The Soul of Mountain Biking – SA’s Single Speed Champs

Much to the joy of local mountain bikers, it has been announced that this year’s SA Single Speed Champs will be held just up the road at the Eden Trail Park in Barrington on Saturday 29 September, with all proceeds of the race going to our local NSRI. Known for the wild and somewhat eccentric entries this sport attracts, it is bound to be a spectacular spectator treat too! 

Story by Lance Branquinho

If you like the idea of a fancy-dress party with beers in the forest, the end of this month will see a rather unique cycling event hosted at the renowned Garden Route Trail park, in Barrington.

The happening in question is South Africa’s 2018 Single Speed Championship and it’s everything that most contemporary mountain biking is not. Single speed mountain bikers are the counterculture of off-road cycling and although their choice of riding with only one gear (which is inevitably always the incorrect one) appears to be masochistic, it is, in fact, an act of purity. If you make the decision to ride a bike with only one cog, the implication is that you’ll never be in the correct gear and that unshackles your entire riding experience from any pretense of overly serious expectations.

Don’t imagine that single speed mountain bikers lack dedication or ability. Innately skilled at the art of conserving momentum, single speed mountain bikers have no choice but to make their legs conquer any terrain without the benefit of gears. As such, single speeders are some of the fittest and most skilled riders around. On the occasions when they do enter one of South Africa’s premier multi-stage mountain bike events, their results often embarrass most of the competing field.

This September’s single speed champs is the local chapter of a worldwide movement which started in 1995 and attempts to keep alive that original sense of carefreeness so fundamental of mountain biking in its infancy. Single speed mountain bikers don’t worry much about how they finish the route, it’s the journey which counts.

At the Trail Park event there will be a winner, but the podium is very different from what you would expect. The winner is rewarded for their achievement by consensus of general recognition, but everyone else who finished gets joint second place. It’s a typical example of the egalitarianism so inherent to single speed riding.

Each year’s Single Speed championship has a dedicated theme and one is expected to dress accordingly. For the 2018 event it will be ‘every village needs an idiot’ and whereas more conventional mountain bike racers might obsess about specific lightweight components, Single Speed riders are consumed with detail about their outfits, and the more ridiculous, the better.

Organisers also make a special effort to ensure race day is as difficult as possible. Single Speed races are renowned for their preposterous race briefings, which are purposefully elaborate without imparting any information of value concerning the actual race.

When the world single speed championships happened in Winterton six years ago, the field was extensively briefed in Zulu. Finding your bike at the start can also be problematic, as there is a proud tradition of hiding all bikes whilst the race briefing is conducted. They could be locked away in a barn, for instance.

Hydration is another challenge too and instead of water points there are beer stops, which are mandatory. Where a conventional mountain bike race might have competitors rushing through water stops, single speed riders lounge around and socialise at the race’s beer stops, before swinging a leg back over their top tube again.

To uninformed observers, single speed racing might appear ridiculous, but it is a ludicrous amount of fun for people who love mountain biking a lot more than the sheer competition. If you want to meet some of the most benevolent bike geeks alive, you know where to be on the last weekend of September.

The SA 2018 Singlespeed Champs will be on Saturday 29th September and all proceeds will go to NSRI Wilderness.

We welcome all geared riders to join us for a day of fun and uncompetitive (or competitive) racing. Online entries close on Tuesday the 24th of September. There are various entry options available and all online entries include a free event shirt.
https://www.entryninja.com/events/event/27721-sassc2018
Ben Olivier ben@skoi.co.za
Phone 082 821 2741

KNYSNA APPOINTS THREE NEW MUNICIPAL DIRECTORS

(Picture: Ms Pumla Makoma, Director: Corporate Services)

 

According to Knysna Executive Mayor Mark Willemse, the municipality’s administration complement has gained the expertise of three new directors. “We have appointed very capable candidates in the positions of Director: Community Services, Director: Corporate Services and Director: Technical Services,” he explained.

