Parliamentary legal advisers presented legal opinions on the submissions of Mr N Ruiters, Ms Anne-Marie Robb, Mr Thamsanqa Robert Ncube, Advocates for Transformation (Gauteng), Mr B Mkhalipi, IDASA and Mr M Ismail. The Committee has yet to deliberate on the submissions and legal opinions and decide whether they will recommend any constitutional amendments.
One of the few submissions that the legal advisers found had merit was IDASA's. It proposed amendment of Section 47 which dealt with the circumstances that would cause Members of Parliament to lose their membership. IDASA wanted Section 47(1)(e) broadened to include categories of crime, such as bribery and corruption. This was because people found guilty of crimes of dishonesty ought not to be parliamentarians. The legal adviser noted that this had also been raised in the Report of the Independent Panel Assessment of Parliament. The matter had already been brought to the attention of the Joint Rules Committee and the Parliamentary Oversight Authority. Considering that two other parliamentary committees were looking at the Assessment Report, the Committee had to decide how they would proceed on the issue. The decision was that committee members should consult their party caucus.
The Committee also discussed the 2008 recommendation that ICASA could be included as one of the Chapter 9 institutions (Section 181) and the updating of Section 192 to refer to 'electronic communications' rather than to merely 'broadcasting'. Another discussion point was their role in consideration of the recommendations in the Report on the Review of Chapter 9 Institutions. Likewise they discussed becoming more active when constitutional amendments were submitted to Parliament.
The Committee adopted its Strategic Plan 2009-2014.
Constitutional Review Submissions 2009: Legal Opinions
Submission: N Ruiters
Adv M Vassen, Legal Adviser: Parliament, reported that the handwritten, faxed submission was illegible. Attempts had been made to contact the writer but this failed as the contact details were also illegible. As such the submission could not be evaluated.
Submission: Anne-Marie Robb
Adv K Beja, Legal Adviser: Parliament presented the legal opinion on this submission (see document). Adv Beja said that by recognising all forms of disability and including it in Section 8 and 9 of the Constitution, the drafters of the Constitution recognised that all human beings had legal capacity. South Africa has also ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities. She stated that the Constitution sufficiently addressed the issue of disability and the protection of the rights of people with disabilities, as well as the Mental Health Care Act. If Ms Robb felt that the measures put in place did not sufficiently cater to the needs of people with disabilities induced by mental issues, she could approach the Registrar of any High Court or the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for further explanation on issues of legal capacity. She also recommended that the matter could be referred to the relevant parliamentary committee to examine the laws on guardianship and disabilities induced by mental health issues to consider whether the laws and policies in place sufficiently promote supported decision-making and respect for the legal capacity of persons with disabilities. That committee also had to do oversight on whether our laws were up to date with the United Nations Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities and the challenges facing people with mental health issues.
The Chairperson noted that Adv Beja had added information that did not appear on the opinion document. He asked if a more complete version could be provided to the Committee, so that the Committee could take an informed decision on all the issues raised.
Adv Beja responded that she would liaise with Mr Mziwoxolo Dano, Committee Researcher, in ensuring that all the matters discussed were reflected in the final report.
Submission: Thamsanqa Robert Ncube
Adv Vassen reported that while the submission highlighted material inequality, Mr Ncube did not propose an amendment to the Constitution. For this reason, the submission did not fall within the parameters of the Committee's brief.
Submission: Advocates for Transformation (Gauteng)
Adv R Mathabathe reported that the submission proposed amendments to Sections 8, 38 and 168(3) of the Constitution (see document). The submission was that Section 168(3) should be amended to clearly exclude the Supreme Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction over labour appeals. If it was the intention of the legislators, it should be made the highest court on labour matters. In light of this a constitutional amendment was relevant.
Ms Smuts pointed out that under the proposed rationalisation of the courts by the Justice Department, the Labour Appeals Court (LAC) would be incorporated with the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Labour Court would be incorporated into the High Court. In view of this, an amendment to Section 168(3) seemed unwise.
