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Newsletter

Newsletter August 2020

Crime reported in August 2020

Burglary at Residential Premises

  • Greenwood Street
  • Louw Street
  • Vorster Crescent
  • Amie Pretorius Street

Theft out of/from a motor vehicle

  • Louw Street
  • Schnehage Crescent
  • Willie Du Plessis Street

Burglary at Business Premises

  • Du Plooy Crescent 
  • Aucamp Street

Crime tips from the FNA Crime fighting team:

The FNA requests that Fichardt Park residents must be careful and vigilant when arriving or leaving your home during the day as well as at night. When leaving your house, make sure that the necessary precautions are in place to ensure a safe home.

Malcolm Mostert -ENGMarius Vlooh -ENGJeandre swarts -ENG

Which houses are being targeted:

  • Houses with poor lighting.
  • Houses without an alarm system
  • Residences where postal items are not removed regularly

How do they gain access to the yard and the house?

  • Gates are diverted from their tracks.
  • Intruders gain entrance through back doors, front doors, security gates and windows.

What items are targeted during burglaries and thefts?

  • Televisions
  • Laptops
  • Cell phones
  • Jewellery
  • Food

If members notice any suspicious activity, contact the emergency number at 076 277 3022 or make us of the FICH-Net radio network.

– Malcolm Mostert


We welcome our newest additions to the FNA family!

The FNA has officially launched their uniquely branded vehicles. Many thanks to everyone who made a contribution. The FNA now owns a Toyota Corolla, Nissan NP200 pick up and their own tractor to serve our community. Many thanks to every member who made it possible for us to improve our service delivery.
Regards,
FNA Management

FNA-Cars

FNA-Cars-Team


Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association: helping other neighbourhoods

Dan Pienaar 2020

In August 2020, a group of private residents in Dan Pienaar sought legal advice about withholding monthly billed rates and taxes as a result of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality’s poor service delivery. This goes against the Municipal Property Rates Act, No 6 of 2004 that states that property owners must pay rates and taxes regardless of the delivery of services. However, since service delivery is part of a municipality’s constitutional duties, property owners may ask the courts for an interdict to force municipalities to comply

To do this, the group’s lawyer made the following recommendation:

“…owners who receive poor service…should record such issues for example: take photos of garbage bags which are not regularly removed, streetlights that are broken, trees that are not trimmed, water leaks, with specific reference to the date, time and address. ”

Because the group is a new assembly with no prior structure put in place to have obtained such evidence, they approached the FNA, the NNWA and Wild Olive Estate for support. The FNA has an abundance of this type of detailed evidence at hand that can prove invaluable before any court can be approached. As a result, the support from the FNA is likely to make an extremely strenuous process much easier.

This process, according their lawyer, is as follows:

Houses1“A forementioned must be brought under the attention of the relevant department of the Municipality and a proper paper trail must be kept. If no response is received from the Municipality, one must follow up with the Municipality regularly. It must also be brought under the attention of the ward councillor. If the above mentioned does not have the desired effect/result, one must approach the Court.”

The FNA is proud and eager to help other neighbourhoods. They know that strong neighbourhood associations create prosperous neighbourhoods and together they can form a strong coalition for fighting against poor service delivery.

– Chanté Van Biljon

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Legal action letter

Dear residents

On 2 September 2020, Bloemwater reduced its water supply to the Mangaung Metro. Municipality because of a payment dispute. This caused low water pressure in our water infrastructure, which resulted in little to no water access in many high-lying areas – robbing us of our basic human right to water.

The same situations arose in mid-2019 when water supply was reduced by Bloemwater for non-payment from the MMM. After receiving overwhelming support from the community legal steps (in the form of interdicts) were taken by the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association and Trots Pellissier. As a result, an agreement was struck with Bloemwater stating that Bloemwater would give users 30-days’ notice to allow users the opportunity to represent themselves before water supply is affected. Moreover, if Bloemwater were to go forward with the reduction, they are not to reduce the water supply to the point where users would not have water at all.

After the 2 September water supply reduction, we decided to take drastic legal action to prevent any future water reduction as a result of a payment dispute. Although Bloemwater and the MMM reached a payment agreement shortly thereafter, we predict the pattern of non-payment will continue. Therefore, we aim to take on section 4(5) of the Water Services Act (see below). Section 4(5) does not recognise that a payment dispute between two government water providers impacts our human right to water as stated in the constitution. Section 4(5) thus appears to be defective and we wish to test its constitutionality in court.

4(5) Where one water services institution provides water services to  another water services institution, it may not limit or discontinue those services for reasons of non-payment, unless it has given at least 30 days’ notice in writing of its intention to 50
limit water services or 60 days’ notice in writing of its intention to discontinue those water services to—

       (a) the other water services institution;
       (b) the relevant Province: and
       (c) the Minister.

Current institutions involved: the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association, Trots Pellissier, The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS), Bunker Hills Investments 250 (Pty) Ltd., De Stijl Gariep hotel CC, Stonebridge Trading 15 (Pty) Ltd., and Forever Resorts (Pty) Ltd. Bezuidenhouts Incorporated is preparing the application on behalf of these institutions, in cooperation with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State.

Financial contribution of a minimum of R 100.00 can be paid directly into the FNA account.

Please use Legal fund and neighbourhood as the reference.

Account Name: Fichardtpark Neighbourhood Association
Bank: ABSA
Account number: 9258 718 185

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A clean and crime-fighting neighbourhood

Crime reported July 2020

Burglary at Business Premises
Fichardt Park Primary School Welthagen Street (x2)

Burglary at Residential Premises
Benade Drive
Bornman Crescent
Kleynveld Street
Simpson Crescent (x2)
Usmar Street

Theft of Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle
De La Cornillere Street
Jooste Street

Theft Out Of A Motor Vehicle
Simpson Crescent


Keeping our neighbourhood clean: Our orange bag initiative

Our orange bag initiative went from idea to reality after our members voted for it during our February 2020 Public Meeting, thus, we have been working hard on the project to ensure a quality product for our members.

Our goal with the specially designed garbage bags is to provide a conscientious service to our members in terms of garbage removal.

COST:
1. R30 per roll (20 bags per roll)
2. R50 per month additional cost for the contractor must remove the bags.

PAYMENT:
Cash

WHERE DO I GET THE BAGS?
1. The bags are for sale at the FNA office at 9 Altona Crescent, Fichardt Park.
2. The bags can be purchased daily between 09h00-11h00, from Thursday 27 August from Susan van Eck or Amanda Barnard.

HOW DOES THE REMOVAL PROCESS WORK?
1. Only members with a valid membership number will be able to purchase the bags.
2. Members may only place 5 (FIVE) BAGS IN FRONT OF THEIR HOUSE PER WEEK. Only 5 (five) bags per household will be removed. NO bags will be removed from islands.
3. If no municipal refuse removal takes place on a Thursday, then all our members who bought orange bags will have their garbage removed by an appointed contractor on the Friday.

WHAT CAN I PUT IN THE BAGS?
1. Any household garbage
2. Small garden rubbish heaps (leaves, grass etc. NO BRANCHES)

HOW IS IT CONTROLLED?
1. Members who purchase the bags will be placed on a database for the removal process. Therefore, only 5 (five) bags per address will be removed.
Thank you to everyone who made this initiative possible!


Do you help fight crime?

What contribution do you make in fighting crime in Fichardt Park, whether as an FNA member, FICH-Net radio member, or non-member? All residents (adults, children, workers, etc.) have a role to play. We all utilise the streets, visit shops and parks. Do you report suspicious persons / activities to the FNA? Do you train workers not to allow anyone access to the yard / premises? Are you negligent in leaving garden tools, toys, etc. unattended in the yard, or valuables in your car when shopping? Are you aware of your surroundings when doing ATM transactions? Do you inspect your vehicle prior to re-entry after shopping?

Bear in mind our goal is to create a crime-free neighbourhood. This is possible, as research has proven! This means that everyone in the neighbourhood must be prepared to report small crimes, thereby curtailing more serious crimes. This entails being observant and constantly aware of your immediate surroundings. Be involved and report suspicious incidents.

