Open letter to Ebert

For the posting and discussion of Access Issues and Closures for Areas around South Africa.
wildx
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by wildx »

Ebert, you are right. If we want to enable the next generation to be able to access crags, may it be Milner, Choss, or God No(!), we as a community and the organization that does the most for access (MCSA), need to change how we operate on multiple levels.
MCSA (a club I am part of, and respect for all the work they do) needs to open up and when possible argue for higher degree of access for non members -knowing that they don't have to-.
I am tired of signing students application papers, not to mention explaining to them how to apply. Always with a warning that it would take months. They normally just give up.

So yes the discussion is important. Inside and outside of the club. Probably nothing will happen, if I remember the answers members of the club gave a year or so back to that questionnaire… Made me pretty upset how disconnected the club members are from the youth (what youth? I know...).

Sorry just ramblings from an illiterate.
Summary: argue with Ebert on his points, tired of this forum inability to discuss anything.
SNORT
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by SNORT »

The MCSA unlike the BMC and ACC is indeed a private club but with a broad social mandate.

It is entirely run by volunteers (other than the admin staff) and in that regard it is not a meritocracy or a democracy.

It has no state funding like the BMC.

The ethos and the functions of the club are governed by those who in the first instance step up to do a particular job and only secondarily are there by election.

The club is 100% a part of its members so if you like or dislike something or wish to add any function or change any ethos then do three things:

1. Join
2. Step up
3. Do.

I arranged two very successful trad exchanges within the ethos of the club with no particular mandate from the club but did receive some very limited finance. I designed the project, implemented it, got other volunteers involved and just did it. Lots of work and great fun. Empowered some 50 people altogether.

But for Covid the third exchange would have occurred now....

So, if for example, you want to arrange access to bolt a crag, the club has many members with the land and legal expertise and negotiation skills to help you get the desired outcome. All for free..
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by SNORT »

And it really is not onerous or expensive to join the club. You get at least 10 times more than you pay for
illona
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by illona »

SNORT wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:33 am And it really is not onerous or expensive to join the club. You get at least 10 times more than you pay for
Can you elaborate on this Snort? Because I think a lot of people's biggest question WRT joining the MCSA is what they get out of it. If you can give some stats or figures, it could convince more people to join.
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by SNORT »

You get out of it whatever you put in for a start. You are the MCSA. There really is no such thing as "The MCSA" like its some heavenly body and authority. It is made up of people giving their time and expertise. I told you already what I have done and will do again.

Some years ago "The MCSA" aka Neil Margetts did several rocknroads.

From an asset point of view, we the members of the MCSA own thousands of acres of land and many buildings. These are holiday houses in stunning places that are all but free to stay in. Any one property will cost you at least R10,000.00 a month to own. In the hex the Thomas hut is an absolute gem. You can go there with no food, no stuff and just arrive and be warm, fed and comfortable and then have a hot shower and swim in the pool looking at lots of disa's.

If this was commercial, you would pay at least R500 per person per night to stay there.

Then from there you can do the whole hex traverse and end up at Hoare hut where there are similar facilities.

"The MCSA" aka Snort, thats me, has developed very carefully around 50 routes or 10 000 metres of vertical climbing at Yellowwood and about 3000m of the best trad you will ever do at Blouberg. All at no charge. In so doing one has to be very careful and diligent in maintaining good relations with the owners and the locals. It is called Stewardship....That's what we, the MCSA do and do mostly well.

Then there is rescue and training and mentoring and on and on and on. All free are almost so.

I got to Alps around once a year and it costs me a fortune to stay in huts and get around there.

Here is it is basically almost free. You just got to go and do it.

Oh and finally you get a free journal each year that has a lot of good reads and info.
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XMod
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by XMod »

This conversation seems to have drifted from the original topic. We seem to be discussing the club more than the issues with access to certain crags in the North East of the country (Ebert's original beef with the club).

But, seeing as we are here I'll chip in: I may be critical of the way certain situations were handled by club representatives but there are at least a few ways that the club has benefited almost all climbers:

One is negotiating with Parks and Cape Nature to develop a climbing management plan which has opened up access to Rocklands and formalised ("legalised") bolting in the TMNP. A long and arduous process that I seriously doubt single climbers, working alone, would have been able to achieve. Officialdom want a responsible and recognised body to work with - as does the new owner of the land Chosspile is on it seems.
(There is more work to do with getting a general climbing management plan authorised for all of Cape Nature reserves. This would open up the possibilty of many new crags being available for sport climbing. Now that I am back in the loop I will drag the draft plans I was working on out of mothballs and see if I can author something for the club to work with).

