The Ad Hoc Committee deliberated, page by page, on a revision, with some additions and corrections, of the draft report that it had considered in the previous meeting. There was no view to adoption in the present meeting.
Members called for conciseness of language and the inclusion of details, being specific as to facts and providing a summary of the findings before highlighting particular points, and emphasised the importance of compiling a full set of minutes of all the Ad Hoc Committee’s meetings in order to inform the drafting, consideration, revision and final editing of the report. Members also affirmed the need to ensure that the final report would be in good order – with more elaboration in parts for the benefits of readers, since it would be a public document when tabled to and adopted by the National Assembly. It was also noted that the report should highlight the alleged maladministration at the Commission for Gender Equality.
Members expressed particular concern as to the process itself of drafting and revising the report.
The Chairperson welcomed Members. Mr Mukesh Vassen, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, Mr Sipiwo Matshoba, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Ministry of Women, Youth, Children, and People with Disabilities, and Ms Crystal Levendale, Parliamentary Researcher, were also in attendance. A number of other parliamentary members were present.
Mr J Sibanyoni (ANC) was unable to be present since he was attending a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development.
Deliberations on the draft report
The Chairperson said that the report was still the draft of the previous week, with some additions and corrections. It was not to be expected that the Ad Hoc Committee could adopt the report at this meeting.
Ms P Duncan (DA) asked to what extent the Committee Secretary had liaised with the parliamentary researchers in the revision of the last week’s draft. She also enquired if the researchers had a report and if it could be combined with the latest draft.
The Chairperson referred Ms Duncan to the end of the draft report.
Ms Tebogo Sepanya, Committee Secretary, read the draft report, word for word, page by page.
The Chairperson invited comments or corrections.
Comments and corrections were made. These mainly related to language usage.
Ms D Robinson (DA) proposed shortening certain paragraphs. There was unnecessary “verbiage” in the draft report. She suggested going straight to the findings.
The Chairperson agreed.
Mr Vassen said that the findings should reflect the updates given by the Office of the Public Protector and the Office of the Auditor-General.
The Chairperson observed that the Ad Hoc Committee must give its own findings based on the updates from the Office of the Public Protector and the Office of the Auditor-General.
Ms Robinson said that Members required the details. It was important to be specific as to facts.
Ms Duncan said that, under findings, it was important first of all to have a summary before highlighting the points individually. In addition, she requested the minutes of all the Ad Hoc Committee’s meetings. Lastly, she added that it was the job of Members to make sure that the facts were correct, not to have to labour with the language aspects of the report. Members needed those concerned to complete their assignments on time so that Members could discharge their own responsibilities.
The Chairperson observed that staff members would be listening. “We all know what our duties are.” If anyone could not complete his or her task, he or she must say so. It was a frustrating situation.
Ms Robinson called for a further meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee.
Ms Duncan wanted her question of 31 January 2011 to National Treasury, and its response, to be fully recorded in the records of the Ad Hoc Committee’s proceedings. This could be part of the Ad Hoc Committee’s response to National Treasury and it was in line with the Ad Hoc Committee’s mandate.
The Chairperson observed that this was a finding.
Ms Duncan emphasised that the minutes were important for capturing Members’ questions.
Ms Levendale advised that the lack of electronic versions of documents had presented difficulties. The researchers and advisers were required to fulfil assignments for various committees.
The Committee briefly discussed some of the reasons why the researchers and advisers could not meet and what could be done to address this. (The Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) was requested not to record or publish the discussion at this point).
Ms Robinson proposed an adjournment.
Adv S Holomisa (ANC) called for a full set of minutes, and noted that it was important to reflect, in the revision of the report, the alleged maladministration at the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).
The Chairperson said that the Ad Hoc Committee would, subject to confirmation, meet again on Friday, 18 February 2011, in Room E305, National Assembly Wing, at 09h30.
Adv Holomisa noted that he relied on Parliament’s Order Paper for notification and confirmation of meetings rather than electronic mail messages or notices in pigeon holes. He trusted that Friday’s meeting would appear in the Order Paper.
The meeting was adjourned.
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