Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.-John James Audubon
Executive Officer’s Report 2017
By Chris Jennings
Our Association has experienced a year with various challenges, some of which were manifested over the past couple of years – the most notable of which was the unexpected membership cancellations and the direct and indirect effect of the prevailing drought which compounded these challenges. These issues will be covered in the President’s Report and the Financial Report in more detail.
During 2017, the Association managed to attract new members and recovered somewhat from the loss created by individuals who did not renew their membership for various reasons. It is a common fact amongst accredited Associations that certain new members join only to obtain a letter of good standing and an endorsement letter for a firearm application – then do not renew their membership until they need another letter of accreditation. Many thanks to various individuals and branches for the hard work they have done in assisting with signing on new members.
At the time of this report, our membership totalled 2 807, which is 200 less than the number for 2016 at the same time of the year. However, actual members, after cancellations were accounted for as at the end of 2016 totalled 2 680 – therefore we achieved an actual increase of 127 members which equates to approximately 5%. This figure is substantially lower than the 373 members who joined in 2016. However, 331 members were cancelled in February 2017 due to non-payment or cancellations. Therefore the actual retained membership for 2016 was 42. The increase in members during 2017 will include those members who re-joined the Association. Based on the figures above, we have accumulated around two to three members each working week.
We have 1 235 members who have successfully obtained Proficiency status (44% of members), 1 016 members (36% of members) who have achieved Dedicated Hunter status, and we have 29 accredited Professional Hunters among our members. In addition, with CHASA authorising our Association to accredit qualifying members with Sport Shooting status, we now have 95 members (2016 – 57 members; 2015 – 13 members) who have general Dedicated SS status and 16 members (2016 – 14 members; 2015 – 5 members) who have Dedicated Handgun SS status. For details on how to qualify for Sport Shooting status, please contact your Branch Committee for information. One of the positive benefits of attaining accredited SS status is that firearm licences have a term of 10 years.
Some further stats for your information: we have prepared 310 endorsement letters for firearm applications for our members in support of their personal applications to CFR – which relates to approximately six endorsements per working week.
Members are encouraged to undertake the training for Proficiency status, as this is the minimum requirement for hunting in any Ezemvelo Controlled Hunting Area, and is also becoming a requirement from the majority of the land owners with whom we are currently arranging Association hunts. Besides the additional knowledge you will gain, the courses are great fun and you get to meet fellow members and hunters from the Association. Please liaise with your respective Branch Chairmen in this regard.
The Association office continues to be a hive of activity, specifically during the open hunting season, due to members’ requirements for licences, TOPS permits, targets, hunting gear, booking Association administered hunts, firearm endorsement letters and new membership applications for example. This is not forgetting the members who pay us a visit just to chat, which we welcome. Due to this ongoing seasonal activity, we employed an additional staff member on a fixed term contract, five days a week, to assist Hannelie and Rose and to enable them to perform their day to day responsibilities. The two ladies that assisted in this role, on separate occasions, were Lulu Myandu and Diana Olivier, and I trust that those members who dealt with them received the expected level of service.
We have expanded on the diversity of the “Camo Corner” stock in 2017 and took on a range of hunting clothing from the Sterling brand, which is very competitively priced and durable. Besides numerous books on sale, we currently stock a range of DVDs as well. Specific items, or items out of stock, can be ordered through the office or via our website. With the Christmas period fast approaching, it might be an idea to drop by the office and browse the items we have in stock – either to purchase for someone as a gift or to drop a hint to a loved one with regard to a present for yourself.
With regard to the administrative function of the office, I need to highlight the importance of members adopting the use of electronic communication. For those members who do not have an email address, please consider giving us a family member’s email address if suitable and convenient for you. It is certainly a time-consuming and costly undertaking to post notices and other information to members. In addition, the once-efficient postal service seems to be experiencing its own challenges and members who use the postal system run the risk of losing out on hunting opportunities and important notices.
The Association arranged and administered various hunts for our members during 2017 and a big thank you goes to Geoff Müller and his team as well as Hannelie for ensuring the process went as smoothly as possible with regards to the Kameelkop opportunities. As this is certainly a team effort, I would like to thank all those members and non-members who assisted in making this success possible. Once again, due to the prevailing drought in the Phongolo Game Reserve (PGR), we were not allocated any animals from Ezemvelo KZNWL for hunting/auctioning in 2016 for the 2017 season. However, we were able to offer our concessionaires and successful bidders at the AGM like-for-like packages at Kameelkop. A few of these packages were taken up in exchange for the Phongolo packages and the members were well satisfied with the hunting experience at Kameelkop. We have acquired a two year extension on the existing contract for hunting at Phongolo Game Reserve due to the effects of the prevailing drought.
Subsequent to ongoing meetings with Ezemvelo in 2017, we were hopeful that hunting in Phongolo CHA would be available in 2018. Unfortunately, this is not to be and we were advised on 27 October that there will be no hunting packages available to the Association due to the ongoing effects of the drought. A site visit conducted at the PGR on 20 October supported a report that the Jozini Dam is estimated to be at 36% of capacity. This will now be the third year that we have not had the opportunity to hunt in Phongolo CHA. We will continue to engage with Ezemvelo to find a solution to the problem and/or identify an alternative hunting area where like-for-like animals will be made available to us for hunting and auctioning as per the existing contract that is in place. The cancellation of hunting in Phongolo CHA will again have a negative effect on our income in the current financial year.