 

The position of Director: Corporate Services has been vacant since 31 January 2017. This position will be filled by Ms Pumla Makoma on 1 September 2018. The director position for the Community Services department has been vacant since 31 August 2017 and will be filled by Mr Gary Boshoff. Mr Pravir Hariparsad has been appointed as the new Director: Technical Services, a post that had been vacant since 31 May 2018. Both Mr Boshoff and Mr Hariparsad will join the municipality on 1 October 2018.

 

“After all due processes had been followed, I am confident that we have selected the right people, with the right qualifications and drive, for the right positions,” Willemse said. “I would like the residents to join me in welcoming Ms Makoma, Mr Boshoff and Mr Hariparsad to our town.”

 

Ms Pumla Makoma, Director: Corporate Services.

 

Ms Makoma leaves her position of Director: Corporate Services at Emalahleni Municipality in the Eastern Cape to join the Knysna team. She served as such for the last five years and has been in local government administration for 15 years.

 

Amongst others, she aims to strengthen the capacity of Knysna’s youth. “The implementation of the resolutions of the District Skills Summit, held last year, will assist in this regard,” she said. “I’ll also forge relationships with the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) to facilitate skills development programmes and focus on developing staff retention strategies to reduce high staff turnover.”

 

Having obtained her BA Honours Degree in Public Administration from the University of Fort Hare, Ms Makoma said that she is humbled to join the close-knit community of Knysna. “I look forward to contributing to the growth and prosperity of the town,” she continued. “As much as my directorate renders support services to other directorates within the municipality, I look forward to making a difference to the young people in Knysna by enabling them to sustain themselves and positively contribute to the economic development of the greater Knysna municipal area.”

 

Her short-term goals include introducing e-governance to reduce the use of paper, employing retention strategies of the scarce skills in our area and encouraging a culture of accountability at all levels within the municipality.

 

“I admire the warmth of the people of Knysna, as well as the area’s beauty and tranquillity – which provides some inner peace when you are in relaxation mode,” she concluded. While her new position might not afford her a lot of relaxation time, when she is not working, you might spot this self-confessed bookworm on the golf course.

 

Mr Pravir Hariparsad, Director: Technical Services.

 

Mr Hariparsad holds a National Diploma in Civil Engineering from Technikon Natal, a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology Engineering: Civil from the Durban University of Technology and a National Certificate in Municipal Financial Management from the University of Witwatersrand.

 

“I was born on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg,” he said. “My parent’s home did not have access to running water, sanitation or electricity. This is where my passion for providing basic services stems from.”

 

Mr Hariparsad’s career in both the private sector and local government spans more than two decades. He is leaving the position of General Manager: Technical Services at the uMshwathi Municipality in KwaZulu Natal after seven years of service.

 

Developing innovative solutions to achieve the service delivery mandate is high on his agenda. “First I’ll conduct a needs analysis for the directorate and identify challenges facing the municipality,” he explained. “Besides ensuring the continued, effective, efficient and economical delivery of basic services to the residents of greater Knysna, I plan on encouraging local economic development through basic service delivery. The directorate will improve the operations and maintenance of infrastructure and make use of the Expanded Public Works Programme to address municipal infrastructure needs and unemployment. I’ll also focus on skills training for staff and unemployed members of the community.”

 

His longer term goals include achieving universal access to basic water, sanitation and electricity services. “We’ll review the sector plans for water, electricity, housing, waste and transport – and implement recommendations,” he continued. “This directorate will not only maintain municipal infrastructure, but plan, implement and monitor infrastructure projects. These will have various endgames, but I hope to also provide access to community facilities such as sports fields and community halls.”

 

Mrs Hariparsad and the couple’s two children will remain in Pietermaritzburg until the end of the school year. “They will join me here in the new year and I think that most of our free time will be spent on the beautiful beaches in the area. Or you’ll find me bass fishing with my son,” he concluded.

 

Gary Boshoff, Director: Community Services.

