Joint Committee on Constitional Review: Discussion on proposed Strategic Planning Workshop; consideration of outstanding submissions from five year review 2005/09

Constitutional Review Committee

27 August 2009
Chairperson: Adv. P Holomisa (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Committee discussed their proposed strategic planning workshop. Members debated about the venue of the workshop and whether to invite constitutional experts and other committees. The Committee decided that the workshop would take place in Parliament and that no outside parties would take part in it. In addition, the Committee considered outstanding submissions that dated as far back as 2005. The Committees decided that they would invite the appropriate bodies to brief them before deciding on any action. Members expressed concern that the Department of Communications had not initiated legislation that would reflect the changes that were made by the convergence of electronic communication. .As a result, the Committee decided that it would initiate such legislation. The Committee finally adopted two outstanding minutes.

Meeting report

Discussion on proposed Strategic planning Workshop
The Chairperson invited Members to consider the Committee’s five-year plan. At the same time, he commented that the Committee could not meet every Friday because most Members belonged to more than three Committees and were therefore not always available. He suggested that the Strategic Planning workshop should be scheduled for 18 September 2009.

Mr R Ainslie (ANC) pointed out that the Committee should actually meet before the 18 September 2009 because it was supposed to submit its strategic plan on that date.

Mr G Snell (ANC) said that Members should get the draft 5 year plan before the workshop.

Adv M Masutha (ANC) said that Members needed to unpack the Committee mandate so as to be able to deal with the 5-year plan substantially rather than relying on the researchers only.

Mr M Abmrosini (IFP) argued that the Committee was reactive by nature as it reacted to issues that were brought before it. Therefore, there was not a lot to strategise about.

The Chairperson asked Members for a possible venue for the workshop.

Mr N Koornhof (COPE) suggested that the workshop should be held within the Parliamentary precinct due to the shortage of funds.

Members accepted this recommendation.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee should hire an outsider to facilitate the workshop as that person would be objective when to Members, who would tend to take party political positions. Accordingly, he asked Members to submit names of possible facilitators. Finally, he asked about the budget allocated for the Committee work.

Ms D Smuts suggested that Members could facilitate the workshop because all Committees were running short on funds.

The Chairperson believed that the Committee should make use of Constitutional experts (to facilitate the workshop) as they were knowledgeable about such issues.

Mr Ambrosini replied that Constitutional experts were not always objective and they were expensive. He said that he had complete confidence in the Chairperson because he was a seasoned Member of Parliament.

Adv Masutha said that he agreed with Mr Ambrosini’s viewpoint regarding Constitutional experts. He emphasized that the mandate of the Committee was political in nature and not technical. Lastly, he stated that the other option was to do comparative studies with other Parliaments to see how they had dealt with constitutional review.

The Chairperson said that the Committee should not invite any experts if all Members agreed to this. However, he proposed that the Committee should invite the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development to the workshop.

Mr Masutha mentioned that Committees hardly ever pitched up when invited (to attend a workshop/meeting by another Committee) because they were swamped with their own work.

Mr A Watson (DA) also disagreed with the suggestion. He argued that the Committee would then also have to invite the Select Committee on Justice and that this would enlarge the workshop.

The Committee agreed not to invite other Committees to its workshop.

Consideration and Adoption of Minutes dated 2 July 2009
The Chairperson requested Members to examine the document and make any changes to it.

The Committee saw no need for amendments and adopted the minutes.

Consideration and Adoption of Minutes dated 8 July 2009
The Chairperson invited Members to comment on the document.

Mr Ambrosini mentioned that his apology was not reflected on the minutes.

The Committee secretary indicated that she would include this in the final draft.

The Chairperson asked the Committee researcher whether the Joint Rules had been amended concerning the number of members that can be appointed to Joint Committees.

Mr N Dano, Committee Researcher, replied that the amendments would appear in the new Joint Rules.

Mr Masutha urged the Researcher to forward the extract of the amendments to Members.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should invite South African Local Government Association (SALGA) because the rules stated that they should be part of the deliberations.

Mr Watson concurred with the Chairperson.

The minutes were adopted subject to minor amendments.

Outstanding Submissions: 2007 (see document)
A: Submission by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and the Pan South African Language Board; Erroneous designation of Sepedi as one of the official languages
The Chairperson said that Sepedi was a Sotho dialect spoken in Limpopo, this then elevated Sepedi above other dialects. He cited an example of other dialects spoken in the Eastern Cape, but only IsiXhosa was the recognised official language.

Ms Smuts suggested that Pansalb should be invited to brief the Committee.

Adv Masutha added that the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities should also be part of these proceedings.

The Committee agreed that such a briefing should take place.

B: Submission by the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA): Animal Health and meat safety issues to be determined as a national competence.
The Chairperson felt that the Department of Agriculture should brief the Committee on the matter before any decisions could be made.

2. Submissions: 2006
Deaf Federation Of South Africa DEAFSA

Adv. Masutha said that the Committee should look at the implications of declaring Sign Language as an official language. 

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should invite the Pansalb to brief Members on the issue.

Ms Smuts said that the Language issue was very sensitive and the Researcher should do a follow up on it.

3. Outstanding submission: 2005

A: Deliberation on number of seats of the Free State Legislature.
Ms Smuts said that the issue of the number of seats in the Free State Legislature could be subsumed by the broader issue on the future of the Provinces.

Mr Watson said that the debate on the future of the Provinces was just a debate and there was nothing substantial about it.

The Committee agreed to shelve the issue.

B Section 192 of Constitution
Ms Smuts said that the issue concerned the legislation that would reflect the changes that were made by the convergence of electronic communications.

Mr Koornhof suggested the Committee should invite the Department of Communications to account on why they had not initiated legislation on the issue.

Mr Ambrosini said that the Committee could initiate legislation if it wanted to.

Mr Masutha informed the Committee that they can sponsor a resolution to initiate legislation.

The Committee agreed to this.

The meeting was adjourned.


No related


  • 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: