Mid-term report: our work continues

Richard Midgley, Chairman of the Marina da Gama Association’s Executive Committee (MDGA ExCom), presents his latest mid-year report back.

Our Executive Committee members

The Marina’s demographic profile is always changing and our perception is that more and more younger families are moving in. Accordingly, we are very happy to have brought on board Ulf Martz as our Infrastructure portfolio holder and Dominique Erasmus to head up Events. With an eye on the MDGA ExCom’s future leadership, they will complement our three other youngsters – Nick Bode (Waterways), Lise Carswell (Environment, Parks & Gardens) and Tharwah Davids (Treasury, Compliance).


Lead by Patrick McKenna, our Communications team has upgraded all our social media platforms and improved the delivery of our weekly email newsletter, statements, and general communication efforts. With transparency, accountability, and two-way communication in mind, the team also posts the minutes and financials from our monthly ExCom meetings on our website.

We are currently completing the production of a welcome pack for new residents, which we are sure existing residents will also welcome. This booklet includes updated information and contact details for all our main service providers and City of Cape Town departments.

Our longer-term intention was to finance our expanded communication services and resulting costs by attracting advertisers, who are now coming to the party and helping to increase our monthly advertising revenues.


Dominique Erasmus has boundless energy and great ideas, which she is already putting into action. We welcome her appointment as an opportunity to bring the Marina spirit back into the MDGA ExCom and look forward to organising many exciting events in the future.


Through his work as a consulting engineer managing infrastructure projects, Ulf Martz has managed to build great contacts within the City of Cape Town and the provincial government. These will help enormously to ensure we are speaking to people at the right level in our efforts to drive the Marina in the right direction. His networks will also help to ensure we get our fair share of limited resources.

Starting with Mayoral Committee Members and Councillors, we recently engaged the City with targeted questions about sewerage spills, the new and future Kingfishers, and infrastructure such as the Marina’s pump stations and road network. This exercise has opened a whole new level of interaction with local government officials that we will continue to build on. We are particularly encouraged by the detailed and prompt responses we have received to date.

Parks & Gardens

Under Lise Carswell’s guidance, our gardening reps have taken to beautifying the Marina like ducks to water. We have Andie Pycroft covering Eastlake Island from Battleridge across Cannon Island to Eastlake Island; Koemi Rowe and Tina Roberts covering Uitsig; and Silvia Stringer looking after Park Island. They are ably supported by a team of six gardeners under capable leadership of Staffa Hussein, who service the Marina every Tuesday. Eugene Rayners, manager of Parks and Recreation, can always be relied on to assist with clearing refuse from our public areas and helping the Gardening team with special requests. Our feedback has been amazing and the results are self-evident. What a great result for everyone ‒ and thank you to all those involved for your selfless service to our residents.


We committed to securing the Marina’s perimeter. Over the last year, we have assisted residents to secure Prince George Drive by repositioning and upgrading electric fences and installing spikes. We have finished clearing 1.5 metres along the Battleridge wall and installed cameras at either end of Battleridge Road to provide full protection.

At the AGM in 2018, residents voted to ring-fence R350,000 to cover Phase 1 and 2 of the security camera installation project. Phase 2 covered Uitsig’s north wall over the public open space to Coniston Park. We have now finished the installation of the cameras on the north wall. As a result, both phases we envisaged have now been completed within the allocated R350,000 budget.

Under Peter Allen’s strong leadership, we meet regularly with our various security groups and neighbourhood watches in Battleridge, Cannon Island, Fisherman’s Walk, Uitsig as well as Elisa and the Park Island security group to discuss shared issues and concerns.

We also meet monthly with the SAPS Muizenberg Commander and his team to share concerns and offer assistance. We actively participate in the Muizenberg Joint Crime Combating Forum, which includes all the security company’s operating in the area, Law Enforcement, Traffic plus the various neighbourhood watches, Vrygrond community leaders, and Community Police Forum members. The aim: to keep updated and share our concerns.


Graham Barratt is training a beady eye on transgressions within the Marina and, with most lockdown restrictions now a thing of the past, active follow-ups are taking place. We have had some very successful resolutions to long-standing issues. They have involved removing oversized Wendy houses and stopping anti-social behaviour. With the start of summer and the relaxation of water restrictions, we expect a number of house painting complaints being resolved.


Under the guidance of Paul Higgins, Archcom has developed a speedy and professional service ethic. Collaborating with residents and the City’s Planning teams, the committee has accelerated the approval of acceptable developments within the Marina. We are busy revising the Design Manual, which will be voted on at the next AGM. It will be ready for distribution to residents early in the new year.


Tharwah Davids has brought a fresh and skilled vision to our Treasury activities. As an attorney working for a big four accountancy firm, she offers us invaluable advice.

On the book-keeping front, we have really benefited Janet van Rensburg’s professionalism, which has enabled us to publish monthly financials in the first two weeks of following month, helping to speed up our budgeting cycle while improving accuracy.

