Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Bushman’s River Mouth Ratepayers’ Organisation Meeting held on Friday, 27 December 2019 at 09:00 at the old Town Hall Bushman’s River Mouth.
The chair, Lӧtter Wepener, welcomed the members present.
2. Attendance register and apologies
In attendance: as per attendance register.
Apologies: Ray Edwards, Maureen Quin
The meeting was opened with a prayer by Reverend Mike Smuts.
3. Confirmation of previous minutes
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of 27 December 2018 be approved and the chairman be authorised to sign them.
4. Motion of Condolence
The chairman proposed a motion of condolence on behalf of the members of BRRAG for those members and residents who had passed away during the year: Bill Northrop, Rod Tavener, Jacques de Coning, Basil de Coning, Craig Snyman, Jackie McTaggart; Lillian Sparkman, Graham Huchinson, Kingsley Dickson, Julie Flannagan, Tienie Muller; Julie and Mauritz van der Heever.
5. Chairman’s report
The chairman reported as follows:
We welcome all residents and holiday makers.
“Thank you. You know, coming here today my wife said…Whatever you do don’t try to be too charming, witty or intellectual…just be yourself.”
This past year saw your committee members, few as they are, continuing with several 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 in order to secure as much service delivery as we can, but the remainder of the general attendance to our Village fall 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.
Who could resist remarking positively about our appearance as you drove into our Village recently? All of this cost money and we are most thankful for those members who make donations, additional to membership fees to the Organisation.
Earlier this year, we commenced replacing the rusted and dilapidated manhole covers and our call to members for assistance rendered about R 40 000 and we replaced the worst covers for over R 50 000. There are a few more covers that need replacement in the interests of safety, and we hope to embark on a final replacement project once again in the new year.
Our annual December security guard project commenced rather shakily, but with some encouragement, members once again assured that could we implement the project. During the months preceding the holiday, we were most concerned with the number of criminal incidents in our area. The local Nightwatch team was kept extremely busy after the paroling of convicted persons in September. The incidents continued at an alarming rate throughout October and November. 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 Ference 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 responses systems. I suggest that you consider installing a security system if you have not done so. But our sincere thanks must go the Ference and the night watch team for the dedication and vigilance throughout the year. Contributions towards the night watch team are ring fenced and utilised for that purposes only, torches, radios, bullet proof vests, cell phones and petrol.
Our holiday beach service is in full swing and you will have noticed our employees with their conspicuous yellow jackets and BRRAG @ WORK in places. The River beach and ablution facilities are maintained and kept in a sanitary state. During the early part of December, the toilets and showers were vandalized on a nightly basis with the result that we commenced locking the facilities overnight as the cost of repairs were just accumulating unnecessarily. 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. The hat at the door is bonus a collection for our employees. BRRAG owns its own machinery and equipment and we maintain most of the open areas: this includes 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 overseen by his guide dog Honey – sometimes Honey gets distracted and then you see a centre line painted a bit skew … but we forgive her for that. We are indebted to Corrie for his fantastic dedication and the time spent in our Village.
As for Riversbend, we have two dedicated workers there: Dalien Pachonick and Kevin Bates. Both these members work tirelessly to engage the municipal officials for assistance and then, as a last resort, get on with the job. The general appearance of Riversbend has much improved over the last years as a result of the efforts of these two members. Thank you for your dedication.
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 is enthusiastically attended to by our Treasurer, Jack Dell. Jack arranges each function and all the markets, although with a little help from our friends but he ensures that everything is in place and runs smoothly. The recent craft market raised over R 8 000 – but only due to a lot of hard work and planning. Jack also attends to our newsletter that keeps all of us in the loop about Boesmans affairs. Thank you, Jack. Please join out 100 club – pamphlets are available.
But being a committee member does not only mean that we mow the grass. There are meetings to attend: not only do we have monthly committee meetings, we are 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 in order 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 Sheila to attend to our affairs in this manner.
One person sent an unpleasant message earlier this year about the successes of the Kenton Ratepayers’ committee comparted to BRRAG: our response was clear: please do not compare us with Kenton, they have 30 times our membership and a full complement of committee members. We are six. And we are doing extremely well despite our limitations. Another example: Coral Gardens, trimmed their trees and threw all the green refuse on the side of the road leading into Bushman’s. When approached by a committee member to assist and remove the branches, we were met with abuse. So, who did the job of clearing the main entrance road?…. BRRAG and municipal officials who did assist with this. You can assist BRRAG by hiring our trailer for R 150 a day and taking your green refuse to the industrial area. This generates funds and reduces the work for the BRRAG committee members.
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. This year SAMSA decided to clamp down on watercraft usage: in PA the impounded 5 craft for inter alia, overloading, no life jackets, no skipper’s licence and no Certificate of Fitness. This meant that the craft were removed from the water and fines were issued. If you want to know how to be compliant, please talk to me afterwards: we have a flyer from a registered SAMSA inspector, who can do the necessary inspection and issue a COF if you are interested in being compliant. This is in addition to the registration with the municipality and paying the annual fees, which can be done at the Kenton Municipal office.
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 reported about that engagement earlier this year and you can read all about is on our webpage. We must say a huge thank you to dr Dennis Laubscher, who engaged a firm of engineers to do the groundwork and make suggestions to the Municipality at no cost. It now appears that the solution has been decided upon and accepted and that funding is awaited to get on with the implementation of a solution.
Ndlambe and the whole of the Eastern Cape have been declared drought-stricken areas. You will hear more about the local water supply soon. But all members are encouraged to install rainwater tanks and so reduce reliance on the public water resources.
