By Jennifer Paddock
Jennifer_PaddockIn sectional title schemes the chairperson can be mistaken for (or decide to be) “the king of the castle”. But although a committed chairperson may well work harder and take on more responsibility than the rest of the trustees, s/he does not have individual executive powers and may not make decisions relating to the scheme’s management on his/her own. The responsibility to manage the scheme falls onto the trustees as a group.

The duties and functions of a chairperson that are exercised alone are only those relating to the proper conduct and chairing of meetings. In this article we look at a few of the legalities surrounding the chairperson’s position as set out in the prescribed management rules (PMRs) made under the regulations to the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.Election and tenure

At each annual general meeting (AGM) the body corporate is obliged to elect trustees for the ensuing year. At their first meeting after the AGM, the newly elected trustees must elect a chairperson from among their number. The chairperson will hold office until the end of the next AGM.

Voting rights

The chairperson has a deliberative as well as a casting vote. A deliberative vote is the chairperson’s ordinary vote, which is used in his/her capacity as a trustee at a trustee meeting. A casting vote is a vote reserved only for the chairperson in the context of trustee meetings. This vote can only be used by the chairperson to break a deadlock where, after all the trustees have cast their deliberative votes (including the chairperson), the votes are tied. The casting vote cannot be used in a trustee meeting where there are only two trustees present.


The chairperson can be removed during his/her term of office either by the trustees taking a decision to this effect in a trustee meeting or the body corporate doing so in a general meeting, provided that notice of the intention to vote upon such removal must be disclosed in the notice calling the meeting.


PMR 13 envisages a number of circumstances in which a trustee is automatically disqualified from office. If the chairperson is disqualified as a trustee in terms of this provision, it follows that s/he is also automatically disqualified from the office of chairperson.


If the chairperson vacates office, is removed or is disqualified the trustees must elect another chairperson from among their number who will hold office for the remainder of the period and who will have the same voting rights.

Temporary chairperson

If the chairperson vacates the chair during the course of a trustee meeting, is not present or for some reason is unable or unwilling to preside, the trustees present must choose another chairperson for the duration of that meeting. This temporary chairperson will have the same voting rights as the normal chairperson.

If the chairperson is not present within fifteen minutes of the scheduled time of a general meeting, the members present must elect a temporary chairperson for the duration of the meeting.

Entitlement to chair meetings

The chairperson is entitled to preside as chairperson at every general meeting of the body corporate unless the members of the body corporate at that meeting resolve otherwise.

Chairperson’s discretion regarding voting method

The default method of voting in sectional title schemes is by a show of hands unless a poll is demanded by any person entitled to vote at the meeting either prior to or on the declaration of the result by the chairperson. However, if a poll is not demanded the chairperson is entitled, in his/her discretion, to change the method of voting to one by poll and not by show of hands.

If you want to learn a lot more about sectional title meeting law, enroll for Paddocks’ internet-delivered course Law of Sectional Title Meetings.

Article reference: Volume 4, Issue 11, Page 4.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license


  • Herman reyneke
    17/01/2017 18:45

    Can a person that does not own a section, but has permission from her daughter to occupy the unit, be chosen as a Chair man/lady. Should not owners be the only ones that should be trustees and one of them chosen as chair person? I would rather have somebody that is a definite owner fill that position as they have better judgement being an owner as somebody that is just a sojourner..
    Our chair person is definitely abusing her powers, and a bully.. She is definitely an autocratic leader. I can give examples but its a long story.
    I would like to have some advise as we have heard that there is a new sectional titles law that says only owners should be trustees? is this true

  • Paddocks
    09/02/2017 09:59

    Dear Herman,

    Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

    Kind regards,

  • I was a trustee for 10 years (2001 – 2010) during this time I found out that the chairperson from 2001-2004 was in a conflict of interest with the body corporate. He was elected as chairperson but did not make provision for treasurer, secretary or other positions. We further found that he appointed himself as the contractor without declaring it at to the trustees. He did not attend the AGM that year and never chaired any of his agms the managing agent did it for him. During the course of 2005 him and his brother in law declared a vote of no confidence in the then chairperson who headed the investigation and at that AGM 2006 that current chairperson sold and left the complex. I eventually became the chairperson in 2008. We changed managing agents all the correspondence files was handed to us as trustees. We then found invoices to the value of R105897.15 relating to work personally done by the chairperson during 2001-2004. He instigated work on one day, said he did the work and paid himself the next day, using his wife’s maiden name bank account to transfer the funds to. So him and his wife were in it together. I eventually became chairperson in 2008 we then headed major repairs to our roads, installed water meters, driveway and took complete control of the water billing which dropped for R 45 000.00 pm to R 5000.00 pm. At the AGM 2010 the same chairperson and his brother in law declared a vote of no confidence in me and the then vice chairperson. I was so disappointed I did not fight back. Now we have a new lady who has lived in the complex for more than 18 years who has no sectional titles experience and the wife of the chairperson who committed the conflict of interest back on the board. The current chairperson is bully and the people in our complex are tired of fighting these thieves. We are now in a serious situation where major repairs needs to be effected as our complex is built on a steep terrain and we are experience land slide. The chairperson (has no sectional title experience wont read the minute books to find out historical information) and engineer are on a huggy, huggy relationship basis. 3 Engineers reports have been instigated since October 2016 and May 2017 and one in July 2017 to the value of R 73 000 no repairs are effected as yet. We as trustees have not been included in the discussions of these two reports as for the 2016 report we were not trustees. But we called a special meeting because three inexperienced ladies were having their own ways. What do we do now the chair person wont listen to the expertise of a trustee who has 40 years experience in the same field of civil engineering. She is now seeking the advise of the engineer on body corporate issues.

    • Paddocks
      23/08/2017 15:42

      Dear Lillian,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you. Alternatively, join us on

      Kind regards,

  • Michelle
    30/08/2017 09:39

    Morning – Does the Sectional Title act allow someone to act as the temporary chairman?

    • Paddocks
      08/12/2017 10:08

      Dear Michelle,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. We do offer a 10-minute consultation telephonically for R390. If you are interested, please email

      Kind regards,


  • sharne van schoor
    03/12/2018 15:11

    Can a non owner (tenant) who is a trustee become the chairman

    • Paddocks
      07/12/2018 09:13

      Hi Sharne,

      Thank you for your comment. We would love to help, however we do not give free advice. Here’s how we can help:

      – We offer a 1-week Free Basics of Sectional Title short course.
      – We offer consulting via telephone for R490 for 10 minutes. Please call us on 021 686 3950.
      – We have Paddocks Club, an exclusive online club, to help you get answers to your questions about community schemes.

      Kind regards,