Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

To chair or not to chair: The role of the chairperson

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By Zerlinda van der Merwe

In the article, “Trustees – from nomination to termination”, published in Paddocks Press (Volume 10, Issue 10), we saw that the role of a trustee is not an easy one, and that the Sectional Titles Act prescribes functions, powers and duties, which the trustees are obliged to comply with. Some of these functions, powers and duties fall within the sole responsibility of the chairperson.

The number of trustees are determined by the members of the body corporate at every annual general meeting, provided that there are at least two (2) trustees elected. Unfortunately this minimum requirement is sometimes next to impossible to comply with, as many schemes are faced with the difficult task of encouraging participation in the management of the scheme, by its members.

When the body corporate is initially established, all registered owners are automatically trustees, who hold office until the first (inaugural) general meeting. The chairperson is the developer of the scheme, who will similarly hold office until the inaugural general meeting.

Each subsequent chairperson is then elected by their fellow trustees, following the nomination and election process of the trustees, by the members at each annual general meeting, who will hold office until the next annual general meeting.

A chairperson may be removed from holding office as chairperson by the majority of trustees, at a trustee meeting, or by ordinary resolution of the members of the body corporate, taken at a special general meeting. However, note that this does not automatically remove them from being a trustee.

Should a chairperson vacate the chair during the course of a trustee meeting, or is not present at a trustee meeting, or is unable to preside at a trustee meeting, the trustees present may choose another chairperson for that meeting, who will then have the same voting rights as the chairperson.

At trustee meetings, the chairperson has a casting vote, as well as a deliberative vote, in the passing of trustee resolutions, except in the situation where there are only two (2) trustees elected. Note that a casting vote is an extra vote given by a chairperson to decide an issue when the votes on each side are equal, whereas a deliberative vote is the normal vote of a trustee.

The process at a general meeting is slightly different to that at a trustee meeting, in that a chairperson must preside as chairperson at every general meeting, unless otherwise resolved by the members at the meeting. If there is no chairperson, or the chairperson is not present within fifteen (15) minutes after the meeting is scheduled to commence, or if the chairperson is unwilling or unable to act as chairperson, the members present at the meeting shall elect a chairperson for the duration of the meeting.

The chairperson must receive completed proxy forms at a general meeting, up until the commencement of the meeting, should they not have been submitted prior to the meeting. The chairperson must further declare the result of a vote taken by a show of hands of the members, determine the manner in which a vote by poll may be taken, and is entitled to change the manner of voting to one by poll and not by a show of hands.

The trustees must arrange for the preparation of a report reviewing the affairs of the body corporate during the past year, which must be signed and be presented to the members at the annual general meeting, by the chairperson. This report may include the tasks and projects undertaken by the trustees during the past year, notable events, an overall of the management and administration of the scheme, as well as recommendations to the incoming board of trustees for the ensuing year.

Should you have any queries relating to this topic or want to find out about our Trustee Training courses available, contact us at consulting@paddocks.co.za or on 021 686 3950.

Image source: free-management-ebooks.com

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One comment on “To chair or not to chair: The role of the chairperson

  1. Zequek Estrada
    June 26, 2017

    This did a good job answering my questions about trustees. I’d always wondered how new ones were chosen. I wasn’t aware of how important the chairperson is for this process.

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