|MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF MEMBERS OF THE GOURITZ CLUSTER BIOSPHERE RESERVE NPC, REGISTRATION NUMBER 2011/008876/08 HELD AT THE EXPERIMENTAL FARM, OUDTSHOORN ON 20 AUGUST 2019 AT 10:00|
2. Welcome & call to order
Willem Botha (WB) extended a warm welcome to all present at the meeting. WB also thanked the Dept of Agriculture Western Cape for the use of the venue at the Experimental Farm in Oudtshoorn. He also thanked Aurona Weideman from Nostalgie Restaurant for doing the catering for the event and the Dept of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning for financial support of the event.
2. Attendance register
See attached attendance list.
Ken Coetzee, Yvette Potgieter and several other members that tendered their apologies when the invitations were sent out to the members.
4. Finalization of agenda
No new matters were added to the Agenda.
5. “Towards a resilient GCBR”
Steve du Toit (SdT) presented an overview regarding biospheres and the range of the GCBR Projects. It covers some 3.1 million hectares and extends from Uniondale in the east, to Montagu in the west, Prince Albert in the north and the Stillbaai Marine protected area to the south.
During 2017 GCBR identified 6 themes, with the central focus of increasing
of water resources, the sustainable use of land and
landscapes, slowing the loss of biodiversity, strengthening institutions, particularly Municipalities, encouraging people to embrace more sustainable practices, and diversifying the regional economy, particularly activities that add value to natural assets. All of our projects fall within at least one of these themes.
Project: J4C Project
Jobs for Carbon is our flagship restoration project for arid areas. It is in its 6th year. Since the beginning of the project, over 500 hectares have been actively rehabilitated and about 1 600 hectares have been added to the conservation estate. Objective is to improve ecosystem health and restore severely degraded thicket in the Vanwyksdorp and Calitzdorp-Oudtshoorn areas.
Project: Goukou Resilient River
The Goukou Resilient River project is basically the coastal equivalent of Jobs for Carbon. Their objective is to Reverse biodiversity loss and connect fragmented habitats of the Goukou River system through wetland restoration and alien clearing. We are all familiar with the massive challenge that land owners face with invasive alien species.
Water Wise Ways (WWW; Trapsuutjies)
Based in Oudtshoorn, under the leadership of Susan Botha and Charles Basson and the Trapsuutjies team, the WWW project has constructed a wetland in De Rust and has increased the efficiency of water use in De Rust, Klaarstroom and Oudtshoorn.
Project: A Strategic Knowledge Partnership with the Vanwyksdorp Development Institute (VDI)
We have a knowledge partnership with the VDI, the objective of which is to
Co-establish a field training and resource centre that will increase the availability of eco-skilled human capital, provide information outreach and
gain leverage from GCBR’s projects.
Project: Organisational Development
The focus of this project is to build relationships that produce effective improvements in the biosphere’s ecology, its social economy and its institutional capabilities.
Project: GCBR and Local Authorities
Strategically important action. The aim is to strengthen the GCBR’s
relationships with Local Authorities. Improve compliance of Municipalities with their environmental responsibilities.
Project: Gouritz River Ecological Corridor
The Gouritz river is clearly a pivotal corridor which is not adequately conserved and which links the east-west mountain corridors with the coastal corridors, the hinterland mountains links low altitude to high altitude ecological systems
and links aquatic systems from the Great Karoo to the Indian Ocean. What is the aim of this project?
Project: Enviro Clubs
The focus of this project is to engage the youth in influencing perceptions and behaviours towards a healthier planet. Enviro Clubs have been established in Vanwyksdorp, Herbertsdale and Ruiterbos primary schools.
Project: ReThink Bags
South Africa produces about 600 million plastic bags a year. The ReThink Bags project is a brainchild of Mary Carr. Mary and her team are doing outstanding work, producing a sensible alternative to plastic bags.
Project: DRUPPELS Puppet shows
For some years the GCBR have collaborated with award-winning puppeteers Paul and Marina Eilers to bring their education puppet theatre shows on various environmental themes to learners in primary school across the GCBR Domain. A new puppet show tour on the highly topical theme of waters kicked of this year. Druppels puppet show deals with aspects of water saving and keeping water sources clean. We know from experience that these puppet shows make a huge difference by:
• Captivating the audience
• Spontaneous feedback
• Enthusiastic way of pulling in the audiences
• Creative puppets and story telling
• Fun and sharing with the children
Project: TransGouritz Cycle Event
TransGouritz cycle event, in partnership with CSA Sport & Entertainment SA, was held in May this year. The GCBR teams across the landscape really did some excellent work hosting the riders. It was a good marketing and awareness opportunity and we plan to continue the event next year.
Project: Rietkraal Nature Reserve
The aim of this project is that the reserve is a practical testing site for:
Biodiversity and conservation education and
• Erosion control training.
Project: Unlocking a spekboom economy in the Klein Karoo
This Table Mountain Fund projects aim is the following:
• Knowledge exchange visits.
• Technical report on carbon economy systems.
• Feasibility assessment, incl. risks and benefits.
6. Approval of the minutes of the Annual General Meeting of members held on 14 August 2018.
Minutes of the AGM of 14 August 2018 were sent via email to members. The minutes were approved by Dick Carr and seconded by Hendrik Visser.
7. Chairman’s report
WB requested Hendrik Visser to take over the chairmanship while he presented the Chairman’s report for the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.
From the Chief Executive’s presentation members can see that a lot has happened in the GCBR during the past year. We have also realised 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. Therefore, the chairman will only deal with highlights from the report instead of presenting the total report. The report will be put on the website. Hendrik Visser (acting chair) asked if members were in agreement with the chairman’s report. Members indicated their unanimous acceptance of the report.
Question: Why does the GCBR not provide comment on development applications, such as the proposed Abalone farm along the coastline near Gouritsmond? When the GCBR was established, it was decided that we are not going to engage in any public participation as it is time consuming, complicated, divisive and takes up enormous amount of work. GCBR takes note of this because we are included in all communications. Individual members more than welcome to object to these matters.
8. The appointment of auditors and determining of their remuneration for the ensuing year
WB mentioned that MM Pretorius & Co, based in Riversdale did the yearly audit, annual financial statements of the GCBR and combined GCBR for the financial year ending 31 March 2019. He requested whether they should remain
accepted by the members.
9. Election of Directors
The election of Directors for the vacant positions, for which members are encouraged to nominate candidates.
9.1 Mr Charles Basson has served a 3-year term as a Director and has resigned and decided not to stand for re-election. Mr Basson presented the article below and asked for it to be noted in the minutes.
9.2 There are currently 2 vacancies available on the board, but no new candidates have been nominated for the meeting. WB is currently in discussion with a person with a strong business and financial background to take up one of the vacant positions. WB requested permission from the members to headhunt someone for the other vacant portfolio. The request was approved.
The annual financial statements of the GCBR and combined GCBR for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 had been audited, finalised and approved by die Board. Strict financial management remains a priority and is a comer stone for future funding applications.
11. Matters to be added to the agenda:
11.1 No items were added
12. Guest Speakers to conclude our AGM:
12.1 Heal the land, heal the people’ (Healthy soils = Healthy communities) – Prof James Blignaut (Stellenbosch University, School of Public Leadership: Environmental governance; SAEON)
11.2 When age old tools are still required for modern orchid practices –Hildegard Crous (Cape Institute of Micropropagation, The Disa House)
13. Meeting adjourns
WB thanked all present at the meeting for attending and supporting the GCBR. The meeting adjourned at 13:20.