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Langamed Ambulansdienste se flinke optrede na die skoolbustragedie van Laerskool Cradock was van onskatbare waarde om beseerde pasiënte te stabiliseer en vinnig by die hospitale en drs. te kry. Op bostaande foto word een van die skool se beseerde onderwysers in die vliegtuig gestoot om na ‘n hospitaal in Bloemfontein te vervoer. Tesame met Langamed was alle beskikbare nooddienspersoneel en drs van Cradock vinnig op die toneel om hulp te veleen op daardie tragiese Saterdagoggend en moet daar groot dank en waardering uitgespreek word aan hulle.
Na verneem word het leerlinge en onderwysers Maandag teruggekeer skool toe. Mnr Alfie Blume wat ook in die ongeluk beseer is, sterk tans goed aan en behoort oor 2 weke ontslaan te word. Die troosdienste van die skoolhoof, mnr Wimpie van der Merwe en S.C Ferreira was onderskeidelik verlede Donderdag en Vrydag hier gehou.

Somerset-Oos Skou-

7 en 8 September 2012
Somerset-Oos skoukomitee beoog om die skou groter en beter as ooit te vore te maak met verskeie nuwe afdelings en ontwikkeling. Onlangs is daar weereens vergader om finale reëlings te tref. Die perdeafdeling het reeds 140 inskrywings ontvang. Daar word ‘n skuurdans met ‘n modeparade, “live” entertainment en ete gehou op die Vrydagaand.
Ons verwag ook ‘n klompie uitstallers met hul stalletjies. Die kleinvee-afdelings gaan ook weer diere van uitstekende gehalte hê en dan is daar ook vanjaar die jeugskou met baie belangstelling en inskrywings.
Daar is so min dorpe wat nog die voorreg het om ‘n landbouskou te hë, kom ons ondersteun die plaaslike skou.
Die wrak van die minibus-taxi wat Saterdagoggend, na verneem word twee ander voertuie op ‘n blinde hoogte verbygesteek het, en in die skoolbus van Laerskool Cradock ingeploeg het. Slegs twee insittendes van die taxi het die ongeluk oorleef.

