The South African Boerboel Breeders’ Society (SABBS) was registered in terms of the SA Animal Improvement Act, No. 62 of 1998 (AIA) on 18 April 2012, and became operational on 2 September 2014.
The founding (mother body) of organised representation of the Boerboel breed – a declared South African landrace – was the South African Boerboel Breeders Association (SABT/SABBA) in 1983. Since then, there have been a number of breakaway groupings. It is hoped that the founding of SABBS will serve as conduit to unite the Boerboel community worldwide under protection of the AIA.
1983: The SABT/SABBA is established in the Senekal district of the Free State (SA) under chairmanship of Johan de Jager. Prior to the founding, a number of people – who believed in ennobling the Boerboel as a unique South African dog breed – toured the country to identify founding stock. The founding members set a Boerboel Breed Standard – specifically excluding piebalds (Afrikaans: Swartbondhond), and black dogs. This does not imply that such dogs did not exist at that time.
1998: The Historical Boerboel Breeders Association (HBSA) is founded in 1998 when two founding members break away, due to differences of opinion with the then serving SABT/SABBA Board. Apparently, the HBSA requested the declaration of the Boerboel as a landrace. This Association becomes dormant in 2007.
2001: EBBASA (Elite Boerboel Breeders Association) is established after the preferred chairman of certain members is not elected. From 2 September 2014, this organisation may no longer register Boerboels, following a court ruling that only SABBS (South African Boerboel Breeders’ Society) may officially register Boerboels in South Africa in terms of the AIA.
2004: The leadership of the SABT/SABBA, HBSA and EBBASA meet on 23 October 2004, and issue a statement of intent to work towards unification. The only reference to the AIA is “The fact that the Boerboel had been declared a Land Race under the Act for the Improvement of Animals has far reaching consequences. It puts pressure on the societies to act in a responsible manner with regard to administration and breed improvement to save the Boerboel as a South African developed breed”. No further action follows to register Boerboels under protection of the AIA.
2008: BI (Boerboel International) is formed, following a breakaway of some SABT/SABBA Board members. This grouping is now domiciled abroad, and the number of members is not publicised. From 2 September 2014, it may also not register Boerboels bred and exported from South Africa.
2011-2012: The Boerboel Breed Council (no official status) is convened by KUSA (multiple dog breed organisation) after an apparent request by the Registrar of Animal Improvement to seek unification of Boerboel representation under protection of the AIA. This objective is never mentioned to SABT/SABBA representatives, and the Association withdraws from further participation after receiving a reply that – among others – the following conditions for continued SABT/SABBA participation are not acceptable: appointment of an independent chairperson; defining and reconsidering the consultation process; pro rata representation based on member numbers; and declaring decisions taken in the absence of SABT/SABBA representatives null and void.
12 Feb 2012: The SABT/SABBA Annual General Meeting requests the Board to investigate the Association’s legal status. It is confirmed that the SABT/SABBA is not contravening the Companies Act, or as a non-profit organisation, but registration in terms of the AIA is recommended.
10 April 2012: The Registrar of Animal Improvement registers an application to register the South African Boerboel Breeders’ Society (SABBS) under the protection of the AIA on application of 11 SABT/SABBA members (the Act requires 7 applicants only)
4 May 2012: The Registrar of Animal Improvement advises that SABBS’ registration has been suspended, based on a complaint received on 26 April from EBBASA, BI and KUSA, and that he wishes to convene a meeting during the 2nd week of June to “amicably resolve the matter.” He adds that “the role of my office is not to upset farmers but to support and encourage them to freely breed their breeds of choice under the Act.”
12 May 2012: The SABT/ SABBA Special General Meeting is informed of the formation, objectives, and unexpected suspension of SABBS. Members present agree unanimously to co-operate in every possible way for the lifting of SABBS’ suspension; that the SABT/SABBA will dissolve; that members will migrate to SABBS under protection of the AIA; and that SABBS’ membership will be open to all eligible for membership.
23 August 2012: SABBS informs the Registrar that the “consultation” process has not been successful, and that if his unlawful suspension of SABBS’ registration is not lifted the only other option would be to proceed with legal action.
2 September 2014: The High Court of South Africa rules that SABBS’ suspension is unlawful; that the Registrar of Animal Improvement must publish SABBS’ registration in the Government Gazette; and that he is responsible for the legal costs of the action.
2 September 2014: SABBS’ Steering Committee statement: “We are relieved, and pleased by the ruling in the High Court that the Registrar of Animal Improvement must lift the suspension of the registration of the SA Boerboel Breeders Society (SABBS) in terms of the Animal Improvement Act (AIA).
This means that after two years’ delay – caused by the unsubstantiated objection to SABBS’ registration by the Elite Boerboel Breed Society (EBBASA), Boerboel International (BI) and the Kennel Union of Southern Africa (KUSA) – all members of the Boerboel community may now move forward, and legally register their Boerboels. This is an immense step forward in promoting the public image of the Boerboel – a declared South African landrace. This means that only dogs registered via SABBS – as the only legally recognised and representative Boerboel society – may be called and sold as Boerboels. There will be no further confusion as all Boerboels will be registered according to a single Breed Standard by SABBS with SA Stud Book.
Certain processes must now be followed before SABBS will become fully operational. In terms of the original Constitution accepted by the founding members, a first Annual General Meeting must be held (60 days’ notice is required). Thereafter, a second AGM (a further 60 days’ notice) or Special General Meeting (SGM – 30 days’ notice) must be convened. During the second notice period the revised Constitution will be made available for comment to all Boerboel breeders and owners. This Constitution must be approved at the second general meeting, on which occasion a representative board must be elected. In terms of the AIA, membership of SABBS will be open to all persons who wish to join”.
6 November 2014: SABBS publishes draft revisions of the SABBS Constitution, Bylaws and Breed Standard for comment by all members and interested parties before 4 December 2014.
5 December 2014: The SABT/SABBA officially dissolves at a general meeting where all members eligible to ratify (by voting in person, or electronically in absentia) vote for the official dissolution of the Association, and the transfer of surplus funds on dissolution to SABBS (agreed to at the Special General meeting on 15 November 2013).
6 December 2014: A special annual general meeting of SABBS members entitled to vote in terms of the original (and applicable) Constitution, accept that all members anywhere in the world should be eligible to vote (in person, or electronically in absentia) at general meetings; that the Board structure should be regionally-based; and that the Breed Standard should be included in the main body of the Constitution. The meeting also requests the Interim Steering Committee to submit a 2nd draft revision of the Constitution, Bylaws and Breed Standard to members with a further 14 day review period, before presenting it to members for voting at a 2nd general meeting.
23 March 2015: Publication of the 2nd revision of the SABBS Constitution, Bylaws and Breed Standard to members for comment not later than 7 April 2015.
June/July 2015: SABBS Special General Meeting scheduled with the objective of final approval of the Constitution, Bylaws, Breed Standard and election of the first SABBS Board.