Top 10 Caves to Explore in and Around Cape Town

Top 10 Caves to Explore in and Around Cape Town

There’s no shortage of caves to explore within a few hours drive of Cape Town. The Western Cape has many dark gems to explore where you’ll see impressive views, experience the Cape’s long history and rock formations that dazzle you as much as they might inspire the occasional bit of trepidation.

Here are our picks for epic caves to visit near Cape Town.

More from Secret Cape Town see their website:
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Water Saving Tips

Cape-Town-Water-RestrictionsThe City of Cape Town is currently implementing Level 2 Water restrictions. This is due in part to the low dam levels. It is everyone’s responsibility to save water.

Here are some usefill tips on how you can save water:
Save water throughout your home
  • Ensure all taps are fully closed – a dripping tap at 1 drip per second wastes up to 30 litres a day – that is equivalent to 10 000 litres a year.
  • Replace tap washers regularly and fit tap aerators to restrict and spread the flow. This saves water yet feels like you are using the same amount of water.
  • Ensure your plumbing system is regularly checked for leaks and engage a plumber when necessary.
Save water in your garden
  • Water your garden before 09:00 or after 16:00 (or even later on hot summer days). Avoid watering during windy periods and only water your garden when necessary.
  • Re-use your bath and sink water to water plants and lawns. Professional greywater recycling systems are also available for purchase.
  • If you have an overflow pipe that drips into the garden, place a bucket beneath the drips and use the saved water to water pot plants.
  • Mulching flowerbeds keeps down the weeds and holds moisture in the soil for longer.
  • Use a mulching lawn mower that allows clippings to be finely cut and blown back into the lawn.
  • Don’t mow lawns below 4 cm in length, as this reduces root depth and lawns are more likely to burn in summer.
  • Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you wash your car, and use short bursts of water – this can save up to 300 litres each time. Or, to save even more water wash your vehicle using a bucket of water.
  • Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you water your garden.
  • Check and maintain your irrigation system regularly, to ensure no water is running to waste, or that paved areas are being watered.
  • Adjust your irrigation system for the season and switch it off during rainy weather – even if it is borehole or wellpoint water.
  • Watering the garden less frequently, but deeper (for longer) encourages a deeper root system, which results in stronger plants. This practice can make water-wise plants out of most established plants.
Save water in your kitchen
  • Ensure washing machines or dishwashers have a full load before running them.
  • Rinse glasses, cutlery and vegetables in a basin of water, rather than under a running tap, and reuse the water for pot plants or in the garden.
  • Rinse water can be reused for the next cycle of washing up before being discarded.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge so that you don’t run lukewarm water down the drain when waiting for it to cool.
  • Run tap water into a bottle when waiting for it to heat up.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the fridge, sunlight or microwave rather than placing them under running water.
Save water in your bathroom
  • Close the tap when brushing your teeth. This saves up to 20 litres per month. Use a mug of water to rinse your toothbrush.
  • Plug the sink when shaving rather than rinsing your razor under running water. This saves up to 45 litres per month.
  • A half-filled bath uses about 113 litres, a 5-minute shower uses about 56 litres. Shower rather than bath, if you have to bath make it a shallow one or share it.
  • Reuse bath water in your garden.
  • Install a new water-saving toilet or put a clean, sealed plastic container filled with sand in the toilet cistern. This could save you up to 7 300 litres each year.
  • A toilet leak can waste up to 30 litres an hour – check if your toilet is leaking by adding a few drops of food dye to the cistern. If the colour seeps into the bowl, you have a leak, which should be fixed as soon as possible.
  • Install a water-saving shower head, take shorter showers, don’t run the water at full force and turn off the shower when soaping or shaving.
Save water in industries, businesses and schools
  • Automatic flushing urinals are the ultimate water wasters. If they cannot be replaced immediately, turn off the water after hours and over weekends – schools doing this have saved up to R5 000 on their annual water bill.
  • Flush valves should flush for just two to four seconds and urinals for six to eight seconds.
  • Regular maintenance of toilet fittings will save unnecessarily flushed water.
  • Ensure your plumbing systems are regularly checked for leaks.
  • Use a broom to sweep forecourts and other paved areas. Do not use a hose for this purpose.
  • Potable water must not be used to dampen building sand or other building material to prevent it from being blown away.

Original Source: Cape Town Green Map

Motorists encouraged to renew vehicle licence discs online

licenserenewalMotorists whose vehicle licence discs will expire on 31 October 2015 and are renewable by 21 November 2015 will not be receiving renewal notices. The City of Cape Town asks motorists to act proactively to ensure that the necessary arrangements are made and to renew discs online.

The National Department of Transport’s (DOT) transfer of the Electronic National Traffic Information System (eNaTIS) to the Road Traffic Management Centre has also affected motorists whose licence discs expired at the end of September 2015 and are renewable by Wednesday 21 October 2015. This transfer has been the reason that motorists have not received notices to renew their annual motor vehicle licences.

