Getting To Know Liezl Clause from the Disaster Volunteer Group

Getting To Know Liezl Clause

Part four of our series on getting to know essential members of our community

When did you move to St Francis Bay, and how did it happen?

My husband Jeff and I moved here in 2006 to open St Francis Links!  What a great decision!

Do you have a spouse? Pets? Tell us a little more.

I am happily married to Jeff for 25 years this year!  When our dog Putter died some years ago, we decided not to replace her. Still, we love our friends and family and keep great company throughout our Links community!

Where were you, and what were you doing before St Francis Bay?

I started working at Fancourt after I matriculated at age 17!  That’s also where I met Jeff, and we got married when I was 25.  I was significantly involved in golf and events in general when we eventually left Fancourt to open Simola in Knysna.  Sadly, Simola flooded and didn’t take off at the right time for us.  Remain challenged by raising beautiful residential communities, and because we were already consulting for another developer in Knysna, we were offered the opportunity to open Pezula with St Francis Links as our third project.

We are in the people business, supported by a team that becomes our family. The combination of hospitality and the management of a happy community only comes through experience. We are fortunate that Jeff and I both embrace the service industry … Of course, we also embrace quiet getaways with each other in secluded destinations!

What made you decide on St Francis Bay?

Whilst business brought us here, we have fallen deeply in love with this pocket of excellence (as our dear friend Buddy Hawton calls St Francis Bay!).  What a privilege to enjoy life here, with everything it offers.

What is the best thing about St Francis Bay?

There are too many to mention, but a highlight is the community spirit of helping each other with giving and thankful hearts!

The DVG is an essential organisation in SFB. We have not had a disaster for a few years—touch wood. What were the last two big disasters/incidents the DVG dealt with?

What was birthed as “Friends of St Francis Fire & Rescue” or FOSFFAR early in 2012 gained huge momentum when the canal fires destroyed 76 homes in November.  Donors needed an organisation they could trust, to safely donate funds to, with accountability and responsible management.  We were quickly identified as apolitical, with 100% of donations going to the cause.  With the donations received, our focus turned to strengthening the resources available to fight fires and any other disasters in our greater St Francis area.  We developed great relationships with St Francis Fire Services to focus on a satellite fire station with a skeleton standby crew, eventually becoming a fully equipped and permanently manned fire station.  In years to come, we changed our fire-focused approach to encompass any disaster our area might face and our name to the DVG.

We were instrumental in fighting the fires, arranging and even underwriting the aerial firefighting support during the devastating 9-day fire of 2016 (from Cape St Francis to beyond Mosterdshoek and Rebels Rus) and the subsequent fires in Harbour Road (2018) and Lyme Road North (2019).

And when the hard lockdown arrived, the DVG activated in a feeding scheme to support the local Sea Vista Community.  We aimed to raise R50 000, and within weeks, we raised R1,8 million instead, which we used to feed this community for weeks.  This was one of our largest undertakings and was supported by stakeholders such as SAPS, Kouga Local Municipality, Rotary, Spar, the NSRI, the St Francis United Church and Smhart Security.

Our volunteers remain on standby for disasters and respond as and when necessary. We are humbled by the giving nature of those who can. It is my privilege to lead the DVG, and we thank every volunteer!

Any final words on the DVG for the residents of St Francis Bay?

The best way that you can assist is to be vigilant, to train your children and domestic workers in basic fire fighting and first aid, who to call after first seeking safety and then to ensure that your own fire hose reel and hydrants are serviced and at the ready.  Fire blankets must be handy in the kitchen.  Any electrical work to your home, including installing inverters, should be carried out by reputable and certified installers. You should obtain a Certificate of Compliance, which you must lodge with your insurance.

Let’s always exercise patience and not start speculating without facts … wait for official communications in any disaster and ensure you, your children and all staff save the phone number to report any fires or emergencies:  Tel 042 291 0250.

Let’s work together for a safer St Francis community!

See also: Getting To Know Si Cunneen from The Kromme Enviro-Trust