We expect to be allocated a quota of animals for 2018 from the land owner at Northington, Kamberg and will confirm this with you as early as possible in 2018. We received numerous additional hunts during the year, without the office taking on the administrative function for these hunts, and we trust that the members who participated in these hunts were successful and had an enjoyable and memorable experience. More details regarding hunting activities can be found in the report submitted by the Chairman of the Hunting Committee.
We have been approached by various other land owners who have hunting available. These land owners have approached the office to administer these hunts on their behalf in 2018. When these are confirmed, we will communicate the details to you.
A special word of thanks to Karel Landman who very generously donated 24 non-trophy Warthog and six days of accommodation at one of his bush camps for Junior Hunting opportunities. This donation is made on behalf of the Karel Landman Trust annually and on an ongoing basis. The prevailing drought made hunting these normally prolific animals very challenging. For further information on this initiative, please contact your Branch Chairman or Head Office.
For interest and information, revenue from hunting licences issued from the office this year totalled R13 285.00.
Nyala News Magazine
The Association’s Nyala News magazine continues to be of a high standard and we have received many compliments on the quality and content of the editorial. Unfortunately, due to the cost of producing a membership magazine of this quality and in light of our current financial constraints, it has become necessary to request members to make a contribution towards the production costs and postage of the magazine. I am pleased to report that only a very small percentage of our members have opted not to contribute towards the cost of producing Nyala News. Special thanks to the Fire Tree team for their hard work and dedication in ensuring the magazine retains a professional image. Many thanks to the advertisers and contributors who have submitted interesting articles and photos to ensure that the content is varied and interesting. Please remember, this is your magazine and we are continuously looking for suitable content for each edition, so please submit whatever you can to assist us in producing a magazine we can all be proud of. The next edition will be distributed in December and will include the highlights of the AGM.
The website has been upgraded and although it was a joint effort to achieve this, special mention needs to be made of the work done by Hannelie and the team at Fire Tree to maintain and update the site. In addition to the updating of current information, we are receiving ongoing adverts for the sale of hunting-related items as well as hunting opportunities. We urge members to check the website regularly to take advantage of these.
Nyala Golf Day
This is another highlight on our calendar and we held our 15th anniversary event in 2017. In total, we had entries from 17 teams consisting of four players each. Unfortunately Ezemvelo was unable, due to the prevailing drought, to donate a hunting package for the auction at the prize giving function. However, we received donations and items from other sources which resulted in some lively bidding. This enabled us to generate much-needed funds for our conservation activities. Many thanks to all the sponsors for their kind donations which added to the success of this event.
The Nyala Golf Day for 2018 is expected to be held on 13 April 2018. Please add this to your golfing calendar – we look forward to hosting our members once again.
Affiliation and Meetings
The Association is a respected member of various organisations and forums. It is represented on the following:
This organisation continues to meet and lobby with both National and Provincial Government departments as well as the private sector and international partners to promote our cause and ensure that we continue to enjoy the freedom to hunt. With the appointment of Stephen Palos as CEO in 2016, there has been a noticeable increase in the activity of CHASA, as well as a remarkable decrease in the time it now takes to achieve finality on important issues. CHASA also represents affiliated Associations, such as ourselves, on the Hunting and Wildlife Association of SA Forum (HAWASA).
Provincial Hunters Advisory Committee (HAC)
This forum consists of representatives from the major hunting-related stakeholders, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
In addition to the HAC, for which revised terms of reference are under consideration, Ezemvelo KZNWL have been tasked by the Department of Environmental Affairs to establish a Provincial KZN Wildlife Forum. It is envisioned that this Forum will represent additional stakeholders in the industry – with the inclusion of representation from the HAC.
National Hunters Forum
This includes the SAPS/CFR Consultative Forum and consists of CFR-accredited hunting and shooting associations, as well as other stakeholders in the hunting industry who meet to discuss challenges of common interest.
National SAPS/CFR Consultative Forum
Additional meetings take place between the above-mentioned parties, together with CFR decision makers. This is to ensure the FCA is efficiently managed and administered.
We are no longer an Independent member, but now an Associate member via CHASA.
SA Gunowners Association.
Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.
Partners in combatting illegal poaching with dogs and general poaching activities. Members have recently been introduced to a “911” emergency reaction service offered by SA CAN.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust. Specifically, this trust is active in the areas of Oribi conservation and anti-poaching.
EXCO has been offered a seat on the Provincial Committee of Wildlife Ranching of South Africa to further the interests of both organisations, which we have accepted. This will surely increase the hunting opportunities for members, and we trust that our association with the KwaZulu-Natal and national committees of WRSA will be long and mutually rewarding.
True Green Alliance (TGA)
We are a corporate member of this organisation, the CEO of which is Ron Thomson, our guest speaker at the 2017 AGM. Please consider joining the TGA, either in your individual capacity or, if relevant, in one of the other membership categories.
In conclusion, I would like to thank our special office ladies for the dedication and support that I have received from them during this year – it has been a team effort ensuring the level of service to our members remains high and that it is carried out in the most efficient manner possible. Also a big thank you to our President, Bruce Ambrose, and EXCO members for the support that both the office and I personally have received during the past year.