Hobday leaves big shoes to fill

2019-10-22 06:00
Jonathan Hobday

Jonathan Hobday

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The Rosebank and Mowbray Civic Association (RMCA) said a fond farewell to its long-standing member Jonathan Hobday at its monthly meeting held at the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District offices on Wednesday 9 October.

Hobday has served as RMCA’s chairman for the past 25 years.

The former newspaperman became intensely involved in community affairs after “retiring” as the editor of the Weekend Argus and deputy editor of the Cape Argus in 1997 to become a full-time writer and media consultant.

The ardent golfer and father of five says it was a great privilege to serve the communities of Rosebank and Mowbray.

“I learnt a lot. The opportunity to give something back gave me a sense of fulfil-ment. I wanted to make a difference, and I hope I have.”

He says it was his way of expressing his belief that society can only be sustained through active citizenry. “I didn’t just want to say it or believe it; I wanted to live it as well,” he says.

Hobday says his wife, Carol, was a solid support, spiritually and actively, in all their community work. “We worked as a team. Her sudden death in March was a big blow to me and a wake-up call, too,” he says.

He says his reason for stepping down as chairman from RMCA is just to lighten the load. Having recently celebrated his 80th birthday, he remains actively involved in the Mowbray community policing forum (CPF), his local neighbourhood watch, Friends of the Black and Vygieskraal River and the Durban Road Action group focused on revitalising the area between the historic horse fountain and the Liesbeek River.

Dave Sivertsen, who also just stepped down as vice-chair of RMCA, says under Hobday’s guidance the association successfully managed and completed numerous significant projects.

“There were some big projects through the years, for example, the Mowbray interchange. Jonathan had a great hand in getting all the parties (Golden Arrow, the City of Cape Town, and taxi associations) together,” says Sivertsen.

The Campground traffic circle located just off the Rondebosch Common was another huge undertaking.

“It took us nine years to get that traffic circle put in place. The project also entailed the establishment of the pedestrian and cycle track around Rondebosch Common. Today the Park Run takes place there every Saturday,” says Sivertsen.

He describes Hobday as a people’s person. “During the AGM meetings and at social events, he would always listen to everyone’s requests. He was always calm and fair and he wouldn’t make rash decisions. Everything was always done above board,” he says.

Sivertsen says what made RMCA so effective was the fact that all political and personal agendas were left at home.

“Under Jonathan’s leadership, politics never came into the discussion. We focused on being of service to the community and what they needed. We followed a straight and narrow line, going through the correct channels to get results,” he says.

Sivertsen, who is also still involved in the CPF and the Durban Road Action group, says the time came for a new generation to take over at RMCA.

“They have a whole new outlook and we are here to support them. Jonathan has a wealth of experience which the newly appointed RMCA members will be able to draw from,” he says.

Yves Ducommun, the owner of the Carmichael guesthouse, has been elected as the new RMCA chair.

Ducommun has been an active member of the body for the past four years. He says Hobday left big shoes to fill.

“We were quite fortunate to be enlightened by his wisdom. He knew so many people. If you needed something done, he knew exactly who to contact and which channels to go through,” says Ducommun.

He says it will be a challenge, but that he won’t be doing it alone.

“The RCMA has a strong team of valuable people all ready to pitch in,” he says.

Ducommun says their first aim will be to improve communication between the association and community members.

“We would like to foster greater community involvement. We want residents to get on board.”

  • Visit the Rosebank and Mowbray Civic Association’s website at www.rmcivic.org.za.

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