Motorists are requested to check their current licence disc for the expiry date and if it is due to either:

Renew your licence online:

  • Please go to http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/eservices/Pages/default.aspx
  • Under the Motor Vehicle Licensing tab, click on ‘register’ (for new applicants) or ‘login’ (for those already registered for e-Services)
  • You will be prompted to complete an online registration form and will be required to upload the necessary documents
  • The application process takes three working days for new applicants and two working days for applicants who are already registered
  • Phone the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089 to find out the amount owing should you not know the licence amount due

Or

Renew your licence at your nearest vehicle licensing office:

Take your identity document, complete a green Application for Licencing of Motor Vehicle form (ALV form), and renew your licence at the counter.

As a rule, motorists receive a 21-day grace period in which to renew their licence discs from the end of their renewal period.

‘The City apologises for any inconvenience and is doing everything in its power to ease the discomfort of motorists. We ask that the DOT and the Road Traffic Management Centre resolve the transfer of the eNaTIS as soon as possible and that this problem is sorted out before November, which is traditionally the busiest month of the year for motor vehicle disc renewals,’ said the City’s acting Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Belinda Walker

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Tolling trial of the century to commence in High Court today

3331291425STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: TRANSPORT FOR CAPE TOWN, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON

Tuesday, 11 August 2015, will mark the first day of the City of Cape Town’s long awaited application to the Western Cape High Court for reviewing and setting aside SANRAL’s proposed tolling of portions of the N1 and N2 freeways.

Our application could be regarded as the trial of the century as the outcome will have far-reaching consequences for the future of our city and the generations who live here for decades to come.

The application has been set down for argument over a number of days and is the culmination of a commitment by this government to do whatever it takes to prevent SANRAL from imposing an unjust, unwarranted and devastating tolling decision on our city. It took four years of hard work and court preparation by our staff, our legal team and a team of experts.

Since we took the decision to declare an intergovernmental dispute with SANRAL and the National Ministers of Transport and Environmental Affairs, we have witnessed and experienced unprecedented efforts by SANRAL to conceal the truth from a democratically elected government and the people we were elected to serve.

SANRAL’s actions were inconsistent with our Constitution and the principles of transparency and collaboration.

It required extraordinary efforts on our part, including an application to the Supreme Court of Appeal, to get to the truth of this proposed tolling project, and to be able to share that truth with the residents of Cape Town.

SANRAL was determined to withhold facts, such as the real costs of the tolling of the N1 and N2 freeways; the proposed toll fees to be paid by motorists; and the terms of the proposed agreement with the preferred bidder, Protea Parkways Consortium (PPC). The application for secrecy that SANRAL and PPC brought to the court would have had far reaching implications for our rights to access to information and media freedom if we had left it unchallenged.

Our fight for access to this information was motivated by the need to fully comprehend the likely impact of tolling the N1 and N2 on our city and our residents so that we could properly challenge the decisions that were made. It was also motivated by our commitment to protect the values of our democracy. We gained access to this information only after we brought another successful application in the High Court to compel SANRAL to provide it to us.

Today we will begin to present our case for a court order that essentially scraps the tolling of the N1 and N2. Our case against SANRAL is complex and contained in court papers that run into thousands of pages of reports and documents.

In the simplest terms we will argue that:
· The decision of the then National Minister for the Environment to provide an environmental authorisation for the tolling without considering the socio-economic impact of tolling, as he was required to do, was unlawful

· The decision of the then Minister of Transport to declare the highways as toll roads was also unlawful since he failed to consider the merits and impact of tolling

· The SANRAL Board never made the decision to declare the N1 and N2 as toll roads as it was required to do. By implication, we will argue that the decision to toll was made by the CEO of SANRAL who was unauthorised to do so

· The decision and the implementation of tolling will have a damaging impact on our city and regional economy and those impacts have not been properly considered

· The tolling of the N1 and N2 will cause disproportionate financial harm and hardship to the poorest of our residents

· In 2013 SANRAL was about to enter into a contract with PPC which would have been reckless and irrational. The City obtained an interim order preventing that agreement being signed

· One example is the proposed agreement requires SANRAL to reimburse PPC for any loss of revenue caused by the National Minister setting toll tariffs at rates lower than PPC’s tendered rate. PPC’s tender is 84 c/km including VAT. National Government recently capped the e-toll tariffs in Gauteng at 30 c/km including VAT. If motorists in the Western Cape and Gauteng were to be charged the same, then SANRAL would have to pay PPC a conservatively estimated R29 billion – in addition to the tolls which motorists would have to pay to PPC. SANRAL’s contingent liability is more than what it would cost SANRAL to construct the upgrades proposed by PPC and to continue maintaining and operating the N1 and N2 freeways as it currently does. SANRAL and the National Government never considered this massive risk and were unaware of it until the City discovered it when analysing the documents which SANRAL tried to keep secret

· The costs of the proposed tolls on the N1 and N2 significantly outweigh the benefits to toll-paying motorists
We have prepared a compelling case against the proposed tolling of the N1 and N2 and we will do our utmost to prevail.

