The American Government was assembling a site in Arcadia, Pretoria. They wanted the entire suburban block so they could build the largest embassy in Africa. One property stood between them and the full realisation of their plan, an old home called Arkleton belonging to Dr van Bergen. The Americans appointed an independent valuer to determine the market value of the property. Using all the correct procedures to determine the most probable market value, a valuation of R2 million was established and an attractive cash offer with no suspensive conditions was presented to Dr van Bergen. His first question was: “What do you want to do with my home?” “We want to demolish it,” was the reply. “Never!” exclaimed the doctor, “not for as long as I live.”
When I called on him a few weeks later to enquire if he would consider selling his home, he asked, “Are you here on behalf of the Americans?” I assured him I was not. He told me he was considering selling his home because he had sold his practice and retired. To discover why, then, he was so against selling to the Americans, I probed cautiously. What followed was a remarkable story of how a man feels about his home.
“My wife and I were building our dream home when an estate agent friend of ours told us a marvellous old home had just come onto the market, “ he said. “We explained we had started to build a home and were no longer in the market. He insisted, saying we did not have to buy it, but he would like to share it with us. To oblige him, we came to view the place and I can almost say we never left it again.
“What was it that appealed to you?” I asked. In answer, he gave me a conducted tour of his home of 40 years. “This home was designed by an architect called Rees-Poole, who worked in the office of Sir Herbert Baker, designer of the Union Buildings. It was built in 1912 by John Munroe, a talented master builder, who had recently completed the Palace of Justice on Church Square. He named it Arkleton after his hometown in Scotland. Munroe was married to a Frenchwoman who was confined to a wheelchair, so he installed a rosewood-panelled elevator, one of the first in a single-family residential property in South Africa. This gave her access to the roof, which commands magnificent views of Pretoria. The roof had a copper lining under the waterproofing, and both the parapet walls around the roof and the handrails along the spacious wraparound balconies were much lower than normal to give her an uninterrupted view.”
As we stood on the balcony, he continued, “Pretoria is known as the Jacaranda City. The jacaranda trees that beautify our streets were a gift from our sister city Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. At the time, the town council ordered the removal of all the oak trees lining Pretoria’s streets and replaced them with jacarandas. Mrs Munroe, frail as she was, sat in her wheelchair on this balcony with a shotgun on her lap threatening all who approached the oak outside her home that she would shoot to kill if they made the slightest attempt to remove it. The tree was saved and to this day is the only oak tree standing on the sidewalk of Schoeman Street in Arcadia. These little things give a home character and show the love this home has known since 1912,” he explained.
Then he took me into the entrance hall, fitted with Burmese teak panelling, superb moulded ceilings and imported tiles, where a large wooden staircase led up to a tall stained-glass window above the landing. “Notice the magnificent carvings on this wooden balustrade. One is a Scottish thistle, the other the French fleur de lis, which perpetuate the love affair between this robust Scotsman and his French wife for as long as this home stands. As she was so frail, he even built a double wooden glazed French door at the main entrance so no cold breeze would reach her as anyone entered. Between those two glass doors there is also enough space for her to park her wheelchair while closing one door and opening the next.”
Van Bergen then drew attention to the brickwork. “The vertical joints or perpendiculars are all in perfect alignment, absolutely at right angles to the horizontal joints and plumb from the roof down to the plinth. This house is still cited as one of the finest examples of the ‘Kirkness’ style of patterned brickwork. Every door and window opening is square and level, even the corners are perfectly square. They do not build like this anymore. Pretoria University’s Faculty for Architecture brings final year students here every year to see how brickwork should be done.”
“In the old days,” he continued, “artisans had to serve a five-year apprenticeship to qualify as bricklayers and spent an entire year just making windowsills, and another learning to make corners. Today, they mass-produce bricklayers within three months. Apart from their lack of artistic skills, their production has fallen from laying 1 000 bricks a day to 500. If this old home were built today, it would cost considerably more and it would be of a much poorer quality.”
“I have enjoyed the benefit of this beautiful home while my five children were growing up and my wife and I growing old. My children took their first uncertain steps here, grew into adulthood from this home. More recently, my grandchildren have visited us here too. Over the past 40 years I found comfort here after a hard day’s work at the practice or the hospital. It was here that my body was nourished and rested. I have wonderful memories of this home. Whenever I smell homemade bread served with farm butter and apricot jam I think of home. When we took our annual vacations to all the romantic destinations of the world, we always looked forward to coming home; it has been our little bit of heaven.”
