MAY I INTRODUCE… Rudi Perold, Chairman of the Betty’s Bay Ratepayers’ Association
The overriding feeling that I was left with after a long chat to Rudi Perold was that the concerns of the Betty’s Bay home-owners couldn’t be in better hands. What struck me most was his comprehensive grasp of the challenges we face in Betty’s Bay, as well as his perceptive and logical response to them. His obvious intelligence and competence, coupled with the energy levels of a man half his age, an unshakeable morality [based on a profound Christian faith] and a strong sense of community, make him a man in whom we can confidently put our trust to represent us in the issues affecting Betty’s Bay.
One only has to reflect on Rudi’s fairly humble beginnings and his subsequent meteoric career path to understand the calibre of the man. His father’s family were farmers in the Porterville district and had links to the Huguenots. [The surname Perold evolved from the French name, Perot.] Born in 1948, Rudi spent the first years of his life in Maitland. In the lean, post-war years, work and study opportunities were few and Rudi’s father, like so many other young Afrikaners, had joined the South African Railways and Harbours, where he could work his way up through the ranks. Later, the family moved to the Northern Suburbs and Rudi matriculated at Hoërskool J. J. du Preez in Parow.
From early on, Rudi’s commitment to hard work was evident. While studying Environmental Health part-time at the Cape Technical College, he worked as a Trainee Health Inspector for the Cape Divisional Council under Dr Frank Mitchell, Medical Officer of Health in the Cape Province. As a deacon in the Dutch Reformed Church since the age of seventeen, he also spent a lot of time working with the elderly and, in addition, he was an active member of the Police Reservists.
Rudi then spent ten years in Stellenbosch working in the environmental office of the Stellenbosch Municipality. It was during these years that his children were born, two sons and a daughter. He acquired a further qualification while in Stellenbosch – a diploma in Occupational Health and Safety. Now, as an industrial hygienist, he decided on a career change and joined the South African Defence Force, where he was first stationed in Simonstown and later in Pretoria, where he was in charge of Environmental Health in the then Northern Transvaal.
It is a little-known fact that in addition to the conventional three arms of the Armed Services, a fourth was established during that time – the South African Medical Service – and this was where Rudi served until his retirement. When on Border Duty, Rudi served as a Medical Commander in the Eastern Transvaal and when back at his desk his role was to establish the Eastern Transvaal as a Medical Command Area.
During the last years of Apartheid and through the transition years, Rudi worked his way steadily through the ranks, retiring as a Full Colonel nine years ago. He went on to live in and manage the Shandon Estate, outside Nelspruit, for a period of four years, at which time he decided to retire properly – to Betty’s Bay, where he had holidayed and owned property since 1982.
Fortunately for the Betty’s Bay property owners, Rudi Perold is not a man who can live an idle life. He took on the chairmanship of the Rate Payers’ Association at the beginning of this year and works tirelessly to address the issues and problems that our community faces.
But it is certainly not a case of “all work and no play” with Rudi. As a descendent of Dr. Abraham Iszak Perold, he has a genetic appreciation of good wine. [The first professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University, Dr Perold is best known for developing the Pinotage grape variety in 1925 through crossing Pinot noir and Cinsault.] Rudi enjoys nothing better than sharing a bottle of wine with friends. In fact, what he laments most about living in Betty’s Bay is the lack of a sense of community among the permanent residents. Not only would an improvement in community spirit lead to a richer social life, it would also result in a more coordinated response to the problems facing Betty’s Bay, the crime situation here being a case in point.