Post Date: 28 Nov 2019
By Willem De Valence
It has been a real privilege for me to serve on the Durban Branch Committee as
Chairman during 2019 and it gives me great pleasure to provide you with my branch report for the year.
It is important to report that Durban branch did not have a Branch Committee over the recent years. I was Chairman of the Zululand Committee over the recent years and up until December 2016 when my family and I relocated to the Durban area. In January 2019, the current serving committee members and I were approached to serve on the Durban Branch Committee to have the Durban Branch ‘fire on all cylinders’ again. The committee got together early in the year with Chris Jennings and Bruce Ambrose to set some portfolios, key strategy and some objectives. I have to commend and thank each of the current committee members for their efforts and commitment throughout the year. This committee was instrumental in making 2019 a success in realising great activities for our members during the year. We had monthly waterholes, shoots, training and junior hunts on offer for our members. To all of the committee members that continued to add value to our branch, thank you very much for your unselfish and continuous support to this branch which has enabled us to make a difference in the hunting, shooting and conservation fraternity in the Durban area.
As reported in this report, our membership did not grow over the last year. We see exactly the same decreasing attendance at branch activities including our monthly waterholes, shoots, training and other activities. This is not a unique challenge to our branch but throughout the hunting and other associations in South Africa. The main contributing reasons for this in our branch are members emigrating, moving from KZN and some leaving as they are not in a position to afford association fees anymore. Despite the low attendance at branch activities, my committee remained committed
to serve our members in various areas. Taking into account that each of the committee members has voluntarily offered their personal, valuable time and effort expecting nothing in return.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members whom have continued to support our various branch activities throughout the year. A big thank you goes to each of these members! Let’s continue to make use of all of the opportunities afforded to us to make our Branch bigger, better and stronger for all of our members to enjoy.
Our membership at September 2018 was reported at 924 members. After the annual cancellations our current membership is at 861 members. We unfortunately lost 63 members throughout the year.
Our branch finances are on the low side mainly due to limited funds raised from our branch this year. With the decline in members attending our monthly Waterholes and other activities, limited fundraising from raffles and other activities, it becomes challenging to give value back to our members. We were in the fortunate position to keep the braai fires going at the monthly waterholes and to provide our monthly shooters with targets at no additional cost to our members. We endeavour to focus on fundraising going forward and count on your support in this regard.
We will focus on two EXCO initiatives going forward. Branches will earn 50% of the entrance fees for new members proposed at branch level, once the membership is approved and active. Branches will also earn 50% of the value of the advertising rate for new adverts in the Nyala News Magazine which are sourced at branch level. I encourage all our members to support these initiatives to drive our branch’s economic engine.
Sadly the support from our members at the available shooting ranges have been on the low side throughout the year. We have had between one and twelve members making use of this opportunity on a monthly basis. This serves as a reminder of our monthly shoots taking place as per the Shooting Whats App Group. If there is no need for shooting on our branch then we will need to regrettably stop our branch shooting activities. If any members have any proposal as to increase the member participation at our monthly shoots, please do not hesitate to contact the committee. I would like to emphasise that it is still a privilege for our members to have access to shooting ranges of this size at no direct cost to our members. I look forward to support from our members to ensure our continued use of the shooting ranges.
Finance / Treasure – Ahmed Haffajee
A review of our Financial Position as at 31 August 2019:
The Durban branch generated revenue of R7,485 from Waterhole activities and the
disposal of assets. Operating expenses attributable to waterhole events and range shooting days amounted to R5,863. A net surplus of R1,622 is reported for the current financial year.
The balance sheet reflects cash on hand of R5,716 consisting of cash at the bank and petty cash. An amount of R6,771 is owing to the association at year end, resulting in negative equity of R1,055. The newly elected Durban Branch Committee inherited an operating deficit of R2,677 and has reduced this to its current level in a space of only four months.
Our financials are shared with the Association Financial Committee and are presented to all branch members at our branch AGM.
