Extract from the Annual Report presented by President, Hermann Meyeridricks, at the38th PHASA Annual General Meeting on 18 November 2015.
Abridged President’s Message & Report - 2015
Dear Members & Friends
I am happy to report that PHASA performed very well in 2015. Our industry faced many challenges and I am proud of the manner in which we responded.
I believe that we have made significant progress with our public relations campaign. Every opportunity was used to convey a positive message to the mainstream media and the public, despite the negative press our industry received. Your exco resolved to continue our relationship with Du Plessis & Associates and to intensify our efforts considerably.
There were a number of proposed regulatory changes which we commented on, most notably new regulations for the registration of professional hunters, new North West legislation, new firearms legislation amendments, TOPS amendments and a new hunting policy in KZN. It is encouraging to see that some of our submissions were brought forward in the process.
The embargoes on shipping trophies continue to have a big impact on our industry. Fortunately, SAA reversed its decision and I am delighted to say that PHASA played a very important role in that. We will continue to liaise with our partners abroad to assist with their efforts to overturn the embargoes there.
Certain provincial issues remain problematic, most notably in Limpopo (leopard hunting) and North West (new legislation and service delivery). The Limpopo Wildlife Forum, created through our initiative, held its first meeting earlier this year. It was not as successful as anticipated, but we will continue our efforts to establish it as a viable, solution-driven forum.
Our membership grew by 9,6% year on year. I believe that this is testament to our standing in the industry and a result of our efforts to market PHASA more aggressively. We are constantly looking at measures to further improve communication with our members, with a strong focus on providing detailed, real-time information on industry developments. We are always looking at ways to serve our members more efficiently, but, in some instances, we are constrained by outside influences, for example, by SAPS when it comes to temporary import permits. I am satisfied that our service to our members is of the highest quality.
There were no disciplinary findings that we need to report on.
Our detailed financial reports can be found elsewhere in this publication. However, I am happy to report a surplus of R664 000 and that our balance sheet is looking healthy. I am satisfied that our financial management structures and processes meet the standards of our auditors and the requirements set out in our constitution. The exco, in terms of a mandate given last year, investigated options to invest some of our retained funds, but no final decision has been reached, as yet. I have no doubt that the new exco will continue with the process.
There were no major policy changes during the past year. The exco finalised our policy on intensive game-breeding and colour variants, according to the mandate received at our previous AGM.
Our lion hunting policy remains contentious and will be under review during our 2015 AGM. There have been many developments during the past two years, some positive and some negative, which we, as members, must consider. A few examples are: the SAPA accreditation process; alternatives to the SAPA norms; pending changes to legislation and government’s position; public opinion; the position of fellow industry stakeholders; trophy import bans and airline embargoes. These developments affect our industry directly. I firmly believe that there are key aspects of our policy that must change, and that the norms and standards that underpin this policy need to be improved significantly.
I believe that PHASA remains a well-managed association that is committed to serving our members and industry well into the future. Our internal structures and procedures are sound, and our operations are running smoothly. Having said that, I must emphasise that we are always looking for ways to further streamline our management and service delivery.
It is indeed a pleasure to pay tribute to Adri Kitshoff, our CEO, who has achieved great results with her commitment, tenacity and practical, down-to-earth approach. Adri will be leaving PHASA after our AGM and will be sorely missed. We wish her well with her new venture.
The process to appoint a new CEO was initiated in September and a number of interviews have been conducted. We have, unfortunately, not yet identified a candidate that meets all our requirements. The process continues.
PHASA is fortunate to have access to some of the best public relations, accounting and legal minds in the country. Their contribution, often at little or no cost, was again invaluable. I wish to extend a special word of thanks to Jean and Frank du Plessis, Hestie van der Merwe and Dewald van den Berg.
I must also thank our donors and sponsors, who are all mentioned elsewhere in our various publications. Your generous and continuous contributions make a massive difference.
Our success is driven by teamwork. Credit and a big ‘thank you’ must go to the entire PHASA team ― exco members, Fund directors, our CEO, our staff and provincial representatives ― for their guidance, hard work and the manner in which they navigated a challenging environment in 2015. Keep up the good work!
To our members: your encouragement and constructive input make our jobs so much easier. Thank you!
I do not think that the threats to our industry will diminish over the next few years, but every challenge also brings opportunities. I wish Stan Burger and his new team all the best for 2016, and I assure them that they can rely on my support.
Finally, 2015 was an extremely difficult year on a personal level. I must express my deep gratitude to my wife Gayle, my children, my sisters and my late father for their support, understanding and guidance. They gave selflessly and I simply could not have done it without them.
The following is an abridged version of my annual report to be presented at the 38th PHASA Annual General Meeting on 18 November 2015.
Welcome to PHASA’s 38th convention and annual general meeting (AGM). The following is a summary of the annual report that I will present at the AGM on 18 November. It focuses on PHASA’s activities on the administrative and operational front, and complements our president’s report, which covers PHASA’s achievements over the year, and the challenges and opportunities facing the professional hunting industry.
