Chairman's Letter


15 February 2020

A lot has happened since my last letter as we are well into the swing of things in all spheres of our lives. I will only concern myself here with club matters.

On the last Saturday of January, six hardened 4x4ers in four vehicles braved the rainy weather to do the De Wildt Trail. The weather played ball and the rain stayed away although we did experience the trail in wet conditions, which was fun. We will try and run these one-day 4x4 trail outings on a monthly basis and I urge you all to come and enjoy the comradery. Even if you have done the trail before, they change over time and are very beneficial in many ways; from getting to know fellow club members to honing your driving skills or putting to the test what you have learnt on one Geoff’s training courses. I particularly urge new members to join us on one of these outings. Most of the trails have various levels of difficulty with escape routes should you elect not to do a difficult obstacle. Brand new 4x4’s straight off the showroom floor are able to do these trails without getting damaged.  Some of the trails are more scenic and soft off-roader friendly. The next outing is this coming Saturday 22nd February to Hennops. If enough members want to, we will camp over at Base 4, either Friday or Saturday nights or possibly both to make a weekend of it.

On Sunday 9th February Bob Bowden gave a very interesting talk on leopards and other wild life on the mountains in our area. The “Breakfast Warriors” did a great job serving breakfast before the talk and boerrie rolls after. There was not a scrap of food left! Thanks to Linda and all her helpers. It was predicted that it would be rainy (hence the decision to go with boerrie rolls) and the committee and “Breakfast Warriors” had a few stressful moments trying to gauge the numbers that would attend. In the end the sun shone and we had a very good turnout.

The raffle is turning out to be very popular, especially to Anne, who won for the second time in a row – RAFFLE CAPTURE!!!

It is obvious that a good and interesting speaker will attract members to attend Open Days. Getting speakers is no easy task and costs money! If members attend in numbers, then food and bar sales should cover this cost. The committee has decided to attempt to go this route, and we will start things off getting Jonathan Leeming a renowned author and conservationist to give us a presentation as soon as we can book him to coincide with an open day.

The first extended outing to Baviaanskloof would just have ended this past weekend, and we eagerly await the trip report. It seems that quite a few members wanted to do this outing and were disappointed not get on it. Doug Galloway has risen to the occasion and offered to lead a second trip to Baviaanskloof in March (which coincides with the one to Namakwa Eco Trail – wow, what an active club we have!). The promo and booking form are out. So, hurry and don’t be disappointed again!

The next big and very important event is the AGM on 7th March. I urge every paid-up member (those who have not paid please do so or make arrangements to) to attend. The FWDCSA is not under threat and is financially viable and sustainable. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Base 4 – OUR HOME! We have a very unique piece of wilderness right on our door step. It would be a very sad day if we were to lose it, and at this AGM we need to decide on a way to save it. Please don’t come with the idea of going commercial, as this would take a great deal of capital investment (which we don’t have) and no guarantee of success which could lead us to losing everything. To my mind the best, and most likely to succeed in saving Base 4, is to increase membership.

In Base 4 we have a very exclusive piece of real estate. It is unfortunately underutilized by our members. Most of us only come here occasionally once a month to Open Day. What we need to come up with, is a viable plan to attract members to get the most out of Base 4. This will then lead to increased membership. We also need a viable plan to attract younger members, especially in the late thirties to fifty age group, as this age group are settled with young children and have more disposable income. Base 4 offers an exclusive, and if we get it right, safe camping and pic-nic spot to enjoy a wilderness experience few others will, close to home. So, it is incumbent on every member to take responsibility and punt The Club!

Another interesting and possible development at Base 4 revolves around the very important topic of safety. We have been forced to change our security company that monitor our alarms. We have engaged Scorpion Risk Holdings. While Karl was negotiating with them, they mentioned that they would like to establish a satellite K9 dog unit in our area. They require an area where they could keep their dogs and handlers and be able to train them. Karl will get details of what they require and see if we can accommodate them. This could have a very positive spin off for The Club and the safety of Base 4 and those using it. Let’s hope something comes of this.

The AGM is not only a report back session, but a time to elect office bearers. This is an opportunity for members to avail themselves to help run and grow the club. The seven remaining committee members (two resigned since being elected at the last AGM) have all agreed to avail themselves to serve for another year. This does not mean the rest of the members can sit back and relax! We have 2 very important portfolios to fill, namely Outings and new and equally important one, Events.
Dave McMurdie has agreed to stand for the Outings portfolio.

The member elected to run the Events Portfolio will be required to organise all activities at Base 4, from organizing speakers at Open Day to camp overs and everything in between. They will be responsible for ensuring that the members better utilize Base 4.

Any paid-up member can of course propose any other member (provided they accept) to stand on the committee in any portfolio. If there is more than one person standing for a portfolio, the position will then be voted on. It would be really nice if there were some healthy competition to serve on the committee. Should members want to serve the club, but do not wish to be on the committee, please come forward and approach the committee member of a particular portfolio where you think you could help make a difference. There are a number of sub-committees (very informal) where members assist, such as the Outings Sub-Committee which put together our current Outings Calendar. Karl is assisted by a number of members who do sterling work in helping to maintain Base 4. The new Events portfolio could also do with the help of a sub-committee.

I will end off by once again requesting members to come forward and avail themselves to serve and help run The Club – WE NEED YOU.


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



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