President’s Report 2021
Good day to all our PHASA members, guests, sponsors and staunch supporters of PHASA ‒welcome to our 2021 Annual General Meeting. Thank you for taking the time to be here today, either in person, or virtually, from somewhere around the globe; we appreciate your attendance and support.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would be standing here in front of you as your president. It was never a dream or desire of mine to be at the helm of this powerful and influential ship, but our good Lord had a different plan in mind for myself and PHASA. I am honoured that you, the members and Exco, had the faith in me to hand over the steering wheel of our beloved ship from our previous ‘captain’. Keeping up the excellent work he has done has been a challenging task, to say the least.
I was elected to the Executive Committee in 2017, and, at my first board meeting, I was elected as Chairman of the then PHASA Fund. This was during PHASA’s toughest year ever and the so-called ‘split’, where we lost about one hundred members; many of our international sponsors walked away; and we were also denied membership to certain organisations. This is now part of history and, looking back today, I am grateful this all happened; it made PHASA independent, financially self-sufficient and so much stronger. We became a proud member organisation again, where we all have a voice.
Dries and I have been working shoulder to shoulder, adapting to the needs of the industry. Our primary aim has been to ensure that we represent our members and the greater hunting industry at all levels. It has been a daunting and time-consuming task, and often frustrating. PHASA is no longer a small association and needs to be managed accordingly. Extreme dedication and focus has been required from all our Executive members and staff to ensure that our members’ voices are heard, and that our rights as professional hunters are protected. Change is painful, but inevitable, and those that can adapt the best, will survive.
PHASA is growing from strength to strength. We currently have the largest membership in the history of our association, standing at 3 200. As an association, we are financially secure, and have the capacity to effectively address and action the ever-increasing demands from government, and activists opposing us.
Your Exco are serving you, the members, by letting our voice be heard on all fronts. We have representation on platforms where hunters have never been allowed before, which will have a huge impact on our heritage and future. More individuals are feeling PHASA’s impact on regional, national, and international levels and forums.
PHASA is currently participating in, and represented on, among others, the following committees and forums:
African Community Conservationists
AWCF – African Wildlife Consultative Forum
AWEI – African Wildlife Economy Institute
CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – Animal Committee
DFFE – Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries – Leopard working group
DFFE – Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries – Rhino workshop
Gauteng Biodiversity Forum
GMIF – Game Meat Industry Forum
HAWASA – Hunting and Wildlife Associations of South Africa
HLP – High Level Panel
IPPHC – Inter-Provincial Professional Hunting Committee
LHLF – Limpopo Hunters Liaison Forum
National African Lion Task Team
NTSF – National Tourism Stakeholder Forum
NTSS – National Tourism Sector Strategy
SAQA – South African Qualifications Authority – Professional Body Forum
SAQA – South African Qualifications Authority – Quality Standard Task Team
SUCO SA –Sustainable Use Coalition South Africa
TBCSA – Tourism Business Council of South Africa
Of great concern to all is the High-Level Panel of experts’ report on elephant, lion, leopard and rhino, released in December 2020. PHASA made it clear that we do not agree with the report and submitted our objections on several occasions. This whole process was flawed, where all the major shareholders, such as PHASA, were viewed as the minority, and our input was largely ignored. This is totally unacceptable, and we will defend our rights as ranchers, hunters and custodians of our wildlife.
It is of great concern that government is paying a great deal of lip service and not taking us seriously. We are having meetings about meetings, with no concrete outcomes or strategic objectives, as is clear from the Wildlife Forum meetings and the outcome of the High-Level Panel report. This is not only a PHASA issue, but one concerning the wildlife sector in totality. It’s time for us to stand up as conservationists and hunters, even if this means going the legal route to make our voices heard.
Were it not for PHASA, and its strategic alliances and active participation in the founding of SUCO-SA, we would not have made the progress that we have. PHASA and SUCO are now moving into the international realm to mitigate, and pro-actively counter the agendas of the neo-colonialist urbanites who are attempting to destroy our hunting heritage. SUCO-SA united all the major pro-sustainable use coalitions in one powerful entity. This coalition is the largest of its kind in Africa ‒ a first in the history of our country ‒ and we have been able to involve many people with the same core values and principles to unite, and work together as a united front.
