Immigration Bill, Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill; Director-General's Contract; SADC Committee Report

Home Affairs

11 September 2001
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

11 September 2001

Mr D A Mokoena (ANC)

Immigration Bill [B46-2001]
Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill [B53-2001]
Letter from Home Affairs Director General to Home Affairs Portfolio Committee: “Explanation of status of my contract”
Letter from Public Services Director General Home Affairs Director General: “Extension of contract as Head of Department”
Letter from Home Affairs Director General to Public Services Director General: “Extension of Contract as Head of Department”
[See Appendix for letters]

Members were advised by the Chair to familiarise themselves with both the SADC Report and the Immigration Bill before discussing them at a future date. It was agreed to obtain a legal opinion from both state and parliamentary law advisors on the constitutionality of the Immigration Bill.  The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill was referred back to the law advisors as the Chair felt that a typographical error had been made and the word “majority” should actually read “maturity”.  With regard to the Director-General’s contract it was felt that the Director-General should sign a contract of employment, however this would not differ in substance from the previous agreement. 

SADC Committee Report
The Chair thanked the clerk for compiling the SADC report so promptly and recommended that members take away the report and read it so that it could be discussed two weeks from then.  No further comment was made on the report.

Immigration Bill
The Chair proposed that the Bill be treated like the Electoral Bill in that Members should first acquaint themselves with the facts of the Bill before calling in the legal advisors and then having the public hearings.  The Bill was important because it was South Africa’s first Immigration Bill and would therefore generate a lot of national as well as international interest and Members were therefore advised to discuss the Bill with their parties.

Mr F Beukman (NNP) felt that it was important to get an opinion from the legal advisors on the Bill because issues had been raised by the Rules Committee on its constitutionality.

The Chair said that he was aware of that but had assumed that “since the Bill was put through the ATC [Announcements, Tablings and Committee reports] already, it was constitutional”.  He felt that since the Bill was already in the parliamentary process only the matter of the correctness of the technical procedures regarding the Bill could be discussed with the state law advisors.  However this did not preclude members from familiarising themselves with the Bill.

Mr Beukman suggested that the opinion of parliamentary law advisors should also be sought.

The Chair agreed and felt that it was good to get a balanced view.

The question was then raised whether a time frame could be set in order to know when the Bill would go through Parliament.

The Chair stated that matters of strategy must be postponed.  Members should first familiarise themselves with the Bill in order to ensure that there would be no controversy over it and that the procedure would be faultless.

Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill
The Chair felt that a typographical error had been made in the second line of the Preamble and that the word “majority” should actually read “maturity” and the Bill should therefore be referred back to the state law advisors.

It was suggested that the word could not be a typographical error because it was repeated several times throughout the Act.

The Chair felt that it would be safer to refer the matter back to the state law advisors.

Director General’s contract
It had been mentioned in the newspapers that the Director General of Home Affairs had not signed a contract of employment and the matter had then been raised at a Standing Committee on Public Accounts Meeting.  The Chair asked Mr Grobler (DP), Mr Skhosana (ANC) and a third member to read aloud the three letters related to this issue.  He then stated that the documents were self-explanatory and asked if there was any comment.

Mr G Grobler (DP) said that the matter was a little more clear than before and asked if it was possible to have a look at the original contract before making a decision.

The Chair wondered if the committee would be acting ultra vires if they did.

Mr M Sikakane (ANC) asked what they could do with the contract since the Director General had already been working under those terms and conditions for so many years.

Prince N Zulu (ANC) asked if they could look at the original letter of employment.

The Chair passed the question over to Mr Grobbler who replied that he had just received a letter from the Public Services Minister on the terminations of services of the Director General but that he had not yet had time to look at the letter and he would get back to the Committee on that question.

The question was asked about the exact meaning of the phrase “new performance agreement” in the undated letter from the Director-General of Public Services to the Director-General of Home Affairs.

Mr Grobler responded by saying that the word “new” implied that it was a new employment contract.

The Chair added that the contract was not different substantively and that there was no material difference; it was a matter of fact.  The problem was that the Director-General had not signed a contract.

A question was raised concerning the fact that one of the letters was undated and the  sequence of the correspondence could therefore not be established.

The Chair replied that a letter could be written to the Director-General requesting the date of the letter for the record.  However he also felt that the matter should be laid to rest and did not want MPs to be too facetious.

The meeting adjourned.

Letters relevant to the Director General’s contract:

To: Mr A D Mokoena (Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs)
From: Mr B L Masetlha (Director General): Department of Home Affairs

10 September 2001

Dear Chairperson

With reference to your letter dated 29 August 2001 in respect of the above-mentioned subject.

You will note that it was the decision of Cabinet to extend my contract of employment as Head of Department, Home Affairs.  It was therefore not necessary to sign an employment contract different from the one that I signed when I was deployed to my current position.

I have, however, already by means of a letter to the Department of Public service and Administration, accepted the decision of Cabinet to extend my employment contract on the same terms and conditions as stipulated in my original employment contract. Copies of the relevant letters are attached for your kind information, please.

It is noteworthy that such an arrangement was done in terms of Section 3B(3) of Public Service Act, 1994 (Act 103 of 1994) which states that any person appointed as head of department and who is thereafter deployed in accordance with subsection (2), shall for the unexpired portion of his or her term of office, or extended term of office, be appointed at the same salary and conditions.

It is trusted that the above information meets the Chairperson's requirements.

To: Mr B L Masetlha (Director-General): Home Affairs
From: Mr Muthanyi Robinson Ramaite (Director-General): Department of Public Service and Administration

Dear Colleague

Previous correspondence and discussions regarding the extension of your term of office have reference.

As you are aware, Cabinet recently approved the extension of your term of office as HoD of Home Affairs with a period of 12 months. I hereby wish to confirm that the same conditions of service as were applicable during your initial term of office will apply during your extended term of office.

As you are properly appointed as HoD for the extended period, you will remain responsible for the efficient management and administration of your Department in accordance with all relevant legislation and other prescripts

Please ensure that you enter into a new performance agreement (PA) with your executing authority as soon as possible.

To: Mr M R Ramaite (Director-General): Department of Public Service and Administration
From: B L Masetlha (Director-General): Department of Home Affairs

3 September 2001

Dear Colleague

Your letter in respect of the above subject has reference.

The content of your letter is hereby noted and I accept the decision of Cabinet to extend my term of office as HoD of Home Affairs for a period of 12 months. It gives me great pleasure to accept the offer subject to the same conditions of service as were applicable during my initial term of office as there are no changes attached to the post or capacity in which I was appointed.

As Head of Department of Home Affairs, I am prepared to exercise all the powers and to perform all the functions entrusted to a Head of Department by or in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), Public Service Act, 1994 (Act 103 of 1994) or any other law.



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