Economic Development Committee Programme for second term: adoption

Economic Development

08 July 2009
Chairperson: Ms E Coleman (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Committee considered the draft programme for the the second term, but, at the suggestion of the Chairperson, adopted only the portions relating to the month of August, in view of uncertainty surrounding future developments in Parliament from September to the remainder of the financial year. It was noted that a further programme would be tabled and the programme being adopted was not cast in stone, as it could still make room to deal with any developments that may have a bearing on the Committee's work. Members commented on the role of the public hearings, and made the point that it was up to the new Department of Economic Development to come up with proposals, as informed by the public, and that its White Paper, Strategic Plans and suggestions on the way forward could then be interrogated by the Committee. Members also agreed that it would be important to conduct on-site inspections to monitor the progress of programmes being implemented by the Department.

Meeting report

Committee's Programme for the Second Term: Adoption

The Chairperson tabled the Committee's programme for the second term of Parliament, commencing in August. Certain dates on the programme had been changed to accommodate certain activities. The Chairperson suggested that Members confine their attention to the month of August instead of considering September as well, as there would be further developments in Parliament during September that could affect the programme. Another programme would be developed for September to the end of the financial year. Venues were still unconfirmed at this stage as the Committee was waiting for authorisation on these.

Mr Z Ntuli (ANC) suggested that Members adopt the programme as a tentative one only at this stage, considering that Parliament could experience teething problems.

Mr X Mabaso (ANC) registered his support for the spirit of the draft programme but noticed that it did not provide for the Committee to go out on visits and interact in areas such as with co-operatives. He suggested that visits could be made to such areas as KwaZulu Natal where co-operatives were performing well.

The Chairperson responded that the public hearings were meant to be held for that purpose, in terms of outreach, and Parliament would pay visits to people to have direct contact with them and understand what they were going through. The Committee could even improvise if it wanted to, for instance by visiting certain projects. However, in general the public hearings were supposed to cover this sort of interaction. She asked for suggestions to improve the programme before adopting it.

Mr S Ngonyama (COPE) requested clarification on the first item on the Committee's draft programme. He asked whether the Committee had identified the economic crisis and if any aspects of it had been defined.

Mr Ngonyama also asked what the terms of reference would be for the contributors  to the “ Framework for South Africa's response to the international economic crisis”.

The Chairperson responded that the intention of the draft programme was that Members could agree, in principle, whether they agreed with the activities set out. The next step would then be to get proposals from the entire Committee before the agreed dates, so that they could then agree on the way forward. This draft would register the Committee's proposed activities with the Chair of Chairpersons, so that the necessary resources could be allocated.

Mr Ngonyama asked about public hearings on the role of different institutions on economic development in South Africa. He asked whether the Committee should not anticipate also that the public would be interested in commenting, beyond the economic development issues, also on the nature and purpose of the Department of Economic Development. He stated that the reason he was asking this question was because it was an opportunity for the Committee to come up with a model for a Department that lived up to the Committee's ideal standards.

Mr Ntuli responded that the Minister had indicated that he would bring a White Paper and that was the document on which the Committee's contributions would be based. The Department's White Paper would be taken to the public for comments, and then public hearings would be held, so it was not in fact the Committee that would start the process.

The Chairperson responded that she did not want the Committee to confuse its role with that of the Department. It was indeed the Department's responsibility to get the public's opinion on how they would want the Department to be shaped. If the Committee assumed that role then it would amount to interference, and she cautioned that the relationship with the Department should not start on that note.

Mr Mabaso supported the central message which Mr Ngonyama was expressing. It was critical for the new Departments not to lose sight of opportunities that the present situation offered. The Chairperson was, however, quite correct in her statement as to how that would be achieved.

Mr Ngonyama asked whether the stakeholders who should be participating in the public hearings had been identified.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee had to agree to have its meeting as soon as possible so that there was ample time to discuss the issues and report on the stakeholders that had been identified. If it was impossible to convene a meeting by the desired date, then Members could be contacted by telephone to be informed, and if they had any additional suggestions then they could make them at that point.

Dr P Rabie (DA) submitted that it was very important for the Committee to do on-site inspections, especially in remote rural areas. Quite often the Committee could be mislead by “glossy presentations” in Parliament when in fact an analysis of the scenario on the ground would show that there was no real progress being made. It was important to talk to the recipients of these particular programmes in order to obtain a holistic picture of what economic development actually entailed.

The Chairperson responded that she took matters of empowering and educating the Committee very seriously. At the moment, however, the  Committee did not know what was the actual mandate of the Department and it was only after Members were provided with the Department's Strategic Plans and objectives that they would then be in a position to interrogate the Department's programmes. However, she did agree that the Committee should try to visit projects and do on-site inspections.

Members adopted the programme for the month of August in the second term.

The meeting was adjourned.


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: