Constitution of the FOPF

Preamble

We acknowledge God as creator of the earth and its creatures (“God said, Let Us make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth”).
We submit to His to command to “…fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.”
As stewards appointed by God to take care of the earth we are aware of our responsibility and take up the task required to help sustain it for our children to inherit.

1. MISSION
Our mission is to support the conservation, rehabilitation and development of the Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve, the Witvinger Nature Reserve and promote the conservation and sustainable utilisation of the area.
1.1. The “Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve”(Friends of Percy Fyfe) acts as a support group for the existing ecosystems within Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve, and Witvinger Nature Reserve , as well as any other bordering areas which might be included in future. The Percy Fyfe nature reserve is located half way between Pietersburg and Potgietersrus, on the north side of the N1 (area 3,462ha/8,551ac), famed as a breeding centre for rare and endangered species of antelope, such as the Tsessebe, and the Roan antelope.
1.2. Friends of Percy Fyfe undertake to maintain regular contact with the management authority of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve through the officer in charge of the reserve or by other means guided by the authorities’ needs.
1.3. Annual reports of Friends of Percy Fyfe activities will be submitted to the management authority of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve and WESSA.
1.4. Friends of Percy Fyfe undertake to abide by legislation, rules and regulations governing the protected areas that they will operate in.
1.5. Friends of Percy Fyfe undertake to maintain open and transparent communication between itself and the management authority of the protected areas they operate in.
1.6. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve undertakes to become an affiliate member of The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), and to renew its membership annually.
1.7. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve acknowledges and agrees that it will work in accordance with the “Basic Principles of Friends of Nature Areas” document of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA).
1.8. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve undertakes to maintain regular contact with, and to send copies of relevant reports to WESSA (This would cover reports relating to issues involving the nature area).
1.9. The Friends undertake to hold their own regular work parties, meetings and other events; and they undertake to attend general (Regional) Friends group events, whenever possible, and to share skills and ideas.
1.10. The Friends undertake to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) soon after the end of the financial year (31 March). Notice of this meeting shall be given to each member not less than 14 days beforehand, and shall include a reminder about nominations for office bearers (Reminders shall be sent only via email and sms). The Chairman or his appointee shall preside.
1.11. Nominations of office-bearers should be submitted in writing to the Secretary at least ten days before the AGM, naming the proposer and seconder and including the written consent of the nominee.
1.12. The following business shall be transacted at the AGM:
1.12.1. Presentation of the Chairman’s annual report.
1.12.2. Presentation of the financial statements.
1.12.3. Discussion/acceptance of these reports.
1.12.4. Election of office bearers.
1.12.5. Appointment of the auditors (if applicable).
1.12.6. Any other business which the chairman at his discretion may allow.
1.13. Through the secretary, a Special General Meeting (SGM), may be called, in writing, stating the purpose of the meeting. A proposer and seconder and at least 4 other members in good standing must sign the notice, which must be issued at least 14 days in advance.
1.14. Each member shall have one vote. In case of votes being equal, the Chairman has the deciding vote.
1.15. By prior arrangement a proxy vote shall be acceptable for specific items, subject to the proper notification of the items to be considered.

2. FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES
2.1. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve may open and operate an account(s) in its own right with a commercial bank. All moneys accruing to the Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve will be administered wholly by the Friends group.
2.2. Separate funds may be established for specific purposes.
2.3. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve may levy an annual subscription to cover administration costs. Alterations to this amount must be ratified at an ensuing AGM.
2.4. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve may collect moneys from members and the general public under WESSA’s fund raising number in order to fund its projects.
2.5. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve shall keep a proper set of accounts and submit a financial statement at least once a year at the AGM. If the income exceeds R50 000 the statement must be audited and a copy shall be submitted to WESSA within 30 days of the AGM. The auditors to be appointed at an AGM or SGM.

