Chairperson’s Report 2022-2023

The past two years, since my last report, flew by so fast.  This report signifies the end of my four-year term as the chairperson of the SAVF.  It still feels like yesterday that I was elected as chairperson.

Since 2019 so much has happened with the SAVF, with the individual director’s personal lives, and with humanity, Covid-19 and lockdowns being at the core.  Of the 16 board of director meetings in my four-year term only six were in person.  There is still so much that I would like to do for the SAVF but will do so in a different capacity on the board of directors and in support of our new chairperson, Dr Quixi Sonntag.

Dr Didi Claasen I want to thank the rest of the board of directors for their support the past four years.  We are a team of volunteers and spending at least four Saturday’s a year together does build friendships that I do cherish.  Everyone has their different roles, and it always just seems to work out fine.  I also want to thank the administrative support team, especially Debbie Breez, without which the day-to-day functions, our quarterly meetings and communication would not be possible, and we would not have a foundation.  Also, to SAVA for continuing their gracious support of the SAVF, not only financially, but also in the form of talks at their branch meetings, and the President and President elect attending our quarterly meetings.  Lastly, I want to thank the veterinarians and researchers who continue to support our efforts to promote sound research that will benefit practicing veterinarians.

CONSTITUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dr Kobus du Toit, who has been a director for the last 26 years, has recommended Dr Richard Burroughs as his replacement.  Dr du Toit is remaining on the board until he can finalise the Dr Dewald Keet book project but is also transferring his experience to Dr Burroughs.  We had the privilege to have Dr Burroughs be elected as a director on the board in 2022.

For the past four years, I served as Chairperson.  Dr Japhta Mokoele was the Vice-chair and managed projects for the past two years.  The remainder of the portfolios:

  • Dr Joubert Viljoen: External marketing and financial administration,
  • Dr Kobus du Toit: Fundraising,
  • Dr Quixi Sonntag: Public relations and website,
  • Dr Martin Schulman: Research project coordination,
  • Dr Richard Burroughs: Research project manager.
  • Mr Gert Steyn: SAVA representative and Financial manager.
  • Dr Remo Lobetti is on sabbatical whilst in Ireland.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

The MOU with SAVA was signed, and the Principles Decision document revised and updated after the entire board of directors painstakingly went through it over several meetings.
FINANCIALS

Susan Heine resigned at the beginning of 2023.  We would like to thank her on behalf of the SAVF for her 20 years of service as our bookkeeper.
Financials statements are in preparation for the next meeting in November.

FUND RAISING

Pet memorial fund has become a contentious point since the implementation of the POPIA.  It has been a wonderful source of funds for the SAVF and marketing for veterinary practices and the SAVF, but we had to go back to the drawing board to find alternative ways in which we can market the contributions of the veterinarians to the SAVF to their clients without contravening the POPIA.  This is an ongoing process, but the Practitioners research fund was started where practices can make donations and get a Section 18A certificate.

Earlier this year it came to light that there was an error at SARS regarding the SAVFs registration to issue Section 18A receipts to donors.  Dr Joubert Viljoen investigating this on behalf of the SAVF.  This was an unfortunate event had an impact on our fundraising as we are reliant on this for our Practitioners research fund.  This issue was resolved and practices can donate towards the foundation and claim this back from SARS.

During 2022, the estate of the late M Jayes bequeathed an amount to the foundation.  We appreciate this and hope the research that will sprout from this would manage to achieve what Mrs Jayes had in mind.

There has been no new information since the last report regarding the will of the late Esther Susanna Elizabeth van der Westhuizen.  We hope to have the money due transferred to the SAVF this year.
COLLABORATIONS

SAEVA agreed to provide funding for equine specific projects that they have also approved of.  This is a massive opportunity for researchers who are doing work in the equine field.  Since the offer was made by SAEVA to the SAVF we have not received any projects involving horses, however we are glad that we have the necessary funding available for equine research in future.

RuVASA has agreed to consider projects we send them for funding.

MARKETING

INTERNAL

Student bursaries

The SAVF allocates two bursaries annually to one 4th and one 5th year student.  One of these bursaries is funded by the foundation and the second by Lakato.  Lakato has supported the foundation with this for more than 20 years.  These bursaries were allocated in 2021, but not in 2022 due to various complications.  We will be handing over four bursaries in 2023 to accommodate for those missed in 2022.  Two to 4th year students and two to 5th year students.

In 2022 the Seria family have started making contributions towards these student bursaries after their beloved pet, Da Vinci, passed away from an adrenal tumour.  We are looking forward to handing over the Da Vinci bursary to two well deserving students in 2023 to honour his memory.

Branch conferences and Club Tanzanite

SAVA and directors have done talks at various SAVA Group and Branch conferences to remind veterinarians about the SAVF.

St Francis veterinary clinic and Greenside Veterinary clinic has been awarded the club Tanzanite awards three times in a row.  As a result, these two practices could send a veterinarian to the SAVA congress in October 2022, at no cost.  The nominated veterinarian from the practice and a partner could attend the GALA dinner where I handed over a trophy and certificate to them on behalf of the SAVF for their immense contribution towards the SAVF over the last three years.

EXTERNAL

Dr Kobus du Toit and Jannie Parsons are looking into ways that both the Shayamanzi Leopard Fund and the SAVF can benefit.  More on this in the next report.

RESEARCH PROJECTS

Funds were paid out to:

Dr Katja Koepel, R30 000, for a project on Rabies bait vaccination of wildlife in the Muldersdrift area.

Dr Lourens de Villiers, R16 000 for a project titled: “Identification of haemoparasites and ticks from domestic dogs and cats in Namibia.”

Completed and on website:

Karin Lourens: “Reference intervals for Selected Hematology and Clinical Chemistry Measurands in Temminck’s Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii).” Journal of Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 2021.

Chad Berman: “Influence of high-protein and high-carbohydrate diets on serum lipid and fructosamine concentrations in healthy cats.” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 2022.

Hermien Viljoen: “Comparative antimicrobial efficacy of 4 surgical hand-preparation procedures prior to application of an alcohol-based hand rub in veterinary students.” Journal of veterinary surgery, 30 January 2022.

Tashnica Sylvester.  Her article needs to acknowledge the SAVF as per agreement.  Dr Viljoen has been in contact with her supervisor to get the acknowledgement added, then we add it to the website.

PUBLICATIONS

The SAVF has funded a large portion of Dr Dewald Keet’s work on tuberculosis in lions.  He is busy finalising a book on all his work.  Dr du Toit and Dr Burroughs are assisting him with proof reading and procuring funds for printing and publishing the book.

CONCLUSION

The last four years with Covid and lock down and life taking interesting turns has taken its toll on the SAVF and its board of directors and administrative support team, yet we are still keen to make a success of the SAVF and promote and fund sound veterinary research that will be of benefit to our focus: the veterinarians of southern Africa.  We are hoping to find more creative ways to generate funds in tough economic times and to what the new Chairperson, Dr Quixi Sonntag in is going to do with her first term as Chairperson of the SAVF.

Dr Didi Claassen
Chairperson SAVF: 2019 – 2023

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