Why is everyone so angry or is it just me? Is it because I am a man and never had a chance to nurture and care like mothers do. Einstein once said: As long a man is alive there will never be any peace in the world. Although he probably meant ‘man’ to mean men and women I am beginning to wonder. I also wonder whether it is us, the common man and woman who by not stopping at a stop sign, by not keeping to the speed limit, by eating a little more than we need; by doing all these small things we are actually saying, “Oh, it’s okay to break the law, it’s okay to cheat, it’s okay to be greedy, our leaders are, so what?” Aren’t we the reason that while we shout and scream at their corruption and greed deep down inside we feel the longer they can do it the longer I can and that’s why they continue?

When I read emails like the one I recently received from GTCTA Alliance with the subject line reading IRP2010 – Electricity Plan for South Africa. Just a few minutes of your time can make a big difference! I don’t feel comfortable. It’s not the urgency of the matter that gets to me it’s the sense of fear, of anger of having to do things in a rush that pervades letters like this. 

Did Nelson Mandela feel this way while he sat incarcerated for all those years watching as one pariah ate another and slowly turned our beautiful country into what it was in the seventies and eighties? Or did he look at the cockroach crawling toward his barred window and think if that insect can survive so can I? May I add that IRP2010 is being addressed and organisations like ours are seeing to it that government hears our cries for renewable energy and not nuclear and fossil. 

All this greed that seems to be cursing through the veins of those who are trying to lead will eventually eat through their bloodied souls and surely either destroy them or make them see the light through their own barred thoughts. Geoff Davies puts it so well in an article reproduced in our Christmas newsletter. It is from a presentation he gave on Friday December 3rd in Midrand. I urge you to read it.

On the other hand another wonderful year has passed and we have been blessed with a mild climate around the vlei. Even the wind appears to be milder than last year. Some ill-timed indigenous planting by the Trust and other community driven organisations like 350.org and Muizenberg & Lakeside Ratepayers Assoc has been supported by unseasonal rains. When I see trees bearing new shoots when they could be dying in the summer sun I realise how resilient nature is and that perhaps we need to look inward into our own hearts and minds to find where the challenges are.

Reading Geoff Davies presentation makes me aware of just how much we need to look after our neck of the woods and how grateful we should be for what we have in Zandvlei. The rate at which our government is embracing a swifter climate change by nursing nuclear and fossil energy as if these are the future power source is more than alarming. This is not the kind of gift I would like to hand to my children.

And so we continue struggling to win the battle with litter in and around the Vlei with more input from our neighbours than from the City. Not to say that the staff at the Reserve are not doing their job. On the contrary, it’s just that they are not getting the support they could get were the City sincerely bent on sustaining life instead of politicking left, right and centre. 

Zandvlei Trust is in the process of seeing that Cassandra and her team are better supported come the New Year. Then the City might prick its ears and join us. We can and will lead the way when it comes to the litter challenge. When five storey apartments are built near the water’s edge and no litter bins are to be seen on the same water’s edge then surely something is amiss.

Several times we have mentioned this to the City and several times the beach remains void of useful litter bins. Enough is enough. I beg you all each time you venture out on foot this Festive Season take a plastic shopping packet and pick up the litter you spot on your walk. Each time we do this we move nearer and nearer to that tipping point. Excuses from the City like being understaffed and lack of funds will soon become a thing of the past. Just take a look at the berm around the playground on the east side of the Vlei for an example of how we, the community, can rally support and turn a bad job into a lasting good one.

Thanks to you, our members we have the funds to see that the Reserve functions with more hands on deck. Thanks to you, our members, our hard working committee will source funds to educate our children, to nurture and maintain our open spaces, to clean up the litter and make Zandvlei a better place for all. And we will take the City with us even though they may seem to be a bit slow off the mark. Like 27 years takes time so does the changing of our mindsets and the healing of our land.

David Muller

 December 7th, 2010