Duiwenhoks Conservancy AGM 2024

We had an interesting AGM on Easter Saturday in the Community Hall. Thanks to so many for attending!

The committee gave feedback on progress during the year; Justin gave an overview of our current thinking on the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) process to evaluate and map the conservation items within the Vermaaklikheid area to protect and conserve the space and the delicate balance of heritage buildings, development needs and environment.  If you would like to see it, please click here: Conservation Management Plan (CMP) AGM 2024

We were lucky enough to have Linda Fletcher, Sustainability Manager, and Rita Liebenberg, Gouritz Corridors and Restoration Programme Manager from the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) share information about who they are, and what they do.   We are so grateful to Linda and Rita for taking time off to do this work in the middle of a long weekend.

Linda Fletcher, GCBR Sustainability Manager

Rita Liebenberg, GCBR, Gouritz Corridors and Restoration Programme Manager

If you would like to see Linda’s presentation, please click here: Linda’s GCBR presentation.

Other AGM updates related to alien clearing, fire and chipper, finances. The 2024/5 committee was voted in with no changes. Thanks to the team for doing the hard work as volunteers.

The minutes have been finalised and are available for viewing here: AGM minutes

Many thanks to Anthony and Bibi Black for providing tea and coffee, it was much appreciated!

Finally, a request to please pay your 2024/5 subscription of R500. We rely entirely on the community to fund our operations.

Banking details are: Duivenhoks Conservancy, Standard Bank, Rondebosch,  Branch code: 02500911, Account no: 075577623  

Successful registration as a conservation body

 A winter’s afternoon overlooking Vermaaklikheid. photo credit: Willem Coetsee

Heritage Western Cape (HWC) received our application to register as a conservation body in April 2023, in terms of Section 25(1)(b) of the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999. HWC recently informed us that our application was approved at their Inventories, Grading and Interpretation Committee (IGIC) meeting.

What does this change?

This creates an obligation for Hessequa Municipality to consult and engage with us and seek input as both an interested and affected party and Conservation Body for any development in Vermaaklikheid area.

Any applications for change in land use, consent use, building work, road or infrastructure works needs to be provided to us to comment on.  We would then provide input to owners wishing to do work in our area of high conservation value.

We have a historical building guideline document, drafted by Paul Andrew and Professor Julian Cooke. This was used previously for all building development work applications. If you have any questions, please drop a note on duiwenhoksconservancy@gmail.com.


Turtle rescue hotline

Tracy Whitehead, Turtle Rescue Network Co-ordinator, has contacted the Duiwenhoks Conservancy. Tracy is looking for conservation minded people in our area, who spend time on our beaches to keep an eye open for any turtle strandings.
If there is a stranding, they have 24hr support on an emergency number whereby we will be guided through what’s necessary step by step. They will organise transport and send the turtle/s either to Port Elizabeth hospital or to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. The person who finds the turtle will not have to do anything except call it in and then do the necessaries to get it to safety.
The RESCUE HOTLINE number is 0833001663.
Tracy is planning a roadtrip to our area for 2 March 2023 (more later) but in the meantime, *please* share this information with local residents or visiting guests.
More about Two Oceans Aquarium turtle rescue:
Over many years, baby turtles wash up along our coast during ‘hatchling season’ which spans from February until about July. They try and rescue as many of these hatchlings as possible in order to get them bigger and stronger and then they’re released months later.
Tiny hatchlings are born in the very northern region of KZN and are swept down the East coast in the warm Agulhus current. When they get to around St Francis Bay, it is usually the onset of onshore winds and storms and these little guys get blown out of the warm current into the freezing coastal waters. Too small to swim away they become weak, hypothermic and dehydrated and will eventually die. Many get washed ashore and die on the beach. If they’re lucky enough to be rescued, they have an almost 90% success rate.
Through 60 years of research, only 1 in 1000 hatchling survives to adulthood. Put this together with pollution at sea, ghost fishing gear for entanglement, by-catch from over fishing and many other issues, the odds for survival are getting worse. For every hatching or adult we can rescue, we increase these odds exponentially.
In 2022 so far, they’ve rescued 155 baby hatchlings between Plett and Cape Town!
Let’s help?

This is Geri – she was rescued last July … She came in with this old wound of a missing flipper. She was slow to recover but when she did she was styling. She is one of their rescue success stories.
Geri has been successfully released. She was satellite tagged and for months happily went about her business of just being a turtle.


Duiwenhoks Conservancy AGM news

Thanks to all who attended our virtual AGM earlier this week.

Aileen Anderson, who manages the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy, shared some of the lessons learnt in protecting rivers and landscapes.  Bertus Hayward and Hendrik Visser of the Hessequa Municipality gave us an overview of the process of developing a development plan for Vermaaklikheid (more below).

John Thorne resigned as chair, a position he has held since 2013. Josie Borain is our new chair, with Anthony Black remaining as vice chair. Sarah Ward and Mandy Zeelie resigned, and Justin Cooke was welcomed as a new member. John, Rooken Podesta & Margaux Newdigate remain members.


Vermaaklikheid Spatial Development Framework

“An SDF indicates which type of development should be allowed in a Municipality, where it should take place, and how such development should be undertaken to ensure the best outcomes for people, natural resources, and economy.”

 Bertus Hayward, Hessequa Municipality Manager:  Spatial and Economic Development and Hendrik Visser, Hessequa Municipal Manager outlined the process of setting up a Spatial Development Framework.  Sarah Ward initiated this process and Justin Cooke will represent the Duiwenhoks Conservancy going forward. The aim is to establish development guidelines for Vermaaklikheid.

Public participation is an important part of this process – so you’ll be hearing more on this.



In addition, Hessequa has sent all interested parties a notice that they intend to consider the Draft Municipal Smart EconomicDevelopment Strategy [SMART strategy]. The draft SMART strategy presents four characteristics of local government i.e., maximising social and economic growth, integrating and coordination, democratising development and leading and learning. 

The draft SMART Strategy is available on request and on the Hessequa Municipal Website and at all the Municipal Libraries’ computers.  A work session is planned for 11 May 2022 at 14h00 via Teams and comments can be submitted on/before 23 May 2022.  Interested parties should contact Bertus Hayward bertus@hessequa.gov.za

Finally, some rain! So here’s a lovely splash of local April colour – Brunsvigia orientalis.


Save the date: Duiwenhoks AGM Tuesday, April 12 at 4:00 pm

It’s time for our annual general meeting. We will be meeting via Google Meet on Tuesday, April 12 at 4:00 pm.

Aileen Anderson, who manages the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy, will talk about her success in protecting rivers and landscapes in the current economic climate. 

We also need to appoint a new chair as John Thorne is stepping down after nine years of service to this community. Thanks, John, for all the energy you’ve put in over the years.

Send Duiwenhoksconservancy@gmail.com a mail if you wish to be included in the meeting.

Erica mammosa, June 2021


Vermaaklikheid sports program

The holiday youth sports program was a great success! Many thanks to all contributors ❤ 
Allister Miggels led the program and says that the children learned new skills. ‘Some couldn’t kick a ball, some couldn’t play in teams and to some it felt strange to be on a sport field but never the less before Friday the 7th of January 2022 those children who couldn’t kick a ball knew how to kick a ball and to those who it felt strange to be on a sport field enjoyed themselves so much that they couldn’t get enough of playing a ball’.
We would like to thank the Western Cape government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport for funding the program. None of this would have been possible without the attention of our local librarian, Anneline Kistoor, who nominated the Duiwenhoks Conservancy to the program, via the Hessequa Municipality librarian service, and on to the Western Cape Library Service which supported our application.  Many thanks to each of you for your support. 
Children were provided with a small lunch every day, and there was a combination of outdoor and indoor activities. 

Vermaaklikheid children need sports

Abe Pretorius grew up in Vermaaklikheid. As a youngster, there was no dedicated place for children to kick a ball around, so they played in the street or someone’s yard.  They dreamed of a grassy field where they could play their favourite sport: football, rugby, netball or cricket.

Abe has helped make this dream a reality. He volunteers his time to support the current generation of children with healthy outdoor play. He also keeps the field maintained, by using his weed-eater and the occasional loan of a lawnmower from a kind resident.

We know how important it is for children to be able to have a safe place to develop physical skills but the benefits of outside play extend beyond exercise. Sport helps children make new friends, have fun, learn to be a team member, learn about play fair and improve their self-esteem.

With the help of GivenGain, and the Duiwenhoks Conservancy, Abe hopes to purchase a lawnmower, and employ a grounds person to do the necessary weekly maintenance.

Please contribute to the maintenance of the sports field for the children of Vermaaklikheid. Every donation helps. It’s simple to donate, click here now.  

Also please share this appeal in your network and help our kids to play.  

The Vermaaklikheid Sports Field Initiative

Phase Three: Providing for and ensuring the ongoing maintenance and management of the playing field and equipment

Purpose and Intention

The Vermaaklikheid community faces challenges that confront most rural communities in the Southern Cape: poverty, inadequate school facilities and limited employment opportunities.

To compound these problems Vermaaklikheid is isolated and many children do not complete their schooling. In addition a lack of any facilities for our under 18 year-old residents contributes to alcohol and drug abuse and the petty crime to support these habits.

There are approximately 90 children under the age of 18.

Progress to Date

The Vermaaklikheid Winkel Project is a non-profit association formed by a number of residents within Vermaaklikheid. The founders’ intention is for the Vermaaklikheid Winkel Project to serve as an association that facilitates the social development of the local community of Vermaaklikheid.  One of the first projects the concerned residents undertook was The Vermaaklikheid Sports Field Initiative.  To date, phases one and two have been completed.

Phase one: Community Engagement and an Assessment – Completed

In 2018, a number of concerned residents attempted to address some of these problems by initiating a consultative process that culminated in a survey of the community to assess the current situation. The survey focussed its inquiry around an achievable goal: the establishment of a multi-use playing field and providing sports equipment for the children of the village. The survey was returned with unanimous support for the facility from 35 households.

Phase two: Providing a useable playing field and basic equipment – Completed

  1. Secured the land needed for the field.
  2. Cleared the land of highly invasive and resilient reed and other weeds.
  3. Raised funds from local land owners (approximately R60 000) and installed an irrigation system and access to a water supply.
  4. Supported the establishment of indigenous grass.
  5. Provided half-sized football goals for children and youth. Rugby pole extensions are to be added shortly in response to the community’s needs.
  6. Provided a weed-eater to cut the grass

We now have a GivenGain fund-raiser for phase 3 of the Vermaaklikheid sports field.

Now we want to buy a lawnmower and employ a grounds person to ensure that the sports field grounds are maintained. We’re aiming for R24 200, which should cover a year’s maintenance, plus the purchase of a lawnmower.

If you can, please contribute to this initiative? Link is below. https://www.givengain.com/cause/53768/campaigns/23058/

GivenGain provides a secure, online donation and fundraising platform to charities, donors and fundraisers. All funds raised go directly to this initiative.