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National News, June – July 2020

MCSA National News 13 Jul 2020 National News, June – July 2020


In the last issue of the National Newsletter, I commented that we seemed to have got a bit out of sequence – it is now a lot worse! I continue to blame Covid-19 – it still seems to be the easiest thing to do!

While it continues to disrupt our lives but at least some of us can get out into the mountains! Those of us in the south of the country are fortunate in having a mountain in our back gardens, as it were. Our northern brethren are less fortunate…

Now I am settled in as President for one more year, I can share with you some of the projects that I hinted at in the last issue. Some of these are “local”, i.e. national issues and some are international, and I will deal with these in the UIAA section further on in this Newsletter.

The national issues are of course, of more immediate concern for most of the members of the Club and these include, in no particular order:

  • Scanning the journals and getting them online in such a way that they are “searchable”. There are a number of problems to resolve – one of them copyright for several years was vested in the contributors and so technically we need permission from each and every one
  • Sorting out the logo which needs to be brought into the 21st century. Consolidating the CAMC.
  • Trying to get the membership more representative of the demographics of SA without losing our main aims/objects.
  • Getting a new strategic plan in place to assist in guiding the Club through into the 2020s.

All of these topics are aimed at our main object – which I am very fond of quoting – “to organise and facilitate mountaineering.” This has been my personal aim throughout my climbing life and in some ways, I am fairly satisfied! (As an aside, when I was much younger, I used to say that people should be able to retire from the age of 20 until they are 40 so they can climb more and then work until they are 80! I seem to be doing just that!)

The other issues we are dealing with as and when convenient and volunteers are available. Fortunately, we seem to have a very good National Committee this year!

I have had an idea – a bit late now, I know – but why do we not have “virtual” social evenings with slides being shown via the Zoom platform? It should work as webinars work in the business space. I throw that out for the consideration by section chairs…

We do seem to be getting past the most rigorous period of the Covid-19 lock-down so, hopefully, (the new-) normal service will be resumed at some time in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, let’s all stay safe so that we can once again enjoy the mountains!

Sadly, we have lost three members of the climbing community, all of whom contributed greatly to the rock-climbing scene in South Africa over many years – Keith Fletcher, Jonathon Levy and Chris Walker. We are indeed saddened by their loss.



While it is absolutely appreciated that for many of our members, not being able to go to the mountains appears to be punitive, it is emphasised that following the government regulations is essential if South Africa is to come out of the other side of this pandemic.

Consequently, if we, as an organisation, are not seen to be following the rules then we may well damage our Club’s image in the eyes of government and of the vast bulk of the people of this country. So please bear with the Club as we all attempt to ameliorate the situation as much as we can.




The UIAA Annual Report is now available online. Members are encouraged to read this report to see what the UIAA has been doing.

3.1 COVID-19

“For a large number of the member federations, the COVID-19 situation continues to be the dominating challenge in both private and public life.

The UIAA is fully aware of the hardships, and in some cases the intense suffering, brought about by the pandemic. A Covid-19 working group has been set up to provide support for member federations where applicable.

The UIAA is conscious that many federations have already taken courageous and far-reaching action. We wish to express our gratitude and admiration to those who have shown leadership, solidarity and compassion. In the coming days, the UIAA will create a dedicated COVID-19 page on its website to showcase member initiatives and stories. In this time of need, we can inspire each other.

The UIAA wishes to repeat its statement published on 13 March: we encourage strict compliance with the measures implemented by your national, regional and local authorities in order to contain the spread of the virus. Social distancing and confinement directives apply to all climbers, hikers, walkers, mountaineers and practitioners of mountain sports. Respect for these measures also ensure that medical and rescue services are dedicated to those most in need.”

The MCSA saw one positive thing out of this in that a UIAA-registered facility in China which is now manufacturing masks, decided to donate 10 000 masks to a needy hospital somewhere in the world. The hospital chosen was the Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape. While our thanks are due to all concerned for this generous donation, it has proved to be an exercise in frustration for those of us directly involved – most notably, Eckart von Delft, the MCSA representative on the UIAA medical Commission. Once the masks arrived at OR Tambo, we all breathed a sigh of relief – only to discover that while they had arrived before the cut-off date for donations to be allowed in duty-free, that date had passed while they sat in the ware-house at the airport and we now had to pay about R25 000 to have them released through customs! The Chinese came to our rescue once more and offered to pay this amount! If we are lucky, they will be arriving in the Eastern Cape about now (10 July)! An epic!

STOP PRESS! We did not factor in the truck drivers’ strike! The masks are still held up while health workers are dying at the designated hospital…


The MCSA has been heavily involved – in fact we started it – in an initiative to highlight the sad events and continuing dispute around the Indo-Chinese border, particularly in Ladakh. This involved clashes between Indian and Chinese troops with a sad loss of life on both sides. The UIAA is issuing a statement with generic ideas on how the situation could possibly be improved. The UIAA is obviously not in the business of diplomacy and this statement is couched in terms of mountain protection/conservation plus the tourism benefits that could accrue to the local communities. Once it is finalised and issued, it will be on the UIAA website.


While this has been one of the unfortunate casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic and has been cancelled for this year, we will need to take the opportunity to enter our Club’s outreach programmes as a contender for the award in 2021. Your President will be leaning on the leaders of our outreach programmes to put together an entry. Check out the UIAA web page on this one 2019-uiaa-mountain-protection-award

Following on from the item that was included in the last National Newsletter (above), The MCSA National Environmental Convenor, Maretha Alant (who is also on the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission), sent the following message:

“As a reminder, the 2020 Respect the Mountains movement has been launched and it would be much appreciated if you could spread the word. The Respect the Mountains flyer and the Registration Guidelines are attached. There is an online registration form that needs to be completed.

I suggest Sections list potential projects for inclusion and send a brief description with photos to me. Let’s aim to get 5 MCSA projects on the website for 2020. I can complete the online registration when we have the projects ready for submission”

The links are  and

Maretha and the MCSA President have been talking around this subject and hope to be able to post something on the UIAA website at the earliest opportunity.



4.1  National: abbreviated link for the national MCSA Facebook page:

4.2  Links for all the sections’ web pages are on the MCSA national webpage.



Please send any newsworthy items for inclusion in MCSA National News Letter with Greg Moseley at



It’s just over the next ridge…” Repeat ad nauseam!


“explore – discover – connect – protect”

“verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

“phonononga – fumanisa – qhagamshela – khusela”




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