WCBA Management Committee
The WCBA management committee comprises six to eight members as stipulated in the Constitution and is elected at the Annual General Meeting. All members of the committee serve a two-year term and are eligible for re-election should they be available once their term has lapsed.
Requirements for members to be elected to the committee are specific skills to fulfil the duties of the position and a personal commitment to do so. All members of the committee exercise their functions in an honorary capacity, therefore, no remuneration is granted. At times, travel costs and other compensation may be considered depending on funding availability. The committee meets once a month and members may not miss two consecutive meetings without proper notice.
Among the duties of the committee are: include, but not limited to the following:
- Carrying out, as far as possible, the resolutions of the General Assembly;
- Making decisions on all general matters and issues of interest for the local apicultural sector;
- Fulfilling respective portfolio duties in serving the WCBA.
Riette Van Zyl
Finances, Recruitment, Bee Removals (assisted by Gerhard Olivier), DALRRD Registrations
Riette Van Zyl has been a beekeeper for nine years. Her interest in beekeeping was triggered when she caught sight of a worker bee with worn out wings. Riette says she developed enormous respect for these creatures, who literally work themselves to death. “Ethical beekeeping” is the foundation of her business. In addition to being the WCBA’s current chairperson, Riette has also served on the committee as secretary and treasurer. She has an excellent grasp of the costs involved in agriculture, with a professional background in the financial administration of the fruit-farming and export industries. Riette says she instinctively spots potential in a person or venture and always feels an urgency “to get things done”. She describes herself as a “team player’, who derives her creative energy from working with people.
Pollination, assist with Finances, Recruitment
Brendan Ashley-Cooper’s interest in beekeeping began at an early age at the family home in Cape Town, where his grandparents, mother and uncle kept beehives. In 1994, Brendan travelled abroad as a young man to work for a commercial beekeeper in Israel, where he says his “journey and love for bees really took off”. On returning to South Africa, he entered the commercial beekeeping world and has grown his business to more than 2000 hives, specializing in pollination, honey production, splitting swarms and breeding queens to increase colony numbers. Brendan has served on the WCBA committee since 2015, including serving as chairperson. Brendan says his “passion for bees and beekeeping” motivates him in all aspects of his life and he’s intent on helping secure a sustainable future for our honeybees and our local beekeeping industry.
Francois Schippers hails from Hopefield on the West Coast. He worked in the private sector for twenty five years, as well as contributing to public life by serving as a councillor in the Saldanha Bay Municipality. Francois was first drawn to active beekeeping in 2013, starting out with five beehives. On retiring in 2021, he decided to become a full-time beekeeper and has built up his operation to 800 hives, concentrating on honey production. Francois has been a member of the WCBA for five years and has served on committee for more than two years.
Fund raising, Minutes, Recruitment
Lynne Barnes has been a beekeeper since 2006, first as a hobbyist and then full-time. She joined the WCBA in 2010, soon being elected chairperson, a position she occupied for several years. As chairperson, Lynne helped introduce a number of innovations, including formal membership cards for the WCBA and an “official” sticker which members can use on their jars to denote the purity of their honey. Among Lynne and her committee’s other achievements was organising a successful honey festival to coincide with SABIO’s annual conference, which was held in the Western Cape in 2012. In the wake of the AFB outbreak in the province, Lynne was part of the “roadshow” which assisted beekeepers in identifying and dealing with the disease. In 2015, Lynne was awarded the accolade of ‘Beekeeper of the Year’ by SABIO. Lynne says that by working together, beekeepers can continue to address the challenges facing the industry.
Hobby Beekeepers, Events, Minutes, Recruitment
Phirdy Motala is commercial beekeeper operating from a farm near Wolsley. She describes herself as an “entrepreneur”, and is also involved in other business ventures. Although Phirdy spends much time nurturing her bees, she is also extremely passionate about encouraging women to get involved in the economy by establishing their own businesses. She also wants to see more women at the forefront of the economy, particularly in positions of leadership. Phirdy is also active in helping train newcomers to beekeeping. She says “there’s an urgent need to provide young people with access to the industry if it is to continue fulfilling its crucial function in the future”. Living and working in the heart of a major fruit-growing area, Phirdy also provides pollination services to local growers. She believes it is essential to build a good rapport with growers, and she takes personal responsibility in inspecting all her hives to ensure they meet the WCBA’s recommended standards before sending them into pollination.
Media & PR, Recruitment
Chris Nicklin began keeping bees as a schoolboy in Cape Town in the late 1970s. He was a member of the Western Province Beekeepers’ Association, as it was then, and while still at school, undertook his first pollination contract, hiring out a hundred hives to an Elgin apple farmer. Chris graduated from the University of Cape Town, and has spent much of his professional life working in the media, including a ten-year stint with the BBC in London. He returned to South Africa with the BBC but was lured to stay on in the country to help set up the television channel, e.tv. All the while, Chris pursued his passion for beekeeping with an eye on eventually becoming a full-time commercial beekeeper. He operates his bee business out of two farms – on the mountains in Napier and in Tulbagh. Chris retains his interests in the media as a director of a Cape Town radio station and a consultant on documentary film productions. Chris wants to use his media experience to raise greater public awareness about the important work of the WCBA and its member beekeepers.
Henry Van Lingen
Henry van Lingen is a full-time beekeeper based on a farm near Greyton in the Overberg. In 2019, he established his own business, with a focus on providing pollination services. Henry says beekeeping is “more than a job for me, it’s a passion”. As a relative newcomer to commercial pollination, Henry says he is striving to build his “business and the wider beekeeping community through quality services and ethical conduct”.