Green Paper on National Strategic Planning: Deliberations

Ad Hoc Committee on Green Paper on National Strategic Planning

21 October 2009
Chairperson: Mr T Mufamadi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee discussed further the proposals advanced in the previous meeting around the public hearings scheduled for the following week. The Chairperson indicated that 27 submissions had been received by this Committee, and a summary had been prepared. Some members had felt that the Committee should only hear oral submissions from organisations, not individuals. In addition, there were further submissions sent to the Committee from the Presidency, although these had not yet been organised in the same formats, and the Researcher was still busy compiling a summary. Members indicated that these should be checked as some submissions of which they were aware did not appear to have been included in the pack. The Researcher confirmed that most of the submissions through the Presidency were substantially similar in content to those submitted to the Committee.

The Committee debated the issues and decided upon which organisations, representative of different sectors, would be invited to make oral submissions.  The list and the schedule would be finalised by the Chairperson, Researcher and Secretariat.

Meeting report

Green Paper on National Strategic Planning
Chairperson's Summary
The purpose of the meeting was to carry forward the administrative proposals, which had been agreed upon in the previous meeting, as to which of the stakeholders would be invited to make submissions orally before the Committee. The agenda also included engaging with the Green Paper on National Strategic Planning (the Green Paper) as a Committee, so that Members could form some opinions of their own before their engagement with the stakeholders. The third item on the agenda would be to look at the submissions made through to the Presidency to see if there was anything which they could want to add.
The Committee was operating under time constraints and had only one researcher at its disposal. The researcher, Mr Phelelani Dlomo, was still in the process of going through the submissions made to the Presidency. However, he was of the opinion that the majority of the submissions were in line with what the Committee had received through parliamentary processes.
The Chairperson commented that both the Parliamentary process, and the process deployed by the Presidency to invite public comment, had missed the input from the youth. It was up to the Committee now finally to decide, whether it should try to identify organisations that had been left out by the process, or whether to confine itself to the 27 submissions already received.

There were eight organisations that the Committee had considered, whose concurrence was awaited before the invitations were sent for them to make their submissions orally. These included the Aids Law Project, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the Chamber of Mines, Business Unity South Africa, Gergen International and Harald Winkler (in the environmental sector). He reminded the Committee that an interesting and thought provoking submission was received from Dr Omano Edigheji, but that Mr R Trollip (DA) had argued that the Committee did not necessarily need to hear oral presentations from individuals who were not representing sectors or organisations. He wished to hear the final views of the Committee on this point.

The Chairperson added that the hearings would be conducted over a period of three days in the following week, which would then allow for the Committee to agree on the timeframe and content of what must be included in the report, to enable the Committee to submit a preliminary report by the following Friday.

Mr N Singh (IFP) raised an issue around the time-frame. The tabling of the report in the house had to be done on Thursday 29 October.  There was no plenary session on Friday and this meant that the Committee would have to have prepared and sent through an interim report by Wednesday evening, so that it could be tabled in the notices for Thursday.

The Committee Secretary responded that the debate would not be on the day immediately following the Thursday 29 October, but would probably only be in the next week or so. The date of 29 October would also apply to the report appearing in the ATC.

Mr Singh asked when the report would have to be submitted, so that it could appear on 29 October.

The Committee Secretary responded that it would need to be submitted on the day before, namely 28 October.

Mr Singh proposed that the organisations be referred to by their numbers allocated. He noted that now there seemed to be a new dimension. On the previous day the Committee had decided to concentrate on the 27 submissions to this Committee, not the ones sent through from the Presidency. However, it now seemed that these should be discussed in the current meeting.

The Chairperson clarified that some work had been done by the researcher to date, although the report compiled by the researcher was not yet complete. Most of the submissions to the Presidency tallied closely with what the Committee had received. The Committee wanted to identify the submissions that were substantially and materially different to what Members had received in their package of written submissions. Members could make their suggestions, if they had already gone through those submissions, as to any submissions that they thought differed from the submissions received through the Presidential process. If there were none, then they could wait for the summary that was being done by the researcher.

Mr R Trollip (DA) commented that the list would provide members with a list and an annexure. He had raised an issue about the submission from Cape Town, omitted from the pack of written submissions that were before the Committee.  This submission had been sent to Dr H Mohammed on 16 October at 15:34. 

Mr L Greyling said that he also knew of other submissions that had been sent by other organisations to Dr H Mohammed, but which were not in the pack. This was an issue that the Committee would need to look into further.

Mr Singh proposed that by the Monday afternoon meeting, the submissions from the Presidency should be put together in a better format, similar to the format that the Committee Secretariat had used.

Mr P Dlomo, Researcher, agreed with Mr Singh's proposal. At the moment he was working on the submissions that had been received from the Ministry, and they were not very much different from what the Committee had already dealt with on the previous day. There were some common issues that were shared and there were probably a few sectors that might need to be considered, and this was highlighted in those documents.
The Chairperson asked the Committee to agree on the number of oral submissions from organisations that it could entertain. If the Committee was wanting to add to the eight already short listed, it would have to decide on this soon. The decision whether to invite individuals would also be informed by the total number of submissions that the Committee had to hear. 

Ms A Mashishi (ANC) wanted clarity on the number of submissions with which the Committee would work. She also asked for clarity on the Chairperson's assertion that the Committee would not entertain submissions from individuals.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee had received a total of twenty seven written submissions. One submission, which stood out and, which the Committee had deliberated on the previous day, was made by an individual, Dr Edigheji. Some of the Members had been of the view that they should allow Dr Edigheji to come and make oral submissions, while others felt that organizations should take priority over individuals.
Mr Singh suggested that a small sub-Committee, compromising of himself, the Chairperson and perhaps Mr Greyling, should be mandated to finalise the list so that when Members met again on Monday they knew who was coming. He did not think that this was something that required the agreement of the entire Committee.  
Mr M Gungubele (ANC) asked for clarification of the process, and was worried that this might depart from what the Committee was conventionally supposed to do, which was to deal with the list that had been submitted to them. Consideration of the submissions from the Presidency was over and above what was expected of this Committee.

The Chairperson clarified that their process was not dependent on the list that was with the Minister in the Presidency.

The Committee deliberated on the shortlist and agreed that organisations would present orally before the Committee in the following week.

The Committee, after debating briefly whether Harald Winkler was writing as an individual, or representative of a body, agreed that Harald Winkler and Dr Christopher would be clustered together to present on behalf of the environmental sector.

The Committee also agreed that the Aids Law Project and the Law Society of South Africa would represent the legal sector.

The Committee agreed that the business sector would be represented by the Chamber of Mines and Business Unity South Africa.

The trade unions COSATU and NEHAWU were also clustered together, whilst the Johannesburg Disability Forum was given its own slot to present orally before the Committee.
The Committee agreed that the summary of submissions document would be finalised by the Chairperson, together with the Committee Secretary and the Researcher.

The meeting was adjourned.


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