As amended at the Annual General Meeting held on 18 February 2021.
This document shall be the constitution of the organisation known as the South African Writers’ Circle, henceforth referred to as “the Circle” or “SAWC”.
All forms of the written word, i.e. short stories, novels, fiction and non-fiction, articles, plays and poetry.
A member of the Circle, in good standing and whose fees are paid up to date.
The SAWC holds various types of meetings:
Committee meetings – committee members and ad hoc co-opted members
Open Meetings – open to all members and the general public
Annual General Meetings
Two types of competitions are held by the SAWC
Monthly competitions, which are open to members only
Those that are open to all
The objects of the Circle shall be to promote the art of writing and to further, in particular, the interests of those writers who are members of the Circle.
3. LEGAL STANDING
3.1 The SAWC is a voluntary association of persons for the purpose of exchanging information on writing. The SAWC shall be a legal entity in its own right, capable of suing and being sued and having the power of keeping such financial accounts, equipment and property (movable and immovable) as are necessary for the purposes of the SAWC. All decisions affecting the status, accounts and property of the SAWC shall be agreed to by the Annual General Meeting.
3.2 An office bearer of the SAWC shall not be liable for any debt of the SAWC excepting where such debt has occurred by the office-bearer’s own wilful act.
4. MEMBERSHIP INCLUDING TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
4.1.1 On payment of the prescribed membership fee, membership of the Circle shall be open to all persons who are writers or are interested in becoming writers or support writers and writing in one way or another.
4.1.2 The Circle’s membership shall be from 1 January to 31 December of the same year.
4.1.3 Monthly competitions arranged by the Circle shall be open to members only.
4.2 TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
4.2.1 Any member may resign in writing but shall not be entitled to a refund of a pro rata share of subscriptions already paid.
4.2.2 The membership of any person, who fails to pay his/her subscription within two (2) months of the commencement of the Circle’s year, shall automatically terminate.
4.2.3 The Committee may terminate the membership of any member who has acted in a manner, which is considered by the committee to be prejudicial to the interests of the Circle.
4.2.4 Applications to re-join the Circle by persons whose membership was terminated in terms of subparagraph 4.2 c), may be considered only after a lapse of five (5) years.
During the year the Circle shall hold at least four (4) open meetings, either in person or by electronic means.
6. THE COMMITTEE
6.1 The management and control of the Circle and its funds, assets and liabilities shall be vested in a Committee, which shall operate a banking account in the name of the Circle.
6.2 The Committee shall consist of four Office Bearers and up to five ordinary members.
6.3 The Office Bearers shall be the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer. These shall be appointed by the members at the Annual General Meeting following nomination. Should more than one nomination be received for any post, a vote or secret ballot shall be taken. Only the Office Bearers shall have signing powers in respect of the operation of the banking account.
6.4 Members of the Committee may be allocated specific duties such as competitions manager, editor, data-base controller.
6.5 The Committee may co-opt member of the Circle onto the Committee to assist in any special work.
6.6 The membership of any member of the Committee shall automatically terminate if that person fails to attend two or more consecutive meetings without good reason being given.
6.7 The Committee shall meet at least three (3) times a year and a quorum at a meeting shall be three members.
6.8 The Committee shall cause minutes to be kept of its meetings as well as Annual General Meetings and extraordinary meetings. Members may be supplied with copies of such meetings and of the Constitution on payment of a reasonable fee. This fee to be determined by the committee.
6.9 The Committee shall issue a newsletter at such intervals as it may deem fit and may send complimentary copies to persons/organisations promoting the interests of writers.
7. POWERS OF THE COMMITTEE
The Committee shall have the power to –
7.1 Invest and deal with the moneys of the Circle in such manner as to enable it to function on a sound financial footing.
7.2 Arrange competitions and decide the entry fees, the judges’ fees and the prize money payable to the winners.
7.3 Determine the date of the Annual General Meeting. This meeting shall normally be held within six weeks of the end of the Circle’s financial year.
7.4 Fix advertising tariffs.
7.5 Take any further reasonable steps necessary to achieve the objects of the Circle.
8. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM)
8.1 The holding of the AGM and the time, date and venue shall be communicated to members by way of the SAWC Newsletter.
8.2 A quorum at an AGM shall be those members personally present, or present by electronic means.
9. PURPOSE OF THE AGM
The purpose of the AGM shall be to –
9.1 Confirm the minutes of the previous AGM.
9.2 Receive and approve the Chairman’s report in respect of the previous year ended 31 December.
9.3 Receive and approve the Treasurer’s report in respect of the previous year ended 31 December.
9.4 Elect a Committee for the forthcoming year.
9.5 Decide on honoraria, if any, payable to Committee members.
9.6 Decide on the annual subscription fee payable by members and grant a reduced fee to classes of persons which merit special treatment.
9.7 Decide on the entrance fee payable by members and the public attending open meetings.
9.8 Approve amendments to the Constitution which may be considered necessary and of which due notice has been given to all members.
9.9 Consider any resolution signed by a minimum of five members and a written and signed copy of which notice is received by the committee prior to the November members’ meeting.
9.10 Discuss any other business, which may be deemed expedient to Clause 9.
N.B. In the event of it being necessary that any matter be put to the vote, then each member attending the meeting shall have one vote and simple majority vote shall prevail. Should the majority of members so desire, voting shall be by secret ballot.
10. EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING
10.1 The committee shall be obliged to call an Extraordinary General Meeting should it be presented with a written petition signed by at least twenty members, giving details of the business which the petitioners desire to be discussed.
10.2 Should a vote of no confidence in the Committee be passed at such a meeting, then the chairman of the exiting Committee shall immediately call for fresh nominations and an election shall be held forthwith.
11. FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION
11.1 The Circle’s financial year shall run from 1 January to 31 December of the same year.
11.2 The Treasurer shall present to the AGM Revenue and Expenditure Account and a Balance Sheet in respect of the previous financial year. Such financial statement shall be supported by a certificate of correctness signed by a suitably qualified person who is not a member of the Circle.
12. INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
In the event of a dispute over the interpretation of any part of the Constitution, the Committee shall rule as to its intent.
If insufficient members are willing to stand for office, or if the membership of the SAWC falls to a level that the Committee is of the opinion makes it unviable for it to continue, or if any other circumstance dictates that it is no longer viable to continue, the existing Committee may propose to the members the dissolution of the Circle.
If such termination is approved by members at an Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meeting, such part of the subscriptions paid for the year of closure and the previous year, as is possible given the net assets available, will be treated as liabilities. The balance of the assets of the SAWC, after meeting all liabilities and closure costs, will be paid to an established organisation with similar objectives, or to a registered charity. Refunds of subscriptions payable to members who, upon being notified of the requirement to provide banking details, fail to do so within three months of the date of closure, will be forfeited and paid to the established organisation with similar objectives, or to the registered charity decided upon.
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