ASSA Annual General Meeting 2015

ASSA AGM 2015/2016 Minutes

Date: 5 Aug 2015
Time: 20:00 to 22:00
Venue: SAAO

Council Role
Prof. Matie Hoffman, ASSA President
Dr Pierre de Villiers, Vice President, Chair – Hermanus Centre
Eddy Nijeboer, Chair – Cape Centre (Meeting Host)
Adv AJ Nel, Hon Treasurer
Maciej Soltynski Council Member, Convenor of Scholarships
Lerika Cross, Hon Secretary
Council Appointees
Auke Slotegraaf, Sky Guide Editor, Section Director Deep Sky
Christian Hettlage, Web Master
James Smith, Web Manager
Cliff Turk ASSET Secretary
ASSA Cape Centre members
Wendy Vermeulen
Keith Gottschalk
Richard Sessions
Heather Sessions
Chris Echard
Richard Ford
Willem Brazelle
Apologies received
Dr I. Glass, Vice President
Chris Stewart, Council Member
Case Rijsdijk, Chair – Garden Route Centre, MNASSA Editor, ASSA Communications Officer
Peter Dormehl, Chair – Durban Centre
Peter Cramb, ASSET Trustee
Tim Cooper, ASSET Trustee

Agenda Points

Discussions / Decisions / Actions



E Nijeboer, the ASSA Cape Centre Chair, who fulfilled the role of host and Master of Ceremonies for the AGM, welcomed everyone and opened the meeting.
Apologies received are recorded in these minutes.



The minutes of the previous AGM meeting held on 6 August 2014 were accepted without amendments (Proposed A Slotegraaf, Seconded M Soltynski).


Report on Council


Report on Council
The ASSA President, M Hoffman presented his Report on Council.

NOTE: All reports will be placed on the website and in MNASSA



Director Reports and Awards

4.1 Reports received from the ASSA Directors

The reports that were received from ASSA Directors were tabled and presented and accepted by the meeting and will be place on the website:

  1. Shallow Sky Section Report from the Director, D Blane.

  2. Deep Sky Section Report from the Director, A Slotegraaf.

  3. Imaging Section Report from the Director, A Versfeld.

  4. Cosmology Section Report from the Director J de Bruyn.

  5. Historical Section report from the Director C de Coning.

  6. Instrumentation Section Report from the Director, C Stewart.

  7. Observing Report received from the Director K Coronaios.

  8. Photometry and Spectroscopy from the Director J Jooste.

No reports were received from J Smit for the Dark Sky and Outreach Sections.

4.2 ASSA Directors Awards

4.2.1 Dave Blane as Shallow Sky Director recommended Chris Vermeulen for a Director’s Award for his Solar observations and wrote in his annual report:

His monthly reports comprehensive and detailed analysis of Solar sunspot activity, including excellent images and graphs of sunspot groups and numbers. He has also analysed the variation of Mean Daily Frequency over a period of time and goes on to predict future activity. Chris has also produced a comprehensive “Amateur’s Guide to Sunspot Observation” which he has made freely available. He is also mentoring other observers who have expressed interest in observing sunspots.”

Chris Vermeulen’s documents will be placed on the ASSA website.

4.2.2 Auke Slotegraaf as Deep Sky Observing Director recommended Hannes & Pieter Pieterse for Observing Certificates and wrote in his report:

It’s a great pleasure to announce that Hannes & Pieter Pieterse have been issued an Observing Certificate for planning and successfully completing an ASSA Top-100 Marathon, on the night of 2014 June 27/28”.

Certificates will be issued to Chris Vermeulen and Hannes & Pieter Pieterse.


Scholarships Report

ASSA Scholarships

5.1 The ASSA Convenor of Scholarships Report was tabled and presented by the Scholarship Convenor, M Soltynski.

Maciej has decided to step down after 14 years as Convenor of the ASSA Scholarships Committee. He gave the meeting an overview of how ASSA Scholarships progressed to the point where 29 students have been funded up to now through part of their University courses.

M Hoffman thanked Maciej for his magnificent contribution to the area of student scholarships and his perseverance in finding funds.


Financial Report

6. Financial Reports 2014/15

AJ Nel presented the 2014 /15 Financial Report.

In response to a question from the floor he clarified accounting fees versus the auditing fees: Auditing fees were paid to the Auditor because of the extra effort required from the Auditor for the years 2011 to 2014, recently completed by R Glass, the Auditor. The fee paid was considered to be a once-off payment rather than recurring expense. The accounting fees are for services approved by ASSA council to enable a smooth auditing process going forward.

M Hoffman thanked AJ Nel for his effort and noted the effort that was required to get the auditor questions answered for the period 2011 to 2015.

It was agreed that the financial report will be placed on the website.



7. ASSA Endowment Trust

C Turk, the Secretary of the ASSA Endowment Trust, read extracts from the report from ASSET.

He noted investment interest of R6 043, a tax provision of R2417 and operating cost of R217 leaving a net disposable income for the year of R3409. From the income a grant was made in January 2015 to ASSA Johannesburg to cover shelving and storage of the photographic plates collection from the Union Republic Observatory of R5739.90. This resulted in a loss for the year of R2331. He noted that the Trust will always be prepared to consider requests for funding within reasonable limits imposed by ASSET’s income.

He also noted that the Trustees have met recently in Cape Town.


Election of Auditor

ASSA Auditor

There were no objections to the proposal to request Ronnie Glass to continue as ASSA Auditor. It was noted that it is ASSA’s own choice to be audited – it is not a mandatory requirement.


Office Bearers 2015/16

Office Bearers 2015/16

The meeting was advised that there was no need for voting for positions on Council o for Appointees as no more nominations were received than were required to fill available positions.

The Council and Appointees’ positions for the 2015/16 year were presented and accepted as listed below.

The new incumbents were welcomed: James Smith (Web Manager) and Claire Flanagan (Convenor of Scholarships).

M Hoffman also welcomed Pierre de Villiers as the new ASSA President for next two years and said ASSA is looking forward to his tenure.


Council 2015/16


Dr Pierre de Villiers (incoming President)

Vice President

Prof Matie Hoffman (outgoing President)

Vice President

Case Rijsdijk (nominated by P de Villiers, seconded by A Slotegraaf)


AJ Nel (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by I Glass)


Lerika Cross (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by C Stewart)

Council Member

Chris Stewart (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by P de Villiers)

Council Member

Ian Glass (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by P de Villiers)

Cape Chair

Eddy Nijeboer

Durban Chair

Peter Dormehl

Garden Route Chair

Case Rijsdijk

Johannesburg Chair

Jerome Jooste

Pretoria Chair

Johan Smit

Hermanus Chair

Pierre de Villiers

Bloemfontein Chair

Marthinus van der Merwe

Role reporting into Council

Appointees 2015/16

Editor -MNASSA

Case Rijsdijk

MNASSA Assistant Editor and Layout Editor

MNASSA Reviews Editor

MNASSA Assistant layout

Ian Glass

Lia Labuschagne

Willie Koorts

Editor – Sky Guide

Auke Slotegraaf

Sky Guide Assistant Editor:

Ian Glass


Christian Hettlage

Web Manager

James Smith

Convener of Scholarships

Claire Flanagan (Nominated by L Cross, seconded by C Rijsdijk)

ASSA Observing Director

Kos Coronaios

ASSA Communications Officer

Case Rijsdijk

ASSA Outreach Officer

Johan Smit

ASSA Archivist

Chris de Coning

Sections (Groups)

Directors 2015/16

A – Shallow Sky: Asteroid, Meteors, Comets, Lunar, Occultations, Planetary, Satellites, Solar

Dave Blane

B: Deep Sky: Deep Sky, Double Stars, Variable Stars

Auke Slotegraaf

C: Photometry, Spectroscopy

Jerome Jooste

D: Cosmology and Astrophysics

Frikkie de Bruyn

E: Southern African Astronomy History

Chris de Coning

F: Dark Sky

Johan Smit

G: Imaging Section

Allen Versfeld

H: Instrumentation: including ATM

Chris Stewart

Editorial Board

MNASSA – Editor

Case Rijsdijk

MNASSA – Assistant Editor and Layout Editor

Ian Glass

MNASSA Assistant Layout Editor

Willie Koorts

Sky Guide – Editor

Auke Slotegraaf

Book Review Editor

Lia Labuschagne

Professional Astronomer

Emeritus Prof. Brian Warner

Professional Astronomer

Emeritus Prof. Michael Feast


Any other business 

As no other business was raised, E Nijeboer closed the formal part of the meeting.


Presidential Address

Prof Matie Hoffman presented his presidential address on Einstein.


Next Council meeting

22 September 2015 19:130 via Skype



E Nijeboer extended a gracious thank you to M Hoffman for his Presidential Address. And thanked everyone for their attendance.

Gratitude and thanks were again extended to ASSA Cape Centre for their kind hospitality.

The meeting closed at 22:05

Reports received from ASSA Directors