Another is the Anchor Replacement Fund which has done an amazing job of making potentially deathly routes safe for many, many years to come. I am proud and glad to have taken part in their work meets - it's a good feeling clipping an absolutely bomber glue-in ring-bolt!

The club is an invaluable source of information for all climbers. Even though I do not belong to the club they have always welcomed me (despite my being a belligerent so-and-so a lot of the time) and let me peruse their vast library of climbing literature.

During the early dark days before climbing gyms they opened their doors to climbers and allowed them to come and train on their indoor bouldering wall regardless of whether they were members or not.

I have always found the members to be sociable and by and large friendly, having enjoyed many a chat-over-a-beer at their monthly presentations.

To swing back to the actual topic - Is there no way the club can organise access to Chosspile for all climbers? Perhaps a register of entries (kind of a free permit thing) which would enable tracking anyone who is getting up to mischief at the crag (disrespectful behaviour, littering etc.). In that way people could be held responsible for their actions and it would provide the club protection from being liable for any poor behaviour by non-members at the crag. Surely it is possible to arrange something like this - the owner can be protected from people messing up his land and the club can be absolved of responsibility for the actions of non-members.
wildx
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by wildx »

Absolutely agree with Xmod and Snort. Invaluable club, created and run by passionate members.
Old Smelly
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Old Smelly »

Comprehension lessons:

1. No NEW Owner of land at Chosspile - same farmer whose family have owned it for hundreds of years.
2. No access issue to Chosspile - Ebert insists on trespassing BUT is not there now and is just being inflammatory.
3. I doubt this has any bearing on the MCSA access details or membership applications.

4. The Owner is a Farmer who is concerned about crime on his land and was going to shut down access entirely. There is no interest for him to allow the general public onto his land. The MCSA pays for guards at the gates and everyone who accesses the land pays Mount Amanzi for securing the land for the Farmer. The money paid goes to Mount Amanzi. Since the MCSA is paying for the Security guards and getting NOTHING in return this is a cost to the club. Anyone who has been there knows that members can take guests. The access arrangement works and basically permits anyone who is not a Tresspasser to get access and makes the OWNER happy.

This is nothing other than one individual recalcitrant and serial Tresspasser trying to justify his actions.

5. Applying to certain sections of the MCSA takes weeks not months but I doubt it is automatic anywhere as that would be incredibly foolish - any club should be able to choose who they allow to join. I mean if you can restrict access to a bar...
6. This is an attention seeking device employed by someone who no longer represents "youth" - except when it comes to a maturity level.
7. There will always be someone who has a gripe against the MCSA and poses it as a "broom of change" or "youth vs. establishment" and it almost always boils down to someone who wants their own way and doesn't understand why they can't have their way and is willing to jeopardise access for literally thousands of people to suit their own whims.

PLEASE NOTE - EBERT cannot be fighting for access in the Northwest Province if he is climbing in the Cape nor do I think he is representing anyone who is struggling to access Chosspile - hence my assertion that this is not about change but an attention getting Device.
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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justin
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by justin »

Old Smelly wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:23 am Anyone who has been there knows that members can take guests.
Say what!?
Sorry, what’s the issue here
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Old Smelly
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Old Smelly »

Yes there are even people who sign in REGULARLY with fake or non active MCSA numbers - well known climbers of similar skill levels as Ebert.

One has to ask what is the cost of Integrity?!

Yes the money goes to Mount Amanzi

Yes the MCSA pays the guards

Yes you have to be an incredible leech to NOT pay as it jeopordises access...

Yes - no doubt Ebert gets access there via his friends when he is in town...

Yes - most likely he if he hadn't taken such a hardline Tresspassing policy he would probably have been fine...

This is about ONE obtuse and obdurate individual fighting for the misguided and underrepresented people who don't want to pay when those are the conditions of access...
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Marshall1 »

"club should be able to choose who they allow to join. I mean if you can restrict access to a bar..." A bar is a bit different from a club because it is a private business. Often a club is registered as a Non Profit or Public Benefit Organization. A club should be allowed to restrict access & membership, but then I'm not sure if MCSA is registered as a n NPO/PBO. Some portions of the MCSA sections (S&R) & some sections of the MCSA are registered as a PBO. I'm not sure if a strictly private club with strict membership criteria & that only operates for its member's benefit should be registered as a PBO. Not sure if a strictly-private club is allowed to benefit from tax saving of a PBO. Their membership should try to avoid the saying the "private club" bit out loud & trump up the benefit-to-public bit.