We have a good working relationship with Estuary Care who is a custodian of our estuaries and under the watchful eye of Ted Gilfillan, attends to many projects around our estuaries. One example was the steps to the Mouton board walk that were damaged during the recent high tides which were repaired with a financial contribution from BRRAG. For more information about Estuary Care, google Estuary Care. The EC AGM will be held in the Kenton town Hall on 30 December at 10h00. It also hosted the book launch of Exploring our Estuaries, recently. The book is available at the Houseplanner and the Kenton Book Shop.
Our representative on Estuary Care, Bill Northrop, passed away earlier this year. The work that Bill did for BRRAG and Estuary Care and us, the community, is immeasurable. He went on his way quietly, seeing to a large number of matters, including the establishment and maintenance of our firefighting equipment, which is now housed in the emergency centre at the entrance. Bill attended to the River markings which are so important with the constant migration of the sand banks in the River. He housed much of our equipment such as the Christmas lights, the refuse trailer and much more. Volunteers like Bill are few and far between. We remember him fondly.
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, Barbara Meiring, Gerald Schmidt (general and camera fund), Mike White water technical committee, and the Wesley family, Andrew Murray, Cas Vorster, Jurgen Potgieter all our pancake bakers, who do so at our craft markets by spending the morning baking and selling foodstuff – after supplying the ingredients as a donation!
You might have noticed that we put up less Christmas lights this year, but again, that is due to our limited budget. The cost this year was just over R 8000 whilst we usually spend about R 20 000 to put the lights up and take them down. If you would like to see more lights during December, see our website and make a donation with reference “lights”, and the funds will be used for that purpose. Our subs are the main source of funding for maintenance, so please encourage your friends and neighbours to join BRRAG and pay a membership fee. All other funds, the guards, Nightwatch, camera fund, projects, are ring fenced and applied for its dedicated purposes.
We wish you all a happy festive season and a wonderful 2020.
If you need to know more about BRRAG – just Google BRRAG, it comes up first.
We’ve done very well, and I am very proud of all of the committee members. But, how do we push the envelope and come up with new ideas? How do we surpass ourselves? Well, Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari Games said “everyone who’s ever take a shower has a brilliant idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes all the difference”. So, I say.. shower often and dry off here!
We hope to keep up our motto: “we make the difference”.
I thank you attending our AGM.
27 December 2019
The illegal use of the towpath was raised. The chairman undertook to discuss the matter with the committee and with the affected members in order to attempt to find a solution as the past efforts by committee members to keep the area under lock and key were not successful.
The re-introduction of the Boeresport day was mooted. Capt Parkinson explained that it is now classified as an “event”, which in terms of the law requires compliance with a number of conditions, including the taking out of insurance for possible incidents that may require action. The chairman undertook to investigate and report back.
A member mentioned that the Father Christmas that toured the town was a huge success and enquired if this could become a regular feature. The BRRAG committee undertook to encourage the continuation of the Father Christmas visit in the future.
Dirk Meiring requested that written responses to the flooding issue be published for the benefit of members. The chair indicated that the deputy director of infrastructural development had agreed to speak at the AGM to impart information but had failed to turn up. A report will be sought from the Municipality. Dr Meiring also referred to the serious condition of the gabion wall and reminded the meeting that there was an in-principle agreement that this wall be attended to by meeting the cost equally by BRRAG, Estuary Care and the Municipality. Corrie Swanepoel stated that the deterioration of the wall will cause the embankment to collapse which will affect the entire area, including the board walk, the steps and Ocean View Drive. The committee will take this matter further with the appropriate officials and parties.
A member mentioned that the dislodged railing of the bridge across the Bushman’s River may be landing up in the River. The matter will be discussed with Estuary Care.
A member mentioned that the tennis courts may soon require to be repaired and urged members to see to it that users make payment for its use in the honesty box at the court.
6. Financial report
The financial report was tabled and showed a year-end loss of R 12 000. The meeting approved the financial statements. Members were urged to support the Organisation by way of voluntary contributions and for specific projects and to join the 100 Club.
7. Election of office bearers
The following committee members have another year to serve and remain on the committee: Jack Dell, Dalien Pachonick and Ference Toth. Kevin Bates resigned. The following three members retire but have offered themselves for re-election: Lotter Wepener, Sheila Swanepoel and Corrie Swanepoel. The latter three members were unanimously re-elected. There being no further nominations, members were invited to make themselves available for co-option onto the committee.
8. Water problems
Mr Graham Cowley, who had been appointed by Amatola Water to oversee the construction of an additional reverse osmosis plant, gave a slide presentation and explained that bulk water supply and constraints of our area. Although it was encouraging to learn that the water supply has increased it was also stressed that the available water was still not sufficient for its service area over holiday periods. Mike White further explained the shortages and urged members to install rainwater tanks for own use and to reduce reliability on public water supply.
Ference Toth, the security sub-committee chair and head of the night watch group gave an overview of the work done by the night watch team in conjunction with the night watch teams of other towns, HiTec, and the SAPS. Ference urged members to support the night watch initiative which will be utilising a new artificial intelligence camera system. Ference introduced Thierre Boulanger, who explained the successful implementation of the security system at Boknes.
Ference stressed that there was a very good working relationship between the local night watch team, the neighbouring Nightwatch teams, the South African Police Service and HiTec. It is of utmost importance that we all work together on this project. If our neighbours like Boknes can do it, so can we. This is all due to community commitment as a strong unified front.
The raffle draw took place: First prize winner was Annabelle Northrop – Sibuya Game Reserve day trip. 2nd Prize was Owen Putzier – Afrika Kusini Spa (Kenton) Hydradermie facial and 3rd prize winner was Cherie White – Christmas hamper.
Des Alcock proposed a motion of thanks to the chair for his efforts on behalf of BRRAG.
The chairman thanked all members for attending and wished all a good and prosperous new year.
The meeting closed at 10h45
Dated 3 January 2020