Residents are privileged to reside in Fichardt Park. Due to the safe environment in our neighbourhood you may not be inclined to become an FNA member. Consider the reasons

for this phenomenon. Ever wondered why there is less crime in our area? This is due to the continuous visibility of the security team, the relatively clean and neat neighbourhood, and members committed involvement in the activities of the FNA.

WHAT ROLE DOES THE FICH-Net RADIO NETWORK PLAY IN OUR GOAL OF A CRIME-FREE NEIGHBOURHOOD? THIS IS THE “BACKBONE” OF THE FNA CRIME-FREE PLAN.

  • A disciplined radio network provides good communication and coordination of events within the security team.
  • If every household has a radio, it will be easier to follow the movements of suspects.
  • Suspicious activities can be reported quickly and easily.
  • Radio calls can be addressed immediately.
  • Members learn to be more prepared, particularly in emergency situations.
  • Members learn to think clearly and systematically.

WHAT ADDITIONAL SUPPORT IS PROVIDED BY THE RADIO NETWORK?

  • Assistance to the SAPS
  • Assistance with medical incidents
  • Assistance during fires
  • Assistance to members exposed to an emergency situation
  • Arrange attendance of all relevant emergency services.

We use the ZARTEK ZA-725 radio in the network, but other UHF radios may also be used.

For information, contact Jannie (083 212 0171) or Johanna (083 501 0665).

To order your radio, email fichnetradio@gmail.com at a once-off amount of R1150-00.


Level 2: The directive and the workforce

Do you know your rights as the country moves to level two?

Specific exclusions

  • Night clubs
  • International passenger air travel for leisure purposes
  • Passenger ships for recreational purposes
  • Attendance of any sporting events as spectators
  • International sporting events
  • Exclusions relating to public transport services are in directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport
  • Exclusions relating to education services are in directions issued by the Cabinet members responsible for education

Employers MUST

  • Adhere to health protocols and social distancing measures
  • Return to work being phased-in in order to put in place measures to make the workplace COVID-19 ready
  • The return to work done in a manner that avoids and reduces risk of infection

Operation of Economic Sector

  • Businesses with more than 100 employees, must where possible make provision to minimize the number of employees at the workplace through rotation, staggered working hours, shift systems, remote working arrangements, or similar measures in order to achieve social distancing and to limit congestion in public transport and at the workplace
    • Relevant health protocols and social distancing must be adhered to
    • Employers must implement appropriate measures for Construction, Manufacturing, Business and financial services firms with more than 500 employees must adhere to the appropriate sector or workplace arrangements to address the following:
      • Provide, or arrange transport to their employees coming to site, or, where it is not possible, consider staggered working time arrangements
      • Stagger the return to work ensure workplace readiness and avoid travel congestion
      • Screen employees daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and refer the employee who displays symptoms for medical examination and testing where necessary
      • Submit data collected during the screening and testing process to the Director-General: Health

Compliance Officers

  • Private and Public sector Industries, Businesses and Entities must:
    • implement the plan
    • adherence to the standards of hygiene and health protocols
  • develop a workplace plan for the phased in return of their employees prior to reopening the workplace and must be retained for inspection and must contain the following information:
    • which employees are permitted to work
    • the plan for the phased in return of employees
    • health protocols are in place
    • details of the COVID-19 officer
  • phase in the return of their employees to manage the return of employees from other provinces
  • develop measures to ensure workplace meets the standard of health protocols, adequate space and social distancing

This article was provided by Wiehan Schoeman. Wiehan is an FNA member and a Senior Industrial Relations Consultant at LabourNet Bloemfontein. Members can contact him at any time for advice on 083 295 3618


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Service delivery: a continuous struggle

Crime reported in June 2020

Burglary residential
Myburgh Street
Jan Enslin Avenue
Gustav Crecent
Willie Du Plessis Road
Mettam Street
Hurley Street
Van Iddekinge Avenue
Usmar Street
Welthagen Street
Amie Pretorius Road


Without supervision, leadership and direction

My career-related wanderings over many years have not only brought me to interesting places and people. I was also confronted with a legion of experiences and incidents that could serve as life lessons and reveal certain important principles to me.

Recently, Paul Colditz, CEO of FEDSAS (whose home and office are in Fichardt Park), said in a radio interview with RSG that leadership and accountability “from top to bottom” are prerequisites for responsible decision-making and policy implementation. The challenges related to the closure of schools or not, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was the theme for the programme “Praat Saam”, which was broadcasted on 23 July 2020.

It reminded me of a meeting on 2 September 2008 in Boksburg where the then National Minister of Education, Dr Naledi Pandor, asked nine provincial project managers of a national monitoring programme to express in mere minutes what the biggest challenges for education in their provinces are. In the Free State, I said, it is essential that leadership at all levels be drastically improved, from the teacher in the classroom to the senior management of the five education districts, the provincial head office and the political education leadership of the province. She looked at her delegation and asked Duncan Hindle, then Director-General, if he had heard what should happen at the national education department as well: Leadership without exception!

Without competent guidance and sound discipline, no business can succeed. It is essential that everyone in an organisation is aware of the norms, standards and outcomes that should be strived for. Equally important is that there must be effective oversight, monitoring and evaluation of performance at all times in order to be able to meet the strategic objectives. Similarly, the achievement of results for any project must meet the expectations of a community in terms of budget, allocated resources and agreed strategic plans.

A few years ago, when I still had to travel for assignments, the EPWP for Expanded Public Works Programme was a great source of frustration for me because apparently very little work was done along our roads and apparently there was no actual supervision and control. Between Koffiefontein and Luckhoff, the teams had more rest and picnics under the Karee trees along the road at any time of the day than there had been progress in repairing the gravel shoulders of the road. Sometimes one or two members of a team with a few shovels and a wheelbarrow would seemingly cover a ditch or two, only to realise a year later that grass and bushes had covered the ‘repairs’ and the condition of the shoulders were worse than ever before. Between Thaba Nchu and the Black Mountain Hotel, the tarred surface of the road was full of potholes while the workers in their orange overalls and EPWP on their backs tried to level the road shoulders with a single wheelbarrow and a few shovels. It would be naive to try to justify this project as meaningful.

During 2012, I was part of a national survey over 15 weeks.  The survey had to be done at more than 5000 schools in the Eastern Cape. With four-wheel drive vehicles provided to us, I traversed large sections of the Sterkspruit and King William’s Town education districts and visited 89 schools as a group leader. I was privileged to experience places and roads I had never visited before and may never be able to see again, but I have hordes of photos of places, schools and people! In this article, I only share some of the photos with our readers. During that time, I often thought of M. Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Travelled.

During the survey, I visited Nomlengana Senior Primary Farm School near Danger’s Hoek in the Sterkspruit District of the Eastern Cape on 08 August 2012. When I asked the principal if the GPS correctly indicated that the road ends here at the school, she replied: “Sir, this is not the end of the road, this is the end of the world!”

In this area, no school day is possible if it has rained a little, because then the roads are impassable for learners and teachers as well as those who have to provide the food for the national school feeding program. Along the two-lane dirt road to the school and nearby clinic, I met a team of EPWP workers. The morning when I passed there just after 08:00, the team lay comfortably in the sparse sun and rested, and when I returned at three o’clock in the afternoon, I found the same idyllic picture. They were very happy when I took a picture. The spokesman said they were working there to fix the “potholes”. This, dear reader, on a low-grade two-lane dirt road that carries virtually no traffic! The little work that is done there by using one wheelbarrow and collecting pot clay from the field to fill the road cavities, is soon damaged again as wind and demand takes its toll and every vehicle that drives past after a rainstorm, causes new “potholes”.

I made peace with the fact that EPWP is a means to another end, namely to enable people, who otherwise would not be able to buy food, clothes or medicine to be able to do so. I even made peace with the fact that politicians would count the number of EPWP employees as part of their “scorecard” for job creation in South Africa! Certainly, such a social support programme is not job creation in the true sense of the word.

The above isolated and perhaps one-sided examples are indicative of situations where little leadership, supervision, monitoring and accountability are present; where poor decision-making amounts to a waste of money that could have been used more efficiently elsewhere. Many of these we still see daily in poor service delivery and low levels of productivity, even in our own metropolitan municipality.

Aside from many other realities that Covid-19 has unexpectedly left on us, the demands it currently places on leadership at all levels are enormous – and without the necessary oversight, monitoring and accountability, efficient service delivery and neighbourly service is much worse.

