Chairman’s Annual Report

(For Period 28 May 2019 to 24 June 2020)

Patrons : Adrian Gardiner    David Hughes    Mark McNulty    Ms Aviva Pelham    Paul Sulcas

The broad objective of the Trust (as described in the Notarial Deed) shall be to provide food, medical and other practical assistance for the benefit of persons who, in the opinion of the Trustees, are poor, needy and destitute; including (but without limitation thereof) refugees and persons displaced as a result of victimization and political and social circumstances.

With this as the basis the Trustees have agreed that whereas the essential primary focus would continue to be directed to pensioners from Rhodesia and Zimbabwe who reside in the Western Cape and who are identified as being in real financial need, consideration would, from August 2014, be given to Rhodesians and Zimbabweans residing permanently in the Western Cape who were not specifically members of a pension fund, but who have retired and are over the age of 65, and who are proven to be in real financial need. This extension of the operating mandate will be subject to the availability of funds and successfully satisfying the requirements of the detailed financial means questionnaire and is for persons who have lived or worked in Rhodesia or Zimbabwe for at least twenty five years after their education phase.

Introduction

This is the sixteenth Chairman’s Report that I have authored and it is again my privilege and pleasure to state that this past year has seen further consolidation, achievement and success.

I have not changed the format of the Chairman’s Report because it is well received as is, but have, of course, updated content where appropriate.

The M’dala Trust was initiated in October 2003 and became fully operational in January 2004 specifically to provide regular financial support for the pensioners from Rhodesia and Zimbabwe who resided in the Western Cape and whose pensions had been terminated by the Zimbabwean government leaving them in extremely dire financial circumstances. For all of the past sixteen years and nine months the M’dala Trust has focused on and implemented its operating mandate, which since mid-2014 has been further extended in scope.

Management

Management of the M’dala Trust has continued to be structured, professional and efficient. Trustee meetings are held every two months except in November and December and all Trustee meetings have been formally documented with copies of the Minutes distributed to the Trustees and the Patrons. Full time management and administration of the Trust remains vested in the Chairman, but all principle decisions have been agreed and supported by the necessary quorum of Trustees.

Trustees

Ant Grace resigned as a Trustee on 26 January 2020 and we thank him for his sixteen years and three months of enormously valuable service. Ant was a founder member of the Board of Trustees and has contributed extensively and enthusiastically to the development and progress of the Trust, and to its many achievements.

We welcome Charles Montgomery as a new Trustee confident in the knowledge that his management experience and business focus will prove to be a necessary asset.

The Trustees are Michael Gibbons, Ian Johnston, Nick Linnell, Charles Montgomery and Leon Jacobs.

Financial

A current financial report has been presented by the Chairman at all Trustee meetings and strict control has been maintained over the use of Trust funds. All ‘out of the ordinary’ expenditure has been pre-approved by the Trustees and formal tax receipts have been issued to all South African based donors for tax relief purposes. In addition, all donors have received a formal letter of appreciation from the Chairman.

The Trust accounts have again been professionally scrutinized and audited, and this year’s audit report again states that the accounts are completely accurate and efficiently managed, and that there are no irregularities.

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting was held on 24 June 2020 as the movement and containment conditions required by the Coronavirus pandemic preventing earlier implementation. The meeting was held by Zoom link-up which was a unique experience.

Professional Support

Mr Richard Rosenthal (now of Harris Nupen Molebatsi) has continued to provide any required legal advice and assistance, Mr Eric Salomon (of Eric Salomon and Company) the auditing service, Mr Konrad Laker the accounts examination service and Matthew Mabin (of ZipPrint) who has continued the printing sponsorship agreed by his father Lawrie Mabin in 2004.  

These professionals provide their support and expertise pro bono and the Trustees remain sincerely indebted to them all for their sixteen years of efficient and valuable advice and assistance.

Patrons

Dave Hughes has continued to provide a high level of support which has, as always, been most sincerely appreciated. And, Adrian Gardner has continued to donate accommodation vouchers from his Mantis Collection holdings, which are always valuable and desirable prizes in our annual fundraising golf day raffle.

Pensioners and Pensioner Support

All monthly Pick ‘n Pay gift cards, except one, are still usually being distributed by registered mail, but as the Post Office services have been recently interrupted gift card values have been transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries as an interim measure.

Last July we had twenty two pensioners, but we sadly record that Cynthia De Preez passed away in October 2019 at Nazareth House and Gillian Langran passed away in April 2020 at her apartment in Ryger Park, Brooklyn.

Three of our pensioners are now in Nursing Homes – one in Plumstead and two in Wellington.

The average age of the pensioners is 81.38 – the youngest is 64 and the two oldest are 98 and 97.

