TVRA meeting: a miss

People pack up shortly after the meeting was adjourned.

The Table View Ratepayers’ Association (TVRA) chairwoman Mandy da Matta dashed hopes that a meeting last week would put simmering tensions to bed, when she adjourned proceedings barely five minutes after they began.

Roughly 50 people, made up of TVRA members and non-members, attended the meeting at the Blouberg Ridge Primary School hall on Wednesday August 10. It was believed the meeting would discuss the future of the TVRA and clear up issues that have plagued the association in recent weeks (“TVRA’s ‘future’ on meeting agenda”, Tabletalk, August 10).

But people had barely settled into their seats when Ms Da Matta walked out of the meeting after reading her speech from a page.

“There have been a number of social media postings indicating a number of members are unhappy with the direction of the exco and with me, in particular, as chairman,” she said.

“A few members have called for an SGM (special general meeting). We need to address this unhappiness. As the exco, having regard for our members’ concerns, we have a quorum and it was decided to announce an SGM to address these issues and let you, as the community, decide which direction you wish the TVRA to go in.

“The purpose of the SGM is to afford you, as members, the chance, to decide and elect new exco members, if so wished, to represent you and your propriety interests and matters regarding service delivery in meetings with the City of Cape Town.”

She continued saying the SGM would be held on Wednesday August 24 and that voting forms and proxy forms would be made available to paid-up members on the TVRA Facebook page.

But Ms Da Matta left people with puzzled looks on their faces as she said the meeting was now “closed” and walked out of the hall less than five minutes after the meeting had started.

Shortly after, people exited the hall hot under the collar, grumbling about the meeting being a waste of time. One resident said, “What a waste of time”, while another said, “Couldn’t this announcement have been made on Facebook?”

Suspended exco members Leon Alhadeff, Alex Lepnik and Mike Channing were also at the meeting and said they thought the reasons for their suspensions would be on the agenda.

“It is utter disrespect to not clarify issues of suspensions of people that the community trusts,” said Mr Channing after the meeting.

Mr Lepnik also expressed his disappointment saying it was an “insult to the community”.

TVRA member Tony Pronk told the Tabletalk Ms Da Matta “realised she was in a corner by not allowing the initial request for an SGM”.

“Tonight she had no choice but to call one (SGM) and to comply with the TVRA constitution. The big question still remains around the three ‘suspended’ exco members as the constitution does not allow for it, and it is technically flawed as there was no quorum when making that decision.

“Many members have now asked for a full explanation around the three suspensions and no answers are forthcoming from the chairlady. Even the three suspended members have no facts around their suspension. The other serious situation is the continual ‘blocking’ of paid-up members from the official TVRA Facebook page when uncomfortable questions are asked about the chairlady. What is she hiding?” said Mr Pronk.

The suspensions, valid until Tuesday November 1, have been veiled in mystery as many TVRA members and non-members have asked for clarity on them, but none has been forthcoming.

When Tabletalk asked Ms Da Matta about them last week she said it was a legal matter she would not discuss.

Although the suspended parties were not able to comment on their suspensions due to a gagging order, Mr Channing revealed details of his suspension letter on Facebook two days after the meeting.

In the post, he says: “The “remnant” exco not only broke their promise to deal with the matter at a properly constituted meeting, but also refuse to give specific reasons for my individual suspension”.

He said accusations in his suspension letter of promoting his “own agenda”, “conflicts of interest” and “constantly” berating exco members were not backed up by examples.

“I appeal to the TVRA exco to lift my suspension and reinstate my good standing in this community by posting a public apology,” he said.