The FNA, our own neighbourhood organisation, together with many collaborating role players, has indeed already proven that they are a “small” vehicle to make a big difference to these enormous challenges.

Let us lead responsibly, overhaul all supervision and control and thus build a smooth highway of success!

Age Quod Agis! (do what you are doing: concentrate on the task at hand).

Giel de Villiers is an FNA member and pensioner. He has been associated with education for 46 years, especially in his capacity as Mathematics teacher and provincial examiner and moderator for the Mathematics Senior Certificate. He served at Grey College Secondary School, Unitas High School in Welkom, Kroonstad High School and the Free State Education Bureau. He was principal of the Afrikaans High School Kroonstad, Sand du Plessis High School in Bloemfontein and principal of the Free State Centre for Enrichment Education.

Subsequently he progressively served in the following positions:

  • Director: Curriculum Services for the Free State Department of Education;
  • Project Manager for the national Department of Education, assigned to monitor Free State schools’ implementation of IQMS;
  • Founding Director of the Schools Advancement Academy at the Central University of Technology, Free State;
  • Currently he still serves on the Advisory Board of the Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre (GMMDC) attached to Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.

Kerbside waste collection and landfill management

Unfortunately, after our previous meeting, we as the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association (FNA) are disappointed about the service we as rate payers are receiving from the Mangaung Metro Municipality. Kerbside waste collection is never as scheduled as per your municipal Waste Management By-laws as well as the National Environmental Management Waste Act No. 59 of 2008, and it is obvious that waste management in Mangaung is in dismal state. The FNA receives public complaints on a daily basis seeing that they cannot reach the Municipality to complain about the waste management situation.

According the National Environmental Management Waste Act No. 59 of 2008 the Metro need to keep to their scheduled kerbside waste collection (See Government Gazette, 21 January 2011, Paragraph 9). For the past couple years the services that was supposed to be rendered was 80% + not on schedule, relating to local littering and waste pollution in gutters ending up in the drainage system polluting the rivers and transported to the ocean. Refuse bags are torn open by Street Pickers and stray animals because of neglected kerbside waste removal. Indirectly the MMM contravenes the National Environmental Management Waste Act No. 59 of 2008,(Collection of household waste)  National Water Act 36 of 1998 and the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 by polluting river systems.

Excuses such as labour issues, lack of adequate budget, fuel, and a lack of enough collection vehicles are given. Each household need to pay a monthly total levy of R172.08 + Vat of R25.51= R197.89 for waste removal. Fichardt Park have 2791 households. As you are aware, Fichardt Park is one of the best contributors to the rates and taxes of Mangaung. Take into account that the 2791 residents withhold their R197.89 for waste removal monthly that is in total R552 310.99 per month? The community feels that they pay for a service that they do not get and request the FNA to arrange refuse removal. The FNA can render this service at less than R6 000.00 per week = R24 000.00 per month?

Landfill Sites:

Complaints from residents from Fauna, Lourier Park, Pellissier, Fleural and Fichardt Park were received about the Southern Landfill site that are burning for some time now, resulting in bad odour contributing to unhealthy situations in these areas, depending on the wind direction. Community members complains that no actions are taken after numerous complaints were registered or that they just do not get any answer from the Metro?

Observing the management of the Southern Landfill Site, it is obvious that very little to no management is taking place. Access control is very limited and most of the time there is no access control at all. The security at the Landfill Site is non-existent resulting in criminal activities such as arson, vandalism and robbery. The Metro is supposed to keep record of all waste entering and exiting landfill sites and must be recorded on SAWIS. Seeing the present situation, non-functioning weighbridge for years, inefficient access control, and reports to DESTEA and National Environmental Affairs on the SAWIS is totally incorrect.

Again the Mangaung Metro Municipality is contravening numerous national legislation as well as the Metro’s own By-laws as well as the waste license conditions. .

  • National Environmental Management Waste Act No. 59 of 2008
  • Norms and Standards of Storing of Waste
  • National Environment Management: Air Quality Act, No. 39 of 2004:
  • National Water Act, Act No. 36, 1998
  • Chapter 8 of the Municipal Systems Act;
  • Art 24 South Africa Constitution
  • Mangaung Waste By-laws

Below is visuals of the Southern Landfill Site as on the 3rd June 2020:

The question is, are the landfill managers qualified for such an important management action?  How is the Mangaung Metro going to rectify these challenges?

Looking at the media and other information, it is clear that officials (Labour Unions?), are keeping the Mangaung Metro hostage over overtime payments and salaries. Looking at the present situation it is clear that there are no commitment (Apathy) from officials even in this very difficult time in South Africa with the COVID 19 pandemic, unemployment and poverty.

The FNA suggest that the MMM urgently look at the outsourcing of waste management in general and look at the City of Jo’Burg model of outsourcing through Pick-it-Up.

Before the FNA and other Stakeholders go into legal actions we as the FNA would like to know what the plans are to rectify above challenges and by when. We are very willing to assist the Metro and bring our part to make this metro a model. Nobody has to go to Zimbabwe to look at effective waste management (Media statement Mangaung: Issue 31, News Update, July 2019) while in South Africa we do have metro municipalities that can advise the MMM on sustainable and effective waste management.

Regards,

Duart Hugo, FNA Director


Fichardt Park’s gardening community

The Gardening Club was started solely for the purpose of job creation. It has now developed into a platform where members seek advice on all plant species, exchange plants and inspire each other to beautify their gardens.

Our Fichardt Park Gardening Club now boasts with 79 members who have joined and it is still growing and members are enjoying it to the point of providing each other with advice. Even the beginners benefit greatly from all the information provided.

When we are out of the grip of the pandemic, the Gardening Club intends to start beautifying Fichardt Park and the members cannot wait to start. Get involved by contacting Alma at 060 567 3572

While we wait, here are some tips and tricks.

Winter gardening in the free state

Winter is coming on strong but that doesn’t mean you should hang up your gardening tools. Most of South Africa is fortunate to have clear and sunny days during the coldest season of the year, making winter gardening perfectly possible.

You may think that winter is the perfect time to give your green fingers a rest, yet there are many plants and veggies that thrive during this chilly time of the year. So just in case you were wondering what you can do to tie your garden over until spring arrives, read on!

 Change your garden layout

Winter reveals the bones of your garden with (most of) its leaves and florals stripped away – the perfect opportunity to consider another layout. In dry areas (i.e. Free State), winter is the ideal time to build or erect a pergola or archway, redo the paths and redesign the beds. Take the opportunity to level sloping, uneven areas and build steps to link different levels.

 Get pruning

Using garden shears or a clean pair of scissors, remove any withered or dead foliage from plants and flowers. Similarly, prune overgrowing branches or stems from trees and shrubs. Besides for improving the overall appearance of your garden, pruning will improve the plant’s health and yield by allowing for the even distribution of nutrients.

For many plants, the best time for pruning is when they’re dormant. Apples, pears, and many roses fall into this category – fail to prune in winter and you’ll be pruning for failure after winter. Once plants become dormant and the leaves have fallen, shape and prune them if necessary. Shrubs and perennials like salvias, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’, pink and white spiraea, wild ginger, mock orange, hydrangea and buddleja, which have become too big and woody, can be reduced by a third to half, depending on the available space.

Cut raspberries, blackberries and herbs that died down such as lemon balm, mint and thyme, right down to the base and prune roses, fruit trees and wisteria.

Lift the crowns of trees to let in more light. Remove the lower branches one by one and stand back between each cut to check the effect. Remove broken and dead branches.

Feeding and mulching

Do this right after pruning. Remove the annuals that have finished flowering then work compost and organic pellets into the beds. If the soil drains well, work these lightly into the top 3–5cm. If the soil is clay or rocky, dig in compost to at least a fork’s depth, but take care not to disturb the roots of plants. After feeding, cover the beds with a layer of mulch.

Plant some winter annuals

There’s no reason why your garden needs to be a dead oasis for 3+ months every year. Seeds of petunia, dianthus, African daisy, Bokbaai vygie, Iceland poppies, violas, pansies, foxgloves, and snapdragon have proven to be quite hardy to frost! There’s no reason you can’t add colour to your garden in winter. Seedlings of these flowers are readily available for immediate planting: stocks, Iceland poppies, violas, pansies, foxgloves, snapdragons, Bellis perennis, sweet Williams and primulas (Primula malacoides, P. obconica and P. acaulis). Plant them in beds, containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. Winter flowering plants should be planted in April or May to bloom in time for winter. In fact, April is widely celebrated as ‘Garden Month’, making it the perfect time to start prepping for your very own winter garden!

