The Champion of Champions for 2013

How many of you out there know that we have a Champion of Champions for 2013 in our midst here at Vaaloewer?

This year’s Midas Historic Car Racing Tour ended in excitement at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria. Veteran racer Dennis McBeath won his class in the Pre-66 Le Mans Sports and GT Car events to clinch the overall title.

Dennis McBeath

Dennis McBeath

Legends of the 9 Hour Pre 1966/68 Le Mans sports & GT: Dennis McBeath in his Mpiti, a name that means a Blue Duiker, a very small antelope about the size of a week old lamb.


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The Vaal Dam was built in 1938 to supply water to Johannesburg with a Dam Wall height of 54.2 metres and a capacity of over 1 500 000 000 cubic metres of water.

In 1950 the wall was raised to 60.3 metres with a capacity of 2 188 000 000 cubic metres of water.

A further raising of the wall took place in 1985 to increase the capacity to 2 609 799 000 cubic metres with a flood attenuation capacity of 26% or 994 000 000 cubic metres. The levels reported are calculated on the 2 609 799 000 as being 100% and excludes the 26% flood attenuation capacity that is available for managing the outflow from the Dam.

This has lead to the obvious misconception by the public that once the Dam reaches 100% full it becomes critical as any further increase results in it “overflowing”.

Our concern as well as all river property owners below the Dam Wall is the way the Dam outflow is managed this time of year as once it reaches and exceeds 100% the danger of flooding in our area by the opening of sluice gates at the Dam becomes more probable.

In the past this has been controlled by early release of up to 1000 cumecs (cubic metres per second) which does little damage below the Barrage.

In 1996 the Dam recorded a level of 118.5% Due to good management water was released over a period with the out flow from the Dam peaking at 2 300 cubic metres per second.

The last flood in 2011 was due to a delay in beginning the process of lowering the Dam level until it became necessary to open up gates overnight. This flow added to the already high inflow of tributaries below the Dam resulted in a flow past Vaaloewer of up to 5000 cumecs. The sudden increase in flow resulted in massive amounts of mud being churned up and deposited on river banks as well as thousands of fish, mainly Carp, being killed.

Flood of 2010 with only the roof of the boat houses still visible

Flood of 2010 with only the roof of the boat houses still visible

This article was originally written for the Vaaloewer Newsletter by Hugh Temlett.

From the Editor:

We are monitoring the levels and believe the management this year is controlling the water effectively. For daily updates please follow us on twitter @Vaaloewer.

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Rock Hyrax or Dassie (Procavia capensis), who knew?

The good old dassie, some love them, some hate them.  In some areas they have become a minor pest species, however they are actually very interesting creatures.  The rock hyrax occurs across the entire African content and the Middle East in rocky habitats.  These kinds of habitats allow the dassie to easily escape predators such as birds of prey.  Colonies range between 10 and 80 individuals.  While the group feeds, one or more individuals will act as sentinels or lookouts.  These individuals will take up position on high rocks and will sound the alarm when predators approach. rock dassie

An adult dassie can weigh up to 4kg and reach a length of up to 50 cm, depending on their diet.  They have very interesting tusk-like, pointed upper incisors.  Their feet have very thick pads on the soles that are kept moist by sweat like secretions, increasing traction.  This enables the dassie to be an agile tree climber as well as manoeuvring successfully on smooth rock faces.  Unique to the dassie is a dorsal gland on its back, surrounded by a lighter patch of fur.  These glands secrete an odour that is used for communication as well as marking their territory.

Bet you didn’t know these little critters are quite the musical performers.  At least 21 vocal signals are used during the songs they use to communicate with.  Various scientific studies show these songs to reflect important information about an individuals’ size, weight, condition, social status, age and hormonal state based on the song length, pattern, frequency and complexity.  These songs exhibit geographical variations and have a rich syntactic structure (description of the structure of a language, consisting of meaningful combinations of sounds), similar to primates, bats, dolphin and whale species.  This wide range of vocalisations includes growls, snorts, grunts, twitters and wails.  The most familiar sound of the dassie is a high trill that they use to warn their fellow colony members of eminent danger.  A loud grunting sound is made, while moving its jaws in a chewing action that speaks of aggression.

Contribution Dr Nature

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Is my WILL valid?



This is a frequently asked question, but   a touchy subject that is often avoided.

A will is a legal document that permits a   person to make decisions on how his estate will be distributed after his   death.  In other words, a document that   explains what should happen to your house, money, cars, and possessions when   you die.


Beneficiaries signing as witnesses – All witnesses that attest the will, will be disqualified from   inheriting.

Testator/ Testatrix not signing in the   presence of TWO witnesses – It is not uncommon   for a person, such as an advisor to act as a witness when the   testator/testatrix signs a will, just to get the will signed and then later   find a second witness to sign.  If TWO   witnesses are not present when you sign a will, the will is invalid.

