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PUBLIC SERVICE SELECT COMMITTEE
13 November 2002
CONSIDERATION OF COMMITTEE'S DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT
Chairperson: Ms P Majodina (ANC)
Draft Annual Report
The Committee considered and adopted the Draft Committee Report, and proposed technical amendments to it.
The Chair informed Members that she has not yet had the opportunity to go through the Report and would not be in a position to clarify any matters raised by Members. She proposed that Members engage in a page-by-page consideration of the Report. The Committee budget for the 2003 financial year has been prepared and the Committee was concerned that it receives less funding than the Portfolio Committee, even though this Committee oversees the operations of no less than three Portfolio Committees. The result is that the Committee is not able to properly fulfil its oversight function.
Attempts have been made to arrange meetings with the MEC's so that this Committee can properly execute its oversight role into the workings of the provinces and advise the provinces to assist them in meeting their objectives.
The Chair took Members through the Report which lists the entities overseen by the Committee during 2002, the support staff and composition of the Committee, the legislation and other matters dealt with. It also lists the reports tabled by the Committee, matters that have been reviewed, analysed or scrutinised by the Committee, monitoring the implementation of legislation and the PFMA and the Committee's public participation opportunities. The following additional matters were raised regarding certain items in the Report.
The Chair noted that this portion of the Report indicates that the Committee has not been able to finalise its interactions with all those housing institutions that have submitted presentations to it during 2002, but this is due to an ambitious programme adopted at the beginning of 2002. Plans have, however, been made to meet with those institutions at their offices, so that this Committee can properly execute its oversight function.
Ms A Versfeld (DP) [Western Cape] agreed that the programme was too ambitious, but contended that the Committee has done a substantial amount of work during 2002 as well.
Mr N Raju (DP) [KwaZulu-Natal] asked whether the Committee's visit to the nodal points has been noted in the Report, as well as the quality of the houses seen during the visits.
Ms Versfeld stated that this has been included in the Report under Point 10.1.
Rev P Moatshe (ANC) [North-West] referred to the last paragraph dealing with the National Urban Construction and Housing Agency (NURCHA) and sought clarity on the reason that the NURCHA is only prepared to become involved in those provinces in which banks are prepared to become involved.
The Chair stated that that statement is based on the submission presented to this Committee by the NURCHA and, as stated earlier, the Committee has not been able to finalise all its interactions with housing institutions. This matter will be raised during the Committee's next meeting with NURCHA. In this regard Members are encouraged to go through the NURCHA document so that they may be better prepared when NURCHA are invited to address the Committee.
The Chair stated that the traditional perception has been that the RAF is inaccessible to the ordinary South African, and the only intermediaries are the legal practitioners. Yet the RAF has recently stated that it is now accessible to everyone, and any South African is now able to apply directly to the RAF in search of relief. RAF leaflets are also being circulated to Members for distribution in their constituencies.
Rev M Chabaku (ANC) [Free State] informed Members that there is a Sotho radio station operating in the Free State that actually has a slot that provides members of the community with a forum in which to address their RAF problems, and even creates a referral system so that the claim may be addressed.
Mr Raju stated that the "blanket or closed shop" approach to dealing with the RAF has now been removed, as ordinary persons can now apply directly to the RAF.
South African Maritime Safety Authority
The Chair stated that the inclusion of this item is based on the meeting that took place between the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) and certain Members of this Committee. A representative has been invited to address the Committee on the safety aspects of persons working at sea.
Mr Raju stated that this is a serious problem and certain people take advantage
of the fact that those persons do not possess the necessary knowledge, and this essentially amounts to exploitation.
Ms Versfeld disagreed that it amounts to exploitation because those persons are so desperate for work that they grasp the opportunity, although the necessary safety precautions are not observed. It is not exploitation.
Mr Raju said that this was not what he meant by exploitation, but rather that the injustice done here is that no-one is following-up on the matter, or finding out what happens to those who have lost their lives at sea.
Ms B Thompson (ANC) [KwaZulu-Natal] suggested that Mr Raju is saying that the proper recruitment procedure has to be followed here.
The Chair stated that the Report does not mention the Committee's meeting with SANTACO, as this major interaction resulted in the first-ever establishment of the Electronic Management System (EMS). Also, bus transportation is not mentioned in the Report either, and this Committee has to make a meaningful contribution to that means of transport.
Mr Monwabisi Nguqu, the Committee Secretary, stated that his proper and efficient functioning as Committee Secretary has been prejudiced by the unexplained absence of the Committee Assistant, Ms Pasiya. The result is that for several months he has been doing the work of two people without receiving any form of compensation for his role as Committee Assistant.
Mr Raju stated that this is a serious indictment on the functioning of the Committee section, and this has to be sorted out.
Rev Chabaku suggested that this be noted and resolved in the next Committee meeting, and Ms Pasiya has to be made to account for her current position, as she has to earn her Committee Assistant salary.
Rev Moatshe contended that the Committee Secretary has to be compensated for the period in which he has been acting both as the Secretary and Assistant.
The Chair noted that Members agreed to this.
The Chair stated that this Committee needs a researcher as well, and this Committee cannot accept Parliament's explanation that there are not sufficient funds available for this position and that a researcher has to be shared with other committees. This Committee cannot rely on donations from the European Union.
Rev Chabaku stated that this is needed by the Committee.
Monitoring Implementation of Legislation
The Chair asked the Committee Secretary to explain what is expected from the Committee in this regard.
Mr Nguqu replied that the Committee has passed various pieces of legislation but has not followed up on it implementation, or monitored its progress.
The Chair invited Members to express any observations they might have regarding the functioning of the Committee during 2002.
Ms Versfeld stated that the Committee has done a significant amount of work during 2002 but its programme was overloaded and too ambitious, with the result that there was no time to accommodate the training and capacitating of Members.
Mr Raju, Rev Chabaku and Dr P Nel (NNP) [Free State] complemented the Chair on the laudable manner in which she has guided the Committee, and stated that her leadership was crucial to the achievements of the Committee.
The Chair noted that Members agreed to the Draft Committee Report, and that the proposed amendments would be effected.
The meeting was adjourned.
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