SAVT / SAFT

STUDENT ALLIANSIE VIR TRANSFORMASIE
STUDENT ALLIANCE FOR TRANSFORMATION

THIRD DRAFT CONSTITUTION
CHANGES IN ITALICS

AS AMENDED BY SAFT MEETING OF 7 SEPTEMBER 1999

 

NOTE: There is general consensus that the organisation requires a new name, however the new name must still be agreed upon.

PREAMBLE

Whereas:

And whereas it is desirable:

And whereas it is desirable to provide for a forum, with appropriate structures and procedures, to approach these goals,

Therefore it is resolved as follows:

  1. Definitions:
    1. Any term defined in the Higher Education Act (Act No 101 of 1997), the Statute of the University or the Constitution of the Students' Union shall have the definition assigned to it by such document, unless the context indicates otherwise, and:
    2. "AC" means the administrative committee referred to in paragraph 8;
    3. "co-operative governance" means the process whereby advice is given in a responsible manner, as opposed to on the basis of narrow group interests, and received and considered in a serious manner, as opposed to merely taking note;
    4. "GM" means any general meeting referred to in paragraph 7;
    5. "member" means any organisation or structure referred to in paragraph 6(1);
    6. "SAFT" means the Student Alliance for Transformation;
    7. "SRC" means Students' Representative Council;
    8. "other student structure" means any structure referred to in Schedule 1;
    9. "this document" means the Constitution of the Student Alliance for Transformation;

  2. Name:
    1. The organisation shall be known as the Student Alliance for Transformation, abbreviated to SAFT.

  3. Status:
    1. SAFT is the successor organisation to the Student Transformation Forum (STF);
    2. SAFT is a forum of independent student interest groups;
    3. SAFT serves to exchange ideas within the student community and to advise the SRC and other university structures;
    4. SAFT shall be a structurally independent body, managing its own affairs.

  4. Aims and Objectives:
    1. Discussion and critical debate, in a spirit of seeking consensus;
    2. Information gathering and distribution;
    3. Investigating and responding to change;
    4. Advising other university and student structures, within the framework of co-operative governance;
    5. Striving to see that its advice is taken seriously;
    6. Striving to increase student representation and participation;
    7. Promoting a respect for human rights and dignity.

  5. Principles:
    1. Transparency;
    2. All members should be treated equally;
    3. Acting in good faith;
    4. Responsibility.

  6. Membership:
    1. The following shall be voting members of SAFT, with one representative and one vote each-
      1. SRC;
      2. SRCs of the Tygerberg, Bellville and Saldanha campuses
      3. Each residence;
      4. Each private ward;
      5. Each registered society;
      6. Each faculty committee;
      7. Each other student structure, referred to in Schedule 1;

    2. Any student or any group not referred to in (1) above may participate in SAFT meetings, but may not vote.

  7. General Meetings:
    1. GMs shall be chaired by an independent facilitator who has the confidence of the meeting, and who may be replaced by the GM at any time;
    2. The secretary of the GM shall be the secretary of the AC or a person designated by the GM;
    3. The quorum of a GM shall be 20% of members with voting rights;
    4. GMs shall be open to all students, and to any other person only by approval of the meeting;
    5. Decisions shall be made by consensus, and every effort shall be made by the meeting and the independent facilitator to reach such consensus; in the event of deadlock, the meeting will strive for sufficient consensus, which shall define itself in the process, or failing that make a decision by virtue of a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting;
    6. Notwithstanding (5) above, voting for members of the AC or for any SAFT representative shall be by a simple, that is 50% plus 1, majority of members present and voting;
    7. Language Policy:
      1. Persons may speak in Afrikaans or in English, and the facilitator, or another, shall translate as required;
      2. Other languages may be used, provided that the speaker arranges for translation into Afrikaans or English;
      3. All minutes and documents shall be released in Afrikaans or in English, and a translation into the language not used provided as soon as possible, if not immediately;

    8. GMs may set up ad hoc or long term structures, such as work-groups and committees;
    9. Ordinary General Meetings:
      1. Such meetings shall be held at least twice per quarter, the dates for such meetings being distributed by the AC at the beginning of each quarter;
      2. The agenda, duration of meeting and the minutes of the previous ordinary GM and of any special GM held since the previous ordinary GM, shall be provided to members and to the Prim Committee, Academic Affairs Council and Committee of Societies' Chairpersons a minimum of five university days in advance of the meeting;
      3. Points may be added to the agenda, via the AC, until a minimum of two university days before the meeting, and the amended agenda published on a notice-board in the Langenhoven Student Centre and distributed at the beginning of the meeting;
      4. Points may be added under 'any other business' at the beginning of the meeting, and addressed only if time permits;
      5. The agenda may be further adjusted at the discretion of the meeting;
      6. The first matter of business shall be to consider, amend if needed and approve the minutes of the previous ordinary GM and any special GM held since the previous ordinary GM;
      7. The final matter of business shall be to decide upon the independent facilitator for the next ordinary general meeting;

    10. Special General Meetings:
      1. Such meetings may be called, in the event of an urgent matter arising, by the AC at their own motion, or if a minimum of ten members submit a written request to the AC to call such a meeting;
      2. A minimum of two university days notice must be given of a special GM, and the agenda distributed with the notice;
      3. The special GM may only address the urgent matter referred to in (a) above: there may be no other points on the agenda.

