Last year I was subject to an urgent interdict in the Western Cape High Court with a demand to remove a Blogpost about the misleading packaging which Le Chocolatier had used for its chocolate slabs, claiming them to be sugar-free and Banting-friendly. In a landmark case in terms of freedom of speech and defamation in digital Social Media, Judge Dennis Davis refused the demand for my Blogpost to be taken down, with only two sentences required to be removed from the Blogpost. The case sets a precedent for future cases regarding defamation on Social Media platforms. Continue reading →
Tag Archives: Noseweek
A whale of a 19-year Guest House career comes to an end, a new Food career awaits!
It was Futurist Faith Popcorn who predicted a trend of ‘Recareering’ back in the ‘Seventies, one having multiple careers in a lifetime, at a time when I myself was in my first career as a Futurist. I could not have foreseen that my career path from Futurist to Market Researcher, Marketing Lecturer, Research Consultant, Food PR Consultant, and then Guest House owner for the last 19 years would lead me to my new and seventh career, to that as a Continue reading →
Daniel Waldis’ Le Chocolatier chocolate claims are fraudulent and life-threatening!
One cannot get more notorious than being featured in Noseweek (July 2015 issue), and to have a Facebook group created about one’s business. Such an ‘honour’ has been bestowed upon Daniel Waldis, owner of Le Chocolatier, who has operated in Franschhoek, now in Stellenbosch, and with a factory in Paarl!
I first met Waldis at his restaurant in Franschhoek, after I had written a less than complimentary review of it. He was Continue reading →
Print versus internet news: what is the future of reporting?
At the Franschhoek Literary Festival I attended a one-hour panel discussion on ‘It’s news to me’, with heavy-weight panelists weighted to print media, a well-attended session. Ironically the complete communication failure in Franschhoek yesterday meant that no one could Tweet or share via any other form of Social Media what the eminent panel had to say about press freedom.
Ray Hartley was the panel chairman, and works in the Times Media Group, having previously been the editor of the Sunday Times. He resigned from the position, took a sabbatical, and now has a senior position in the Group. Much of the panel discussion focused on press freedom, ethics, and the depth of research of journalist’s stories, which were felt to be getting thinner on accuracy and content, much of the material of newspapers coming from Twitter and Reuters feeds. Hartley impressed with his humility and good chairing of the panel. He raised a laugh when he welcomed all the attendees who clearly didn’t get into the sold-out session addressed by Archbishop Tutu. The topic clearly was of interest, with the Franschhoek High School hall being full.
Janet Heard is a journalist wunderkind, her father Tony having been a well-known and highly regarded editor of the Cape Times. In 2010 she went to Harvard on a prestigious Nieman Journalism fellowship, and said she returned from the USA surprised about how much transformation had taken place in the newsroom at Independent Newspapers in the time that she was away. She resigned as deputy editor of the Cape Times earlier this year, and has been appointed as parliamentary editor of all the Media 24 titles. Heard praised South Africa’s media as being robust with good media voices asking Continue reading →
Book Franschhoek Literary Festival before it’s too late!
As the 8th Franschhoek Literary Festival draws near, it is advisable to book the writer panel sessions as soon as possible, as they get booked out well in advance. The more well-known the writer/s on the panels, the quicker they are booked out. In addition to an intensive programme of talks from Friday until Sunday this coming weekend (16 – 18 May), entertainment is also available in the evenings.
The Festival is noble in generating funds for the Franschhoek Literary Festival Library Fund, for the following:
* donating books to schools and creches
* employing a librarian to work with four primary school libraries in the Franschhoek area, and part-time library assistants
* visiting schools, reading and story-telling
* Book Week for Young Readers, which is being held this week
* Wine Writers prizes of R12500 each, in two categories: six to eight short pieces of 1000 words each, from a blog or column; and a long piece of 1000 – 4000 words. Winners to be selected by a panel, usually chaired by John Maytham. Last year the prize was Continue reading →
Noseweek Sweet Service and Gibson’s ‘Gourmet’ Burgers & Ribs Sour Service Awards!
