We welcome all members, residents, and holiday makers as well as Kevin van Huyssteen (Chair: KOSRSA) and Stuart Clarkson (Chair: Estuary Care). Captain Tommie Parkinson, SAPS station commander, will also join us as soon as he can.
I must apologise that as a result of and because of the Covid-19 virus epidemic and the lockdown experienced, also here locally, I am borrowing much from last year’s report with some modifications.
We have seen a record number of 281 members this past year: 233 from BRM and 48 from RB. I hope that we can keep this up and even improve on the numbers.
This past year saw your committee members, few as they are, continuing with limited projects in the interests of residents, homeowners, and all holidaymakers. We are aware that there is a school of thought that many of the matters attended to by BRRAG fall within the domain of the Municipality, but as we should now all be aware, if we had to wait for that institution for full service delivery, much of the maintenance will not be attended to at all. We do, however, often liaise with municipal officials to secure as much service delivery as we can, but the remainder of the general attention to our Village falls squarely on the BRRAG shoulders. We do so because we believe that our investments are worthy of protection and the upkeep of the area is a therefore of primary concern to us all.
Our annual December security guard project commenced rather shakily, but with some encouragement, members once again assured that we could implement the project. During the months preceding the holiday, we were most concerned by the number of criminal incidents in our area. The local Nightwatch team was kept busy. I am pleased to report that since our guards commenced duties earlier this month, we have not had a single criminal incident reported to us. I will ask Ferenc Toth, our security subcommittee member, to give a short overview of the security situation as far as BRRAG, our and other Nightwatch teams, SAPS, and liaison with Hitec are concerned. It was interesting to observe that most of the incidents that occurred earlier, were at homes without any armed response systems. I suggest that you consider installing a security system if you have not done so. But our sincere thanks must go the Ferenc and the Nightwatch team for the dedication and vigilance throughout the year. Contributions towards the Nightwatch team are ring fenced and utilised for that purpose only for items such as torches, radios, bullet proof vests, cell phones and petrol.
Our holiday Riverbank service is in full swing and you will have noticed our employees at work. The Riverbank and ablution facilities are maintained and kept in a sanitary state. Our assistants are employed throughout the year to attend to many issues, including the inspection and service of the security fence surrounding the old Village, which on its own is a mammoth task, and many other maintenance jobs. We cannot put a hat at the door to collect a bonus for our employees. But you can pay a small amount into our bank account with the usual reference but changed to Staff.xxxStreet.Name. BRRAG owns its own machinery and equipment and we maintain most of the open areas: this include the entrance road, the tennis court area, the cemetery, and several other open spaces. The general maintenance and painting of road signs are all attended to by Corrie Swanepoel and this year, overseen by Patrick Miller. We are indebted to these gentlemen for their fantastic dedication and the time spent in our Village.
As for Riversbend, we have a very dedicated member there: Dalien Pachonick. Dalien works tirelessly to engage the municipal officials for assistance and then, as a last resort, get on with the job herself. The general appearance of Riversbend has much improved over the last years because of the efforts of Dalien. Thank you for your dedication. Thanks, are also due to Mike White who assisted Dalien with erecting all the new street name sign boards and Kevin Bates who assists her with tasks.
If I mention the funding of BRRAG too often, please be patient with me as, besides the time, work and efforts of committee members, money is after all the oil of our wheels. We have a few members who generously support us during the year, and we thank you for your assistance, which makes it possible for us to actively do what is required in our area. We supplement the membership fees in all sorts of ways: special braais and outings, craft markets and raffles and the 100 club. All the additional fund raising was enthusiastically attended to by our Treasurer, Jack Dell. Jack arranges each function and all the markets, although with help from our friends but he ensures that everything is in place and run smoothly. Unfortunately, during the Covid year all these efforts were hampered. Jack also attends to our newsletter that keeps all of us in the loop about Boesmans affairs. Thank you, Jack. Please join our 100 club – particulars are available on our website.