 

Mr Boshoff said that he is here to serve the residents of Knysna and to ensure that all communities receive a quality service from the municipality. “This service can and will only get better when it is delivered in partnership with the residents and communities, with a municipality and officials that are accountable to the communities they serve. I look forward to making this real for Knysna.”

 

Mr Boshoff joins Knysna Municipality from Drakenstein Municipality where he served as Executive Director: Community Services. He currently holds a BA Honours Degree and MA Degree in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape. He obtained an MBA from and Regenesys Business School his Municipal Competency Compliance as Accounting Officer was completed at Stellenbosch University in 2017.

 

“Community Services is the main touchpoint with residents in terms of service delivery,” he said. “It is my overarching goal to continue to improve service delivery in terms of waste management. Especially the expansion of recycling projects and educating our communities about the importance of keeping our living spaces clean and hygienic. I believe that this goes hand in hand with more visible and effective law enforcement of municipal bylaws, as well as the provision of sport and recreational facilities.”

 

“We must address the dual challenges of identifying land for landfill sites and cemeteries – challenges that are not unique to Knysna. I also aim to improve our response to disasters by increasing the necessary capacity and resources. The provision of quality services to underprivileged and informal areas needs to be prioritised in both the short and longer term. This lies close to my heart and is something I will vigorously pursue during my term at Knysna Municipality.”

 

Born in Caledon, Mr Boshoff is passionate about rugby and a keen runner. “I try to get to the gym on a regular basis and enjoy hiking. I look forward to exploring the famous and beautiful hiking trails of the area.”

 

Mayor Willemse thanked the various officials who acted in these directorial positions while they were vacant. “When acting as a director one does not leave your regular responsibilities behind, you just add much more work and responsibility. Thank you to everyone who was willing – and very able – to serve the administration and your community in this way.”

 

“Knysna Municipality has a culture of putting service delivery to the community first,” Mayor Willemse concluded. “We strive to be inclusive, innovative and inspired. And I am confident that Ms Makoma, Mr Hariparsad and Mr Boshoff will not only fit in perfectly but enhance our ability to serve our people.”

Knysna Film & Events web site invites participation

The Knysna Municipality, which has established an official website for the film and events industries – knysnafilmandevents.co.za – has invited all businesses and individuals who operate in these sectors, or who provide services to film and events companies, to register on the site.
Knysna and Sedgefield offer some of the most interesting and accessible locations for film-makers and event organisers, and the website aims to showcase both the incredible variety of places and the broad spectrum of businesses and local talent that support film-making and events in the municipal area.
The Municipality has appointed a specialist locations manager to manage content and other functionalities on the site.
The municipal area of Knysna – which is surrounded by the largely unfenced Garden Route National Park – includes the town of Knysna itself (famous for its indigenous, evergreen forests, the Knysna Lagoon, the Knysna Waterfront, etc.); the small, character-filled villages of Sedgefield (with its fynbos, plantations, nature reserves, slow town feel, salt-water and freshwater lagoons, etc.), Karatara (large open fields, farmlands, forestry settlements, the Outeniqua Mountains), and Buffalo Bay (beaches, Goukamma Nature Reserve, etc.); and the Noetzie-Harkerville area (with those incredible stone castles on Noetzie Beach).

INVITATION
Since on-location activity demands a selection of support services to make for a pleasant and cost-effective film-making experience, the site’s job is to underpin Knysna’s reputation as a film-friendly destination by making it as easy as possible to find locations, venues, and services providers. Anyone who supports the film and events industries is therefore invited to list their properties or services.
Listings on knysnafilmandevents.co.za are loaded free of charge – just search for the prominent ‘Login or Register’ button on the site’s top menu. This will open a drop-down to the pages for registration as a service provider, or to apply to be listed as crew, or list your property as a film location or an events venue.
Besides industry and location listings, knysnafilmandevents.co.za provides electronic film and event permit application forms, film and event guidelines, information for events managers, and information about hosting events in Knysna – and it will also post ads for vacancies in the industry when they become available.
“The site was warmly applauded when Knysna’s Economic Development Department presented it at the 2017 and 2018 Cape Town Film Industry Annual Briefings, which were hosted by Wesgro, the CPA, and SAASP,” said Knysna’s executive Mayor, Cllr. Mark Willemse.
“It’s very clear that knysnafilmandevents.co.za will fulfill a real need in the film and event industry – especially once our local business and property owners come on board.”
For more information, please visit www.knysnafilmandevents.co.za, or knysnafilmandevents on Facebook, or contact film@knysna.gov.zaevents@knysna.gov.za, or 044 302 6586.
ENDS