Beneficiaries that write your will on   your behalf – Any person that writes your will or   part thereof, will be disqualified from inheriting.

A Verbal will – A will must be in writing, to be valid.

Testator/ Testatrix not signing each   page of the will – A will that consist of a   single page, must be signed at the end of the page.  A will consisting of more than one page,   each page must be signed by the Testator.

Should your will be invalid, your   beneficiaries may have to approach the High court for a decision on how your   estate  should be distributed and may   be costly and will delay the administration of your estate. If however your   will is still invalid, your estate will be distributed in terms of the   Intestate Succession Act.

To ensure a valid will, a fast and quick   finalization of your estate, you must comply with the basic requirements as   set out in the Wills Act 7 of 1953, as amended.

Did you know that the surviving spouse   can make a new will and that the “prince on the white horse” or the “blond   lady” can walk away with all of your assets in certain circumstances.

It is however possible to cast your will   in concrete at the death of the first dying spouse to the effect that the   surviving spouse will be the only heir on condition that at the death of the   surviving spouse, his/her total estates and effects must be inherited to   his/her children in equal shares.

This is done by way of a fidei   commisum.  We invite you to make an   appointment with us so that we can explain the above in more detail. Your   will is part of your financial planning to ensure that your family is well   taken care of. A valid will might be your most valuable possession that you   can leave your family!

Written by Loanné Loots AV Theron & Swanepoel Attorneys


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Opening of the River Ceremony 19 October 2013

The Goosebay Canyon Boat Club will be holding the annual

 Opening of the River Ceremony

on Saturday, 19 October with the sail past starting at 12h00


Most boat clubs have annual “opening and closing” cruises.  It forms an important part of the “social calendar” and draws the community together.

The tradition is that members with watercraft must take to the water on these special days.  At a given time (for us 12h00) The Commodore will position himself at some vantage point (in our case the jetty).

He is expected to wear a cap or some other gear that will identify him as the “man in charge”.  The club flag must also be hoisted.

All boats will then do a “sail past” and salute The Commodore.  Each boat is expected to carry as many passengers as possible and everyone is expected to pay his respects to The Commodore.

The members will then moor their boats and collect themselves in a group.  The Commodore is then “ceremoniously” dumped into the water.  It is also done with dignity and it is intended to bring The Commodore down to earth, so as to ensure that he does not get an inflated view of his own importance.

After the sail past hamburgers will be available at R20 each.  Drinks are B.Y.O.

It is a wonderful opportunity to meet other “Vaaloewerites” and enjoy great commadarie.


NB:  For catering purposes, please let Sue Malcomess know how many hamburgers you think your party will require.  Email or SMS 0845800409

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Snakes in your garden? Here’s the solution!

The sight of a mongoose trotting down the road with a snake dangling from his mouth inspired me to do some homework about how to keep snakes at bay.mongoose with snake

Do you remember the childhood story of Ricky-Ticky-Tavi, a young mongoose who was adopted by a British family residing in a bungalow in India, both as a pet and a protection against poisonous snakes?  Ricky-Ticky took care of a pair of cobras in real ‘Jungle Book’ fashion.

According to Wikipedia, the Hedgehog, the Mongoose, the Secretary Bird, the Honey Badger and a few other birds feeding on snakes, are known to be immune to an ordinary dose of snake venom.

Coupled with its speed and courage, almost all mongooses will spring into action when they see a snake, despatching the predator and getting a succulent meal in the process.

According to the experts, there really is no plant or repellant that will keep snakes away. However if you keep your property clear of building rubble, compost heaps and thick low bushes this will help, since snakes hate being exposed and in the open. If you have lots of rodents in your garden, you have ample food for snakes.

Always remember that any snake from venomous parents is as venomous as the adult.


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Maddona, the Tortoise!

On Tuesday afternoon I received a call from Glenda Hill that there were two fellows pushing this huge tortoise in a wheelbarrow around the village trying to sell it. The one fellow said he had picked it up on the road and saved it from being run over. Glenda & I tried to negotiate with the fellows to give the tortoise to us so that we can take it to the zoo at the Emerald Casino.  TORTOISE MADONNA HILL (9) (640x480) (2) MADONNA THE TORTOISE (2)

We explained that this is a protected species and it is illegal to be bought or sold and only if you have a permit may you keep a tortoise on your premises.  They then stated that they had contacted the Parys SPCA.  I did not have their number, so I called the Barrage Police and spoke to Capt du Toit who contacted the Vanderbijlpark SPCA & they agreed to collect the tortoise.

Unfortunately this was not acceptable to the two fellows and the one fellow took the tortoise out of the wheelbarrow and said he was going home.  The SPCA arrived and we took them to his house only to find out neither he nor the tortoise was there. On investigation the SAPS officer who was nearby and the SPCA ladies found him but he said he had released the tortoise in the veld.  Unfortunately nobody could find the tortoise.

