REPORT FROM THE CHAIRMAN LHLF:
It gives me great pleasure to submit this report to our membership.
The Executive Committee of the LHLF had a meeting on Friday 4 March 2011 in Polokwane. The following is a report on the most pertinent aspects covered in that meeting.
Richard Lemmer gave a report back on the leopard draw held at the end of 2010. The consensus held is that the draw was totally fair and above board. The appropriateness of the regional allocation was however questioned and it was resolved to take that up with LEDET.
LHLF COMMUNICATION AND ADMINISTRATION:
The difficulties of admin and comms, within the Forum, was discussed and two solutions identified. The first will be the creation of a email@example.com e-mail address. This will simply be passed on from Chairman to Chairman and each Chairman will have a complete history of correspondence at his fingertips, going into the future.
The second will see an interactive website created for the Forum. Only members will have access and various sectors will be allocated to a committee member, e.g. Estie vd Merwe will keep a section updated on the latest, re permitting and export of trophies.
Richard, Estie and Charl will be tasked with the creation of the website and soliciting sponsorships. In this regard I can report that post our meeting, Estie has already obtained significant sponsorships and our appreciation is extended to her.
This project will significantly improve our communication with our members and add value to their membership of our Forum.
LHLF MEMBERSHIP FEE:
In order to fund the above and other activities of the LHLF it was decided that a very nominal annual fee of R100 will be collected for the membership. Details in this regard will be forwarded to the members in due course.
The Forum is a constituted body. Unfortunately it appears that Flip held the only readily available copy. Every effort will be made in order to obtain a copy. It is essential that we operate i.t.o. our Constitution. Once it has been obtained a review will take place in order to ensure compliance and to determine the appropriateness thereof. If necessary, it will be revised.
With the passing of Flip, our secretary a few years back, there has been a problem obtaining any info on our bank account held with Standard Bank. There was also the prospect of us having to wait for his estate to be wound up before we could access the funds held in that account. Post our meeting I can confirm that we have identified the account, holding ±R13 500, and that we can now continue to operate on this account. Our appreciation to Johan Bosch for his efforts in this regard.
At our AGM, LEDET agreed to such a review and Mel Du Plessis and Stephen Barber are tasked to report back to the Committee in this regard. Any views that members hold can be forwarded to either person.
HUNTING EMPOWERMENT PARTNERSHIPS:
LEDET reported that no action has yet been undertaken but that it should be included in their Strategic Plan. The Chairman will liaise with them in this regard.
TRAINING COMMITTEE ACTIVITY:
Johan Bosch gave a report on the progress of the current course and the previous course. Problems regarding the late notification were noted as were problems regarding the suitability of some candidates not emanating from the "industry".
It was further resolved that other courses such as meat processing, etc. would be identified. Suggestions from members would be welcomed. All future dates would be circulated timeously.
On the 17th March a presentation of certificates will be held to PDI PH students. It was resolved to get media coverage for the event and attempt to get better acknowledgment for the LHLF and it's substantial contribution.
LEOPARD STATUS REPORT:
The necessity for an academic report to persuade the members of the scientific committee of LEDET was discussed.
Sam Makhubele offered to facilitate a meeting between the Forum and the scientists/biologists involved. A sub-committee under the Chairmanship of Howard Knott was set up to deal with this matter.
It is hoped that via this dialogue it will be possible to resolve the differences of opinion on the sensitive matter of leopard CITES quotas. Our thanks to Sam for his offer of assistance.
In order to better administer the affairs of the Forum, Ms Estie vd Merwe agreed to take over the treasurer/secretarial role. With the passing of Flip this position has not been filled for several years and our appreciation for Estie's services, are acknowledged.
CONDOLENCES: PAUL FERREIRA AND FAMILY:
The committee took note of the recent losses experienced by Paul Ferreira, one of our long serving members. Paul lost a sister and brother-in-law in a car accident and another sister was seriously injured.
Our sincerest condolences are extended to Paul, Nico, Linda and other members of his family.
LEOPARD WITH DOGS:
A loophole has been identified in the TOPS Regulations which theoretically could be used to permit the hunting of leopard with dogs. It was noted with concern that Magdel from DEAT was apparently agreeing to this practice without any reference to the industry eg. PHASA, LHLF, etc. It was resolved to bring this to the attention of PHASA and Charl van Rooyen was tasked with this.
The problems associated with this were again discussed, but sans a real solution.
ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS:
An open invitation was extended to the LEDET members to attend the committee meetings. It is essential that direct involvement with the Forum is ensured.
FAREWELL ABRAM MATSIELA:
The committee condoned the actions by the Chairman to contribute a R1 000 to the costs of the Farewell Function and the same amount to a gift for Abram on his retirement, due to ill health.
Abram has been the LEDET member involved with the Forum since it's inception and his involvement has been greatly appreciated. Thank you to all the members who attended the Farewell Function and our best wishes to Abram in a well deserved retirement.
(Members please take note that Ms Cendra Malivhoho is acting in the position until such times as a full time appointment is made).
My thanks to the Committee for a most worthwhile meeting. Great promise is in the offing for the LHLF.