What to Plant

Given the right amount of nutrients, there are plenty crops which do best in the cooler months. Consider setting aside a part of your garden for growing these delicious fruits and veggies:

  • Apples
  • Cauliflower
  • Pears
  • Carrots
  • Peaches
  • Broad beans
  • Nectarines
  • Kale
  • Micro greens
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Snap peas

Flowering plants

Winter gardens needn’t be elaborate – even a potful of pansies can bring beauty to the dreariest of surroundings. Brighten up your winter garden with these winter flowering plants:

  • Azaleas
  • Phlox
  • Camellias
  • Proteas
  • Daisies
  • Roses
  • Gladiolus
  • Snapdragons
  • Pansies
  • Strelitzias
  • Primulas
  • Tulips

Besides for these colourful flowers, you might consider decorating your flower pots with paint or coloured twine, for example. Aloes, cacti and succulents also make excellent accent plants and are available in various vibrant shades.

What to Harvest

If the seeds have been sowed in time, enjoy the taste of the season by harvesting some fresh fruit and veg straight from your garden. The following crops are in season during winter:

  • Apples
  • Butternut
  • Avocados
  • Beetroot
  • Grapefruit
  • Broccoli
  • Naartjies
  • Cabbage
  • Oranges
  • Cauliflower
  • Quavas
  • Spinach

Tidy it up

Thinking of gardening as “basically cleaning outside and just as satisfying” is a great mindset, specifically during winter. So, see the next few months as an opportunity to zhoosh up your outdoor spaces by keeping it as neat and clean as possible via raking, pruning, etc.

It goes without saying that weeds should also be removed from the garden. While it may be tempting to reach for a chemical solution, we recommend using eco-friendlier remedies. Here is a homemade herbicide recipe that’s really easy to make. Simply mix four cups of white vinegar with one cup of salt and ½ teaspoon of liquid soap. Then spray this solution over the weeds, preferably on a sunny day, taking care to protect any nearby desirable plants.

The quieter winter months are also an opportune time to do some general maintenance work around the garden. Rake up any remaining autumn leaves, spring clean your garden shed or greenhouse, give the outdoor garden furniture a good wipe down and clean all your gardening tools and equipment.

Keep your tools clean

Now’s the ideal time to give your gardening tools a decent cleaning before spring arrives, particularly the more popular ones like rakes, pruners, watering cans, etc. This should be considered vital for everyone with a garden since pots, spades, shoes and glass panes all house various pests (fungal, viral, and bacterial), not to mention insects.

The more tools you have, the more time you’re going to have to devote to this task.

Protect from the cold and frost

The Free State is prone to frost in winter, be sure not to plant anything that’s not frost hardy unless you’re prepared to go the extra mile in terms of maintenance and protection. Plants susceptible to frost need to be covered with lightweight horticultural fleece which can be picked up from garden centres. This should be done by 15h00 and removed the next day by 09h00. You can also use cardboard or wigwams made from hessian or grass. If seedlings have been frosted, water them early before the sun reaches them so that they thaw out slowly.

But what about those branches, leaves and shrubs that are already beginning to show signs of frost? Whatever you do, don’t cut them off. Rather leave them until the most dangerous time for frost has passed, as they help to protect the plants from additional winter damage.

Another way to protect your garden from frost and icy winds is to plant or build windbreaks.

Watering

Water ornamentals and lawns once or twice a week, preferably early in the day. Don’t leave sprinklers and irrigation systems on overnight, as the water can freeze and damage both pipes and plants. However, you can water in the late afternoon, as studies have shown that water raises soil temperature and won’t cause damage to plants. But water on leaves can freeze in extreme cold, causing damage. Always put hosepipes away before dark. If yours is frozen don’t move it until it has thawed, as it may crack and break.

Winter gardens don’t need as much water as their summer counterparts. Lawns can be watered once every two to three weeks. Most low water-use plants should only be watered once every two months, while moderate water-use plants need only be watered once a month. High water-use plants will need to be watered 2-3 times every fortnight.

Harsh winter conditions can take it’s toll on the soil. Spreading mulch in your garden will help protect the soil from damage caused by wind, cold or frost. Mulches also protect the ground from soil erosion and compaction from heavy rains.

Spruce up a little indoor garden

It’s not uncommon to find households with more interior plants than outside ones. So, see winter as the ideal time to turn your attention to the potted pretties inside your house. Talk to them (as you normally would), give them a once over for issues, tidy up those dead leaves, ensure they get as much (or as little) sun as they need, and consider re-potting them towards the end of winter.


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Recycling and sewage surveillance

Crime reported in May 2020

Housebreaking
Van Iddekinge Avenue x2

Theft of a motor vehicle
Duff Street

Theft from a motor vehicle
Benade Drive


Recycling in Fichardt Park

There have been many articles about recycling in Fichardt Park in our glossy magazine and the newsletter, and with recycling in our households we, as Fichardt Park residents, make a huge difference, to not only in reducing our carbon footprint, but also the environment and the conservation of our precious biodiversity.

Data kept since July 2015 shows the amount of recyclable material that would have gone to the landfill area to be 988359 kg = 988,359 tons until 31 May 2020 (only in Fichardt Park). The data includes those from supermarkets, the hospital, doctor’s rooms and pubs. Since the recycling takes place every second and last Saturday of a month between 09:00 and 11:00 at the parking lot of Pick ‘n Pay, next to the library (June 2018 to 31 May 2020), 23 711 kg of recyclable material were collected from households. The service provider sorts the material and then sells it to the local “Buy-back Centres”. The products are then sold to various recycling companies across South Africa.

From this, the following products are made:

Plastic: Most plastic we buy or see on packaging has a symbol on the plastic, which is a triangle arrow symbol with a number inside the triangle. The number represents the kind of plastic the item is made of. Each number represents the chemical composition of the plastic. The numbers from 1 to 7 will indicate the type of plastic. See below

Plastic 1. PET – Polyethylene terephthalate
This plastic is one of the most commonly used plastics used in food and beverage packaging. Most soft drinks and water bottles are made of PET plastic. The plastic is very popular with the informal recyclers (street pickers) because it has “good” value. It takes about 30,000 PET bottles to make 1 ton of recycled PET plastic. When it is processed, new bottles, fibre for duvets, coat linings, pillows, sleeping bags, and jeans are made. The green PET bottles are recycled as roof insulation, while brown PET bottles are again used for the production of “Plastiwood” which is used for making garden furniture, sofas and floors.

Plastic 2. HDPE – High-density polyethylene
It is a hard plastic used to manufacture of a variety of containers. It is commonly used for bottles of detergents, toiletries, cosmetics and toiletries.
When the plastic is recycled, it is used to make garbage bins, buckets, bottles for cleaning products, fence posts, pipes and plastic furniture.

Plastic 3. PVC – Polyvinyl chloride
This type of plastic is difficult to recycle and most Repurchase Centers do not accept it and, therefore, the type of plastic is phased out and PET is used as a substitute.

Plastic 4. LDPE – Low-density polyethylene
It is a soft plastic used for shopping bags, sails and squeeze bottles. When it is recycled, sails, soft containers and construction sails are produced.

Plastic 5. PP – Polypropylene
The plastic is used for making ice cream containers, straws, microwave plates and containers, kettles, garden furniture, food containers and bottle lids. The plastic is recycled for the production of laundry pegs, drums, pipes, funnels, car batteries and plastic trays.

Plastic 6. PS – Polystyrene
These are all polystyrene (Foamelite) products. It is used to produce containers for take away meals, clothes hangers and yogurt containers. When recycled, curtain rails, rules, seed containers and photo frames can be produced. The plastic is used more and more in the building industry as ceilings, etc.

Unfortunately, there are no recyclers in Bloemfontein who accept this plastic. Please do not put it in your recycling bin.

Plastic 7. Other
This type of plastic represents a variety of other plastic products. Some of the products are made from a variety of polymers that do not make it suitable for recycling in South Africa and must be added to the normal refuse stream. Please do not put it in your recycling bin.

