Contitution

THE CONSTITUTION

Article 1

INTRODUCTION

1. PREAMBLE

1.1 The Portuguese Community of the Republic of South Africa recognise the need of communication between the various communities and to create a body which will act on behalf of the Portuguese Community in all matters affecting its relationship with the South African Government and with Provincial, Municipal and other authorities.

1.2 The Portuguese Community has the desire to build solidarity with the Portuguese Community so as to unite Portuguese persons in a National structure which will be able to address all issues in society with a view to promoting and prospering the interests of the Portuguese Community and to safeguard the religious, civil rights, status and welfare of Portuguese people in the Republic of South Africa.

1.3 The mission of the general structure will be to nurture, foster and galvanise the Portuguese Community, by cultivating a greater general appreciation of their contributions and supporting objective analysis of a broad range of issues with the South African Government, Sadec non-governmental organisations and Portugal, so as to improve the quality of life of all Portuguese people in the Republic of South Africa and free the potential of each such person.

2. NAME AND LEGAL PERSONALITY

2.1 The name of the Association shall be the "Portuguese Forum" (Portuguese Forum).

2.2 The Portuguese Forum shall be a National organisation with its main objective the promotion and protection of the interest of the South African Portuguese Community.

2.3 The Portuguese Forum shall have legal personality and shall, through its authorised representatives:

2.3.1 have an independent existence from its members and officers;

2.3.2 be entitled to acquire, encumber or dispose of movable or immovable property;

2.3.3 incur legal obligations and liabilities independently of its members, officers and office bearers;

2.3.4 be entitled to enter into legal transactions and to institute or defend legal proceedings.

2.4 The Portuguese Forum is a predominant body which will represent, administer and manage the interests of the Portuguese Community of the Republic of South Africa.

2.5 An administrative headquarter will be established to carry out the organisation and administration of the Portuguese Forum as may be determined by its executive committee from time to time.

2.6 The Portuguese Forum shall remain a non profit making organisation which will operate as a Company registered according to the provisions of Section 21 of the Companies Act No 61 of 1973 and shall be responsible to give effect to the cause defined in the Preamble of this Constitution, the objectives hereinafter and matters relating thereto, as determined by the National Executive from time to time.

3. OBJECTIVES

3.1 The objectives of the Portuguese Forum are to promote, co-ordinate and develop the interests of the Portuguese Community without discrimination. To this end and without derogation from the generality of the above, the objectives of the Portuguese Forum are specifically to:

3.1.1 focus on the specific needs of all members of the Portuguese Community throughout Southern Africa and in the process of achieving its stated purpose;
3.1.2 build solidarity at all levels of the Portuguese Community;
3.1.3 promote and endorse the religious and civil rights, status and general welfare of the Portuguese Community in Southern Africa;
3.1.4 campaign for a spirit of national unity and commitment to address and combat the devastating effects of all types of crime on all sections of the Southern Africa population;
3.1.5 establish effective channels of communication between all communities and to interact as representatives of the Portuguese Community throughout Southern Africa in all matters affecting the Community's relationship with both the National Government, the Provincial, Municipal and other authorities and the Portuguese Government;
3.1.6 promote harmonious relations between the Portuguese Community and all other affected sectors of the Southern African population;
3.1.7 further respect for and facilitate the application of fundamental human rights with regard to all sectors of the Southern African Community;
3.1.8 advance the creative content of the Portuguese contribution and enhance the overall quality of the Portuguese culture relative to both the national and international cause;
3.1.9 maintain constructive relations based on issues of common purpose with Portuguese communities throughout the world;
3.1.10 offer whatever financial and other humanitarian assistance may be deemed appropriate to all affected members of the Portuguese Community in whatever situations the members may find themselves;
3.1.11 take any lawful action which the forum may deem necessary enforce the rights and improve the quality of life of resident members of the Portuguese Community and their dependants;
3.1.12 determine from time to time the eligibility criteria for admission as members of the Portuguese Forum based on the stated objectives of the Portuguese Forum;
3.1.13 from time to time to raise and apply funds for the specific execution of its mandate and for giving effect to its stated objectives;
3.1.14 review and apply the standards deemed appropriate for the election and appointment of office bearers required to give effect to the stated objectives of the Portuguese Forum;
3.1.15 plan, control, organise, administer and govern the National structure of the South African Portuguese Community in order to give effect to the objectives of this Constitution;
3.1.16 formulate procedures for the operation and functionality of the Portuguese Forum;
3.1.17 maintain the highest possible standard of professionalism, efficiency and ethics in giving effect to the fostering of the interests of the Portuguese Community in the Republic of South Africa;
3.1.18 represent the interests of the South African Portuguese Community by, inter alia, monitoring all legislation and legislative proposals affecting its interests and by making representations and recommendations concerning such interests as may be appropriate to further the objectives of the Portuguese Forum;
3.1.19 foster and promote the Portuguese Forum nationally and internationally, and in particular procure effective communication with the Country of Portugal;
3.1.20 preserve and secure the future of the Portuguese Forum, its traditions and principals;
3.1.21 maintain and keep records, documents and memorabilia which form part of the history of the South African Portuguese Community;
3.1.22 promote communication with other South African communities and the international Portuguese Community;
3.1.23 address national issues in the Republic of South Africa such as addressing the serious issue of crime and related issues, with the emphasis on economics, education, humanitarian interests and social security;
3.1.24 foster and promote membership of the Portuguese Forum;
3.1.25 care for members of the Portuguese Community, network, unite and take responsibility for the future of the children of the Portuguese Community and protect its general and specific rights and interests;
3.1.26 generally do all such things as are necessary or incidental to the attainment of the objectives of the Portuguese Forum.

