New OCA committee elected

2019-12-03 06:00
Observatory residents vote for their favourite candidates during the annual general meeting. PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

Observatory residents vote for their favourite candidates during the annual general meeting. PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

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The newly elected committee for the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) hopes to create a unified community and be the voice of the residents.

The management committee (Mancomm) was elected during the OCA’s annual general meeting held at the Observatory community centre on Tuesday 26 November. They were nominated and voted for only by those who have active membership and arrived on time for the meeting.

The newly elected chair, Leslie London, says they are aware of the challenges the OCA is faced with, and it is in his best interest to “make the civic strong, inclusive and diverse”. One of the key focuses on his agenda is restoring the OCA’s relationship with the ward committee and its councillor which was allegedly broken due to the indifferences as well as strengthening those they already have with other structures in the community.

London says he understands that community organisations need each other in order to be effective.

He thanked the outgoing committee for its hard work and commitment in the past year.

London has been serving the OCA as convener and is now taking over from Tauriq Jenkins who is now a subcommittee member for the arts and culture portfolio. Jenkins served as a chair of the OCA for two years and has been under fire with some of the OCA’s members since the beginning of this year, accused of bullying and having poor leadership skills by those who resigned from the Mancomm.

The feud between Jenkins and those members emerged at the meeting when he was forced to answer questions about his leadership and reasons why some of the members resigned during his term.

The back and forth with the concerned members delayed the proceedings of the meeting dividing it into two – for and against Jenkins.

Meanwhile, Jenkins acknowledged the allegations and apologised for the misunderstandings he had with those members, saying he had to stand for what he believed was right for all, not just a few individuals. He welcomed the new committee and agreed with London about continuing creating an inclusive community.

He says what some residents fail to understand is the diversity in the community and the gap between the haves and have-nots, which he says was the root of the challenges the OCA faced during his term.

Sheila Barsel, the newly elected deputy chair, says while the Mancomm has a responsibility to make sure the conflicts referred to do not surface again, they are not turning a blind eye to the needs of the community including dealing with the issue of liquor licenses, street people and big developments. “I think there are lot of basics that we need to go back to,” she concludes.

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