Chairman’s Report

1 APRIL 2016 – 31 MARCH 2017

1. Meetings of the Board of Directors 

All board meetings took place at the Outeniqua Experimental Farm in George and were attended as shown below: 





 The following directors served in the portfolios set out below: 

Directors(with portfolio in brackets)K Coetzee (Environmental Affairs & Research)Beverley   Boer      (Public Relations, Marketing & Tourism)
W Botha (Chairperson)C      Basson      (Community Development & Labour)S Falanga ( Chairperson of St Blaize sector)
DR Carr (Vice Chairperson)H Visser (Spatial Development)CJ Nel (Chairperson of the Kammanassie sector)
D Toerien (Entrepreneurial & Economic DevelopmentA Britz (Environmental Education)AJ Britz (acting Chairperson of the Towerkop sector)

2. General overview 

The official designation by UNESCO has made it possible for the GCBR to truly become a member of the biosphere family in the Western Cape as part of the Western Cape Biosphere Reserve Forum where the chairpersons of the four WC BR’s meet with the provincial department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and CapeNature. Then as part of the National Man and the Biosphere Committee we meet with representatives of all the other BR’s in the country as well as officials from the National Department of Environmental Affairs and a variety of provincial officials. We also have regular contact with officials from UNESCO, other BR’s and entities who work with or are in several ways connected to BR’s worldwide. 

Steve du Toit applied and was accepted by UNESCO to visit Jeju Island off the South Korean Coast where he attended a weeklong training course for managers in coastal BR’s. Total costs were paid by UNESCO. 

I was also appointed as a trustee of the SABR Trust to represent the GCBR. This trust was registered to promote cooperation amongst all BR’s in South Africa and apply for operational funding on behalf of all SA BR’s. Unfortunately a lot more effort must be put into this project to deliver the required results. 

3. Strategy Group 

As a part of the discussions by the internal Strategy Group under the guidance of Prof Alan Fowler we were able to plan how the GCBR will need to grow structurally to reach its objectives and also how we should attain that. A consequence of these discussions was that Prof Fowler made contact with a Dutch Foundation with whom he had personal contact a couple of years ago. 

This led to what I simply refer to as a modern day fairy tale. 

The DOB Ecology Foundation have visited us in November 2016 and again in February 2017 after they approved our first project proposal to run from 1 March 2017 to 28 February 2018. This fantastic positive leap also brought huge responsibilities and I can assure you that we have spent many hours planning and preparing not only to nurture this relationship but to show DOB 3 

what the GCBR is capable of and to vest a long term relationship to the benefit of both parties. 

4. Projects 

The first application to DOB consisted of three projects, namely: 

4.1 a continuance of the Jobs 4 Carbon project in the Van Wyksdorp area; 

4.2 the construction of an artificial wetland in the De Rust area to purify sewerage effluent to a level where it can be used to grow vegetables; 

4.3 the strengthening of the GCBR structure whereby Steve du Toit has been appointed as Project Manager for the three projects and funds were made available to obtain a vehicle for the GCBR. Funds for further expansion e.g. the development of the projects for a three year funding proposal is also provided. 

4.4 Other projects implemented during the year were: 

4.4.1 Green Club Project 

4.4.2 Extend the Day Lights 

4.4.3 Jobs for Carbon 

4.4.4 Rietkraal 

4.4.5 Alien Cleaning at Bosrivier 

4.4.6 #spekkies 

4.4.7 Oasis Food Gardens 

4.4.8 Kos in die Klein Karoo 

4.4.9 Save the Drip 

4.4.10 Learning for Lights 

4.4.11 Shark & Marine Conservation Puppet Show 

4.4.12 Environmental Awareness Workshop 

4.4.13 Wonderbag Factory 

4.4.14 Citizen Science in Mossel Bay 

4.4.15 Tour de Gouritz Bio MTB 4 

4.4.16 Environmental Education Programmes – Herbertsdale and Ruitebos 

4.4.17 School’s Poster, Booklet and Puzzles 

The details of these projects are highlighted in the reports by the portfolio directors and some of the members of the Advisory committee attached to this report. 