PBO status could affect stuff like rates & taxes. Its worth considering. Could have an impact as many sections own quite a bit of land.

According to SARS, google:
"What is a public benefit organisation (PBO)?
A PBO is any organisation which is:
a non-profit company (NPC) as defined in section 1 of the Companies Act or a trust or an association of person that has been incorporated, formed or established in the Republic; or
any branch within the Republic of any company, association or trust incorporated, formed or established in any country other than the Republic that is exempt from tax on income in that other country;
of which the sole or principal object is carrying on one or more public benefit activities, where-
all such activities are carried on in a non-profit manner and with an altruistic or philanthropic intent;
no such activity is intended to directly or indirectly promote the economic self-interest of any fiduciary or employee of the organisation, other than by way of reasonable remuneration payable to that fiduciary or employee; and
where each such activity carried on by that organisation is for the benefit of , or is widely accessible to, the general public at large, including any sector thereof (other than small and exclusive groups)."
Old Smelly
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Old Smelly »

Thank You for that.

As mentioned I don't speak for the club. I have no clue as to its PBO status.

Also as mentioned - I can say I want to help EVERYONE - but that is very different from allowing everyone to come and live in my lounge.

I doubt if your argument means that a PBO cannot say who joins - I suspect that even PBO's are allowed to have some control of membership BUT I could investigate that if I was a lawyer and didn't think it was a big waste of my time. I still think that my point about a bar stands - how undesirable must a person become before it is decided that their behavior is unacceptable.

Back to the case in point - the MCSA is not restricting access for Ebert - the Landowner doesn't want Tresspassers and Ebert insists on Trespassing. This is to avoid paying Mount Amanzi the fee that they require and not an MCSA Requirement. This is all about one person and has nothing to do with whether the MCSA is a PBO or anything like that - this is about a troublemaker sitting in the Cape carping about something he cannot do in the NorthWest Province because he isn't there...
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Marshall1 »

Keeping this letter open...

Recently our section closed access to their property the public. As a non-member these days (I was going to be booted, so I resigned:)), I can vaguely remember a discussion when I was on committee about municipal rates & taxes. I seem to remember that they get a vastly reduced rate similar to a sports club. If it is indeed private property without public access then I can't see why they should get a favorable rate with the municipality.
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I'm not advocating in favor of the MCSA paying higher taxes, but I would like them to become more progressive in their thinking with regards membership criteria. Somehow they need to shuffle away from their the conservative approach, where only the "elites", who meet the criteria can be members. Keeping the general public at arms length out of fear of what "the masses" may do to access or overcrowd a venue is a conservative way of thinking. I'm advocating expecting the best from people/the general public.
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This letter that was sent to the climbing community admits that the MCSA, our local section at minimum, is an exclusive club with restrictive membership. Taking note that the "a testimonial submitted by an existing club member" is part of a plan to reduce membership criteria. This is a restrictive measure designed weed people out & to turn people away. Somehow in South Africa we need to adopt much more inclusive policies.

When this property was bought the people (members, the public & various organizations) who contributed to its purchase did not have in mind that that this land was for the exclusive use of ~140 members & their friends. They intended this purchase to secure access for future generations, all of us. How does this private property attitude further the objects of the the MCSA?
Objects of the Mountain Club.jpg
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Time to drop the membership bar completely & fully consider the Objects of the Mountain Club. Its just a thought...
SNORT
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by SNORT »

The tone of the letter regarding the access to Lady's Slipper is what I consider the real problem of the MCSA . It suggests that the MCSA is some arrogant and lofty authority and to me it is alienating in the way it sounds.

It is not The Club that decided on anything. It is the decision makers who have volunteered their time and expertise to deal with the access issues that bedevil every organization that tries to protect natural wild places while still allowing people to access and enjoy these places.

When publishing such a letter, the names of those involved should be stated and the considerations that took place. And indeed as stated constructive input must be invited.
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Old Smelly »

Ok - Maybe this topic needs to be renamed as "Whingers and the MCSA" or something more appropriate...

I read your Eastern Cape gripe as something akin to a "Tresame" incident;

Line up the lynch mob because someone cannot get the message across properly...

Yeah sure it looks like some poor person is trying to save the environment and all you can see is that they are controlling the access exclusively as opposed to trying to prevent the a**holes who are ruining it for everyone else...

Hopefully someone who is on the ground there and is not a serial troublemaker can explain the real situation...

For many sections of the MCSA there is nothing "exclusive" about applying for membership or even that difficult...most likely it is harder to join the local public library or get your car licence renewed...

