It would be fair to say that, during 2017, the world was in a state of flux. Britain faced the reality of Brexit, whereas Germany and Spain and, to a lesser extent, France, experienced political turmoil. The Middle East continued to be plagued with instability and China’s economy slowed down.
South Africa did not escape political and financial strife. At times the political climate was pretty turbulent and we saw our currency reduced to junk status. Political pessimism and financial pressures impacted on KUSA’s members, resulting in a downturn in the numbers entering dog shows. The timing was probably not propitious for the introduction of 2nd Championship Shows, which further diluted show entries, especially in the less populous areas. Fedco is aware of these problems and will be considering measures to ameliorate them.
The Arbitration hearing between the GSDFSA and KUSA was due to take place on the 17 to 19 January 2017. The KUSA team was ready to travel to Cape Town, when the GSDFSA requested a postponement sine die. We agreed, provided our wasted costs were met. The GSDFSA have subsequently applied for relief in terms of section 23 of the Animal Improvement Act, claiming failures on the part of the Registrar. The GSDFSA and DAFF are the parties to this dispute but, even though KUSA is not directly involved, it will keep a watching brief on the proceedings.
Clrs Jenny Hubbard and Lois Wilson represented KUSA at the FCI General Assembly in Leipzig on 6 & 7 November 2017. Of particular interest to KUSA was item 15.2.1 on the General Assembly Agenda, the proposal from the Federación Canófila Mexicana (FCM) (the Mexican Kennel Club) for the FCI to cancel any agreements currently in place with the Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH), the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV), and the Weltunion der Vereine für Deutsche Schäferhunde (WUSV). This proposal was unanimously carried by the General assembly (60 votes for, none against) and, on 10 November 2017, the President of the FCI, Mr Rafael de Santiago, informed the President of the SV and the WUSV, Prof Dr Heinrich Meßler, that the Cooperation Agreement between the FCI and the WUSV will terminate on 10 May 2018. The FCI will continue to recognise German Shepherd Dogs registered with the National Canine Organisations that are members of the FCI. German Shepherd Dogs registered with KUSA are in this category.
Modern society has developed systems to facilitate the organised control of affairs ranging from political systems, corporate entities and, indeed, organisations such as KUSA. They all have certain elements in common, including structures operating top town and leadership requiring good governance to provide an effective corporate environment for its staff and affiliates.
Good governance in KUSA requires members to comply with the rules in our Constitution. I emphasise this as I’ve observed a disturbing tendency by some members to disregard the good and responsible conduct contemplated by the Constitution. This is particularly prevalent in comments on the social media which frequently levels unwarranted criticism at Fedco. I am proud of the knowledge, experience and work ethic of the members of Fedco and when I see unfounded condemnation of Fedco, I ask myself whether the authors can claim a knowledge base and the organisational experience of the Fedco team.
In my report last year, I drew attention to the split in the Boxer breed. I am pleased to report that the efforts of Clrs Jenny Hubbard and Gérard Robinson have yielded exciting results. Following protracted negotiations with the Executive of the Federation of Boxer Clubs of Southern Africa (FBCSA), a decision has been reached on the reunification of the Boxer breed. The FBCSA declared its intention to wind up its operations to function independently as the Breed Society and Registering Authority for the Boxers under the Animal Improvement Act (AIA) and to be established as a Breed Council under KUSA, replacing SABOX as from 1 April 2018. As the FBCSA is, and will remain, the legally registered Breeders’ Society for the Boxers under the AIA, the new structure will be called the Federation of Boxer Clubs of South Africa Breed Council (FBCSA BC).
The negotiated arrangement provides that the FBCSA will give notice to SA Studbook that its services as the FBCSA’s Registering Authority will terminate on 31 March 2018. On 1 April 2018, KUSA will officially become the appointed Registering Authority of the Boxer Breeders’ Society to handle and process the future registrations of Boxers. The FBCSA-affiliated clubs will affiliate to KUSA, joining the existing KUSA-affiliated Boxer clubs as partners in the new Breed Council. Prior to the effective date of the new Breed Council, the KUSA clubs and the former FBCSA clubs will adopt identical Club Constitutions, which will be in harmony with the Constitution of the FBCSA BC.
Unfortunately, little progress has been made during 2017 in upgrading KUSA’s IT. Steps have now been taken to accelerate the upgrading, which include converting our Accounting System to the latest version. We are aware that the KUSA website needs attention and the portfolio-holder will be attending to this. The ultimate aim is to make it possible for members to transact all their business with KUSA online and to provide for payment channels that will include electronic funds transfer.
It has been five years since the introduction of the KUSA Breed Judges’ Learning Programme and therefore an appropriate time for Fedco to reflect on the Programme’s efficacy as a method of educating and training Breed Judges and, more importantly, to consider whether the interests of the Programme were optimally served by the province-based administrative structure, modelled on the structure devised for Working Disciplines Sub-Committees.
It was concluded that, given the exponential change in the dog-showing landscape over the past five years and the rapidly evolving demographics, it was crucial for the Programme to keep pace in order to remain effective and relevant. It was further concluded that to respond appropriately to dog-showing dynamics, the Programme needed to be underpinned by an administrative system that was simplified, agile and nationally based.
As a result, Fedco established a sui generis Council in terms of Article 3.11 of the KUSA Constitution. The members of the Council will be appointed by Fedco and comprise persons with specific skills and expertise. Reporting directly to Fedco, the Council will be known as the KUSA National Education Council (KNEC), functioning under its own Constitution, with a broad mandate to ultimately oversee judges’ education across all Disciplines and to develop KUSA’s policies, codes and guidelines pertaining to its learner and licensed judges.
After twenty-two years of service, Clr Joan Barrow chose not to make herself available for re-election in the Eastern Cape & Border Provincial Council and would therefore step down from the Federal Council. Over the years, Clr Barrow has been a superb contributor to the deliberations of Fedco and I thank her for her generous attitude and willingness to adapt to the new dispensation. Clr Barrow’s successor is Clr Lynn Scholtz. Her Province is fortunate to have a person of her experience and she has my assurance that all the members of Fedco are looking forward to working with her for the betterment of KUSA.
I welcome Clr Jenny Hubbard’s election as Vice-Chairman of Fedco for a two-year term and thank her for her unfaltering dedication to KUSA. I also have pleasure in thanking all the Federal Councillors for the contributions that they have made during 2017. The variety of challenges that Fedco faces are daunting but, in most instances, they have been effectively met. As I have said earlier in my report, we are fortunate to have a Federal Council with such well-qualified and competent members. The ability to have robust debates and to arrive, usually unanimously, at effective resolution is of great value to KUSA.
On behalf of Fedco, I thank Clr Lois Wilson for her continued service as Chairman of Exco. I also thank the members of Exco for their contributions to the effective functioning of KUSA.
To the KUSA staff, ably led by Pascale Midgley, I express my gratitude for their continued dedication to ensure an efficient and effective service to members and the public.