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The quandary of the Board of Deputies treasurer




As this period now comes to an end, there appears to be no new treasurer in sight and Zagnoev is still holding the two key voluntary leadership roles at the board.

Marx stepped down in November 2017 for six months as part of an agreement with the board’s Cape Council and community members, who had questioned his actions when he had been chair of the Cape board.

This led to an independent review panel, chaired by advocate Milton Seligson, investigating the Cape Board elections of August 2017, following complaints from community members. The subsequent Seligson Report told of “a delegate substitution which was engineered by [Marx when he was] the outgoing chairperson of the board and resulted in his son acting as a delegate and casting a vote, which was irregular and unauthorised”.

The report referred to Marx’s “misconduct” and said this instance illustrated “the flawed electoral process which characterised the election of the board” under Marx’s watch. It also said that these actions were “clearly irregular and contrary to the constitution”.

Now, as the six months since Marx stepped down conclude at the end of April, Zagnoev says: “The SAJBD will democratically elect a new treasurer. In so doing, the SAJBD will take into account all the relevant facts and opinions, and has appointed a sub-committee of the board to assist it in this regard.

“We requested three members of our National Executive Committee (NEC), who are lawyers, to review the findings of the Seligson Report and other submissions as they pertain to Eric’s eligibility for election as national treasurer. Their recommendations have not yet been reviewed or discussed by our leadership… we envisage that the NEC will be deliberating over this matter in the near term. When the NEC elects a replacement national treasurer, it will undoubtedly consider all eligible candidates.”

However, Zagnoev would not answer direct questions from the SA Jewish Report. These included why the board would consider a treasurer who has acted with misconduct in the elections, if there are any other candidates in the running to be treasurer, and if the community will have a say in the process.

Furthermore, if it is decided that Marx can return to the treasury, how will the board assure the community that this is the best option for a leader in this post?

A long-term national board member said that while he did not condone Marx’s actions of giving his son a vote, this does not undermine his work as a treasurer. “He was one of the best treasurers we’ve had for a very long time, and with his accounting expertise he looked into areas that have never been looked into before.”

The board member concluded by saying he believed the board would do the right thing going forward as they have the community’s interests at heart.

  • Just before going to print on Wednesday, the SA Jewish Report was told by a source that the board was to call for nominations for treasurer, and that members of the NEC will be able to nominate anyone from the community.


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