I am sure that with some proper communication the situation in the Eastern Cape can be explained and resolved.
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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justin
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by justin »

Old Smelly wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:07 pm Ok - Maybe this topic needs to be renamed as "Whingers and the MCSA" or something more appropriate...

I am sure that with some proper communication the situation in the Eastern Cape can be explained and resolved.
No renaming required - things change, different people/personalities come and go.
What worked yesterday, may need changing today

And yes... proper communication very often resolves matters.
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Old Smelly
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Old Smelly »

Make you think of someone...

https://gearjunkie.com/david-lesh-charges-banned

Just an aside - it looks like the British Mountaineering Council has 85000 plus membership and has an income of 5,4 million British Pounds

https://www.statista.com/statistics/614 ... untaineers.

Maybe comparing the MCSA to that is not a fair comparison...
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Marshall1 »

MCSA has about 5000 members, that's 0.0096% of the population of SA, but they persist with bars to entry. Transformation is maybe 1%, max 2? Yet some how MCSA manages to say they are public benefit to pay less rates & taxes.

"Make you think of someone..." no, tell us who? Who did this? I guess this is some kind of non-member who should be feared. A reason to keep properties private. Keep people out. A reason to keep bars to membership, not transform & include all people in SA. No need to fear, 0.0096% = distinct lack of interest. The club’s most scary threat is lack-of-interest.

Why not change to a proper public benefit stance? Avoid words like private property. Why not scrap the bars to membership? What is there really to fear?

Old Smelly, sorry dude its not your shoes. You need to eat a ton of whole brand cereal & take a serial fat shit.
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robertbreyer
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by robertbreyer »

Derek,

The MCSA Cape Town section - the largest one by far with 3,000 members - has no more 'bars to entry' as you put it.
Climbers and members like Douw Steyn and Tristan Firman got up from behind their keyboards and made those changes happen a decade ago.

You now apply, you attend a new member orientation, that's it.
No need to have anyone endorse or support you, no need to attend any meets. That's the Club from your parents' time.

You seem to hold a grudge against the MCSA in general, or maybe just the Eastern Cape Section in particular. Maybe because they expelled you?
We have no idea what happened, and I do wonder if it's really relevant and appropriate.

Right now the Cape Town section sees almost 100 new members join a month.

You have done a lot for climbing in the Eastern Cape. But maybe it's time to smoke the peace pipe and re-join the Eastern Cape section. Or at a minimum let bygones be bygones?

- Robert Breyer
MCSA Cape Town rock sub-com
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Marshall1 »

Hi Robert

Our section (EP) has an entrance bar which is still in place. Their properties are private & there is not public access to their land. My main point is that they should change this. They should consider subscribing to MCSA Objectives, they are not public benefit & they should not get a reduction in rates & taxes. Its a call for change. Why not change?

It is true that EP Section would/should have expelled me, they had good grounds, but I saved them (and me) the effort & time by resigning. I have reformed & no longer bare angst/grudge with MCSA. I'm asking "them", our section in particular, to consider change. Consider dropping the entry bar & making it easier for people to join, easier for people to have access. Consider attempting to meeting their own MCSA Objectives.

I am interested; has having no-entrance-bar and adding 100 members a month caused any issues? Any impact? Places damaged? I guess not. They, the public, are not so scary. Generally people do good.

This is added just for fun.
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Old Smelly
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Old Smelly »

Dear Derek,

(Comes out Swinging...)

(modified Post to reduce hostility)

My point was clear - ultimately those who mess around with the outdoors and everyone else's chance to appreciate it will get publicly shown to be unwelcome... simple...

As for restrictive access - I see your personal rant in your personal sub region - no doubt there is a story there - however in most of the country the MCSA has preserved land which almost every citizen can easily get a permit for and enjoy...so maybe you have no point there...

On to my point about the BMC vs the MCSA - I do think the MCSA does try to do what is best for the environment and the general population - often these are contradictory as preserving the environment requires education as opposed to open doors and unlimited access. In the UK they have sufficient finances and government support to do much more with regards to access and the public. We have to work with much less resources and support. That is exactly why one would expect climbers, as a fairly niche and educated small portion of the population, to work together in terms of negotiated access and environmental concerns. To a large part they do, so even more likely that those dissident individuals who care for neither (threatening to climb up to Eagles nests and trespass) will ultimately be ostracised by the outdoor community - hence the example. Be assured - a big organisation like the BMC would have used some of those considerable funds to pursue such individuals in the UK!

