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01 Mar 2011

Lights go out for fishing harbours

Lights go out for fishing harbours

taken from iol.co.za: by Xolani Koyana and Aziz Hartley

Hout Bay and Kalk Bay fishing harbours are among seven where navigational and harbour entry lights have been off for weeks, putting vessels at considerable risk.

“This is posing a great danger to international and local maritime traffic at these harbours,” the Department of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries said.

On February 14, the South African Navy’s Hydrographic Office issued a Coastal Navwarning (navigational warning) for fishing and non-commercial ports and said on its website that entrance lights and “associated aids” were out of operation at Gordon’s Bay, Harbour Island, Port Alfred and Lamberts Bay.

Hout Bay has been without the lights for more than a month, and Gansbaai and Kalk Bay have been without lights for over two weeks.

National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon said no navigational and harbour entry lights were “obviously dangerous” particularly to sailors who did not know the areas.

Department spokesperson Carol Moses said Transnet’s National Ports Authority was responsible for the lights

“Transnet (Navigation Light Services) has not serviced the navigation lights. In some instances, it removed the navigation lights and equipment from these harbours. All maritime traffic is exposed to huge risk as these navigation lights and its location co-ordinates are registered internationally. The department has been advised by the State attorney that the mandate and provision of these navigation lights along the SA coastline is the mandate of Transnet,” Moses said. She said the department had given the relevant documentation to Robin Poggenpoel, an official at Transnet’s regional office.

Approached, Poggenpoel said he could not comment and referred queries to South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa).

However, an official at Samsa, Dave Colly, said it was not its responsibility to maintain the lights, but either that of the the department or the Ports Authority.

Transnet spokesman Sigonyela Mboniso said: “We are not responsible for those ports. This is not a Transnet issue.”

Asked who was, he said: “I have no idea at all.”

Artisinal Fishers’ Association chairman Andrew Johnson said small-scale fishers were restricted from being out at night, but recreational fishers and other private sailors could sail any time and were exposed to danger at night if navigational lights were out.

“The safety of fishermen and other sailors should be top priority and that is not being done. It is not only the lights, but generally there is a problem with the upkeep of small harbours. They are dirty and there are broken gates. Harbours are no longer as pristine because money is not being spent on them. Departments blame each other,” Johnson said.

Asked who he thought was responsible for the harbours, he said: “MCM (Marine and Coastal Management) or the Department of Public Works – nobody really knows.”

Lambinon said: “It has been a while and we have complained. But we don’t want to get involved in who is responsible.”

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28 Feb 2011

Sunday on Hout Bay beach

Sunday on Hout Bay beach

Last Sunday, I came down for a walk on Hout Bay beach with my wife and children…Great weather, smiling faces, …and tons of waste !!!
What as shame ! We decided with my children to clean a little. After a 40 minutes walk, we managed to fill 3 bags with cigarette butts, cigarette box plastic wrappers, shoes, Coke bottles, cans, chips bags,…and also half a bag of glass bottles pieces (some incredibly sharp).
Our children are playing on that beach, just imagine one them stepping on those !
I was also amazed to see people smiling at me, but not doing anything. Not even one person asked me what I was doing…
Best example : Next to me, an old lady dropped a small plastic wrap. With respect, I just came to her and said : “Sorry, I think you just dropped something…” Her answer : “Oh, don’t worry, it’s empty…I already ate the sweet…”
That sums it all…
Please, be a little more responsible with our beach, our land, our country, our Earth ! I’m not asking everyone to clean the beach, but only to be a little more responsible, to teach children that they have to put their waste in the bins (there are many around the beach), to make people understand that a broken bottle on a beach can lead to severe injuries…
I’m not an eco-fanatic, and I do my part of stupid things (I sometimes shower for too long, I sometimes forget to switch off a light,…), but please, if we do just a little, each and everyone of us, we’ll live in better place.

Laurent Soragna
Hout Bay Republican since 2005

PS : During that walk, I also decided to count how many dog poo I would see… 21 ! Most of the people were doing the right thing though, by collecting their pet waste, but it’s still too much in my humble opinion.
PPS : From that last remark, many people will say again, that we, French, don’t like dogs. Which is completely wrong !!! Finely roasted, and with the right amount of Béarnaise, dogs are wonderful ! Just kidding… :-)))

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28 Feb 2011

Report butt-throwers!

Report butt-throwers!

With the heat and wind drying everything out @ the moment, people who throw cigarette butts out of moving cars could cause wild fires. Report any such behavior to 021 424 7715.

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28 Feb 2011

Be Alert!

Be Alert!

We have been asked by SAPS to advise all neighbourhood watch members that they need to be aware that there is a small gang, possibly three or four people, who have been targeting properties in Hout Bay over the last few days.  It may be one gang, there may be more, but they are armed and should not be confronted.  They dress in black and wear balaclavas, so not easily identifiable.

A couple of armed robberies have occurred recently, and we are being warned to ensure that doors and windows are not left open or unlocked unless security gates and window bars are in place.  Obviously, you are urged to ensure that all other security measures that are installed on your premises are in good working order, and that alarms and beams are set during the hours of darkness or when you are away from home.  You owe it to yourself and your family that you are protected at all times.

Please pass this message on to neighbours and friends, particularly those who are not members of HBNW.  It’s all about awareness and safety of all members of the community, so spread the word.

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25 Feb 2011

The Bay Food @ Wine Market every Saturday

The Bay Food @ Wine Market every Saturday

Remember The Bay Food & Wine Market is on every Saturday at the Victoria Mall. Visit their facebook page to see videos of their traders.

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