Stop Living in the Dark Ages: Online Meetings in Sectional Title by Jennifer Paddock

Welcome to the future

Everything is moving online. And many things already have.

Who has time to sit in a queue at the bank and wait for a teller? No one, we bank online.

Catching a flight? We avoid the queues and check-in online before we get to the airport.

Want that new gadget, dress, book? We find and order it online and get it delivered straight to us.

Missing someone overseas and want to see their face? We video Skype them.

You see where I’m going with this right? Technology is making our lives so much easier and yet in the South African sectional title industry there are still many people living in the dark ages. Which leads me to the point I want to make in this blog post.

Online meetings.

We have the chronic and recurring problem of not being able to achieve quorums. Why? Because it’s like going to the bank or standing in the check-in queue at the airport – it’s too much trouble! Put the meeting online however and we may see an improvement in attendance, even amongst apathetic owners.

 The legal situation
There is no reason why trustee and owner meetings cannot be properly constituted with remote participants, online. Provided some sort of technology is used to create an interactive experience (video-conferencing technology is perfect), it is possible to allow people in remote locations to interact in a manner that will qualify as a genuine meeting.

I know it’s a big jump for some to start holding owner meetings online, but why not start small – with trustee meetings? A scheme with trustees under the age of 70 would probably love to conduct their meetings online, instead of having to physically meet once a month or once a quarter or however often they get together.

Think about it!

I’ll end off with a few important considerations for online meetings
– The concept of a meeting requires synchronous interaction between all participants, rather than an asynchronous serious of messages. So while email may be very useful, it is not appropriate for holding a meeting.
– When holding a meeting via video-conferencing, it is important that everyone entitled to attend and is present at the meeting is able to interact with all the other participants.
– In circumstances where the identity of a participant is not obvious from their physical appearance, it will be the duty of the chairperson to ascertain beyond reasonable doubt that the interactive communications are in fact from people entitled to attend the meeting.


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