Our real es­tate just got real!

The way that you do it

Grocott's Mail - - OPINION AND ADVICE -

This week’s so­cial me­dia cam­paign and pe­ti­tion call­ing for the with­hold­ing of rates and the Sec­tion 139(1)(c) dis­so­lu­tion of the Makana Coun­cil comes at a time when the call for so­cial mo­bil­i­sa­tion across the coun­try is get­ting louder. At the re­cent de­bate, hosted by Gro­cott’s Mail and our part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions, the topic was ‘Should res­i­dents with­hold rates?’ It was there that a group of res­i­dents made a strong call for the di­ver­sion of rates to “a cred­i­ble and trans­par­ent NGO”.

It’s the same call that has been made this week in a pe­ti­tion that by Wed­nes­day was ap­proach­ing 4000 sig­na­tures, with the video post be­ing shared al­most 1300 times, giv­ing the cam­paign a large reach, in so­cial me­dia (and ac­tual) terms.

Not every­one who is gatvol with the state of af­fairs in Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the city of Makhanda (Gra­ham­stown) in par­tic­u­lar, sup­ports the call. Valid con­cerns have in­cluded likely mount­ing debt for res­i­dents who with­hold rates; con­cern that the gov­er­nance struc­ture and de­ci­sion mak­ing pro­cesses of the or­gan­i­sa­tion most of­ten named aren’t pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble; and the prece­dent set in sim­i­lar cases, where the court judged that if a gov­ern­ment en­tity was fail­ing in its statu­tory du­ties, it was the role of the courts, not pri­vate cit­i­zens, to bring it to order. One judg­ment cau­tioned against “an­ar­chy”.

But the cork is off and civil so­ci­ety has made it clear that ge­nie’s not go­ing back into the bot­tle.

As the so­cial me­dia wiz­kids in­te­gral to the pe­ti­tion cam­paign said, ‘5000 sig­na­tures would prob­a­bly put us in front of the Mayor. We need 10 000 to put us in front of the Premier. ‘This cam­paign seems to have lit a fire.’ In her lec­ture at the Arch­bishop Thabo Mak­goba Devel­op­ment Trust an­nual lec­ture at Rhodes Uni­ver­sity this week, Makhosi Khoza called for the re­vival of the spirit of the mass demo­cratic move­ment. She called on gov­ern­ment to stop see­ing civil so­ci­ety as the en­emy, but as an in­te­gral part of democ­racy.

At the Neil Aggett Memo­rial lec­ture at Kingswood Col­lege last week, Adam Habib spoke of the ex­tra­or­di­nary power of mass ac­tion – cit­ing the 10 days that the stu­dents of the Fees Must Fall move­ment took to achieve what vice chan­cel­lors had tried to ne­go­ti­ate over 10 years.

Habib also cau­tioned against the idea that any means is le­git­i­mate if it reaches your tar­get.

“How you con­duct your so­cial ac­tion de­ter­mines the out­come,” he said.

To make the name change to Makhanda ef­fec­tive and vis­i­ble will in­volve ad­min­is­tra­tive and fi­nan­cial in­put. Whether our mu­nic­i­pal­ity can muster this among ev­ery­thing else it’s try­ing to deal with, seems un­likely.

We think that some res­i­dents with Scot­tish ori­gins might feel com­pletely at home in a town that starts with what sounds like the clan pre­fix of Mac. We have been in our Park Road house since the mid 1980s and less have planted lots of trees in­clud­ing sev­eral yel­low­woods. All yes­ter­day we heard the birds per­form­ing and we thought it must be a boom­slang which we have had in the trees in our gar­den.

At dusk, led by our semi-tame dron­gos, backed by the robins, a ma­jor calamity was an­nounced and when the doves flew off I saw a long, fe­line tail sweep over the sum­mer­house and into the Brazil­ian pep­per.

Jim rushed to get the cam­era, I re­trieved the game spot­light – it was a small spot­ted genet that wasn’t rush­ing any­where... It took its time and prob­a­bly raided the doves’ nests but we couldn’t be sure.

Then it set­tled in the yel­low­wood (we planted it in the late 1980s and it is now a sub­stan­tial tree) and checked out the view un­per­turbed by the spot­light, giv­ing Jim plenty of time to take a good pic­ture. The genet then con­tin­ued hunt­ing, thread­ing its way through the branches and away – we could fol­low its path with the help of the Drongo es­cort party’s noise which seemed to go to­wards the veg­gie patch!

We told our neigh­bours who had never seen a genet in their gar­dens ei­ther. So our for­est and that of our neigh­bours is work­ing for wildlife. But the birds are surely not happy with this new ad­di­tion to our wildlife along Park Road!

Eve and Jim Cam­bray

Photo: Jim Cam­bray

Eve and Jim Cam­bray con­sider them­selves for­tu­nate to have a spot­ted genet in their Park Road gar­den.

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