A message from Tamsin Nel,
Founder & Director of the SA.MAST Animal Clinic.
As tradition dictates, it’s that time of year when I pen a personal letter reflecting on the year gone by and the year to come.
Many of our plans, like yours, had to be adapted or abandoned altogether. I was going to tackle and make public, in a country so very desperate for this resource, policies implemented by the SAVC and DAFF and which for the most part, effectively blocks most qualifying veterinarians from abroad from volunteering or working in SA.
While our clinic and hospital is the mothership, keeping our vision and mission on course, I was also looking forward to the roll-out of consecutive primary treatment stations, championed by in-situ community members throughout Khayelitsha.
Privately I had resolved to get more sleep, get in better shape, spend more quality time with loved ones and learn how to operate my gifted telescope - everyone needs an escape from the trials and tribulations of living in SA and mine is to look at the stars, sometimes even to try find the man on the moon.
But of course, along came you know what and at the speed of light, all the madness, rage and greed, barely being kept at bay to start off with, both in and outside of Khayelitsha, escaped. One plan after another was blown apart, but all was not lost.
Instead of spinning off into oblivion, helping hands, your hands, reached out with the lifelines our essential services team needed to stay on mission. Every life SA.MAST has saved or improved this year is because of you. And every life we touch next year will be because of you too. Our gratitude is quietly never ending but practically expressed by the work we do.
Sadly, Khayelitsha though continues to be a place that may as well be a distant planet to too many officials who could and should do more to help. Following the mass land invasion surrounding our clinic and the numerous threats this poses for us, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato appears to be uninterested in helping us to secure a viable location from which to operate from. Plans to address and remedy this intransigent and uncaring City of Cape Town point of view are underway. More info on this can be found in this newsletter.
In closing, I would like to thank my staff for their incredible efforts, the greater Khayelitsha community for working with SA.MAST and our donors - the individuals, corporates and foundational - for the messages of encouragement, standing by the vision and remaining steadfast in their support.
It’s a privilege and honor to have you at my side, you all have such very big hearts.
OUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2020 HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIAL,
AND WORTH CELEBRATING.
1 317 Sterilisations
3 786 Vaccinations
internal parasite treatments
external parasite treatments
general veterinary treatments at resident’s homes or at different locations in khayelitsha
walk-ins for general or advanced patient treatments at the clinic
animal ambulance collections
admissions for illness or injury
of cat & dog food distributed
displaced or surrendered cats and dogs rehomed
We are proud of these accomplishments, which were reached despite the challenges surrounding all levels of lockdown.
Veterinary costs have escalated rapidly. We have experienced a shortage of medicines and consumables, and the rising cost of veterinary care is a grave concern, specially at a time of the sudden and unprecedented expansion of the Khayelitsha population. Over the course of just four months, seven more informal areas with an estimated 75 000 to 100 000 more households have been added.
Safety and security are a rapidly escalating concern. We experienced an armed robbery perpetrated on our clinic in April. All electronic equipment was stolen or damaged, our employees assaulted and threatened at gunpoint and a few weeks ago even a man was murdered less than 3 meters away from our clinic entrance.
Interruptions of operations due to aggressive land invasions, acts of intimidation, rioting and blocking of roads, winter floods and damage to our patient vehicles, Covid-19 and difficulty in sourcing PPE.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We want to continue with our vision and mission as an In-township animal clinic and hospital with emergency response ambulances that is part of and open to the community. We wish to continue teaching animal care, and work with residents in embracing the benefits of primary treatments and sterilisation.
But this hinges on your support.
ONE OF OUR GREATEST CHALLENGES REMAINS THE RELOCATION OF OUR FACILITY
Our organisation is under a known threat from a mass land invasion which has surrounded our animal clinic, hospital and shelter. This is a matter that fundamentally connects human and animal rights, and our voices have not been heard. Categorically, authorities have failed us, failed Khayelitsha, and continue to deny, without reason, our application to move to a safe location, less than 2km from our current clinic site.
Meanwhile, our new reality is to work in fear of fire, hit and runs, muggings, obstruction of ambulances entrance and exits and as predicted, an exponential increase of violent crime in the area. Imagine arriving at work to discover the road once again cordoned off by SAPS and to learn that the body lying underneath the blanket is a man that was just hours before stabbed to death.
Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, has repeatedly voiced his support of animal sterilisation, rehoming efforts and responsible pet ownership.
“Cape Town has a booming animal population as the many appeals for pet adoption attest to, but also the many litters of puppies and kittens that are born each year – often with no real prospect of a loving home or secure future,” said Smith in a recent engagement with the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.
Yet, with this outright acknowledgement of an issue that impacts directly on human and animal health, the City of Cape Town has failed to work with us in providing a land solution that will enable our continued efforts.
We cannot endure another year of rejected applications and ignored solutions.
If the Mayor will not come to our aid in Khayelitsha, we are forced to take ourselves and Khayelitsha to the Mayor. We will do so peacefully, beautifully, within an activation that will generate a true understanding of our poor but compassionate beneficiaries and the role SA.MAST plays for and in this vast community.
As this activation evolves, we will be calling on you to amplify our voice in media, within your businesses, and within your circles of influence.
For more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We have all had to dig deep within ourselves to survive this year and to help those nearest and dearest to survive it too.
Thank you, even when it seemed impossible, for still pulling out all the stops to support us in this supernova of a year.
Stay Safe & Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
For more information contact:
Tamsin Nel, Founder & Director,
South African Mass Animal Sterilisation Trust
Tel: +27 (0) 21 715 2054 | Cell: +27 (0) 84 778 1215
Email: email@example.com | www.samast.co.za
PUBLIC BENEFIT ORGINISATION NO: 930028769
TRUST REGISTRATION NUMBER: IT3310/2006