Monthly News No 204


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


Andre Grobler – Electrical Manager

I have scribbled a few lines in an attempt to abridge the past fortnights activities and to take the opportunity to thank everyone for the hard work put in.

The electrical construction department is scurrying around trying to get organised for our recently awarded project in Ladysmith. Containers are frantically being sent to site, to set up our site establishment, and simultaneously preparations are under way for the first of our MV switchboard replacements (below), which will take place this long weekend.


Congratulations to our sister company Voltex for completing and sending out their first Simoprime Panel

Kevin will assume the responsibility of site manager on this project ably assisted by Pieter and Clayton who will be his site supervisors, this is another fast track project but with the experienced and skilled team we have assembled I feel sure everything will run smoothly. So all that is left to say is good luck chaps.

Kevin has also just completed hot commissioning on his Richmond project, and all seems to be running well. I would like to congratulate Kevin and his team for the splendid effort and commitment shown during the very tiring and trying construction phase of this project. Well done chaps once again you’ve done us proud.

Wesley and his Island View crew have also been doing some fine work on the island for quite a number of different customers, and the positive feedback that has filtered down is most heartening. So once again, well done chaps keep it up.

Alan and his team building overhead lines on our North Coast project, have of late run into a number of snags; which thankfully are almost sorted out and it looks like it will be all systems go again. So keep your chin up Alan and carry on doing what you do best.

Sean, our safety manager, has as usual been running from site to site keeping the lads in order and ensuring everyone goes home safely to their loved ones every day. Thanks for your efforts Sean much appreciated.

Last but not least, a big thanks to our buying and commercial departments without whom, the construction department could not function effectively.


Hugh Coleman – Mechanical Manager

Hello from a frantically busy maintenance department. The word generator that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue at the moment is permanently on ours. We have been inundated with call outs regarding generator failures with the same old words “please this is urgent can you send someone right now”. People must think that we have technicians all sitting around like firemen waiting for that fateful call. It definitely is the right business to be in rite now, pity one couldn’t predict the future and have had thousands of sets built and ready to sell.

Here is my heavy duty crane truck delivering a generator set to one of our many happy customers. At least you will always have fresh hot chicken.



Charmayne Meyer – Safety officer

What To Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down

How you fare when your vehicle fails is often a matter of how you respond. The decisions you make are important and can have positive or negative consequences. Fortunately, most problems are preventable.

Prevention and preparedness are key:

  • Get in the habit of conducting periodic safety checks to make sure your vehicle is in good operating condition.
  • A safety check includes tires, lights, belts, hoses, fluids and windshield wipers.
  • Read your owner’s manual to clearly understand which dash lights or signals indicate your vehicle is not operating properly and what to do in such situations.
  • Before a road trip, contact AAA or your local mechanic to arrange for a free test of your vehicle’s battery, starting and charging system. This can help determine how much life is left in your battery and if any other components need repairs.
  • Program your cell phone with emergency numbers, including that of your roadside assistance provider, and keep a backup written list in your glove compartment.
  • Always carry a well-stocked emergency kit and familiarize yourself with the use of safety flares, warning triangles and other emergency equipment.

What to do when trouble strikes

Since surroundings, traffic patterns and vehicle hazards can vary, it’s important to evaluate your specific situation and react accordingly. The following steps are a good starting place:

1. Note your vehicle’s location: If you encounter a problem while driving, make sure you are aware of your surroundings and general location. Know where you are in relation to a major exit or cross street and look for well-lighted areas. If you are on an interstate highway, note the mile marker, last exit number or nearest rest area.

2. Assess the problem: While driving, be aware of and know how to respond to warning signs such as steering problems, unusual noises or steam or smoke coming from under the hood. If it’s a flat tire or you run out of fuel, try not to panic. Signal, slow down gradually and carefully pull onto the shoulder of the road, avoiding any sudden maneuvers.

3. Pull off the road: On most roads, you should exit onto the far left shoulder, as far off the road as possible while remaining on level ground. If you exit the vehicle, never stand behind or directly in front of it to help avoid injuries if your car is struck by another vehicle.

  • What if you cannot pull off the road: If your vehicle loses power and is inoperable, switch on safety/hazard lights. Do not risk personal injury by attempting to push it to a safe location. If you cannot get your vehicle to a location away from traffic, or if you are uncertain about your safety and think your vehicle may get struck from behind, get out of the vehicle and move away from the road to a safer location.

4. Alert other drivers: Make sure your vehicle is visible to other drivers, remembering that they may be traveling at a high rate of speed.

  • Turn on the hazard lights, especially at night or during inclement weather.
  • Raise your vehicle’s hood. If you have a brightly colored handkerchief or scarf, tie it to the antenna or door handle, or hold it in place by closing it in a window.
  • Place flares or warning triangles behind your car to direct oncoming traffic away from the vehicle.
    • As a rule of thumb, place the first flare or triangle 3 metres directly behind the side of the vehicle closest to the road. Place the second 30 metres (longer distances as the posted speed limit increases) directly behind the vehicle, lining it up with the middle of the bumper. Always watch for oncoming traffic when placing warning devices.
    • If you are experiencing a fuel leak or smell fuel fumes, do not ignite a flare or use anything that produces a spark or flame.

5. Communicate your situation: Once you and any passengers are in a safe location, notify others of your vehicle breakdown. Make note of surroundings and landmarks, buildings or road signs.

  • If you have a cell phone, immediately use it to call for help. Make the call from inside your vehicle if you are safely out of traffic. Otherwise, do so at a safe distance from the vehicle and roadway.

6. Remain with your vehicle: Safety experts agree that under most circumstances if you are able to pull away from traffic, it is safest to remain in your vehicle until a law enforcement officer or road service provider arrives.

  • In some circumstances, when there is no other alternative, you may need to rely on the help of a friendly motorist or passerby. Should this be your only alternative to get help, ask for identification including name, phone number and address before accepting assistance. Write this information down and leave it with another person, or in the vehicle, explaining where you are going, when you expect to return and what you hope to accomplish.
  • If you choose to exit the vehicle, do so safely and well away from oncoming traffic and your vehicle. If possible, you and any passengers should exit through the side of the vehicle facing away from the road.
  • If you choose to stay inside your vehicle, keep the windows almost closed and the doors locked. It’s very dangerous to lower your windows or open your vehicle doors to strangers. If a stranger does stop to offer help, ask the person to call for emergency road service.Safety greetings

Safety Greetings
Charmayne Meyer – Safety Officer

Signage and Maintenance

Taylea Petersen

As I’m sure you all noticed there was no article for maintenance and signage last month as it has been chaotic and upside down on this side of the wall; between quotes flying, call outs ringing off the hook and signage booming. Poor Mr Coleman doesn’t know whether to look left or right.

Maintenance seems to be creeping up out of the darkness and into the light (excuse the pun) as SLA’s are slowly building up. Pierre and Wimpie seem to be running around servicing generators, with Leonard installing and fixing lights, Vic hopping along with all his dismantling and assembling of machinery and old smiley (Charl) smelling all the fumes at Engen and getting happier every day.

I think it’s safe to say that things are looking up and we also have to thank the famous ‘load shedding’ as that helped with the increase in business – one positive aspect about load shedding at least.

As far as signage goes, it just seems to be picking up even more. Roland needs a time out, as we are flying through our stock, blades are getting blunt faster all because everyone always seem to require materials ‘yesterday’. Taylea and Prof are pulling their hair out and trying to stay on top of the demand but you will soon see they will be bald from all the hair pulling.

Otherwise things are looking up on the maintenance and signage side. If it continues to carry on like this you will soon see the staff looking ripped from all the running around.

The G-Spot – Pub & Diner

G-Spot will be starting the Loyalty card on the 4 th May 2015, where staff and regular customers will be getting discounts on their tabs once a Month. This is a thank you for all the support everyone has given the G-Spot. We would like to have more regular customers join our pub, as well as our stunning gardens. A great end to April with all our Friday Specials selling very well, we hope that everyone enjoyed them.

Our May Specials coming up:

  • 8 th May – Oxtail Stew
  • 15 th May – Stuffed calamari & Chips
  • 22 nd May – Pulled Pork Rolls
  • 29th May – Pizza’s…so come support us and enjoy our delicious meals!!

Starting from 5 th May 2015 G-Spot will be doing a pensioner’s day every Tuesday where customers over the age of 60 years will get 10% off their bill, so come along and bring friends & family for a lovely lunch or drinks.

