22nd October 2020 – CRA 2020 AGM Pack
- Way Forward
Welcome to the 2020 Craigpark Residents’ Association AGM.
It is usual to start the Chairperson’s Report with a reflection on what has happened in the area since the last AGM. But I am starting with what happened at the last AGM, held on 29 May 2019 at Craighall Primary School.
I was not present at the 2019 AGM, so what I’m writing is based on information from other members of the Association who were at the meeting.
The meeting ran according to the Agenda, with the addition of a presentation on Hugh Wyndham Park, until item 7 which was the election of a new committee, after which it broke up in confusion.
It appears that nominations for some of the office bearers had not been completed according to the rules in the CRA’s constitution. An argument arose, as a group of residents felt it unnecessary to comply with the constitution. This argument led to the meeting ended in disarray.
No minutes were taken of the meeting, so there are no minutes of the 2019 AGM to present to you.
The new Exco’s tenure was equally fractured, as after the second meeting H Rosen, A Rosen, F Swart, R Shamu, J Ansell, C Braga and C Duff, all members of the previous Exco, resigned. The Exco was thus left badly understaffed and is comprised of:
- Melanie Vogt-Theron
- Ryan Roseveare (co-opted)
- Lance Drake
- Elspeth Kempe
- Secretary and Communications
- Liz Delmont
- Town Planning Portfolio
- John Kempe
- Infrastructure Portfolio
- Wayne Lurie
- Security Portfolio
- Caron Askew
- Financial Strategy and Social Media
- Bruce Sparks
- Community Needs Portfolio
- Paulette Malcolm
- Community Needs Portfolio
On the positive side, Robyn Bell joined the team in August 2019 as the CRA’s part-time paid administrator and has proved her worth in a multitude of ways.
For the rest of 2019 and the first part of 2020 the Exco, assisted by Robyn, were busy at work. Unfortunately, due to business pressures Ryan Roseveare resigned from the committee. We will miss his expertise and thank him for all the hard work he has put in for the CRA. Bruce Sparks then took over the post of Vice-chair.
Then COVID-19 disrupted everybody’s lives and a lot of the valuable work that was being done came to a halt.
During lockdown Wayne Lurie resigned. Wayne’s resignation meant that we were left without a holder for the Security Portfolio. We will continue to engage with Wayne in his role as Vice Chair of the Parkview CPF and he is still very active in the security of our suburb on a daily basis. Security is a major concern for all residents and as such remains important to the CRA. We would welcome any input and offers of assistance.
A month later Melanie Vogt-Theron had to stand down from the Chair for personal reasons, although she has remained as a Committee member. This necessitated a reshuffle of the Exco members: Elspeth Kempe has become Chair and Liz Delmont has become Secretary for an interim period while still retaining her portfolio.
In late 2019 Robyn Bell started on the new CRA website – www.cra.org.za . The new site enables online registration and payment for membership, and other new features include:
- information on the structure of the CRA
- WhatsApp group guidelines with mandate and conditions of use
- a projects and features tab which, during Lockdown, featured regular posts focused on useful resources for housebound families and information about Covid-19.
Further information and features continue to be uploaded.
As part of the Community Needs group Bruce Sparks and Paulette Malcolm had organised an online Community Needs Survey for the CRA (we thank the 30% of members who completed it). Many issues were defined, from depression and anxiety levels and problems for the elderly, to structural problems with roads, pavements and traffic lights, and violence and crime. In response to loneliness amongst the elderly regular tea mornings were started but came to a halt in March and only now can be reintroduced. There has been interest in redoing the survey, as Covid-19 has changed many circumstances and problems in the community with an increase in unemployment, the need for more home-based activities and dealing with the implications of infections and death.
Various Covid-19 projects were undertaken, see www.cra.org.za/support-for-the-Parkview-SAPS/ and www.cra.org.za/cra-community-needs-project-for-covid-19/
The first CRA Business Meeting was organized in 2019, make contact with local businesses to discuss their needs and ideas. Our first Business News will go out next month as we work to get back into the business community after strict lockdown.
The CRA employs two maintenance workers to cut grass and trim weeds in the suburb. The extent of this work is limited by available funds. They had to stop work during strict lockdown but fortunately have returned to work.
