A decision as to whether the Selfe and de Lille Proposals on the President’s power to pardon, were desirable or not had not yet been arrived at. At the previous meeting there was a motion that the matter be referred to the relevant portfolio committee, but also a counter proposal not to.
At this meeting, it was recommended to adopt the motion that the Committee was of the view that the proposal was feasible and should be proceeded with, and that it be referred to the relevant portfolio committee.
However, the Chairperson was of the opinion that Members had not done their homework and asked Members to apply their minds more diligently in preparation for taking a decision at the following meeting.
The Chairperson announced that a legislative proposal had been received from MP Ian Davidson. Its object was to restrict employees of the State and its public entities, from being allowed to have business interests in entities doing business with the State and public entities. Mr Davidson’s last proposal dealt with political parties, this one was about officials of the State.
The Committee was faced with a challenge to do with support staff. The Committee had been served by a most competent secretariat, and had also been fortunate in that the Committee Researcher, Ms Salome Meso, had been with the Committee all along, but now it seemed that it was the intention of the authorities to move her. The Chairperson would engage with the authorities to ensure they understood the Committee’s position.
The required quorum had been reduced from seven to six due to the resignation of Ms Molebatsi (ANC); and would take effect from next week after being formalised through the ATC.
Selfe and de Lille Proposals: President’s power to pardon
The Chairperson recapped that a decision as to whether the proposals were desirable had not yet been arrived at. At the last meeting there was a move that the matter be referred to the relevant portfolio committee, and also a counter proposal not to.
Ms A Dreyer (DA) said that she had followed the guidelines for the Committee when considering proposals that came before the Committee. The two proposals went into the substance and the merits of the proposed legislation but did not address the technical points. She proposed that both legislative proposals be adopted as feasible to be proceeded with, and that they be forwarded to the relevant portfolio committee.
Ms M Mdaka (ANC) asked which was the relevant committee.
Ms Dreyer thought it would probably be the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development.
Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked for clarity, did that mean the Committee was not taking a decision but referring it to the relevant committee?
Ms Dreyer clarified that the Committee should take a decision. It should adopt that the Committee was of the view that the proposal was feasible and should be proceeded with. That meant referral to the relevant committee, being the Justice and Constitutional Review Committee for them to deliberate further on this matter.
Mr N Fihla (ANC) commented that the Committee was dealing with proposals that were relevant to other committees, and could take a final decision on any issue brought before it.
Mr P Pretorius (DA) supported Ms Dreyer in that the proposals had passed the test in terms of the guidelines and there was no reason for them to be blocked at this level; they should be referred to the portfolio committee.
The Chairperson reminded Members that the proposal of Hon de Lille was that section 84(2)(j) be removed from the Constitution, therefore it should be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee should the Committee wish to take that route, as it entailed amending the Constitution. Hon Selfe’s proposal avoided amending the Constitution and was to regulate the process.
Mr Pretorius agreed that the Constitutional Review Committee would be correct, but felt they should not state which committee in their report to the House, “relevant committee” would suffice.
The Chairperson said then the Committee would be relinquishing its responsibility to take a decision now; Members must apply their minds. It was agreed that Hon de Lille’s proposal be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee. However, Hon Selfe’s proposal was not to amend the Constitution, but to regulate that particular area.
Ms Dreyer suggested that Hon Selfe’s proposal go to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development.
Ms Sosibo thought the Committee should put forward a view before forwarding it to the relevant committee.
The Chairperson said if the Committee felt that it was necessary to amend the Constitution then the Selfe proposal would no longer be needed. If the Committee did not find it necessary to amend the Constitution, then the Selfe proposal may be required. They could not be linked together. The Committee must decide the appropriate route.
Mr Fihla referred to the Constitution regarding the powers of the President. If a committee had reason to challenge the constitutionality of an issue, the matter must be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee; other issues must be referred to the relevant committees. The de Lille proposal should be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee and the Selfe proposal to the “relevant committee”.
The Chairperson was concerned that the Committee had not done its homework. He appealed to Members to apply their minds
Ms Dreyer felt the Committee had already agreed on a decision.
The Chairperson believed Members were not clear as to what was the point.
Ms Dreyer insisted that her proposals met with the requirements of the checklist and she was satisfied that they could both go through.
The Chairperson thought that was a contradiction.
Mr Pretorius asked what was the contradiction? The recommendation was for the de Lille proposal to go to the Constitutional Review Committee and the Selfe proposal to go to the Justice and Constitutional Development Portfolio Committee.
No one opposed Ms Dreyer’s suggestion.
The Chairperson reminded Members of listening to Hon de Lille’s presentation, and the Justice Department’s presentation (which had been very legalistic and complex). At the conclusion, even Hon de Lille had said it was unfair that she had been invited to present and had not been informed to bring legal advisors with her. The Committee should be taking those presentations into account, or it would be failing in its responsibilities. Hon Selfe’s presentation seemed to be fair and balanced, even the Justice Department said it was concerned about regulating the prerogative of the President. The Committee must advise Parliament in a more logical sense.
Committee Minutes: adoption
The Committee Minutes of 25 August 2010 and 1 September 2010 were adopted subject to technical amendments.
Mr Pretorius commended the Committee Secretary on the excellent quality of the minutes.
Fourth Term Committee Programme
Mr Pretorius was concerned that the strategic planning workshop scheduled for 19th November, being so late on a Friday, might not be well attended.
Ms P Mocumi (ANC) suggested referring it back for a more appropriate day, not a Friday.
The Chairperson agreed, it would be referred back and the programme adopted the following week.
The meeting was adjourned.
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