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Wednesday Nov 29, 2017

Property developers 'hijacked' Observatory AGM

Property developers have allegedly tried to capture the Observatory Civic Association, allegedly in a bid to fast-track deals.

This came to light as members of the association noticed voter irregularities at their recent annual general meeting (AGM) held on October 31, where the property developers allegedly got themselves elected as executive committee members.

Two of the outgoing members of the executive received lawyer's letters instructing them not to go ahead with a special AGM scheduled for last night, which was aimed at rectifying the irregularities.

Both letters, written by Lucinde Rhoodie of the law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr threatened the two individuals with interdicts should they go ahead with the meeting.

Following the letter, the former chairperson, Carolyn Neville, resigned from the committee and agreed to the demands of the lawyer's letter that she would not convene a special AGM.

The deputy chairperson of the outgoing committee, Tauriq Jenkins, then assumed the position of acting chairperson and notified the association's members of a special general meeting where the evidence relating to the disputed AGM would be discussed to try to find a way forward.

An independent chairperson was requested from the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance to lead last night's meeting.

"We left the meeting believing we had found a way forward to resolve a difficult situation facing the association," he said.

But less than 24 hours later Jenkins said he received a letter from lawyers threatening legal action should the meeting proceed.

"We feel this kind of behaviour (threats of legal action) is uncalled for," he said.

The convener of the Observatory Civic Association's Large Development Group, Leslie London, said neither the outgoing committee nor the newly elected incoming committee were consulted about the legal action.

A letter written on November 24 by London states that the AGM on October 31 was attended by the "influx of a large number of new members who signed up on the night (and) who were not known to the outgoing committee".

London told members that the irregularities included a lack of details on addresses and addresses that were located outside the Observatory Civic Association boundaries. Jenkins said one member gave an address of a vacant construction site, where a building had recently been demolished.

Jenkins said Theo Kruger, who was elected chairperson at the last AGM, did not live or work in Observatory.

Rhoodie said she was not in a position to comment on her client, Kruger.

In the letter Rhoodie sent to Jenkins, she said her clients denied the allegations that the meeting was unconstitutional, and its decisions declared null and void.

"All persons who attended and voted at the AGM were either existing members or individuals, who in their capacity or as representatives of business entities prior to the AGM, applied for membership, paid membership fees and were approved as members," read the letter.

Sandiso Phaliso
Cape Times

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