Adv Mathabathe replied that she was not aware of this at the time of drafting the opinion and was unable to find references to the Labour Court in the Department of Justice website.
The Chairperson was curious as to how this would apply to traditional courts in terms of special and separate treatment for certain courts.
Adv Mathabathe reported that it was not necessary to amend Section 8 and amending Section 38 would be premature. Regarding Section 38, the cited decision was the interpretation of one judge in the High Court. It was not the majority judgement. She noted the citation of Hlophe v Constitutional Court of South Africa 2009 (2) BCLR 161 (W) and the submission that the court had unjustifiably violated Judge Hlophe's constitutional rights contained in the Bill of Rights but declined to grant a declaratory order. The submission was of the view that the court in Hlophe misdirected itself. She expressed the opinion that given that the Constitutional Court was the apex court in respect of the matter, and still had not expressed itself on the matter, that an amendment would be premature. This was linked to the proposed amendment to Section 172 of the Constitution, dealing with the powers of the court.
Ms Smuts asked what was intended with the Hlophe reference. Did the submission refer to the case that was thrown out by the Supreme Court of Appeal? She wondered how this pertained to the matter of amending Section 38 of the Constitution and why Advocates for Transformation (AFT) used the case as an illustration.
Adv Mathabathe replied that, as she understood it, the AFT's rationale was that if one judge could misdirect himself, this created an opportunity for other judges to misdirect themselves. Therefore, it should be clear in the Constitution that they did not have an option to decide whether to give a declaratory order or not. Section 38 used "may" and this was why the issue arose and the submission stated that it should be read with Section 172 which stated that the court "must" issue a declaratory order when a finding is made that rights have been violated.
Ms Smuts wondered why this particular judgement was cited as relevant.
Submission: Mr BJ Mkhalipi
Adv F Jenkins, Legal Adviser: Parliament, commented that Mr Mkhalipi had made some interesting points. The first point he made was that the most recent copy of the Constitution was full of embarrassing mistakes. Mr Mkhalipi asked Parliament and the Committee to review that and have oversight of that. He also asked about the legislation required in terms of the Constitution and whether there was discretion within Parliament to enact that legislation or not.
Adv F Jenkins said that insofar as Parliament had oversight of a printed version of the Constitution, he had doubts about this, when a private company had printed the copy of the Constitution. Parliament clearly had oversight of the versions printed in the government gazette. Parliament could express itself on errors in other copies and could even call the company, but it could not have formal oversight over the private printing of such copies. The request did not fit with the Committee's constitutional duty in terms of Section 45 of the Constitution and the Joint Rules. This was not a constitutional issue for the Committee to review.
The Chairperson asked if Parliament had no say over instances where the public was misled about the contents of the Constitution. Could Parliament invite Juta or other printers to explain?
Adv Jenkins replied that it could express itself on issue in a report to the Houses. The specific request did not fall squarely within Section 45 of the Constitution to review the Constitution. They could not correct the erroneous publication by reviewing the Constitution.
Mr Ainslie thought this was a very narrow definition of review. If there were serious grammatical mistakes in the Constitution, this would affect the interpretation and surely it would be their duty, as a broader interpretation of review, to correct those mistakes. Surely Parliament could demand that Juta or others withdraw the erroneous copies.
The Chairperson felt that even if they followed the route of reporting to the Houses, the Committee had to do something about the matter.
Adv Jenkins agreed that this was an important matter and that the core function of the Committee was perhaps a bit narrow. Mr Mkhalipi did not indicate if this was a Butterworths or Juta edition or from the government gazette. It was noted as the 2004 edition. He used the 2009 edition and as there were a few different versions printed after 2004, the discussion was somewhat academic.
Mr Ainslie wanted the Committee to talk to the principle of whether the Committee should review this matter or not.
