Sectional title corner – How can I get the mean caretaker fired?
I’ve recently been made a trustee of the complex which I stay in. We have an elderly lady who is our caretaker. She has a terrible attitude, especially to coloured and black people; even saying to some of the white teenagers that they mustn’t hang around with black kids, she’s racist that way. She cuts people’s electricity and imposes fines on people, yet there is no mention of a fining system in our rules, but she does as she pleases. She screams and shouts at the kids. I experienced her having a shouting match with my neighbours who were talking to her nicely and she threatened to fine them – I was so shocked at her behaviour.
Today, as I drove out, I saw a big roll of barbed wire lying against the wall in the kids’ playground. The trustee’s, which are seven of us, have a whatsapp group. On the group, I stated. “Hi All, I’ve just gone past the playground and it’s a bit concerning that there is a big roll of barbwire lying in the park. This is a very dangerous hazard”. Then a trustee who is very friendly with the caretaker, responded, “Hi M, We are a team. Please stop telling us what to do and do something to help”. The caretaker responded, “Agreed we are not employed by you”. I replied, “I wasn’t telling anyone what to do, I was merely raising a concern”. Another trustee commented, “Residents are there to raise problems, Trustees are there to solve them.” He of course, is also friendly with the caretaker.
There was only one trustee who agreed with me and said there is no need for sarcasm and can we please respond to each other more politely. This evening, the first trustee who had commented, then posted on the group asking myself and the other trustee who stood up for me, to make ourselves available to see the caretaker to get log in details for our visitors portal, to take that responsibility off her shoulders. She also continued to state other instructions to the caretaker to be done. The caretaker then responded, “No problem will do. Don’t let that thing stress you, as for Friendly trustee, he can go have tea with her.” I responded, “Hi Trustee 1, that’s no problem. Caretaker , that comment was uncalled for. It appears you have a personal issue with me and the manner in how you are behaving is appalling. We can meet and have a chat like adults. Please let me know what time you’re available as per Trustee 1’s request.” Her response, “From 8am to 1pm Monday to Friday.”
I sent a mail to our managing agent, asking to have a meeting with him, but the problem is, he also thinks the world of this caretaker because she’s ever so sweet to him and he has never seen her bad side. How should I handle this situation? Residents in this complex have had enough of this old woman and her terrible attitude towards people. Is she allowed to be a caretaker at her age? Residents who have been here a long time, have told me what a nice complex this was until she became a caretaker.
So, are there requirements to be a caretaker, how are these determined? And what steps must be taken to replace the current caretaker?
I look forward to hearing from you. – M
Hi M, the body corporate (owners) set the requirements. And the caretaker is an employee of the body corporate (all owners).
If you want to get rid of the caretaker I suggest that you get at least 25% of the owners (in PQ) to sign a petition with you requesting the trustees to call a special general meeting (SGM) to discuss the replacement of the caretaker. At this meeting everyone can voice their concerns and come with proposals on how to remedy the situation.
If the trustees do not call this meeting within 14 days (“call” the meeting not “hold” the meeting) then the concerned owners can go ahead and call the meeting themselves.
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Who is Karien Coetzee?
Karien Coetzee is the national property management consultant at property management company, Trafalgar. She holds qualifications in sectional title schemes management and homeowners association management.