We express our deepest condolences to the van der Nest family in Bungalow # 30 over the passing of a family member.
Another month passed with ongoing challenges from elephant bulls, damaging camp infrastructure. Notwithstanding damage to Members’ solar panel installations, outside showers, lath screens, windows and water reticulation the company infrastructure took a pounding too, irrespective of timber screen configuration or fence design.
However, May is traditionally a busy month on the Reserve. So, despite the elephant challenges, we set out to remain positive in the execution of our duties and managed to deliver on several administrative and physical tasks at hand.
Vuka Ingwe timber screen annihilated
Vuka Ingwe perimeter fence, usually stands the test
Standard fence on camp perimeter no longer a deterrent
The May Board Meeting was held on 25 May, and herewith some interim feedback, on behalf of the Board:
- The Legal Committee is reviewing the MOI and other official documents with the objective of aligning these documents with the Greater Kruger Co-operative Agreement and Reserve Management Plan. Membership consultation will follow once the recommended amendments find Board support.
- Risk review is ongoing where each Committee is tasked to identify its top six risks.
- The Delegation of Authority Framework was reviewed, updated and approved as a Chart of Authority, effective 01 July 2019.
- The Social Media Policy approved at the 2019 AGM is under review, taking into account comments received from Members around this Media Policy.
- The budgets tabled for 2019/20 were approved for both Ingwelala and Sibon. The Ingwelala levy will increase by 4.9%. The Sibon rates for high season will increase by 2.85% and by 7% for low season.
- Insurance renewals are underway for all short term risk policies.
- The Reserve Manager will be in communication with Bungalow Administrators about the requirements and conditions of COCs’ regarding LP Gas and Solar installations, with recommendations and tips on maintaining best practice.
- The External Relations Committee continues to engage daily with the Nkorho and Umbabat Excos around all matters relating to the Umbabat and the way forward to meet NEMPAA compliance in terms of the Greater Kruger Co-operative Agreement. A huge amount of personal time is spent on this project.
- Considering continuity in Director succession and leadership, it was agreed that Rory Kirk take over the duties as Board Chairman, from Andrew Hauptfleisch, with effect 01 June.
On the above paragraph, and on behalf of the staff, I wish to thank Andrew Hauptfleisch for his contribution as Chairman over the past 12 months. It has not been without its challenges and the staff remain grateful for Board support.
- Debrah Ngwenya has been appointed to the Housekeeping Team.
Roads & Tracks
- Regular visits to the airstrip surface were done and recorded in the inspection register.
- There were only two nights during May, when the camp fence was not breached by elephants. The Sibon fence was breached on seven occasions.
- Due to the Conservation Team spending all their available work time repairing fences and water leaks, it was not possible to deliver on any other conservation work tasks.
- A report was submitted to the Board of Directors on 25 May for assessment, due consideration and direction on the way forward. The elephant bull identified for causing 90% of the damage was subsequently referred to the MTPA as a damage causing animal under the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) legislation. This elephant bull's behaviour was changing to noticeably less tolerance towards humans, exacerbated by his musth cycle commencing. At the time of compiling this report, MTPA euthanized the animal (off Ingwelala) in the best interests of human safety. This action was communicated to all Bungalow Administrators via e-mail.
Bomas, Hides and Picnic Sites
- The Bird Hide walkway was fully reconstructed during the reporting period. A flush toilet will be a new addition to Bird Hide. This is work in progress to commission the facility and should be completed by the third week of June. (See photos)
- Elephant Pan Hide had a comb and patch on the thatch roof and new wire mesh fitted.
- No incidents on Ingwelala during the reporting period.
General Fire risk management
The annual firebreak preparation around the camp infrastructure and bungalows commenced in May. The fuel load and biomass are classified and rated as high in certain areas of the camp. This is due to the late summer rains extending the growth season. This task is 80% complete. Special Notices drawing attention to the time of the year and increased fire risk have been circulated to Members in residence and noted in the Gate Letter.
- Fire-fighting equipment is checked on a weekly basis.
- X 1 tractor available to assist with fire-fighting (x2 water drawn carts).
- X 1 “Bakkie-Sakkie” serviceable and responsive on a “first call” basis.
- X 20 fire beaters and and x 4 knap-sack sprays in good working order.
- X 2 “frog pumps” fully operational.
The following graph shows the monthly Eskom Usage (Kwh) for Ingwelala.
Vehicles and Workshop
- The general fleet and static plant maintenance is 100% compliant with the servicing schedule.