Glass
Glass can be recycled infinitely. We only receive the following glass products: glass bottles such as cold drink bottles,beverages and kitchen bottles.

The following is not recycled: Ceramics, Light Bulbs & Neon Lights, Pottery, Mirror Glass, Window Glass, Drinking Glasses and Car Windshields.

Metal
Any metal can be recycled and the metal is melted again and used in metal products. Aluminum and copper are very valuable and, therefore, large-scale theft of the products is experienced in South Africa.

Electronic Waste (E-waste)
Electronic waste is any product that works with electricity or batteries. The following products are obtained from e-waste: plastics, metals, silver, gold, copper and bronze. All the medals made for the 2020 Olympics in Japan are made from e-waste. Unfortunately, COVID 19 hampered the Games.

On the second Saturday of September 2020, (12th) larger e-waste products, such as refrigerators, stoves, etc. will be collected. Smaller e-waste products, smaller than televisions and microwave ovens, is collected on every recycling Saturday.

Households are requested to bring their recycling materials every second and last Saturday between 9am and 11am to the parking area next to the library.

Please flatten plastic bottles and cardboard boxes to save space.
For any further information, please contact Duart Hugo or e-mail him on: 082 789 4615, duarthugo99@gmail.com

Duart Hugo


Sewage and COVID-19 testing

As of last week, South Africa’s COVID-19 testing capacity only stands at 22,400 per million. Although this number is higher than countries such as Brazil, which has a larger number of infections, it is still grossly insufficient. As of writing this article, we have only tested 1,567,084 people of a greater than 59 million population.  Thus, testing is a huge obstacle in combatting this virus. Additionally, according to the WHO, “80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic.” This means that a large percentage of individuals who spread the virus never get formally diagnosed – a problematic statistic for South Africa’s testing strategy, which relies on “identifying infected persons, isolating them, tracing their contacts, and isolating or quarantining those contacts” (theconversation.com). This is where sewage comes in.

Sewage Epidemiology

It has been known since the beginning of the year that COIVD-19 can be detected in fecal matter, and can, subsequently, be tested for in wastewater. This type of research was spearheaded in February by Dutch water research institute, KWR, and has since been demonstrated as successful in other European countries such as Spain. In April, the SA Business Water Chamber entered into an agreement with KWR to conduct a Proof of Concept here in South Africa and on 8 June, a South African laboratory successfully extracted COVID-19 RNA from samples collected just 4 days earlier. A major role player in this success was Prof Anthony Turton from the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State.

Sewage Surveillance

The ability to test wastewater for COVID-19 allows scientists to track the spread of the virus and to identify asymptomatic hotspots without testing millions of individuals. Wastewater testing thus acts as an early-warning system for possible outbreaks. Accuracy in this regard is ensured by doing regular sampling at the head of the sewerage works – before reaching the sewerage plant where treatment is done. Through this, scientists can trace the virus back to neighbourhoods that feed into the same system.

Keep the mask on and put the toilet lid down

The COVID-19 virus is mostly spread by droplets hanging in the air after coughing or sneezing. However, smaller aerosolized droplets may continue to hang in the air after the larger ones have fallen. This is not only true for oral transmission, but for fecal transmission as well. A study published earlier this month showed that transmission can occur when flushing the toilet by means of the aerosolization of the virus in the water. Through simulations, scientists showed that a “massive upward transport of virus particles is observed, with 40%–60% of particles reaching above the toilet seat, leading to large-scale virus spread” (Li, Wang and Chen: 2020).

Infrastructure maintenance

Failing municipal infrastructure maintenance and sewage overflow is a “slow onset disaster” according to Prof Turton. We, in Fichardt Park, know this all too well if you’ve ever been down Du Plooy Crescent, Van Rippen Crescent or Beddy Street. Therefore, preventative maintenance of our sewerage infrastructure is essential when it comes to a virus that can remain in stools for up to four days (not to mention all other diseases).

Therefore, to keep the neighbourhood and its residents healthy, Colin Povall from Drain Busters works on behalf of FNA members to conduct preventative maintenance in Fichardt Park every eight weeks.

On a final note, keep in mind, though, that transmission rates via toilet plume have not been well documented for COVID-19 specifically, only with other coronaviruses such as SARS. Moreover, regarding the virus in sewage overflow, Prof Turton states: “This does not mean that the virus is still infectious, although there is some mention of faecal-oral transmission in peer reviewed literature, at least of the SARS virus.” Nonetheless, sewage epidemiology and surveillance is an inexpensive means of mass COVID-19 testing that South Africa sorely needs.

Chanté van Biljon


Fichardt Park crime fight

We all need to live and work in a safe environment. In 2014, the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association launched our 100% Crime-Free Plan. This plan has grown so that we have service level agreements with 7 different security companies today. The cornerstone of this crime plan is Park Road police station’s Community Police Forum. This is where crime information is shared and patrols and roadblocks are planned.

It is precisely during these crime prevention patrols that it became clear that much can still be done to create our own crime-free environment. There are too many open gates and garages observed during these patrols. It is each resident’s responsibility to protect his property against crime. This includes movable property such as motor vehicles. Our residents can help by getting involved in our patrols.

Most crimes are committed throughout the day and are opportunistic crimes. Fichardt Park’s crime pattern clearly shows that where there is a lot of human movement there is a higher crime risk. Our malls, hospital and social venues are targeted by these opportunity criminals.

Patrols are the backbone of any good crime prevention plan. Our security team drives an average of 25,000 km of patrols per month. There has been a sharp decline in Fichardt Park’s crime rate since 2014. This is clear evidence that Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association is doing everything in its power to secure Fichardt Park. Our security team is working on our dream every day to make Fichardt Park a 100% crime-free neighbourhood.

High risk areas currently:

  • Outside Rosepark Hospital: Theft of motor vehicles, theft from motor vehicles and the illegal parking of motor vehicles.
  • Pick ‘n Pay Southern Centre: Bank Card Theft.
  • Home burglaries: Homes that do not have active alarm systems are targeted.

Do not become part of the crime statistics! Take preventive action by:

  • Park vehicles in visible and controlled areas to prevent criminals from having an opportunity to commit their crime.
  • Be mindful when loading or unloading valuable items in your car to people watching you.
  • Store valuables (such as handbags and laptops) in the boot instead of on seats or where they can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Keep items that stand around and have value (such as bicycles, garden tools, electronic and mechanical devices) out of sight.
  • Be careful when using the ATM, do not allow anyone to assist or even see what is happening on the ATM.
  • Get a security company to improve visibility and safety at your home.
  • Ensure that all security measures are in place before resting (security gates, garages and windows).
  • Place lighting around the home, activate alarms.

What influences emergency response time in an emergency?

  • Traffic Conditions
  • Road rules to obey
  • Weather conditions
  • Communication between the client, the control room and the reaction officer.

Malcolm Mostert


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Tips and tricks for lockdown

What to expect on level 3 of COVID-19 lockdown

The country moves into level 3 of the lockdown and here’s a list of some of the do’s and don’ts.

Everything on this list must adhere to health protocols.

Allowed:

  • Wholesale and retail stores
  • All clothing sales
  • All appliance sales
  • Sale of alcohol from Monday to Thursday between 9:00 and 17:00
  • Online sale of alcohol and delivery only from Monday to Thursday between 9:00 and 17:00
  • Domestic air travel for work purposes (permit/letter from employer required)
  • Funerals limited to 50 people
  • Church services limited to 50 people
  • Return of domestic workers
  • Exercising between 6:00 and 18:00
  • Return to school for grades 7 and 12 (subject to change)
  • Drive-through and pick-up services

Not allowed:

  • Movement across provincial, district and metro boundaries or declared coronavirus hotspots (permit required)
  • Sale of tobacco products
  • Social gatherings (including visiting friends and family)
  • Opening of gyms and sports clubs
  • Opening of shebeens, bars, nightclubs, cinemas and theatres
  • On-site consumption of alcohol (home consumption only)
  • Conferences
  • Opening of hair, nail and beauty salons
  • Access to beaches or parks
  • Opening of guesthouses, hotels and casinos

All citizens are still required to wear masks/cloth coverings in public spaces, practice social distancing and follow other health protocols.