For Spruit Day September 2019 the CRA joined with Jozi Trails and other residents’ associations in cleaning up an enormous length of the Spruit. It was a hugely successful event, with vouchers given to participants, prizes for the most bags filled by residents, coffee sellers and stands distributing free water. Spruit Day 2020 was a sad comparison: refuse bags were available and that was all. A few of dedicated residents (thank you, you’re wonderful!) came and helped collect refuse along of the Spruit, but even they’d agree that it was not a patch on last year’s effort.
Liz Delmont has been extremely busy with the Town Planning Portfolio, addressing resident’s concerns such as rezoning applications, illegal buildings and complaints about noise coming from some of the restaurants and ‘drinking spots’ in the area. The CRA encourages and facilitates the formation of Action Groups driven by those residents most affected by potential re-zonings and developments. Where required, the CRA advises the driver/s of these Action Groups and provides information on processes of objection. The CRA is also now represented at the monthly meetings of the Joint Plans Committee Johannesburg West, an organization which facilitates applications for alteration, addition or demolition to heritage properties. The City recently held a series of Spatial Development Framework 2040 (SDF) preliminary consultation talks with focus groups. Liz Delmont attended the session on Civil Society and Housing. Public Participation on the SDF 2040 review is scheduled for April 2021.
John Kempe of the Infrastructure Portfolio organized for the paving across the road from the Spar (along Clarence and Lancaster Aves) to be smoothed out to make it more accessible by wheelchair users – the assistance of the Castellano Complex in this regard was much appreciated. Various road defects have been reported (mainly service excavations) and some of these have been reinstated. The potential wash away behind the gabions and retaining walls at the Blue Bridge was drawn to the attention of the council. Councillor Martin Williams has also done a huge amount of work, helping residents with power outages and burst water pipes. We are grateful to have him as our ward councillor.
One item from the now leaderless Security Portfolio needs to be discussed. In March 2018 the CRA entered into an agreement with CAP Security whereby CAP took over management
of the Public Spaces Security (PSS) scheme. In May 2019 PSSv2 was presented at the AGM prior to the election of the current Exco. In November 2019 the CRA announced that they were terminating the PSS agreement with CAP. The CRA subsequently discovered that this termination was not valid as it was not accompanied by the payment of the aggregate net deficit and historical shared costs, as required by the contract. We acknowledge that, due to the lack of a detailed understanding of the agreement on the part of the current committee, we should not have sent out notification on the cancellation of the PSS agreement with CAP. We have taken steps to ensure that there will be a detailed explanation of this contract available to CRA members on request. We will continue to work with CAP to ensure that the PSS Scheme functions and provides as much security as possible for our community.
The Association relies on membership fees to fund its running costs. Caron Askew, who holds the Financial Strategy Portfolio, has drawn up valuable statistics relating to membership funding. (see p.8-10) Caron also runs the CRA’s Social Media Portfolio, which includes liaising with the street representatives.
Thank you to all those who have supported us by paying membership fees, supporting local projects, being part of resident action groups and providing us with your expertise. The CRA is one of the oldest community organisations in JHB and it would be tragic to see it disappear, but it won’t be able to continue without membership support.
The CRA is exactly that, you, the residents, who live and/or work in the Craigpark area who have chosen to become members. It is not just the eight Exco members. The CRA Exco are only here to help, to the best of their ability, all the residents to find ways of solving problems, be they the beautification of the suburb, social upliftment, the resolution of rezoning applications, the impact of increased densification, helping the elderly and liaising with the City council.
There are always differences of opinion within a community. The CRA Exco is happy to discuss any issues, but we feel that engaging in discussions around controversial matters via social media is detrimental to the wellbeing of the community as a whole, and often escalates issues rather than resolving them. Residents are very welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp on 0647437375 with their issues and we will, to the best of our ability in this time of Covid-19, set up public forums, via Zoom, at which issues can be discussed and resolved.
If you are willing to put your time and energy to supporting and becoming members of the CRA, together we could achieve so much for our community as a whole.
We are delighted to have five nominations for Exco (See p.11-13), and with this added expertise we look forward to an even stronger future.
18th October 2020