Extract from the Annual Report presented by President, Hermann Meyeridricks, at the37th PHASA Annual General Meeting
The following is an abridged version of my annual report to be presented at the 37th PHASA Annual General Meeting on 19 November 2014.
Friends, fellow members and colleagues
It is an honour and a privilege to present my report for 2014 here in the hart of the beautiful Eastern Cape.
The year under review
This year has certainly flown by and what a whirlwind year it was. To say that PHASA was busy would be an understatement of note. Adri’s CEO report outlines some of the work that our Association was involved with during 2014. Her written report is far from being all-inclusive. There is so much more that we did this year on all levels and fronts and she will report on that during our AGM.
In considering 2014 I have to ask myself whether we have achieved our goals and objectives this year. We have a Mission Statement and a Motto, but not a Vision Statement. Perhaps it is time to formulate one. To measure our successes and judge our failures I therefore must then turn to our Aims and Objects set out in our constitution. These are too extensive to fully list here and some are inextricably linked. Please allow me to touch on a few only.
Did PHASA render assistance to our members?
I believe that we did. We work at national and provincial level to resolve permitting issues. We keep our members abreast of industry developments through our detailed weekly newsletters, magazines, provincial meetings and our websites. We deliver our normal services, such as temporary firearm import permits, efficiently and effectively. We assist with advice in individual cases and, where we can, also with problem solving in such cases. We are continuously looking at measures to make things more affordable for our members and to obtain benefits for our members. PHASA will of course continue to work hard at improving on this aspect.
Did PHASA do its best to promote and safeguard sustainable hunting as a conservation tool and, in the process, promote and safeguard the hunting profession in South Africa?
Yes. From our interaction, at the highest levels, with government, NGOs, industry role players, international decision makers such as the EU Commission, IUCN, USFW and CITES, to name but a few, through to our public relations campaign we work very hard to achieve this exactly this.
Did PHASA strive to promote and market South Africa as a leading international hunting destination?
This is something that lies very close to my hart. I take the view that we are all simply shareholders in “SA Inc.” We must grow, market and promote this “company” so that, in turn, our shareholding will grow. PHASA has always been focused on this aim. Wherever we represent PHASA on the international stage we promote the positives and dispel the myths. We take note of the negatives and do our best to address them. We are working with out Departments of Tourism, Environmental Affairs, Safety and Security and Home Affairs and also our private partners in the greater tourism sector to improve the overall experience that foreign hunters enjoy in South Africa. We are working with our members and industry stakeholders to maintain and improve the integrity and image of our industry. PHASA will work even harder in 2015 on this.
Does PHASA serve the needs of our members?
This is possibly the most important question of all and, I believe, the answer is absolutely, yes! Everything that we do is geared towards meeting this aim. The overriding need of our members, in my opinion, is for an environment within which they can flourish and grow their businesses. This obviously holds true not only for our outfitters but also for our professional hunters. Such an environment has many aspects: regulatory, policy, economic, marketing, conservation, social responsibility, internal governance and public perception. This is where I believe PHASA’s biggest role lies. If I look back at the year under review then I feel satisfied that PHASA has made great strides to protect and promote this environment. Adri’s CEO report bears testimony to all the hard work that we do in this regard.
I am satisfied that our internal affairs are well managed. Exco adopted a structured sub-committee system this year that proves to be working well. We are continuously looking at measures to improve the effectiveness of our staff and office structures. Membership numbers are slightly up but the overall growth rate remains fairly flat. This is something that we intend to address in 2015. Our financial reports show that our finances are extremely well managed.
The theme for our 2014 Convention is “Hunting in South Africa – Quo Vadis?, which translated from Latin this simply means, “Where are you going?” It is extremely important that we, as leaders in the professional hunting industry, reflect and consider this question carefully at this juncture in our history. Hunting in Africa has changed significantly over the last decade. These changes present both challenges and opportunities. I believe that South Africa has the platform to firmly entrench our position as the preferred hunting destination in Africa, but there are developments in South Africa too that may affect our future. Some of these we may able to influence and over some we will simply have no control. The question then really boils down to how do we respond to those changes and developments. As PHASA we have a significant role to play. We must continue to build bridges and strengthen ties, through diplomacy and mutual respect. We must stand firm in our belief in our aims and goals, never forgetting that ours is an ever-changing environment. We must continue to promote, or rather insist on, responsible hunting for sustained life and livelihoods.
