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Honorary Rangers’ Region Of The Year Award
The year 2007 was a very good year for the members of the Bushveld region, it saw them winning the Honorary Rangers’ Region of the Year Award and being nominated for a SANParks Kudu Award.
The award is based on a criteria as set out by the SANParks Balanced Score Card Objectives, which comprise the following:
- Adherence to the required increase of 10 % membership numbers for the year.
- Adherence to the 10 % required increase in contribution to SANParks (monetary and duty hours as per statistics report).
- The increase of PDI members to attain a composition of 20% PDI members.
- Growth of Junior Ranger’s numbers by 15 % for the year.
- Increase Environmental Education by 10%.
While the region did not stand out with the highest member numbers, or the biggest contribution to SANParks, they did excel in all the requirements, and this brought them the Award. Slow but steady progress in all the BSC Objectives gave the desired outcome.
They recruited several applicants, from all walks of life, and backgrounds. There are five PDI applicants, and seven white applicants in the region. Most of the black applicants, and indeed black members, are from the teaching profession.
The active members really make their mark in Letaba Camp, where the services provided are mostly in the Elephant hall, and general duties. The region boasts with the largest percentage of PDIs of all the different regions, at a commendable 42%, and the chances are that this percentage will still increase.
The community in Phalaborwa is a small one, and members who enjoy the HR corps and their values, easily recruit and tell others about it. The proximity to the Kruger National Park is obviously a great bonus; most members live a stone’s throw away from KNP.
Most weekends will find residents and locals driving around the Park, and members of the Bushveld region alike, they won’t stay away!
By registering two new members as qualified HR’s, the numbers were boosted, and the members who do their bit, obviously have more hands to help do the work. To this end, the region spent in excess of two thousand hours in service of SANParks. The duties were done in the Elephant hall in Letaba, general duties in Satara, Letaba, Punda Maria and Shingwedzi. The marking of trees in the Nxanatseni Region was done (currently still ongoing) as a project, and Phalaborwa gate benefitted from the members’ proximity and dedication. Some qualified members help with activities at the gate, ie drives, bush braai’s, walks and trails. Members eagerly helped to upgrade the reception at Phalaborwa’s new entrance gate, donating time and money to erect a fountain, benches (riempies banke), a table, flower pots and plants. The benches and tables were hand made by one of the HR’s.
Amongst projects that the regions’ members are very proud of, is the installation of the new doors at the Elephant hall in Letaba. The regions’ efforts were rewarded with a set of doors that do the display proud. Limpopo region and members of the public were also generous in their assistance towards this project.
The Junior Rangers movement in Phalaborwa is alive and well, and ably driven by Johan Smit. He gives lectures to the Juniors every week, takes them into the Park for hands-on experience, and has a passion and never ending dedication towards Junior Rangers. Johan is also the Chairperson of the Phalaborwa branch of the Herpetological Society, making his presence in the HR’s even more worthwhile. Johan’s’ services have also been requested by other regions in the province, to assist them to get their Junior Rangers corps going.
The members of Bushveld region are supported very well by local business, with several large donations coming from various supporters. Most members work for Palabora Mining Company, Foskor or the various Government offices in the area. Without the support from employers and employees alike, members would be hard pressed to provide the services they do to SANParks. SANParks provides the members of Bushveld region with the support they need, on the other hand. There is the very dedicated team from the Regional offices based in Phalaborwa, led by a charismatic manager, Ben van Eeden, and his management team. They also share in the wisdom and knowledge of the Regional Ranger Louis Olivier, Area Rangers Johann Oelofse at Mooiplaas, Evans Mkansi at Phalaborwa and Joe Nkuna in Letaba. The Hospitality Managers of the various Rest Camps in the area all share in the leadership and support of Bushveld Region, and at every meeting that is held, there is SANParks representation.
Together these SANParks members and Honorary Rangers of Bushveld region form a great team, and the future looks promising for the Region as a whole.
Far removed from the slow and quiet life in Phalaborwa, there is another force directing the Regions, in the form of the Chairman of the HR National Executive Committee. Janssen Davies is a driver, a leader and a never ending source of HR energy. With the assistance of the two Vice Chairpersons, they are pushing and shoving, whipping and moulding the HR Corps as a whole to becoming one of the world’s greatest Volunteer organisations for conservation. The HR’s of the Bushveld region are proud to be led by such an able and strong management team; without this type of dedication, motivation and professionalism, our voices would never be heard.