HONORARY RANGERS GENERAL MEETING
23 OCTOBER 2014
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting which was opened with a prayer by Peter carig-Cooper.
Committee: John Webber, (Chair), Joce Gordon 2nd, in C, , Peter Craig-Cooper, Nellie Morgan (Treasurer),Penelope Mayson (Secretary) ,
Present HR: Jim Morgan, Nellie Morgan, Hendrik Visser, Diana van Rensburg, Andrew Hudson, Lynette de Jong, Genie Retief, John Webb, Andre Engelbrecht
Others present: Jennifer Webber, J J van Rensburg, Dev Farquharson, Errol Potgieter, Denise Forsyth, Derek Bruins-Lich, Dorothy Young, Michael Young, Stuart Long, A H Wulle, Linda Benade.
Apologies from HR: Graeme Altenkirk, Johan Veldsman, Graham Johnson.
Peter Craig Cooper wished to address the meeting with thanks to John for all the work he has done in the past year, and in particular for establishing a working relationship with the Municipality, which is something not achieved in the last few years. He also wanted to state he fully supported John in his endeavours.
John reported on the special meeting held on 18 October regarding the issue on HR policy, and the need for the Forum to meet to have a common approach before the meeting on 4 November with the Municiapl Manager.
John had requested for Velly Makwakwa to attend the meeting so he could be introduced officially to the HR members and to have the opportunity of addressing the members to clarify on issues and concerns.
Points raised by Velly Makwakwa the Conservation Manager:
he appreciated the opportunity to come and address the meeting.
Concerns were around the numbers of game and the management and process of game keeping in MP. It needs to be re-assessed. Most of the decisions were based on the Ben Orban report (which is valid until 2015). The Municipality cannot ignore a scientific report. Another assessment is likely. He was aware of the earlier court interdict which stated that no game were to be removed, but we need to be sure of what we are doing. Veld management - if you were to look at the report it stated clearly that no property was to be fenced as it closed access to game. The report gave a clear idea of the numbers we need to keep, the damage to the grass, and how feeding results in increased numbers. The feeding of animals by property owners did not reflect accurately the condition of the game. He stated
there was a law on no feeding by owners. He has met with MPTA officials to apply the law, but application is not successful.
The plan is now to take the numbers down. He is aware of animals being pregnant, but the issue is the harvesting or culling because we have to reduce the numbers. Not to be emotional although he had taken that into consideration. After the meeting with MPTA they are advised on numbers to take out. To ignore this is poor management and creates tensions within departments. Game capture was the best option. Although bomas have been installed no capturing had yet taken place. Feed has been put in place, and the situation is being monitored. Assistance is needed to get the numbers, and once we have the numbers these will be transferred to Lionspruit. If this strategy does not work, then they will move to plan B.
Velly was questioned whether he understood the MP property owners. The question was the human foorprint they created. If feeding is not allowed, should their not be an education project to discourage feeding. Owners are aware of the major impact warthog and impala have on the veld, the issue was more of the other game, as the removal plan was not clear to the owners. Removal or hunting?
Velly's response was 'what was law, was law', and needs to be obeyed. Those laws were developed by us, and it is no good telling me to divert the law, as I was employed to uphold the law. As an official I have to implement the Law. Mpumlanga Parks Board is also applying the heat, and it is coming from both sides, them and MP. The Municiaplaity needs assistance. Residents should not allow feeding , and their visitors should be informed so as not to allow it. People have ignored the law, and the Municiaplaity has been soft on the isses. People need to be strong. It is not allowed. It is against the Law.
He went onto exlplain the species mentioned and numbers were determined in a scientific manner, and which they base their plan on. The considerations were, the vegetation available and soil conditions. Conservation is not about animals only. We have to consider the eco system, and need the scientific back up so that we can be informed. Mixed needs for different animals in dfferent categories. We have the game but the lack of understanding the importance of Nature Conservation has meant there was no budget, income gereration is the necessary other part. The question is how can we best pay for the operations that need to be undertaken . We are as yet not in a position to make a business plan. In terms of feed, we have to consider the numbers, and the human foot print of buildings and the chopping down illegally of trees. It is on a scientific basis.
An issue was raised from the floor 'that we must improve the vegetation'. (Dev).We sit together to devise a strategy as to where do we go from here? Can we start culling the warthog and impala? We need to work out a strategy for next year based on logic and information from the experts. HR and the Municipality must work together and to motivate the Forum for a solution.(P C-C)
The response was Velly agreed with MP 100%. From a management point of view you develop a plan as to what needs to be done. Why culling cannot be done in the Winter, and how to reduce the numbers and never achieveing this. Number of issues which prevent this. The number of species, storage facilities and refrigeration. MP is a foot and mouth diseas area, (so meat cannot go over the red line), parks Board also has to ensure the process is being followed. As a Manager these are the factors to ensure the smooth operation, but very often individual institutions fail in their part of the process, and therefore hamper progress.