5. Finances 

5.1 Annual Financial Statement 

The annual financial statement for the financial year ending at 31 March 2017 has been audited. It has not yet been approved by the Board of Directors which will be considered on the 8th of June 2017 at our next board meeting. 

As a result of the increase in transactions, as you will note from the number of projects undertaken by the GCBR, it has been necessary for us to increase our bookkeeping capacity. 

Strict financial management remains a priority and remains a cornerstone for future funding applications. 

5.2 Support by the Authorities: 

Contributions by the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) was once again tabled at a recent meeting between the National Minister and Provincial Ministers and/or MEC’s and the Western Cape Provincial Government recently requested us to formulate suggestions as to what is necessary and how can it be done. Although we don’t have high hopes for a short term solution to the problem, we still believe that progress will eventually be made. However, we cannot rest on our laurels and keep on working on innovative methods to increase our operational funds. 5 

The provincial government has again indicated that it will contribute R200 000.00 per BR for the current financial year for which we are gratefull. 

Hessequa municipality stands out as the only municipality that has supported the GCBR financially since inception in 2011. Mossel Bay has financed one project in their municipal area. From the other municipalities we still do not get any support at all. Our attempts last year to visit the municipal structures in order to enhance collaboration was unsuccessful mainly because the local government elections were scheduled for August. A renewed effort shall be launched in the near future. 

5.3 National Biosphere Trust Fund 

The SABR Trust did not meet expectations during the past year and at the last meeting in March it was decided to replace the trust with a non profit company. A new leadership was also elected in an attempt to revitalize the entity. 

6. Gouritz Enterprizes Pty Ltd 

As part of the strategy group discussions we realized that we cannot indefinitely rely on donations for operational funds and need to follow another route. A for profit company known as Gouritz Enterprizes Pty Ltd was registered with the GCBR as the sole shareholder. The idea is to find opportunities to do business from which profits can be derived. These profits will be paid to the GCBR to build up an unbound fund which can used as the need arises. #Spekkies is the first of these projects – read more in Luami’s report. This is in line with the workshop discussions in Lima at the 4th World Congress of Biospheres and several other developments on social enterprise worldwide. 6 

7. Promotion 

We are all waiting in anticipation for the availability of the schools poster. They say all good things take time and we know that Mary and her team will make a major impact on the children. 

The long awaited brochure is available and almost out of print again! It is informative and good looking. 

8. Members’ meetings 

Four members’ meetings were organized and well attended. Many interesting topics were again presented. More information is given by AnneLise Vlok in her report. These meetings are not only very informative but also affords the opportunity to network, strengthen old ties and form new friendships. 

9. Acknowledgements 

All of you, our loyal members, for your support 

Pieter and Hanna Coetzee – for the many contributions they make and what they have put into the Van Wyksdorp Development Institution 

CapeNature who remains a special partner 

Other Government Departments – such as the Western Cape Department of Agriculture for the use of their facilities at Outeniqua and Oudtshoorn Experimental Farms and the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning for their support and financial contributions 

Our funders – DOB Ecology, the TMF, Hessequa municipality, The Garden Route Casino Community Trust who are making our projects possible. 

Wendy Crane, AnneLise Vlok, Steve du Toit, Susan Botha, Jan Vlok, Alan Wheeler, Mary Carr, Alan Fowler and Karin Coetzee also deserve a special thank you for the good work during the past year. 

The Directors and all other members of the advisory committee 7 

The host of other partners who support and encourage us on a daily basis 

A special word of thanks to Daan Toerien and Sandra Falanga who served as directors. Both assured me of their availability to assist when and where we may need their inputs. 

Thank you for the privilege to serve as chairman of your company. 

WF Botha 

Chairman 8 

Report by: Dick Carr 


 Chaired (and hosted) two Kammanassie Protected Area Advisory Committee (PAAC) meetings – CapeNature partnership. 

 Participated in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (B-GCMA) Visioning Workshop. This workshop used the expertise of the various participants to develop a situation model reflecting the present and expected outcomes of water extraction on the environment. Facilitated by Myles Mander. 

 Attended CIC meeting in October. 

