Committee Reports on Green Paper: National Strategic Planning, Adjustments to Appropriations Bill, Mpumalanga oversight visits

NCOP Finance

11 November 2009
Chairperson: Mr. T Chaane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committees, sitting jointly, discussed three of their draft reports. The Adjustments to the Appropriations Bill draft Report was adopted, without amendments. The draft Report on the Committee’s oversight visit to Mpumalanga Municipalities from 22 to 23 September was adopted, with minor technical corrections. The Committee considered its draft report on the Green Paper on National Strategic Planning. The heading of point 5 was changed to “Key proposals from oral submissions”. Under the proposed recommendations, point 6, the Committee reworded point 6.1 to reflect its support of the Green Paper, the principles established by it, and the formulation of the Commission, as qualified by the Committee recommendations. A new point 6.6 would note that the proposal was valid for all departments and sections involved in planning. The Committee supported the chairing of the Commission by the Deputy President. The Committee proposed that the role of the provinces be raised as a matter still needing clarification. A general recommendation would also be added that the Presidency should pronounce on the process of a White Paper and further clarify the role of Parliament and the Oversight Committees in the whole process. The Committee would also note that only three provincial legislatures had made submissions, probably because of the shortage of time to prepare. Members then adopted the Report, as amended.

Meeting report

 

It was noted that the Committees were once again meeting jointly, since they shared Members and the work under discussion could not be separated.

It was further noted that a quorum of six members was present.

Adjustments to the Appropriation Bill Draft Report
The Committee firstly tabled and considered its draft Report entitled 'Adjustments to the Appropriation Bill Report’.

The Chairperson proposed that, as the Committee had been briefed on the bill by National Treasury and the matter had been dealt with in the National Assembly, prior to the Bill having been referred to the Committee, the Committee should restrict itself only to dealing with the report. He then went on to read the quarter page report which reported the bill without amendments.

The Committee unanimously resolved to adopt the Report.


Mr Mashile moved to adopt the report and Mr Harris seconded him.

Green Paper: National Strategic planning Committee Draft Report
As the document had only been received by the Committee that morning, Members requested time to read the report, which was granted. They then worked through the document page by page.

The Committee proposed, under point 5, ‘Key Findings’ to include National Treasury in the list of ministries working with the Ministry in the Presidency for National Planning.

Mr Harris proposed that the heading be changed from 'Key Findings' to 'Key proposals from Oral Submissions'.  The amendment was carried.

Under point 6, ‘Proposed Recommendations’, the Committee decided to restructure point 6.1 to reflect its support of the Green Paper, but to clearly state that this support was qualified by the recommendations of the Committee. Thus the Committee would recommend that Parliament should support the principles established by the Green Paper and the formulation of the supporting commission.

Mr B Mashile (ANC, Mpumalanga) requested the addition of point 6.6 to deal with the proposal tabled in the second bullet under point 5 - 'Key Findings'. In that proposal only government departments are identified, but it was felt that the proposal was valid for all departments and sections involved in planning, and this should be stated.

The Committee agreed to this proposal.

Mr T Harris (ANC, Western Cape) raised a matter in relation to Point 6.2. He noted that the Minister for the Presidency had proposed that the Commission be chaired by himself. FEDUSA had also made some points in relation to the Chair of the Commission.

Mr S Mazosiwe (ANC, Eastern Cape) said the position of Chair required authority and objective consideration of outcomes of the planning commission. Therefore it would be wise for the Commission to be chaired by the Deputy President. He recommended that the wording in the Draft Report should stand.

Members agreed with Mr Mazosiwe.

Members noted a correction to Point 6.5, to read: 'The Presidency provides a detailed report on how the National Planning commission is going to work with other departments'.

The Chairperson queried how provinces would be affected by the Planning Commission. He felt that the Green Paper did not clarify the role of provinces and their responsibilities, and pointed out that duplication of these roles could lead to disaster.

Mr Mashile proposed that the role of provinces should be raised as an outstanding issue that had not been clearly stated.

Mr C De Beer (ANC, Northern Cape) told the Committee that the Minister had indicated that there would be visits made to the provinces, as part of the roll-out plan, but agreed that Point 6.7 should raise the issues stated by Mr Mashile.

The Committee agreed to highlight this matter.

Mr Harris then raised the role of Parliament in the process. He suggested the Committee should add a recommendation that a White Paper be tabled before Parliament, which would set out, in more detail, the principles raised in the Green Paper. The White Paper would contain distinct and detailed policy and proposals on the topic.

Mr Mazosiwe believed that this process would happen. He asked upon what basis a Commission could be established if there was no White Paper.

The Chairperson said that the Minister had not envisaged a White Paper nor any legislation to come out of the process. He proposed that, given the doubt that existed, a general recommendation be added that the Presidency should pronounce on the process of a White Paper and further clarify the role of Parliament and the Oversight Committees in the whole process.

The Committee agreed.

The Chairperson then noted, in relation to Point 7: Oral Submissions, that only three provincial legislatures had accepted the NCOP invitation to make their submissions on the Green Paper. However, he said, in fairness, that the provinces were not given sufficient time to prepare.

Mr De Beer and Mr Harris thought that this fact should be captured in the report.

Members adopted the Report, with amendments as discussed.

Oversight visit to Mpumalanga Municipalities, 22-23 September 2009: Committee’s draft Report
This draft Report was inspected on a page by page basis. Technical corrections were made to grammar and to improve the structure.

The Committee adopted the Report, as amended.

The meeting was adjourned.

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