We have to rebuild the vegetation which is always a challenge. We cannot rebuild if numbers are high. It is difficult to get a kick start. First reduce the numbers, then we can restart to rehabilitate. Everywhere it points to the animals. Take all out and let the rehabilitation recover. How speedily can we let that happen? Dig a big hole and put impala in?
How can we do it? Where do we go from here? Once a plan has been established HR and the Municipality can stand firm. (PC-C).
The permits have been issued. Only capturing until the end of October. A question was asked regarding the numbers for LS (JG), and velly said he would have to confirm them.
He wished that HR could manage the information before it is distributed and agreed upon.
John Webber then thanked Velly for his time and input.
John Webber handed out the First Aid certificate to Dorothy Young. Eight HR memebrs have now completed the First Aid Level 1 and 2. This is valid until April 2016.
Giraffe had a still born in Ls.Another giraffe also died cause unknown, but leopard and serval had been eating it. Bush buck doe and calf seen.
August and September figures supplied by the Municipality. Killed by Vehicle -1impala (Aug), mortalities: 2 warthog, 2 bushbuck, 1 kudu, 1 wildebeest, 1 zebra, 1 duikeer (Aug), 1 wildebeest, 1 warthog, 1 bush buck (Sept).
Clean Up campaign
Alison to continue with this project. The area behind the Bush Centre was disastrous regarding effluent control from the car wash, restaurant, laundry and butchery. John Webber will discuss with Alwyn his concern and solution. Water affairs need to inspect. Again highlight the need for property owners to pick up any rubbish on their erf and the question of having baboon proof locks on bins.
Sign has been put up at the Krantz. Closure of illegal road between Puff adder and Olifant.
Roof on at Frikkies dam toilet. Plumbing done, French drain to be completed, Errol, Jim Oubass and Johan thanked for their work. Still the question of a donor wanting to donate tiles.
Jackalberry loop road graded and no entry sign erected for a one way system.
Sign along Willie Waal, law Enforcement to follow up.
Bird Hide: Donor has deposited R20 000. Another R10 000 will be deposited by HR in order for materials to be acquired for the project. This will be reimbursed to HR from donor when materials have been seen on site. Bird hide will now be 4.8 x 3 metres. As yet we have no time frame from Hennie van Vuuren for the completion.
waiting for new WfW teams to come in. Parthenium spraying needs to be done at Rooi Dam. Working party to be organised.
A request to HR members to note and identify areas where the plants are at the rosette stage, and to advise Joce. As with prickly pear.
Terence Porter has done a lot of work with his team on Queen of the Night.
Andrew Hudson explained that the General minutes would be available to all on the website. Committee minutes for committee members only and HR special meetings minutes will be available to HR members on login.
As Alison will no longer manage Fb a replacement will be needed. Diana van Rensburg has assisted with the Bird List which will be forwarded to Cape Town.
Members are encouraged to send photos of interest to the website. Alison will be contacted by john Webb for the handover of FB.
Subject of “Burning of the veld, good and bad” is postponed. Andre will give a talk at Henk van Rooyen on 14 November with regards to the Mpumalanga Nature Conservation Act.
The Bird walk with Genei was 'fantastic' As the Conservancy are holding a special Bird Walk on 1 November, Genie will not hold one for November. It was agreed that John Webber, Genie and JJ van Rensburg will identify where the next walk will take place.
1 Puff adder. 1 Mozambican spitting cobra. This was a call out from a resident who found the snake in the cage of her African Grey parrot. After biting the parrot the Snake moved from the cage to behind the fridge. The bird died within minutes.
Equipment has been removed to Stuart Longs property. Plan to have a hydrant every kilometre along Olifant St.as old ones are difficult to access.
Still no uniforms.
To continue negotiations with Municipality
These were presented.
To report to Block Watch on any suspicious behaviour.
Bore hole pump for H v R. To check the purchase of pump for R3000.
For sale signs on houses.
John to follow up with Shirley on the legality, as you are not allowed a business sign on a private property. Estate agents are only allowed to display on viewing day.
Plot 1832, old chicken wire and cover from fire hydrant thrown in ditch.
Thatch at Krants still needs to be sprayed or wire netting put in place.
Parking area at Krantz requires two loads of gravel. John will discuss with Phil Minnaar.
Rubbish clearance at Krantz
The meeting ended at 12h40
MEETINGS SCHEDULED 2014
Committee: Henk van Rooyen at 08.00
THURSDAYS Nov 13
General Honorary Rangers: Henk van Rooyen at 08.00
THURSDAYS Nov 27
Bush Walks: 07.00. Venue to be advised. Walk followed by a bush breakfast FRIDAYS: Oct 17.
Nature Walks: Third Saturday in the month 07h00 Henk van Rooyen
Bird Walks: First Saturday in the month. 06.00 Venue to be advised NO walk on 1 November
HR website address:http:/marlothparkhonoraryrangers.co.za
HR cell number 072 778 5359
Rangers standby for emergencies 082 802 5894
Snake removal: John Webb 079 778 5359
John Webber 071 480 6453