CapeNature Says Goodbye To Dr Kas Hamman
After 42 years of dedicated service to biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape Province, CapeNature says goodbye to acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Kas Hamman who retires on 31 January 2014.
The 65-year-old started his career with the Cape Department of Nature Conservation – as it was known then in 1972 – as Professional Officer working on the Orange River as aquatic scientist. He then moved on to the department’s Scientific Services unit in 1975 as a Senior Professional Officer and remained in Jonkershoek until 1991 while completing his PhD on the impact of dams on the ecology of the Orange River.
Dr Hamman moved into management in 1991 as Deputy Director of Scientific Services and acted as Director of the Department of Nature Conservation from 1996 – a position which became permanent in 1998. As director, Dr Hamman was part of the team which oversaw the evolution of the Department of Nature Conservation into a parastatal or provincial entity and the establishment of the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board in 1999, as well as the formation of the CapeNature brand in late 2004.
After holding the role of Director of Biodiversity since 2000, Dr Hamman stepped in as acting CEO in May 2012 and has been serving in that position until his retirement.
A resident of Paarl in the Western Cape, Dr Hamman will long be remembered in the field of biodiversity conservation for his expertise on aquatic science, his immense contribution to the eradication of invasive alien fish species in the province, and his contribution to the creation of a Game Translocation and Utilisation policy for the province.
Dr Hamman also leaves the legacy of being a founding member of the Cape Freshwater Fish Forum, President of the Southern African Association of Aquatic Scientists between 1982 and 1984, as well as President of the Wildlife Management Association of South Africa between 1999 and 2001.
“It’s been an honour and a pleasure to do this work for 42 years. It has not always been easy, but the satisfaction and benefit of conservation made it all worthwhile. Working for biodiversity conservation is not a job, it’s a calling. We do it for the love and the passion and I urge all at CapeNature to keep that passion and realise how privileged you are as guardians of biodiversity in the Western Cape,” says Dr Hamman.
Dr Hamman leaves CapeNature and hands the leadership of the organisation over to the new CEO Dr Razeena Omar who officially takes over on 1 February 2014.
“I’m confident that CapeNature backed by a supportive Board is in competent hands now and with positive and constructive management, as well as working with the province, the organisation will continue to be one of the best provincial conservation authorities in the country and wider!” adds Dr Hamman.