(As amended and consolidated 2005)

  1. Name of the association
    • The name of the association will be Agricultural Writers SA.
  2. Description and interpretation
    • In this constitution the following words will have these meanings assigned to them unless there is a contradiction in the topic or context. Words used in singular form includes the plural meaning; and references to the male gender also includes the female gender.
    • ASSOCIATION refers to Agricultural Writers SA.
    • EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT refers to the members of the association that were elected, appointed or named as the national executive management under the terms of this constitution.
    • MEMBERS refers to persons who specialise in agricultural journalism in all media (press, radio, television) that have been accepted as members under the terms of this constitution.
    • MANAGEMENT refers to a management committee that was elected by a recognised regional branch of the association.
    • DECISION refers to decisions made by the executive management or regional management. Decisions made by regional management is subject to approval by the executive management.
    • BYLAWS refer to internal rules instituted with the purpose to elaborate on certain aspects of this constitution. The abbreviation BL followed by a number is used as reference.
  3. Objectives
    The objectives of the association are:
    • To promote and protect the interests of members;
    • To raise funds in order to promote the objectives of the association;
    • To nominate and select candidates for the association’s awards every year, in accordance with the requirements set out by the executive management;
    • To promote and support press freedom;
    • To establish and maintain contact with agricultural journalists and their organisations in other countries;
    • To assist in raising the quality of agricultural journalism to the highest possible level.
  4. Powers and Rights
    • Subject to the terms of its constitution, the association will have the power to act within the framework of these terms and as provided by the law under which organisations of its kind function in accordance with the interests and objectives of the association.
    • The executive management will make decisions and authorise actions that, according to its judgement, promote and protect the objectives and interests of the association.
  5. Membership
    • All persons who specialise in agricultural journalism may become members of the association. Applications, done through a standardised membership form, must be directed to the branch chairman of the applicant’s home region. The regional branch will react to the application under the terms of this constitution. Only cases where uncertainty exists will it be referred to the executive management for consideration. The decision of the executive management will be final and binding. (BL 3)
    • Membership of the association can be obtained in four categories, namely FULL MEMBERS, ASSOCIATE MEMBERS, HONORARY AND LIFETIME MEMBERS AND HONORARY PRESIDENTS.
    • FULL MEMBERS: All journalists and communications officers in the fields of agriculture. This includes persons who specialise in writing articles, compiling radio/audio-visual programs or the planning and execution of communication that promotes the association’s objectives.
    • ASSOCIATE MEMBERS: Persons who associate themselves with the association’s objectives, but do not qualify for full membership, can receive associate membership on the management committee’s discretion. These members can take part in activities hosted by the association but cannot vote.
    • HONORARY MEMBERS: The executive management can name any person as honorary member for any length of time. Honorary members cannot vote but can attend and participate in meetings. Honorary members will not pay membership fees.
    • LIFETIME MEMBERS: Any member can be named as lifetime member by the executive management. (HR 4)
  6. Membership fees
    • Membership fees will be determined by the executive management and ratified by a general meeting of the association. Membership fees will be payable no later than June every year to the administrative officer of the executive management.
    • Only members who are in good standing with their fees and any other responsibilities towards the association will qualify to be elected to the executive management and will be able to vote at annual and general meetings.
    • Any member who fails to pay the membership fees within 3 months of being notified, will be suspended as member of the association until the fees have been paid in full.
    • The executive management can waive any member’s fees.
  7. Termination of membership
    • Any member can terminate their membership with one month’s written notice. The membership will only be terminated as soon as the member has fulfilled all of their responsibilities to the association.
    • The executive management can affect a decision to terminate a membership, provided that two-thirds of the management committee are present and qualify to vote. Any member that violates the constitution, disregards the rules of the association, or who, according to the discretion of the executive management, dishonours the association or deviates from the objectives of the association can be suspended.
    • No steps will be taken towards suspending a member before the member has received written notice of the impending review at least 30 days before the relevant meeting. The member can request to be present at or be represented at this meeting.
    • Any member that has been suspended, must be notified in writing within seven days of the decisive meeting.
    • A member who is, due to any reason, no longer a member of the association can apply to be reinstated as member, provided that he adheres to the conditions set out by the executive management.
  8. Register of members
    • The secretary/treasurer will keep a register of all members. This register will include their addresses and the publication or media house they are affiliated with. (BL 4)
  9. Executive management
    • The affairs of the association will be managed by the executive management consisting of members nominated by regional branches. One member per regional branch will join the national chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary/treasurer on the executive management.
    • The annual general meeting will elect a national chairman, national vice chairman and secretary/treasurer for the term ahead. Successful election will depend on a majority vote subject to 14.7.
    • The executive management can co-opt a person, nominated by a sponsor as member of the management committee, to represent the sponsors.
    • Members of the executive management are elected for a one-year term but can be re-elected.
    • If a position on the executive management becomes vacant, the management will co-opt any member of the association to serve as member of the management committee until the time of the next annual general meeting.
    • This member of the executive management will have voting rights.
    • A member of the executive management will end his term in office if he is absent from three executive management meetings without special leave.
    • All bona fide actions of the executive management will be valid at all times.
  10. Executive management meetings
    • The executive management will, if possible, meet at least three times per year to discuss the association’s affairs.
      A management committee consisting of the chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary/treasurer, with the right to co-opt, will handle the urgent day to day affairs of the association with the provident that all decisions will be ratified at the next meeting of the executive management.
    • A quorum will constitute of 50% of the management committee and one member of the executive management.
      The chairperson will lead the meetings. In cases where the chairperson is absent, the vice-chairperson will act as chairperson. In cases where both the chairperson and vice-chairperson are absent, the executive management will elect an acting chairperson from the rest of the committee.
