Minutes of the ORSSA Executive Committee Video Conference held on 14 March 2008 The meeting was attended by Sarma Yadavalli (President), Marthi Harmse (Vice President), Wim Gevers (Treasurer), Isabelle Nieuwoudt (Secretary), Stephan Visagie (ORiON Business Manager), Francois Bester (Newsletter Business Manager), Johan Joubert (Additional member), Ozias Ncube (Additional member), Neil Manson (Johannesburg Chapter Chair) and Margarete Bester (Western Cape Chapter Chair). 1 Welcome and apologies Sarma Yadavalli welcomed everybody present. The new webmaster, David van der Merwe, in his absence was congratulated on his upcoming wedding the next day. Apologies were received from Jan van Vuuren (ORiON Editor), Basie Kok (Newsletter Editor) David van der Merwe (Webmaster), Hennie Kruger (Additional member), Maseka Lesaoana (Additional member), Danie Payne (Pretoria Chapter Chair) and Andy Msiza (Vaal Triangle Chapter Chair). 2 Approval of Agenda Wim Gevers added item 13.3 under ‘General’ regarding the upcoming AGM and membership fees. 3 Acceptance of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting Stephan Visagie proposed to accept the minutes of the web meeting of November 16th, 2007, seconded by Ozias Ncube. 4 Finances Wim Gevers is hoping to send out the invoices for membership fees for 2008 together with the March 2008 issue of the Newsletter. Of the 347 members only about 180 paid their membership fees for 2007. There are, therefore, approximately 160 outstanding membership payments for 2007. There is currently R87 000 in our accounts, but ORSSA's membership fees to EURO and IFORS for 2006-2008 are still outstanding. One of the foreign members, John Hearne, is a fully paid-up member, but is thinking of ending his membership since he receives little benefit from it (He does not attend the conferences or chapter meetings, etc). Some members from Zimbabwe have also indicated that they simply do not have the money to pay their membership fees. Wim Gevers suggests that we consider a "soft membership" option similar to the "soft retirement membership" option for these members (and other members from African countries). For the "soft retirement membership" a retired member pays only R80, but does not get a hard copy of ORiON or the Newsletter. Wim Gevers does not have any procedure in place for such an option and suggests that a proposal should be made at the next AGM. Marthi Harmse mentions that the AGM need not approve the waiving of membership fees for certain members, since it is entirely up to the executive committee. If such an option is taken, we must make sure that these members do not get hard copies of ORiON or the Newsletter. The option of distributing ORiON and the Newsletter electronically to these members is raised, but it is also stated that this might make it available to anybody, which might lead to the possible problem of non-payment for hard copies. The option of putting it on the web site with read access, but not downloadable, is also mentioned. However, Neil Manson indicates that it does not seem that simple to make a file on a website read-only and not downloadable, or to set up a member inclosure on the website. No final decision on this matter is taken. Regarding the signing rights: Just as Wim Gevers received Marthi Harmse, Stephan Visagie and Sarma Yadavalli's information and went to Nedbank, the bank informed him that the procedure had changed and that everybody who needed signing rights on the ORSSA account had to physically go to a Nedbank branch to verify all information and to sign the forms at the bank. The bank also needed a certified copy of the minutes recording the decision as to who would get signing rights. Action: Isabelle Nieuwoudt will send the minutes to Marthi Harmse with provision for both Marthi and Isabelle to sign them. Marthi will sign the minutes and send them back to Isabelle. Isabelle will then sign the minutes as well and send them through to Wim Gevers. In the mean time, Marthi Harmse, Stephan Visagie and Sarma Yadavalli will send Wim Gevers the name and branch number of the Nedbank branch closest to each of them. The outstanding signing rights is also the reason why Wim was unable to pay our membership fees to EURO or IFORS. Wim Gevers still has not found time to list what needs to be included in the database system and is also uncertain as to when he will be able to look into this matter. Wim Gevers has approached a retired colleague of his, Willie Hamman, to audit the ORSSA statements for 2007. Unfortunately, the auditor needs to be a CA and registered as a practising auditor. Thus, Wim Gevers needs to look for someone else. Of course, there will also be a fee payable if the auditing is done by professional auditors. In addition, Dave Evans has not yet appointed anyone to audit the 2006 statements, and until these statements have been audited, Wim Gevers cannot set up final statements for 2007 to be audited. 