Waterways and ZPAAC

Through Nick, Paul and Lise, we are very active on the Zandveli Protected Areas Advisory Committee (ZPAAC), and we are in the loop in terms of action steps and communication. The new ZPAAC members are incredibly knowledgeable about the vlei and are very eager to make a difference.

Whenever the Kingfisher is out of action, the MDGA gets actively involved in clearing our waterways of slimy green floating algae. The good news is that the Kingfisher has been repaired again, and has started working the waterways. Things are progressing to plan with the new Kingfisher, which should arrive in the first quarter of next year.

In an effort to encourage closer collaboration between interested parties in Zandvlei, the City is now sending us regular water quality reports. You can see the latest test results here.


None of these achievements would be possible without the exceptional dedication, empathy, friendliness, and professionalism of our office staff, Marcia Fritz and Robbie Johnston. We extend a great big thank you to them on behalf of all our residents. The introduction of a credit card machine has dramatically reduced the cash we carry in the office. We have also have bought a UPS, so Marcia’s computer and internet is now always on – load-shedding or no load-shedding.


None of the productive activities that we are driving would be possible without residents playing their part, starting with paying their subscriptions timeously. We are a caring body, but we cannot expect paying residents to sponsor non-payers, especially when outstanding sums have added up over many years. We understand the hardships inflicted by the pandemic. Equally, however, we also understand the importance of maintaining sound financials for residents, with a reserve to protect them in future. As a result, we do not apologise for the tough and determined approach we take to
debt collection. As these figures show, our efforts are bearing fruit:

Year2021 Y/E2022 YTDDiff
2017R44 511R35 997R8 514
2018R35 997R22 465R6 332
2019R28 797R39 351R44 060
2020R83 411R72 283R139 919

So, to date we have collected over R190,000 of outstanding subscriptions and bad debts, and we are not finished yet. In terms of our constitution, we cannot write-off bad debts unless residents have left the Marina and become untraceable. The best we can do for residents that are struggling is to assist with a mutually acceptable payment plan. This plan must not allow the debt to increase as and when new annual subscriptions are levied.

Meet Dominique – our new Events person

The Marina da Gama Association Executive Committee (MDGA ExCom) is pleased to introduce our newest member, Dominique Erasmus, who now heads up our Events portfolio.

“I am an energetic, outdoors type of person, so the Cape Town lifestyle suits me to a tee,” says Dominique. Originally from Durban, she grew up in a military family which moved around the country as the job demanded. “As a result, I did most of my schooling up-country, in Pretoria and Settlers.”

After leaving school, Dominique carved out a career in the hospitality industry, specialising in giving her guests the best possible experiences and memories.

Her links with the Marina date back to 2002, when her mother, Rene, bought a house here. “I would move in with her from time to time, between hospitality jobs in different locations. When COVID hit, the industry took a real beating and I moved in with my mother permanently. I subsequently joined Seef as its Marina da Gama letting agent.”

Dominique’s creative energy and talents are already making her a great asset to the ExCom. She has recently announced plans for the inaugural Bridge Fair, a celebration of food, crafts and trade scheduled to take place in Uitsig Park before the MDGA’s Christmas Carol event on 19 December. Find out more here.

On a personal note, Dominique’s next plan is to find her own spot here on the water. For now, she continues to enjoy Marina life to the full. “I’m also a real animal lover. So, I particularly enjoy going for a run or taking the dogs for a walk around the islands to see what we can discover. The Marina really is Cape Town’s best-kept secret.”

Welcome to the team, Dominique!

Quarterly review from the MDGA chairman

As the first quarter of the year comes to a close, the heavy rains we experienced earlier this month are a reminder that another change of season is also upon us. It has been a busy and intense three months since my last message after 2021 more or less picked up where 2020 left off. Despite the challenges, however, we’re also seeing a number of positive developments – starting with improvements to the way we communicate with our members.


After consulting with residents and holding lengthy internal discussions, the Marina da Gama Association Executive Committee (MDGA ExCom) voted to replace our quarterly printed magazine, Marina da Gama News, with a blog linked to our website, Facebook page, and weekly email newsletter.

We are sensitive to the fact that many Marina residents enjoyed reading our magazine. In the digital age, however, it no longer performed effectively as our main channel of communication. Rather than receiving news and updates every three months, people now want to know about developments in the Marina on a weekly and daily basis, even hourly when security issues are involved.

Consequently, our quarterly magazine became a luxury we could no longer justify. Instead, we believe our funds are better spent on publishing a regular flow of timely, relevant, and informative content through our online channels – including our new blog.

We are equally sensitive to the fact that not everyone has access to email or the internet. So, if you are concerned that you or anyone you know may be deprived of important information, please let us know and we will do whatever we can to fill the communication gap.

Meanwhile, a huge thanks to our magazine designer, Kim Horne, whose skill, talent, and hard work over so many years ensured Marina da Gama News always looked like a quality publication.


Talking of communication, ExCom members have had their hands and inboxes full dealing with residents’ complaints about our broken down Kingfisher and rising levels of floating algae on our waterways. We hear you loud and clear! In response, we have been working intensively behind the scenes to try and get the old weed eater repaired and establish exactly when work will start on building its replacement. Our efforts have included extensive correspondence with the City of Cape Town and a face-to-face meeting with Aimee Kuhl, our Ward Councillor.

