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water affairs and forestry Portfolio Committee
7 November 2001
COMMITTEE’S ANNUAL REPORT ; REPORT ON PROGRESS OF NGO WORKSHOP: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Ms B Sonjica
Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Annual Report
The Committee went through the annual report identifying changes that would need to be made. The report was then referred back to the Committee Secretary for further work. Mr Linden Booth from the Contact Trust briefly updated the Committee on the progress that was being made for the NGO and community workshop in February 2001.
The Chairperson began by reporting to the Committee that the Forestry Indaba to be held with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry was set for the 16 to 18 of November, and would take place in Knysna. The programme for the Indaba had been planned by the Chief Director for Forestry, Ms Leal Bethlehem. A bus had been organised to take the members up to Knysna.
Three members of the Committee extended their apologies and indicated that they would not be able to attend the Indaba.
The Chairperson commented that she thought it would be good to have additional stakeholders at the workshop, including SAFCOL, SAPPI and MONDI.
Ms M. Ngwenya (ANC) noted that it would also be beneficial for community representatives to be present. The Chairperson agreed and noted that both the Committee and the Department should look to see how to include communities in the programme.
Mr T. Brutus from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry indicated that the Department was open to suggestions and ideas for the briefings, and would take suggestions forward to the Chief Director. The Chairperson identified restructuring, transformation within parastatals, and the mandates of the various stakeholders as potential items for discussion.
Portfolio Committee Annual Report
Mr Abs Myeni, the Committee Secretary, took the members through the draft annual report.
The Chair asked members to comment on the report, noting areas that needed to be changed or updated. She indicated that the briefing by the MIIU on 30 October and the briefing on the budget on 24 October needed to be corrected. Similarly, the report needed to indicate the costs for the Chilean study tour and state that the report on the tour had been adopted by the Committee.
Mr M. Masala (ANC) stated that the second item in the report, dealing with members’ attendance records for the year, needed to be looked at again. The report indicated that Mr Mothoagae had only attended once, which was surely incorrect.
The Chairperson agreed, noting that she had possibly seen Mr Ncinane only once, yet the report indicated that he had attended at least three meetings.
Other members of the Committee voiced similar concerns regarding the attendance records, and Mr Myeni was asked to go back and confirm the records.
Mr Brutus suggested that the report could further be amended to reflect that the Department had attended more meetings than was indicated and should note the attendance of the Minister at the briefing on the budget. Further, the report did not state that the Protocol on Shared Watercourses had been adopted by the Committee and ratified in Parliament, so this should also be reflected.
The Committee agreed that the report should be referred back to the Committee Secretary who could work with the Chairperson to produce a second draft.
Mr D. Maimane (ANC) further suggested that the report should contain a comment from the Chairperson to help highlight the key issues the Committee had dealt with.
The Chairperson agreed, saying that, in its present form, the report was very academic and did not necessarily give people a good idea of the work of the Committee.
Briefing on NGO Workshop
The Chairperson indicated to the Committee that a workshop was being planned for the Committee to meet with NGOs and community representatives in February 2002. She requested Mr L. Booth from the Contact Trust to provide the members with an update on the progress for the workshop.
Mr Booth thanked the Committee for the opportunity to work with the Committee in getting civil society more involved in Parliament. He indicated that the Contact Trust had sent notices to civil society networks and organisations alerting them to the workshop in February and that much interest had been expressed.
Mr Booth stated that the workshop would be a valuable opportunity for the Committee to build relationships with civil society organisations. The NGOs and communities had a lot to gain by working with the Committee to identify solutions to some of their concerns. In return, civil society would be a valuable resource for the Committee in their work. The greatest challenges facing the workshop were finding funding to pay for the transport of community representatives and small NGOs hoping to attend the workshop and ensuring that as many organisations as possible were informed of the meeting.
Mr Booth requested that the Committee members assist in reaching out to any organisation that may want to attend.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Booth and the Contact Trust for their work with the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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