MCSA - disscussion

General climbing discussions. Climbing, Bouldering, Mountaineering. Anything!!
**Keep the arguments to the suject, not the members!
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Post by Marshall » Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:32 am

\"The club has a shroud of embarrassing racial issues where they unfairly acquired land during the aphartheid era on the basis that they have an \"All White Policy\", thus alienating the masses from the sport.\"

I joined MCSA in 2001 & had zero to do with embarrassing racial issues or aphartheid era policies. Does this shroud cover me as well?

Get real. The masses(B&W) are intrested in watching sport(rugby, cricket & soccer) on TV, with a beer; & are just not interested in climbing or MCSA, probrably have not even heard of MCSA. Think bigger picture. Your world is not everyones.

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Post by Marshall » Sun Nov 18, 2007 3:41 pm

\"Any idea how many members you'd get if you did away with the current membership procedure?\"...its not about numbers or money

Any idea how many how much & how quickly sensitive access could be lost if membership was as simple as \"signing a form, paying the fee and getting the Noddy badge\"(& access to sensitive areas).

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Post by willemeulen » Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:44 pm

It's not about money and numbers?
In this world almost everything is about money and numbers.
If you have a big amount of people who are member and you'r worried about the so called sensitive area's regarding access just make a permit part of the access agian so you can controle the amount of people climbing in an area. Most people won't even put in the effort and go climbing in other area's.
Climbing Off route doesn't exist; it's called a first ascent!

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Post by BAbycoat » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:10 pm

It's not (only) about the volume of people in sensitive areas - as you point out, permits can solve that. It's about one tosser pissing off the landowner and wrecking access for the rest of the members. The joining process is, in part, meant to filter out those tossers.

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Post by stephan » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:29 pm

I agree that it's not about the money & numbers, otherwise the MCSA would've changed its joining process a long time ago.

However, the only reason I'm not a member is because of the joining process. I attended a club evening a while ago and got told that I have to attend three club meets before they decide \"if the guys like you (me) or not\". I couldnt believe my ears!

Like MANY other non-members out there I have been hiking & climbing for a number of years now, and I showed a keen interest in joining the MCSA by attending a club evening. For my money this should be good enough to join...

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Post by 8a_climber » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:00 pm

I attended a club evening a while ago and got told that I have to attend three club meets before they decide \"if the guys like you (me) or not\".
I'm sorry to hear this Stephan. Unfortunately, while the MCSA claims to have changed since 1995, their policy of discrimination is still happening. What you have said above is typically why there are so many non-members.
Now I expect a 'member' to jump in and attack these comments, but the fact still remains that many people are not joining.
Marshall said:
Get real. The masses(B&W) are interested in watching sport(rugby, cricket & soccer) on TV, with a beer; & are just not interested in climbing or MCSA, probrably have not even heard of MCSA. Think bigger picture. Your world is not everyones.
Thanks Marshall. I WAS getting real. It's a pity that your opinion is not the only one. Unfortunately the club does not discriminate against people who cannot spell. If they did, you'd \"probrably\" not get in.
I joined MCSA in 2001 & had zero to do with embarrassing racial issues or aphartheid era policies. Does this shroud cover me as well?
Consider for a moment that tomorrow the AWB were to change its policies, issue a public apology make like they were there for everyone, when still, they continued to filter out those tossers and see if the guys like you or not. Would you join them? The MCSA DID discriminate against fellow South Africans, they DID acquire land very easily because of this, and they DID issue a rather insincere apology at the very same time that the present government was reviewing land ownership policies.


Marshall, perhaps you were brainwashed by the SADF when you did your service? Did you even know who you were serving back then?

I say that anyone should be allowed to join this club, for a fee. If such areas are so sacred that they need to be protected from the 'tossers' then you can have a permit system [non-profit], where members can get a ticket to go somewhere. This serves another purpose in that the data can be used to control the amount of people entering such protected areas, as well as for rescue/prevention of accidents purposes.
\"What one leads on-sight, in good, strong style, safely, is what one's ability is.\" - Pat Ament.

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Post by twiga » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:58 pm

The membership requirements (for Magaliesberg atleast) is the reason why I will never join the MCSA.

Most people simply don't have the time to go through this joining process, and I would rather spend time at the crags or in the gym, than convincing people I am the cat's whiskers to get them to second my application.

I complained about this last year

See DeanVDM's response.

Last edited by twiga on Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Marshall » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:50 pm

My spelling? is this a spelling bee?