4. MEANS OF ACHIEVING OBJECTIVES

4.1 The objectives of the Portuguese Forum shall be achieved by, inter alia, to:

4.1.1 establish the National, Provincial and Local structures within the South African Portuguese Community as specified hereinafter;
4.1.2 acquire, encumber, improve, mortgage, lease, hire, exchange, donate or dispose of such movable or immovable property as may be required to achieve its aims and objectives;
4.1.3 levy membership fees and to raise funds, borrow money and to secure repayment of borrowed money under security of any
4.1.4 part with the property and assets of the Portuguese Forum;
4.1.5 invest and deal with monies of the Portuguese Forum not immediately required, in such manner as may from time to time be determined by the National Executive;
4.1.6 opening banking or savings accounts in the name of the Portuguese Forum and to operate thereon;
4.1.7 employ and remunerate persons with the required skills for the administration of the business and finances of the Portuguese Forum;
4.1.8 take all steps and follow all procedures which are lawful and compatible with the aim and objectives of the Portuguese Forum;
4.1.9 raise and promote funds and donations and gratuities for any purpose which may be deemed necessary and compatible for achieving the aims and objectives of the Portuguese Forum;
4.1.10 prescribe uniform rules and regulations for the administration, control and protection of the Portuguese Forum and its members;
4.1.11 require compliance with the provisions of this constitution and with the rules and regulations issued in terms hereof;
4.1.12 co-ordinate the nature, award and protection of the intellectual property of the Portuguese Forum including any and all trademarks;
4.1.13 keep, save and invest the assets and funds of the Portuguese Forum and tender any share of it as security where it may be required solely for promoting the objectives of the Portuguese Forum;
4.1.14 engage in any other activity which may affect in achieving the aims and objectives of the Portuguese Forum;
4.1.15 establish and support, or aid in the establishment and support, of any associations, institutions or communities and to subscribe or allocate monies for charitable purposes, in any way connected with or calculated to further the overall objectives of the Portuguese Forum, including the support or contribution to any development program related thereto;
4.1.16 arrange sponsorships with any private sector or public sector entity or any other appropriate person for or in respect of the Portuguese Forum or in furtherance of the interests of the Portuguese Forum or its members;
4.1.17 found, undertake or execute any trust, the objectives whereof relate to or are similar to those of the Portuguese Forum and to participate in the management of any such trust and or the operation thereof, either as trustee or otherwise directly or indirectly in such manner as shall be resolved by the Portuguese Forum in respect of the management and operation of any such trust;

ARTICLE 2 

MEMBERSHIP

5. CATEGORIES OF MEMBERSHIP

5.1 Membership of the Portuguese Forum is divided into 3 categories namely National, Provincial and Local.

5.2 Membership of the Portuguese Forum shall be extended to include the following categories of persons:
5.2.1 Portuguese subjects;
5.2.2 Portuguese Nationals;
5.2.3 Spouses who do not qualify in terms of 5.2.1 and 5.2.2 above;
5.2.4 All bona fide family members of persons under 5.2.1 and 5.2.2 above.

6. PROCEDURE AND REQUIREMENTS OF MEMBERSHIP

6.1 Membership of the Portuguese Forum shall be open to persons who:
6.1.1 fall within the categories listed in 5;
6.1.2 subscribe to the objectives of the Portuguese Forum and who accept and wish to participate in its structures and compliance with its constitution and rules;
6.1.3 apply for membership which application will be made and dealt with in accordance with the rules;

6.2 Applications for membership will be submitted to the local Executive of the residential area within which the applicant resides. Such application will be circulated by the local Executive to the Provincial Executive and the National Executive and will be subject to acceptance and approval by the Portuguese Forum, the National Executive, the overriding intention being to incorporate as many persons within the framework of this constitution and in the best interests of the Portuguese Forum.

6.3 If the application of the applicant is approved, upon payment of the required subscription fee, the applicant shall become a member.

6.4 It shall be the duty of members to keep the Portuguese Forum advised of their current postal addresses, from time to time.

6.5 In the case of any applicant who is a minor, the application shall be signed by the applicant's legal or natural guardian.

7. CODE OF CONDUCT

7.1 Members of the Forum shall attend all Forum meetings. Should they be unable to attend a meeting, an apology must be submitted to the Secretary. Members who are absent from three consecutive meetings without apology shall be requested to resign.