 Participated in a Honeybush tea workshop and the inaugural Honeybush tea Community of Practice meeting. The development of best practice guidelines for the wild harvesting of Cyclopia. 

 PDT meetings with DOB and subsequent workshops. Team leader for “Land & Landscape” strategic project planning. 

 Authorised various payments from the GCBR budget. 

 Manned the GCBR stall at the KKNK. 

 Developing a Cape Mountain Zebra (CMZ) conservation project in partnership with CapeNature. The purchase of land for the GCBR with donor money. Range expansion for the Kammanassie and Gamkaberg CMZ populations, which make up two-thirds of the world’s CMZ gene-pool. 

Report by: André Britz 

Portfolio: EDUCATION 

The Green Club project 

Environmental Education is one of the focal areas of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere programme. The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) has therefore adopted an active stance towards engaging youth – as tomorrow’s leaders – in influencing public opinion, perceptions and behaviours towards a healthier planet. 

A partnership between the GCBR and the Landmark Foundation (LMF) is spearheading the formation of Green Clubs in disadvantaged schools. These clubs form an important part of changing communities and their attitude toward the environment; working with a small group of learners within a school will grow and expand outward into the community and into the environment. Built around 4 pillars, the programme endeavours to achieve its outcomes by transferring SKILLS, imparting KNOWLEDGE, changing ATTITUDES, and instilling VALUES. 

The GCBR-LMF partnership embarked on this approach in March 2015 with the Vanwyksdorp Primary School (Kannaland Municipality) as a pilot project and built it 9 

out during this past year, 2016 -2017, as a model for other schools in the GCBR domain, with very limited funds wisely spent. 

We introduced the Green Club project at the Herbertsdale School on 12 August 2016, with a hike to a nearby koppie and a waste management program. The Green Club was established during May 2017. We also introduced the Green Club project to Ruiterbos Primary during April 2017 and will roll it out in the near future. The Garden Route Casino Community Trust made funding available in support of our outreach to these two outlying rural schools in the Mossel Bay district. Gondwana Game Reserve also support and is a partner involved in these two projects. 

Van Wyksdorp Primary School- Extend the Day lights – 


Pieter and Hanna Coetzee handed over the EXTEND THE DAY LIGHTS on behalf of JOANNE LONSETH, WASHINGTON STATE USA on the 18thAugust’17. These lights are solar powered, and are to the benefit of the learners that don’t have electricity at their homes, to study in the evening. 

We also unveiled the banner of the Green Butterflies at the occasion. 

iALA Conservation Program 

Iala is an International Academy for Leadership through Adventure. 

The academy is run as a one year course aimed at bridging the gap from high school to varsity. It is based in Stilbaai but the “classes” travel through South Africa. The outdoor adventure is aimed at developing leadership, transferring life-long skills and empowering the students with practical knowledge, and through the travel experiences, new values are instilled. The program is environmentally conscious. The GCBR involved LMF and connected them to the iALA program. 

This year a Leopard and predator awareness program was introduced as it has become more defined. Landmark Foundation brings to the gap year program the value of Leopard conservation and its critical place in the preservation of biodiversity. 

IALA, launched a cycle tour, “Berg 2 Baai” from Herbertsdale via Rooiberg Lodge and Riversdal to Stilbaai. We want to build this into an annual event, with a focus on environmental programmes at every overnight point. 

We would like to thank iALA for the opportunity to engage with these young adults and influence their decisions. 

Van Wyksdorp Development Institute 

We hosted a workshop between the Board of Directors of the VWI and delegates from the GCBR, to discuss the future relationship between the two organisations as collaborative partners. 

Human resources 

The facilitation team is comprised of Andre Britz, GCBR Director of Environmental Education, and Monica Vaccaro, Landmark Foundation Coordinator of Education Programmes. 10 

Thank you 

We would like to thank Landmark Foundation for being a collaborative partner in our Education Portfolio and for their continuous commitment to the environment and our planet. Thank you to the principals and teachers of the schools and to Jan Heenop (iALA) for the opportunity to work with the students. Also a word of thanks to all our partners, Annemarie Gebhardt, Katrien Opperman, James Blignaut, Pieter and Hanna Coetzee, Gondwana Game Reserve, Garden Route Casino Community Trust, Landcare, Glenwood House Karoo Challenge and Rooiberg Lodge. 