Here’s the full list.


Mental health during COVID-19 isolation

Isolation can take an immense toll on your psyche; add on top of that, bills, loss of income and fear for your health, and the COVID-19 lockdown can bring you to the brink of mental meltdown. It goes without saying that those with mental illnesses should take extra care, however, those who consider themselves mentally healthy should not ignore or downplay signs and symptoms of acute depression and anxiety.

These may include the following:

  • Low mood
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping too much
  • Nightmares
  • Unwanted memories
  • Dry mouth
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Panic attacks
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased appetite
  • Not enjoying activities that you enjoyed before

For those who do suffer from mental illness, Prof Renata Schoeman, board member of the Psychiatry Management Group (PsychMG) has advised that it is vital to remain well and stable by keeping up with treatment and avoiding the need for hospitalisation when healthcare resources are already stretched by the impact of COVID-19. This is not only to limit possible exposure to the coronavirus if patients need to be hospitalised for a psychiatric condition, but also because medications such as mood stabilisers and anti-psychotics “cannot easily, if at all, be continued should they require admission to ICU and especially should they require ventilation.”

CIPLA advises:

  • Maintain a daily routine.
  • Restrict media and social media coverage to prevent it from becoming too overwhelming. Only obtain information from credible news sources.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and focus on things you can control.
  • Find things to keep you busy (whether it’s constructive or creative) to help lift your mood.
  • Stay connected with your loved ones via technology.
  • If you’re on medication, remember to take it as prescribed.

Telehealth services:

  • South African Depression Anxiety Group (SADAG): 0800 21 22 23 / 0800 70 80 90. SADAG WhatsApp support (9 am-4 pm): 076 882 2775 / or SMS 31393 or 32312 and a counsellor will call you back.
  • Lifeline South Africa: 0861 322 322
  • Department of Health: 060 012 3456 (WhatsApp “hi” for access to comprehensive COVID-19 information).
  • National Institute for Communicable Diseases toll-free COVID-19 hotline: 0800 0299 299

Online interventions:

Everyone OK is a Belgium website designed for improving mental health during the COVID-19 lockdown. It is a thorough and comprehensive exercise in determining and addressing mental health for adults and children. https://www.everyoneok.be/

Mental health is essential and, thus, all psychiatric facilities and practitioners are accessible at all lockdown levels.


Tips and tricks for home schooling during lockdown

Most students will not be returning to school on 1 June, which means that parents and guardians are heading into their third month of home schooling. Parents were thrust into the role of teacher without much time for preparations or even the necessary resources for the demanding task. Moreover, the obstacles are even greater for parents who are considered essential workers and cannot stay home to help with schoolwork. I spoke to a few parents and educators to get their views on the current predicament.

Parents

From speaking to parents, it has become clear that high school learners are able to work more independently that primary school learners. However, this does not mean that high school learners don’t need help from a parent every now and then.

Understanding the work

The first problem parents face is the know-how to help their children, even those in primary school who have objectively easier work but need more parental assistance. The is especially true when it comes to subjects that require understanding (instead of remembering) and there are a few ways parents approach this. Some parents attempt to apply their existing knowledge of the subject and try to figure out what is to be understood. Others scour their children’s textbooks to attain a better understanding themselves and look for examples to help their children. Furthermore, parents have realized that Google is their friend and almost any explanation or tutorial can be found through a Google or YouTube search. However, when all else fails, there are other methods parents turn to. These include directly contacting teachers and making use of tutors via Zoom or Skype.

Routine

Many parents have echoed that routine is the key to success. This means getting children out of bed in the morning, requiring them to jump out of their pyjamas and get started on the work they were sent for the day or week. Depending on the school, work either gets sent through on Mondays (a week’s worth) or on a daily basis between 8:00 and 12:00. For those waiting for work to be sent, they prefer to start their ‘school day’ in the early afternoon when school would typically have ended. For other parents, their preference is getting their children out of bed at about 9:00 and letting them do their work for the day for a few hours. Parent typically don’t expect their children to work more than an hour on one subject.

Parents who have to work during the day have their own challenges. They need to heavily rely on their children having the discipline to carry out their own routine. These parents address this by phoning their children during the day and doing revision with their children when they get home.

Internet access

School work has to be access online either on a PC or smartphone. Teachers send though documents and videos for children to use to get their work done. This often poses a problem for households who do not have unlimited data, making daily tasks quite expensive. There is no quick-fix for this but educators do have suggestions.

Teachers

Teachers are very understanding when it comes to the various troubles parents face during this time. Those I have spoken to have given very valuable advice.

  1. Routine is essential. For those parents who struggle with setting up a workable routine or for learners overwhelmed with where to start with their work, it has been suggested that learners follow their regular school timetable to determine which subjects to work on.
  2. Cooperation between parent and child is important. For peak productivity, a routine that works for everyone needs to be worked out; parents should communicate with their children and vice versa.
  3. Remove all distractions (with the exception of the technology the child needs to work) and provided a neat and dedicated workspace for children.
  4. Communicate with teachers if you feel you don’t have the resources to complete the necessary work. Teachers have great compassion and are willing to give alternative methods to continue learning. These often include simply following the work in the textbook as set out at the beginning of the year/semester. Children can WhatsApp with friends if they need assistance that a parent cannot provide and if work cannot be completed at all, it’s advised that children read. Reading with comprehension is a skill that is sorely lacking in schools and developing that skill during this time is invaluable.
  5. The government and internet/network service providers have made various resources available which include YouTube videos, TV programmes, radio stations and zero-rated (no data required) websites. Find all information here.
  6. The most important advice is not to stress. Teachers understand the issues learners face and when they return to school, extensive recapping will be done.

On a final note, children might not show it or want to talk about it but physical distancing from friends, social activities and lack of play with friends can all take a toll despite virtual interactions. Here are some things parents can do:

  1. Talk to them about what’s going on. Find out how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking about. Let them know it’s okay to feel scared or unsure and try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. Remember, you do not need to know all the answers but talking things through can help them feel calmer.
  2. Help them to reflect on how they’re feeling and encourage them to think about the things they can do to make them feel safer and less worried.
  3. Reassure them that this will pass, you’re there for them and you will get through this together.
  4. Spend time doing a positive activity with your child (such as reading, playing, painting or cooking) to help reassure them and reduce their anxiety. This is also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’.
  5. Keep as many regular routines as possible, so that your child feels safe and that things are stable.
  6. Parents should also encourage their children to exercise.

Please visit the Department of Education website. It offers some great advice and resources.

Chanté van Biljon 


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Our lockdown response and meeting another member of our community

Crime reported in March 2020

Housebreaks (residential)
Benade Drive
Van der Linde Street
Willie du Plessis Road
Amie Pretorius Road

Housebreaks (businesses)
Usmar Street
George Smetham Street

Theft from motor vehicles
Gustav Crescent

Theft of motor vehicles
Benade Drive


What we did in 35 days of lockdown

During this challenging COVID-19 pandemic, our FNA structure that we built over the last 10 years, served us well. Our security managers gave us peace of mind during this lockdown. We thank Vicus, Malcolm, Marius and Jeandré for attending to 81 cases, including assistance with two medical emergencies.

The FNA did preventative maintenance on problematic sewer systems in Fichardt Park. The following streets were serviced: Du Plooy Crescent, Fonternel Street, Van Rippen Crescent, Benade Drive and Stollreither Street. We extend our gratitude to Drain Busters for providing this service.

On 6th April the FNA removed twelve loads of illegally dumped waste in Fichardt Park. Thank you to Waste Retrievers who assisted the FNA with this task.

The FNA, in co-operation with Ryan Hamaty from Saverite, are reaching out to the community in Fichardt Park during the lockdown period. We’ve put together a R250 food hamper and request residents to contribute to this important initiative which was launched on the 25th of April 2020.  We have started to distribute these food hampers amongst the people in Fichardt Park who are in need of essential goods. For more information, visit our Facebook page

Those who received love are invincible.

Thank you for your continuous support.

Fichardt Park is a place to be!

Jacques Meiring



COVID-19: a look into the future (opinion piece)

As we enter level four of the COVID-19 lockdown, we are not much closer to a cure or vaccine. There is a lot of false information in circulation and people are getting desperate. There is both fear and frustration in the air and maybe a bit of despair for the dream of a return to normalcy becomes ever dimmer. However, this article is not about cabin fever, poverty, economic ruin and death but rather about what we’ve gained and learned as we head into the next phase of lockdown.

