I have been asked to provide some detail on the recent Congress held in Port Elizabeth.
The accommodation and meals at the hotel were excellent. Dawn Sked and her Committee had made sure that everything ran like clockwork and I am sure that those of us that spent the weekend in the windy city really enjoyed ourselves.
My comments will relate to the Business session of Congress.
I was a little disappointed with the turnout of Societies as some six Societies did not send delegates to Congress and this is I presume that members are reaching advanced age and are pensioners who cannot afford to spend the money to come to Congress nor send a delegate. This is in contrast to Congress held thirty or forty years ago where we had a full turnout and where Congress started on the Friday and the business session sometimes ended at five thirty pm on the Saturday afternoon due to the fact that we had to dress for the ball.
The statistics showed a net reduction in members of 57 however one of the Gauteng Societies had revised their membership list by 59 so we actually came out with a plus of 2 overall.
Financially the Federation is stable and we are again beginning to show a small surplus at year end. We are starting to recoup losses made in previous years and expenses are being kept to the bare minimum. Interest rates are not in our favour at this time and I still expect that the rate will drop further.
This year we had one resolution put forward by Central Council where we wished to amend Clause 42. After discussion Central Council withdrew the resolution.
We received one item for discussion that was sponsored by St Andrew’s Scottish Society; Durban Caledonian Society and Diamond Fields Caledonian Society in respect of holding Biennial Congress’s and one sponsored by St Andrew’s Scottish Society and Durban Caledonian Society in respect of changing the date of Congress.
After much discussion the view was that Society Delegates take these back to their Societies and that their executive / members make suggestions on the way forward. These suggestions should reach Central Council by June 2011 when if necessary a Resolution could be formulated.
My personal view is that if the first item for discussion (Biennial Congress) was adopted that we would be hastening the demise of the Federation.
Clause 12.a would seem to allow us to vary the date of Congress.
Congress 2012 will be held in Welkom under the auspicious of the Goldfields Society.