Adv Jenkins responded that the courts had looked at the question of legislation required by the Constitution to be enacted by Parliament. The Transitional Arrangements in Schedule 6 of the Constitution provided for certain legislation to be drafted within a specific timeframe. Other legislation had to be enacted within a reasonable time. He noted the UDM case on the floor crossing provisions, where Parliament made an Act in terms of Section 76. The Constitutional Court ruled that this was not done in a reasonable time and that Parliament would have to make a constitutional amendment. In general the Constitution stated that all constitutional duties must be done within a reasonable time, diligently and without delay. The other side of the argument would be that there was no discretion required when an amendment had to be made. Mr Mkhalipi used Section 77(3) [which had now given rise to the Money Bills Amendment Procedure Act] and Section 139(8) as examples. Section 139(8) - municipal laws to empower municipalities - was the crux of the submission. National legislation "may" regulate the implementation of Section 139(8). "May" was a permissive word and, in his opinion, the Committee could refer this to the Houses as policy matter. It did not necessitate a review of the Constitution. Furthermore the submission did not ask for a review, rather it asked for information.
The last point in the submission was that of the national project of promoting Constitution Day and nation building. The submission said that this issue might fall outside of the mandate of the Committee. Adv Jenkins agreed that it did fall outside its mandate, but the matter could be referred to the Houses in the report of the Committee.
The Chairperson asked members for their views on distorted versions of the Constitution in the public domain. Could they say this was not of concern to the Committee?
Ms Mncube asked if it was correct to say the Committee had the right to address errors in the government gazette version of the Constitution, but when it came to other editions, they did not have jurisdiction. In the latter instance the Committee may note this in their report to the Houses. The Houses would then take a decision on the matter.
Adv Jenkins responded that the issue would be which version of the Constitution the Committee would review according to the requirements of Section 45 of the Constitution and Joint Rule 102. An authenticated copy of the Constitution was held by the Constitutional Court. If Juta or other private printers had made error, he agreed that this was a serious matter but did not think that this was a matter for review. It was something they could bring to the attention of the Houses. The Committee also had the right to call the printers to explain the errors. Juta and Butterworths edited their reports on court cases in their own way of editing and this might lead to different interpretations. His personal opinion was the Committee had to consider their priorities and if this was a priority issue then they could proceed with calling the publishers. If other issues were classified as a higher priority, they should be considered first.
Mr C De Beer (ANC; Northern Cape) stated that the Constitution gave the Committee the right to call anyone to account before them.
Mr Ainslie stated that at the very least the Committee should bring this to the attention of the Houses.
Adv A Gordon, Legal Adviser: Parliament, reported that the IDASA submission concerned Section 47 of the Constitution dealing with the eligibility to be a member of the National Assembly. IDASA proposed that Section 47(1)(e) should be amended to look at the circumstance under which a Member ceased to be a Member of Parliament. IDASA wanted the section broadened to look at categories of crime, such as bribery and corruption for inclusion as offences that would lead to loss of membership. On the face of it, this was a proposal for a constitutional amendment. Whether or not it would be successful was for the Committee to decide. The legal opinion was presented against the background of the Independent Panel Assessment of Parliament. IDASA's submission was a mirror of what was in that report. The matter has already been brought to the Joint Rules Committee and the Parliamentary Oversight Authority (POA). Considering that two other parliamentary committees were looking at the Assessment Report, the Committee had to decide how they would proceed on the issue.
The Chairperson asked Adv Gordon to expand on the legal opinion.
Adv Gordon replied that the constitutional amendment request was a matter that fell within the mandate of the Committee. Because the Joint Rules Committee and the Parliamentary Oversight Authority (POA) were already reviewing the matter, it might result in three committees doing the same work. The Committee should decide on how to proceed. Had the IDASA proposal not been captured prior to this, the legal opinion would be that it was up to the Committee to proceed with the amendment.
The Chairperson asked if this warranted an amendment to the Constitution. There was possibly credence in the request but whether to proceed or not, was really a policy decision.
