Botanical Society of South Africa - Kirstenbosch Branch
Know, grow and protect South Africa's indigenous flora

presented by Margaret Kahle
Saturday 6 July 2019
Kirstenbosch Old Mutual Hall

At our AGM last year, I was unable to present the year-end Financial Statements due to the very challenging circumstances that the Branch was labouring under at the time. Amongst others, these were:

  • Lack of access to financial records etc.
  • Lack of staff – from 1 August 2017, the Branch had no staff at all.

Happily, these difficulties have been resolved and together with the very good relationship which we now enjoy with our national Head Office, I have been able to finalise both the 2018 and 2019 Annual Financial Statements. These I shall now present to you in tandem.

At the outset, I wish to thank Annelie Lucas, the BotSoc auditor, who assisted me greatly in the compilation of these Statements and in achieving the delight of seeing all balancing. I should also like to thank Crystal Beukes, the National Finance Manager at Head Office for her friendly co-operation. Ms Lucas, the auditor, has scrutinised all the Branch’s accounts, all of which will form part of her consolidated audit of the entire Botanical Society’s finances.

The 2018 Annual Financial Statements were presented to the Branch Committee on 29 November 2018 and the 2019 Statements on 12 June 2019 for their perusal. On both occasions, based on the information supplied by myself, the Treasurer, and which had been overseen by the auditor, the Committee was of the opinion that the system of internal control provided reasonable assurance that the financial record could be relied upon. In light of this and the current financial position, the Committee was satisfied that the Branch has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future. On both occasions the Annual Financial Statements were approved by the Committee.

You may view the two separate statements on our website or request them by email or pop into our office for hard copies. In the interests of conservation and sustainability, we have not printed them for hand out.

For completeness I have included a column with the 2017 figures which was when the Branch still managed the Bookshops.

Looking at our Assets:

  • We have Fixed Investments of R1,564,463 which grew by an average of just over 7% through the capitalisation of Interest.
  • Current Assets however fell by some R500,000. This is attributable to the fact that during this time, other than the very small percentage of our members’ subscriptions which we receive from Head office, we had no other income. But simultaneously were faced with considerable costs relating not only to the running of the Branch but to the unhappy battle with BotSoc’s Central authority.
  • You will note, in the 2018 AFS, HO is recorded as a sizeable Debtor.
  • This relates to when the Bookshops were taken over by Head Office, the Branch was not compensated for the Stock. I am pleased to report that within this last financial year, sometime after the August SGM, this was resolved.
  • The debt also includes 15 months of membership levies (i.e. the component of membership fees that gets transferred to the Branch) which were outstanding.
  • On the other side of the coin however, you will see in Liabilities the Branch owed a significant figure to HO. This relates to Stock that was purchased and delivered prior to the Bookshop takeover, but which the Branch had not yet paid for, and other bills which HO settled for the Branch during the 6 months while the Branch had no access to its own bank account.
  • The amount of some R120,000 in the 2019 year relates to the membership levies for the first quarter of 2019 which were still owing on 31 March, and were paid in April 2019 and thus falling into the next financial year; VAT for which we are to be reimbursed. Being a not-for-profit organisation we do not pay VAT on purchases relating to the running of the Society.
  • And for completeness, the liability of R84,823 in the 2019 column relates to sundry bills incurred in March but which were paid in April thus falling into the next financial year.

In the two years under review, the Branch has not had the opportunity to create any income as the management of the Bookshops was taken away on 31 March 2017. And over and above the loss of this possibility to generate income, the Plant Fair too had to be cancelled as a result of “restructuring”. Thus the only income the Branch enjoyed was from interest on investments:

  • In 2018 of R138,308
  • In 2019 of R149,708

And subscription levies

  • In 2018 of R333,645
  • In 2019 of R307,506 a decline of R26,139 which sadly reflects the many members who did not renew their memberships largely due to the troubles experienced in the Society.

Total Income for 2018 equalled: R494,634 [Note: in 2017 it was well over R2million].

Total Income for 2019 equalled: R501,435.

Due to the very difficult and uncertain circumstances the Branch was labouring under, no disbursements on any projects or support of the Garden or other branches were made during the two years under review, unlike in 2017 when we supported the construction of the Cremnophyte wall in Kirstenbosch to the value of R500,000.

The most notable expense in the 2018 financials was the cost incurred due to the cancellation of the Plant Fair: R100,039. In the 2019 report, salaries were the greatest expenditure. The Branch was delighted to once again have a manager (it had been without staff for 15 months). Catherine Gribble was appointed in November 2018 as Branch manager and in January 2019 Gianpaolo Gilardi was taken on as her assistant.

Total expenditure for 2018 was: R396,257
Total expenditure for 2019 was: R286,034

This then left a Surplus for the year 2018 of R98,378 and the year 2019 of R215,400.That concludes my report for these two years.

However, I do know that you all have anxiously been wondering how our rejuvenated Plant Fair did. I am delighted to report that despite the very short time in which we and growers had to prepare, we made a clean profit of a little over R110,000.