Civic exec kicked to the kerb

The Observatory Community Centre was packed on Tuesday November 28 when a special general meeting was held.

Property developers accused of trying to “capture” an Observatory civic organisation were sent packing on Tuesday by a record turnout of residents.

About 200 people filled the community hall for a special general meeting of the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) to deliver a vote of no confidence in an executive committee they say was elected under questionable circumstances late last month.

At the association’s annual general meeting on Tuesday October 31,

“Irregularities included that various people had been registered to vote using false addresses, addresses which fell outside of Observatory, or the business address of TwoFiveFive architects,” said Mr Jenkins.

Ms Neville posted to the association’s website and Facebook page, raising her concerns over the irregularities and calling for a special general meeting. But soon afterwards, she got a lawyer’s letter from Mr Kruger and the other developers telling her to back off. The Tatler has a copy of this letter.

Ms Neville quit the association after getting this letter.

Mr Jenkins and the rest of the outgoing OCA leadership then met with the new committee led by Mr Kruger on Thursday November 23, where they continued to press for a special general meeting to look into the irregularities.

Mr Jenkins said the newly elected committee had raised no objections at the time, but the next morning, on Friday November 24, he had also got a lawyer’s letter (Tatler also has a copy of it), threatening to interdict, at his cost, the meeting planned for Tuesday November 28.

Mr Kruger then emailed all OCA members declaring that Mr Jenkins and Ms Neville had no authority to convene any meeting of the OCA and that claims about irregularities in the election had “no basis in law”.

Mr Jenkins then started a petition rallying public support for the special general meeting.

“It seemed apparent that the developers did not want this meeting to go ahead and were trying all they could to prevent the special general meeting from happening, but the petition ensured us that we had the backing from the community.”

With 350 signatures on the petition, Mr Jenkins and his supporters advertised the special general meeting, which was then chaired by an independent mediator from the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance.

Mr Jenkins said there had been a unanimous vote of no confidence in the committee led by Mr Kruger after which the meeting had called for the reinstatement of the original committee, which he now chairs, until a decision was made on when a fresh AGM would be held to elect a new committee.

“This is a phenomenal result for the community of Observatory. The attempted ‘capture’ of the civic association has lit a new spark in the civic life of the neighbourhood,” Mr Jenkins said.

Observatory resident Astrid Thomas, who was at Tuesday’s meeting, said she had heard about the alleged capture of the OCA from other residents last week.

“These guys had some kind of agenda and wanted to use the OCA to carry out this agenda,” she said.

“The OCA represents us, and we need to feel comfortable that we have people fighting for the residents of this very special kind of community, as we have such a diverse culture in Obs. It all seemed shady to me and that is why we went and shared our vote.”

Another resident, Brent Jacobs, said: “Many times you hear of the community being excluded from decisions such as these and solved behind a closed door. We had input, we had a say and we felt as if we were part of taking back our community.

“I take my hat off to the interim committee. This is a true display of fighting for your community.”

The Tatler phoned Mr Kruger for comment yesterday but he asked that we email our questions to him, which we did, but he said he did not have enough time to respond. We will publish his comments when we receive it.