Chairman’s Report

 1 APRIL 2018 – 31 MARCH 2019 

Life has taught me many lessons. One is: the moment you think you have arrived you are surely at the beginning of a downward spiral. That is why we strive to keep on growing. The past year has brought us many successes but often we realize that as we grow we are faced with new positive challenges. Finding solutions for these challenges help us grow in maturity to become the modern self-sustaining non-profit company envisaged in our 2030 strategy document. Self-sustaining in the sense that we earn enough revenue to carry our annual core administrative expenses. Also, to expand the influence we have as an organization on other institutions, organizations and stakeholders. 

In order to build a happy GCBR community we need to focus more on our internal communications to ensure that everybody involved in some or other way with the GCBR knows what, where and why we are doing what we do. That is one of the reasons why I have asked Steve du Toit to present the visual display of the activities of the past year. We invite you to give us feedback on the way in which it is presented to enable us to convey the information in a satisfactory manner. 

I shall therefore give you a very short overview of matters that we have to deal with in a chairman’s report before moving on to future prospects that the board will address in the following year or two. 


The current board consist of: 

Ken Coetzee Charles Basson 

Cobus Nel Hendrik Visser 

Yvette Potgieter Willem Botha 


Six board meetings were held on the following dates: 


Four meetings were held on the following dates: 

  • • 15 May 2018 – held at Rooiberg Lodge, Van Wyksdorp 
  • • 14 Augustus 2018 – held at the church hall, Jongensfontein 
  • • 7 November 2018 – held at Diaz Museum, Mossel Bay 
  • • 26 February 2019 – held at church hall, Ladismith 

These meetings were once again attended by the faithful. The value of having these meetings in different areas offers the opportunity for people who do not know the GCBR and/or people who do not have the time or means to travel far. The presentations were ably arranged by Dr AnneLise Vlok and as always very informative and of a high standard. The members’ meetings remain an opportunity for old and new to mingle and network. 

4. OUR OPERATIONS 4.1 The day to day running of the company and the practical implementation of the projects. 

4.2 The oversight of the activities and the financial expenditure and reporting of the company as well as strategic planning and adoption of appropriate policies to support these activities. 

The operations are divided into two main categories: 

This of course is done by the Chief Executive and his core staff as well as project managers and their assistants/contractors. 

These tasks are performed by the board of directors. I shall refer to this in addition to the presentation that Steve has given. 

Role of the board is to: 

  1. • ensure that activities remain in line with the agreed strategic medium to 

long term vision as set out in our own documents and that of the MAB Programme; 3 

  • • when it becomes necessary to amend a strategy which affects the implementation of a project it is done in consultation with the organizational development team to ensure a smooth transition; 
  • • adopt policies that will guide the implementers and set the boundaries within which they may operate; 
  • • ensure proper financial management structures and approve audited financial statements as directors are ultimately responsible for financial expenditures; 
  • • develop further strategies and give guidance on matters which I shall refer to later in this report. 

5. NEW POLICIES 5.1 Adopted policies: 

Membership Policy 

This policy provides for three categories of memberships: 

– Individual (Free); 

– Affinity (R500.00 pa); and 

– Business (R1 500.00 pa). 

Note that all memberships must be renewed annually in future. 

Sponsorship Policy 

This policy provides for two categories of sponsorships: 

– Activity Sponsor 

– Organisational 5.2 Policies in process: 

– Conflicts of interest; 

– Risk management. 

Further policies shall be developed as the need arises. 


Although we have not entered into any twinning agreement with an international BR yet it is by no means off the radar. Hopefully the right opportunity will present itself. However, our international exposure is also growing. During Steve’s latest invitation to attend the workshop of the World Network of Island and Coastal Biospheres Reserves (WNICBR) in Menorca Island in the Mediterranean Sea the GCBR was requested to host the 2019 event. It will take place from 15 – 20 September 2019 at Gourikwa Reserve between Stilbaai and Gouritsmond and approximately 25 BR’s from all over the world will attend. It is a first for Africa and we are very proud to host the event and have the opportunity to showcase our BR to an international audience. 4 


Although we have not obtained any further immovable assets we are in discussions with various parties regarding further properties which may be acquired by institutions such as the WWF. We may have similar arrangements as in the case with Rietkraal with the WWF and CapeNature in terms of which we undertake the management of the land. We shall only enter into such agreements if we are able to secure the funding necessary for the management. 