At a recent tourism meeting with the newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, she stated that the hunting industry is a very important part of the tourism sector. This comes from a sector that did not even want our name mentioned in the same sentence as theirs. We have come a long way, and I would like to thank Dries for his hard work on the TBCSA board of directors, on behalf of the hunting industry. This new recognition of us as hunters will certainly open new doors for our industry.
I would like to thank you, the members, for your loyalty and continued support, without which PHASA has no future or purpose. To my Exco: I could not have asked for a more hardworking, purpose-driven group of men, willing to selflessly give up their time to work for our members. Thank you for your continued advice and support.
I would like to mention two special people: Uncle Barry and Dries. Never were there men with greater passion, and commitment to our industry and association then these two. They will leave no stone unturned to ensure that our members’ interests are represented and protected. The wealth of knowledge you two have is mind-boggling; you are like walking encyclopaedias. With you two by my side, we can tackle any problem and enemy.
To our ladies in the office: Marianna, today we say goodbye to you, after 17 years of your being there for PHASA. Thank you for your dedication and commitment. Sybil, what a difference you made in the management of PHASA’s finances. What a joy it is to work with you. Tersia, my pillar of support, always willing to share your knowledge and ideas of how to make PHASA better. Ladies, without you, there is no PHASA. Thank you very much for your hard work.
To all our sponsors and donors, you are the backbone of PHASA. Unfortunately, money makes the world go round. Thank you so much for your unwavering support, despite the financial difficulties imposed on us by Covid-19.
Most importantly, we need to give the glory to our Heavenly Father. PHASA is successful and blessed because we all know where our strength comes from. He has pulled us through difficult times. Covid-19 stood in front of us like an insurmountable mountain and, yet, here we are, with Him by our side.
The theme of this 2021 convention and AGM is very appropriate:
‘In unity lies strength’. United, we can surmount any challenges and accomplish any goal. Let’s work together and secure our hunting heritage for generations to come.
I wish you all a blessed and relaxing festive season with your loved ones. Travel safely and remember: ‘He is the reason for the season!’ May 2022 be the best year ever, to all of you!
Is a licensed outfitter and professional hunter in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. He manages a game farm as a partner near Brombeek where he conducts hunting operations and oversees the breeding of rare game species. (Roan, Sable and Tsessebe).
In November 2014, he was elected and in 2016 re-elected as Director on the PHASA Conservation and Empowerment Fund.
Since 2017 – 2019 Exco co-opted Ben as a member and subsequently was tasked to oversee training matters as the chairman of the training committee. He oversees all matters pertaining to training of the association as well as matters regarding the professional body status of the Association at SAQA.
In 2019 Ben was elected to serve on the Exco and his term ends at the 2021 AGM.
He currently serves, with the president and the CEO on the IPPHC as well as on the SAQA Working groups on RPL, CPD & Designations, where they are busy developing new policies and procedures for these areas.
Currently he is developing the new professional hunting qualifications in conjunction with CATHSSETA.
He completes the designations data loads annually for PHASA as the professional body of the professional hunting industry. This involves updating the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) register of members.
He is willing to serve the association wherever the members decided to elect him.
Jess de Klerk
Hy is gebore in Bethlehem op 11 Desember 1969 en het groot geword op ‘n plaas. Hy was op Kestell op skool en het in 1988 BAgric aan Universiteit van die Oranje Vrystaat gestudeer.
In 1992 doen hy diensplig by 44 Valskerm Brigade en verwerf die rang van Kaptein. In 1993 koop hy ‘n plaas met ’n wildkamp daarop en begin boer
Hy was die voorsitter van WRSA Vrystaat-kamer vir vyf jaar. Hy brei sy wildboerdery uit en begin om jagte vir jagondernemers aan te bied en stig Witkop Safaris.
In 2006 voltooi hy ‘n PJ-kursus en begin voltyds jag as lid van PHASA. Hy het alreeds op vyf kontinente en sewe lande gejag. Jess word verkies tot die PJSA UK in 2019 en is SAAI se Vrystaat veiligheid verteenwoordiger.
Dries van Coller
Henri van Aswegen