The Sweet Service Award goes to Noseweek and its editor Martin Welz, for 20 years of service to South Africans, for identifying corruption amongst bankers, lawyers, business persons, and government officials, for speaking the truth, and ‘for exposing unethical behaviour in our society’, Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the anniversary celebration at Catharina’s restaurant at Steenberg last night. The role of the publication in helping the ordinary (wo)man in the street was saluted by a number of speakers, but it was the moving talk by Erma Viljoen from Pretoria, whose story was featured in the June issue of the publication, that demonstrated the unselfish service and dedication to a story by Mr Welz and his team. Mrs Viljoen worked at the University of Pretoria, and has a rare disease Mitochondrial Cytopathy, which rendered her unable to work, therefore running out of sick leave and annual leave. For the past five years she has fought for her right to be compensated by the university and its provident fund for losing her job, and approached Mr Welz more than two years ago. New Pretoria-based Noseweek journalist and ex-Carte Blanche investigative journalist Susan Purèn wrote the story, each sentence backed up by information proving what was written. An offer of a R40000 payout was increased to R1,3 million by the university and paid, but Mrs Viljoen is eligible to receive much more than that, the publication believes. The University reacted to the article by submitting a complaint to the Press Council, highlighting 88 errors in the three page article, literally one per sentence in the article, Mrs Viljoen shared, sitting at the same table last night. The article has led to an advocate offering his services to Mrs Viljoen (many Pretoria lawyers Continue reading →
Franschhoek Literary Festival wins as book event, fails as tourism event!
Franschhoek Wine Valley tourism is much smarter than Cape Town Tourism, in that it understands that its members suffer greatly due to Seasonality in winter, and has therefore encouraged events to be held in the low season, a monthly event being organised to attract visitors to the wine valley.
In seven years the Franschhoek Literary Festival has become the second most popular event hosted in Franschhoek, with an estimated 11000 tickets having been sold. Only the Bastille Festival attracts more visitors. The Franschhoek Literary Festival attracts mainly women, many from Johannesburg and Durban, reasonably well-off, and somewhat older. Because the Franschhoek Wine Valley has no hand in organising the event, we were surprised how many first-time visitors the village received this past weekend, and how few of them knew anything about the wine estates and wine farms in Franschhoek, and therefore how few visited them by car. Particularly surprising was that the tourism bureau’s marketing office did not Tweet for most of the weekend, either to inform the thousands of visitors in the village about things to do, and where to eat and taste wine, or about fringe events like classic music concerts and art exhibitions. The organisers see the Literary Festival purely as a book and resultant charity event, and have no tourism interest to allow the Festival to be of benefit to all Franschhoek businesses. The newish Franschhoek Wine Tram and Bus would have been a great tourist service to delegates, driving them to their session venues, and so create awareness for this unique tourism product. Continue reading →
Franschhoek Literary Festival off this year, with poor aftertaste before it starts!
The organisers of the 7th Franschhoek Literary Festival have attracted negative attention to the 2013 event, taking place this weekend, before it has even started, with the announcement last week that no South African wine writer was good enough to win this year’s South African Wine Writers Award, sponsored by Boekenhoutskloof’s Porcupine Ridge to the value of R25000.
Organised by Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourism (FWV), the media release to announce this slap-in-the-face news to all local wine writers did not offer any further explanation. What is not known is which wine writers entered the competition and why the judges John Maytham of radio station Cape Talk and occasional wine writer himself; BBC radio producer and author Duncan Minshull, with no apparent wine writing experience or wine knowledge; and Canadian VINES editor Christopher Waters did not find any of the entries to be of a high enough standard. The winner and first runner-up were to have been announced at Essence (hardy known for its winelist!) on Friday, as part of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. In its fifth year of the Award, past winners are Joannne Gibson, Norman McFarlane, and Tim James (who won twice). The Award recognises technical quality and literary quality, the Franschhoek Wine Valley said in its media release when calling for entries, having to do a reminder call, possibly due to too few or too poor quality entries received. Oddly the media release regarding the outcome of the judging appears to have been removed from the FWV website, and has not been sent by the PR agency of FWV, Smart Communication and Events, nor by its CEO Jenny Prinsloo, nor by the publicist Claire Richards for the Franschhoek Literary Festival, when requested! This may be due to the amusement with which wine whiner Neil Pendock has written about this state of affairs (e.g. ‘SA wine writers; From Bad to Bizarre’), the only wine writer who appears to have commented about the poor quality wine writing, as judged by the Franschhoek Literary Festival judging panel! Pendock cheekily suggested a course in wine writing for the Literary Festival after this fiasco!