Hunting, DCAC, Records
The Branch and Association continued to inform our members of hunting opportunties across the province. The need for Proficiency grading and Dedicated Hunter and/or Shooter status was emphasized throughout the year to all of our members. Our branch also continued to afford our members the opportunity to meet these needs and requirements by offering the same throughout the year. Proficiency grading and Dedicated Hunter status are requirements should our members wish to make use of Association hunting opportunities and DCAC activities. Please feel free to engage with me or any of the other committee members if you have a need for Proficiency grading and/or Dedicated Hunter/Shooter status.
Shoots, Shooting, Range
Sentara Shooting Range – Neil Steyn
We had regular monthly branch shoots taking place at the Sentara Shooting Range as
• February 2019: Shoot rained out
• March 2019: Blue wildebeest shoot (5 members attending)
• April 2019: Combined Shoot due to Easter (2 members attending)
• May 2019 Cancelled due to no interest
• June 2019: Cancelled due to no interest (hunting season)
• July 2019: Cancelled due to no interest (hunting season)
• August 2019: Impala shoot (7 members attending)
• September 2019: No attendance
• October 2019: Cancelled due to no interest
Unfortunately not a good active year for shooting due to interferences by the weather, Rugby World Cup and hunting. Somehow my attendance record shows a maximum total of only 12 members attending. This is probably due to various other commitments and other competing ranges becoming available.
Broadway Shooting Range – Ron Daniel
We have an agreement with Broadway Shooting Club that allows our members to make use of this shooting range. Numerous members visit this range for sighting in of firearms, the testing of home reloads and shooting practice etc. This range is conveniently situated less than four kilometres from the N3 as it crosses the Umgeni River. As there is permanent staff on the range, it is relatively safe to go there on your own. A call to the KZN Hunters office is all that is required to book a two hour time slot. We are very fortunate to have
access to this range almost on our doorstep.
Youth Development – Willem De Valence
Our goal in the Association remains to train and involve juniors in all our activities to ensure better ethical hunters for tomorrow. The Association continuous to attract juniors to join the Association, to share our love for hunting and for our beautiful country. A major reduction in joining fees for juniors makes it possible for juniors to join and this has allowed for a steady growth of junior members.
Phongola Dads and Lads/Lasses
It is with regret that this event was again not possible in 2019 as for the last few years due to the drought suffered at the Phongola Game Reserve Controlled Hunting Area. This area did receive some rain and we are looking forward to making use of this opportunity
afforded to us once again as soon as circumstances allow this. Dads and Lads/Lasses from all branches may apply to participate in this initiative.
Pongola Game Reserve Junior Hunt
Sadly we only had two juniors participating in the April 2019 junior hunt. Dyllan Beukes from Zululand and JJ De Valence from the Durban Branch participated in this hunt and both hunters wanted to hunt with a crossbow. Dyllan managed to hunt a Zebra stallion from a hide and JJ a Kudu cow on walk and stalk fashion.
Willem De Valence managed to take some more juniors out to hunt at Pongola Game
Reserve during the July 2019 school holiday. This event was open to all of our junior
members across the various branches. The attendance was better at this event and
the following juniors attended:
• Reece Meiring (Durban Branch)
• JJ De Valence (Durban Branch)
• Sijmen van der Merwe JNR (Zululand Branch)
• Josh Bloemink (Midlands Branch)
Game hunted by the juniors included Warthog, Impala and Blue Wildebeest. This event remains a highlight on our calendar and we are looking forward to the next events in 2020. It would be remiss of me not to thank Karel Landman from Pongola Game Ranch for his generous opportunity to this branch. Please read the full story in the Nyala News magazine with some pictures taken during these events.
Wildland ‘DOPPIE Vir Jeug’ Junior Hunt
The Wildland ‘DOPPIE Vir Jeug’ project is the Wildland Hunting Magazine’s youth development project lead by Jan de Man. This project is aimed at underprivileged juniors who never and will most probably never hunt. We support this project by availing some hunting opportunities from our landowners for some of these underprivileged juniors.
