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On the evening of 19 April there was a meeting at Ernest Ullmann Park at which the City of Joburg presented the Property Rates proposals for the coming year, plus tea and sandwiches. Rates are going up by 12%, well in excess of inflation. Yet I was the only member of the public there! Why? Was it that badly advertised? Or are Ratepayers so shell-shocked that they can't get up the energy to protest?
Anyway, 100% of the public attendees told the presenters to take back the message to Council that the rates increase is totally unacceptable.
On Monday 26 April the Department of Cooperative Governance held a public meeting in the Joburg City Hall to get input on Amendments to the Municipal Property Rates Act, Act No. 6 of 2004. There are serious flaws in the Act, and objections to property valuations have not been heard a year later.
Many organisations were represented, but out of the whole of Gauteng only three people spoke as individuals: An Anti-Privatisation Forum member who railed against rating of the poor, another who complained off the subject about water meters, and me. I submitted that (a) We need a remedy for over-valuation of properties (make the valuation an offer to buy); (b) Charging us for the reasons for valuations is unconstitutional; and (c) There are many worthy causes and the Constitution forbids discrimination on the grounds of religion, so it is unfair and unconstitutional that property used for religious purposes pays no rates.
Why this apathy, folks? This is South Africa 2010, where if you don't like how your vote turned out you march to the nearest public facility and burn it down!
At least we had a good attendance at the Freedom Day combined DA-ID "Defend the Constitution" march to the Constitutional Court and, no, we didn't set it alight except verbally.
Two Yuppettes were shopping. They started to discuss their home lives. One said, "It looks like all Brendan and I do anymore is fight. I've been so upset I've lost 5 kg."
"Then why don't you just leave him?" asked her friend.
"Oh no, not yet," the first replied, "I want to drop another 5 kg first!"
New Kids on the Block Back to top
Restaurant Review (**) by Judith Back to top
The Codfather Restaurant, 1st Avenue, Rivonia
A return to an old favourite following a desire for fish, turned out not to be the evening out intended. The waiters do not wear name tags, nor did ours bother to give us his name. Their extensive wine list is notable for the items out of stock, so finding a wine was challenging. We shared the vegetarian spring rolls with plum sauce and then went to select our fish. I choose the squid complete with tentacles and Rick chose Yellowtail. We were offered a choice of chips, rice or vegetables. I went for the vegetables and Rick for well-done, crispy chips.
Our dishes duly arrived. Rick's chips were far from well-done and he took the dish back. My squid were very salty, but, as I had failed to request no salt, I did not complain. Rick's dish returned, but the fish was now cooked beyond edible and the chips no better. The manager, Charles, eventually arrived and replaced the entire dish with one to order, but then did not check that it was acceptable (the fish was now excellent and the chips almost acceptable).
The Rhebokskloof Chenin Blanc proved to be an excellent choice. When we asked for the bill, the manager came to our table again to discuss the meal. I brought up the problem of the very salty squid. He said that they did not use salt, but it might been the Fish Spice causing the problem. He went on to ask if we had been asked how we wanted our fish prepared? We said that we had only been offered chips, rice or vegetables and nothing was said about preparation. This brought more apologies and a promise to instruct his staff to be aware of what they are supposed to do. The waiter, Paul, had forgotten to add the starter to our bill, but Charles did so with alacrity when it was pointed out.
The restaurant has been revamped and was very attractive with the candles lit. The atmosphere was warm and friendly on a cold wet night. Certainly the manager's attention somewhat saved the evening for us and we now know what to ask for in future!
There is a stationery truck on the M1 North just past Grayston Drive. It's a Waltons van.
The Gone Dogs Back to top
A friend was paying for his book when an idea struck him.
"What are the most popular books?" he asked, expecting romantic novels or mysteries.
"Recipe books", replied the bookshop assistant promptly.
"And the second-most popular books?"
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