Chairman's Letter


3 November 2020

This is my eighteenth letter as chairman of the Club, which consists of a very diverse group of wonderful people. Constitutionally, Iíve reached the halfway mark. A very enlightening, interesting and entertaining experience. Itís been a very educational journey and if there is anything that I can take away from it, is that I have become much more patient and tolerant, qualities that I have not been known for in the past!

Covid has forced us to focus our attention on things that are very relevant to ourselves, most importantly to our families and livelihood. Not only have we been faced with a new set of daily challenges to deal with the present, but also with how to plan for the future.

This is also very true as far as the Club is concerned. The Committee and you as club members, face some very critical decisions about the future of the Club that can no longer be delayed. I believe we have reached a crossroad for the Club. Circumstances and the current economic reality may force us to make some hard decisions soon.

The Four Wheel Drive Club is currently functioning very well under level one lockdown circumstances. While the last Open Day was not particularly well supported, those that decided to make the most of the unique facility that the Club has to offer, camped over and had a wonderful time. Furthermore, our able and very committed Outings portfolio Committee Member Dave Mac, has, since the relevant lockdown level allowed, run a monthly Day Outing. In addition to this, a number of us embarked on a very successful long weekend outing to the Marakele National Park.

Our current membership has stabilized at around 145 members of which only 137 are paying as the others have served the Club with distinction in the past and earned their honoree status. Of this number, I can honestly say less than a quarter are active in helping to run the Club in one capacity or another. I would like to say THANKS VERY MUCH TO THIS VERY COMMITTED, HARD-WORKING BUNCH OF MEMBERS, you know who you are, without which the Club would not exist. This is not a gripe, as I realise that this percentage is most probably the norm for most similar types of organisation.

The question that needs to be answered is the following; Is the Club being best served by the committee and those helpers, (considering the membership numbers) focusing most of its time and energy trying to save and maintain Base 4 as a location, or would their time and energy be put to better use if they were to focus on providing the services for which members may have joined the Club in the first place?

I do believe that the Club has a very unique and quite frankly an exquisite piece of Bushveld right in the middle of a major metropolitan hub of economic activity right on your doorstep. I doubt there are many places quite like it in the whole world let alone South Africa!

The reality is that the FWDCSA at present, given the current economic climate, which is predicted to continue in South Africa for several years to come, as well as considering our current membership numbers, cannot afford Base 4 without major sponsorship. Finding sponsors in the current economic climate is no easy task; ask Noel, who has done a sterling job these past eighteen months, thank you Noel.

Do we hold onto Base 4 at all costs, hoping for better times, or do we sell Base 4 and reconstitute our Club to be much like other 4x4 clubs and provide services for its members at a much cheaper membership rate?

I know this is a very emotional topic especially for the older members who helped build the Clubhouse. This is not a decision to be taken lightly and needs a lot of time and thought. Iíve put it out here to give you, the members, an opportunity to give it some serious thought.

The Committee has not taken a decision one way or another, neither has it been formally presented for discussion, but it is in the back of every committee member's mind and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. You, as members, also need to be made aware of the options so as to formulate an opinion as the AGM is not far away. The AGM is the correct forum to discuss the way forward and make such decisions.

The Committee, in the interim, has some plans which the individual committee members are working on to benefit the Club. If you have some wonderful solution, please may I ask that you research your idea, do your homework properly, then make yourself available to serve on the committee in order to drive your idea. Unfortunately, ideas such as turning the clubhouse and grounds into an economic venture do not work unless you come with a full business plan with either capital or a loan of a couple of million!

Back to the present, our next Open Day Weekend Camp Over is from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th November. We have a full program for you so donít miss this weekend. Please see the promo. Base 4 is looking really good after the rains.

This could, but may not necessarily be, the last major Club event of the year as some of the more fortunate members may be away over the festive season. That is unless some of you would like to organise a Major Extended Camp-over at Base 4 for the festive season. This could be a very inexpensive holiday away from home with a number of trails close by which you could enjoy.



Peter Hutchison
Four Wheel Drive Club SA
Cell: 082 825 1893


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