SPCA’s Rademeyer there for animals and humans in need

Qonce's Annette Rademeyer has taken up the cause of animal welfare.
HER PASSION: Qonce's Annette Rademeyer has taken up the cause of animal welfare.
Image: SUPPLIED

The 55-year-old has served the Qonce SPCA for the past 25 years, training as an inspector and senior inspector, and serving as the Eastern Cape representative on the board of the NSPCA.

Rademeyer has also been a DA councillor since 1998, starting out as a ward councillor and later a PR councillor.

And despite busy, long days, Rademeyer never shies away from going above and beyond to help those in need — her passion for her town visible in all she does.

“I am passionate about [Qonce] and our community.  Here you are not just a number. The community care about each other and if someone needs help, people are very good at rallying to help — this is what makes the town unique,” Rademeyer said.

“When it comes to the SPCA, it is something that gets in your blood. Once you are hooked it is very difficult to turn your back on it. It is a thankless job for the most part, but every animal that is helped is one less to worry about, and it is rewarding to know that the circumstances have been improved for these animals.

“There are so many people who care about human causes but very few will take up the cause of animal welfare. There is so much animal suffering out there — on a huge scale — and we have to take a stand against it,” Rademeyer, whose work for the local SPCA is done on a voluntary basis, said.

From sorting out water leaks, ensuring potholes are filled, procuring donations for old age homes, hospitals and crèches, to finding homes for animals in need, rehabilitating animals, educating the public on responsible pet and animal ownership and fundraising, for Rademeyer no two days are the same and that’s just the way she likes it.

I love sorting out issues like water leaks and lights not working and potholes — the stuff that affects residents on a daily basis,” Rademeyer said.

“No two days are alike. I come to the office, may have a meeting — either council or caucus. I have people phoning and e-mailing me with queries which I then set about resolving. Some days I undertake oversight visits. 

“I may then do a drive through town and make a list of potholes and then send these to the department to get fixed. Then I may spend some time doing SPCA work — fundraising is a big part of what I do for the SPCA at the moment, because we are in a terrible financial position due to Covid-19.”

Rademeyer has also been involved in many community outreach activities as a former member of the KWT (Qonce) Rotary Club.

She said while her work was rewarding, there were also many daily challenges.

“The work as a councillor can be very challenging — especially at the moment with the horrific billing mess the town finds itself in. 

“There are so many billing queries and it takes forever to get a simple query resolved. This drives me insane because I like to tackle a problem and get a resolution now,” Rademeyer said. 

“[Qonce] has also been very neglected by Buffalo City Municipality, which is shocking when one considers that it is the capital of the Eastern Cape. It’s dirty, not well maintained; infrastructure is old and falling apart, and there is no development or job creation to speak of. 

“The town itself is extremely congested because it is a hub that serves all the surrounding towns and villages.  Not enough is being done to address this congestion and filth, and it is embarrassing when people come through our once beautiful little town.

I am passionate about [Qonce] and it makes me sad to see how far back we have gone, so I do my best to ensure that services are delivered in our town and surrounds.

“On a council level the biggest frustration are officials who don’t do what they should, and don’t respond to emails and queries. Also, a lack of service delivery is very frustrating — long grass, potholes and more.”

She said one of the SPCA’s greatest challenges was funding.

“Many people believe we are sponsored by government but we get absolutely no government funding — we have to raise every cent we need, so it is an ongoing headache. Our drug bill for example sits on R200,000 and we are struggling to pay it off.  

“Backyard breeders are also a huge challenge because they are responsible for so much cruelty and to try to get them to sterilise their animals is an ongoing issue.”

Rademeyer said her work was made worthwhile when she was able to help others, have matters resolved and improve the welfare of  animals.

“I am very fortunate to have had opportunities in my life which I have grabbed with both hands and I realise that I am in a privileged position. There are many people who are not in that position; people who have very little.

“We need to have compassion for the suffering of people and we need to do whatever we can to help those who need help. It doesn’t have to be anything on a big scale — just helping a neighbour who is struggling or a family in your neighbourhood makes a huge difference,” Rademeyer said.

She said some of the greatest rewards of her work at the SPCA were seeing their efforts yield positive results.

“It is very rewarding when we find homes for our animals or our sterilisation campaigns, which are positive and impact directly on the reduction of cruelty to animals, succeed.

“It is also very rewarding when you manage to rehabilitate an animal. When it comes in so broken — either physically or mentally and with good care and kindness that same animal is rehabilitated to trust again and to just be what it is — whether it’s a dog or a donkey or a chicken."

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