The Van Bergens had been only the third owners of this lovely home since 1912. John Munroe had lost his wife a few years after completing it, and he returned to Scotland. For almost 80 years afterwards, Arkleton had served the needs of just two families. A gracious home indeed, occupied by a very thankful owner. No wonder the doctor would have nothing to do with the Americans who wanted to demolish it.
After this interview, I was given a sole mandate, largely because I could identify with his hurt at the thought of all those beautiful memories being demolished. The home was sold to the Indian government a short while later, rewarding him with substantially more than the R2 million he had been offered by the Americans.
During my research, I found that Sir Herbert Baker had left South Africa for India, where he designed and erected many buildings similar to the Union Buildings. The Indians loved and respected his work and were able to convince Dr van Bergen that they would care for this lovely home very tenderly. I researched every detail of this property, leaving nothing to chance, and sharing with Dr Van Bergen all the information I assembled. Naturally, I also shared most of this information with the Indian delegation before they purchased the property.
What was it that convinced the Indian Government to buy the property? Was it the position it commanded? The fact that they loved Sir Herbert Baker’s work? Perhaps the love story depicted in the wooden balustrade? Was it that the accommodation was suitable for their needs? Perhaps the fact it was built by a master builder? Or even the story of the lady protecting the old oak tree?
In my view, it was a combination of all these elements, each one serving to reinforce the others. But the interesting thing is that when Ambassador Mangelmurti gave his first press interview as Ambassador to a new country, he told the Pretoria News: “I particularly loved the story about the lady sitting on the balcony in her wheelchair with a shotgun on her lap protecting that beautiful old oak tree.”
Ed: Norman Nel was a well-known Pretoria Estate Agent.
Sadly the oak tree is no longer there.
On Saturday, October the 31st the clouds gathered and the wind began to howl. A storm was looming. But this did not stop us! With costumes, masks and baskets ready, we split into two groups and began our routes. “Trick or Treat” we yelled from house to house, as we snaked our way around the neighbourhood. While this year would be different to all other years, this did not stop us from having some much-needed fun! We marched up the streets, house after house, gathering sweets and scares. We were met by friendly faces, pumpkin-carved lanterns and lots and lots of sweets. Some of us were disguised as ghosts, goblins, witches, warlocks, devils and angels. One little boy was dressed as a flower pot, giving out fresh flowers from his haunted garden. It was also a chance for us kids to see some of the stars of the Arcadia’s Got Talent show in person!
Moms and dads joined in the fun too! I am sure they would say that a lot of kids’ frowns were turned upside down! This was definitely a good cure for our lockdown blues. We laughed and we forgot about the crazy year we have had. While the lockdown has been hard for all of us, our Arcadia neighbourhood can always be counted on to get us together in a safe and happy environment. It is just the best place to live! Thank you to all the families that participated in this much-loved event!
ARRA relies heavily on fundraising to continue to support projects such as the Scout Hall and charitable causes etc. During the lockdown all planned fundraising events were obviously put on hold. However, one thing this pandemic has taught us is that when times are tough, people come up with creative ways to solve problems.
This was indeed the case with our first ever live-streamed Spring Concert. This was the brainchild of Christel and Eric Andersen. Residents were able to purchase a ticket, order a meal and bottle of wine and watch the concert without having to leave the comfort of their homes. It was a great success financially, but most importantly showcased the amazing talent we have in our suburb.
We also organized an online raffle which raised much needed funds.
Fortunately after months of lockdown, we were finally able to hold our annual market in October. This was proceeded by another streamed concert, Arcadia’s Got Talent, where children and adults alike showcased their talents ranging from dancing to poetry to musical instruments to art and more.
The market was a great success due to the support of Arcadians who came out in their numbers, not deterred by having to wear a mask and keep a safe distance. The children enjoyed the fun activities and adults enjoyed chatting to neighbours and friends. We even manged to do the Jerusalema challenge!
A big thank you to all who contributed to our fundraising efforts during this trying time.
