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Low-flying Steve gets arrested.

Steve Hofmeyr fingerprint ink

Running late for the annual Oppiplaas music festival in Badplaas, the star of the show, Steve Hofmeyr, put the pedal to the metal. And then the law on the N4 put the metal on Steve’s wrists - in the form of handcuffs – and placed him under arrest for speeding. In the end, the show was delayed but still went on – and Steve coughed up for the stiff fine with good grace.

“Walk of Faith” conman fleeces Boven & disappears.

Jurie Pieters arrives in Waterval Boven peddling a hard-luck story. He was (as he told it) dying from an inoperable brain tumour and had decided to embark upon a walk of faith around the country in the time he had left. Taken in by a compassionate Boven resident, Pieters re-paid the kindness by stealing cash and goods before doing a moonlight flit. Later in the year, he tried the same line in Newcastle, KZN – with no luck. A journalist from the local ‘paper had read the THG story on Pieters on-line and blew the whistle on him before he could do any more harm. He was promptly thrown out of town.

Machado cops voted tops.

Machadodorp SAPS, under the leadership of Lt. Thele, are voted the best cop-shop in Mpumalanga. A shwanky awards ceremony with SAPS top brass later, an armful of trophies and certificates comes home to Machado. Result? Smiling cops and a proud community.

AfriForum vs. ELM.

After much wrangling, civil rights organisation AfriForum finally gets ELM’s mayor to agree to a public debate in Machadodorp. At the last minute, ELM pulls out and leaves a furious AfriForum high and dry. The debate was later re-scheduled and the showdown took place between the polar opposites. Much hot air, venom, bluster, mud-slinging, threats, accusations and counter-accusations later – nothing was resolved.

THG’s first “Fire Issue”.

THG runs its first issue dedicated almost solely to fire, fire prevention, fire equipment and legislation governing fire protection in order to create and promote greater awareness of the annual threat posed to many of its, largely rural, readership. Sales of fire protection equipment spike as landowners heed the call and a distinct drop in runaway fires is reported for the period. THG website stats for visitors searching for fire related articles peak at an all-time high.

ELM strike finally ends.

After weeks of striking ELM municipal workers running amok in all four towns, the violent industrial action is finally resolved. Workers drag their heels back to work and start cleaning up the incredible mess they created in the first place. The already strained relationship between residents and ELM management hits a new low.

Paradise Rally rolls into Boven.

The annual Paradise motorcycle rally comes to town. Hundreds of bikers descend in an avalanche of chrome, leather and serious horsepower. The weekend-long gig is a success and a good time is had by all. Sadly (for Boven businesses), this was to prove the last Paradise for Boven. Inadequate facilities and other problems lead to the rally departing for greener pastures.

State of the Municipality address.

ELM launches its inaugural “State of the Municipality” address at a gala function. With a host of VIP’s and dignitaries from far and wide, Mayor X.S. Ngwenya announces ELM’s 2014/15 budget and assures residents that “all is well”. Lots of promises – including the construction of an R8 million library and a R1.1 million fire station in Emthonjeni – but not a whole lot else.

5 girls poisoned but survive.

A schoolboy attending Imemeza Secondary school in Emgwenya sells poison-laced muffins to five schoolgirls. Less than an hour after eating the muffins, the girls are hospitalised for emergency treatment. The muffins are later found to contain both dagga and Rattex. The girls recover, the boy is expelled and subsequently charged at Boven SAPS.

Harleystroom hits Dullies.

The first “Harleystroom” motorcycle rally comes to Dullstroom. Organised by the Zambezi chapter of H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group), Harley riders virtually take over the town for the weekend. With wall-to-wall orange Harley banners festooning almost every square inch in town, the bash was amazing. With businesses smiling and local charities getting a chunk of change - the gig looks set to be an annual event.

Historic locomotive lost.

Jan Wintervogel”, an antique steam locomotive and an irreplaceable piece of Waterval Boven’s railway history, is lost. The 118 year-old loco that had been in storage for many years was removed on the orders of Transnet. Jan’s departure was the final death-knell for the hopes of many who had hoped to, one day, re-kindle Boven’s once famous steam train trips. Jan’s new home is the railway museum in George.

Tornados in Carolina.

The month saw not one but two full-on tornados strike the Carolina area. The tornados, estimated to have been at least F2 in strength, fortunately did not manage to kill anyone but resulted in considerable damage to property. And the super-duper South African Weather Services radar based “just down the road” in Ermelo? Didn’t see a cotton-pickin’ thing…      


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