SWARTVLEI PENINSULA DEVELOPMENT

Meeting with Beverley Schafer

On Wednesday 29 August, Beverley Schafer, a DA member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, addressed a public meeting organised at the Sedgefield Bowling Club by the local DA Councillors.   When the matter of the potential development of the Swartvlei Peninsula (recently advertised by Eden/Garden Route District Municipality) was raised, locals at the meeting made it very clear that this proposal was actively opposed by the Community.  Schafer encouraged everyone to put in written objections, advising that an action group should be formed to lobby for the withdrawal of the proposal.  This drew enthusiastic support.  Anyone wishing to become part of the group is encouraged to send an e-mail to info@doveronsea.co.za.

KNYSNA VISITOR CENTRE OPEN

It’s business as usual at the Knysna Visitor Information Centre!

The Knysna Visitor Information Centre is open for business and operating as usual from the office in Main Road, Knysna. 

Executive Mayor Mark Willemse said the office will handle tourism inquiries and any interim matters until Wesgro takes over on the 1st of November.

“To ensure continuity, our Local Economic Department secured the services of some of the staff that worked in the office previously.  All the staff members employed are industry professionals and registered tour guides. They will provide information on tourism activities, restaurants in the area and recommend our wide selection of accommodation choices. They will also manage and update, where necessary, the VisitKnysna website and social media.”

He said that all tourism businesses are welcome to display their brochures at the office, at no cost. “The telephone number at the Office remains the same as before – please contact them and make sure they have all your details and updated information.  The upcoming months are the main tourist season in Knysna and it is vital for our economy that inquiries are channeled and converted into confirmed bookings.”

Trading hours:

Monday to Friday: 8h00-17h00

Saturday and Public Holidays:  9h00-13h00

The office will be closed on Sundays.

 

Contact details: 

Telephone number: (044) 382 5510

Email: info@visitknysna.co.za

Picture Caption:

Seen here at the office is (bltr) Keagon Borchards, Social media and marketing; Petrus van Niekerk, Acting Manager LED Department at the Municipality; Belinda Hobson, PR and Communication  & Municipal Liaison; Executive Mayor Mark Willemse and in front the Acting Office Manager, Glendyrr Fick. Gloria Rozani, not in the picture, will be the Tourism Information and Reservations Consultant.

TOURISM CONFLICTS: BOARD vs MUNICIPALITY

There is much confusion in the tourism sector with two press releases hitting the wires only a few hours apart. Just after 5.30pm on Wednesday 22 August, Knysna Tourism announced the closure of its offices due to lack of Municipal funding. Then, whilst news of this was still abuzz on social media, an official post appeared on the Knysna Municipality’s Facebook page, stating that the Knysna Information Office services would continue without disruption. Both releases are included below, though due to the last minute appearance of this story there has been no time to get further comment from either party.

KNYSNA TOURISM CLOSES ITS DOORS

The board of directors of Knysna Tourism is saddened to advise its members and members of the public that it has decided to close the company’s offices with immediate effect.

Knysna Tourism is registered as a non-profit company (NPC). It began as the Knysna Publicity Association, which was founded at a public meeting on 9 May 1927. More recently, it evolved into a respected destination marketing organisation (DMO) that received the bulk of its funding from the Council of the Knysna Municipality, which gave the company the task of fulfilling the Municipality’s constitutional requirement to promote local tourism.

