My term of office as Chairperson for the financial year ending March 2018 was brief. Only six weeks but I also have to take into account the following six months leading up to this year’s AGM. What a challenging time this has been. However, I have been ably assisted by a dedicated and passionate management committee and it’s thanks to these wonderful volunteers with their expertise and knowledge which has enabled me to step up to the plate and cope with the daily challenges I have had to face as Chairperson.
It would be very remiss of me not to first start off by mentioning our previous Chairperson, Ilze Smith, as well as her late husband, Deon Smith, who have been associated with HAWS for the past 10 years. The job of Chairperson is not an easy one, so thank you Ilze for all you have done for HAWS and we wish you everything of the best in your new ventures.
Like any business, in order to survive, it has to grow. To achieve this, the business needs good leadership, a strong supporting management committee as well as loyal and efficient staff. HAWS needed to change, as simple as that. It was stagnating and going no where fast. The best way to achieve this was by bringing in new blood. As you all know the saying,”new brooms sweep clean”.
Most people do not welome change. Possibly because change takes them out of their comfort zone and they feel threatened. Providing change is for the better of the organization, then change has to take place and this is the reason we reshuffled the committee in order to allow new ideas, policies and procedures to be introduced. This has also enabled us to re-establish a good, friendly and mutually rewarding working relationship with other animal welfare organizations which sadly had been lacking in the past.
A big project of which I am personally very proud and which was completed during my term of office as Chairperson, was the opening of our new clinic in February 2018. The challenges which I faced as Project Manager were daunting. However, what was once an old, tired building, has now been transformed into a modern clinic and although we do not have the latest and best equipment, we are adequately equipped to handle the day to day needs of the community. There is such a great need in the community for a clinic and, due to the bad economic situation in our country, more and more people are unemployed and are therefore unable to afford medical care for their animals. We cannot turn away from these cases and our finances are stretched beyond limit. Our clinic operates at a loss every month and our fund raising team is forever hard at work trying to raise funds in order to keep our doors open.
It is also necessary for me to report on other projects which have taken past since the last AGM. It goes without saying that the past six months has seen a radical inprovement at HAWS. Not only in the visual aspect of the premises, but also in the morale of the management committee as well as the staff. Maintenance had been sadly neglected at HAWS and it has taken all of nine months, working almost continuously, to bring it up to the wonderful standard which we have now achieved.
We are very proud of our new HAWS premises. The buildings have all been newly painted with proper signage. The kennels office and reception have been enlarged to one big open plan office. Staff have a new canteen where they can now enjoy tea and lunch times. Improved food and blanket storage facilities created. All the kennels and runs have been upgraded with large open runs for the dogs. Our cattery is great, offering the cats the best possible confined environment. In fact, so many improvements have been made which are too numerous to mention in this report.
We are also operating a mobile clinic which goes into Zwelihle every Wednesday afternoon and the people there have the opportunity of having their animals attended to on the spot. This also gives our field staff the opporturnity of educating the community, particularly the children, on the proper care of their animals. Our mobile clinic will shortly also be operating in Hawston and Mt. Pleasant.
Our charity shop in Mitchell Street has been revamped and what a difference this has made. The stock is now displayed in a tasteful way with improved facilities for both shoppers, staff and volunteers. The exterior of the shop is now eye catching and we hope this will attract more donations from our wonderful donors which hopefully will result in many sales. The charity shop is a major source of revenue for HAWS and it is therefore imperative we operate the shop to the best of our ability.
I would like to take this opportunity of introducing the committee and will start off with the three other office bearers. As Chairperson, I am one of the office bearers and, in addition to my duties as Chairperson, I also have the clinic under my “paw”.
Vice Chairperson - Marlene Deneeghere. With her business knowledge and experience, Marlene has been a great help. She has cleverly implemented new policies and procedures which have enabled us to offer an improved service at HAWS. In addition, she also operates our education programme which not only reaches out to the children in schools, but also at our education centre at HAWS.
Treasurer - Alastair Lyle. Together with our accountant, Mariska Koekemoer, they keep a strict eye on our finances ensuring we can account for every expense and that our books are ready for the audit every year.
Secretary – Cheryl Richardson. Small in stature, but big in heart, and roars like a tiger! Cheryl keeps us firmly in check at meetings. It’s Cheryl who handles and runs our golf day each year. The hard work which it takes to make this such a success each year is admirable. She works tirelessly ensuring it’s one of the best golf tournaments around and golfers are always happy to participate in this fun event. In addition to her secretarial duties, she also handles all the PR for HAWS. With her past business experience, it has been a pleasure having her on board.