The pensioner support programme continues to provide regular monthly Pick ‘n Pay gift cards to the

pensioners and supplements the accommodation costs for those in Nursing Homes. The M’dala Trust monthly contribution to the accommodation and assisted care costs for the pensioners residing in a Care Homes is a total of R11,966.

In January 2020 the full audit review of the financial and domestic circumstances of all the pensioners was again conducted to ensure that the financial support being provided by way of gift cards is fair and appropriate, especially in view of the ever increasing general cost of living. The broadly applied principle was still that all pensioners should have a meaningful ‘spend’ amount each month after their essential overheads have been provided for.

The monthly outlay for pensioner support is now R63,016 and the total for the last financial year was R674,590.

In December 2019 an amount of R250 was added to the value of the monthly gift cards to provide an ‘extra’ for the festive season.

The Trust remains determined that the regular monthly essential and required pensioner financial support programme, including the nursing Home costs, is not reduced or terminated and that it remains possible to continue providing monthly support; and additionally being able to fund limited emergency medical support, funding for cataract surgery, hearing aids and mobility aids. Any restrictions to pensioner support or an inability to provide this necessary or essential support would create severe hardships for the pensioners and to this end the Trust has continued to build an appropriate and adequate financial reserve.

Funding         

Funding of the Trust this year has been achieved from four sources :

#1  From our regular monthly debit order donors, many of who have been providing monthly donations since the Trust was established. This pool of donors has remained mostly constant and five new regular donors have begun contributing and our thanks are again expressed.

#2 From three off-shore donors who have provided substantial funds every year.

#3  From a number of mainly local donors who transfer funds at irregular intervals and for a variety of reasons, or who just make ‘one-off’ donations.

#4   From the 2019 annual fundraising golf day.

The Trust expresses huge appreciation to all the donors as without their support the Trust would simply not be able to continue the primary task of providing regular monthly financial support for the pensioners and be able to ensure that the other stated medically related support is assured.

Estate Planning Facility

The estate planning facility provided by Sentinel Trust, which was initiated by Ant Grace, continues to provide assistance for those who wish to avail themselves of the offer to have their Wills compiled at no charge and eventually executed at a substantial reduction in executor’s fees (relative to the total value of the deceased estate); which amount will be credited to the M’dala Trust with an amount also to the estate beneficiaries.

The only requirement is that a notation is made in the Wills by the individuals saying that they are supporters of the M’dala Trust and that the M’dala Trust is to receive the forfeited amount of the executor’s fees. Some ten people have so far taken advantage of this facility.

Annual Fundraising Golf Days

2019 Golf Day

The 2019 fundraising golf day, which was our fourteenth successive golf day, was held at Westlake Golf Club on Friday 1 November and was another highly successful and enjoyable event. The full field of 144 players enjoyed good Cape weather, prizes were awarded for the first ten places, some interesting and desirable items were auctioned and about 75% of the raffle tickets were sold.

The event raised R239,132.09 for the pensioner support fund, which was most pleasing especially in light of the current difficult financial environment, but very rewarding as the Trustees who devote considerable time and effort to the planning and management of the golf day.

The event not only reinforced the strong camaraderie that exists among players who have consistently played for so many years now, but it encouraged an increased interest from new players who were hopefully keen to support the work done by the M’dala Trust for our Rhodesian and Zimbabwean pensioners.

2020 Golf Day

The golf day was planned for Friday 6 November but the limitations and restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic situation forced us to cancel. But, our focus is now clearly on 1 November 2021 when our next golf day will be held at Westlake Golf Club along the same lines as in all previous years.

The Trustees had intended that this year’s event was to be run for the express purpose of raising funds for donation to the “Zimbabwe Pensioner Community’ and had even re-titled the event as the M’dala Trust Zimbabwe Pensioner Community Fundraising Golf Day.

To maintain our intention of donating to the Zimbabwe pensioner cause a donation of R300,000 has been made to the Zimbabwe Pensioner Support Fund who pack and deliver food packs to some 1000 pensioners in about 26 centres and venues in Zimbabwe about every two  months.

Our fundraising efforts this year will be focused on a raffle and we hope to be able to recoup some of the donated R300,000 in this way.

Business Continuity Planning

The M’dala Trust Business Continuity Plan is again being revised and copies will be held by all Trustees. Its purpose is to ensure that the Trust’s operating and management processes, and business functionality, will not be placed in jeopardy should the Chairman suddenly be unable to continue the full time general management and administration of the Trust. Essentially the objective is to provide detailed guidelines and requirements for the continued regular support of the pensioners.

Each Trustee will have a copy of the plan and will be conversant with its contents.

Leon Jacobs

Chairman