Once we have their answers to our persistent questions, we will share them with you immediately. At present, however, we have nothing to report except that we have nothing of substance to report. For now, we will continue to cover the cost of deploying teams to remove the algae by hand.

Finance & Controls

We are pleased to advise members that just 10 days after the end of the last financial year, we were in a positon to publish our unaudited financials along with a preliminary budget for the 2021-22 financial year.

Thanks to our improved controls, timely reporting and accurate budgeting, we are able to react speedily to members’ concerns while still producing a surplus that we hold in reserve to cover future outgoings. In addition, residents can now access and comment on monthly updates showing how we are spending their levies.

To protect the MDGA and our staff, we have taken steps to make our office in the Eastlake Shopping Centre cashless by introducing a credit card machine. This will also help to further strengthen our levy collection efforts. We are appealing to everyone who can afford to pay their R700 levy to pay it by the end of this month. If, however, you are not in a position to pay for any reason, such as the pandemic, please contact us and we will do whatever we can to assist. We will continue to pursue non-payers and charge all debt collection costs to their account.


Our Security portfolio holder reports a number of significant development in his regular round-up, which you can read in full here. Among other developments, we have held extensive meetings with security reps in each of our precincts tabulated their specific responses and requirements, and shared mutually beneficial information between them.

In addition, ExCom voted to change our LPR camera service provider from iTrack to Navic following the conclusion of our study into the Marina’s Licence License Plate Recognition (LPR) infrastructure. Deep Blue will continue to provide our armed response back-up while monitoring and maintaining our network of our cameras. We will also continue to focus on securing the Marina’s perimeter.


ExCom welcomed our new Standards portfolio holder, John Lubbe, to his first Ex EXCom meeting on 9 March. We are already feeling the benefits of his steadying influence and he has some great and inclusive ideas to share.

We continue to follow up on standards-related complaints and we are pleased to see that, despite the severe financial costs of the pandemic, an encouraging number of residents have been busy repairing, painting, and upgrading their properties. Good work!

As we reported earlier, we also finished painting the Prince George Drive wall in just over 10 days and well within the R200,000 budget we set in 2019. Again: good work!

Parks & Open Spaces

At the start of the new financial year, our Parks & Gardens portfolio launched a new working model comprising one active representative from each of the Marina’s three islands working with a team of six gardeners. To make our gardeners easy to recognise, we will shortly be issuing them with overalls carrying the MDGA logo. We are confident that the new model will produce successful results for our residents while benefiting our gardeners with stable employment and a regular wage.


Thanks to everyone who helped to make our first-ever quiz and dinner night at the Marina Pub & Bistro in Eastlake Shopping Centre such a success. A respectable total of 15 teams took part in the event. Through ticket sales and donations, we managed to raise R860 towards the South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind.

Jamie and her team will be hosting our next quiz night and dinner night on Monday 29 March, starting at 7.00pm. Save the date!

M3-M5 road link

We are currently seeing a growing number of young families moving into the area to share our wonderful environment. And regardless of age or circumstances, the ExCom is determined to preserve the Marina’s status as one of Cape Town’s safest and most beautiful residential suburbs for the benefit of everyone who lives here.

With this in mind, we have engaged with the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee to re-activate the stalled development of the M5-M3 road link. This will be a long process. But with time, effort and perseverance, it is achievable.

It will be the single biggest development in our area and will have massive – and positive – implications for property prices and security in the Marina and the surrounding neighbourhoods that are forced to deal with the early morning and evening traffic jams through Muizenberg. 

Thank you!

I am continually amazed and gratified by the long hours that my ExCom colleagues devote to making the Marina such a wonderful place for us all to live in. I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their hard work and dedication. Your reward is to live in a better place today than yesterday because of their efforts.

When is the next Marina Pub & Bistro quiz night?

Following the success of our first-ever quiz and dinner night at the Marina Pub & Bistro in Eastlake Shopping Centre, we’re pleased to announce that Jamie and her team will be hosting our next quiz and dinner night on Monday 29 March, starting at 7.00 pm.

A respectable total of 15 teams took part in our inaugural Marina da Gama quiz. Through ticket sales and donations, we managed to raise R860 towards the South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind.

Competition for the winning places was tough – but not as tough as quizmaster Andy Rumbelow’s questions. Just one example: “Which movie character always wore the same coat in every film?” – Lassie.

In the end, Marina da Gama resident Sue Custer’s team, The Usual Suspects, pipped Valerie Benson’s team, The Four Musketeers, to first place by just half a point. Their prizes were sponsored by Marina Pub & Bistro and local Marina da Gama business owners.

If you and your teammates are up for another quiz, then please contact the Marina Pub & Bistro on 061 283 3182 to book your place.

We’ll update you with more information about the prizes and menu options closer to the date. For now, be aware that masks and social distancing are – once again – non-negotiable.