Richmond; The year got off to the best of starts with a highly successful symposium in Richmond.
Excellent presentations, interesting people , new faces, medal and merit awards really worthwhile. We have had many glowing reports of both the event and its aftermath.
Carol Podd; website, part of the finance authorisation, the administrative force behind a very busy year. What would we do without her?
Jacques : From Johannesburg; up to date; organises Skype meetings, drafts sensible press releases and position documents; skilled in heritage and reliable; we are lucky to have him.
Jayson: from civilization , student of heritage with a keen mind, brains behind the finance scheme and got it set up; has a valuable input into heritage matters.
Herbert: from Johannesburg; the longest serving member from the stigting days, has great insight, and is the conscience of the committee. Chair of the awards committee.
Beverly: From Alberton; keen; conscientious and a very good worker for the committee. We are not utilising her sufficiently, something we need to correct.
Chris Young: Hermanus: Vice Chair with a cool head, his assistance with the reorganisation of the finances and control, assessment committee for awards, can be relied upon.
I doubt that anyone of us anticipated the year ahead when we accepted the responsibility in Richmond. We have had the constitution ratified, the association accepted by the banks (what a job this has been), sorted the name change , altered the logo to suit and held 3 Skype meetings, produced awards certificates(Herbert), medals plaque (Marg Young and Bev), sorted out the outstanding and access to our finances and recovered outstanding monies.
Heritage has had a busy year with Statues becoming a focal point Jacques and I took part in numerous television presentations and radio talks. Statues have become a political issue and position papers have been issued by HWC (decisions of council) which we need to comment upon.
This led to the various white papers where we were represented at the JHB and Cape Town symposiums on the subject, held by the national department. S.A.H.R.A. and the Western Cape Government .
In the Western Cape, the desire to retain the status quo appears to be at variance with the rest of the country. What was very interesting was the participation of the descendants of numerous clans of the Koi in these symposiums . We need to position ourselves to assist these Groups if called upon to do so. It would be presumptuous to say they should join us, but we need to find a way to become equal partners in protecting our joint heritage.
The low point of the year and a problem that we have to address, is the withdrawal of Cape Town and Potchefstroom, as well as the demise of the old Pretoria organisation. The need for conservation-minded persons to organise, associate , co operate and share experience cannot be underestimated.
The benefit of a data base of decisions by the various committees authorised to issue permits, hear appeals, etc. is a project that we should tackle and have a web reference to assist other with similar problems. We must start insisting that the law of precedent must be applied, not random decisions.
Heritage outside of the Western Cape is run on questionable terms and we need to focus on developing contacts to attempt to ensure that heritage legalisation is enforced by empowering at the local level. In the Western Cape there are also problems with H.W.C.’s attempt to restrict public participation and place an emphasis on the professional s. I believe that we should be guided in both our policy and our awards to concentrate on the public interest and represent that interest.
Two gold medal awards will be made tomorrow evening to Ecrags (a loose organisation ) by means of a gold medal certificate and to the Coetzees of Calvinia for their outstanding contribution to heritage conservation. This is not a competition but recognition for a life-long or very special contribution to heritage. Although the nominations are advertised for consideration before the symposium, we will accept nomination at any time and we urge our associates to participate and nominate deserving prospects for the various categories.
We need to encourage local awards and produce a common certificate.
Old National Monuments apart from the badges that are being stolen (we have contacts to replace these relatively cheaply) the protection that the owners expected by their sacrifice is threatened by illegal regrading in the Western Cape and by a weakness possibly in the la. We need to form a policy on this issue and ensure that both due procedure and protection is ensured. We are busy (with Marg and Beverly) in attempting to source a quicker and cheaper source for the Plaques. Thank you Marg, especially, for your contribution.
Plaques to commemorate, especially, forced removals , significant places in the Struggle, and other related events, need to be erected if we are to retain any sense of a single national organisation.
That aside, it has been a very busy and pleasant year, pleasant because I was supported by a willing, able and pleasant committee, all of whom have been committed to progressing our interests.
I thank the committee for their support and understanding. I did commit myself for a year and stressed the need to find a replacement as soon as possible. I cannot guarantee for how long I will be available and would welcome a successor as I believe that some of our problems are personality Issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to be of service to heritage.