But being a committee member does not mean that we mow the grassed areas. There are meetings to attend: not only do we have monthly committee meetings although less so this past year, but we are also represented on the Municipal Ward Committee where the basic input into municipal affairs is given. We also attend meetings of the Ndlambe Ratepayer’s Forum, which consists of all the ratepayers’ associations in Ndlambe and we liaise with the municipal manager and other officials to promote our interests. Our vice, Sheila Swanepoel, has been our main representative at all the Ward and NRF meetings. Much time and effort go into this and we are fortunate to have had Sheila attending to our affairs at these forums.
Our liaison with the municipal officials and other officials has had mixed successes. Some issues we raised were attended to, with some we do get some assistance, but many are not responded to. We, nevertheless, do have a relatively good working relationship with the officials. We again received a notice about the non-renewal of river buoy permits and the removal thereof, but unlike the previous years, we did not notice the removal of any buoys.
Members mandated us and we commenced to engage the Municipality regarding its duty to protect homeowners against the occasional but serious flooding experienced by some members. We have had successful interactions with municipal officials without going to court. The report will be handed to affected members and it is now up to them to ensure compliance and implementation. BRRAG has played its role. A copy will be posted on our website soon.
Thank you all for your interest and assistance to run this ratepayers’ organisation successfully this past year. Save for donors, who assisted financially, we say thanks to: Natie Ferreira (general assistance), Barbara Meiring (translations), Gerald Schmidt (general and camera fund), Mike White (general assistance RB), Andrew Murray (trailer insurance), Jurgen Potgieter (website hosting), Mike Wells (security fence), Antonie Gildenhuys (legal opinion sports day), Des Alcock (trailer parking), Patrick Miller (maintenance), Tessa MacTaggart and her team (webmaster), Frans Wessels (general assistance), Dennis Laubscher (flooding) and Desire Green (general assistance) – if I missed your name, I do apologise.
This is also the end of an era. Corrie Swanepoel joined this committee in 2011, and Sheila who joined in 2009 as did a few others of us. Corrie has been the backbone of the Village maintenance for 9 years. We have had praises regarding the pristine condition of our Village – all due to the efforts of Corrie and his guide dogs. I cannot imagine what this Village would have looked like if it were not for the exceptional dedication and hard work of this man. All residents did not always agree with everything that he did, but that is not important. What this man did for our Village these past years is just phenomenal. We cannot thank you enough. We wish you the best of times and even better health in the years to come. Thank you, Corrie.
It has also become time for us not so young committee members to stand back and for others to take over and drive the Organisation. I hope that we shall see newcomers to come forward and take the Organisation to new heights. Thank you, Sheila for the 12 years of dedication and being the backbone of what this Organisation achieved – all the hours of sitting in Ward, NRF and other meetings and enduring the frustration thereof.
And Jack Dell, who settled here in Africa to be close to his children. He thought that it would be easy but soon became the active figure without which BRRAG could not have functioned so successfully: arranging the get-togethers and fundraisers that kept us afloat. Your energy is an example to those who will take over from us.
As is the case everywhere in the country, Ndlambe is also developing its Spatial Development Framework and we registered as an interested party to stay abreast with developments on this front. There is an application pending for a fuel dispensing licence in 2nd Avenue Riversbend – we presume it is planned at the new shopping area that is being developed, although I am not 100% certain of this. Particulars appeared in the recent edition of the local newspaper.
Water remains a scarce commodity but after some breakdowns during early December, things are on track and the water supply has been more regular. Nevertheless, we urge all residents to use water sparingly as our plant is the source of water for many areas in Ndlambe.
I wish you all a happy festive season and a wonderful 2021.
If you need to know more about BRRAG – just Google BRRAG, it comes up first.
We hope to keep our service to our community up and in line with our motto: “we make the difference”.
I thank you attending our AGM.
28 December 2020