Mr Ainslie responded that he sympathised with the legal adviser's position on having to advise on the constitutionality of a given matter. It was a policy decision.
Ms Smuts stated that IDASA was very astute in sending the submission to the Committee. The issue might not be attended to by the other committees and IDASA felt sufficiently strongly that this was a matter of public interest. Parliament should show good faith and a willingness to reconsider Section 47(1)(e). She felt that there was great scope for expanding the ambit of the clause as people found guilty of crimes of dishonesty ought not to be parliamentarians. She felt the Committee should support the amendment and confer with the relevant committees.
The Chairperson pointed out the Committee was yet to make a decision on which amendments to support. He added that the Report of the Independent Panel Assessment of Parliament and Asmal Report should be referred to the Committee, especially where amendments to the Constitution were suggested.
Ms Smuts asked if the Committee would vote on this decision and include it in their report as a resolution of the Committee.
Mr Ainslie replied that he would prefer to take the matter to his party caucus before making decisions.
The Chairperson responded that members would have to go to their caucuses and get mandates on all of the issues raised.
Submission: M Ismail
Adv N Vanara, Legal Adviser: Parliament, reported that the submission did not relate to a Constitutional Amendment. Mr Ismail could be referred to an appropriate legal centre to seek legal advice on how to pursue legal remedies.
The Chairperson asked if this was a matter they should refer to the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform.
Adv Vanara replied that, from a legal point of view, he did not see the need.
Mr Holomisa replied that the Commission tended to encourage people to accept monetary compensation instead of land.
Mr Ainslie asked how the Committee responded to people who made submissions.
Adv Gordon responded that, from her experience working with the Committee in 2005, the institutions or individuals who made submissions received a letter stating that their submission had been considered and what the outcome was. Formal letters did go out to people.
The Chairperson noted that this session was intended to concretise the strategic plan arising from their workshop. He added that some of the issues raised in the minutes would also form part of the Committee programme of action.
Matters arising: Committee Minutes 28 August 2008
The Committee adopted the minutes, dated 28 August 2008. The Committee discussed matters arising from the meeting on 28 August 2009.
▪ The Chairperson referred to outstanding issues such as the outstanding submissions of the Pan South African Language Board, DeafSA and others. He expressed the view that these should be included in the Committee's programme of action. They would have to find time to invite the organisations to explain their submissions to the Committee.
▪ He pointed out that the Committee had not explained the basis for shelving the deliberation on the number of seats in the Free State legislature. He explained that their rationale was that a process to review the provincial system was already underway by the Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
▪ The Committee had also taken the decision that the researcher should follow up on the recommendation of the previous Committee on the submission about the inclusion of ICASA as one of the Chapter 9 institutions in the Constitution.
Ms M Smuts (DA) pointed out that the thrust of that submission was that the word "broadcasting" should be replaced by "electronic communications" and the addition of ICASA to Section 181 of the Constitution was a possible further step for amendment. The main amendment agreed to by the previous Committee was the replacement of "broadcasting" with "electronic communications".
The Chairperson clarified that the submission had specifically referred to the above-mentioned replacement in Section 192 of the Constitution. He asked if it was really necessary to call for the formal submission if this was the only amendment required.
Ms Smuts replied this was not necessary in her opinion. The Electronic Communications Act (ECA) was completed after the Justine White submission was written. The ECA already made the proposal a legal reality. Statutorily, ICASA does now regulate electronic communications generally, with the exception of certain clauses where the Minister retained certain powers. It was not necessary to review the whole thing. If The Committee should find a way of re-instituting the decision by the previous Committee. The question was how they would go about doing this. Could the Committee simply confirm the decision and pass this on to the Minister of Justice?
The Chairperson asked the legal advisers to comment on this.
