Our panel of experts has received a letter from a reader who is very concerned about the actions of the chairperson of the trustees of the body corporate in her sectional title complex.
This chairperson has taken independent financial decisions relating to certain suppliers of services in respect of the complex, notwithstanding the proper decision-making process having been followed.
Usually, says Schalk van der Merwe from Rawson Properties Helderberg, the trustees of a body corporate are appointed at the annual general meeting of the body corporate.
“The trustees, who represent the body of owners of the units within the complex, hold their respective posts until the next annual general meeting, at which time they may be re-elected. Once the trustees have been selected, they will nominate a chairperson at their first meeting.”
The trustees are responsible for exercising the powers and performing the duties of the body corporate, according to Van der Merwe. “As such the trustees have to take decisions relating to the day-to-day management of the complex.”
In our reader’s case, says Van der Merwe, a specific decision was taken at a meeting of the trustees not to contract further with a certain supplier.
“The reader, who is also a trustee, requested the financial statements some time later and discovered that this supplier had, in fact, been used. When this was queried, our reader discovered that the chairperson had given the instruction of payment to the supplier.”
The chairperson’s actions were therefore in direct contravention of the voting at a meeting of the trustees, says Van der Merwe, and steps are being taken to remove the chairperson from office.
Lucille Geldenhuys from Lucille Geldenhuys Attorneys in Stellenbosch says that even though the reader has not supplied a copy of the management rules specific to her complex, rules 18 and 19 provided for under Annexure 8 of the Sectional Titles Act are applicable.
“Rule 18 provides that a chairperson will stay in office for a period of one year, during which time the chairperson shall have both a casting and deliberative vote.”
Rule 19 provides for the removal of a chairperson in one of two ways, says Geldenhuys. “The trustees can either remove the chairperson by majority vote at a trustees’ meeting, or the body corporate can remove him by majority vote at a special general meeting.”
Geldenhuys says it is further provided that, in both cases, the notice calling the meeting must disclose the intended removal of the chairperson from his office. “Our reader also wants to know whether the offending conduct of the chairperson has to be set out in the notice, but this is not necessary under the act.”
In the reader’s case, says Geldenhuys, a special general meeting of the body corporate has been arranged to decide the position of the chairperson. “The normal rules will be applicable and the removal of the chairperson can be passed by means of a majority vote in favour of the motion.”
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