  8. Administrative Committee:
    1. Functions of the AC:
      1. Administration of SAFT;
      2. Preparation of the agenda for GMs;
      3. Calling of GMs;
      4. Documentation and translations;
      5. Media releases, on the basis of a decision made by the GM;
      6. Matters referred to in paragraph 8(2) below;
      7. Such other matters as are referred to the AC by a GM;

    2. Composition:
      1. Co-ordinator of Administration, who shall chair meetings of the AC;
      2. Secretary, who shall be responsible for minutes of the AC and of GMs, for correspondence and for documents;
      3. Treasurer, who shall be responsible for financial matters;
      4. Publicity Officer, who shall be responsible for the publicising of meetings and for marketing SAFT;
      5. Two additional members;

    3. Manner of election and term of office:
      1. Elections shall be held at the beginning of the fourth quarter of each year:
        1. The Co-ordinator of Administration shall be directly elected by the GM;
        2. One member of the AC shall be elected by each of the following sectors:
          1. SRCs;
          2. Residences and Private Wards;
          3. Faculty Committees;
          4. Registered Societies;
          5. Other student structures;

      2. Members of the AC shall hold office for one calendar year, but may be re-elected;
      3. The AC shall determine which members of the AC shall occupy which portfolios, with the exception of that of Co-ordinator of Administration

    4. Vacancies:
      1. A position on the AC shall become vacant if a member of the AC-
        1. Ceases to be a student; or
        2. Is removed from office by a GM, as provided for in paragraph 9(3); or
        3. Submits his or her resignation, in writing, to the Secretary;

      2. In the case of a vacancy on the AC-
        1. The AC must inform the members;
        2. A replacement for such person shall be elected at or before the next GM, following the procedure in paragraph 8(2)a)(i) or 8(2)a)(ii) above, for the remainder of the un-elapsed term of office;

      3. In the case of a vacancy on the AC, and until such time as a replacement is elected under (b) above, the AC shall assign the duties of such person to one or more other members of the AC;

    5. AC Meetings:
      1. AC shall meet at least six university days before each ordinary GM;
      2. Additional AC meetings may be called by the Co-ordinator of Administration at his or her own motion, or on petition by a minimum of three other members of the AC;
      3. AC Meetings shall be chaired by the Co-ordinator of Administration, or, in the absence of the Co-ordinator of Administration, by a member of the AC elected by the AC meeting to serve as Co-ordinator of Administration for the duration of the meeting;
      4. The quorum for an AC meeting shall be four AC members;
      5. The AC shall take decisions by consensus, or failing that, by a two-thirds majority of AC members present and voting;
      6. AC meetings shall be open to observers;

    6. Reporting:
      1. At the end of the first and third quarters of each year, the AC must distribute to the members-
        1. A written report on the activities of the SAFT during the current and preceding quarters;
        2. A financial report covering the current and preceding quarters;

      2. At the first GM of the second quarter of each year, the AC must be confirmed by a vote of confidence, or dissolved by a vote of no confidence.

  9. Discipline and Conflict Resolution:
    1. Any conflict that cannot be resolved in the AC shall be referred to a GM;
    2. A GM may over-rule any decision of the AC;
    3. A GM has the power to remove from office any member of the AC, and the power to dissolve the AC;
    4. Any conflict not resolved in a GM shall be carried forward to a special GM, or to the next ordinary GM or referred to the Student Court.

  10. Interpretations:
    1. Interpretation of this document must be done by consideration of paragraphs 3, 4 and 5.

  11. Amendments:
    1. Amendments to this document require a two thirds majority of members present and voting at a GM with a quorum of 50%;
    2. Notwithstanding (1) above, additions to the schedule of this document may be made by any GM;
    3. This document must be systematically reviewed once every two years.

  12. Short Title:
    1. This document shall be called the Constitution of the Student Alliance for Transformation.

 

SCHEDULE 1: OTHER STUDENT STRUCTURES:

  1. Academic Development Programme Student Advisary Forum
  2. Die Matie
  3. Matie FM
  4. Maties Community Service
  5. Carnival Committee
  6. Trivarsity Committee

CURRENT DEBATE PROCEDURES (NOT PART OF THE CONSTITUTION)

Definitions:

"discriminatory language" means the ascribing of views or characteristics to an individual on the basis of a presumed group affiliation;

"unsubstantiated offensive language" means any statement or allegation about a person, structure or group, which cannot be sustained factually.

  1. When a point on the agenda is reached, or a motion is proposed, the member or person who requested such point or proposed such motion shall explain the point and may make a proposal;
  2. A proposal must be seconded, and the seconder may speak immediately, or at the close of the debate;
  3. Points of clarity, that is: requests for further explanation, are then taken;
  4. The facilitator must ask if there is consensus on the issue, and if consensus is immediately indicated, the decision shall be deemed made;
  5. If consensus is not immediately indicated, the facilitator then opens a speakers list, recording the names, and order of speaking, of persons who indicate they wish to speak;
  6. The debate proceeds by persons speaking according to the order in the speakers list, which shall be closed at the discretion of the facilitator;
  7. Direct responses to a speaker may be taken at the discretion of the facilitator;
  8. Counter proposals, that is: alternative proposals, may be made, in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3 above, throughout the debate;
  9. Points of information, that is: the contribution of, or request for, a fact or facts but not an opinion or interpretation, shall be taken throughout the debate;
  10. Once the speakers list is closed, the facilitator may allow a break for caucusing;
  11. The meeting must then decide by consensus, or failing that, by a two-thirds majority of members present and voting;
  12. Points of order, that is: on meeting procedure or the use of discriminatory language or unsubstantiated offensive language, must be taken at any point at which they are raised during a meeting;
  13. No person shall raise more than three points of order that are deemed irrelevant by the meeting, unless the facilitator, at his or her own discretion, extends such maximum limit;
  14. Any person ruled out of order and who fails to come to order may be directed by the facilitator to leave the meeting.