Two dedicated residents of Arcadia have been planting jacaranda trees in Government Avenue where trees were either removed to make way for driveways and paving or where they had died. Although the Jacaranda has been declared a category 3 invasive alien species, exceptions were made for jacarandas in the urban areas of Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North-West.
Government Avenue is the only street in Pretoria with a double row of jacarandas on each side and these newly planted trees will ensure that it remains so for years to come.
Many decisions are made daily on behalf of citizens by elected bodies such as parliaments, provincial or regional legislatures and local governments such as city or municipal councils. Earlier in the year 2020, the City of Tshwane Council could not form a quorum and perform its duties. It was subsequently placed under ‘administration’ by the Gauteng provincial administration. Let us explain the issue of majorities (more than half the members) and quorums, (minimum number of members which need to be present before a decision can be taken) and how they affect the functioning of decision-making bodies.
The National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)
According to the South African Constitution 1996 – the supreme law of the country – certain voting thresholds are required for the passing of legislation by both the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The NA comprises 400 members and the NCOP 90 members elected on a party- political basis. For the NA and the NCOP to amend the founding provisions of the Constitution which include such provisions as human dignity and non-racialism, the supremacy of the Constitution, citizenship, the National Anthem, the National flag and languages, 75 percent (referred to also as a special majority) of the members of the NA and six of the nine provinces represented in the NCOP need to support any changes to this section. Similarly, Chapter 2 of the Constitution containing the Bill of Rights – rights such as the right to life, privacy, freedom of religion, belief and opinion, political rights environmental and property rights among others, may only be amended by a supporting vote of two -thirds of the members of the NA and at least six provinces represented in the NCOP. A majority of the member of the NA – that is 200 plus one must be present before a vote may be taken on a Bill (draft legislation) and at least one third of members must be present before a vote can be taken on any other question. The question before the NA is then decided by majority vote. Quorums therefore differ depending upon the issue before the NA.
The Provincial Legislatures
Like the NA, two-thirds of its members (a special majority) must approve the adoption or amendment of a constitution for that province; a majority of members must be present to approve or amend a Bill, at least one-third of members must be present to decide on any other matter and a majority of those present may decide on such a matter.
Local government – the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (CTMM)
The South African parliament and the provinces elect political party representatives to represent the voters and to enact legislation and many other decisions for the residents of the country. It was in about in 1982 that political parties sought representation in the former Pretoria City Council replacing persons elected as individuals or representatives of residents and ratepayers’ groupings.
In December 2000, the CTMM was formed incorporating several neighbouring local authorities and by 2016 comprised 214 councillors, half of which were elected by geographic wards and the other half on a proportional representation (PR) party list basis. Following the August 2016 local government election, 93 Democratic Alliance (DA), 89 African National Congress (ANC), 25 Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF), 4 Freedom Front Plus, 1 Congress of the People (COPE) 1 African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and 1 Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) councillor was elected – making up 214 councillors.
As can be seen from the above, no political party had a majority that is 50 percent plus one or 108 votes. The council was what is often referred to as a ‘hung’ council. The DA concluded a ‘Co-governance agreement’ (also referred to as a coalition agreement) with the ACDP, COPE and the FF Plus to strengthen its hand in governing the municipality. No formal coalition agreements were concluded between any of the other parties. Deals were struck in formal council structures and informally through personal interaction between members of parties to facilitate decision-making process in the council.
According to the Municipal Structures Act of 1998, section 30, a ‘majority of the councillors must be present at a meeting of council before a vote can be taken on any matter.’ A quorum is 108 members. If the presence of councillors in the council chamber drops or is below that number, no decisions may be taken by the council. According to section 160(2) of the Constitution 1996, the following functions must be taken by a majority of members, that is no less than 108 members: passing of by-laws; approval of the budget; imposition of rates and other taxes, levies and duties; and the raising of loans. All other decisions may be taken by a majority of votes cast.
On Friday 30 October 2020, an Executive Mayor was elected in line with the legislated quorum requirement. Some 97 votes were cast by the coalition partners, 25 by the EFF and one spoilt ballot by the PAC representative. The balance of councillors present abstained. Council was quorate and an Executive Mayor was elected by a majority of those voting exceeding the quorum requirement by fifteen votes.
