Dear PsySSA Members

We trust that you are well and that you are coping with the new ‘normal’ while keeping safe and healthy at this time. We send you this correspondence with good wishes and to keep you informed of developments within your Society.

On Thursday, 13 August 2020, a Special Meeting of the PsySSA Council was held to discuss the leadership succession within the organisation, given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on broader society and on PsySSA as an organisation. Like other professional societies, PsySSA has had to contemplate the matter of leadership continuity. Given our inability to hold our AGM, which has always been held during our annual congresses, discussions have been occurring within various structures on this matter, and with the Past Presidents’ Forum, recommending that the current Executive Committee be requested to remain in office until an AGM is held during the Annual Congress next year.

The PsySSA Council, as the highest decision-making body of the organisation between AGMs, deliberated this important matter, and a motion was unanimously passed to extend the current leadership terms of all its structures until the next anticipated AGM in September 2021, and at the time of our next Annual Congress. Cognisance was given to how other psychology organisations elsewhere have dealt with this, especially the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), of which PsySSA is the adhering national representative.

In essence, the PsySSA Council resolution states that:

  • “Noting that the exigent circumstances under the Emergency Disaster Regulations preclude PsySSA from having a Congress in September, at which the AGM would be held, and following communication to our members regarding the postponement of the Congress, we, the Council of PsySSA, wish to commend the PsySSA Executive Committee for availing themselves to serve PsySSA until the next AGM is held.”

This decision was based on the following:

  • The unanticipated effects of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • The uncertainty of the coming months nationally, and for organisations such as ours, as a consequence of the disruptions caused by the pandemic;
  • The postponement of the Annual Congress and AGM;
  • The challenges associated with electing and efficiently transitioning to a new leadership under these circumstances;
  • The fact that the current leadership has built up an organic expertise in pivoting the organisation to a blended footprint in this difficult time; and
  • The willingness of the Presidency and the Executive, with the support of all of the PsySSA structures, to extend their terms of office until the AGM in 2021.

What this effectively means is that the Presidency and the Executive, all Divisional Leadership, Branch Structures and Standing Committees will remain in place until late 2021. Where, in exceptional cases, individuals are unable to remain in assigned portfolios, in divisions, branches and standing committees, the Executive will work alongside those structures in filling vacancies to ensure uninterrupted functioning of the organisation at all levels.

We feel confident that this will help us maintain the ongoing organisational stability of PsySSA as we continue to navigate and hopefully emerge stronger from this social and health crisis.

As members, we believe it is important that you are made aware of this decision by the PsySSA Council, and would welcome any comments or feedback to until 12h00 on 28 August 2020.

We thank you for your consideration and ongoing support, and wish you and your loved ones well in these challenging times.

PsySSA Council
15 August 2020

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