7.2 No member shall use offensive language during a Forum meeting.

7.3 All members in a meeting shall address the Chairperson to avoid being personal.

7.4 No member shall bring the Forum into disrepute through his/her public conduct.

7.5 No member shall act in such a way as to create disunity and division in the Forum

7.6 No member shall distort Forum policy positions and misrepresent the Forum for his/her personal gain.

7.7 No member shall purport to represent the Forum without a proper mandate.

7.8 No member shall involve him/herself in confrontations that will diminish the integrity and reputation of the Forum.

7.9 No member shall use the Forum name to fulfil his/her personal interest and abuse Forum property for his/her benefit.

7.10 No member shall divulge information deemed as private and confidential by the Forum.

7.11 No member shall disrespect and offend the dignity of a fellow member or member of the public in whatever way.

7.12 No member shall neglect the performance of duties which are assigned to him/her by the provisions of the Forum Constitution.

8. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP

A member may terminate his membership by resignation submitted in writing.

9. SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION

9.1 The membership of a member who has acted in a manner contrary to the interests of the Portuguese Forum, or has unjustifiably violated the provisions of this Constitution, or brings the Portuguese Forum in disrepute may be terminated in the discretion of the National Executive.

9.2 The member so in question shall be advised in writing by registered post addressed to their last known address or by hand delivery to him personally, of the suspension and disciplinary action and the reasons therefore. A member shall be given the opportunity to be present and to make representations prior to any decision being made regarding termination of membership.

9.3 Any member aggrieved by a decision regarding termination of membership may appeal in writing against such decision to a committee appointed by the national Executive who shall nominate three members to hear such appeal. Such appeal shall be noted in writing and be heard within thirty days after receipt of the notice of appeal. The committee so appointed shall call a meeting to consider the matter save for a right to review to the High Court. The decision of the joint meeting shall be final and binding.

10. RESIGNATIONS

10.1 Any member of the Forum may tender his/her resignation from the Forum in the form of a letter to his Provincial President at least three weeks before the date on which the resignation shall come into effect.

10.2 The full reasons for the resignation must be furnished. 

ARTICLE 3 STRUCTURE OF THE PORTUGUESE FORUM 

11. CONSTITUENT BODIES

11.1 The principal constituent structures of the Portuguese Forum are:
11.1.1 The National Executive
11.1.2 The Provincial Executive
11.1.3 Local Committees

11.2 National Executive
11.2.1 The head of the National Executive:
11.2.1.1 must hold, defend and respect the terms of this Constitution and give full force and effect thereto; and
11.2.1.2 promote the unity of the Portuguese community as defined in this Constitution and whatever will advance the interests of the Portuguese Forum.

11.2.2 Election of the President
11.2.2.1 The President will be elected from the ranks of the nine provincial representatives and will be rotated six monthly;
11.2.2.2 The executive authority of the National Executive is vested in its President and nine representatives, each representing the Provinces of the Republic of South Africa.
11.2.2.3 The National Executive exercises its executive authority by:
11.2.2.3.1 giving effect to the provisions of this Constitution;
11.2.2.3.2 perform in any other executive function, provided for in this Constitution;

11.2.2.4 The National Executive by resolution adopted by not less than two thirds of its members can remove its President from office on the grounds of:
11.2.2.4.1 a serious violation of this Constitution;
11.2.2.4.2 a serious misconduct; or
11.2.2.4.3 inability to perform the functions of his office in which event the remaining members of the national Executive will elect a substitute out of their ranks.

11.2.3 The National Executive will meet not less than once every sixty days.

11.3 Provinces
11.3.1 The Republic of South Africa has nine provinces namely Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Mphumulanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West and Western Cape.
11.3.2 The Executive authority of the provinces will vest in the Provincial Executive who will represent the Portuguese community within that particular province.

11.4 Composition of the Provincial Executive
11.4.1 The Provincial Executive will exist of two members nominated by each of the various local committees representing the various Portuguese communities within the province in question.
11.4.2 The Provincial Executive so constituted will elect a Chairman who will rotate six monthly.
11.4.3 The Provincial Executive will meet not less than once every sixty days.
11.4.4 Upon vacancy arising the provincial Executive shall be entitled to fill all vacancies by co-opting members to their executive. 

11.5 Decisions
11.5.1 The majority of the members of the Provincial Executive must be present before a vote may be taken at all matters before the Provincial Executive are decided by a majority of the votes cast.
11.5.2 The Chairman at a meeting must cast a deciding vote when there are an equal number of votes on each side of a question.

11.6 Powers of the Provincial Executive
11.6.1 The Provincial Executive will give effect to the provisions of this Constitution and will represent its members in its Province and will communicate with the Provincial authorities, police services and other parties within its Province to promote the interests of the Portuguese Forum as defined in this Constitution.
11.6.2 The Provincial Executive will be funded from grants received from the National Executive. The finances of the provincial Executive will be audited annually by a firm of auditors appointed by the Provincial Executive within the Province which it represents.