The important point to note is that when the presence in council drops below 108 members – the council ceases to quorate and may not make any decisions. In the first quarter of 2020 – the ANC and the EFF withdrew from council leaving it without a quorum leading to a challenge in the Gauteng High Court, The Supreme Court of Appeal and an eventual ruling that members were obliged to be present in the council chamber. The advent of political party representation was accompanied by party discipline in that all members are obliged to follow the party line and when for example a vote or a walk out is called, members rarely do not follow the party line.
To explain further. When the ANC and EFF broke the quorum in council in the first quarter of 2020, the participants in the ‘Co-governance agreement’ could not make up a quorum of 108 members and the council could not take decisions. This resulted in a period of paralysis and ‘administration’ by appointees of the Gauteng Provincial Administration. So, what is the upshot of this? The casting of a vote or two votes in the case of local government, one for a candidate and one for the party, is important. By voting or staying away, the functioning of legislatures can be seriously affected to the detriment of the rates and tax paying members of the public and service delivery. Majorities and quorums are key determinants in the functioning of legislative decision- making structures! The case of the City of Tshwane Council not having a party with an absolute majority is a clear illustration of the need to get out and vote at election time.
This morning I spoke to a team of workers contracted by the Department of Public Works who are going to be cutting the long grass on both sides of the cement road leading from my house at 3 Tom Jenkins Drive to Russell Street in Riviera.
This should have been done during or before the onset of winter when the grass was dry but at least there is some attempt at cleaning the undergrowth. If there is good rain the grass will quickly grow again and the work will be for naught.
I attach some photographs taken about three weeks ago of my gardener, Joseph Mashamba, cleaning the same piece of road, which technically falls into the Upper Arcadia area, of litter as well as him showing the two bags of litter he picked up from both sides of the road. He did not clean on the other side of the low wall separating the veld area from the road. People sit on the wall and throw litter into the grassed area below the road.
Joseph cleans the area quite willingly and I pay his wage to do this service. However, the Cleaning Services Department of the City Council should be doing the cleaning, especially as it is a through road from the Union Buildings to the Department of International Affairs.
There is also evidence that prostitutes are using the road to service their clients.
Is there a possibility of enquiring whether two litter bins could be placed in the two areas (along the cement road) that were originally made for cars to pull into if they were experiencing some sort of mechanical difficulty? I think bins, if made available, would be used by the foot traffic which is considerable.
I have placed a big litter bin outside my property and it is regularly used by runners, cyclists etc.
The road is the responsibility of the Upper Arcadia area as its residents use it to walk their dogs, cycle and simply drive along to get their groceries in Queenswood.
Margaret van Heerden
Response from Peter Blersch
ARRA Service delivery
A few years ago ARRA employed a person to pick up litter and keep the streets of our suburb clean and tidy. Unfortunately due to financial constraints, this was not sustainable. ARRA continues to report service delivery issues to the Tshwane Municipality on an ongoing basis with varying degrees of success. The issue of litter has been raised on numerous occasions and we will continue to do so. We thank you for your efforts to keep Tom Jenkins Drive litter free.
ARCADIAN PRISCILLA NAIDOO BIDS FAREWELL TO THE UNION BUILDINGS
Walking up the stairs of the West Wing of the Union Buildings on a beautiful sunny morning in October 1994, I was so excited to commence duties as Public Relations Officer to President Nelson Mandela. Little did I realize that I would spend just under 26 years in the highest office in the land, from 1994 to 1999 in Communications, Office of the President and continuing from 1999 to 2020 in Protocol and Ceremonial in The Presidency.
It has been a privilege and honour to serve all the presidents in the new democracy since 1994. As I was bidding farewell to The Presidency recently, I wanted to pause for a moment at the Monument for Women in South Africa perched at the highest and most central point of the Union Buildings. It meant a lot to me especially having navigated the stormy seas from the 4th Administration. I found strength and courage from the “imbokodo” - “when you strike a woman, you strike a rock”. It has been an incredible and memorable journey. I wish to take this opportunity to convey my thanks and gratitude to everyone I have interacted with especially in the three arms of the State, Diplomatic Corps, NGOs, the corporate sector and other stakeholders.
Some people in our community may be aware of a fortification built during the Anglo Boer War (also called the South African War) in our neighbourhood. This is the Johnston Redoubt, which stand on the hill, inside of the presidential estate in Bryntirion.
