A day in the life of the guardians of Vetch's Beach

By: Johnny Vassilaros
16 July 2012

 

This past week the Durban Paddle Ski survived yet another hostile and malicious attack from Mr Neels Brink, projects director of DPDC. The end result being that the members rallied together bonding the club even more and making us more determined and resilient to withstand anything this man can possibly throw at us.

Having being awarded a costs order against the club (eviction granted only when all building plans are approved), he attempted to bill us for R884 485, which we managed to have it taxed down by a whopping R623197 to R261287. Not being in a position to pay all this in one sum, we offered them a monthly instalment of R10000. This offer was rejected and he immediately tried to attach our attorney’s trust fund, believing we would be as devious hiding our funds with our attorney. Needless to say, the “trust fund” had a nil balance.  Two days later (July 5) they sent the sheriff with no less than 5 Metro cops to attach our possessions, which according to him amounted to approximately R3000.

What was clearly unlawful, however, was the attempt to also attach all the skis stored in bunkers, as they do not belong to the club but the individual members. Knowing full well this is the case as with all clubs, they proceeded with this unlawful removal. A huge thank you must go to Ernie Hovelmeier and Mario Waldhausen for spending the entire day attending to this matter. No words could possibly express our gratitude to our advocate and friend Peter Rowan, who dropped whatever he was attending to and rushed to court with Ernie managing to obtain an emergency judgment at 7pm to halt the removal of the skis. Unfortunately, 29 skis had already been removed forcing us to take the matter to the High Court.

After many affidavits were collected from the ski owners, we appeared in court on Friday 13 July, when DPDC offered to return the skis but we would have to collect them ourselves. We accepted this offer rather than gamble on the judgement being reserved, which would mean the skis could remain attached for months. The vindictive nature of Mr Brink nearly jeopardised this agreement when he insisted on the condition that any item being loaned to the club would be attached. This too was clearly unlawful and unreasonable and only when his own advocate advised him that he was being ridiculous, did he back down and the deal was struck.

We immediately alerted the troops and asked for assistance in transporting 29 skis back to the club. Within minutes, we had a fleet of vehicles and trailers queuing at the sheriff’s office in Umbilo. We all then proceeded to load the skis and begin several trips through the Esplanade in peak hour traffic. On behalf of all the members, some of whom may not even be aware that their skis had been attached, I wish to thank most sincerely the following members not only for their selfless dedication to our club, but for the jovial and amusing manner they carried this huge task: Mario Waldhausen, Mario Zamponi, Subash Mahadow, Bryan Bache, Colin Geithrie, Peter Lategan, Peter Greenaway, Brian Buchanan, Bruce Colly, Frans De Villiers, Johann Visagie and Dennis Webster.  You guys were simply fantastic! As a reward, your names will be included in the lucky draw to become the next chairman.

Incidentally, hiding in amongst the 29 skis the guys spotted a Bentley and immediately offered the sheriff’s staff to exchange that for all the skis. It nearly worked! Just before we loaded the last ski, by now in total darkness, Colin Geithrie informed us that it was his 70th birthday. So, tired and hungry, like a bunch of homeless vagrants sitting in the gutters in some back street of Umbilo, we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Colin, before setting off for the final trip to the club. The festive atmosphere continued further into the night, as our treasurer, Ernie, was waiting for us with a few cold beers for the labourers. 

Finally I would like to attempt to thank our advocate Peter Rowan, attorney Michael Jackson and Jason Goodison, without whose efforts, we would never have secured our skis. At a wild guess, I reckon all this would have cost us well over R150000! I hope all the members appreciate their dedication to our cause. We have been so blessed to have had them on our side.

Johnny