    • Minutes will be kept for each executive management meeting and ratified at the next meeting of the executive management.
    • Elected, nominated or co-opted members of the executive management will, under the terms of clause, have voting rights at the executive management meeting.
    • Every member of the executive management will have one vote. The chairperson can cast a vote but will not have a determining vote.
  11. Duties and powers of the executive management
    To control and manage all assets of the association and to seize any assets of regional branches in cases of dissolution and/or mismanagement and manage these assets at its discretion in consultation with the relevant sponsors;
    • To call special and general annual meetings;
    • To take or defend any legal steps by or against the association or its officials;
    • To compile regulations and bylaws that are in accordance with the association’s objectives;
    • To investigate and finalise any disputes resulting from the interpretation of the Constitution and regulations/bylaws;
    • To make final decisions with regard to disputes;
    • To hold a current bank account in the name of the association, receive and deposit money, withdraw money and endorse checks on behalf of the association;
    • To employ persons who serve the interests of the association, terminate their services if necessary and remunerate them for their services;
    • To appoint ad hoc or sub committees whose meetings and actions will fall under the jurisdiction of the Constitution;
    • To ensure that all account books are kept up to date by the secretary/treasurer and audited at least once per year by an auditor appointed by the executive management. An audited statement reflecting the financial position of the association and the auditor’s report must be submitted to the annual general meeting;
    • To ensure that the income of the association is used solely for the promotion of the association and its objectives. This includes the renumeration of any persons who deliver a service to the association;
    • To collect any money that may be necessary from time to time;
    • To donate any assets of the association to an association with similar objectives in case of dissolution of the association;
    • To consider and decide on all applications for membership of the association;
    • To terminate membership under the terms of clause 7;
    • To do everything required for the association to thrive.
  12. Finances
    • All payments done by the association must be approved by the secretary/treasurers and any two members of the executive committee. The financial year of regional branches will end on the last day of February each year.
    • The financial year of the national association will end on the last day of July each year.
    • The stay and travel costs of members of the executive management will be paid by the branch that the member belongs to. In cases where regional branches are unable to carry the expenses of their representative, the executive management can decide to bear the costs if it is motivated and the regional branch’s financial standing is reported.
    • The executive management committee’s expenses with regard to executive management meetings and the annual general meeting will be paid by the executive management from the national fund.
    • No person will profit in any way from activities of the association and all funds will be solely used to promote the objectives of the association or invested.
    • The association shall not conduct any profit-making activities or participate in any business or profession operated by any of its members or provide any financial support, property or continued services and / or facilities to members for the purpose of running businesses or practice a profession.
  13. Regional branches
    • The executive management will determine when enough members of the association are active in a specific area to warrant the establishment of a regional branch in the region in question.
    • The management of a regional branch will consist of a chairperson and no less than three members, selected by the members of the branch.
    • The management will be allowed to set rules that are not in conflict with the constitution. These rules will be submitted to the national executive management for approval.
    • The management will submit minutes of all meetings an annual financial statement to the executive management.
  14. Meetings
    • The annual general meeting of the association will be held at a venue determined at a previous annual general meeting. The date and time of the meeting will be set by the executive management under the condition that the annual general meeting will be held no later than 5 months after the end of the financial year. Members will be notified of this meeting and an agenda for the meeting will be sent out at least a month before the day of the meeting.
    • If it is requested by ten or more members of the association, a special general meeting can be convened. Members must be notified of the meeting and the agenda sent out within two months after the meeting was requested and one month before the day of the meeting.
    • The executive management can call a special general meeting. Members must be notified of the meeting and an agenda sent out at least two weeks before the day of the meeting.
    • If, due to any unforeseen circumstances, a member does not receive notification of a meeting, it will not affect the validity of the meeting.
    • Ten full ordinary members will constitute a quorum at an annual general meeting. If there is still no quorum fifteen minutes after the meeting should have started, the meeting, if it was called at the request of the members, can be cancelled. In other cases, the meeting can adjourn for half an hour after which the members present can form a quorum and have the authority to continue with the agenda.
    • If neither the chairperson or vice-chairperson are present fifteen minutes after the meeting should have started, the present members can elect a chairperson to lead the meeting.
    • At meetings of the association and its regional branches, all voting members will have one vote and will not be allowed to vote by proxy. For the election of the executive management at the annual general meeting one representative per seven branch members will be nominated by the branches to vote. Each representative will have one vote.
    • Voting will be done by means of voting ballot, unless there is a unanimous decision to use another method.
    • Minutes will be kept of all general meetings and ratified at the next meeting.
    • Proposed amendments to the constitution and motions for reconsideration at an annual general meeting or a special meeting, will be submitted to the secretary/treasurer or the chairperson at least 30 days before the day of the meeting at which it is to be discussed.
  15. Amendments to the constitution
    • Any amendments to this constitution will require the approval of at least two-thirds of the members present at an annual general meeting or special meeting called for the purpose of voting on the amendment.
    • Any proposed amendments to this constitution must be distributed to all members of the association at least two weeks before the day of the meeting at which the amendment is to be considered.
    • Any amendments to the constitution will be submitted to the Commissioner for Domestic Revenue.
    • This constitution replaces any earlier versions of constitutions but does not render any decisions made under previous versions of the constitution invalid.
    • In cases of a dispute, the Afrikaans version of the constitution will be binding. End of constitution as consolidated in 2005.

BR 1 (art 3.3) Pro Forma Farmer of the year
BR 2 (art 3.3) Pro Forma Agriculturist of the year
BR 3 (art 5.1) Membership form
BR 4 (art 8) List of members
BR 5 (art 10.5) Minutes of Executive Management meetings must be available within one month of any meeting.

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