Public Protector’s Report: deliberations

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

11 June 2004

Mr I Vadi (ANC)

The Committee decided to flag certain issues for discussion in the Public Protector’s report. Much discussion was held around documentation that might be needed. Certain members also felt that other Members were discussing the issues too much and that they should just flag issues and discuss them in depth in the discussion time the following week.

The Chair referred to the Public Protector’s report and said they had stopped at paragraph 9 the previous day.

Mr Godi (PAC) suggested that instead of discussing each section, they should flag issues in the report that they wanted to discuss the following week.

Mr Baloyi (ANC) agreed that this should be the process, as did other Members.

Ms Camerer (DA) said that she wanted to flag paragraph 9.2. This related to documents of 8.5.

Mr  Baloyi (ANC) said that the documents mentioned had been dealt with by the Ethics Committee. The fact that the documents had been mentioned did not mean that they were relevant to the core business of the Committee.

Ms Camerer said that she wanted to flag it for the time when they came to discuss it. The documents were readily available.

An ANC member said that if a certain document was needed, justification had to given.

Ms Camerer said that there was no agreement concerning documents. Mr Godi agreed.

Ms Camerer said that 10.1 should be flagged as this was a key paragraph. This needed lots of consideration and documentation as it was at the heart of the report. The Chair agreed and said that this section looked at the relationship between the National Public Protector (NPP) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Ms de Lille (ID) referred to 10.2.3-6 and asked whether the Committee was going to consider whether there was improper interference by the NPP. She felt that this section should also be flagged.

Ms Camerer (DA) clarified that two institutions upholding the rule of law and the constitution were now involved in an undesirable dispute. There were thus a number of issues to discuss such as the legislation under which these institutions operated and their respective mandates. The Public Protector Act said that it could not investigate a judicial decision but there was nothing in the Act which prevented the Protector from investigating somebody that was being investigated by the NPA. This grey area needed to be examined.

Mr Godi (PAC) said that the whole of section 10 had to flagged.

Mr van der Merwe (IFP) agreed but felt that 10.2.6 allowed the Public Protector to make investigations as long as it was justified. He wanted to know on whom the onus was to prove that this was the case. In 10.3, the issue of the sub judice rule was brought in. Some legal opinion was needed here.

Mr Baloyi (ANC) said that if the whole of section 10 was flagged, these terms would be clarified at the time of discussion. An ANC Member agreed.

Ms Camerer (DA) felt that the NPA’s view should be obtained to discuss this properly.

Ms Mentor (ANC) said that the whole of section 10 was important and there should be no discussion now.

Mr Diko (UDM) said that parties could obtain their own legal opinion but it was still important for the Committee as a whole to get legal opinion. The Chair said that this will be discussed later.

Ms de Lille (ID) referred to 11.4. and asked whether the NDPA was the only one that could verify whether the investigation into the Deputy President continued after the public announcement was made to prosecute him. She wanted to know whether the Committee would call the NDPA to answer this. Thus 11.4 should be flagged.

An ANC member said that Ms de Liilie was assuming that the Committee would subpoena people. This was unfair.

Mr Baloyi (ANC) said that the whole of section 11 should be flagged as it dealt with the issues investigated.

Ms Camerer (DA) said that she wanted to raise 11.2 and 11.3 as it had legal aspects in it.

Ms Mentor (ANC) said that the whole of section 11 was already flagged and issues within the section should not be raised

The Chair agreed that this should be flagged and then debated later. The Chair called Ms Camerer to order and said that the issues would be dealt with at the time of discussion.

Mr van der Merwe (IFP) said that if a particular point needed to be raised, they should just raise it so that legal opinion could be obtained.

Ms de Lille (ID) proposed that section 12 be flagged.

Mr Diko (UDM) said that the section should be flagged and when they discussed the section, they could decide what documentation was needed. Ms Camerer (DA agreed.

Ms Johnson (NNP) said that if the Committee requested documentation, they were actually investigating the investigation. This was attacking the integrity of the Public Prosecutor and was overstepping their mandate.

Mr van der Merwe (IFP) disagreed and said that the Public Prosecutor could make mistakes. It was therefore important that there be access to the documents.

Mr Godi asked that members be restricted to just naming the section for flagging and not to go into detail.

Ms Camerer (DA) said that it was important to have documents and to know if the legal opinion obtained was interpreted correctly.

Ms Mentor (ANC) said that there was an element of unfairness in the meeting. The agreement was just to flag issues yet some members were being allowed to flag and advance arguments. Ms de Lille (ID) said she did not feel that people should not be restricted in what they said. The Chair said that the agreement was that issues would just be flagged.

Ms Mentor (ANC) proposed that the entire section 13 be flagged.

Ms Camerer (DA) said input was needed here from the former Minister. Mr Godi (PAC) said this would this would be dealt with when discussed.

The Committee then proceeded to flag sections 14, 15 and 16 for further discussion.

Ms Mentor (ANC) asked if the issues that were flagged constituted the framework of the agenda.

The Chair said that the key areas were identified for discussion. These items would then be discussed the following week. The recommendations would then be examined and the Committee’s view on it would then be taken to Parliament.

Ms de Lille (ID) proposed that section 17 be flagged.

Ms Camerer (DA) asked that section 18 be flagged.

The Chair suggested that sections 19 and 20 be flagged.

Ms Camerer (DA) proposed that section 21 be flagged.

The Chair said that the subsequent issues were linked to the observations made in the report and the findings.

Ms Camerer (DA) asked when the Executive Summary would be discussed.

The Chair said that the issues that would be discussed would cover the issues in the Executive Summary.

Ms Mentor (ANC) said one flagged issue was the report the NPA would present to Parliament the following week. This report would be going before the Justice Committee and then to the NCOP and the National Assembly. The report presently before the Committee would only go before the National Assembly. She wanted to know this related to the other report which was not yet been tabled.

The Chair said that the Committee had not taken any decision about the report before the Justice Committee. The NDPA would be appearing before the Justice Committee on the Budget Vote. The task before the present Committee was to deal with the report before them.

Mr van Merwe (IFP) asked when the NPA and the NPP would be submitting their Annual Reports to Parliament as this might make an impact on their discussions.

Ms Camerer (DA) said that the Public Protector had given his report the previous day and the issue was not contained there.

An ANC member said that the mandate of the Committee was specific and it was only to discuss the report before them.

The meeting was then adjourned.


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