Discussion on Petitions

NCOP Petitions and Executive Undertakings

03 August 2009
Chairperson: Mr J Nyambi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Parliamentary Research Unit briefed the Committee on three sets of petitions that were made to the Free State Legislature and Mpumalanga Legislature. The petitions were later referred to the Committee for consideration. Some Members argued that the Committee was not the appropriate forum to deal with these issues and that they could have been referred to other institutions. Others took the opposite view and felt that the claimants were entitled to petition their elected officials.

Meeting report

Petition to the Free State Legislature regarding SAPS Investigators
Ms Salome Meso, Researcher, Parliamentary Research Unit, briefly described the facts that were included in the petition made to the Free State Legislature. Seven SAPS inspectors requested the Legislature to intervene in their dispute with their employer regarding salary increases and promotion opportunities. The inspectors concerned were dismissed and later retrospectively re-instated. However, they were excluded from the April 2005 pay progression increase and possible promotion because they were not assessed for the 2003/04 financial year, the period in which they were dismissed. The inspectors believed that they were entitled to those benefits because of their retrospective re-instatement. The petition included affidavits, dates of the meetings and all the proof they had with them. The petition was submitted to the SAPS Provincial Head Office, SAPS National Office and the Legislature before it was brought before the Committee.

Petition regarding the Wolvenkop farm in Mmpumalanga.
Ms Meso explained that the petition concerned a land dispute involving Wolvenkop farm in the Mpumalanga province. The petitioners felt that they were entitled to the land that they were settled on due to the fact that they as well as their forefathers were born and raised on the land. As a result of the uncertainty, the matter was referred to the Department of Land Affairs. The Mpumalanga Youth Commission said that there would be no settling on that land until such time that the matter was resolved and recommended that the petitioners establish a Communal Property Assoiciation (CPA) in order to facilitate their claim.

Ms Meso noted that the matter was further complicated by the fact that ownership of the land was changed several times.

Petition from the Free State Legislature regarding the Sasolberg Benefits Committee.
Ms Meso said that the Free State Legislature had received a complaint from the organisation called the Sasolberg Benefits Committee. The entity requested the Legislature to intervene in a dispute regarding the non-payment of surpluses, apportionments and other forms of relief to active and former members of pensions and provident funds. The petition listed the five pension funds that the claimants were seeking relief from. These included AECI Sasol, Sentracam Group Pension Fund, Sasol Pension Fund and Sasol Coal Provident Fund, Omnia Pension Fund and the Metal Industry Provident Fund.

Ms Meso noted that Legislature was of the view that it did not have the jurisdiction to make a determination on claimants. The Legislature therefore referred the matter to the NCOP.

Ms Meso added that the petitioners had listed their correspondences they have had with the various companies which they have been working on as well as meetings which they had held.

Mr D Bloem (ANC) said that he needed a workshop to educate him further about the matters which they were dealing with such as details of what a petition actually was.

Ms Meso explained that a petition was a formal request wherein a claimed sought some form of redress. In most cases, the Committee referred the matter to the relevant Department or administrative agency in order to gather more information or seek guidance before a decision is taken. Thereafter, a formal decision must then be taken as to how the matter would be dealt with.

Mr Bloem argued that the petition by the SAPS investigators should not be considered by the Committee as this matter could be handled by another authority such as the Committee for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). In a similar vein, he argued that the land claimants should have approached public sector officers such as human right lawyers to address their complaints.

Mr W Faber (DA) believed that the petitions contained outstanding issues that should have been resolved first before they were brought to the Committee.

The Chairperson pointed out that Parliament had unique responsibility and said that they decided to refer it to the Committee because they viewed Parliament as a medium where they could receive assistance.

Mr F Adams (ANC) supported this viewpoint. He recalled that this Committee was previously stopped by the presiding officers from doing its work. He urged the Committee to fulfil its mandate and deal with the petitions. He also agreed with the suggestion that there should be a workshop to inform Members about what they were dealing with.

The Chairperson said that a provisional date for the workshop needed to be agreed upon by the Members.

The meeting was adjourned


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