Adv Frank Jenkins, Legal Adviser: Parliament, noted that he was not totally familiar with the ECA issue. As he understood it, the ECA broadened the mandate of ICASA, compared to the mandate set out in the Constitution. He was not aware that this was unconstitutional. If an issue of the constitutionality of the ECA arose, they would have to look at the Constitution to see if it should be adapted. This could "open a can of worms" because it then raised the possibility of making an Act constitutional retrospectively.
He referred to the principal of constitutional subsidiarity. This was the principle the Constitutional Court used to look at whether an action was constitutional or not - looking at the enabling legislation, enacted based on the Constitution, before looking at the Constitution itself. Therefore the question of ICASA's mandate had to consider what the ECA stated first, unless there was a question of constitutionality.
Ms Smuts did not think the constitutionality of the ECA was in question. One could always expand rights or expand independence. She felt that the argument was that Section 192 of the Constitution was outdated. Broadcasting could no longer be technologically separated from telecommunications and information technology. They use to be separate endeavours operating under different licencing regimes. This had fallen away because of advances in technology. The ECA dealt with this reality and the argument was that Section 192 ought to catch up.
The Chairperson requested the legal advisers to research the matter and advise them. It seemed to be a straightforward matter but the Committee should follow correct procedure and would take an appropriate decision based on their advice.
Corrections and Matters arising: Committee Minutes 18 September 2009
▪ Ms Smuts referred to the sentence, "It was agreed that the process of review of the Constitution would have to include reviewing each chapter of the Constitution". This sentence was problematic as the Committee had not reached an agreement but had merely discussed this option. The Committee debated whether their review of the Constitution would include reviewing each chapter of the Constitution. Some members felt that the Committee should focus on the Promotion of Access to Administrative Justice Act (PAJA), Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA) and the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). Mr Oriani-Ambrosini had been of the view that every chapter of the Constitution was relevant and that the Committee could end up invigilating every law stemming from the Constitution. This debate had left the question hanging as to whether the Committee should take special care of those three Acts. The Committee had not taken a decision on the matter. She did think there was room for oversight regarding the PEPUDA but found the argument against invigilating every chapter of the Constitution persuasive. She preferred interaction with the Chapter 9 Institutions rather than a review of Chapter 2 legislation.
The Chairperson referred to the argument that every piece of legislation was, in some way, a product of the Constitution and that all bodies set up in this manner had something to do with the Constitution. The question then became one of how they approached identifying and dealing with such bodies. He asked the Committee if they should look at the submissions first to see if any of the submissions pointed out an impediment to a constitutional goal, which could not be corrected through other legislation or by statutory bodies and would necessitate a constitutional amendment. In that instance the Committee could call the body concerned to discuss the matter, rather than identifying bodies they should oversee.
Mr S Swart (ACDP) said that this would be one way of dealing with it. There were other outstanding issues such as the Report on the Review of Chapter 9 Institutions (the Asmal Report). This was a matter the Committee could pick up. The key would be in prioritising the work.
The Chairperson asked if the Report dealt with an amendment to the Constitution.
Mr Swart replied that the Asmal Report dealt with the oversight of Chapter 9 Institutions and it did contain recommendations to bring all the Chapter 9 Institutions under one body to deal with human rights. There were very substantive suggestions in the Report that no one else had picked up.
The Chairperson responded that if there were recommendations for the Constitution to be amended, they should take the matter up.
Mr B Mnguni, Co-Chairperson, cautioned the Committee against taking up issues other which Committees should have oversight. This created the possibility of turf wars.
The Chairperson that it had been suggested that Committees should work co-operatively. If an amendment to the Constitution was necessary, the Committee would need to discuss that with the relevant parliamentary committee.
Mr Chaane asked if the Committee was still discussing the 18 September minute.
Ms Smuts replied that her point had been that the Committee had not agreed on an approach and that the option she had raised were part of discussions. "It was agreed" was therefore, problematic.
The Chairperson responded that the Committee noted that there was no agreement on the point.
