The year under review of 2010/2011 presented the Association with a fair number of challenges, some operational and others administrative. On the operational front the Department of Water Affairs gave notice of a totally excessive increase in water charges and after putting a lot of hard work into submissions to the Department and with the assistance of Agri SA we eventually succeeded in limiting the increase to 10%.
On the administrative front the sudden introduction of new corporate legislation in South Africa and the unfortunate delay on the part of our auditors in coming to grips with adapting our year end accounts to comply adequately with the new requirements caused a short but necessary review of our timetable to be able to present compliant annual financial statements to this meeting. Members should be aware that steps have been taken to ensure that this will not happen again.
On the domestic front the staff did extensive maintenance to the canal system over the winter season but as we all know there has been above average rainfall since February 2011 and we were hampered in our efforts by the rain, which in itself caused some subsidence. Temporary repairs were affected and this aspect already forms part of operations in the new financial year.
An unnecessary but recurring problem remains the ongoing theft of the fencing along the main canal. The value of this loss during this year was some R 310,000.00. This is receiving attention, although there is no easy answer to the problem. There has been very little staff turnover, which has the benefit of ensuring continuity. I should point out, however, that the introduction of statutory (state subsidized) staff training programs has become a standard part of our activities and is, but one element of the maze of ever-new legislation being introduced and requiring compliance by our Association. Darlington Dam started overflowing and is presently at the 44,59% level, the effect was generally cushioned by our systems and controls although at some stages the inflow increased to 190 cumec (m3/s), the overflow never exceeded 100 cumec (m3/s). The river has not stopped flowing and therefore this is not a final figure although the flow has, to a large extent, run down. The volume of water that, sadly, has already ended in the sea is already above the 200 million m3 mark.
We look forward to the new financial year with its challenges and assure members of our Management Committee’s ongoing attention to the affairs of your Association. Many thanks again to my Vice Chairperson, Management Committee members, executives and staff, one and all, for their assistance and support during the year.