Monthly News No 203


Michael Hattingh – Projects Co-ordinator

Good old Island View, our guys have been busy on the Island with various construction & maintenance projects over the last couple of months. From standby generators, tank overfill protection upgrades and gantry upgrades. We faced a couple of challenges since one of our managers moved to greener pastures but between our Wesley (Projects Supervisor) and Dangerous Darrell (Electrical Artisan) they have managed well to pick up the pieces and continue to drive the project teams and growing the projects from strength to strength. (Unfortunately we are not allowed to take any photos due to the hazardous environment on site)

We also say farewell to one of our fellow employees Brandon, as he ventures out on his journey to success. Brandon, we wish you all the best of luck and trust that you will make the best of all your new challenges, I am sure we will see you in the G Spot!

To my fellow “grasshoppers” Dylan & Sam, I wish you all the best with our new challenges ahead where we step into the dangerous world of the commercial department. We have been attending (what seems to be endless amounts) of training from our two very own commercial lecturers Arn (Commercial Manger) & Ed (Projects Supervisor & Co Ordinator) who is teaching us about all the ins and outs and tricks of the trade when it comes to the commercial side of projects.

Dylan Mickleburgh – Projects Co-ordinator

With our contract in full swing we have had easy, hard and difficult days. The weather has been extremely hot and the guys have had to chew hard bones and pull out their inner strength to cope in these conditions. A lot of manual work is done on the installation of overhead lines. Some pictures to show progress of work being done:

We also had to endure the dangers of nature. There were many snakes around and the snake catchers had to be called in on many occasions.


Then after a hard day’s work relaxation was a bonus.

Safety was even practiced after hours just in case we got top heavy.



Safety – Charmayne Meyer | Safety officer

Safety Greetings to one and all

Safety topic for this month: Bee and wasp stings.

If you are allergic to bee and wasp stings, knowing how to treat anaphylaxis can save your life.

This message goes out to all people who are allergic to bees and wasps and to those who find themselves in a situation where they need to assist a colleague, family member or friend who has been stung by a bee or a wasp and is allergic. The reason we are emphasising the symptoms of anaphylaxis is because it happens on a daily basis.

Research has proven that getting stung by a bee/wasp is unpleasant for everyone, but some people have an allergic reaction to bee and wasp stings called anaphylaxis. If you are among the three percent of the population who are allergic to bee and wasp stings, the symptoms from even minor stings can be severe and potentially life-threatening.

What happens in anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a reaction of your entire body to something that you are allergic to. It can be caused by the venom in a bee or wasp sting or other insect bites, as well as by allergies to certain medicines, foods, or even substances like latex. In anaphylaxis, your immune system releases chemicals that make you experience allergy symptoms throughout your body.

Symptoms of the condition include:

  •  Red rash (may include hives)
  • Swelling in your throat or other body parts, such as eyes or face
  • Hoarseness or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • A tight feeling in your chest
  • Fainting

How fast does it happen?

In most cases, your body will produce allergic symptoms to a bee or wasp sting quite quickly if you have anaphylaxis.

You might feel symptoms just minutes after being stung. It’s possible, though, that your symptoms will take time to surface. It can take 30 minutes or even longer to notice the condition’s symptoms.

Preventing symptoms

Because the symptoms of anaphylaxis can be severe and even life-threatening, it’s best to do what you can to avoid them. If you have had serious reactions to bee or wasp stings or other allergens in the past, you should keep emergency medications on hand. Your doctor can prescribe injectable epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, or a chewable medicine called diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine.

After reading the above facts may I suggest that you carry a bee/wasp sting kit when you go on outdoor outings or at work, if you know you have an allergy to bees/wasps, AND always wear a medical identification tag so that others will know about your condition.

Let’s be careful out there


The G-Spot – Pub & Diner

We are pleased to say that our new menu has been completed!! It has taken us a while but we think we may just have perfected it this time around.

That’s not the only thing that’s new though, recently Taylea bought the kitchen a few new tools. Patience and Freddy’s excitement and happiness was shining from their faces so brightly that Taylea almost had to don a pair of sunglasses from fear of going blind.