The programme for this year’s Literary Festival is disappointing in terms of the quality and stature of the Festival, given the great authors who were invited in the past. Part of the reason could be that other Book and Literary Festivals have sprung up in Cape Town and in Knysna, since the successful Literary Festival was first conceived in Franschhoek. The organising committee too may be to blame, having become rather arrogant, as we noted last year when we provided feedback to Literary Festival Director Jenny Hobbs, which she responded to with a curt ‘noted‘, unlike previous years, when she welcomed and discussed feedback. Leaking information to her infamous daughter Jane-Anne Hobbs about a Blogging workshop proposal for the Festival we had discussed with Hobbs snr, and mocked on the now defunct Twitter abuse account by Sonia Cabano, further demonstrated the lack of ethics of the Hobbs mother and daughter. No surprise is the inclusion of Hobbs jnr on the Festival programme! Nepotistically Hobbs snr’s brother David Walters features in the Literary Festival programme too, with a ceramics exhibition ‘Words on Pots’ at his gallery! Noseweek editor Martin Welz has managed to organise the first ever Franschhoek Literary Festival side event, with a weekend workshop at the Protea Hotel addressed by ‘activist experts’ Richard Young on the arms deal, David Klatzow on criminal prosecutions, Shaheen Moolla on the destruction of our marine life, and Mariette Liefferink on acid mine drainage and radioactive fallout.
Going through the programme to plan my attendance, I found little to excite me on this year’s programme. Twitter has one session dedicated to the fast-growing 140 character communication form, with past speaker and Woolworths’ social media practitioner Sam Wilson (8550 followers), writer/editor Julian Rademeyer (3500 followers), and Business Report columnist Ann Crotty (6 followers and still has an ‘egg’ profile picture, demonstrating what a newbie she is at Twitter!). Blogging still is not recognised as a writing form by the Literary Festival organisers. Alexander McCall-Smith probably is the biggest name the Literary Festival offers, but its media sponsor the Sunday Times is offering Capetonians an opportunity to hear him speak in Cape Town later this week! Award-winning writers on the programme are Lauren Beukes, Christopher Hope, and Antjie Krog, with Jane Raphaely, Finula Dowling, Marguerite Poland, Hermann Giliomee, Tony Leon, and Melanie Verwoerd also being well-known.
Every year Christopher Duigan runs the Autumn Music Festival alongside the Franschhoek Literary Festival, and performs ‘Literary Liszt’ on Friday at 19h30, two Schubert-dedicated concerts on Saturday and on Sunday morning, and a free ‘Voices for Africa’ performance on Saturday evening, all performed in the Dutch Reformed church on the main road.
Despite the disappointing programme this year we are grateful to the organisers for putting on the event, and for most Franschhoek accommodation establishments and restaurants already being fully booked weeks ahead of this coming weekend. Attendees of the Literary Festival do not only enjoy attending the sessions, but also like interacting with each other at guest house breakfasts, and at coffee shops and restaurants in Franschhoek. Booking in advance is advised, as a number of sessions are sold out already. Excellent weather is forecast for the weekend.
Franschhoek Literary Festival, 17 – 19 May. www.flf.co.za Twitter: @FranLitFest R60 per one hour session. www.webtickets.co.za
POSTSCRIPT 13/5: We have received the following statement, written by organisers Jenny Hobbs and Sheenagh Tyler and sent by Claire Richards, the Franschhoek Literary Festival PR consultant, to explain the lack of a 2013 South African Wine Writers Award:
‘STATEMENT ON THE WINE WRITER’S PRIZE
The FLF wishes to clarify a few points around the 2013 Wine Writer’s Prize, which was not awarded this year.
· The prize is funded by the Franschhoek Literary Festival and presented by the CEO of Franschhoek Wine Valley.
· The independent judges for 2013 were John Maytham (South Africa), Christopher Hope (a South African who lives in France) and Christopher Waters (Canada).
· 20 submissions were sent to the judges after the deadline was extended.
· In 2012 there were 23 submissions. Several wine writers declined to submit entries this year, feeling that they had nothing suitable to offer.