HR – Gabi Brummer. A very important portfolio, ensuring all staff contracts and details are duly recorded in accordance with the requirements of the labour law. Gabi is also in charge of the kennels and cattery, with the Kennel Manager reporting to her. Her job does not end there as she is also responsible for the cat volunteers.
The next member was co-opted to the HAWS committee in 2017 and what a good decision this has been.
Fund Raising - This very important role is handled by Rene Dewar. What a difficult job Rene agreed to take on. Most people shy away from fund raising but Rene took on the role with enthusiasm and zest and what a difference she has made. It’s thanks to Rene and her team that the charity shop looks like it does today. They worked tirelessly in the shop, not only sorting out all the stock, but her clever ideas and tasteful arrangement has ensured we have an excellent outlet to sell our wonderful donated goods. Her talents don’t stop there! A choreographer of note who solely produced our wonderful HAWS and HOUNDS show, another successful fund raising event. Thank you Rene!
The following members were also later co-opted to the HAWS committee, and it is very interesting to report that some of them were previous committee members and, due to the reshuffle of the committee, were happy to return.
Maintenance – Callen van den Broeck. Special thanks must go to Callen. This kind and generous man has spent the last five months working tirelessly in the shop and at the HAWS premises. Perhaps the thanks should go to Callen’s wife, Janette, who has kindly “given up” Callen by allowing him to work at HAWS every single day. Callen’s maintenance skills are unbelievable. There is not a job he cannot do and the newly improved condition of our premises speaks for itself. What a wonderful volunteer, not only passionate about animals, but he also takes great pride in his work and it is a pleasure and so rewarding having Callen on the committee.
Irene Saunders - Her portfolio includes the handling of the HAWS membership and here I would like to point out that membership is open to all and this includes all races, regardless of age, sex or gender. Irene has managed to increase our membership this year and for this we are very grateful as we rely on these subscriptions as a source of income for HAWS. Irene also produces our informative newsletters and we are all looking forward to shortly receiving the next one.
Tanya Cohen - I’m sure most of you will have noticed our “barefoot” committee member. Tanya handles the media on behalf of HAWS and also assisted in the upgrading of our website. She is also responsible for Facebook and it’s rewarding to note the huge number of followers we have on Facebook. Tanya also handles the assessment of the HAWS dogs . This is vitally important as it enables us to ensure the right dogs are paired up with the right owners.
Caroline Davies – She is our dog volunteer co-ordinator but this title does not do her justice. Caroline’s commitment to HAWS goes far beyond this title. She has been volunteering her services at HAWS for the past seven and a half years and spends many, many hours at HAWS, helping wherever she can. In fact, at times she has manned our desk in the kennels office and has also assisted with adoptions. Caroline is passionate about animals and just witnessing her interaction with animals is a joy to behold.
These then are the people who make up the HAWS committee. It has been a pleasure serving on the committee with them. In terms of our Constitution, these co-opted members all need to stand down this year but are eligible for nomination.
I would briefly like to mention some of the on-going projects we are handling at the moment:
Fences for Freedom – providing fences for homeowners in an endeavour to get animals off chains.
On Leash programme – those children who show dedication and commitment to their animals by bringing them for regular health checks, are given free leashes for their dogs.
Nibbles for Needy Pets - we use funds donated to provide dog/cat food to the community and are also helping “Granny Joyce Legacy” by donating food to them.
Clinic for Needy Pets – we never turn away animals in need and funds from this project are used to assist these desperate cases.
This report is getting rather lengthy so I would lastly like to thank all the organizations, individuals and companies who help us. To single out every single person or company is not possible but special thanks must go to the Hermanus Animal Hospital, Bergview Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Mark Robey, Dr. Illza Perold, Phillip Page and Dr. Louise Botha. Thanks too must go to Law Enforcement and the K9 officers for their valued support during investigations. Thanks to The Hermanus Times and Village News.
To all our loyal shop, dog and cat volunteers. You are all very important to the well-being of the organization. A huge thank you and I hope you will continue to support us for many years to come.
To our loyal staff members, thank you for all your support.
Kennels: Peter Hansen, kennel manager. Amanda Havenga, kennel receptionist. Takesure Razah, senior kennel assistant. Kennel assistants: Chester Khuzani, Moses Zvavatonga and Sam Gege.
Clinic: Melinda Devenish, Veterinary, Graham van Balla, Vet Assistant. Wildre Filander, Vet/Clinic Assistant. Lindie Meyer, Clinic Receptionist. Clinic assistants: Clement Chalimba and Shepherd Mapfumo.
Shop: Sandra Corbett, Manager. Progress Mhonda, Shop Assistant.
In closing I leave you with the following message, borrowed from Dale Carnegie: “most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”.
Pamela Quinn - Chairperson
20 August 2018.