We are going to be doing a bucket evening in May/June were you can buy any SAB product, which will consist of 6 Beers in a bucket at the price of R60.00 so come get your drink on.

July – August is the time for our aloes to start blooming, where we enjoy having all garden clubs come and admire our beautiful gardens with a Cup of tea/coffee as well as a muffin or sandwich. We are glad to have a few garden clubs coming to join us in the next few Months thank you to all, and thank you to Mara and Kitty for keeping the gardens magnificent as they always are.


Arnfred Nursery

Kloof Conservancy’s Indigenous Open Gardens Show is its flagship project and main annual fundraising fixture. Over the years, it has been instrumental in contributing to the protection of KwaZulu-Natal’s biodiversity by educating the broader public about our floral diversity and the merits of indigenous gardening, and by raising significant sums of money for local conservation projects, including for the removal of invasive alien plants in Krantzkloof Nature Reserve.

The Indigenous Open Gardens show is Kloof Conservancy’s main fundraiser and has been taking place since 1999. Over these years we have raised over R500 000 directly for Krantzkloof Nature Reserve and more recently funds have been used on our numerous environmental projects in Kloof and our immediate surrounds. The show has “inspired” many home owners to convert to indigenous gardening with the stunning range of gardens that have been featured over the years and this year’s event will no doubt continue this trend!

The Upper Highway is situated within the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot and is well known for the wealth of flora and fauna that is found in the area. The protection of this flora and fauna through indigenous gardens has been the theme of all our Indigenous Garden events.


Some simple guidelines to help you enjoy the gardens:

  • Wear sensible shoes – there are areas with cobblestone paving or gravel or slopes!
  • The are many interesting/unusual trees so bring along a tree book
  • Take a pair of binoculars if you are interested in birds – gardens create habitats which are ideal for birds and the dams attract many waterbirds.
  • Plan your comfort breaks – there are toilet facilities at the entrance and at the Tea Garden.
  • May can be very hot and you are going to be in the sun for much of the day – wear sunscreen and a hat – cooldrinks will be for sale at the entrance and at the Tea Garden
  • The gardens are “open” but the homes are not – please respect the owners privacy and do not wander through private spaces
  • Please do not bring any animals into the estate


  • When: 16 May 2015 – 17 May 2015
  • Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Where: Cotswold Downs Estate

(all information taken from )

There will be a number of nurseries (Arnfred included) with indigenous plant for sale on both days.

Please note that we will not be having an open day this month.



Dates to Remember in May

1st – Workers Day
6th – No Diet Day
10th – Mother’s Day
31st – Save your Hearing Day


Word of the Month

Ambrose Williams

Isaiah 60:20

“The Lord Will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.”

  • No Situation or circumstance lasts forever.
  • Things can and will change, just like the seasons.
  • Through it all the Lord remains your ‘Everlasting Light’.
  • He will light your way and bring it to pass.

PRAYER: Lord, be my ‘Everlasting Light’. Thank You that I can trust You that the seasons of my life will change in Your perfect timing.



With Winter almost being upon us and the weather changing from blissfully hot to what feels like below freezing at times, we’re looking for more ways to stay warm or even just a way to keep the flu at bay that is slowly but surely creeping up on us. Alcohol, in moderation, is one of the best ways to chase away the winter blues, especially if its whiskey, brandy or even sherry. Below is a bit more information about Brandy and its benefits:

Brandy is an alcoholic beverage that has been around in some form or another for centuries. The name brandy actually comes from a Dutch word “brandewijn” and is made by further distilling wine to increase the alcoholic content. The distillation of wine has been occurring since Classic times, but it was not widely understood or propagated until the 15th century. This form of liquor is typically between 30-60% alcohol by volume, which can pack quite a punch when drunk in excess. However, brandy is usually enjoyed as an after-dinner drink, not as something that one drinks all evening, as you may do with wine or beer at a party.

Brandy is derived from wine, yet it is aged in oak barrels, which increases the alcohol content and also gives it the unique colour. Brandy enjoys some of the same health benefits as wine, although most people are unaware of them. Many people think of alcoholic beverages as inherent vices, something that is very enjoyable, but can also punish you with hangovers, empty wallets, diseased livers, and addiction. As can be said of anything from sugar to red wine – everything in moderation!