\"anyone should be allowed to join this club, for a fee.\" this would be an ecomonic discrimination. What about the folkes who dont have the fee?

8A - Your municipality discriminated pre-1990, but you hopfully pay your rates. Mercedes supplied the drive trains for buffels & casspirs, but we still buy Mercedes. Many German companies produced war materials & used slave labour, but we still support their brands. When do we cut the MCSA slack?

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Post by Mark » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:45 pm

At first glance my opinion was let anyone join, this will mean that via peer pressure (as is the case in most clubs) we will ensure everybody respects the environment etc

HOWEVER - most clubs only have group events so peer pressure is possible, unfortunately as I understand it, once you are a member of MCSA (and I'm not) you no longer \"need\" the club as you can gain access with your MCSA card - this puts you in a position where you carry the flag of the club and in the process probably / potentially do the club and access damage if you dont behave properly. So based on this (the fact that they cant regulate you) it makes sense to be careful about who you accept.

So in principal I think it makes sense, but I dont know how ridiculous / practical or applicable the acceptance procedure is.

Here is an off the cuff suggestion, create two tiers of members

1) Those who can join freely and be part of group / club days
2) Those who have \"special / full access cards\" which allow them sole / private access to land (ie the club is satisfied that they are not a major risk)
3) Possibly even require the special card holders to report to the landowners and hand in their cards which will be returned to them at the end of the day should all be in order

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Post by Gonzo » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:00 am

I don't understand all the preconceived ideas and expectations that people (especially non-members) have of the club. The way I see it the ONLY thing the club is, is a group of like minded people coming together to do what they enjoy doing.

As a collective the club has managed to acquire some land and secure access with land owners to some pristine areas on private land. Most of the members of the club that I have met are very eco friendly and enjoy the outdoor experience just as much as they enjoy the climbing itself.
It therefore stands to good reason that some “screening” process is preformed to ensure that the club is suitable for you and you are suitable for the club.

I think many of the club members would object to a new member who has a blatant disrespect for nature or for rules and regulations that can lose our hard earned access. Barring that, I have never heard of anyone being rejected.

The joining purpose has been made easier! in the past overnight outings where compulsory, the club recognized that this is not ideal for all. As far as I know at present a member must simply join ANY 4 meets to be accepted. I think a candidate who thinks this is a problem is probably not suited to the club. Why would you like to even join the club if you don’t want to participate in a few great outdoor activities, meet new people and be introduced to our amazing kloofs?

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Post by Chrissiej » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:11 am

Hi guys

I’m currently a member of the Cape Town sections’ general committee and I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the comments that have been made. Of course I can only respond with respect to what we are doing in Cape Town. Each section runs slightly differently so I’m not sure how much of what I’ll mention pertains to JHB and PTA for example.

Thank you for all the positive comments, its good to know that some of what we do and provide is appreciated.

Yes there are bad perceptions that stick. The Club went through a very bad phase during apartheid (as did SA Rugby, SA Cricket, etc) and we are working very hard to try to change those perceptions. But perceptions are difficult to shift especially when we don’t appear to be transforming like the rest of sport in South Africa.

This is an issue, we would like to have a more representative club but it is not easy. We have had very few people of colour, compared to the numbers of white people, who are interested in joining the MCSA. The stigma around the previous actions of the club is a deterrent. We encourage all people to join. We have actively tried to make our process easier (I will touch on this again later) and where we have been approached by individuals who cannot afford the membership fee, we have subsidised their fee in an attempt to ensure that they can be included. This has not worked however as there have been other variables that has kept many of these members away (e.g. difficulties in getting transport from the townships to many of the meets).

We also run various outreach projects where we take more than 100 kids every month from underprivileged backgrounds into the mountains. They love it and have such fun. Hopefully these kids will become mountain fundis and continue to enjoy the mountains (whether it is with us as a member or just generally).

Joining Procedures:
Again I can only comment on the CT section. We have drastically simplified our membership process to make it more accessible to all. All you have to do is fill out an application, pay the once off joining fee (which pays for the various admin costs like membership cards, prospective members social, etc) and then you can join in all the club activities. Your name will need to reflect in the quarterly newsletter (and you need to pay the annual fee by this stage) before you receive your membership card so this takes a little bit longer but we do reserve the right to have a bit of time to just check you out in case you’re an axe murderer or arsonist! For all intents and purposes, once you’ve paid your membership fee you’re a member and can come along on all meets.