8.2 Promotion, marketing and branding 

8.3 Succession 

8.4 The VDI 

Most of our project funding from DOB is coming to an end by the end of next year and we are working on a process to obtain an extension in order to ensure continuation of the very important work that has been done. This is a major task and will take up several months of discussions and planning. 

New rules promulgated by the Department of Environmental Affairs (NRM funding) make it impossible to comply with their funding provisions. These new requirements will cause a huge withdrawal of several billion rand from an economy under siege. 

Building a well-known and respected brand is vital to be able to attract quality project funding. We shall continue to build on the successes we have already achieved with our social media marketing and print work. For those who have not done so please have a look at the Prospectus on our website. It provides an overview of the work done over the past 10 years. 

The long-term sustainability of the company is closely linked to a successful succession policy that we need to develop and implement. UNESCO also realized the need to involve the youth more and has set up a Youth Forum with representatives from all over the world. We envisage a youth board of directors consisting of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 in order to give them exposure to the running of a company such as the GCBR and the roles and responsibilities of directors. We have given a mandate to the CE to brief some of the young people in our organization to come up with ideas on the process to compile a representative board. 

The GCBR and the VDI have a strong mutual relationship and we foresee that this relationship will grow as the VDI grows. Both companies will contribute to the learning experience as progress is made. It will also benefit others who obtain information from our experiences. 5 

8.5 Gouritz Enterprises Pty Ltd 

8.6 Gaining scale and strengthening the GCBR’s ‘convening’ role and capabilities. 

8.7 Concentrating on behaviour change 

8.8 Being more effective 

We have not been able to find the right opportunities to mobilize GE into a profitable enterprise and it shall remain dormant until a viable opportunity arises. However, we are in the process of discussing a proposal that will certainly be profitable and beneficial to the GCBR for many years to come. This venture, if we succeed in our endeavour, will provide untied income from sources under our own control. Negotiations are in a very sensitive stage and we are unable to disclose further information at this stage but will definitely do so as soon as we can. 

This must be done principally by influencing other stakeholders and not by expanding projects, but by using experience & learning gained in existing projects to influence others, through clever communications. A focus on people and behaviour means we have to be skilled at convening and facilitating processes that involve multiple stakeholders – such as landowners and institutions. 

It is said that we are the last generation that can combat serious ecological disaster as people are the driving force behind ecological problems and must therefore provide and implement the solutions. 

We must be able to focus and connect activities better by making use of the learning for leverage not only to convey our messages better but also 

to physically locate and create linkages between our various projects. 


It is a pleasure to say thank you to so many people and organisations who support us so tirelessly. 

  • • Maas Goote and the team at DOB Ecology, their Board and their Advisory Board for the funding as well as their moral support and leadership. They do so much to expose us to other partners in the world. 
  • • The Hessequa Municipality who serves as an example to nine other municipalities in our domain. 
  • • The Garden Route Casino Community Trust for their numerous contributions. 
  • • The Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency for its support. 
  • • The Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning for their annual contribution and their support for our company. 
  • They gave us an additional amount to enable us to draft our Framework Plan 
  • • Our very loyal and supportive members – especially the faithful who attend every meeting no matter where the location is. 
  • • CapeNature for their support and the knowledge which they share so freely. 
  • • LandCare for their support and the use of their facilities at Outeniqua and Oudtshoorn Experimental Farms. They always make their facilities available to us at no cost. A good example of an affinity member. 
  • • Charles Basson who has elected to leave the board at the end of his current term as well as those directors still serving, for your contributions. 
  • • All the very able presenters for their informative presentations today and at the other members’ meetings. 
  • • All staff – in the office and especially those who work in the veld – sometimes under difficult conditions. Please convey our gratitude to them. 
  • • All the landowners who make it possible to implement projects on their land. 

If I have omitted anyone forgive me. I have not done so on purpose. 

Lastly we convey our sincere condolences to Marina with the untimely death of her husband Paul Eilers. A household name and face in the homes of many South Africans and truly a man of many talents. The couple served the GCBR so well with their puppet shows at schools. 

I thank you for the privilege. 

Willem Botha