· Submissions are sent to the judges anonymously. Two in Afrikaans were judged as such by John Maytham and Christopher Hope and translated for Christopher Waters.
· No payment is involved. The judges are thanked for their work with the offer of a case of South African wine.
· Their unanimous decision this year was that not one of the entries lived up to the expected literary and technical qualities of wine writing.
· The FLF is funded by Porcupine Ridge Wines and the Sunday Times, neither of which groups has any say in the judges’ decision, and ticket sales.
· A discussion will be held by the organisers and their advisers after the FLF about the parameters for the prize in future years.
· We warmly thank those wine writers who made positive suggestions in this regard and welcome further suggestions from wine writers.
· Contact details of more South African wine writers to add to our mailing list would also be very welcome.
Jenny Hobbs, FLF Director & Sheenagh Tyler, FLF Manager’
POSTSCRIPT 17/5: There appears to be confusion between the sponsor Porcupine Ridge and the Literary Festival organisers about the hashtag for the Festival. It has been confirmed that it is #FLF13. Porcupine Ridge appears to have printed all its marketing material for the Festival as #FLF2013! A much larger problem to befall the Festival is that one of its lead speakers Anthony Horowitz has withdrawn from the Festival in the very last minute! Franschhoek felt very commercialised today, with a massive bottle of Porcupine Ridge and many Sunday Times banners outside the town hall, the marketing effort of its two sponsors!
POSTSCRIPT 17/5: Sadly the Christopher Duigan ‘Literary Liszt’ concert in the Dutch Reformed Church this evening clashed with a wannabee Cat Stevens singing outside the church at the Night Market!
POSTSCRIPT 17/5: Neil Pendock has written another attack against the Franschhoek Literary Festival and its Director Jenny Hobbs , for insinuating that no local wine writer is good enough to win the prize. He suggests that each of the twenty entrants should sue the Franschhoek Literary Festival for the prize money of R25000, a total of R500000! What is ironic is that the Sunday Times is the media sponsor of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, yet its irreverent wine whiner Pendock is disparaging the Festival on the blog which belongs to the newspaper!
POSTSCRIPT 18/5: The Franschhoek Literary Festival is in further trouble – a documentary ‘Truth be told’, which Noseweek was to flight in a fringe event to the Festival this weekend, was stopped after the SABC lawyers served papers on its producer Sylvia Vollenhoven, who was to speak about her battle to get the documentary flighted. Earlier this year Vollenhoven flighted the documentary to a number of Noseweek reader groups in the dungeons of the Baxter!
POSTSCRIPT 19/5: Wine writer and PRO Emile Joubert has written an Open Letter to the organisers of the Wine Writers’ Award!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Franschhoek Literary Festival: Acknowledges importance and power of Twitter!
It is ironic that one of the most popular sessions of the sixth Franschhoek Literary Festival, ‘Tweeting for Africa‘, should acknowledge the importance of Twitter and confirm that it will ‘never go away’, when the Literary Festival (with only 322 followers) itself used Twitter so poorly to share the knowledge that was being generated by all its speakers. Few Tweets were sent, and barely any Tweets by others were ReTweeted.
The panel for the Twitter session was an interesting ‘bolshy’ (referring to another session earlier in the day) mix of Gus Silber, a free-lance writer with 12000 followers; Professor Jonathan Jansen, Rector of the University of the Free State, who Tweets with his 33000 students, and has 21000 followers; and 5FM presenter Gareth Cliff, with more than 275000 followers! The session was chaired by 702 presenter Jenny Crys-Williams, with almost 9000 followers.