Old Fuddy Duddy Club where things take a really long time to happen:
Well, yes there is this perception and there are a lot of older members who have spent many years in the club and also have contributed to the club in their time. However there is a growing younger crowd and we’re the one’s who are going to take the club into the future. We just need to grab this opportunity.

Half of our committee is under 40 years old.

Decisions do take a long time and I get as frustrated as anyone else about this but one has to understand that we are volunteers and we only meet once a month. Many of us are on subcommittees too so that requires other meetings. Things do get done, but yes it is a slow process.

This club is in a predicament in this regard: we are too big to be a volunteer organisation, but too small to be run as a business (and then we’d have to charge much higher fees to be able to support the full time staff needed). So we are rather stuck at the moment.

Sponsored Trips:
I’m not sure where the perception that only a few benefit from sponsored trips comes from. It’s easy to get sponsorship as a member. Of course there is only so much money available so it helps if what you want to do is something different, a bit challenging or out of the ordinary.

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Post by Chrissiej » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:21 am


You need to put together a proposal of what you want to do with as much detail as possible and motivate why you need funding (to do a new route, go to a remote area, difficulty, something different, etc). Then send it to the relevant person on the committee and it will be assessed. From my experience the Club wants its members to go on trips and will help with funding, gear, advice, etc wherever it can.

You won’t get your trip paid for, but you are most likely to get some assistance towards the cost of a plane ticket or gear.

Hiker Bias in CT Section:
Yes there is a strong hiker bias. This is mainly because there are a lot more members who are hikers and there are also a very large proportion of older members who go on the mid-week hikes. Climbing is catered for but in the last year or so it hasn’t been well attended.

We are trying to make a plan here. Martin Lompa is the climbing convenor and he is actively trying to get feedback from the club members on what they would like in terms of climbing trips. Email him. Tell him what you as the climbing community want for your weekend trips. Volunteer to lead a meet. We are here to represent the needs of our members but if the members don’t communicate what they want then it’s hard to be able to put together a good programme that people will attend.

I’m not sure how other sections do it but we have three ways in which we try to keep in regular contact with our members. There should be no excuse for not getting information about what is happening in the club. Join CapeRockNews or capmail, as a member you should also be receiving the quarterly newsletter.

The Unsung Stuff:
There’s a lot that the Club does that goes un-noticed to the majority of members. Much has been said on this forum about the search and rescue guys – they are brilliant. Such a great resource and always there for those that need them regardless how hard it is or what weather they have to face to fetch our sorry asses off the mountains.

But there are others that are doing a lot for the Club, the community at large and the environment in general. As I mentioned earlier, we have a very active Outreach programme that takes kids (some of them juvenile criminals) into the mountains as an alternative to life on the street. The Plant Conservation committee goes on regular hacking and conservation meets that strip pines and hackea from our (and other people’s) land, amongst other conservation projects. The CT Section is currently involved in at least two research initiatives in conjunction with the University of Cape Town (there are probably more, I can only think of two): One of which is a study looking at how we can conserve the Fiery Redfin (an endangered fish) in the Breekkrants.

I could go on but I feel that I’ve responded to some of the important stuff. As a Club we don’t overtly advertise what we do, our land, etc. We do know that we need to become more visible and we are working on it, but yes it takes time to change a club of this size with such entrenched perceptions.

Next April is the Annual AGM. We are always looking for new people to sit on our committee and help us manage this wonderful resource. Those of you who want change to happen quicker – I invite you to join us and help us change.

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Post by stephan » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:35 am

Gonzo, it is my personal belief that people with \"a blatant disrespect for nature or for rules and regulations\" will not even bother joining the MCSA in the first place...

People who are keen to join the MCSA actually do respect the environment and any rules & regs that go along with that.

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Post by Drifter » Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:37 am

I had no problem joining the mountain club and I am just an ordinary guy on the street. I filled in the forms paid my membership waited for a while and got a letter that I was member. This is with the cape town mountain club.

I don't believe that the South African mountain club as a whole is racist. There could be some racist in the mountain club, but there could be some racists in your office as well. I know the Cape Town section of the mountain club takes poor children from townships ever month up the mountain. Some members of the Cape Town Section did not want the annual fees to go up as they didn't want people to be discouraged from joining the mountain club. I believe as well that the fees shouldn't of gone up, rather cut costs as someone mentioned.

I found their training days out to be good.

'racism is not only a white mans disease' and racism wasn't invented in South Africa.

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