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Notes from an informal meeting with Rod Rankine, Bax Nomvete & Wayne Kets held at 1 Fiskaal Crescent Randpark Ridge on 6 January 2018.

OVERALL OBJECTIVE

To continue operating the RRVA in accordance with the Articles of Association but in the most cost effective and time effective way.

We are volunteers with limited time and limited resources. Where necessary and appropriate it makes sense to outsource certain laborious functions to people with the prerequisite skills/expertise and to pay these individuals a fee which is fair and reasonable and which is commensurate with their efforts/results.

Committee members would welcome some guidelines to define their mandates including guidance on spending money and limiting their decision making. It was proposed that where there may be doubt in this scope that some form of round robin email approval be agreed before an individual Committee Member was permitted to exceed any agreed limits.

It was also proposed that the monthly meeting venue be rotated to give everyone a turn to act as host and not to overburden any one individual.

All agreed that meetings should be structured and follow a planned agenda, that they should not be longer than necessary – not normally longer than two hours and that all participants should be given an equal opportunity to speak.

MEMBERSHIP RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF EXISTING MEMBERS

  • We need to recruit new members whenever possible. We must make the most of opportunities to recruit new members and using estate agents who sell homes to newcomers may be one method. A suggestion was made that we give newcomers a free month/year of membership.
  • We need to retain existing members. To do this, we need a simple database of names of past/existing members. Members whose payments have lapsed should be sent reminders/statements/invoices followed-up with telephone calls. Rod has met several people who were previously members of RRVA but whose membership was allowed to lapse without any reminders.
  • The RRVA database needs a section to record the occupation and skillsets of RRVA members. When we need help or need to secure materials, we need to know who we can go to for help amongst our membership. For example, there are deep scour holes in the riverbeds immediately downstream of two of our pipe culverts. These scour holes are currently threatening the stability of these structures. JRA have indicated they have neither the manpower nor the financial resources to remedy these problems in the foreseeable future. We could ameliorate the damage by filling these scour holes with dump rock (but not building rubble). There may well be an RRVA member who works in the civil engineering industry who can assist us by diverting a few trucks of rock which is destined for fill anyway.
  • RRVA could be much more member centric – for example, if a paid-up member requests a Section 18-A tax certificate for making his/her donation, this should be issued immediately. He/she should not be told that we only do this once a year at the end of July.
  • Membership fees should be increased annually in line with CPIX and we should avoid protracted periods of no increase followed by a drastic increase. Sudden shock price increases are bound to cause some people to resign their membership.

COMMUNICATION

There has been a trend away from interpersonal communication and towards electronic communication (emails, text messaging, web based communication and WhatsApp). This is a sign of the times we live in and electronic communication has many advantages including efficiency and convenience. Notwithstanding, there is no substitute for one-on-one face-to-face communication for building a community and for changing public opinions and attitudes. Therefore, we would like to place more emphasis on interpersonal communication and we would like to create regular opportunities to encourage more person-to-person interaction.

Website

Our website could be improved (task completed since this document was posted). It contains a good overview of what the RRVA is and what it strives to do but it is thin on useful content – information that will add value to our members. The website needs to be regularly updated and it was proposed that we outsource this function – say every 6 months. Wayne has a good contact who charges a nominal/reasonable amount. Committee members should feed this webmaster with the necessary updated details.

  • Consider a members only section. This section can be used for privileged information that adds value to our members.
  • The website should contain the name and contact details of our ward councillor.
  • Details of the people employed by RRVA including a photograph of them, a brief description of what they do in our neighbourhood (i.e. their job description/s). This might also be a good opportunity to spell out what they are not permitted to do.
  • The details of the next AGM should be posted as well as the minutes of the previous AGM.
  • CVs with photographs of nominated future directors and committee members as requested at the AGM in Nov 2017.
  • Tips on crime prevention.
  • Recycling guidelines – including details of the closest depots where people can take waste such as used engine oil, spent compact fluorescent lightbulbs, spent batteries, building rubble etc.
  • Useful contact numbers – see attached annexure.
  • Advice for members needing to resolve billing problems with Jhb Municipality/City Power.
  • Advice ITO rights and obligations WRT noise disturbances – how to go about building a case against a neighbour who causes unreasonable noise disturbance and refuses to cooperate or abide by bylaws.