5 Website The issue of web hosting. At the moment the website is being hosted at Stellenbosch, without a member of the executive still working at the specific department. If any member of the executive knows of a different, more suitable server they should contact David van der Merwe. Alternatively, professional hosting services must be used. Stephan Visagie raises concern that, in the latter case, it might be costly to upload ORiON onto the website. Marthi Harmse will ask David van der Merwe to contact Basie Kok, Stephan Visagie and Neil Manson regarding professional hosting services for the ORSSA website. All executive members who have not done so yet must please send their full contact details and photo to Isabelle Nieuwoudt. She will then also send it to David van der Merwe to update the executive page on the website. The historical files on the old website also need to be addressed immediately. 6 Newsletter - Nothing new to report at this stage 7 ORiON ORiON issue 24(1), due out in June 2008, is filling up nicely. Three papers have already been accepted and it is anticipated that a further four papers will be accepted soon – so the June issue promises to be a bumper issue, both in terms of quantity (7 papers and approximately 120 pages) and quality. Normally, if ORiON comprises more than 120 pages, an article will stay over to the next issue. However, if there are fewer than 80 pages the printers experience problems in binding the journal. These bounds were determined by the current ORiON Editor and the ORiON Business Manager. Action: Jan van Vuuren and Stephan Visagie must make sure that these bounds as well as the reasons for these specific values are included in the ORiON procedures on the website. It was suggested at a previous Executive Meeting that a copy of ORiON issue 24(1) be included in every IFORS delegate’s bag. The Editorial Board agrees that this is a good idea. Since 800 abstracts have been accepted for the conference, it is anticipated that around 800 delegates will attend IFORS (around 600 delegates have registered so far). The IFORS organizers should be contacted and asked how many ORSSA members have registered for IFORS; ORiON should not be posted to these members. It is anticipated that at best 80 copies of ORiON may be saved in this way. It is therefore suggested that Stephan Visagie must budget for around 750 extra copies of this issue of ORiON. Stephan Visagie will obtain a budget from the printers for this number of copies – currently the cost is roughly R40/journal. Another important question was: How would these IFORS copies of ORiON be transported to Johannesburg? Margarete Bester said that she and Francois Bester were driving to the conference in a bakkie and they could take a few copies. Stephan Visagie must also obtain a quotation from a courier service for the transport of all copies of ORiON to Johannesburg. Ozias Ncube will also contact Stephan Visagie during the next week or so regarding the cost of using the UNISA transport system between Johannesburg and the Parow branch. A high-profile, international Advisory Board has been appointed for ORiON and will be advising the Editorial Board on standards on a post-publication basis as a quality control mechanism and on refereeing disputes as from Issue 24(1) onwards. ORSSA approved remuneration of an editorial assistant for ORiON in 2007. Adri van der Merwe filled that position last year as well as this year, and is assisting the editor significantly and in a very professional manner. The treasurer (Wim Gevers) agrees that she may be paid R3000 as soon as possible for her 2008 duties rather than at the end of the year. A motion is also approved that an assistant to the Business Manager of ORiON may be appointed and that this student may also be paid R3000 immediately. 8 IFORS 2008 Currently, the local organising committee meet once a month. So far, between 700 and 800 abstracts have been received. The financial break-even point is around 800 delegates. The NRF gave a sponsorship to help students from the Universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Limpopo to attend the conference. All these students will be treated as one application when the money is allocated. Other sponsorships are as follows: 1. R100 000 from UNISA organised by Ozias Ncube 2. R60 000 from the DBA, organised by Dave Evens, have been approved but not paid yet 3. R100 000 from StatsSA has been approved (Sarma Yadavalli only heard this today) 4. The CSIR sponsored all the printing cost of, for example, the pamphlets We are still waiting for sponsorships from Cape Town. Dave Masterson was to have approached Standard Bank, but no feedback has been given yet. If 800 fully paid-up delegates attend the conference the sponsorship money will be extra and can allow for more expensive things (like for example bags, etc). The local organising committee have decided to keep within the budget and adjust the budget regularly to stay within the limits. Everybody is asked to remind members they know to pay their registration fees. 9 Awards 9.1 Tom Rozwadowski medal: A notification to members to nominate people will be sent out along with the Newsletter. 