The PHASA team, as always, went the extra mile to make things happen. I must extend my thanks to my fellow Exco members for their input and hard work. Vice-president Stan Burger in particular took many a load of my shoulders by attending various meetings and by doing a lot of the hard work behind the scenes. Adri never gives anything less than her all and is a true tower of strength. Marianna, Joan, Tersia and Nonkie’s commitment and friendliness makes it an absolute pleasure to deal with the office.
To lead PHASA is a massive privilege and honour. It comes with enormous responsibility. I am always most acutely reminded of this whenever I interact with our members, whether it is in a formal meeting or just over a cold one.
Enjoy your well-deserved break and have a Merry Christmas. I look forward to seeing you during the marketing season.
The following is an abridged version of my annual report to be presented at the 37th PHASA Annual General Meeting on 19 November 2014.
The year under review was a very good one for our association, characterised by the continued advancement of our objectives on the operational and strategic front.
Highlights of this busy period include:
• The awarding of professional body status to PHASA by SAQA.
• The growing recognition from other sectors in the tourism sector of our importance to the industry.
• Our continued good relations with wildlife authorities.
• An improvement in public awareness of and sympathy towards the hunting industry following the appointment of our PR consultants.
The results for the year ending 30 September 2014 are published elsewhere in this manual. It is worth noting, however, that our financial affairs were again astutely managed during the year with a profit of R244 915.
Total membership at the end of the financial year was in line with that of the previous year, growing by 25 from 1 187 at October 2013 to 1212 at October 2014. The percentage of members who have lost their membership by default of not paying increased this year when compared to previous years, a worrying development.
To establish the underlying causes for this trend, our office and members of our executive committee contacted each of these members to clarify the reasons for leaving the association. The reasons they gave varied from economic pressure to stopping their operations because of age but no-one said that they did not renew their membership because of unhappiness with PHASA, its positions or its service levels.
Relations with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)
PHASA continues to enjoy good relations with the DEA and met with the department’s representatives on a number of occasions to discuss and resolve issues of mutual concern and importance. Our engagements with the department during the year under review include three Wildlife Forum meetings and three Interprovincial Professional Hunting Committee/Industry meetings in which PHASA and the DEA share the secretariat and chairperson duties.
PHASA also participated in various workshops arranged by the DEA, including The Alien and Invasive Species Public Participation, the Gauteng Nature Conservation Bill feedback session, the North West Biodiversity Act and Regulations and the National Economic Biodiversity Strategy Workshop.
PHASA has established a regular dialogue with the DEA to address the challenges around the issuing of permits for export trophies. I am pleased to report that, at the end of the September, the matter has now been satisfactorily resolved and I would like to thank all those involved for finding a lasting solution.
A word of appreciation is also due to two members of the DEA who have proved to be invaluable allies to our association. They are Dr Moscow Maruma, chief director biodiversity economy and sustainable use, for his open door policy and continued assistance (Dr Maruma also chairs the National Wildlife Forum) and Magdel Boshoff, including her team, for always being there when we need her.
At the same time, I would like to congratulate deputy director general Fundesile Mketeni for his appointment as the new chief executive of SANParks and Thea Carroll who has been appointed a chief director within the department earlier this year. On behalf of PHASA, I wish them well with their new responsibilities and hope that we will continue to work together in the future.
PHASA’s engagement on a provincial level
During the period under review, we had the following meetings with provincial authorities:
• North West:
o two wildlife forum meetings
o an industry stakeholder meeting with three MECs, the chief director, the HOD and other staff members
o Our fund chairman Peter Ruddle attended two leopard workshops
o Peter and Hans Vermaak each represented PHASA at the KwaZulu-Natal Hunting and Advisory Committee meetings in Pietermaritzburg.
o We are in the process of establishing a provincial hunters’ forum and have been in discussions with the local wildlife authorities regarding the leopard tag draw procedures.
Engagement with the South African Police Services
We also attended the Hunters/SAPS Consultative forum meetings held in April and July this year. PHASA remains concerned about the outstanding issues concerning gun permits and met with General Jacobs from the SAPS legal services to help expedite a solution.
Engagements with the Department of Tourism and tourism industry bodies
We have had a good start to our relationship with the new Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Mr Derek Hanekom, who we first met at a briefing arranged by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
Following this introduction, Mr Hanekom invited us to attend his Budget Speech in Parliament and we had another opportunity to meet with him and his advisors at his office in October. Mr Hanekom will address delegates at our Convention on Tuesday 18 November.