▪ Ms B Mncube (ANC; Gauteng) pointed out that the Committee did not reach consensus on replacing "activist" with "proactive". There was a discussion on this point but the Committee did not reach consensus.
The Chairperson responded that, as with Ms Smut's point, the Committee would make a correction to reflect that no consensus was reached on that point.
Mr Ainslie stated that he was under the impression that after the Committee had discussed the point, they had agreed to use the word "activist".
The Chairperson responded that the problematic word was consensus and it was agreed that consensus was not reached. He concluded that the Committee would come back to a discussion of rephrasing this point. He asked if members had any other corrections.
The Chairperson called for the adoption of the minute as the correct reflection of the meeting.
The Committee adopted the minute with amendments.
The Chairperson remarked that when minutes were circulated, members should submit their comments to the Committee's secretary.
The Chairperson called for a discussion of the matters arising from the meeting on 18 September 2009. He asked what the difference was between "activist" and "proactive"
Mr Ainslie did not think this was a question of definition, rather it was a question of consistency as to how Parliament described itself. Provincial legislatures described themselves as activist, the Divisional Councils described themselves as activist. For the sake of consistency, he did not understand why a Committee of Parliament would use another. It was not matter of definition, rather, it was a question of what was in use.
The Chairperson asked members for their comments.
Mr Swart felt that the Committee should not reopen that argument. He suggested that the Committee proceed on that the Committee decided to use "activist". Although there was not necessarily consensus on that point, the Committee had agreed to this.
The Chairperson agreed with this interpretation. The Committee had decided that this would be an "activist" Parliament.
Ms Smuts agreed with this. It was a matter of semantics and the Committee should move on.
▪ The Chairperson noted that the Committee had agreed that legislation seeking to amend the Constitution must be brought to their attention. He asked how this would be done and whether it would require an amendment to the Joint Rules.
Ms Smuts replied that the Committee could give effect to this in their strategic plan. The Committee had discussed the fact that there was nothing stopping them from dealing with constitutional amendments.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee could process legislation.
Ms Smuts replied that the Committee would not process legislation but would express themselves on relevant legislation. Opportunities for this might arise with the upcoming Constitutional Seventeenth Amendment Bill. She asked if the Committee would look at that Bill on their own or sit in on the public hearings before the Justice Portfolio Committee or simply have a discussion with that committee on the Bill. The Committee could create the modalities as they went along. They could state, in their strategic plan, their intention to study constitutional amendments when they are tabled. She shared the view of Mr Ambrosini that the Committee was never meant to deal only with the annual public submissions. The first Constitutional Review Committee contained half the Cabinet and dealt with all constitutional amendments.
The Chairperson agreed with this view. Since Bills were referred to a specific parliamentary committee, he wondered if the Rules had to be amended to allow for Bills to be referred to the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review.
Ms Smuts replied that the thrust of Dr Ambrosini's letter was that the Rules had to be adjusted.
Adv Jenkins replied that, if this process was to flow automatically to the Constitutional Review Committee, it had to be in the Rules - otherwise the referral of a Constitutional Amendment Bill was at the discretion of the Speaker. The Speaker could refer the Bill to a single committee or committees. Committees could also confer and the Committee could position itself to confer with those committees considering a constitutional amendment. Dr Ambrosini, in his letter, asked whether a joint committee was the appropriate mechanism to look at all constitutional amendments and the Constitution accepted this principle in Section 45 in consideration of Section 74 legislation. Procedurally, the Table Staff had to be consulted, as the Committee could not just seize matters. As a matter of parliamentary procedure, matters had to be referred.
As an example: the Asmal Report on Chapter 9 Institutions had made many recommendations. Some of these recommendations would, in his view, fit into the Committee's work. This was a matter for the House to decide on. Regarding the political process, the Committee Chairpersons could take this up with their respective Whips and the Table Staff had to be consulted on the correct procedure.
The Chairperson concluded that if the Committee took a decision on this, a report had to be tabled in Parliament. He did not think this should be left to other structures in Parliament and accordingly would be recorded in the resolutions of the Committee in its report.
