A group of Satsa Gauteng members are calling for the removal of the association’s secretariat amidst various allegations made against the leadership. Satsa’s secretariat comprises the CEO, David Frost, Satsa President, Gavin Courtenay, along with Kevin Watson and Mohamed Baba.
It is calling for these directors to be replaced by Lorin Bowen, Trevor Hewett, Chris Ndlovu, Allan Eccles and Mike Speed.
The group had invited Gauteng Chapter members to an AGM on Thursday, August 3, but instead used the gathering as an opportunity to highlight their concerns. No representatives from Satsa’s National Office were present and, according to a statement released by the association, the Chief Operating Officer, Hannelie Du Toit, had been barred from entering the meeting.
The members are claiming that Satsa’s current structure where the President, Vice-President, Treasurer and elected provincial chapters, as well as representatives of certain sponsors and portfolio members form part of a National Executive Council (NEC), or Exco, is invalid.
The group alleged that this is due to an administrative error that dates back to 2003, with the registering of Satsa as a company. At that stage, the voluntary association should have been wound down, but instead the constitution continued to be applied to the new entity – which the group argues has resulted in some Satsa members being “deprived of their rights to vote” at AGMs and of their rights to participate in elections to appoint the board of directors of Satsa.
However Satsa management says a proposed resolution to address these known structural anomalies was tabled and has been approved by the NEC. "In addition, the Secretariat has undertaken a comprehensive roadshow to inform members of the approach and elicited comment on the proposed new MOI from members," said Courtenay.
Amongst the other claims made by the group are allegations that Satsa Bonding funds were brought into Satsa’s financials as income as a “Lost Advances Fund” in order to restate the 2013 annual financial statement figures to show a nearer solvent status in the final audited 2014 financial statements. The group also claimed that repeated attempts to get questions answered by the national office were ignored.
Satsa President, Gavin Courtenay, responded by stating that the allegations were “one-sided”, “defamatory” and “scurrilous”. He said that contrary to the statements made by the group, the allegations have been "comprehensively rebutted".
“All the previously raised allegations had been investigated and detailed feedback provided to the national executive committee at a meeting on May 10, 2017. Following this NEC meeting, a detailed response was sent to the lawyers representing Alchemy (Satsa’s auditors) in this matter," said Courtenay. "We have gone to great lengths to try and resolve the matter, however they are intent on replacing those at the helm with their own appointees."
"We have attempted to engage with these members in an open and transparent manner to address their concerns. All the issues have been investigated and addressed and detailed feedback provided at a NEC meeting which was attended by various chapters' chairpersons, including the Gauteng Chapter Chairperson. The NEC was satisfied with the feedback received. In addition, the SATSA auditors investigated and found no reportable irregularities," added Courtenay.
Satsa has said that further communication will be forthcoming following an emergency NEC meeting which will take place on August 10 to draft a detailed rebuttal to the various allegations made. Courtenay urged all Satsa members to refrain from making decisions or signing any proxy forms until they have read Satsa's official response and are able to make a fully informed decision.