Our Ja Bru group is just getting bigger and bigger. On Wednesday 19 th March 2015 we had 4 new members receive their shirts. This is the first time in the history of Ja Bru that this has happened. They were:

  • Bianca – Sorceress
  • Dave- Jopie Adam
  • Shane- Gumtree
  • Karen- Black Lable

12 years ago a German by the name of Andreas ‘Roadrunner’ Dudat accompanied a friend to the G-Spot. Every year since, to this day, he has returned to South Africa and the G-Spot and we have decided that he has qualified for a Ja Bru shirt.

Our food specials for the next three weeks are as follows:

  • Thursday 02 April – Chicken Schnitzel with Chips or Salad – R45
  • Friday 10 April – Beef Breyani – R35
  • Friday 17 April – Eisbein with Mash and Veggies – R55


Arnfred Nursery

This month I have decided to share some of the “Before and After” Pictures of some of the gardens we have recently completed. Note that some of the plants are still small, but in a couple of months they will be bustling.





Excited to advise that I will be starting with our new contract in Umdloti and will take photos for the next newsletter.

Our next Open Day will be on Sunday, 12 th April from 9 to 2. Lots of our Aloes are starting to flower from beautiful Yellow to White.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter.
The Arnfred Team




Dates to Remember in April

1st – April Fools Day
3rd – Good Friday
6th – Family Day
16th – High Five Day
27th – Freedom Day

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month!! This year to raise awareness ladies will be wearing red lipstick and men can wear red shirts/pants etc.


Word or the Month

Ambrose Williams

Genesis 22:14

Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day is said, “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

  • The Lord knows exactly what you are going through.
  • He sees every struggle and every fear.
  • He wants to reveal Himself to you by answering your prayers and supplying your needs.
  • His ‘seeing’ of our needs does not stop there, it moves from seeing to intervening.

PRAYER: Lord, You are Jehovah-Jireh, our provider. Today I choose to rest in this great truth, with the full knowledge and assurance that You will undertake in all things.



Cycad Society

On 15 March 2015 we had our first Cycad Society Meeting for the year, unfortunately a few of our members couldn’t make it. We were glad to welcome back Paul Mostert as or guest speaker who once again gave a magnificent talk on cycads.

The Mpumalanga branch of the Cycad Society is planning an outing to KZN to visit a few of our members homes and the Botanic Gardens in Durban for some cycad watching. We are quite excited for this as some of our members would like to join them for this.

There will be an Annual Plant and Open Day at Cato Ridge Electrical on the 16 th of August 2015 where people will be able to buy cycads and other types of plants as well as take a stroll through the CREC gardens.

We would also like to thank the G-Spot and their staff for always making sure that there is food and refreshments available when we have our meetings.

Our next meeting will be held on Sunday 17th of May 2015.



Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds.

Figs grow on the Ficus tree (Ficus carica), which is a member of the Mulberry family. They are unique in that they have an opening, called the “ostiole” or “eye,” which is not connected to the tree, but which helps the fruit’s development by increasing its communication with the environment. Figs range dramatically in colour and subtly in texture depending upon the variety. The majority of figs are dried, either by exposure to sunlight or through an artificial process, creating a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Health Benefits

Help Lower High Blood Pressure

Figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. Since many people not only do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but do consume high amounts of sodium as salt is frequently added to processed foods, they may be deficient in potassium. Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, one group ate servings of fruits and vegetables in place of snacks and sweets, and also ate low-fat dairy food. This diet delivered more potassium, magnesium and calcium. Another group ate a “usual” diet low in fruits and vegetables with a fat content like that found in the average American Diet. After eight weeks, the group that ate the enhanced diet lowered their blood pressure by an average of 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic).

A Sweet Way to Lose Weight

Figs are a good source of dietary fibre. Fibre and fibre-rich foods may have a positive effect on weight management. In one study, women who increased their fibre intake with supplements significantlydecreased their energy intake, yet their hunger and satiety scores did not change. Figs, like other high fibre foods, may be helpful in a weight management program.

Fruit and Cereal Fibre Protective against Postmenopausal Breast Cancer

Results of a prospective study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fibre compared to those consuming the least. In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fibre, especially cereal fibre, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Fruits richest in fibre include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. When choosing a high fibre cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of fibre).