On Thursday evening my daughter, Lorette, was going through our security gate when she was stopped by Michael who told her another resident had nearly run the tortoise over in the street and brought it to the gate.  Lorette called me & I collected the tortoise.  I immediately called Ilana from the Emerald Casino Animal World and she was happy to have the tortoise in their rehabilitation section.  Glenda & I set off with the tortoise on the back seat.  Wow she hissed at us & was clearly a back seat driver.

On arrival at the Animal World, which was now night time, we were greeted by Ilana who advised us that it was a female and approximately 100 years old.  Ilana placed her in the enclosure and brought 3 other tortoises to keep her company.  They were also tortoises which had been saved from dreadful circumstances.  Through the good work of the people at the Animal World, all the tortoises were healing slowly and seemed very happy in the enclosure which has a lovely pond, trees & grass for them to exercise & recuperate.  As we said goodbye we decided to name her Madonna Hill and Ilana said we were welcome to visit her anytime in the future. It is great to know she is now safe & looked after.  Remember to visit her next time you are at Animal World.  She has a slight scratch on her back & is huge.

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Fireflies, going green!

Solar power “se moses”, this is what I call going green! Fireflies are insects, known for their glow in the dark bottoms that are as a result of a reaction called bioluminescence.  Cells that contain crystals, in the abdomen react as reflectors when a chemical reaction occurs between a luminous substance luciferin and an oxidising enzyme, luciferase in the blood.  During this very efficient process almost no energy is wasted as heat and an enchanting green, yellow or pale-red light is produced.

All nocturnal fireflies glow as larvae and are characterised by being soft-bodied, brown and has a wormlike shape, hence the name glowworm (in Afrikaans, glimwurms).  The bioluminescence serves as a warning sign to deter predators, since the larvae contain chemicals that may prove to be toxic or unpleasant when eaten.

Within the adult firefly, the bioluminescence serves a different purpose, by enabling the sexes to locate one another, ensuring procreation.  Depending on the species, the females will either resemble the larval stage, with no wings or will have the ability to fly, whereas all males are winged.  The flashing sequence or frequency differs between species, thereby ensuring species to locate their own and prevent cross breeding.

Around 30 species of firefly light up the southern Africa night sky during spring and summer.  “Die padda wou gaan opsit met sy nooi in die vlei AHUM……….”

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Vaaloewer history Part 3 – Martin Struwig

1997 – Land Development Objectives (LDO’s) for a five-year period was compiled. The community of Vaaloewer was involved in the process and through this certain projects and developments were identified and prioritized and completed during 1998;

  1. Water inlet structure/ pump station and new pipeline to reservoir, R550 000
  2. Vaaloewer Ave from Entrance to Candy’s was tarred, R698 000
  3. Fire Hydrants, R11 000
  4. Six street lights at strategic points, R11 000
  5. RAID project – main entrance building upgraded to establish offices for administration, R140 000
  6. 6.      Kopano Housing project – R15 000 grants from government for first time homeowners. Fifteen beneficiaries identified through public participation. Six stands purchased from individual owners and subdivided into eighteen stands of ±300m² on which sixteen houses were completed. Project cost R300 000. To date none of these properties were legally transferred to the owners as was originally agreed to by all parties concerned, which needs some clarity with Emfuleni council.
  7. Protection, Security and access control
  8. Fencing of town, Secure and Maintain


1998 – LDO’s phase 2;

  1. Tarring of roads River, Vink & Visarend, R500 000
  2. Upgrading storm water system, R200 000
  3. Installation of street lights, R30 000
  4. Active promotion of town with newsletters
  5. Installation of fire hydrants, R10 000
  6. Upgrading of internal electricity distribution network and completion of ring network, R100 000
  7. Fencing of refuse dump & planting of trees, R30 000
  8. Beatification of town by planting indigenous trees, R10 000
  9. Notice board at entrance, R1500
  10. Maintenance of the water reticulation network and regular monitoring of the water quality
  11. Compilation of a strategy to restrict traffic violations in the town
  12. Establish, in conjunction with Vaal River Representative council, emergency services to include fire and ambulance to be implemented in Aug 1998 at Vaal River Representative council – Louisrus


1999 – LDO’s phase 3;

  1. Advertising sign at the intersection to Vaaloewer/ Lindequesdrift/ Potchefstroom, R30 000
  2. Extension of electrical network in River, Vink and Korhaan streets, R113 000
  3. Stormwater projects in Hadeda, Riverview, Katlagter, Hoep-Hoep and Suikerbos streets, R177 000
  4. Further upgrade of water purification works, R64 000


2000 – LDO’s phase 4; All plans and projects were re-prioritized and was handed to the Emfuleni Council.

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Unexpected visitor!

… wandered into Nico and Joyce Botha’s yard at 555 Suikerbos a few days ago. Thanks to Gert Schepers and his helpers, the little fellow was caught and released back into the river, safe and sound.  We live in paradise here in the village!

Likkewaan in NIco’s yard, safely back in the river

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