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water affairs and forestry portfolio committee13 February 2002
COMMITTEE PROGRAMMEChairperson: Ms B. Sonjica
Documents handed out:
Draft Programme for the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry, January - June 2002 (Portfolio Committee)
Draft Agenda for the Parliamentary Committee Workshop (Contact Trust)
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SUMMARYThe Committee considered the proposed Committee programme and discussed changes to the programme. It was agreed that the programme be accepted as a working document. The Committee then considered the draft programme for the upcoming workshop with civil society. After points of clarification were addressed by the Contact Trust, the Committee decided to adopt the workshop programme with amendments.
Proposed Committee Programme
The Chairperson stated that there were two issues on the agenda. The Committee would consider and adopt the proposed Committee programme and the draft programme for the upcoming workshop with civil society, which was being organised with the assistance of the Contact Trust. She stated that the report of the study tour to KwaZulu-Natal would hopefully be available by the following week and asked Mr J. Van Wyk (ANC), if possible, to give a brief report to the Committee on the highlights of the tour. She proceeded to go through the proposed programme with the Committee and suggested amendments.
A Committee Member asked if there was any legislation appearing before the Committee this year.
The Chairperson responded that there was no legislation before the Committee this year.
Mr D. Hanekom (ANC) commended the comrehensive programme and asked why there was no time allocated for forestry issues in the period covered by the proposed programme. Noting that this was the only Committee dealing with forestry issues, he appealed that forestry issues be brought substantially forward in the Committee's programme.
The Chairperson stated that the proposal was heard very well. She added that the issues in the programme were topical issues needing the immediate attention of the Committee. She welcomed Committee Members to make additional suggestions.
Mr Hanekom suggested that the Committee might need to add more slots for meetings, in addition to the Wednesday slots in the programme.
The Chairperson stated that Mr Hanekom's comment was noted.
Mr G. McIntosh (DP) commented that in reality and looking at the budget of the Department, the percentages going to forestry issues were 5%. Forestry issues would have to be on the list and the Committee would need to deal with them. He added, however, that the Committee needed to be realistic and added that, in the last five or six months, the Committee had dedicated several sessions to forestry issues.
The Chairperson said that there were also other policy issues such as restructuring of assets and black economic empowerment. She stated that a way would be found to accommodate the additional issues.
Mr M. Masala (ANC) supported the proposal made. He added that, if possible, the Committee should visit Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.
Mr J. Arendse (ANC) supported the proposal and suggested that whether or not the Committee met on 27 February 2002 should be decided by the importance of the issue.
Mr P. Ditshetelo (UCDP) suggested that the Committee meet on 27 February 2002 to deal with forestry issues.
The Chairperson said that Mr Ditshetelo made a sound suggestion and stated that Mr Hanekom's suggestion would be accommodated. She added that there were outstanding issues, and on that day the Committee could deal with all the reports on forestry, such as the report on the Indaba. She stated that the Committee could dedicate 27 February 2002 to forestry issues, and the Committee would try to plan for another session before the budget.
Mr McIntosh said that Water Week was coming up and he also mentioned the WASH campaign on sanitation. He added that the Committee should support Water Week activities and the WASH campaign.
The Chairperson stated that the WASH campaign was in the Minister's media briefing. She suggested that the Committee move the meeting on the Department's strategic plan ahead and move all the other issues up by one week. She said that the Committee Clerk would make the amendments to the proposed programme.
Mr S. Simmons (NNP) asked if Committee Members would be provided with the amended programme.
The Chairperson said that the amended programme would be distributed once the Committee Clerk made the suggested changes.
Mr Masala moved that the Committee adopt the proposed programme.
Mr Hanekom stated that it was a long programme and suggested that the Committee wait to see what issues arise.
The Chairperson said that the proposed programme was a working programme.
Ms L. Ngwenya (ANC) commented that checking the reticulation programme should be something the Committee looks at, and it could also be something the Committee could check during the proposed tour of the two provinces.
The Chairperson said that they would compile a list of issues people should talk about in order to have a better understanding of what the Committee should look at and who they should talk to.
