11th Jun, 2019

Pic: CAWF Patron Alderman JP Smith (centre) from the City of Cape Town, and member organisation representatives 2018

Written by Karen de Klerk – Chairperson, the Cape Animal Welfare Forum (CAWF)


The idea of a forum to join animal welfare organisations in discussion came about in 2006. Like-minded welfare groups, particularly those who operated mobile clinics, met informally to discuss the delivery of services within indigent communities. Initial discussions revolved around mobile clinic schedules, cases of cruelty, perpetrators of cruelty and ideas about how to develop the welfare strategies in Cape Town.

The modus operandi remained the same, but in January 2012 the City of Cape Town held an animal welfare summit in order to tackle some of the most pressing issues faced by NGOs. At this summit, Premier Helen Zille requested that a formal forum be constituted by members and that all negotiations would be directed between the City and the CAW Forum with one voice. This arrangement has worked well ever since.

Today, CAWF meetings are proactive and supportive. There are currently 32 member organisations, ranging from educational to inspectorate-based NGOs, all of whom share a common vision to help animals. Discussions cover a diverse variety of topics, including veterinary topics, resources for fundraising, best practice, as well as tackling regulatory issues such as the current redraft of the City of Cape Town Animal By-law.

CAW Forum members participate in the annual City of Cape Town Mass Animal Sterilisation Project (MASP), which aims to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals born within indigent areas. This project has been successfully active since 2013, sterilising over 9,000 animals.

The project is funded by City Health to the CoGH SPCA, and is co-managed by CAWF members, including the Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO), the Animal Welfare Society Phillipi, the Animal Anti Cruelty League, the PDSA and Envirovet, Vetsol and the Humane Education Trust, to name a few. The project sees approximately 1500 animals sterilised annually. These are animals which would not necessarily have been sterilised without City funding. CAWF members believe that compulsory sterilisation of domestic dogs and cats is first prize, and have requested this be included in the new CoCT Animal By-law.  

The CAW Forum has grown into a well-established and respected umbrella body that supports and strengthens the work being done in the animal welfare sector of Cape Town.  

The 2019 CAWF Executive consists of:

Chairperson: Karen de Klerk, ARO Animal Rescue Organisation (081 352 0927)

Vice Chairperson: Patrick Horrigan PDSA, People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals

              Secretary: Yvette Haysamer (073 150 1010), RRSA (Rescue Rehab SA)

              Legal Advisor: Tony Gerrans

For more information, contact us on 081 352 0927or 073 150 1010, or email