I cannot predict the outcome of the arguments that will ensue in the days ahead, but I remain reasonably confident and optimistic. The fight to prevent urban tolling will not end with this hearing, nor with this case.

It will take all of us who are opposed to the inequity of this scheme to stand together, to voice our objections, and to fight to prevent it. I am of the firm view that the proposed Winelands Toll Scheme is as irrational, reckless and dangerous to our future as the Gauteng e-tolls scheme was and is.

The people of Gauteng took a firm stand against the scheme that was imposed on them. I am calling on the people of Cape Town to do the same.

Issued by: Integrated Strategic Communication, Branding and Marketing Department, City of Cape Town

Making Sense of Your Water Bill | City of Cape Town

Water_Slide_water_v1The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation Department has launched a new and improved website, loaded with useful information that may assist residents, learners, students, educators and visitors.

The City is confident that the use of interactive diagrams, video clips, posters and brochures to present information in a more user-friendly way will significantly improve the experience of those visiting the Water and Sanitation Department’s new website, making it easier to access information and to interpret it.

‘For instance, by visiting http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Water residents will be able to access a detailed explanation about water tariffs and how we bill them for water usage, and how to apply for a water management device, or to be connected to the City’s water system. Selling your house? We list a few things to consider and we provide a brochure for new homeowners as well,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.

The website is loaded with useful information for those interested in water and the way in which the City manages this scarce resource, such as:

  • how to report faults
  • how to log account enquiries
  • how to prevent sewer blockages
  • how to apply for a plumber’s license with the City
  • tips on saving water
  • latest dam levels and historic levels, dating back to 2011
  • educational material on the Cape Town water and sanitation system
  • details of important projects that the department is working on
  • ongoing commitments to enhancing services to residents in informal settlements
  • consumer information for residents and businesses
  • by-laws and tariffs policy
  • vacancies

Read more

Happy Workers Day!

Load ShedToday is Workers’ Day in South Africa – a public holiday that has its origins internationally, within the historical struggles of workers and their trade unions.

The day celebrates the rights of workers, and recognises their struggle for fair working conditions and employment standards. It has been a holiday since 1994, and has ties to the International Workers’ Day celebrations enjoyed in many other countries.

In pre-1994 South Africa, the demand for the annual observance of the day as a public holiday became a rallying point for workers and their trade unions, and was one of a number of significant dates to symbolise and mobilise resistance to the apartheid government and its racial policies.

While it is still an important day for workers in particular, it’s a chance for all South Africans to have a day to themselves, and for those who do work, to enjoy a well-deserved break.

Dogs to be reined in on these 14 Cape beaches

Cape Town, renowned as a sun-worshiping hotspot, has become a hotbed of conflict between beachgoers who want a dog-friendly beach environment and those who complain about the negative impact of dogs on the city’s beaches.

The areas under consideration are detailed as follows:

Kommetjie – proposed change at Long Beach, Kommetjie from free-running to no dogs

Read more

Beware of Fraud in the Rental Market

Beware of Fraud in the Rental Market

crossed-fingers-at-handshakeThe public is urged to be aware of a bogus rental scheme that is taking place around the country.

This seems to work so well it has been gaining popularity!  Individuals pretend to be estate agents and target unsuspecting potential renters. They post details of rental properties online and then ask interested parties to secure the flat by paying a deposit, either in cash or via electronic funds transfer.
 
A Sea Point man was arrested in August on fraud charges after allegedly conning nine people after an advert on Gumtree.
 
The suspect reportedly advertised a flat for rent and then asked interested parties to secure the flat by paying a deposit and the first months rent, which in itself is normal terms and conditions. However, when it came time to move in, victims find the flat is occupied and the suspect has made off with the deposit.
 
These bogus agents inform potential renters that a number of people are interested in the property and are urged to view and pay the deposit and / or first months rent and they would get the property. With a tremendous scarcity it seems there are plenty of desperate tenants who fall for this.
 
Should tenants have an interest in a property it is recommend that you phone the local office of the estate agency to establish that the agent is a registered agent with that company. But of course it is easy to use the name of a real agent so do not just use the number you are given but look it up yourself.
 

Never transfer money without seeing a contract first or without verifying that you are dealing with the owner or the owner’s representative. Do not pay a deposit without solid confirmation that the organisation is following legal procedures. Easier said than done if you are desperate to secure the apartment.