On legislation giving effect to the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution, he asked if the Committee should confine themselves to dealing with these pieces of legislation when they had a mandate to deal with any legislation that impacted on the Constitution. Where there was a view that the Constitution had to be amended, the Committee would take the matter up with the relevant structures (Chapter 9 institutions, departments, portfolio committee and select committee). Mr Ambrosini had suggested that the Committee review the Constitution, according to a programme from Chapter 1. Other members had suggested that certain chapters should be prioritised. He noted that the Committee had not agreed on an approach. In addition to this, the Committee still had business pending arising from the current submissions and the submissions from the Third Parliament.
Committee Strategic Plan 2009-2014: Consideration and Adoption
The Chairperson noted that the strategic plan had not been submitted to the House Chairperson. He reported that the Committee researcher had incorporated the changes proposed at the last meeting.
Mr Mziwoxolo Dano, Committee Researcher reported that the suggested changes in the meeting would be effected in the programme:
Vision: The vision would be amended to read “activist” to replace “pro-active”.
Mission: He reported that the Constitutional mandate essentially dealt the three Acts highlighted under the legislation that had a direct impact on the Bill of Rights (Chapter 2 of the Constitution): PAIA, PEPUDA and PAJA. Following on from the discussion, an issue hovering in the background was that of the Asmal Report of the Review of Chapter 9 Institutions. This related specifically to following up the recommendation for an amalgamation of Chapter 9 Institutions. Another matter arising from the discussion was the possible referral of the Report of the Panel Assessment of Parliament to the Committee.
Ms Smuts wondered at what point the Committee could get involved in these additional issues.
Oversight Role: On the role of the Committee in the oversight of Chapter 9 institutions, he asked if the Committee wanted to do away with the oversight aspect.
Ms Smuts thought the programme should drop the point on Chapter 9 Institutions as they were covered under institutions the Committee dealt with.
The Chairperson responded that this went to the principle that any submission that called for an amendment to the Constitution allowed the Committee to call the relevant body.
Ms Smuts asked if the first point, on the oversight of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ) could capture this.
Ms Mncube asked if the first point could help by clarifying that matters should be referred to this committee where a constitutional amendment was suggested.
Mr Dano responded that his understanding was the DOJ had twin responsibilities. The Justice part was assigned to the parliamentary committees on justice. The constitutional development part was under the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review.
The Committee finalised these.
Mr Dano highlighted the outstanding adoption of the 2008 Committee Report under Key Issues Facing the Committee.
The Chairperson referred to the legacy left to the Committee by the Third Parliament committee. He asked what the Committee would do with work not completed in the previous term and what the experience was in other Committees.
Ms Smuts replied that she was unsure as to whether any other committee was comparable in this regard, considering the interruptions caused by ad hoc committees in the Third Parliament. She asked if the public (who had made submissions) had been given replies. If the public were given replies, the Committee could consider letting the report lapse.
The Committee Strategic Plan contained a detailed list of the Committee planned main tasks was presented according to goals, objective, activities, key performance indicators (KPIs) and timeframes. This approach was applied to how the Committee would deal with their core functions of submissions, legislation, policy review, oversight of the Department and strategic relations over the next five years.
The Committee approved these.
The Chairperson reiterated that the Committee should look at the Report of the Review of Chapter 9 Institutions.
The Chairperson asked members for suggestions on visits to foreign Parliaments.
Mr M Oriani-Ambrosini (IFP) suggested Italy and suggested that the Committee could access donor funding.
Mr Swart suggested Germany and Kenya.
The Chairperson noted that the budgetary aspects of the strategic plan were currently with the management committee.
The Committee adopted the Draft Strategic Plan 2009-2014 with amendments.
The Chairperson added that the provisional dates for the next Committee meetings were 30 October 2009 and 13 November 2009.
The meeting was adjourned.
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