Davidson Proposal: Regulate business interest of state employees
It was agreed not to allow Mr I Davidson (DA) to proceed with his proposal, which preempted legislation soon to be introduced by the Executive. However, the Committee would be doing very serious oversight and monitoring implementation. A report would be prepared and tabled in the next meeting for adoption and then sent to the Office of the Speaker.
Fourth Term Committee Programme
It was suggested that the programme include a briefing by Adv Gary Rhoda, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, and any other constitutional experts on how the Committee could balance the rights and responsibilities in the legislative sphere and also economic rights. In order to build capacity the next workshop should include such briefings on the rights of citizens in terms of economic empowerment and how the Committee could balance that in amending and introducing legislative proposals. At that workshop the Legal Advisors should also assist the Committee as to how best Members should learn to sponsor legislative proposals.
Members were dismayed at the poor attendance of Members of some of the smaller parties and agreed that absence should be minuted so that a trend could be established and used to argue for a recomposition of the Committee.
The Chairperson said the agenda had been changed from the one that had been circulated. The focus for the meeting would be to conclude the Davidson proposal to regulate the business interest of State employees contracting with the State.
Davidson Proposal: Regulate business interest of State employees contracting with the State
Ms M Kubayi (ANC) referred to the draft resolution drawn up by Mr P Pretorius (DA) that had been circulated at a previous meeting that dealt with the matter. She felt that part of the content was prescriptive to other committees. Members could participate individually in whatever processes took place, including the proposed legislation that was brought by the Minister of Public Service and Administration. The Committee’s main concern was the time frame and the monitoring thereof.
Ms Kubayi proposed that the Committee close on the matter, concluding on the criteria of preempting similar legislation soon to be introduced by the national executive.
Mr Pretorius concurred with Ms Kubayi. In his memorandum he had said that the Committee might be limited in its recommendation to the House to say that that memorandum must be discussed by the Portfolio Committee concerned with the future legislation. He reluctantly concurred that it probably preempted legislation by the Executive. He wished to put on record that when the Minister had given a briefing on the Public Sector Management Framework he had specifically said that the framework was a basis for the legislation to come; that that legislation would be introduced before the end of the current financial year; and that it would cover most of what was contained in Mr Davidson’s proposal. It would cover the acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits; it would cover disclosure of financial interest of employees; it would make amendments to the financial disclosure form of public servants; it would place conditions for employees with business interests seeking to conduct business with Government; it would place restrictions on public servants doing remunerative work outside the public service; and it would regulate post public service employment. The proposed legislation went further than Mr Davidson’s proposal, with designated ethics officers to ensure compliance. The legislation would be enforced and all employment agreements of employees would include specific key performance areas that bound and committed employees to comply with those measures. A special unit would liaise closely with the ethics officers to investigate all conflicts of interest and ensure that disciplinary measures were taken. The Minister had given an undertaking that the legislation would be introduced by the end of the current financial year.
On that basis it preempted legislation soon to be introduced by the Executive.
He proposed that, as a rider to the Committee report, the Committee must keep tabs on progress by the Executive and continuously monitor progress.
Ms J Kilian (COPE) concurred and stressed that it must be ensured that when the report was tabled in Parliament those important matters must be mentioned, as well as the proposed time frame. Otherwise it would not adequately reflect the Minister's briefing and place pressure on the Executive to honour its commitment to the National Assembly.
The Chairperson noted that there was agreement not to allow Mr Davidson to proceed with his proposal; this gave the Minister space to proceed with his commitment; the Committee would, however, be doing very serious oversight and monitoring implementation. A report would be prepared and tabled in the next meeting for adoption and then sent to the Office of the Speaker.
Ms Kubayi noted that the pending joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Labour was not reflected.
She suggested a presentation on the study could take place on 26 October.
Mr Pretorius noted that the programme did not address the Ollis proposal. The study tour should also be finalised somewhere in the programme.
Ms Kilian said the Committee had quite a number of legislative proposals to work through. She suggested a briefing by Adv Gary Rhoda, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, and any other constitutional experts on how the Committee could balance the rights and responsibilities in the legislative sphere, and also economic rights. That would assist the Committee to proceed and to work through legislation to take it to the next level.
The Chairperson agreed that in order to build capacity the next workshop should include briefings on the rights of citizens in terms of economic empowerment and how the Committee could balance that in amending and bringing in legislative proposals. At that workshop the Legal Advisors should also assist the Committee as to how best Members should learn to sponsor legislative proposals. Members should lead by example.
Committee minutes: adoption
The Committee adopted, with amendments, the minutes of 7 September 2011.
Ms Kubayi raised the issue that each meeting only reflected the ruling party, DA and COPE. There were Members of some of the smaller parties who hardly ever attended and failed to send apologies.
The Chairperson said in future the minutes could reflect that they were absent, but the issue of members not attending was very serious. Such behaviour let Parliament down.
Ms Kilian concurred with Ms Kubayi. It also affected quorum and could constitute the need for a revision of the composition of the Committee. The minutes should reflect who was absent, and a trend could be established and that trend could be used to argue for a recomposition of the Committee.
Ms Kubayi did not agree with naming and shaming but that the Whip would take the matter up with the facilitators as to what could be done so that the Committee could be well attended.
It was agreed to reflect absentees in future, and the first page would be corrected.
Mr Pretorius raised the issue that, in the first paragraph of page 2, the second sentence ‘indicated that the proposal by Hon Trollip was not different’; he believed the Chairperson said ‘was not much different’.
Ms Kilian noted that paragraph 2 on page 3 ‘it was further said that some of the components could be incorporated into Mr Trollip’s proposal’. Members had not yet seen that proposal so it would be difficult to incorporate that reference without having actually considered it. ‘In conjunction with’ would be a more accurate reflection.
The meeting was adjourned until next quarter.
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