The Chairperson opened the meeting by outlining four documents handed out at the meeting before proposing that the meeting be postponed to a later date. The main reason was that Members were not given the detailed working for Fisheries Report in time. Furthermore, he elaborated that documents should be given to Members at least a week before the meeting. His statement laid a foundation for a robust debate about why the meeting should or should not go ahead as scheduled.
Some members were critical of the postponement. One Member emphasised the need to use time optimally. He suggested that the meeting should go ahead as scheduled. While motivating his point, he explained that Members had enough time to study and research the other three documents. Hence members should discuss these documents and leave the detailed working for Fisheries Report document for a future date.
Other Members insisted on the postponement, pointing out, that it was imperative for the Director General and every other responsible person from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to be present at the meeting. Members questioned the absence of the Director General and his subsequent failure to give an apology to the Portfolio Committee.
Mr S Abraham did not hide his disappointment and lamented that this was a wasted chance to scrutinize the performance of the Department. He noted the irregularities within the department, mentioning the trust fund and tender rigging.
Despite enormous pressure from members for the meeting to go ahead, the Chairperson Mr M Johnson stood his ground and postponed the meeting to a date yet to be confirmed. He cited, the need to do things right from the beginning of the year. Furthermore, he stated that Committee members should play their oversight role more effectively. To this effect, he noted that corrective measures should be instituted to make sure documents are given to members a week before scheduled meetings. While the meeting was postponed, some members left the venue and quite a number of them stayed behind and raised a number of technical issues which were not part of the agenda.
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