Fury at harbour AGM

JON HOUZET

TEMPERS flared and allegations were levelled all around at the Port Alfred Small Boat Harbour Company (SBHC) AGM at the marina clubhouse last Thursday.

The SBHC directors, comprising various parties with a stake in the harbour, accused the main sub-lessee, Stuart Boucher, of being in breach of his lease by withholding rent owing to the harbour, and slammed his plans to develop a piece of land he owns.

Boucher in turn said a lease with one of the directors had been entered into illegally and that their litigation against him would result in no benefit to the harbour.

The AGM was originally going to be a closed meeting, but when TotT asked to attend, the directors opened it to the public after consulting their attorney. However, at short notice only a handful of people attended.

SBHC managing director Angus Schlemmer said the committee had not wanted to hold a public AGM after last year’s “disastrous” AGM at the Port Alfred Ski-boat Club.

“There is much unease about developments in the harbour,” Schlemmer said in his MD’s report.

He said a management entity appointed by the SBHC had “jumped the gun” by installing a security boom at the slipway, which resulted in much controversy at last year’s AGM.

The entity, comprising Derek Victor, Keryn van der Walt and Brent Kruger, was appointed to provide professional and technical support and help make the harbour more viable.

At last week’s AGM, Victor claimed the directors were trying to make him the scapegoat for what they had authorised.

“The purchase of the boom was approved by you [Schlemmer] and [Justin de Wet] Steyn,” he said.

When Steyn disagreed, Victor said: “If you say that’s not so then I say you’re a liar. You know you approved it.”

Boucher took issue with Schlemmer’s statements about last year’s AGM.

“What about the last AGM was chaotic or disruptive? Are you referring to the fact you tried to mislead the people there and read incorrect minutes?” he said.

“You are here to attack me – that’s your agenda,” Schlemmer replied.

The Tahoe Spur rental was another heated topic at the AGM. Alderman Louise Swanepoel, who was specially invited, said she was concerned that the harbour never received rent from Spur.

“I heard the new rental is R1 a year, but the liquor licence transfer is R1,6-million,” she said.

SBHC director Carl Haller agreed, saying: “The R1,6-million liquor licence is a way of ensuring the small boat harbour doesn’t receive the rental.”

Boucher agreed there was a token rental of R1 a year, similar to the 99-year lease at the indoor swimming pool, but that the actual rent paid by Spur to one of his companies had started at R10 000 a month and escalated since then.

“There’s no R1,6-million deal,” he said. “The liquor licence is still in Barnacles’ [the previous business] name.”

He had arranged through the Liquor Board for Spur to use his licence with no cost attached, he said, and provided a document to this effect.

Boucher’s proposal to build holiday flats on erf 5203 also came up again.

“When we became aware of your plans to develop 5203 we decided to object,” said SBHC director Chris Alexandre. “We thought it absolutely the wrong thing to happen to 5203 and it won’t be in the interests of everyone in the area.”

In response, Boucher accused the SBHC entering into “an illegal agreement” with Alexandre by allowing him to rent property in the harbour.

“I thought you [Alexandre] were the innocent party, but in the lease you acknowledge there’s a dispute on the lease.”

To date, the SBHC has spent about R365 000 on litigation against Boucher regarding erf 5203.

On the positive side, Schlemmer said jetties had been fixed and are being repainted and numbered, security had been improved, and 255 boats had been registered since the beginning of July.

Schlemmer, Steyn, Haller, Alexandre, Doug Kemsley and Mike Neave were re-elected as directors at the AGM.

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