As to my need to dump...mumble mumble fishpaste...
Last edited by Old Smelly on Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Marshall1 »

Hi Old Smelly, I think we did meet once at Dave's East Rand Gym. You seemed a very sweet & nice bloke.
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Old Smelly »

My apologies for my hostility then - it seems SNORTS response was more helpful...

I will retire to under my bridge...
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by oubaas »

Marshall surely you were referring to me as a sweet nice guy having met at Dave’s wall? :cyclops:
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Marshall1 »

Hahaha Ja oubaas! That's right.

Back to hostilities with Old Smelly. Kidding OS! I'm having a beer & packing my climbing s... (stuff).
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by XMod »

Don't forget to pack a couple of cold ones in along with your gear - essential equipment!
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by SNORT »

Cashed in about the equivalent of 2 or 3 years of my MCSA membership fees this weekend, thanks to Andrew Beetge and Team. I was "guided" up Jan Du Toit's Kloof and then down a kloof descent with the most awesome bum slides, jumps and abseils. If this was a guided tour it would cost at least R2,000.00 per person. Thanks to the "MCSA" aka Andrew for setting this up.

As far as I know this descent was discovered just a year ago by Andrew and this is the first repeat.

Onsighting this would have been awful and would probably have failed with bundu bashing for hours. But with Andrew it was a synch.

The photo is of just one of several descents
WF JDT.JPG
And this one shows Andrew with one of the creative anchors.
Anchor JDT.JPG
So I still cannot understand how the question arises as to "what does or can the MCSA do for me".

Next week there is am MCSA "guided" trip to Perry refuge on the Hex traverse. I highly recommend that you do this and also with someone who knows the route because you likely to get lost and do a lot of fynbos communion in the hot sun. Trust me I know. All free again.
Hex Traverse
Dates: Wednesday 16 - Sunday 20 December 2020
Time: Full Day
A fairly strenuous out and back traverse from the UCT Zuurberg parking to Perry Refuge. No shuffling of cars necessary. Stunning scenery in the most rugged mountains of the Western Cape. We plan to spend two nights in the vicinity of Pells Hut and two nights at Perry Refuge. However, due to the nature of the meet and the possibility of the shelters being occupied, a tent or bivvy is essential. We plan to do some peak-bagging along the way such as Waaihoekpiek, Scorpion, Tarantula, Jan du Toit’s Ridge Pinnacles, Sentinel Peak and others. Bookings from 23 November. Contact leader: Torben Wiborg at wiborgt@sacollege.org.za (preferably) or 0824116792.
I find it quite astonishing that we live in the information age and yet people still wonder if it is worth joining the MCSA. It is the best value membership I have ever come across by a factor of 10!
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Marshall1 »

Hi Snort

For me its not a question of "if it is worth joining the MCSA". Its clear that MCSA members get benefits of being a member. Its more a question of whether the MCSA is a proper Public Benefit Organization. Does the MCSA benefit the public (not members) as per MCSA Objectives? And then is the MCSA paying land rates & taxes as a Public Benefit Organization?

Our local section would need to make a few changes to be considered a Public Benefit. Like stepping away from the private property & members only stances. Like lowering the membership criteria.
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by SNORT »

Derek, I am not directly privy to the constitution of the MCSA or its stated or intended mandate. I suppose we all should be.

Nevertheless it is moot whether "the MCSA" at any one time is able to meet these ideals as it so to depends on the individual will and generosity of its volunteers. As well all know people step up to do stuff and they do what they are willing and able to do - mostly for free.

Then there is the fact that it is a private organization too.

So it is all very well having certain ideals but unless a person or persons is specifically skilled and tasked and for that matter "paid" to uphold, promote and manage the stated objectives and ideals of the club it really amounts to work in progress and something to always aim for.

So if you see a flaw and you have the time, the skills and that includes the interpersonal skills to hold the club to account and make sure it delivers then do so.

Having said all that, the bar to entry to the MCSA, i.e. its membership fees is so low that I absolutely do see it as a public benefit organization. Any organization needs funds to fulfill its mandate. It costs like R20 a month! The price of 2 cokes in a supermarket or 2 loaves of bread. This is far less than the cost of entry to say Kirstenbosch or Silvermine and by that very fact it, in my view qualifies! So it is really a tiny tithe for the public to pay and then get all the benefits.
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Re: Open letter to Ebert

Post by Brussel »

its closer to R60/month Snort, but I agree its very little money and the requirements to join have been significantly lowered compared to how it used to be and its very easy now to join. There is no real reason anyone should not join the club
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