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Controlling Bodies

It is important to know that controlling bodies in Southern Africa go by many names. Although the "Presidents Council" is the most popular name, there are also bodies calling themselves "Council" or "Association" or "Federation".

DEFINITION
A controlling body is an area based "alliance" between it's member clubs, and determines its own boundaries.

REPRESENTATIVES
The representatives of a controlling body are usually the Presidents and Vice Presidents of a its member clubs, hence the popular name of "president's council". If the controlling body does not consist of the club leaders only it is probably doomed from the start and carries no punch or credibility. Controlling body meetings should thus not be open to all members as they complicate these meetings and degrade the authority, status and credibility of the controlling body.

MEMBERSHIP
The controlling body creates its own requirements for membership, but must realize that membership is optional and can't be enforced. As a membership requirement guideline, a club should conform to the minimum protocols as listed on our types of clubs page. The more clubs that join the controlling body, the stronger the controlling body and the better chance of success.

[Much can be said as to why it is in best interest of clubs to join their local controlling body. For example, when a non member club presents an event to gather funds for their club, a strong controlling body can successfully boycott this, thereby sending the message to the non member club that they should conform to the majority or suffer. Unity is strength.]

There are big clubs and small clubs, but no single club should dominate the controlling body because of their size. If they are respected their opinions and suggestions will stick easier and the less respected clubs will find this more difficult. When domination by size plays a roll (number of votes based on number of members) the council is doomed to failure.

It must be noted that, even in Southern Africa, the oldest and most dominant of the respected clubs are usually not members of a controlling body. This started many years ago when the one percenter's in the USA refused to be part of the AMA - which is still the case today. One percenter's will not be dictated to or conform to outside rules. Whether or not this will change in the future is debatable, but unlikely.

CONSTITUTION AND JURISDICTION
A proper and well thought out constitution is a requirement. To see an example of a controlling body constitution, click here. Jurisdiction is restricted to the application and enforcement of the self imposed rules (the constitution) created by the controlling body and those rules can apply only to the member clubs within the boundaries of that controlling body's area. Non member clubs can't be touched and are free to do as they please. The controlling body has no jurisdiction over the internal rules of any club (member or non member) and should never tread in this area.

STRUCTURE
The controlling body determines it own office bearers (structure). The office bearers are elected democratically by majority vote and serve a term as defined by their constitution. These office bearers are not dictators who can put their personal stamp on biking matters, but are there to serve only. For example, the Chairman or President is NOT the most powerful biker in the area, but the one most capable of maintaining order and democracy at a meeting.

PRIMARY FUNCTIONS

  1. To bring the member clubs together around one table on a regular basis
    Regular monthly/quarterly meetings are usually arranged and the venue is either advertised or fixed. Member clubs are usually reminded/informed by email or via the grapevine just prior to these meetings. The Secretary usually does this, and also sends/distributes a copy of the agenda.
  2. Event Co-ordination
    This is mentioned first because many controlling body's see this as their one and only function. They must approve events and ensure that dates don't clash. This is a relatively simple but very important task. There could be rules governing when a club is allowed to present an event. For example, some controlling body's don't allow new clubs to present events until they have done their "time", either as members of the controlling body, or years as a club, or both. This is an excellent arrangement and ensures cohesion between the member clubs and better participation. Also it promotes the idea that it is an honour to be allowed to present an event, not a right.
  3. Co-ordinate support between member clubs regarding the events of those member clubs.
  4. Oversee all matters regarding clubbing in their area.
    This entails many things, some of which are:
    • Maintaining harmony between member clubs. In other words sorting out disputes and internal problems between clubs. This also applies to disputes between member and non member clubs. Bikers will be bikers and disputes do happen. It is important that these disputes are settled so that peace and harmony is quickly restored in their area.
    • Maintaining and building a good public image of the biking clubbing scene in their area and instil a culture of reasonable behaviour.
    • Overseeing the establishment of any new clubs and providing these with help and guidance.
      It's all about controlling their area. The controlling body and its member clubs should be jealous of their area to such an extent that they keep their eyes peeled for new clubs popping up. This is one of the most serious problems they have to deal with, so this task is exceptionally important and should always be high on their priority list. These days every Tom, Dick and Harry who buys a bike wants to establish a new club so that they can also be "manne" and wear a patch. This is a problem because most of these applications are from new one's who have little or NO knowledge of the biking scenario. If these applications are not monitored and followed up, a controlling body could find themselves severely compromised when they discover Dick and his biker chick arriving at a jol on their 200cc with a cartoon patch depicting Mickey Mouse and an MC tag prominently in the middle of it. This actually happens in reality. Because this function is so important, we'll go into a bit of detail about how a controlling body usually approaches it.
      • Firstly, and most importantly, the controlling body will determine their requirements for the establishment of a new club, and make these known. Usually this forms part of their constitution. These requirements are made known via their web site or any other means. See Starting A New Club for guidelines. Another excellent source is the MAWC web site, where you can see a real live working example.
      • Secondly, they will instruct every member club to convey to its members to be on the lookout for unknown patches, and if such exist to get the appropriate detail so that they can follow up. Somebody will be responsible to monitor the Motorcyclists SA web site (daily) and BikeSA magazine (monthly) for new applications to start a club in their area. Should such applications exist, and should the controlling body not already have contact with the applicants, the controlling body should make contact with the applicants so as to further monitor the process and ensure that their requirements are met.
      • If a new applicant does not conform to their requirements they should handle the situation in a way they see fit.
  5. Provide member clubs with guidance regarding accepted biking protocols. Basically, this boils down to "reminding" member clubs about how clubbing bikers do things the proper and respected way. This is something that has been forgotten in our modern biking scene. How to do this? At a controlling body meeting, use a knowledgeable expert speaker that gives a quick and interesting presentation regarding some or other specific protocol. As usual, this will get the tongues wagging, but that is exactly what you want.
  6. Ensure that controlling body decisions and important information get to the bikers.
    If the club leaders don't pass the stuff from a controlling body meeting on to their members then the whole concept and aim of a controlling body fails. As in the military, the officers must inform the ranks, otherwise there can be no battle. This entails ensuring that the club reps do their jobs after the controlling body meeting. How many controlling body's see this as their responsibility? Proper leadership is the key. Teaching leadership is necessary where it does not exist.

ESTABLISHING A NEW CONTROLLING BODY
There are many area's in Southern Africa where controlling body's don't exist. Nothing prevents the local clubs from forming their own controlling body, as long as it is done in a good and proper way and is supported by the majority of clubs in that area. There is no national body to get permission from as such a body does not exist (yet). If the new controlling body should fall within an area of an existing controlling body then obviously the establishment thereof will be subject to negotiation with the existing controlling body. Existing controlling body's can give much guidance and those wishing to establish a new controlling body should approach them for help.

No International Affiliations! If such exists it should be cleared with your local controlling body.

For more advice, contact us.

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