Report by: André Britz 


Jobs For Carbon Project 

The overall aim of the Jobs for Carbon project was, “To improve the rural economy and ecosystem health and resilience of the Little Karoo by developing carbon farming as a sustainable use of natural Spekboomveld.” 

The project had three objectives, including: 

1. Restore natural vegetation on degraded thicket land through planting spekboom (Portulacaria afra). 

2. Create sustainable employment for marginalised rural communities in land restoration work and carbon farming. 

3. Develop carbon sequestration as a potential alternative income stream for land users through carbon farming. 

The project objectives were broadly achieved, and certain targets were substantially exceeded. 

The project target of restoring 300 ha of spekboomveld was exceeded. Some 812 ha was initiated into a process of restoration through the project, either through replanting with spekboom or through the exclusion of grazing animals (or both). The plantings show above average survival in comparison to other localities. 

The objective to develop three working teams comprising vulnerable people was achieved. The goal of creating three entrepreneurs to lead these teams was partially achieved with one person showing good leadership. However, there were sixty success stories. The human, social and institutional capital that has been built through the project is a key outcome that offers significant potential for securing and expanding the beneficial outcomes of the project on a long-term basis. 

The Jobs for Carbon project received visits from a number of official delegations. 

A European Union delegation visited the management team, the teams and the planting sites during the period 13 – 14 October ’16. 11 

Myles Mander, an independent auditor, visited the region to interview J4C team members and public representatives on 19 October and 11 November ’16. 

On the eve of 20 October’16 we had our end of the project function at Rooiberg Lodge. This was also attended by our manager from WESSA. 

The Jobs for Carbon project, phase 1, ended on 21 October’16. 

Apart from harvesting and planting spekboom, the teams also harvested olives at Mount Rouge and Blue Sky Organics. We started with Jobs for Carbon, phase 2, on 6 March’17. 


Erosion Training at Rietkraal 

The Jobs for Carbon workers, 45 people, received a two day training course at Rietkraal in erosion management. The course was presented by Ken Coetzee, director of Environmental Affairs. They created hollows that act as water traps. Mulch was placed in each basin. They also rehabilitated some gullies. Ken indicated that with a little more reinforcement of the methods learnt the teams would be in a position to undertake this type of work on their own. Materials were supplied by CapeNature. 

Fencing at Rietkraal 

The Board approved the use of funding from Environmental Affairs budget for fencing at Rietkraal. We made use of some of our skilled Jobs for Carbon workers to upgrade the eastern, southern and western fences of the Rietkraal reserve. 

Alien Clearing at Bosrivier 

We trained 6 Jobs for Carbon workers to do alien (sisal) clearing at one of our planting sites at Bosrivier. We donated the sisal as fodder to a local cattle farmer. 


A nursery has been set up and the team has already planted more than 6 000 spekboom cuttings. The offcuts from the cuttings that were planted on the planting sites were used to make the plants. We also helped with the preparations, transport and marketing of the #spekkies. 

We send two Jobs for Carbon Workers to be trained in pottery to make and run a kompot factory in the future. Storage was hired in Van Wyksdorp to store the kompots and to set up the factory at a later stage. 

GCBR and Oasis Food Gardens – Church Ground 

We signed contracts with Cassidra, on behalf of Landcare, for irrigation systems at the church ground and Oasis. The works/goods, are part of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Land Reform programme for the Klein Karoo. We installed two reservoirs and the irrigation systems. The assets were handed over to two of the Jobs for Carbon members on the 10th March ’17. The food garden will be managed by Jobs for Carbon members and members of the Community to produce healthy food for the community. 12 

Kos In Die Klein-Karoo 

Kos in die Karoo is a sister project of KOS EN FYNBOS which runs in the George area. 

Kos en Fynbos is a groundswell movement initiated by members of the George community in 2014. It aims at creating a community that is independent, self-sustained, creative, loving and sharing, a community that desires to improve themselves and their environment by taking the first steps in creating that change. Food, water and waste are the key elements totally interwoven in changing the environment people live in. 