The service level agreement between Knysna Tourism NPC and Knysna Municipality, under which the arrangement had operated, ended on 30 June 2018.

Numerous negotiations have taken place between the Municipality and the board of Knysna Tourism regarding interim funding of the Knysna Tourism offices while a solution is sought.

Owing to broken undertakings by the Knysna Municipality, the board believes that the Municipality has negotiated in bad faith.

Despite recent additional financial contributions from members, Knysna Tourism is now no longer able to fund continuing operations. The company’s directors have a duty in terms of the Companies Act 2008 to avoid trading in contravention of the Act. The board therefore feels that it has no option but to order the doors to be closed.

KNYSNA INFORMATION OFFICE SERVICE WILL CONTINUE WITHOUT DISRUPTION

Knysna Municipality once again confirm our commitment to keep the doors of the Knysna Information Office open.

Executive Mayor Mark Willemse said that the running of the office, situated in Main Road Knysna, will be officially taken over by Wesgro on the 1st of November. “We’ve met with them today and the final agreement will be signed in the next few weeks.”

Willemse said the Municipality will take over the running of the Information Office till the end of October. “We will make sure that the office is staffed with experienced staff and that the service to visitors continue with the minimum disruption.”

The Municipality is appointing Wesgro to manage its constitutional mandate in terms of tourism and destination marketing.

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COUNCILLOR ARRESTED FOR COLLEAGUE’S MURDER

Knysna Ward 4 Councillor Velile Waxa (pictured above) was amongst the four men arrested last week in connection with the murder of local ANC Councillor Victor Molosi last month.

Thorough investigation by the SAPS Western Cape Provincial Task Team into the death of Molosi (50) led to the apprehending of the four suspects on Tuesday 14 August 2018, two in Knysna, including the 58 year old councillor, and two in Cape Town.

The popular, long serving ANC councillor Molosi was fatally shot at around 10pm on Monday 23 July, on the road outside his home in Concordia. He was on his way back from a school governing body meeting.

According to SAPS Spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie, an integrated task team convened by Eden Cluster’s General Reddy and comprising members from the Provincial Organised Crime Unit, Eden Cluster Detectives, Knysna Detectives and Eden Cluster Crime Intelligence, was established to investigate this case. Their non-stop efforts paid dividends when the investigation took them to Cape Town where two suspects (both 37 year olds) were arrested.

Simultaneously, investigations led to the arrest of another two suspects, aged 58 and 42 years old at their homes in Knysna. This brought the number of arrests for the entire investigation to five – the first suspect Mandla Tyololo (39) had been arrested earlier in the month and charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder.

Councillor Waxa, along with Mwanda Makala (42) and Vela Dumisa (37), appeared in Knysna Magistrates Court on Thursday 16 August, all facing charges of murder. Tyololo joined them, appearing on his initial charge of Conspiracy to Commit Murder. The fifth suspect was released due to insufficient evidence linking him to the crime.

All were remanded in custody and the matter was postponed to 23 August 2018.

Pojie says that the investigation has been thorough and has progressed very well. He believes that the court prosecutor will have a strong case to present to the court.

When asked to comment on possible motives for the crime he said that they do not wish to make any speculations that may affect the court case.

MATRIC FAREWELL SEASON

This is the wonderful time of the year when the matric students go all out to look their absolute smartest as they head off to celebrate the end of their school careers.
As Sedgefield has no high school, our teens traditionally finish their secondary education at various schools in George and Knysna. In this edition we have included as many of these schools’ Matric Farewell pictures as space would allow (see page 9), but couldn’t resist putting this wonderful shot by Emma Rorke on our front page. The lovely young lady is Robyn Gartsman and her partner Callum Reid.

