Monday, 5 March 2012

Gemors and remorse

This blog article is written by Trevor Watkins in his personal capacity, and not on behalf of the current or previous JBRA committee.

Having wreaked havoc within the ranks of the local DA, the “The Courier – Die Koerier” has now turned its school-masterly eye towards the Jeffreys Bay Residents Association. It is so easy to attack the people nearest you, while ignoring the real and dangerous opponents at a distance.

Japie Bosch, the Jeffreys Bay equivalent of Georgie W Bush, described the recent JBRA AGM as “’n gemors van ‘n gemors ….”, because the meeting started late and a politician spoke for too long, as though this were an unusual occurrence in South Africa these days, or in the past.  He then maunders on about Elza Van Lingen, complains because the meeting chair did NOT  rudely interrupt the guest speaker (as he no doubt would have done), then reports that the DA councillors walked out of the meeting (as though this was a new or unusual event). Finally, he gets his facts wrong about the make-up of the new committee. The JBRA is indeed fortunate to have a young and enthusiastic new chairman. Most, if not all, of the existing committee has agreed to stay on, myself included, and I believe a new person has offered their services.

Japie conveniently forgets that the AGM he organised the previous year failed to keep a register of attendees, failed to get key changes to the constitution passed because they were poorly thought through, and had a guest speaker who was later dismissed from the municipality under questionable circumstances. His entire committee, with 1 exception, were not available for re-election, leaving the task of forming a new committee entirely to yours truly.

Presumably Japie did not wait for the chairman’s report, read in absentia. So he did not report on the 10 fold increase in registered membership of the JBRA since his time on the committee. He had nothing to say about the new website, the Mobilitate issue reporting system, the new CPF functionality, the email discussion group, the regular newsletters and general meetings, the revival of FEKRRA, and the new legal dispute mechanism recently instituted. No, because the council employee opened the hall late, and the meeting went on a bit long, all he could see was “’n gemors”.

Ludwig Vorster, a former member of the committee who resigned without a word of explanation (at least to me), obviously prefers to be outside the tent spitting in. If he had stayed on the committee he could have helped check the hall booking 3 times in the prior week, he could have made an arrangement with a municipal official the week before to ensure at least 120 chairs were available, and he could have arrived at the hall early to ensure everything was on track. Instead, in his absence, the chairman did all these things, despite having other issues to deal with too.  If Ludwig had stayed on the committee, he could draft the angry letter to the municipality demanding to know why the facilities were not available as arranged.  Instead, someone else will need to undertake that task.  Like Japie, all Ludwig could see is what was wrong with the situation. As Churchill said, it takes some intelligence to see what is right.

Ludwig must also remember that when he sings “De La Rey”, many others will also sing of Biko and Hani.  I am deeply grateful that, despite all our problems in South Africa, we are still able to discuss most of the problems peacefully.

The JBRA committee and I put a lot of effort into achieving our 3 goals in this last year. We are now the biggest residents association in terms of registered members in Kouga. We have engaged frequently with the municipal officials, and achieved some successes. FEKRRA is back as a viable force in our local politics. 

Nevertheless, given the responses of these 2 bloggers, and the low level of involvement in the JBRA from most residents, I personally don’t think it was worth the effort.

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