Jan de Man was already fully booked during 2019 and we did not support this event as in 2018. We are engaged with all stakeholders here and look forward to being part of this
project in 2020 again. We must continue to look for hunting opportunities and support from our land owners and urge land owners to contact me or any other committee
members should they be interested in this or other junior hunting projects.
Training – Mark Hawkins
This year all of our training kicked off at a slow pace. We experienced very low interest in training and had to re-schedule most of the offered courses a view times to accommodate our members. Most of the courses ended up cancelled due to very little interest.
Courses again planned for 2020 are as follows:
• Junior Hunters Course
• Senior Hunters Course / Proficiency Training
• Reloading Course
• Range Officers Course
Fundraising, events, PRO and Waterholes – Chris Cox
We had some great waterhole presentations during the year as follows:
The committee continue to provides for waterhole presentations with braai fires provided. The Durban Branch AGM is on 25 October 2019 and a lamb on the spit is provided at a reduced cost subsidized by the branch for members. A swap and sell morning will be held on the morning of 23 November 2019 at the Association Offices for anyone wanting to part with unwanted items. Fires will be lit for a lunch time braai.
At present we have a raffle for fundraising and a Diamondback binocular can be won. Make sure that you have a ticket available to stand a chance win this great prize.
Most Active Durban Branch Committee Member 2019
The committee selected Neil Steyn to be awarded this award. I would like to quote Ron Daniel “When the association lost the use of the Umhlali shooting range, most Durban members did not have access to any range for practice and load development. Our association came to an agreement with another association whereby we were given a monthly timeslot on the Sentara Shooting Range just past Stanger. The use of the range was subject to the Safety and Range rules of the other association. For quite a while no action was taken to enable us to use the range despite numerous members still complaining they had nowhere to shoot. Neil then decided, off his own bat, to personally do something about the situation. He finalised the allocation of range dates with the other association and started organising monthly shoots. As no accredited range officer was available to meet the range requirements, Neil once again stepped up to the plate by doing the requirements to qualify as a range officer. Since then, Neil has organised a shoot every month whenever possible. He travels from Pinetown to Stanger and back (a round trip of about 200 kilometers) for every shoot at his own cost.”
We thank Neil for his unselfish and continuous support to this branch which has enabled
us to continue to shoot throughout the year.
It gives me great pleasure to report that we have come a long way during the year at the Durban Branch. The branch is in a better state than it was a year ago. I have all of our committee members and our valued members to thank and give credit to. There is no doubt in my mind that this Association and the Durban Branch belong to our members and that their active participation and continuous support and input will determine its state and future. All opportunities and possibilities are there and are presented to us each day. We must all just collaborate and work together to ensure that these opportunities presented to us are not missed.
To our committee, again, thank you stacks to each of you in which you have managed your portfolios and also the way that you have supported other members in their portfolios, to continue to serve this branch. You have done us all very proud to be in this branch. I wish to thank you and your families for the hard work and dedication. I also thank you for making yourselves available for re-election as we still need you and that we will also have some new young members joining our committee. This is my outcry to call for new committee members. Durban branch has 861 members as at today and surely, we can have 10 likeminded committee members looking after the needs of our branch for 2020? To the committee for 2020, all of my very best wishes and every success for an awesome 2020!
A special word of thanks to Chris, Hannelie and Rose from the association office, whom all supported me and our branch committee throughout the year in various ways. Thank you stacks guys!
I would also like to thank Annetjie and Roger Angelo from Harcourts for allowing our members to park on their premises and Wouter Els from Pro Force for the security staff whom will be looking after our vehicles tonight during the AGM. Also, a warm thank you to Spits Unlimited for tonight’s spitbraai and to all office staff, members and committee members whom all assisted to prepare for this evening.
Yours in Hunting, Shooting & Conservation.
H E W Bosse