The personalities of the three panelists came through in the hour of the panel session in how they use and deal with Twitter and Tweets. Gareth Cliff only follows 68 Twitter accounts, showing that he outputs information, and may ReTweet it, but that he is not necessarily using Twitter as an information source himself. He said one should choose carefully whom one follows, for the credibility of the information provided. He follows some accounts for the fun they generate. He questioned why one would follow companies, mentioning Pick ‘n Pay, just selling gherkins, and having no personality at all, he said! There are many clever, but also stupid people, on Twitter. He praised Western Cape Premier Helen Zille for being the ‘best political Tweeter in the world’, even if she sometimes makes mistakes. It is a very democratic medium, in that everyone can have a say. Cliff sounded flippant when he said that he ignores any negative Tweets about himself, and for fun he may even ReTweet them, demonstrating his irreverence. There are ‘nasty, vile, and violent’ things written on Twitter, reflecting humanity, and this is ‘the dark side of Twitter’. He says one cannot be liked by everybody. He says that there is a lot of ‘misinformation’ on Twitter, and as well as false content Tweeted. Social Media has made all of us broadcasters now, he said, and that means that we must take responsibility for what we say. He says that Twitter is a close second to radio as a storytelling medium. Every sidelined person can have a conversation on Twitter, given that there are more cellphones than people in the country, making Twitter accessible to all. He warned against Tweeting too much, not more than once in 15 minutes being his advice. One must be on the edge of the topic, and push its boundaries. Tweeting about poor service has put the power back into the hands of the consumer. If one cannot say something in 140 characters, it does not need to be said. He praised the ‘amazing creativity’ in Tweets. Twitter is a ‘raw medium’, and if one posts something that is untrue or incorrect, one will be found out. When asked if he is paid to Tweet to endorse brands, he said that an ad agency written Tweet would have no credibility, and that he would be unfollowed if he were to hard sell or deceive his followers. Pictures are important, but he warned against Tweeting ‘personal stuff’. ‘Twitter trolls should not be given time nor tolerated‘. When one is wasting time (bank or shop queue, plane delayed) he Tweets, and he can Tweet and do other things at the same time. It becomes integrated into one’s life.
Gus Silber came across as a gentle man, who does not wish to offend by unfollowing anyone (he admitted that he has never unfollowed anyone), resulting in him following more than 11000 accounts, and therefore spends about 4-5 hours per day on Twitter. Mocked about this by Cliff, he said that he is waiting for one snippet of information to come through that could be the potential for a story. He said that Twitter allows one to ‘plug into other people’s lives’, and that it has become ‘voyeuristic’, and shows one’s character – its like ‘Tweeting naked’, he said. He said that he used to walk around with a moleskin notebook, for story ideas, but now he uses his phone to share his observations with the world, creating a ‘Thoughtstream’. He said that journalists are exhilarated by but petrified of Twitter, and must now Tweet their scoops before they are printed, to claim ownership of breaking news. Twitter is like ‘24 hour talk radio’, there is always someone Tweeting, but also people awake and ‘listening‘. Social good can come from Twitter, and that is why it is called Social Media, but fights are an exception, even if they are entertaining. The cellphone is a ‘24 hour Molotov cocktail’. ‘In our vuvuzela democracy, we have all become very human, and very powerful people buddies’. Having a locked Twitter account is a complete waste of time!
Professor Jansen said that Twitter is a medium which is often used irresponsibly, yet he defended the two ‘dimwits’, referring to the two models writing racist Tweets. He did acknowledge that the technology for instant communication has made our world ‘less violent’. He said that teenagers hate their parents being on Twitter, trying to be cool. He laughed when he said that he has quite a number of followers, but then Oprah Winfrey has 1 million! He warned about the addictive side of Twitter, and how families can sit around a dinner table, no longer talking to each other, each one Tweeting. It is rude to Tweet while one is talking to someone, he said.
There is no debate about whether Twitter should be embraced – it is a powerful medium, and it is here to stay, the panel concluded!
Allied to this session was the one entitled ‘On being Bolshy’, given that Tweeting takes some kind of ‘bolshiness’. Gareth Cliff, Noseweek editor Martin Welz, and ex-Frontline editor Denis Beckett were the panelists, very ably chaired by Marianne Thamm, even if she misused her position for her personal issues. Martin Welz has no friends on Facebook, while Gareth Cliff has 300000. However, Noseweek has 30000 readers, and they are the source of information for articles, as well as people who have tried everything else and come to the magazine as a ‘last resort’. Welz called for letters to the editor to contain real names. He said we have a right to an opinion, and he respects Gareth Cliff for expressing it. He also said that journalism costs money, to research stories. He said to applause that Noseweek has never written about Julius Malema. Thamm said that she ‘hates bloggers’, and more specifically food bloggers, writing for free! Ironically, Jenny Hobbs is the organiser of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, and her daughter Jane-Anne is an über food blogger!