Brandy is much the same, and while it does fall into the category of “hard alcohol”, it is produced in a unique way, is composed of interesting substances, and therefore offers different benefits and effects, as compared to other types of alcohol. As many people assume that alcohol only harms health, it is important to do your due diligence and see how there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two from time to time, particularly if it’s as beneficial as brandy! Let’s take a closer look at some of the important health benefits of brandy.

Heart Health: As with many different types of alcohol, brandy can have an effect on the heart. When drunk in moderation, research has shown that brandy contains a wide range of beneficial antioxidants, much like the wine from which it is derived. This antioxidant potential can actually reduce the amount of negative cholesterol in the heart, helping to balance out cholesterol levels and reducing plaque build-up. Preventing atherosclerosis is one of the best ways to avoid the potentially disastrous effects of heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, the polyphenolic compounds in brandy significantly reduceinflammation in the cardiovascular system, which eases tension in the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. However, as with any type of alcohol, drinking excessive amounts can also be bad for the heart, so caution should always be taken when monitoring consumption. A single glass after dinner is recommended as a safe and beneficial amount.

Anti-Aging Capacity: The antioxidant compounds found in brandy, some of which are attributed to the presence of copper in some of the aging barrels, can have a strong effect on the body. Antioxidants are organic compounds and substances that eliminate free radicals in our body or neutralize their effects. Free radicals are the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism that can cause our body’s healthy cells to mutate or undergo apoptosis (cell death). Antioxidants can help prevent this type of cellular death in the skin, hair, internal organs, and brain, among many others. Therefore, brandy has been shown to effectively prevent certain types of aging symptoms, including wrinkles on the skin, cognitive issues, poor vision, and other chronic conditions that occur as we age.

Cancer Treatment: Although there are certain cancers that are exacerbated by excessive liquor consumption, brandy has been connected to the treatment or prevention of certain cancers. One of the essential components of brandy is ellagic acid, which is a powerful organic compound that can prevent the development and spread of cancerous cells. This is most obviously seen with bladder and ovarian cancer, but this area of research is an exciting new area that may increase brandy’s importance as a healthy liquor choice for people. This is accomplished by the activation of a certain gene (by ellagic acid) that inhibits growth and metastasis of cancerous cells.

Sleep Issues: When it comes to alcohol helping you sleep, most people think of drinking too much alcohol and dozing off; however, brandy also has certain soothing, warming, and relaxing qualities that can help to induce healthy, restful sleep. Granted, the high alcohol content will also help the system due to its natural depressant qualities, which is one of the reasons that brandy is often suggested as an after- dinner drink, in preparation for sleep.

Weight Issues: Unlike carbohydrate-heavy alcoholic drinks, like beer, brandy contains no carbs and doesn’t fill you up. Brandy can also be enjoyed as an aperitif, without ruining your appetite, nor does it contribute to the simple sugar breakdown of carbs that can easily be stored as fat, such as those found in beer.

Respiratory Conditions: Traditionally, brandy has been used as an effective means to relieve respiratory issues, such as coughs or sore throats. The strong alcoholic content can help eliminate bacteria and loosens up phlegm and mucus, thereby acting as a type of expectorant. The anti-inflammatory properties in brandy can also help soothe the irritation that causes coughing and sore throats.

Immune System: For hundreds of years, brandy has been relied on as a traditional solution for the common cold or flu. The natural warming properties of brandy, mixed with its relaxing quality that induces healthy sleep and the antibacterial nature of alcohol, all make this popular and delicious liquor a popular boost for the immune system. It can eliminate pathogens that may be in your system and can boost your immune system with the help of its antioxidants.

A Final Word of Warning: As mentioned earlier, alcohol of any kind should only be consumed in moderation, as it can contribute to serious damage to your liver and other organs, as well as your psychological health, as alcohol consumption can easily lead to addiction. Consume brandy in moderation, but consult with your doctor before adding it in as a regular practice in your life, particularly if you have experienced liver problems in the past, or if you have a history of addictive behaviour. Furthermore, if you are suffering from alcohol addiction, or think that you need help overcoming your addiction, speak to friends or family members who can get you the help you need.