An Insulin-Lowering Leaf in Diabetes

You probably do not think about the leaves of the fig tree as one of fig’s edible parts. But in some cultures, fig leaves are a common part of the menu, and for good reason. The leaves of the fig have repeatedly been shown to have antidiabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by persons with diabetes who require insulin injections. In one study, a liquid extract made from fig leaves was simply added to the breakfast of insulin-dependent diabetic subjects in order to produce this insulin- lowering effect.

Cardiovascular Effects

In animal studies, fig leaves have been shown to lower levels of triglycerides (a form in which fats circulate in the bloodstream), while in in vitro studies, fig leaves inhibited the growth of certain types of cancer cells. Researchers have not yet determined exactly which substances in fig leaves are responsible for these remarkable healing effects. Besides their potassium and fibre content, figs emerged from our food ranking system as a good source of the trace mineral manganese.

Protection against Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age- related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

In this study, which involved over 100,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants’ consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. Food intake information was collected periodically for up to 18 years for women and 12 years for men.

While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but by simply tossing a banana into your morning smoothie or slicing it over your cereal, topping off a cup of yogurt or green salad with a couple of diced figs, and snacking on an apple, plum, nectarine or pear, you’ve reached this goal.


Figs are not only the main ingredient in a very popular cookie, the fig bar, but are a culinary delicacy par excellence. Part of the wonder of the fig comes from its unique taste and texture. Figs are lusciously sweet and feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin,and the crunchiness of their seeds. In addition, since fresh figs are so delicate and perishable, some of their mystique comes from their relative rarity. Because of this, the majority of figs are dried, either by exposure to sunlight or through an artificial process, creating a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Figs range dramatically in colour and subtly in texture depending upon the variety, of which there are more than one hundred and fifty. Some of the most popular varieties are:

  • Black Mission: blackish-purple skin and pink coloured flesh
  • Kadota: green skin and purplish flesh
  • Calimyrna: greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh
  • Brown Turkey: purple skin and red flesh
  • Adriatic: the variety most often used to make fig bars, which has a light green skin and pink- tan flesh


Figs can trace their history back to the earliest of times with mentions in the Bible and other ancient writings. They are thought to have been first cultivated in Egypt. They spread to ancient Crete and then subsequently, around the 9th century BC, to ancient Greece, where they became a staple foodstuff in the traditional diet. Figs were held in such esteem by the Greeks that they created laws forbidding the export of the best quality figs. Figs were also revered in ancient Rome where they were thought of as a sacred fruit. According to Roman myth, the wolf that nurtured the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, rested under a fig tree. During this period of history, at least 29 varieties of figs were already known.

Figs were later introduced to other regions of the Mediterranean by ancient conquerors and then brought to the Western Hemisphere by the Spaniards in the early 16th century. In the late 19th century, when Spanish missionaries established the mission in San Diego, California, they also planted fig trees. These figs turned out to be inferior in quality to those that were imported from Europe, and it wasn’t until the development of further cultivation techniques in the early 20th century that California began focused cultivation and processing of figs. Today, California remains one of the largest producers of figs in addition to Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

How to Select and Store

Since fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits, they should be purchased only a day or two in advance of when you are planning on eating them. Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. They should have firm stems and be free of bruises. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. They should have a mildly sweet fragrance and should not smell sour, which is an indication that they may be spoiled.

For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened figs: Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase.

Key to the process is the change in colour that occurs as fruits ripen, a similar process to that seen in the fall when leaves turn from green to red to yellow to brown—a colour change caused by the breakdown and disappearance of chlorophyll, which gives leaves and fruits their green colour.

When purchasing dried figs, make sure that they are still relatively soft, free of mold, and have a mellow, pleasant smell. Dried figs are available throughout the year.

Ripe figs should be kept in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about two days. Since they have a delicate nature and can easily bruise, you should store them either arranged on a paper towel-lined plate or shallow container. They should be covered or wrapped in order to ensure that they do not dry out, get crushed or pick up odours from neighbouring foods. If you have purchased slightly under-ripe figs, you should keep them on a plate, at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Dried figs will stay fresh for several months and can either be kept in a cool, dark place or stored in the refrigerator. They should be well wrapped so that they are not over exposed to air that may cause them to become hard or dry.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Before eating or cooking figs, wash them under cool water and then gently remove the stem. Gently wipe dry.