9.2 9.3 ORSSA Fellowships and Recognition Awards: Sarma Yadavalli will send an invitation to nominate candidates to Wim Gevers, to be combined with the one for the Tom Rozwadowski medal. Wim Gevers will then send it via email to all members. Student competition: Margarete Bester is still struggling to get hold of anybody in the financial department at SAS to follow up on the unpaid student competition sponsorships for 2006 and 2007, since the previous ORSSA contact person has left SAS. Marthi Harmse will also try to find a contact person at SAS. Margarete Bester should email the MD of SAS since she could not get response from anybody else. Sarma Yadavalli also indicates that he would visit SAS the following week. Margarete Bester said that as an alternative, PIC Solutions were also interested in sponsoring the student competition. It is decided that Margarete Bester should first ascertain whether SAS still wants to be involved with the ORSSA Student competition. Since they have been involved with the competition for so long, they should have the first option to do it again before we look for other sponsorships. If no response from SAS has been received by the end of March, Margarete Bester may go ahead to find a new sponsorship. Her concern that all the emails etc referring to the SAS student competition is noted. 10 EURO To be on the safe side, Wim Gevers should contact EURO regarding the payment of ORSSA's membership fees as minuted under item 4. 11 SACNASP Hennie Kruger attended the SACNASP workshop on 12 March 2008 on behalf of ORSSA. Hennie reports that the main result of the workshop is that ORSSA and other institutions will probably have to affiliate with SACNASP in order for our members to be able to register as professional scientists. The executive committee of ORSSA agree to affiliate with SACNASP. Hennie also reports that SACNASP will also rely on us (and other societies) to assist them in preparing guidelines such as requirements for registration, minimum qualifications, etc. Following the workshop, SACNASP will prepare draft documents that will be circulated to all the various societies represented at the workshop for comment. SACNASP will also send out application forms to affiliate with them. As soon as Hennie Kruger has received these forms he should send them to the executive committee for comment. 12 Chapter Since Neil Manson was out of the country the Johannesburg Chapter had a slow start this year and their fist meeting would take place the following week. After that they are set up to have an event approximately once a month. Nothing was received from Carel Anthonissen of the KZN Chapter. The Pretoria Chapter will have their first speaker in April. A further 3 events are lined up for the year. Nothing was received from Andy Msiza of the Vaal Triangle Chapter. The Western Cape Chapter has set up some dates but has engaged no speakers for them yet. The chapter committee will start organizing its first event, namely the Western Cape student competition, in April. Sarma Yadavalli will send an email to all chapter chairs to remind them to send a chapter report for the next executive committee meeting. Margarete Bester asks if it will be possible to find out which of the international speakers attending IFORS 2008 might be interested in visiting the Western Cape after the conference. Marthi Harmse promises to follow up. 13 General 13.1 People to People visit: Nothing more to report. Ozias Ncube mentions that after the visit UNISA had some follow-ups with two universities in the USA. 13.2 Exec meeting dates and times: The next executive meeting should also be a video conferencing. It is decided that this meeting should take place during the first week of June, since we need to have an executive meeting on issues for the AGM at least a month/5 weeks before the next AGM ( during the IFORS conference in July). Ozias Ncube will send Isabelle Nieuwoudt a list of available time slots during the first week of June at UNISA's video conferencing facilities. Action: All awards mut be finalised by this meeting in order for the executive committee to vote where applicable. The following executive meeting will take place on the Sunday before the IFORS conference, about 4 hours before the welcoming function. Margarete Bester will find out if we can have it at the PIC offices in Rosebank and Neil Manson will find out what the possibility is to have it at Monash University - any additional room that we want to use at the Sandton Convention centre will involve large costs. 13.3 Upcomming AGM and membership fees: The membership fees need to be raised and the members need to be informed about the raise at least one month before the next AGM. In order to determine a realistic membership fee Wim Gevers needs to set up a complete provisional budget for 2009. Action: All executive members must send a summary of all expenses of their respective porfolios to Wim Gevers well in advance of the next executive meeting in June.