The Anglo Boer War took place between 1899 and 1902 in South Africa, and was fought between Great Britain and the two Boer republics, Transvaal (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) and the Orange Free State. After the British forces captured Pretoria on 5 June 1900 fortified posts were established at strategic positions all over South Africa. The purpose thereof was to protect these as well as routes such as railway lines and roads against Boer attacks. The first of these fortified posts were erected in July 1900.
At first these were double storey stone and masonry buildings which took about three months to build. Later corrugated iron structures, which could be build much quicker, were erected. It is estimated that as much as 8 000 blockhouses were eventually build over a distance of 6 000 kilometres.
For the British it was of particular importance to protect Pretoria after they had captured it. Therefore they built additional fortifications in the capital. Pretoria already had four forts - Fort Klapperkop, Fort Schanskop, Fort Wonderboompoort and Fort Daspoortrand – which were erected by the Boers prior to the War. In order to turn the town into a complete fortified area the British added to this. As far as what could be determined, more than 100 fortifications were built in around Pretoria. Unfortunately most of these did not survive.
ARCADIA’S OWN ANGLO BOER WAR FORTIFICATION
One of these that did survive is the Johnston Redoubt which was built from stone and mortar and was completed in 1900. It is square in shape with sides of 6,2m and is a double storey building which originally had a corrugated iron roof and wooden floors. The fortification also has two metal lookout positions (balconies) on the south-western and north-eastern corners. Other military features are built-in metal loopholes for defensive purposes. The windows and door are also made from metal, the latter being a double (upper and lower) door on the southern side.
Although called a redoubt, it in fact is not one as a redoubt is a temporary fortification. This one clearly is a permanent building.
The blockhouse is almost on the crest of the hill and may be seen from Eastwood Street (east), if driving very slowly. It has a good view over the valleys on both sides of the hill and its purpose therefore was likely to guard routes through these valleys. However, one has to realise that it was but one of a series of fortifications on this hill and in Pretoria which together formed a defensive system. It may also be linked to a refugee camp which was located along the southern slope of the mountain during the war.
The long months of Lockdown, during which many people scrubbed, cleaned and decluttered vigorously, resulted in a heavy load of dysfunctional electronic STUFF for E-Waste on 12 September. The trailer parked on the pavement in front of the Scout Hall and, as this event had been widely advertised, people from all over Pretoria brought tangled electric cords, broken television sets, washing-machines, stoves, etc. (but no used batteries). Slightly more than one ton was saved from ending up in landfills. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Seasoned recyclers who in the past had taken batteries to E-waste events at the Arcadia Scout Hall were surprised that batteries were no longer wanted. The economic climate is to blame for this as the cost of transport to the company in Holfontein, where batteries were responsibly disposed of, has become too expensive for the company that handles E-waste collection. (JAC’s Recyling accepts batteries.)
Also affected by the economic climate is the paper recycling. Newspapers should now rather be taken to the local vet as paper is not worth much for recycling purposes. The buy-back price has dropped dramatically since 1917 when China stopped buying owing to oversupply. Schools in the country can no longer rely on paper recycling for fundraising (in South Africa only one Sappi mill is in operation in Mpumalanga.). Magazines should be taken to homes or institutions where pensioners and others cannot afford this luxury anymore.
The South African Plastic Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and the SA Plastics Federation maintain that an enormous per cent of all recyclable materials is obtained from “post-consumer sources” such as landfills. If materials can be saved before ending up in the landfills, so much the better for our environment. Everybody should be thinking “Landfill first” before getting rid of anything that can be recycled.
Some good news for the future!
While various efforts are being made to save our landfills, it is heartening to read about projects that aim to stem the flood of STUFF that needs to be recycled, mostly to do with wrapping and packaging of products.
One such a project is being researched by a company, Xampla, in conjunction with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. This is indeed good news for the great plastic clean-up programme worldwide and may provide manufacturers with a solution to the microplastics dilemma. Xampla is experimenting with the development of single-use plastic made from waste from common plants, such as peas! We are all aware of what happens when bags made from synthetic polymers (traditional plastic) are washed out to sea but when sweet wrappers, sachets, single-use bags made from pea waste products land in the sea, they can be eaten by fish!