Ms Ngwenya suggested the Committee adopt one kind of strict priority programme setting out things the Committee would like to achieve. She asked why the Committee could not prioritise and suggested the example of the supply of water and sanitation to schools. She asked why the Committee could not take steps to ensure that these issues were prioritised.
The Chairperson said that Ms Ngwenya made a valid point.
Mr M. Sigwela (ANC) stated that the programme drawn up by the Committee would inform how much money was allocated to the Committee. He asked if this programme was going to affect budget allocations and, if so, the Committee should give the programme serious consideration.
The Chairperson stated that she had tried to communicate to the presiding officers and informed them that the Committee would be in the field this year, so this would impact on budget allocations. She reported that the officials were aware of this and said that she would look into the matter.
Prof H. Ngubane (IFP) commented that catastrophes happened with water and fire. She asked if the Committee was in touch with people engaged in this area.
The Chairperson stated that disaster management fell under the Department of Local Government but added that there was an overlap. She said that it should be possible to do something on the issue for information purposes. She suggested that Ukuvuka could be asked to give the Committee a report and agreed that the Committee should look into inviting them.
Mr Arendse stated that the Committee had a role in relation to the issue in terms of oversight because the Forest Fire Act was the brainchild of the Committee.
Mr Ditshetelo agreed with Prof Ngubane. Prior to the visit to the provinces, the Committee should get as much information as possible because the Committee would need to know what to look for.Â As for Prof Ngubane's concern, it should also be followed through local government.
The Chairperson accepted the point made as valid. She said that looking at provincial profiles around water and forestry issues would be useful.
Mr Simmons supported the suggestion to identify projects we should focus on such as water and sanitation services in schools. He added that the Committee could work together with the Portfolio Committee on Education or through the Department in order to have an oversight role.
The Chairperson suggested that the provincial profile be initiated by the Committee so that the members could focus on the type of information they would need on the areas they want to target.
Mr Ditshetelo said that the Committee could send out a simple letter to provinces indicating what the Committee would want to see.
Mr Van Wyk supported Mr Ditshetelo's suggestion on provincial visits. Programmes were drawn up by Departments and they did not always touch on what the Committee would need.
The Chairperson accepted the point and suggested that the Committee adopt the programme as a working document and the Members agreed.
Draft Programme for the Parliamentary Committee WorkshopThe Chairperson then proceeded to consider the draft programme of the upcoming workshop with civil society. She read through the programme and asked for comments and suggestions from members.
The Committee members suggested some changes and raised points for clarity.
Mr L. Booth, Director of the Contact Trust, responded to the Committee's comments and questions. He stated that the presenters were selected according to criteria set out with the Chairperson taking into consideration types and sizes of organisations, location and main issues of concern. According to those criteria, the participants were selected from the pool of registered organisations. Each presenter was allotted 30 minutes each, which would be divided into a fifteen-minute presentation with the remaining time for questions and answers. He stated that the changes suggested by the Committee Members would be reflected in the amendments to the draft workshop programme.
The Chairperson stated that the workshop was important for the relationship with community based organisations (CBOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
A Committee Member mentioned his concern over conflict between municipalities and water boards.
Mr Ditshetelo stated that, as a Portfolio Committee, the members had an intermediary role in situations where there were problems. The Committee needed to play a proactive role and try to resolve the issue because the priority is to ensure provision of services.
The Chairperson asked the member to provide more information on the any previous attempts at intervention in the conflict he brought up. The Committee could then move based on a formal report and suggestions as to how they should respond.
The Committee Member responded that there had yet been no intervention in the situation.
The Chairperson stated that one of the problems with legislation was that no clear distinction had been made between the roles and functions of those involved. She suggested the Committee look into the issue and asked that, in the meantime, the member supply the Committee with more information.
Mr Sigwela said that the member must make a report and wanted to know how the conflict brought up was similar to the problem in Durban.
A Committee member asked if local government could also be brought in.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee would need more information before it could proceed with the issue of intervention. She then thanked all who attended and closed the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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