3. MEMBERSHIP
3.1. Membership is open to all persons who:
3.1.1 Subscribe to the Mission statement and this Constitution.
3.1.2 Have completed and signed a membership application signifying commitment to the Mission Statement and constitution.
3.1.3 Have paid the registration and membership fees.
3.2. Membership shall be withdrawn:
3.2.1 If a member is more than 6 months in arrears with annual subscriptions.
3.2.2 If a member notifies the committee in writing that membership is not being renewed.
3.2.3 If the conduct of the member is in conflict with this constitution and remains so after the matter has been addressed with the member by the committee.
3.3. The Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve steering committee with the knowledge of WESSA Regional Chairman may withdraw an individual membership without necessarily furnishing the reason for so doing.
3.4. The Friends Group may withdraw, by majority vote at an AGM or SGM, its membership from WESSA provided the Regional Chairman / committee approves the reasons for doing so.

4. QUORUM, OFFICE BEARERS AND TERM, FINANCIAL YEAR, ETC.
4.1. Size of a quorum for the AGM: no fewer than 10 members in person.
4.2. Size of a quorum for the SGM: no fewer than 8 members, either in person or by proxy (if proxy, then decision making limited to the pre-notified items).
4.3. Size of a quorum for the steering committee: no less than 40% of the steering committee, minimum of 3.
4.4. Number of steering committee members to be elected at an AGM: minimum 3.
4.5. Members of the steering committee so elected shall from amongst themselves choose a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and any other portfolio / office bearers they may find necessary.
4.6. Elections may take place by a show of hands and if requested by secret ballot.
4.7. Duties of steering committee members: Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and other duties and portfolios to be determined by the steering committee from time to time.
4.8. Length of term of office: Two years.

5. AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION
Amendments to this constitution:
• shall be possible only by a majority decision of members present at an AGM or SGM.
• shall be clearly set out in a written memorandum with reasons for the amendment submitted with the notice and agenda of the AGM to all members.
• may be modified at the AGM if, after discussion of the proposed amendment, a majority is in favour of such an amendment.

6. DISSOLUTION
In the event of the cessation of the existence of the Friends of Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve, or the proposed dissolution of that group, all assets not already committed for use in the above defined Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve shall become the property of WESSA and held in a Friends Trust Fund account until the group is reconstituted. Should the decision be that the group not be reconstituted, such assets MUST still be used in the project/area for which they were originally raised.

7. PRIMARY OBJECTIVE
Within such legal restraints as may pertain at any given time, the aim of the Friends of Percy Fyfe is the conservation of the habitat and the fauna and flora of the Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve and in any other area that the committee deems fit for any particular or exceptional reasons.

8. SUBSIDIARY OBJECTIVES
8.1 To raise funds and then to provide the funds plus any material, equipment, information, expertise, advice and publicity necessary to further the aims of the Friends of Percy Fyfe;
8.2 To initiate action to further the aims of the Friends of Percy Fyfe provided this is acceptable, where appropriate, to the Government or Department concerned;
8.3 To promote and sponsor education, training and dissemination of information in any of the disciplines of conservation to further the aims of the Friends of Percy Fyfe;
8.4 To recruit new members world wide and to promote and publicise the aims of the Friends of Percy Fyfe;
8.5 At the committee’s discretion, to encourage and assist the establishment of branches of the Friends of Percy Fyfe anywhere in the world. Any such branch shall be subject to the terms of this Constitution and such administrative rules as may be laid down by the Central Committee, being the Committee of the original Friends of Percy Fyfe;
8.6 To foster a spirit of friendship and co-operation between membership of the Friends of Percy Fyfe and the permanent and temporary residents of the Friends of Percy Fyfe’s physical operating area in the furtherance of the aims of the Friends of Percy Fyfe;
8.7 To collect and accept subscriptions, donations, bequests, endowments and any other benefits from any source whatsoever to be used for the advancement of the aims of the Friends of Percy Fyfe;
8.8 To engage in any other activities as may be considered necessary or expedient in the furtherance of the interest of the Friends of Percy Fyfe and its aims.

9. FUNDRAISING
The Friends of Percy Fyfe is a non-profit organisation that works in conjunction with the department responsible for conservation. Once a project has been agreed on by the Board and the Friends of Percy Fyfe committee, the Friends of Percy Fyfe attempts to obtain funding through both corporate and private sponsorship.