Incidentally the programme was inspired by the way the spider uses protein to create its silk according to Professor Tuomas Knowles, who is a protein scientist doing research on the nature of proteins. He was inspired by spiders at work. He says, “A spider eats a fly and creates a protein from that at ambient temperatures. Spider protein is very good but tricky to create so plant proteins are preferred, but plant proteins are very difficult to work with – which is why we’ve got a breakthrough.”
Another bit of good news is that The Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, gazetted the regulations for a mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, that extend the producer’s responsibility for their products and packaging to the end-of-life stage of their life cycle. This means that they will be responsible for collecting, sorting, refurbishing, reusing, recycling and/or disposing of their products and packaging in a sustainable manner. (Perhaps this was inspired by the “Green Dot” in use in Germany?) Read all about this at https//flip.it/wnwoQz
OPTIONS FOR RESIDENTS
There are at least five options for household items that should be recycled; one does not have to separate plastic, tins, glass and paper in one container for Open Sky and JAC’s Recycling whereas for other (free) schemes one has to separate into the various categories.
Apart from the convenience of not having to sort into categories, Jac’s Recycling and Open Sky have the enormous plus in that they accept all kinds of plastic whereas the Informal Recyclers only take items with a reasonable buy-back price. Flimsy plastic packaging is not wanted and meets its grave in the landfill. Hopefully, the new regulations (see Good News above) will put paid to non-recyclable packaging.
Styrofoam is still a major headache. It is recyclable but at present not welcomed by most recycling companies and its fate is the same as that of flimsy plastic containers. A solution needs to be found (watch this space) but in the meantime be aware that styrofoam in the wheelie bin is a dead give-away that there is a new appliance on the property. Enough said.
The pandemic has put brakes on a project that was to register these recyclers, provide uniforms and sturdy trolleys for members while medical aid and other benefits were on the cards for these people. These people urgently need support because this is their only source of income. To give you an idea of how hard they have to work to eke out a living, the buy-back price for plastic PET clear and blue is R2.30, for PET green R1.80 and PET brown R1.30. Perhaps you will understand why they desperately hunt for every bottle they can find.
When Lockdown was announced at the end of March they were recognised as essential workers and allowed to continue saving items from ending up in the landfill. (Many people generously donated food but this was stopped because it was unmanageable, but at least was acknowledgement of awareness of their hard lives (and the milk of human kindness)?
What follows outlines how we can help some of more than 350 000 people who earn their living by scouring wheelie bins for items to recycle
Place clean tins (beer and cold drink cans, food tins, metal lids of glass jars, aluminium foil and foil packaging, metal bottle caps), plastic (PET clear, blue, green and brown and white milk bottles but no tetra pack (for example liquifruit containers) and white paper and flattened cardboard in any kind of container and place this parcel on top of the garbage in the wheelie bin, or even next to it. This will prevent the recyclers from emptying the bin onto the pavement in search of recyclables. (“White paper” is office paper with print or lined papers used at school. Coloured and glossy paper are categorised as “common mix” and have a lower buy-back price. Separate these from the white paper batch.
The recyclable items (in parcels), separated from real garbage, will be collected by the sidewalk recyclers and, if not, will be easy to recognise by sorters at the landfill who will prevent these items from ending up in the landfill.
What else can be done to help to save the landfill
Odds and sods to be saved for creches: take egg trays /boxes, gift wrapping, match boxes, other little boxes, bits of wool, snippets of material, cardboard toilet roll inners, polystyrene vegetable trays and other coloured paper to develop dexterity in little hands and encourage creativity.
Glass (clean and whole bottles) is heavy and therefore not wanted by the informal recyclers. (There is an igloo for glass at the Dutch Reformed Chuch in Kirkness Street as well as a container at the Loftus Park recycling depot.) You could also arrange for an igloo bin to be delivered to your own home (!) or other suitable place by phoning Philip at 072 100 0494.
Batteries and light bulbs: Branches of Builders’ Warehouse used to provide containers but all Pick ‘n Pay branches have removed their E-waste bins. Woolworths still has bins for globes.
Hopefully our environment will be protected by a combination of efforts.
