The briefing was attended by four out of a possible 15 Members. The Committee debated the poor attendance level and decided not to proceed with the meeting. The meeting was postponed to 1 July 2009. The Research Unit had engaged in extensive research and was extremely disappointed with the apathy of members who had not attended. The Senior Researcher felt that absent Member’s dedication needed to be questioned.
The Chairperson noted that the Parliamentary Research Unit was scheduled to brief the Committee on their findings regarding the status of women, youth and persons with disabilities in South Africa. However, he questioned whether the presentation should take place given the small number of Members in attendance.
Ms J Watson, Senior Parliamentary Researcher, stated that the work of the Committee was very complex and broad as it cut across several government departments. Due to the nature of its work, the Committee would continue to be scrutinised by the press and public. There were only two meetings scheduled per term. As a result, the viability of the Committee was rightfully being questioned by the public. The issues pertaining to women, children and disabled persons were sensitive issues and they should be accorded greater respect. Under present performance levels; it was impossible for the Committee to meet their mandate as they had met so infrequently.
Mr D Bloem (COPE) said that although it was Friday, it was still a working day. The poor attendance levels were unacceptable and showed a lack of discipline. All absentee Members should be reported to the Chief Whip and be disciplined. It was a waste of time to ‘sit’ and the meeting should be postponed.
Prince M Zulu (IFP) agreed that the meeting should be postponed.
The Chairperson noted that attendance was normally poor on Fridays and suggested that the meeting be postponed to another day.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) concurred with the Chairperson’s viewpoint.
Mr Bloem advised the Chairperson to consult the Coordinator of the Chairpersons Committee to find a suitable date as Members might be sitting in other meetings.
The Chairperson said that she was unavailable for the whole of next week due to a previous commitment and that the meeting would be postponed to the 1st of July.
The meeting was adjourned.
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