PHASA executive committee and sub-committees
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 2015 executive committee (exco) for its hard work and dedication during the course of this year. It is never easy being a member of exco, and the work involved goes far beyond merely taking time off family and business commitments, which, in itself, is a huge sacrifice. This year, particularly, many of you went the extra mile to assist in various ways, and it’s worth repeating what I have often said over the years: I wish our members knew exactly how hard the exco members work to take PHASA forward. It requires dedication and commitment.
The 2015 executive committee was comprised of:
- Hermann Meyeridricks – President
- Stan Burger – President-elect
- Matthew Greeff – Vice President
- Eduard Katzke – Vice President
- Jacques Senekal
- Jan Kleynhans
- Johann van den Berg
- Raymond Kemp
- Strauss Jordaan
Exco will support me in singling out Hermann Meyeridricks, and thanking him for his guidance and leadership over the past two years. I do not think the president had an easy seat during the past two years and Hermann has proved to be a pillar of strength, doing PHASA extremely proud during some difficult times.
Item 13.5 of the PHASA constitution stipulates that exco has the power to appoint sub-committees, with or without executive powers, with clearly specified tasks and mandates. Every sub-committee so appointed can act only as an advisory committee, unless it has specifically been given executive powers, and reports to the exco.
The following five sub-committees, comprised of exco members, met before each exco meeting, except in October, when the sub-committee meetings were incorporated into the main exco meeting. Issues deriving from the sub-committee meetings were presented to exco and all resolutions applicable were taken:
- Financial, disciplinary, membership, convention, and captive-bred lion hunting.
Office and administration
Our members can be extremely proud of the administrative, financial and operational affairs of the association. To have governance structures in place, which we do, is one thing. To have office staff committed to running the association with passion and commitment as if it were their own, however, is what makes the difference. Marianna, Joan, Tersia and Nonkie have shown their strengths and dedication during this past year, which was quite challenging at times, and I want to thank them for all their hard work and commitment. We have introduced a system whereby all compliments and complaints received during the year are recorded and brought to the attention of our exco. I can proudly say that from all the comments received, we only received a few complaints directly aimed at staff members, compared to many compliments.
PHASA’s membership totalled 1 304 at the end of our financial year, showing a growth of 9,6% over the past year and 23,37% since the end of 2009. This year’s growth in membership was due to an increase in new members joining and a slight decrease in members who had not renewed their membership. We tried our best to contact every member who did not renew, and the two main reasons given for not renewing remain the continued depressed economy and retirement.
We upgraded the membership database programme earlier this year, which makes it easier to use for our staff members in assisting our members with their enquiries.
PHASA produced an excellent set of financial results for the year, which is published elsewhere in this convention manual. PHASA’s robust financial control system, the highly successful 2014 Gala Dinner Auction and other aspects will be highlighted in the financial report at the AGM on 18 November 2015.
The announcement by South African Airways (SAA) of an embargo on the transport of certain trophies without any discussions with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) or other external stakeholders, came as a huge surprise. Our immediate meeting with representatives of SAA and the continued discussions between ourselves, the DEA and SAA officials resulted in the embargo being lifted two months later. Unfortunately, SAA’s initial embargo set an example for other airlines and freight companies to follow.
The initial hysteria around “Cecil-the-lion” kept us quite busy with tens of radio, newspaper and TV interviews. However, at the end of the day, it also resulted in us having an opportunity to share the real facts regarding trophy hunting with the media and the public.
The ban on the import of lion trophies by Australia was also introduced overnight without our government or PHASA being informed ahead of time. We have entered into dialogue with the applicable department in Australia and are aware that Minister Edna Molewa and her office have done whatever they could to address the matter.
Regular newsletters are distributed to our members on a weekly basis in an effort to keep members informed of PHASA’s activities and give them the opportunity to comment on proposed changes to legislation, among others.
Provincial meetings were held in March/April and September/October, where we shared information with members and gave them the opportunity to raise issues that they wanted to discuss.
PHASA has an “open” Facebook page and, therefore, a decision was taken to use Facebook for the sole purpose of sharing press releases and information of events attended.
We had a strong presence at Huntex, both at Gallagher Estates and in Jeffreys Bay.
Our public relations programme, which has now entered its third year, has made significant progress. PHASA’s views are consistently sought and reflected, and we have successfully established ourselves as the most authoritative source in the world for insight and commentary on hunting in Africa.
We have also managed to cultivate some media allies, as well as some interested and objective listeners. A key component of our engagement with the media has been weekend trips designed to show them firsthand what hunting entails. During the year, we held two such trips for journalists from Reuters, Bloomberg, Agence France Presse, Business Day and Financial Mail, Deutsche Press Agency and Britain’s I-TV.
