates, and make Grocott’s Mail an even more inclusive newspaper. The alternative is not that good, because for better or worse, the town’s nice little paper, which is almost 150 years old, is seen by some as being a mouthpiece for a vocal minority in Grahamstown. This is not the case.
Also in these pages is the wonderful story of PG Glass, a local business that has been going for 20 years now. The owners say they are most proud of the fact that they've been able to give back to the community, and regular Grocott's Mail readers can attest to that.
Here is a salute to PG Glass - and to other businesses that collectively help keep our little city alive.