I was sent a copy of Eva Mazza’s ‘Sex, Lies & Stellenbosch’ by Jacana Press, to review, my first Book Review. Whilst I waded through the sex, and sex, and sex, I wondered how I would write this review, this being a family-friendly Blog. But it was right at the end that the message of the book was clear: no matter how terrible the life experiences one goes through, there is always growth and an opportunity to transform, and lead a better life, echoing my two ‘SwitchBitch’ books which I published last year. Continue reading →
It was a surprise to read that the legality of the Oranjezicht City Farm market, now held on the lawns of Premier Helen Zille’s Leeuwenhof residence in Oranjezicht, is being questioned, in what smacks of political posturing by the ANC.
Resulting from a suggestion received on Twitter to help save the market from closing down whilst it was operating alongside the Oranjezicht City Farm, Premier Zille agreed to hosting the Saturday morning market in December. While she checked security and logistical arrangements, she ‘had opened Leeuwenhof to the market without following due process because state red tape would have delayed it‘, reports City Press.
Complaints re hosting the market at Premier Zille’s official residence, itself a provincial heritage site, are that a Continue reading →
* The inflation rate has dropped to 4,4%, a three year low, and down from 5,3% in December. The lower petrol price and slower food price increase benefited the inflation rate. The price of petrol is expected to increase in March.
* SAA is two-thirds through its 90 Day Action Plan, with a ‘business unusual’ approach to turn the airline around. ‘Cost-compression‘ measures have helped to achieve relative stability. Loss-making flights (to China and India) are to be cancelled, taken over by Middle Eastern airlines, and linked to SAA via code-share arrangements. More flights to Mauritius, Maputo, and Harare have been scheduled.
* The new visa regulations for tourists from China and India are hurting the South African tourism industry, said Continue reading →
* New draft legislation calls for zero alcohol consumption before driving, with input sought by 27 February. Alcohol in medicines and fruit could lead to wrongful arrests.
* SAA has announced that its direct flights between Johannesburg and Mumbai in India will come to an end on 1 April. It will fly to Abu Dhabi, from where passengers will fly with Etihad or Jet Airways to Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Madras in India on a codeshare basis. This route cut, combined with the one to Beijing, will help reduce costs for SAA. Ironic is that SA Tourism as well as local tourism players is in India at the moment, on a marketing trip for our country!
Today we reverse the order of the Sweet & Sour Service Awards, starting with the Sour Service Award.
The Sour Service Award goes to the City of Cape Town, which has found fit to impose numerous bureaucratic rules and regulations for the Oranjezicht City Farm Saturday morning market to no longer operate, two years after it first opened and which has been haled as a success by tourists and locals alike! It sounds like a bungling bureaucracy at its worst, for a project that has the good of the community and artisanal food and beverage suppliers at heart. The Oranjezicht City Farm NPC directors Sheryl Ozinsky, Kurt Ackermann, Tania Miglietta, and Miles Gad wrote to their supporters on Thursday, announcing the closure of the Market:
‘As you may be aware, the Oranjezicht City Farm has not been in a position to erect the tents in Homestead Park for our weekly Saturday Market Day for the past several weeks. As part of our urgent and sustained engagement with the key decision-makers Continue reading →
It was a blogpost by Tony Ward that attracted my attention to the High Tea at MannaBay, a little-known boutique hotel high up in Oranjezicht. The High Tea we were served yesterday in no way compared to what is reflected on the MannaBay website, nor is the effort it took to make the booking for the High Tea reflective of its claimed five star rating.
I have a date with my longest-standing school friend Jenny, spoiling her on her birthday, and she does the same for me. From what I saw on Tony’s blog and on their website, MannaBay seemed a nice spoiling surprise for Jenny’s birthday treat. I called late afternoon about ten days ago, wanting to book the High Tea, and the phone was answered by a waiter. The communication with him was poor, and his answers vague, so he passed me on to the Assistant Manager Nolu Dube. She told me that one would have to pay for the High Tea in full in advance, which I queried. The telephonic interaction was very poor, and seemed out of sync with the five star rating claim, and I couldn’t understand that she could not just accept my telephonic booking! She told me her GM was out, but soon thereafter Justine Ryan called, rather aggressively, saying that a non-refundable deposit of 50 % of the total has to be paid upfront. I asked her to send the invoice, but received nothing. I followed up, and discovered that she had written down the e-mail address incorrectly, despite it being spelt for her a number of times. I did receive the e-mail eventually, and wanted the invoice faxed, so that it could be paid. The invoice did not arrive, despite an over-assertive confirmation that it had been sent! Jenny had to change our date, so I wrote to Justine, informing her of our new date. There was no further communication about payment, so I stopped begging for the invoice. Continue reading →
* The Elite 100 fine-dining restaurants in the world have been announced for 2014, with three Cape restaurants on the list: The Test Kitchen at 45th place, The Tasting Room at 82nd, and Rust en Vrede (which the Cape Argus placed in Durbanville rather than in Stellenbosch!) at 85th place. The world’s top 10 restaurants, according to Elite, are Alinea in Chicago, Daniel Restaurant in New York, The Fat Duck in Bray in the UK, Eleven Madison Park in New York, Le Bernardin in New York, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona in Spain, Azurmendi in Vizcaya, La Pergola in Rome, The Ledbury in London, and Osteria Francescana in Modena in Italy. The Cape Argus incorrectly created one restaurant name out of the 7th and 8th ranked restaurants! A surprise is the omission of five hundred at The Saxon, which kitchen is headed by South Africa’s Top Chef David Higgs.
