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Op-eds

Ramaphosa to deliver keynote address at SAJBD conference

  • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)
We were delighted to learn last week that President Cyril Ramaphosa has agreed to speak at the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD’s) upcoming biennial Gauteng Council conference. It will be the first occasion that Ramaphosa will address the Jewish community since becoming President earlier this year.
by SHAUN ZAGNOEV | Aug 23, 2018

In terms of the Gauteng Council’s constitution, the conference has to take place within 24 months of the previous conference, which this year means no later than mid-October. Since the president is available to speak only on 25 November, we have decided this year to hold a two-part conference. The first will take place on 7 October at Beyachad, and will comprise the technical, substantive aspects of a normal regional conference as mandated by the constitution.

Those attending will for the most part be delegates representing the various constituent organisations that are affiliated to the board, although provision will be made for non-delegates to attend as observers. The second part will be for the broader Jewish community, and the programme will be built around President Ramaphosa’s keynote address.

The process of the board’s affiliated Jewish organisations appointing delegates to attend and vote at its conferences, and putting forward candidates for election to its regional councils forms the basis of our claim to be the elected representative of the Jewish community.

Our very legitimacy is contingent on the mandate accorded to us by our constituent bodies, which include the full range of religious, welfare, educational, Zionist, and cultural organisations in our community. It is from these bodies that the leadership of the board has primarily been drawn over the decades. However, once elected, council members can (and generally do) augment their numbers by identifying individuals whose particular skills can enhance the work of the board and bring them on board as co-opted members. We will shortly be communicating with our affiliates to advise them about the upcoming Gauteng Council conference, and the process that needs to be followed to put forward candidates for election

As required by the constitution, the outgoing Gauteng Council chairperson will report back to affiliates on the activities of the Gauteng Council over the previous two years. For the delegates, it will be an opportunity to put forward whatever questions they might have about how the board functions, as well as to discuss wider issues of concern to South African Jewry, whether they be internal matters or national issues. This input is important to us, and will provide the incoming council with useful guidelines about the community’s needs and challenges.

Over the next few weeks, we will focus on preparing for the conference, and I look forward to reporting back on this particular aspect of the SAJBD in action.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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