The Chairperson expressed unhappiness about the poor attendance at meetings, and highlighted that she had notified the Chief Whip about this matter. Members were urged to get their priorities straight and to give prior notice if they were not able to attend a meeting. The Committee discussed their Report on Oversight Visit to State Owned Enterprises under Department of Communications. The entities that were visited included the Independent Communications Authority, South African Broadcasting Corporation, TELKOM and MTN. Members proposed a new bill concerning labour brokering as Government was against it. Members expressed concern about the bad attitude that the Independent Communications Authority had towards the Committee, with the former believing that the Committee did not have authority over them. It was suggested that the entity be called in and reprimanded and that a letter be sent to the Minister of Communications about this. The report was adopted with minor changes. Members agreed to forward their recommendations. The Committee Secretary would forward the amended report to Members before it was signed.
Attendance at Meetings
The Chairperson was very frustrated at the poor attendance of Members (at meetings) and indicated that she had written to the Chief Whip about this matter.
Ms Phumelele Sibisi, Committee Secretary, informed Members that there was a new attendance register for them to sign. On the form, Members must indicate the time that they arrived and left a meeting, especially if they left before a meeting had adjourned.
Mr Z Mlenzana (COPE; Eastern Cape) suggested that Members had to set their priorities straight concerning attending committee meetings and that they had to inform the Committee when they would be absent from the meetings.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mlenzana and added that it was embarrassing to go to an oversight visits with less number of Members that was stated initially.
Report of Oversight Visit to State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) under Department of Communications
The Chairperson opened the floor for Members to discuss the Report page by page after no grammatical errors were found.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee had to look at the existing legislation about network and satellite coverage in the country.
Mr D Feldman (COPE; Gauteng) suggested that the Committee had to do a follow up with MTN about the 403 retrenchments that they planned to carry out. He also reminded the Committee that MTN had not sent their employment equity documents that they had promised to send.
The Chairperson replied that she would write to MTN to enquire about what would happen to the 403 people that were going to be retrenched.
Mr Mlenzana stated that MTN sometimes employed its own workers and sometimes it used brokers to employ people and Government was against labour broking. The Committee therefore had to formulate a proposal to the Department of Labour to follow up on this issue as there were different views about it. This problem was also noticed during the oversight visits they had with the SOEs.
Mr M Jacobs (ANC; Free State) wanted clarity on how they were going to know if the satellites which were supposed to be installed next to the stadium had been installed and were operating successfully as they were promised by MTN. He recommended that a Bill had to be passed as soon as possible concerning labour broking.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Jacobs.
Independent Communications Authority (ICASA)
Mr Mlenzana suggested that the Committee had to take harsher measures, like writing a letter to ICASA concerning their bad behaviour.
Mr Jacobs supported this proposal and suggested that ICASA had to be called in and reprimanded by the Committee about their attitude that gave the impression that the Committee did not have authority over them. He strongly suggested that the Committee should write a letter to the Minister of Communications about this issue.
Ms Sibisi reminded the Committee that they should take note of when the term of office of the Chairperson of ICASA expired when taking these measures.
Mr Jacobs replied that the Committee would not be correcting individuals at ICASA but ICASA as the body because that bad attitude would remain even after the term of the current Chairperson had ended.
TELKOM Foundation had stated that by December 2010, all schools would have internet connection and the Western Cape would be completed by the end of 2009.
Mr Jacobs wanted clarity as to why every project always started in the Western Cape Province.
Mr Mlenzana explained that projects always had to be done according to the readiness of the Province.
SABC and Cellphone Coverage
Mr M Sibanda (ANC; Mpumalanga) wanted clarity as to why areas in certain provinces, like in Limpopo, did not have satellite and network coverage.
Mr Jacobs commented that SAfm was available in all the provinces and could not understand why other radio stations were not using the same transmission.
On the issue of cellphone coverage that was approved by either the municipality or traditional leaders, Mr Mlenzana suggested that this challenge had to be taken to Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as he was a suitable person to deal with the issue.
Recommendations were excluded in this draft because the Committee Secretary wanted Members to their recommendations to her.
Members agreed to forward their recommendations. The Committee Secretary would forward the amended report before it was signed.
One of the recommendations was that the Committee had to look at the issue of women in learnership programmes.
The Chairperson also agreed with Members and suggested that more female pupils had to be encouraged to do subjects that would help them enrol for IT courses at tertiary level.
The report was adopted with minor changes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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