Civic ditches membership condition

Members of the Greater Table View Action Forum, in front, from left, are Heather Smythe-Kemsley, Karen Davis and Suzanne Buckley. Back: Stephen Twine, Vera Wege, Mandy Walters, Pip Outen, Rhonda Knott, Dirk van Niekerk, David Ayres and Jeanine Groenewald.

You no longer have to be a member of the Greater Table View Action Forum for it to go in to bat for you.

This after the organisation’s members voted to change its constitution to dispense with its membership requirements.

The decision was put to a public poll on GTAF’s Facebook page in which 47 members voted yes to the proposal and five voted against.

The poll was opened on Tuesday May 3 and closed on Monday May 16.

Previously people had to visit GTAF’s website to sign up as members.

They had decided to change the constitution because every year they battled to get enough people to an annual general meeting, said GTAF chairwoman Karen Davis. “We respect people’s lives. They are busy and they need to put their families first,” she said, adding that the membership list was also outdated, with many members who had either died or moved.

GTAF had been meant to hold an AGM, virtually on its Facebook page, in April, but the management committee decided to hold the poll instead after experiencing connectivity problems.

The organisation last held an AGM three years ago, and Ms Davis blamed the pandemic for this lapse.

The chairperson’s and treasurer’s reports and the proposed constitution were uploaded on GTAF’s Facebook page.

Ms Davis said community organisations nowadays functioned without the requirement for membership, and the pandemic had made the organisation realise it had also been representing non-members.

Ms Davis’s chairperson’s report detailed the organisation’s work through Covid-19 lockdowns, including interacting with councillors on behalf of residents; its involvement with charity organisations; dealing with pandemic-induced job losses; and supporting the Lilly Rose community farm and its elderly, among other things.

Her report refers to “acquaintances” made with Mothers That Care and Circle of Love, two organisations that help to feed needy children.

She said the forum’s planning department continued to be active in checking building applications.

According to the forum’s planning head, David Ayres, GTAF has opposed, among others, a plan for 380 flats and 12 townhouses in Canary Crescent along with an on-site sewage-treatment plant that would discharge effluent into the Diep River.

“Again, I would like to implore the community to not be complacent when it comes to these things (high-rise building applications). That’s how we get them coming in batches, and, before we know it, we will be surrounded by high-rise developments,” Ms Davis said in her report.

“Let’s stand together as one community, with one voice and show the developers that we will not tolerate their bully tactics and bulldozing of our rights.”

Ms Davis vowed that the area would remain one where “people clamour to live” and where there were safe and functional “vagrant-free” parks, spaces and sidewalks, and a zero-tolerance for crime and drugs.

She urged residents to join them “not as members of an elite club, but as our neighbours, our friends and our community”.

Civic organisations needed to remain on the City’s database, hold monthly meetings and uphold transparent processes at all times, she said.

“We want to encompass all residents and not just our membership,” she told Tabletalk.

Ms Davis said the organisation had never charged membership fees and did not intend to do so now.

According to GTAF’s income statements, it has R7160.38 in the bank as of Friday April 1. In 2020, the forum received R12 634.07 in donations, while it spent R9 077.73 to build a heating system for the Lilly Rose community. In 2021, the forum spent R15 000 in attorney’s fees.