Our leaders

Citizens of the world have become heavily reliant on their leaders for guidance and reassurance during this time, and South Africa is no exception. Our government reacted quicker that other countries after the first reported case – this showed that our president puts citizen’s lives above the economy and, in large part, continues to do so.

Where many have despaired in the past about our government’s incompetency in service delivery, corruption, crime, poverty and homelessness, the government’s actions during this crisis paint a different picture. For example, municipalities across the country have shown that they have the ability to house thousands of homeless people within 21 days – either by constructing or identifying shelters. According to the Daily Maverick “Lesufi (Gauteng acting social development MEC) said it would be “a miscarriage of justice” if people were put back onto the streets after the lockdown.” An attitude sorely absent from public rhetoric about the homeless in past years.

Positive impact on the economy

Things are looking pretty bleak for our economy because of the lockdown. Many of you will not be receiving a salary this May and the new three-phase economic response might not instil any immediate feelings of relief. However, the lockdown has presented an opportunity to restructure our economy as a whole – but this is not all. An organic boost to the economy has come to the foreground – the technology industry.

Technological innovation and development have been forced to accelerate due to the nature of the COVID-19 crisis. Virtual service delivery and tools, such as online medical consults and online learning, are now in great demand and as a result, various industries have needed to develop and employ this technology earlier than expected. In the long run, this means job creation. In February of this year, before a state of disaster was even a thought, SADA (South Africa in the Digital Age initiative) estimated that 500,000 new jobs in the tech-industry will be created over the next 10 years. This timeline might be accelerating; we might soon be seeing a larger tech work force that does not exclude low-skilled labourers (a general misconception). 

The new normal

I think we’ve learned that people in general have a greater capacity for kindness and compassion for their fellow citizens than previously thought. Communities have come together regardless of race or religion to help those in need and gang leaders have even called truces to provide support to their communities. All violent crimes have dropped; crimes such as murder and rape have dropped between 70-90%. Police Minister Bheki Cele attributes this, in large part, to higher police visibility, the ban on alcohol sales and a drastic decrease in the distribution of illegal substances. This is not the new normal but it shows our potential. Additionally, we’ve learned that working from home for some is not impossible and this greatly benefits our planet. We’ve gained some perspective on the plight of others in our community. We’ve been forced out of the daily hustle and bustle and gained a lot of time for introspection. Moreover, we’ve become conscious of things and people we’ve taken for granted.

It’s easy to get caught up in conspiracy theories, the words of doomsayers, the struggles of the here and now, and the fear of the future’s worst-case scenario. However, sooner than you think, we’ll be hugging and shaking hands again and thinking back on that time the whole world was on lockdown.

Chanté van Biljon



Member profile: Palesa Ranchobe

FNA members are our foundation; they allow us to ensure the safety of our neighbourhood, keep our streets and parks clean, and assist those in need. Therefore, we love to share their stories with our community.

Meet Palesa Ranchobe. She’s a wife, mother and aspiring fashion designer. In 2018, Palesa started at Bloemfontein Fashion Academy. She enjoys designing clothing for women and children, especially for her daughter. Furthermore, she has a taste for colour and pattern.

The FNA wishes her all the luck in the pursuit of her passion.


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FICH-Mark 2020 and how to stay safe during a pandemic

Crime reported in February 2020

Housebreaking
Theunissen Crescent
Tennant Crescent
Steenkamp Street (x2)
Benade Drive (x2)
Castelyn Drive
Amie Pretorius Street (x2)
Tainton Street
Stock Crescent

Theft out of/of motor vehicles
Hanna Road
Reeler Street

Theft
Benade Drive


How illegal dumping is costing you money

Illegal dumping occurs in several ways. Some examples include (i) dumping household waste or garden rubbish on nearby traffic islands or in parks, and (ii) dumping construction waste in public spaces.

Why is illegal dumping a problem?

Illegal dumping is a huge problem within Fichardt Park and it impacts on the following: Run-off rainwater: illegal dumping can impede the natural run-off of water during heavy rain or storms, thereby potentially causing flash flooding.

  • Aesthetics: illegally dumped garbage is a horrible eyesore in an otherwise beautiful Fichardt Park.
  • Plants and wildlife: illegal dumping can adversely affect many native species of plants and animals, causing health complications and even death.
  • Safety and health: if garbage is dumped in an area accessible to the public and especially to our children – such as our parks – we are then exposed to health and injury risks.

How does illegal dumping affect you?

The FNA can keep the neighbourhood clean and safe because of your membership fees. This year alone, we cleaned up over 100 loads of illegal dumping – costing thousands of rand. This is also very time consuming, thereby shifting the focus of your security team.

What can you do?

  • Please Report illegal dumping at our 24-hour emergency number: 076 277 3022
  • When you spot an act of illegal dumping, gather descriptive information of the perpetrator and take photos of the act, including the number plate of the perpetrator’s vehicle.
  • If you are busy with construction on your property and have construction waste on your sidewalk, please remove within 7 days.
  • When putting out your weekly trash, remember to only put out domestic waste – no garden waste.
  • Do not put your trash on traffic islands (this is prevalent in Castelyn Drive, Benade Drive, Olive Grinter Drive and Eric Rosendorf Drive).


FICH-Mark 2020

Fichardtpark Neighbourhood Association once again achieved a milestone in their existence when we launched our own market on February 28, 2020.

Everything was made possible by the talented residents of Bloemfontein.

The main purpose of this market is to foster financial independence, especially in the current economic conditions in which the country finds itself. Another decisive factor was to give exposure to people with talent, as well as businesses operating from home.

Many months of planning by a formidable management team led to the phenomenal success that exceeded our highest expectations! Without the help of our Chairman, Kobus Olivier, and office manager, Jacques Meiring, assisted by the Fichardtpark NG church’s winning team, the same degree of success would not have been achieved.

Stalls with various products ranged from leather goods, clothing, shoes, woodwork, water storage tanks, crafts, delicious pastries, beauty products, plants and food stalls, of course, got the biggest attention!

The bouncy castles sponsored by Bloemsec entertained children so that the family could relax in the safety of our neighborhood.

Radio Rosestad, with Johan Gunter, provided great entertainment and continuous commentary and we are very grateful for the exposure they gave us through radio interviews where Susan van Eck, our administrative lady, spoke about the activities of the market.

Stellar breweries contributed to the friendly atmosphere, because what is a successful market without beer and gin.

Car guards, together with the watchful eye of Bloemsec security and our own security managers, further ensured that everyone could visit and enjoy themselves.

We are grateful for every blessing that has come from the market. Planning for the following markets will depend on the health crisis at hand. The market is important to us because we bring everyone together as a CARING NATION


Covid-19: How to stay safe

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

 Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Masks

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Myths

  • Cold weather and snow can kill the new coronavirus.
  • Taking a hot bath prevents the new coronavirus disease.
  • The new coronavirus can be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 cases.
  • The new coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites.
  • Hand dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus.
  • Ultraviolet disinfection lamp kills the new coronavirus.
  • Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill the new coronavirus.
  • Pets at home spread the new coronavirus.
  • Vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus.
  • Regularly rinsing your nose with saline helps prevent infection.
  • Eating garlic helps prevent infection.
  • Older people or are younger people also susceptible.
  • Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus.
  • There are specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.

Source: World Health Organization



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Everything you need to know about PSHB and waste removal

Crime reported in January 2020

Housebreaks

Serfontein Street
Hanna Road
Steenkamp Street
Rushby Street
Benade Drive
Van Iddekinge Avenue
Jan Enslin Street

Attempted housebreaks
Mc Arthur Street
Van Laun Crescent

Theft of motor vehicles
Gustav Crescent
De Jager Street

Theft from motor vehicles
Benade Drive
Mc Arthur Street


Our 2020 initiatives

PSHB identification

The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) has invaded South Africa and is killing our trees. The FNA encourages all residents to check their trees for infection and report their observations to us. This will allow up to create a database of infected areas which will help decrease the spread of this beetle.