In addition to serving on the TBCSA board, PHASA also sits on the SABS/TC228 Tourism Standards Committee, which promotes responsible tourism. We attended regular TBCSA board meetings as well as a strategic planning session and the Annual General Meeting. TBCSA also arranged a workshop where representatives of the tourism industry met with the Department of Home Affairs’ deputy director general to discuss the problematic new visa requirements.
In general, recognition of our contribution to the tourism industry continues to improve and I am pleased to report that the CEO of SATSA David Frost and a representative from the Tourism Enterprise Partnership will give presentations at our Convention.
South African Qualifications Authority
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) granted PHASA professional body status during the review period for the purpose of the National Qualifications (NQF) Act and has approved the recognition of “professional hunter” on the NQF register.
We provided our members with additional detail regarding this new status and the professional designation at our provincial meetings and we have included a workshop on the subject at the Convention.
Provincial and exco meetings
It has been three years now since we started our provincial meeting programme, the aim of which is not only to keep our members abreast of developments in PHASA and the industry but also to provide them with a platform to raise issues with the executive team. During the year, meetings were arranged country-wide during March and April and again in September and October. Exco meetings were held in March, May, July, September and October, and we will meet again before and straight after the Convention.
Our weekly newsletters serve as an excellent tool to keep our members informed of local and international news and are also a great way for our members to advertise their products and services at a very competitive rate.
The PHASA website has a wealth of information and news about PHASA and the industry as a whole and serves as another platform for our members to advertise. With over 5 000 likes, our FaceBook page has also become an invaluable source of information not only for our members but also the public at large.
Since the appointment of our consultants, we have noticed a sharp increase in positive coverage of PHASA and the hunting industry in the mainstream media.
We believe that our efforts are starting to bear fruit regarding the portrayal of hunting to the public. Influential journalists are becoming more receptive to our message, and there is a greater understanding of, and interest in what we are trying to achieve in the media.
During the year he held briefing meetings with many heavyweight South African journalists, issued press releases and newsletters, which resulted in wide coverage in print, radio and television.
PHASA was present at all three HAWASA meetings this year, where the various sectors of the wildlife industry, including the Hunters Confederation of South Africa (CHASA), the South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA), Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) and the Wildlife Translocation Association (WTA), to discuss issues of mutual concern.
In addition to the formal HAWASA meetings, separate meetings took place between PHASA, CHASA, SAHGCA, WRSA and WTA. PHASA was also invited to do a number of presentations to the members of these hunting associations. We were invited to attend all three CHASA board meetings and I am pleased to report that CHASA undertook at one of these meetings not to become involved in professional hunting. PHASA exhibited at Huntex held in April at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand and again at the Cape Town Huntex in September. We also had booths at the NAMPO Agricultural Trade Show.
With regards to the transport of firearms, we have met with South African Airways, SA Airlink and SA Express and arranged for representatives from the airlines to meet with the head of the Firearms Registrar to take the matter further.
The Namibian Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) held its 40th Annual General Meeting on 26 November 2013, which I had the pleasure of attending, and Hermann and I will again meet with our neighbours at the end of November.
The Outfitters and Hunting Associations of Southern Africa (OPHASA) met twice during the year and we also met representatives from the other southern African hunting associations at the SCI Convention in Las Vegas in January this year as well as at the African Wildlife Consultative Forum held in Ethiopia at the beginning of November.
International seminars and conferences
The American and European international conventions earlier this year were very well attended and the feedback from our members who attended was positive. These expositions have proved to be an invaluable exercise to market South Africa as a world-class hunting and tourism destination.
During the year, I had the pleasure of being invited by SCI to accompany an African delegation of conservationists to America to address the United States Fish and Wildlife Services, senators and the US Congress regarding the suspension of elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Tanzania. I was also invited to give a presentation at the “International Wildlife Symposium” in Vancouver, which was arranged by our Canadian counterparts.
Once again, I would like to say what an honour and privilege it has been to be the chief executive of such a dynamic, interesting and respected organisation. The significant advancement of our objectives during the course of the year is due to those members of our organisation who give freely of their time to add their input in the deliberations of PHASA’s strategic thinking.
A word of thanks is due to my fellow executive members, particularly Hermann, who in his first year as president has spent more time on PHASA matters than any businessman can afford. He has made a significant contribution to PHASA’s leadership in a short space of time. Appreciation is also due to the Fund directors who ensure that hunting leaves a lasting legacy to communities and our wildlife.
Last but not least, I would like to say thanks to my staff members – Nonkie, Marianna, Joan and Tersia – who keep the office running like a well-oiled machine and who put so much effort behind the scenes in providing our members a world-class service.