Throughout the year, we continued to brief the media on developments in the professional hunting industry and the importance of hunting for the continent’s conservation programmes, and regularly submitted articles to Safari Times, Game Trails, African Outfitter and Game & Hunt for publication.
Jean du Plessis from the public relations company, Du Plessis Associates, will give a full update on the status of our PR campaign, including its achievements and challenges over the past two years, and our plans for the next year, at the convention.
Department of Environmental Affairs:
PHASA attended three DEA wildlife forum meetings during the year. These meetings were attended by representatives from the wildlife and hunting industry, provincial nature conservation authorities, DEA officials and, from time to time, other government department officials.
PHASA was also represented at two Interprovincial Professional Hunting Committee (IPPHC)/Industry meetings held in April and October, where all issues regarding the professional hunting professions were discussed. PHASA and DEA shared the duties of chairperson and secretary.
We expect the national regulations for professional hunters, hunting outfitters and professional hunting school directors to be implemented early in the new year.
North West: PHASA first became aware of new legislation to be developed in the North West in February. PHASA contributed through communication with officials, participation in the provincial wildlife forum and industry workshops, and by submitting comments. PHASA and the industry have not yet received a copy of the draft legislation submitted by the officials to the North West Legislature for publication.
KwaZulu-Natal: PHASA attended a Hunting and Advisory Committee meeting, as well as a workshop with the drafters of the proposed new set of legislation. PHASA and other stakeholders in the industry were not aware of the new draft legislation published earlier this year and have requested Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the drafters of the legislation to include the wildlife industry in the drafting of regulations for the proposed Bill. PHASA also requested a scientific motivation when listing certain species as prohibited or restricted for hunting.
Limpopo: As reported last year, PHASA believes both government and the industry are in favour of creating a provincial wildlife forum, and that such a forum will go a long way in improving service delivery, industry growth and transformation in the province. A first meeting was held where stakeholders referred the draft terms of reference back to the HOD’s office and PHASA representatives to finalise. The MEC invited PHASA to attend his budget speech in provincial parliament and we also met with the HOD, Mr Solly Kgopong, twice during the year.
Western Cape: The Western Cape wildlife forum met once early in the year, while the forum initiated a few years back by Ms Hellen Zille to attend to human-wildlife conflict held two meetings during the year. Our president is quite involved with this forum.
South African Police Service (SAPS):
As part of the Hunters Forum delegation, PHASA attended a two-day Firearms Summit in Parliament with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee earlier this year, where we gave important input, not only on behalf of our association, but also on behalf of all accredited hunting associations that are members of the Hunters Forum. Our president also did a presentation to the Portfolio Committee and delegates at a follow-up meeting.
PHASA attended the Hunters and Hunters/SAPS Consultative Forum meetings in April, July and October. We identified certain issues to be taken forward to stakeholder meeting discussions by a task team appointed by the industry, in conjunction with the office of the Registrar.
SA Qualification Authority (SAQA):
PHASA had two meetings with SAQA, one of which was also attended by representatives of SAHGCA and CHASA, which confirmed their recognition and support of PHASA as the professional body for the professional hunting industry. The second meeting was attended by a representative of the Quality Council for Trade and Occupation (QCTO). We are in the process of finalising the application for two further designations to be registered by SAQA, in order to hand out professional designations to our members.
PHASA attended the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) meetings and its AGM, as well as the AGM of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA).
We also attended Minister Derek Hanekom’s business tourism breakfast, held in Limpopo in September.
As a board member of TBCSA and SATSA, we were well represented in discussions between the task teams and the departments of Tourism and Home Affairs to address the immigration laws, and we thank them for all their hard work in this regard.
PHASA hosted the strategic planning session of HAWASA. HAWASA is a forum of organised national associations in South Africa, committed to responsible and sustainable use of wildlife and conservation. Members of the HAWASA forum retain their individual identity, but combine collective knowledge and wisdom towards achieving the common objectives of the sector. HAWASA’s vision is to secure the future of sustainable wildlife utilisation.
We attended WRSA’s convention, two of the three CHASA board meetings, and met separately with the president of SA Hunters and the CEO of Game Conservation Association.
Hermann Meyeridricks and I attended the 2014 Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) Convention. President-elect Stan Burger and Hermann also attended their 2015 convention.
The Outfitters and Hunting Associations of Southern Africa (OPHASA) had two meetings during 2015: one at the SCI Convention in Las Vegas in January and the other at the recently held African Wildlife Consultative Forum.
Feedback from members who attended the international conventions in America and Europe was fairly positive. We promoted South Africa as a preferred hunting destination during presentations and in the PHASA booth, and encouraged international hunting tourists to book their hunts through PHASA members.
The African Wildlife Consultative Forum arranged by SCIF was hosted by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs a week ago, where governments and associations had the opportunity to address issues of importance. Specific feedback will be given during the convention.
It is indeed not easy closing this report, my last of six annual reports since 2009. I would like to thank every single person who has made a difference in my life over the past six years.