Karoo Fracking

Threat Unites Communities
By Julienne du Toit
On Global Anti-Fracking Day (28 July 2012), there were protests and rallies around the world, but one of the quirkiest and most heart-warming was held in the South African Karoo, in the village of Nieu Bethesda. It also proved once and for all that opposition to fracking is not divided along racial lines.
Together we can
At Nieu Bethesda’s rally were emerging farmers from the district, the Southern Cape Land Committee representing farmworkers and emerg-ing farmers, as well as local commercial farmers, townspeople, Khoi-San representatives and schoolchildren of all races. They were joined by an environmental activist and photographer from Soweto, an environmental economist, climate change campaigners from Cape Town, a groundwater scientist from Bloemfontein, and Bikers against Fracking.
Fracking Affects Us All
Phumi Booysen of the Southern Cape Land Committee told the crowd gathered there that “one of our key challenges is to ensure that this campaign is not seen as one where white people alone say no to fracking. Black people also say no to fracking. Fracking will affect every one of us, no matter who we are.”
Earlier he had pointed out that people in many townships across the Karoo were being fed other information, and being told fracking would bring them benefits. “We have to challenge these people, because as a group we should all be very concerned about the effects of fracking, especially on farmworkers and emerging farmers”.
Threats to Farm-workers
Chriszanne Janse van Rensburg of SCLC came forward and explained to the crowd that the Southern Cape Land Committee supported emerging farmers and farmworkers in this matter.
“We are very worried about farmworkers and how they might be affected by fracking. If there are job losses, they will not only lose their jobs but also their homes, and they have nowhere else to go. Rural peoples’ livelihoods are at stake.”
Previously she had also noted that farming and food security would also be affected by global warming. “And we can see that fracking will contribute to climate change.”
Emerging Farmers say No
Danyl Vywers of the Sneeuberg Emerging Farmers Association stood up before the crowd and said: “We are very worried about fracking because it could ruin our future as farmers. But we are not only worried about our futures. We are worried about those of our children. We say no to fracking. We are raising our voices now against fracking. Ons maak nou ons stemme dik. The Karoo is the most beautiful place in the country and we are very proud of Nieu Bethesda and its people.”
Fight Fracking Together
Evelyne Olifant, who runs Antie Evelyne’s Restaurant in Nieu Bethesda’s township (and also funds a soup kitchen out of her own money) stood up to voice her opposition.
“This fracking thing will break our environment, right down to the rocks. I remember as a child, growing up on a farm, playing in rivers and seeing fish and crabs. But what will happen now? What will happen to our children? This thing is not right. But I am proud of our people. We stand together on this and we will fight fracking together.”
Groundwater expert says No
Professor Gerrit van Tonder of the University of Free State’s Institute for Groundwater Studies has recently received much publicity about his u-turn on fracking. Up until 2012, he had said it would not contaminate groundwater, but now says his research shows that it will.
He stood before the crowd and said was not there to voice his emotional attachment to the Karoo but simply because his studies over the last 6 months showed that fracking would undoubtedly cause massive problems with the region’s water.
“We need more research and until we are certain about what fracking could cause, they should ban it.”
Rituals in Acid Water
Mthunzi Ndimande had driven down from Johannesburg with renowned photographer Santu Mofokeng. Mofokeng said he wanted to photograph the Karoo and its people before it was fracked.
At the rally, Ndimande said he had grown up next to the mine dumps in Soweto, and had seen how people were now swimming and conducting their holy rituals in toxic acid water coming from the mines.
Standing arm in arm with organiser Marina Louw from the Climate Justice Campaign, Ndimande said “I am so proud of this community in Nieu Bethesda for standing up to protect their environment before it is too late.”
Water is Holy
Priscilla de Wet of the First Indigenous Women’s Movement carried an anti-fracking banner with Joy Owen, Senior lecturer in Anthropology at Rhodes University. De Wet as member of the Khoi-San community, and Owen, as her spiritual sister, felt very strongly about the issue.
“Water is holy. Water is divine. Water is the link between nature and ourselves. But if you grow up in urban spaces, you lose your connection with natural spaces. We expect the government to understand this and to represent this knowledge, and to act to protect our water. But they do not. If they do not, then they don’t represent us in this matter,” said Owen.
De Wet added that those who grow up in urban spaces often don’t understand nature, and ruin it with mining.
“But water is the blood of Mother Earth, the life source. If we kill the life source, we kill ourselves.”
The Hidden Costs
Graaff-Reinet based environmental economist, Roy Stauth said they were calling on Government to realise that there was simply not enough information on the potential impacts of fracking on the environment and society.
“What will happen to the roads? What will happen to the waters in the evaporation dams? What will happen to communities? We are asking for a strategic environmental assessment, looking at the whole picture. I’ve seen fracking in my own home state of Colorado, and it is ugly.”
Bikers against Fracking
Bikers against Fracking founder and spokesperson, Nick Yell, said that if fracking destroyed the Karoo’s beauty, adventure motorcyclists and other tourists who brought millions of rands into the existing Karoo economy every year, would no longer go there.
Shell the Goliath
Sneeuberg Nguni cattle farmer Kevin Watermeyer, who has been mentoring local emerging farmers, pointed out that Shell is now officially the wealthiest company in the world, with revenue of $484 billion last year.
“In a country with such terrible inequality, they are wanting to unleash this rich Goliath on the poorest people. What are the social consequences? Shell won’t keep the money in South Africa.
“And with such land hunger, how can they allow Shell to have so many millions of hectares?”
We the Children
Last word went to the children. Watermeyer’s son Peter, 11, said he was going to write to Shell and ask them why they didn’t rather invest in renewable energy.
“If fracking happens, we won’t have a bright future. We have so little water in the Karoo, we can’t afford to contaminate a single drop. We are already worrying about the children we will one day have, and our children’s children.”
The rally concluded with a song written and performed by children from the Lettie de Klerk Primary School in Nieu-Bethesda:
“We are the children, the leaders of tomorrow
Small people with big dreams, small people with a vision.
Please be an example, so that we can learn
Please be an example every single day.”
The rally was preceded by a workshop to design an easy way of explaining fracking and its ramifications to those without access to internet and other media. It was co-ordinated by the Climate Justice Campaign with input from Earthlife Africa. Mikey Wentworth of Nieu Bethesda facilitated proceedings in the village, and organised a concert by guitarists Steve Newman and Greg Georgiades
Pictures by Chris Marais
Anti Frackers standing together in protest.
Groundwater Expert Says No – Professor Gerrit van Tonder of the University of Free State’s Institute for Groundwater Studies has recently received much publicity about his u-turn on fracking. Up until 2012, he had said it would not contaminate groundwater, but now says his research shows that it will.

Read inside this edition / Lees binne hierdie uitgawe
  • Richard Morgan van Adelaide is Jong Boer van die Jaar vir Oos-Kaap
  • Government not making dent in Eastern Cape unemployment
  • Saktyd, Wie gaan die maak?
  • Die kaktus is ‘n groot plaag
  • John Ayliff, Cradock, ‘n Ski-Instrukteur in yskoue Oostenryk

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