DA FINDS OWN MAYOR GUILTY

In another twist to the political tale that has been Knysna Municipal Council over the last month or so, both Mayor Mark Willemse and Councillor Peter Myers have been found guilty of one violation of the DA Constitution in the disciplinary proceeding against them.
If the disciplinary panel’s sentencing recommendations are accepted by the party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC), their membership in the Democratic Alliance will be terminated unless they each agree to adhere to three conditions set by the hearing panel. At the time of going to press it is unknown whether the councillors intend to do this as the panel’s recommendations are still to be approved by the PEC.
In the interim, they will each retain their party membership, their posts as councillors, their positions on municipal committees, and in Mayor Willemse’s case, the mayorship.
The hearing, held in a boardroom at the Knysna Protea Hotel on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd August, was the continuation of the one originally started in Cape Town on Saturday, 7 July. It was opened to the public at the last minute, though space constraints only allowed for five or six additional people to witness the process first hand.
After hearing testimony from the councillors themselves, as well as witnesses including Sedgefield Councillors Cathy Weiderman and Levael Davis, Council Speaker Georlene Wolmarans and Western Cape MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell, both Willemse and Myers were found guilty of the single charge of voting against their party’s caucus – this in the Motion of No Confidence against the previous mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies which was proposed in the Knysna Council Chambers on Wednesday 6 June. This resulted in her losing the mayoral position and Willemse being voted in as mayor by Myers and opposition councillors.
Both pleaded not guilty to the charge, citing that they ‘voted their conscience’ based on what they alleged were acts of corruption and maladministration on the previous mayor’s part.
The Panel’s recommended sentences, based on notes taken at the hearing were as follows. Councillor Mark Willemse’s DA membership to be terminated with immediate effect. However, that termination is suspended providing that he adheres to three conditions. Firstly, he should remove Peter Myers from the Mayoral Committee within ten days of the PEC’s acceptance of the panel’s recommended sentence. Secondly, any media releases issued by his office should be approved in advance by the PEC, and thirdly he should go through the DA’s mayoral selection process. If he does not pass this selection process, he would have to resign immediately as mayor, but will remain a councillor. If he passes, then he will continue as Knysna’s mayor.
The panel also recommended that Councillor Peter Myers’ membership be terminated immediately, once again indicating that this sentence be suspended provided that he adhere to three conditions: that henceforth he attends all caucus meetings, that he resigns from the Mayoral Committee within 10 days of acceptance of the Panel’s recommendation by the PEC, and that he diligently adheres to the DA’s social media policy.
The panel’s recommended sentence provides that any violation of any of these conditions by Willemse of Myers will result in the lifting of the suspension of the sentence so that termination as a DA member takes immediate effect.
The Panel was composed of Kobus Leroux and two other members: Annelie Rabie, and Derrick America. Annelie Rabie is the mayor of Prince Albert, and Derrick America is the head of the Provincial disciplinary committee. The Committee Assistant (effectively the prosecutor) was Anton Coetsee.
Should Willemse and Myers be forced to leave the DA in this manner they will obviously no longer be councillors for their particular wards. This would necessitate by-elections for those wards, in which Willemse and Myers would be able to run, either representing another party or standing as independents.

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

In recent weeks there has been much talk of the amazing things that might happen if the various communities of Sedgefield worked together for a common cause. The recent ‘Paint-a-thon’ at Smutsville Primary School was proof in the pudding!

On Saturday morning, 21 July, more than 80 locals descended on the school (officially known as Sedgefield Primer) with the common aim of sprucing it up for the kids and the staff. With so many volunteers in place, ranging from the very young to the very senior and coming from all walks of life, no less than twelve school classrooms were painted in five hours.

The initiative was driven by Ashley and Devon Basson. Ashley, a teacher at the school, had asked her husband to assist her in revamping her classroom when she arrived last year. The results were so impressive that they decided the other classrooms could do with the same treatment. They appealed for help from the public – and boy did they get it!

Principal Hariette Heyns and the School staff are very grateful for everyone’s input and look forward to many more projects that will improve the environment for the scholars at Sedgefield Primer.