Dried figs can simply be eaten, used in a recipe as is, or simmered for several minutes in water or fruit juice to make them plumper and juicier.

How to Enjoy
A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • When preparing oatmeal or any other whole grain breakfast porridge, add some dried or fresh figs.
  • Poach figs in juice or red wine and serve with yogurt or frozen desserts.
  • Add quartered figs to a salad of fennel, arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese.
  • Fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and chopped almonds can be served as hors d’oeuvres or desserts.

Individual Concerns
Figs and Oxalates

Figs are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally- occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating figs.

Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. Yet, in every peer-reviewed research study we’ve seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan. If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do a good job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits—including absorption of calcium—from calcium-rich foods plant foods that also contain oxalic acid. Ordinarily, a healthcare practitioner would not discourage a person focused on ensuring that they are meeting their calcium requirements from eating these nutrient-rich foods because of their oxalate content.

Dried Figs and Sulphites

Commercially grown dried figs may be treated with sulphur dioxide gas during processing. They may also be treated with sulphites to extend their shelf life.

Sulphur-containing compounds are often added to dried foods like figs as preservatives to help prevent oxidation and bleaching of colours. The sulphites used to help preserve dried figs cause adverse reactions in an estimated one out of every 100 people, who turn out to be sulphite sensitive.

Sulphite reactions can be particularly acute in people who suffer from asthma. The Federal Food and Drug Administration estimates that 5 percent of asthmatics may suffer a reaction when exposed to sulphites.

Foods that are classified as “organic” do not contain sulphites since federal regulations prohibit the use of these preservatives in organically grown or produced foods. Therefore, concern about sulphite exposure is yet another reason to purchase organic foods.

Nutritional Profile

Figs are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and pantothenic acid.



By Peter Petersen

The 1st of April, also known as April fool’s day, which to me signifies to past work mates in Joburg that I was not joking when I said I was moving to Durban. This will be my 25 th anniversary at CREC and my it has flown past so quickly and also with a lot of challenges as I mentioned in our newsletter in December last year, which I will not delve into.

Some awesome facts when I first arrived here:

  • Arn was 6 years old and Taylea exactly 1 month old
  • Luca was a few months old and was staying in the room next door to my office during the mornings when Jacqui still worked here half day
  • Yes and Samantha you were not even born yet and I used to do work at your parents farm where you still reside today
  • The current reception was a garage in which one of our staff members lived
  • We had a total of 9 staff members
  • We only had 4 vehicles none of which had power steering
  • Factory 1 ( stores ) was a cabbage patch Factory 2 – 4 was grass where Kim kept his prize Bram Angus cattle
  • Billy’s and Taylea’s offices were open garages
  • Paula’s office and the admin offices were our original stores
  • We were the first people to host a party on comrades day with a live band next to the road, Tony was part of that band
  • Kim, yes Kim, used to smoke cigars in his office and wore short Tee sav shorts like Marius to work
  • Our annual turnover was 1.2mil ( 100,000.00 per month average )
  • The bar operated on a ticket system
  • We had no cell phones nor did we have any computers
  • I had not met Mara but was doing work for her parents on their farm where Mara and Paula resided at the time
  • Our Telephone system had 3 extensions very posh at the time
  • None of our offices or vehicles had air-conditioning ( Arn you would have loved the CS )
  • Hugh Coleman still wore glasses and worked for Gromor

I must say that working at CREC has been the happiest years of my life especially being part of its growth and all the amazing characters that I work with, especially my brother Kim, who is a total inspiration in my life. I have learnt so much from him and yes we have our differences but that is what boets do and that is why we have been so successful, by agreeing to disagree. With the exception of my youngest daughter Dayne, who at present is at boarding school, I also have the absolute pleasure and honour having all our children working with us. They all have degrees and have added value as well as introducing a total different business strategy to our company which will ultimately put us back in number one position where we were for so many years. Last but not least: to my wife Mara who has stood behind me giving me all the support that I could have possibly hoped for.

Finally this is the part where I go to the bar for a “few” jaegers

Best Regards,

Peter Petersen
Commercial Director
For Cato Ridge Electrical Construction (Pty) Ltd