In what should have fitted in with this theme as well was yesterday’s session ‘The Price of Fame’, in which the panelist writers Alexandra Fuller, Richard Mason, and Gareth Cliff all protested their fame. Mason said that Cliff was far more famous, in having been an Idols judge! One gathered that Cliff did not agree with this, but he was ragged regularly by Mason. The chairman of the session, Ndumiso Ngcobo, had no control over the strong egos on the panel, who were asking the questions, rather than him! As a result, the conversation was all over the show, and Cliff said relatively little! Fuller had the oddest ‘marketing strategy’, trashing her public image (maybe to prove how ‘unfamous’ she is), telling the audience repeatedly how much she drinks, to the detriment of her duties as a mother towards her children. It was the weakest of the sessions that we attended.
The Franschhoek Literary Festival attracted a sold out Twitter session, and could do well to expand on Social Media, and offering many more sessions on the topic next year! It also needs to vastly improve its Social Media generally and Twitter presence specifically, both in marketing a Festival which saw fewer attendees this year (coinciding with Mother’s Day, Indaba), and to share the content.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Hermanus tourism politics remain Stormy!
The powers that control tourism in Hermanus are holding on for dear life, and are using every possible means to hold on to their power, at the cost of disparaging their members. A huge fight for their political life takes place on Monday evening, when a Special General Meeting of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau is held at the request of its members, calling for a vote of no confidence in its current committee.
We have previously reported about the Hermanus Tourism Bureau reneging on its CCMA settlement agreement to pay their ex-Manager Storm Kreusch R10000 (Daniel Acker is the labour lawyer advisor on this matter, and a director of the Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation), and this has been reported in the July issue of Noseweek too. We have reported about the conflict of interest in that the Deputy Chairman of the Tourism Bureau, Clinton Lerm, is also the Chairman of the Cape Whale Coast DMO, that his mother Maxie serves on both tourism bodies too, and that all tourism meetings are held at the Lerm’s Misty Waves Hotel. Following from the unfair dismissal of Ms Kreusch, a group of Hermanus Tourism Bureau members signed a petition, calling for a Special General Meeting, in accordance with the constitution of the Bureau. Given the potential stormy nature of the meeting, the Overstrand Municipality has appointed an independent advocate, Professor Henning Viljoen, to chair the meeting.
As the honour of the Lerm family is under threat, one can expect some nasty politics ahead and at the meeting. Earlier this week the Chairman of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, Charl de Kock, who appears a mere puppet of said family, wrote a denigrating e-mail to his members as a first salvo of attack, headed “Information we think you should know”. The three-page e-mail alleges:
* that some members were “lured to sign a ‘petition’ document whilst not having real facts”
* the agenda for the meeting on Monday is based on “one-sided defence and accusations”
* some volunteers that have helped in the Tourism Bureau offices have sent tourists to their own establishments, proudly adding that members of the management committee “decided not to take any bookings since late last year”
* Ms Kreusch’s staff did not collect outstanding monies due to the Bureau by its members, allowed non-paid members to display brochures and to receive bookings, was the cause of ‘wasteful expenditure’ ‘in respect of cellphone contracts and telephone costs, and used the internet for private purposes ‘remotely’ after hours. Ms Kreusch shared information from meetings with certain members (who were not on the committee).
* a member of the ‘petition committee’ intimidated the Bureau staff twice. “The person is known to us and we will act in due course as it is the policy of Hermanus Tourism to protect personnel from intimidation”!
* allegations that the current committee had withheld information from its members, as claimed by the ‘petition committee’, are denied
* the CCMA agreement, accepting responsibility on behalf of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau for unfair dismissal, was signed by him as “I had compassion (for Ms Kreusch) and was lured into signing a document after being requested by Storm Kreusch to please just allow her to continue her life in this town”!
The e-mail ending stoops to a unprofessional and unprecedented low, and should be reason enough for the current committee to be dismissed by its members: “It is IMPORTANT TO NOTE that if you support the petition, you in fact support each and every action of mismanagement highlighted above and you will therefore be co-responsible for the current turmoil in Hermanus Tourism. Support for the current committee means that you support the on-going efforts of myself as Chairperson and the current committee to make this one of the most effective tourism organisations in the country”! The first sentence is libelous, strong words coming from a body that includes the litigious Lerms, who are the essence of the latest Noseweek article, while the second sentence is ludicrous in its claim of perfection!
