SAFA – Letter from the Chairman Feb 2007

For those that I have not been in contact with yet may I take this opportunity of wishing you and your families a very belated but prosperous 2007 and good diving.

This year promises to be a very busy one for SAFA, for although the next World Championships is only going to be held in 2008, in order for us to be represented there we need to qualify this year (see below).

SA Selectors

At the AGM held in P.E. last year the following were elected as the SAFA Springbok Team Selectors.

Guyula Plagianni
Tommy Botha
Charl Blignaut

They will select the SA team to represent us at the 2007 Zone Qualifier (see below)

World’s 2008

This is scheduled to be held in Venezuela, the date has not been set yet. In order to qualify for this event we need to compete in a Zone Qualifying Event (see below). The reason that we need to “QUALIFY” is that there are 35 Spearfishing Nations who are members of CMAS and only 20 are allowed to attend the World Championships.. Thus the Zone Qualifies eliminate 15 countries. There is a formula by which teams are eliminated based on their position in the Zone Qualifier and the number of nations competing in that event. CMAS have agreed that because of the geographic location of South Africa, we can choose which of the three Zone Qualifiers we wish to participate in.

Zone Qualifiers

CMAS is divided into three (3) Zones and this years events will take place as follows:

Europe/Africa SPAIN June 2007
Oceanus (Australia etc) NEW ZEALAND April 2007
Americas VENEZULA October 2007

The selectors have decided that we should participate in the Americas Zone.

The team selected to represent South Africa at this Zone Qualifier will be awarded South African Colours.

Fundraising & Sponsorships

In order to send a team to the Zone Qualifiers, the costs that will be incurred will be something like the following:

  1. Divers License Fee (CMAS)
  2. Team License Fee (CMAS
  3. Team Entrance Fee
  4. Airfares
  5. Accommodation
  6. Transport
  7. Food
  8. Boat Hire

Assuming 3 team members and a manager, and a trip lasting 10 days including scouting, this is likely to amount to over R120,000.

At present SAFA has just enough funds to pay for the entrance fee. Unless we can find  a/sponsor/s  and/or embark on some form of fundraising effort, even if we select a team, it may not be possible for them to go.

Every other sport in South Africa that I know of has a SPONSOR, some have many more than one like golf. Surly we have a member out there who has contacts in business that we could approach to allow our best divers the opportunity to compete for the World Title.

Just as an aside I have approached SAUU (now the South African Underwater Federation (SAUF) and SANROC (control all sport in SA and sanction the issue of SA Colours) and neither will provide any funds to a sport like Spearfishing. It is all going to the Soccer World Cup. I have also sent a request for financial aid to Lotto and am awaiting a reply.

Affiliations and Name

At the moment we are called SAFA (South African Freedivers Association). Apparently this is a hangover from the days when freediving (APNEA) was more closely associated with Spearfishing. Since I have been in office I have had no contact with anyone associated with freediving until last week when Frank Slabbert who is President of SAUF asked me whether we had sanctioned the selection of a SA Freedivers Team. It is my view that we should separate from the free divers.

Secondly as I have previously mentioned I believe that we should consider affiliating ourselves to The SA Anglers Union.

Thirdly I think we should consider changing the name of SAFA to South African Underwater Hunters Federation. (SAUHF).

I will be proposing these changes at the AGM.

Competitions at all levels

At present there is no co-ordination of the numerous and it seems increasing number of competitions that are now being organized. We do not have a calendar of events for our sport. I have thus co-opted Shane Breedt as the “Public Relations Officer “ for SAFA and he will have the responsibility of coordinating the SAFA DIARY. Shane is well known to all South African Divers, thus I would appeal; to all the organizers of any spearfishing event to contact Shane immediately with the details. He can then advise you if it clashes with any other event locally or internationally.

One way for SAFA to raise funds is to get the organizers of each event to levy a fee on behalf of SAFA on each entrant of say R50. This has been done in the past and is the case for those who enter Nationals. I have asked Shane to look into this to see if we can make it standard practice on a nationwide basis.

Shane is also looking at a professional “events organizing” company to see if they could hold a sponsored golf day on our behalf to raise funds.

Nationals 2007


This has already been scheduled to take place in the Knysna area at the end of April. The deadline for entry forms is the end of February.

Resource Management

Our sport continues to come under threat from the authorities who largely through ignorance promote the limiting and/or banning of species and the closure of areas, most of which we know do not contribute to the breeding of fish as is normally given as the reasons for promulgation of such closed areas. At present we have little or no way of influencing these events.

As I have said previously SAFA can only represent its registered members and there are only just over 100 of these. If every club registered all its members with SAFA these would surely amount to several thousand. Then we may be able to talk to MCM etc. with some authority.