082 782 6468
Dogs are curious creatures and will sniff, lick and eat all sorts of things whilst investigating their environment. Sometimes they can eat something that is potentially toxic and it is good to know which foods and plants should be avoided. The 10 most toxic to dogs are the following:
1. Aloe vera
Used as a topical gel in conventional medicine, aloe vera is one of many poisonous plants for dogs. When eaten by dogs, aloe vera can cause mild to moderate bouts of toxicity. Side effects may include vomiting, lethargy, depression, tremors and change in urine.
Avocado contains a toxin called persin and its effects can vary in dogs (depending on the variety). While persin is safe for human consumption, it is recommended that no part of the avocado (fruit, pips, leaves or bark) should be fed to your pet. A toxic plant for dogs, avocado can cause an upset stomach and its high fat content may cause pancreatitis also known as inflammation of the pancreas. The most dangerous part of the avocado seems to be the pip. Avocado pips can be swallowed accidently and unfortunately lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract.
Chocolate is an extremely toxic food for dogs, containing caffeine and the stimulant chemical theobromine. Both substances are difficult for dogs to metabolize and may lead to a build-up of theobromine in the body.
The severity of side effects is dependent on the size of the dog, how much and what type of chocolate has been ingested. The darker the chocolate is, the more dangerous it will be for your dog.
Unsweetened baker’s chocolate and cocoa powder are some of the most toxic food varieties for dogs while white chocolate is the least toxic of them all.
Dogs most commonly experience food poisoning from chocolate during holidays such as Easter, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. They may show signs or symptoms after ingesting as little as 20mg per kg of body weight.
If eaten by a dog, chocolate can cause vomiting, dehydration, abdominal pains, severe agitation, and an elevated body temperature. These symptoms can also progress to more serious problems, like heart attacks, internal bleeding, muscle tremors, seizures and death.
Ferns present a mild to moderate toxicity for dogs that can lead to allergic dermatitis, drooling, vomiting and abdominal pain. The Emerald Feather or Lace fern is one of the most poisonous plants for dogs.
5. Grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins have a moderate to high level of toxicity when fed to dogs. The toxic compounds in grapes are still unknown and the results of consumption should be taken very seriously. Different levels of toxicity vary from dog to dog and common side effects include kidney failure, vomiting or diarrhoea, dehydration and a lack of appetite.
In fatal circumstances dogs may die from kidney failure within three to four days. It is important to note that poisoning can come from not only raw grapes and raisins, but also in baked goods like cookies, cakes and snack bars.
6. Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin and are known to cause a devastating side effects for dogs if eaten. A recent discovery, macadamia nuts cause weakness, muscle tremors and vomiting in dogs. Nuts contain a high fat content that can potentially leading to pancreatitis or an inflamed pancreas.
Your dog’s symptoms are dependent on the type of mushroom they consume. There are various types of poisonous mushrooms; liver toxic, hallucinogenic, toadstool, mushrooms that contain muscarinic agents, false morel and mushrooms that cause gastrointestinal distress.
Mushroom poisoning will require immediate hospitalisation and your dog may also show signs of vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, weakness, yellowing of the skin, excessive drooling and seizures.
8. Onions and garlic
Both incredibly poisonous plants for dogs, onion and garlic can damage red blood cells in dogs and cause anaemia. If enough of either plant is consumed, then a blood transfusion may also be necessary.
Generally the stronger the onion, the stronger its toxicity. Garlic contains compounds that are also very toxic, proving that garlic is more dangerous to dogs than onions are per mg.
9. Cycads or sago palms
Cycads contain an ingredient called cycasin and are part of a group of extremely toxic plants for dogs. Consumption of the cycad can be fatal with the seeds of the plant displaying the highest levels of toxicity. If eaten, bloody diarrhoea, liver damage, liver failure, bleeding disorders and multiple organ failure can occur.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and while it is safe for human consumption it is a very toxic food for dogs. Used to sweeten candy, some peanut butters, chewing gum and toothpaste, eating foods that contain xylitol can lead to a drop in your dog’s blood sugar, liver damage and even death.
Initial symptoms in the 30 minutes after ingesting xylitol may include: weakness, vomiting, depression, coma and seizures.
Other things to avoid include alcohol, raw potatoes, human medication, caffeine, yeast dough, daffodils, lilies and oleander.
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