Questions as to validity of the DA AGM

COMMITTED TO IMPROVING WARD 10: The DA’s Ward 10 branch held its AGM at the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club on Monday evening, and appointed as committee members were, from left, deputy chair Charles Kantor, alternate congress delegate Nola Johannsen, delegate to congress Ward 10 councillor Ray Schenk, additional member Louise Swanepoel, chair and delegate to constituency meetings and congress Thembalethu Tele, secretary and delegate to constituency meetings Heather Leicher, and additional member Rod Allin Picture: ROB KNOWLES

THE Ward 10 branch of the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition in Ndlambe Municipality, held its annual general meeting (AGM) at the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club on Monday evening, with around 30 members and the press present.

Schenk began the meeting by explaining that he had received a format for the AGM from the DA and would be sticking with that. He therefore invited DA PR councillor for Ward 6 and 7, Khanyisa Daweti, to act as presiding officer while he relinquished his position and awaited the election of officers to take place.

Unlike at previous meetings, the minutes of the previous AGM were not read and therefore were not put to the vote for adoption. Schenk did not give a detailed recap of the previous year as was customary but rather moved all questions to the end of the meeting once the branch posts were established. Officers for the year were elected to various positions in the branch and, for the most part, just reshuffled into new positions.

The branch chairman (who cannot be an active ward councillor) is Thembalethu Tele and the deputy chairman is the previous chairman, Charles Kantor. Heather Leicher was elected as secretary. Additional members to the branch committee were Nola Johannsen, Rod Allin and Alderman Louise Swanepoel.

The delegates to attend constituency meetings were Tele, Kantor and Leicher. Delegates to go to the DA Congress were Schenk and Tele, with Johannsen elected as an alternate.

There was no DA Youth voted into office at the meeting, and Swanepoel said that this was worrying as there was no handing over to a new generation. Posts in the DA Woman’s Network (Dawn) were likewise left vacant.

During the question and answer session that followed it came to light that members were unhappy with the manner the meeting had been conducted and previous minutes not having been read said that the AGM was not properly constituted.

Long-serving DA member, John Hughes, said it was unacceptable that members and the press were not allowed to ask questions during the meeting.

“You always stop people from speaking,” Hughes told Schenk. “It is unacceptable to not allow people to ask questions.” Some heated discussion followed and Rob Crothall said the way the meeting had been reformatted probably made the AGM invalid.

Hughes also said he had attended congress meetings with his partner, Swanepoel, in the past and had always paid his own way, suggesting that others do the same.

“Some people have arrived at the venue never to be seen again. It just a free holiday for some,” Hughes continued.

However, in this case Swanepoel disagreed with him and said that such a move would mean that the poorer members of the community would be unable to attend meetings and thereby gain experience.

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