KOS IN DIE KAROO is a project aimed at Van Wyksdorp residents, to teach the Jobs for Carbon team members and the community, to create their own food gardens. The launch of the KOS IN DIE KAROO took place on Friday 23rd September in a gathering of community members of Van Wyksdorp interested in food gardens. During the presentation the core values and “spirit” of the project were explained. Four coordinators of KOS EN FYNBOS from George were able to give personal accounts of their involvement with the project and the importance of food gardens. They inspired the community to become self-sustaining and to look after their environment. There was a very good turnout considering the size of the town. 


We saw the KKNK as a very good opportunity to showcase the work of the GCBR. On request, the Board approved and pledged its support to us to proceed with arrangements for a stall at the KKNK. The stall was managed by two of our star workers from Jobs for Carbon, directors and members. We donated three #spekkies as decorations on the Praat Saam stage. These three were auctioned at the end of the festival with Die Burger Children Fund as beneficiary. 

Thank you. 

We would like to thank our collaborative partners who helped us to make things happen in practice on the ground in the Towerkop Sector. We take the opportunity to mention the following institutions and persons, Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Landcare, Oasis, Mount Rouge, Blue Sky Organics, Kos en Fynbos, N.G.Kerk Van Wyksdorp, Liz Eglington, Monica Vaccaro and Gert Laubscher. 

Report by: Charles Basson 


Save the Drip 

A small grant (R20 000.00) from Eden Municipality was spent to repair leaking pipes, taps, toilets and all other leaks in 110 houses. Two communal water taps were also repaired (the leaks at these communal taps were on average 1000 litres per day). 

23 houses were installed with new toilet cisterns using 3 litres only. 

This is an ongoing project to monitor the water usage. 13 

Learning for Lights 

85 squatter shacks was fitted with motorcycle batteries and 2 meter strip lights, to provide clean, safe light power for students to do their homework. 

The project is continually monitored. 

Wonderbag Factory 

Two groups of women, from Oudtshoorn and De Rust, was assisted to set up informal factories to manufacture 2 250 wonderbags, providing employment for 8 women for 8 months. 

Environmental Awareness Workshop 

An Environmental Awareness Workshop was developed and rolled out to 30 communities in the GCBR. This workshop topics included water, climate change, rubble and waste. 


 Spekboom was planted at three public buildings 

 Meetings, discussions and workshops were held to make the GCBR a practical, workable organization in communities. 



1. A Western Cape Biosphere Workshop was attended on the 2nd of August 2016 where the Specifications for Biosphere Reserves Framework Plans were discussed in order to provide the specifications and purpose of such a framework plan: 

The purpose is: 

(a) Provide a spatial vision for the biosphere reserve that strives to balance economic, social and environmental considerations; 

(b) Promote implementation of land use planning principles (e.g. spatial sustainability, efficiency, spatial resilience); 

(c) Assist with the coordination, integration and alignment of provincial and municipal land use in the rural areas; 

(d) Address specific economic, social, natural or unique features; 

(e) Provide spatial implementation of the UNESCO requisite zonation pattern of a biosphere reserve; and 

(f) Identify programmes and projects. 14 

2. The Spatial Development Framework Plans of the 8 local municipalities that falls within the GCBR domain are currently either in process of amendmend or revision of a new plan. These framework plans must be adopted with the new generation IDP’s and be finalised by end of June 2017. In order to start with the framework of the GCBR spatial plan these SDF’s should be scrutinised and used as the base of the GCBR plan. Concept draft plans have been received and will be used for the compilation of the spatial plan. 

3. The Eden District Municipality is currently in process of compiling a new SDF for the Eden region. Task team meetings have been attended by the GCBR and the GCBR is registered as an Interested and Affected Party of this process. The Eden SDF will form a strategic part of the spatial plan of the GCBR’s plan and to take the spatial plan forward, this Eden SDF needs to be finalised. 

4. A new project in order to compile the SDF has been identified as a priority project for the GCBR : 

Compilation of a Biosphere Reserve Spatial Plan for the GCBR (new project starting in 2018)