IDEAS FOR INTERACTION WITH THE RRVA COMMUNITY

  • Arrange a clean-up day on a Saturday morning (like the invader tree-felling day held in 2009). It would be nice to have a braai (simple boerie roll) at the end of the event to thank people who participated. As a point of departure, a clean-up of the vacant land at the west end of Randpark Drive (Beyers embankment was proposed). It would be necessary to organise a skip waste container as well as possibly containers for glass, paper, metal etc. for recycling.
  • Encourage local school children to collect litter/recyclable materials for sponsorship rather than sponsor kilometres walked.
  • Consider hosting a Christmas carols event in Hymany Park in 2018.
  • Host regular (say 4 times per year) evening meetings/lectures/film shows at one of the local schools. Possible topics could include:
  • Recycling (Mr. Douw Steyn of the SA Plastics Federation indicated to Rod that they would be happy to give a presentation on recycling in South Africa including tips on how to recycle – dos and don’ts).
  • Safety and first aid basics in the home with emphasis on preparedness.
  • Security in the home.
  • Avoiding becoming a victim of hijacking – Greg brought a guest speaker a few years ago and the event was well supported (at Randpark Primary).
  • How to reduce a water bill in a typical home – Rod can present this.
  • How to reduce your electricity bill in a typical home – Rod can present this.
  • Cell phone towers and microwave radiation they emit: does this pose a danger to our health? What are our rights and what can we do to safeguard our families from harm. RRVA member and Professional Electrical Engineer Clive Granville has volunteered to give a 30 minute talk with time for Q&A.
  • Documentary films on various topics appropriate to community building. Rod has several including the power of community, recycling, working together to create more effective and safer neighbourhoods, sustainable community ideas, how to live a happier life with less stuff etc. Several of these are very inspiring/uplifting. Despite the fact that some of these films may be available on the internet or on Netflix, the idea is to bring our members together to encourage interpersonal interactions, to encourage discussion/debate/dialect and foster a sense of community and belonging.

LITTER AND RECYCLING

Rudolf Giuliani, a past Mayor of New York City, had a very successful policy of maintaining the small details and enforcing basic rules like the rules against littering. He said that taking care of the small details, helped to reduce major crime significantly.

In Randpark Ridge, we have several litter hotspots including the Spar shopping centre, Randpark drive and the Beyers embankment. The Spar bottle store and junk mail contribute significantly to the amount of litter in our suburb. Some ideas to help address this litter problem include:

  • Getting Greg’s security patrols to assist us by reprimanding offenders and asking them to pick up their items thrown on the ground. Vagrants found drinking alcohol in public places are breaking the law. It should be possible to have these individuals removed.
  • Considering getting more dustbins along litter corridors/hotspots such as Randpark Drive.
  • Ensuring that existing dustbins are emptied more regularly. One of the problems seems to be that existing dustbins overflow and are not emptied for considerable periods. The existing bin design may be part of the problem. These bins primary purpose is to support advertising. Their rubbish holding capacities are a small fraction of their total volume. Some of them are almost impossible to empty – one practically has to do a handstand to get trash out from the bottom (for example the bin on the corner of Cedar & Frangipani). 44 gallon drums may be more effective if they have larger capacities and can be emptied more easily.
  • Consider sponsoring “No junk mail” signs for RRVA members to stick to their gates/post boxes. This may make it easier for Greg’s security personnel to legitimately escort offenders out of our suburb.
  • Asking recyclers on the Beyers Naude embankment to cooperate with RRVA in preventing/reporting illegal dumping to us.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

It is often said that our world could benefit from more love and nurturing and less hostility and aggression. In any community there are bound to be families who occasionally could benefit with a little extra TLC. – For example, a family that has suffered a bereavement (such as the loss of a parent or a child) or has a family member in intensive care or an elderly single person whose takes a bad turn. Small acts of kindness go a long way to building a strong sense of community. We could assist with small gestures such as take dinner to the family, make regular telephone calls to enquire about progress and offer to assist with transport. A small budget to cover some of these costs would go a long way. This activity needs a champion who is empathetic and who has a deep sense of compassion – a very special person. This is one area where I feel the recipient/beneficiary family need not be an RRVA member.

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