Adopt/plant a tree

Trees are the lungs of the earth and they create breathable air in this time of climate crisis, therefore, we are offering to replace dead sidewalk trees at zero cost. Contact us to inspect your sidewalk tree if you think it might be dead. We encourage residents to adopt newly planted trees to keep them watered and healthy. We also aim to plant 200 PSHB-resistant trees in our neighbourhood by the end of 2020.

Adopt a park

Adopt your favourite Fichardt Park park to help us create a more beautiful neighbourhood. Your contributions will be put to work to cut your park’s grass, spray thorns and paint play equipment if there are.

Visit http://fichardtpark.org/initiatives/ for more information about these initiatives.

Recycling

Bi-monthly recycling Saturdays have been a long standing practice in our neighbourhood and have even attracted residents from other neighbourhoods! We encourage all our residents to start recycling.

Visit http://fichardtpark.org/about-us/services/recycling/ to find out what you can and cannot recycle.


Status of the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) since discovery in Fichardt Park in March 2019

After the discovery of the PSHB in Fichardt Park, the FNA took leadership in raising awareness about the PSHB beetle and a small task team was established to coordinate and arrange awareness sessions. We communicated with Prof Wijnand Swart: Professor of Plant Sciences, President of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology and in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State.

In cooperation with Prof Swart, the FNA arranged an information/awareness session to make the general public aware of the threat that we are facing with the PSHB. More than 50 people attended this very informative session on 13 May 2019. Bloem News reported on the meeting and a database was developed with the locations, and positive sightings as well as possible infestations. All the information received were accompanied by pictures of the trees that might or might not be infested by the PSHB. The idea was to see what the rate of infestation in Mangaung is, and the result is scary.

The task team met on a regular basis and decided that a follow-up awareness session needed to be planned. The next information/awareness took place on 16 October 2019 and 61 people attended this session. Prof Swart created awareness about the PSHB and Dr Gert Marais (UFS) gave information on the PSHB and Pecan nut farming. Mr. Hilton Fryer from Plant Survey came from Johannesburg to deliver his input on his mobile App for reporting PSHB infested trees. After this session, various articles on the PSHB saw the light in local newspapers and a scientific article was published on the UFS website.

The challenge is larger than expected, therefore, a meeting was scheduled with the Mangaung Metro, Parks Department, The Free State University as well as SANBI. This meeting took place on 18 February 2020 where the way forward was discussed.

For more information on the PSHB and the trees that are in danger, please mail Duart Hugo at duarthugo99@gmail.com. Furthermore, in order to create an accurate database, you can book an appointment to have the trees in your garden checked at http://fichardtpark.org/campaigns/pbsh-identification/

Presently there are no scientifically proven effective pesticides to combat this invasive beetle. An article will appear in our next FNA magazine with all the relevant information on the PSHB.

All people on the database will be informed of new developments in the combat of this destructive little beetle.

Duart Hugo  


Residential Waste removal information

Residents are often unsure about the MMM’s waste removal requirements, especially in light of the MMM’s recent irregular waste-removal practices. Even though the whole of Fichardt Park is meant to be serviced on a Thursday, the FNA usually receives information late on Wednesday on which parts of Fichardt Park will be serviced and relays this message to members early Thursday morning.

Waste removal boundaries

  • For waste removal purposes, Mangaung divided Metro Fichardt Park into two – North and South.
  • South means the next border streets: Eric Rosendorf, Olive Grinter, Van Iddekinge and Amie Pretorius and all the other streets that fall within this border. The Casino is on the south side for these purposes. These are in municipal blocks 8-14.
  • The North means Van Laun, Du Plooy, Van Rippen and Usmar. This includes Benade Drive and all the other streets that fall within the border streets. These are in municipal blocks 1-7.
  • If you are ever unsure where your group falls, please contact our office. To check where your block falls, please visit http://fichardtpark.org/about-us/maps/

Type of waste the MMM removes

  • The municipality will only remove a maximum of five black bags per household.
  • Your black bags will not be collected if they are unreasonably full or too heavy.
  • With regards to garden waste, Mr. Sello More (Head of Directorate: Solid Waste & Fleet Management), on the behest of the FNA and city counsellors, gave the following statement:

“Unfortunately our new trucks are not sufficiently adapted to carry garden waste. In fact, such waste kills its compacting capacity. Whereas bylaws do allow for the disposing of such minimally, they are a risk for our regular collection and our supplier will nullify our warrantees if we continue to carry such.”

Chante van Biljon

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New technology coming to Fichardt Park, and what you can do about noisy neighbours

Crime reported in December 2019

Housebreaking
Usmar Street
Jan Enslin Street
La Cornillier Street

Attempted housebreak
Stollreither Street

Theft of motor vehicle
Gustav Crescent (ROSEPARK)

Attempted theft of motor vehicles
Van Reenen Street


Lucky draw: Referral winner

Congratulations to Straus and Amanda Bell who won a radio and are now part of our FICH-Net radio community.

A special mention to Werner van Eck who made the most successful referrals of 2019.

Jacques Meiring, Amanda Bell, Struas Bell, Kobus Olivier
Werner van Eck

Frogfoot’s smart street poles to improve quality of life for Fichardt Park residents

In an industry first for South Africa, Frogfoot Networks (Pty) Ltd, a licensed open access fibre network provider, will be rolling out smart street poles to provide the community of Fichardt Park, Bloemfontein, with well-lit streets, improved public safety and security, and access to WiFi connectivity.

When looking to expand fibre infrastructure in the suburb, Frogfoot was approached by the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association (FNA) about laying additional infrastructure that could be used to improve the quality of life of the neighbourhood’s residents, and has taken on this challenge as part of its commitment to the community.

Frogfoot will install 33 of these smart street poles at predetermined crime hotspots and on main routes in order to utilise closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to their full potential. Frogfoot will be responsible for bearing the cost of installation as well as ongoing maintenance of this infrastructure.

Access to the live feeds will be provided to the FNA at no charge. This implementation also has the capability of being extended to include automatic number plate recognition, with integration into the SA Police’s database of stolen vehicles.

In addition, the columns will make use of highly efficient LED bulbs, together with safe low voltage power distributed through the fibre ducts to light up the streets in a more environmentally friendly manner. Frogfoot will further provide backup power from its nodes by using generators or uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

But, it’s not just about the security cameras or the energy-efficient lighting. What makes these street poles really smart is the ability to add on a variety of services, which Frogfoot will monetise in order to install and support this infrastructure.

The first on the list is the addition of wireless local area network (WLAN) infrastructure, which effectively turns each one of the smart street lights into an open access WiFi access point, which a wireless internet service provider (WISP) can use to provide improved internet connectivity to the suburb’s residents.

Residents are already looking forward to having access to real-time information that will contribute to better decision making and assist the security team to act faster. One community member, Des Bothma, commended the FNA for turning to modern technology to help make Fichardt Park “the best neighbourhood in Bloemfontein”.

If you would like to find out more information regarding this project, please contact the Bloemfontein Project Manager, Shawn van Heerden on 074 449 7176.

Find out more about froggin’ awesome fibre here: www.frogfoot.com


Noise control

Rest disruption can occur anytime of the day or night (eg. residents who work evening shifts need rest while others mow their lawns). Noise is a common problem in our neighbourhood and persistent noise disturbances leads to great frustration among residents. It is, therefore, pertinent that residents know that there are clear laws regarding noise levels and that they can and should take action.

The following procedure should be followed when calling in a complaint:

24/7 noise complaint/control number: 051 405 8771

You are trying to read while your neighbour is playing extremely loud music.

  1. You contact the number when you hear your neighbour’s music.
  2. The police will send a vehicle to your address.
  3. The officer will stop his vehicle a sufficiently far distance from your residence and listen if he can hear the music as well.
  4. If he determines that the music is a true disruption, then he will visit the source of the disturbance.
  5. He will visit the owner of the residence to turn down the volume and give him a warning.
  6. Police officer leaves.
  7. The disturbance continues and you phone the number again.
  8. A police officer will repeat the process.
  9. A second warning will be given and the officer will turn down the volume himself and leave.
  10. The disturbance continues and you phone for a third time.
  11. The process is repeated.
  12. The police officer will take your statement and open a case docket.
  13. The officer will confiscate your neighbour’s stereo system.
  14. The case goes to court.

This process is followed for all noise disturbances.

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