By Liesel le Roux
ONE of Oudtshoorn’s best known farmers and a member of the Jewish community, Mr Jack Klass, and his wife Rosalie, will in future have two homes, one in Oudtshoorn and one in Australia.
He sold the farm Van Wykskraal Estates last week to Mr Hannes Terblanche, a well-known farmer of Stolsvlakte outside Oudtshoorn.
Klass said in an e-mail on Monday that he is still involved in two farms in the Oudtshoorn district and will in future commute between Sydney in Australia and Oudtshoorn. His three children reside in Australia.
“One of the main reasons for selling the farm was the outbreak of Avian Influenza among ostriches and the difficulty in re-registering the farm. In the Oudtshoorn district – especially along the Olifants River – one cannot cover expenses without ostriches,” Klass said.
Klass, who was born in Oudtshoorn in 1935 and matriculated in 1952 at the old Boys High School, .joined the family business, Lazarus and Klass, in Oudtshoorn in 1958 after his studies at the University Of Cape Town. .
“We were feather dealers, speculators and produce merchants. In 1960 with the proclamation of the one channel marketing of ostriches and feathers, we diverted and started acquiring land.
“This farm, Van Wyskraal was originally 600 hectares, today it is about 2 400 hectares,” Klass said.
With the onset of Avian Influenza the farm was de-registered in April 2011.
“Almost two years later it is still to be registered. At one stage we were the biggest slaughterers of ostriches at the Klein Karoo Co-op.”
Over the years Klass was also president of the Oudtshoorn Hebrew Congregation for 18 years and chairman of the Oudtshoorn Rugby Club during its centenary year.
He served a number of years as representative of Ward 2 on the Kamanassie Irrigation Board.
“I have always enjoyed a good relationship with all the farmers in the district and I sincerely hope that the difficulties they have endured due to the Avian Influenza will come right and they will all prosper,” he said.