* After 45 years in the local and international hospitality industry, which includes the One&Only hotel group, Sol Kerzner is retiring, after selling a substantial stake of his Kerzner International Holdings to a Dubai-based company.
* New York Travel focuses on Spring Travel in South Africa, specifically in Cape Town and surrounding areas. In Cape Town the article mentions I Love my Laundry, the The Crypt Jazz Restaurant and The Marly in Camps Bay. It also refers to Cape Town’s role as host of World Design Capital 2014. Continue reading →
The City of Cape Town’s MyCiTi Bus service has received mainly praise since it was introduced in 2010, just in time for the World Cup (although not meeting its deadline for the event for its original transport plans), and has praised itself recently for how many passengers its has transported, and how it is expanding the routes. All of a sudden it is facing a PR nightmare, which it seems inexperienced to handle!
Two months ago the MyCiTi Bus service was criticised by Professor Deon Knobel, who wrote an open letter to Mayor Patricia de Lille and to Brett Herron, City Councillor for Transport, in the Cape Times. Professor Knobel observed how wasteful the route in Oranjezicht/Tamboerskloof as well as Camps Bay is, asking some hard-hitting questions about the costs of running the service. In the past week, the City has had to deal with two further problems, the most recent being the most debilitating in terms of the impact of its image. It also informed Capetonians that the bulk of staff operating the MyCiTi Bus system are not employed by the City of Cape Town, but by third party contractors: Continue reading →
* American wine economist Mike Veseth writes that South Africa has a large production of wine, and should therefore be better known in the USA, given that our country’s wine production is 10% less than that of Chile, and 4 times larger than that of New Zealand. Part of the reason is that Americans do not know about our country and where it is, and therefore he describes our wines as ‘the invisible wine’! Lack of awareness of our country plus the re-emergence of our country’s wines at the same that the New World countries launched their wines internationally made it more difficult for South African wines to be noticed in the USA. Initially, our wine exporters suffered logistical problems, in a market ‘which is structurally difficult to penetrate‘ and faces strong competition, which added to the lower visibility in the USA.
* The MyCiTi Bus service has increased passenger numbers by 89% in the past four months, the City of Cape Town claims. More than 400000 ‘passenger journeys‘ in November 2013 increased to over 700000 by February this year, when the Hout Bay, Oranjezicht, Sea Point, Camps Bay, Dunoon, Melkbosstrand, and Century City routes were added. However, the growth in passenger numbers has not been without its problems, with applications to have the service stopped by the Golden Arrow bus company having been dismissed in court; and complaints have been received about overcrowding, timetable inaccuracy in the afternoons especially, and the MyConnect card. The timetable problems may have led to the City firing Lumen Technologies, the company which was contracted to control scheduling. The Atlantis, Khayelitsha, and Mitchell’s Plain routes will open this year in the next four months. The City has spent close to R5 billion on the service to date.
* South Africa has become a backdrop for music videos shot for some very well-known music stars. The most famous Continue reading →
The MyCiTi Bus route in Sea Point (connecting commuters to Fresnaye, the Civic Centre and the V&A Waterfront) will begin operating this weekend (via Beach Road and High Level Road), on 2 November. The long-awaited roll-out of the service to Camps Bay is on 30 November, about 18 months after its promised start date! By this weekend 83 MyCiTi Buses will be operating in Cape Town, increasing to 107 buses by the end of November.
News24 reports that the MyCiTi bus service will begin operating in Vredehoek, Oranjezicht, Sea Point, Melkbosstrand, and Duynefontein this coming Saturday. On 30 November the route from the new V&A Waterfront Silo (the previous Clocktower area) to the Civic Centre and Camps Bay via Kloofnek Road will commence. The planned introduction of the N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, which was scheduled to be launched in December, appears to be Continue reading →