Mary Faure, the spokesperson of the ‘petition committee’, has responded, by writing that the Special General Meeting has not been called about Ms Kreusch, but is about “several unconstitutional matters”, including mismanagement, lack of integrity, lack of transparency, holding members in contempt (libelous comments have been made on social media), and lack of information, and ‘misinformation’ to members. One member has already lodged a complaint with the municipality, for the Hermanus Tourism Bureau e-mail implying that some of its members are responsible for ‘criminal activities’, and has asked the Chairman for a public apology.
A complaint about a disparaging comment from the Cape Whale Coast DMO, which was posted on our blog in response to our blogpost about Ms Keusch’s dismissal, was sent to DMO Chairman Clinton Lerm and remains unaddressed more than a month later! He has delegated the communication with ourselves to his DMO Deputy Chairman, Daniel Acker, who ends every e-mail in legalese, possibly intended to intimidate the recipient: “All the rights of the author, Cape Whale Coast DMO, and its directors are and remain reserved herein. Any response given herein is thus done without prejudice of / to these said rights”.
A further manifestation of the continued serving of self-interest amongst directors of the Cape Whale Coast DMO and Hermanus Tourism Bureau was the invitation of a select number of Hermanus tourism operators, in addition to the DMO committee, to participate in the presentation of their products and services to a 30-strong delegation of travel agents and tour operators visiting Hermanus, a visit sponsored by SA Tourism and SATSA. The communication was sent to select members by DMO director Joan-Anne Harris of Southern Stroll Marketing, mainly to her clients, it would appear. The participants were invited ‘to showcase their product/s to the agents and you will be able to network with them and build relationships over the 2 days’, advantaging a select number of members at the cost of the majority who were not invited! A Hermanus Times photograph of the event includes representatives of Schulphoek Guest House, Walker Bay Adventures, Cliff Lodge Guest House, African Horse Company, White Shark Projects, Misty Waves Hotel as some of the attendees from Hermanus. The caption reads: “SA Tourism brought 30 tour operators to the Whale Coast this week to give local accommodation establishments, restaurants, tour operators and organisations offering various adventure activities the opportunity to showcase their products”. It does not declare the elitist selection of participants. One wonders how Lerm could have thought that including this item in his recent newsletter to members would make the excluded members warm to him and his DMO and the Hermanus Tourism Bureau!
A rare Cape Whale Coast newsletter was sent by Cape Whale Coast DMO Chairman Clinton Lerm two weeks ago, clearly to present a good image in anticipation of the meeting on Monday, and announced that a Special General Meeting of the DMO will be called to address the dual membership of the DMO and of the Tourism Bureaus in the area, which meeting will be held almost a year after Lerm promised it. He quotes the ‘Municipal Financial Act’ as being the reason for the dual membership, but that is nonsense, as no other tourism bureau we belong to has such a dual membership system. Lerm writes: ‘a more inclusive membership structure stands to be adopted‘. Lerm highlighted the marketing activities of the DMO, clearly feeling the need to justify his organisation’s work, and included the launch of the Cape Whale Coast, the contentious Getaway article, coverage in Süedafrika magazine, attending Indaba (sharing a stand with Southern Stroll Marketing and other DMO directors, another contentious action), a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the DMO and Cape Town Tourism (as a member of Cape Town Tourism we have not seen this communicated to members!), and the visit by the travel agents/tour operators (making it sound as if only the DMO committee members were invited), hardly much to shout home about. Bravely Lerm has disclosed the hard-to-find-elsewhere names of the nineteen directors of the Cape Whale Coast, but seven of these are co-opted due to their positions as Overstrand Councillors or Tourism Bureau Managers. Ms Harris is widely rumoured to be the first incumbent of the position of Manager of the Cape Whale Coast DMO, but that will be another story for another day!
POSTSCRIPT 16/7: The Hermanus Times of 14 July says that the events leading up to the meeting on Monday is “the worst tourism crisis ever for the tourism industry in the region, Hermanus Tourism (HT) has been thrown into turmoil”! It adds that tension has been brewing for some time ‘within the organisation’.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage