Committee's Strategic Planning Report 2012

NCOP Public Enterprises and Communication

22 February 2012
Chairperson: Ms M Themba (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee noted that some of the dates on the draft programme were still to be checked, particularly the visit to Limpopo planned for March 2012. Members debated suggestions to meet with Labour Centre Managers, and decided to undertake a visit to Labour Centres in Cape Town, prior to holding these meetings.

Members adopted the Minutes of a meeting on 23 November, although it was noted that the minutes of 16 November could not be adopted as this had been a joint meeting, and all Members present at that meeting should be asked to approve them.

The Committee Researcher presented a draft Strategic Framework Plan for the Committee, setting out the vision of Parliament, the strategic priorities of government, an explanation of the division of Parliament into two houses, the core objectives of Parliament and the specific mandate and objectives of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Section 5 of that Plan gave an overview of the work of this Select Committee, noting that the Departments of Labour, Public Enterprises and Communications reported to the Committee. The Committee’s own powers were summarised, including its power to summons individuals to appear before it, to hold public hearings, to receive petitions, representations or submissions and to hold meetings both within and outside Parliament. The oversight priorities were set out in section 6 of the Plan, and focus areas of 2011/12 were taken into account in the planning for 2012/13. The departments who reported to the Committee would be asked to present their strategic plans and outline their challenges. Members noted their appreciation for the Plan, but it was agreed, after discussion, that a footnote would make reference to the fact that state owned entities were now being referred to as “State-Owned Companies”, and whilst all 22 entities would be named, it should also be noted that the Committee was at liberty to prioritise and elect to oversee only some. Members questioned whether there would be sufficient funding for the departments to carry out their mandates effectively.

Meeting report

Committee’s draft programme and visits 2012
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to address Members on the programme and framework of the Committee.

The Committee Secretary noted that some of the dates on the Committee’s draft programme clashed with other commitment. There was some doubt as to whether the Committee still intended to visit Limpopo from 12 to 16 March.

After discussion, the Chairperson noted that these dates would be discussed with the programming section.

Ms L Mbija (ANC, Limpopo) suggested that the Committee should still go to Limpopo to meet with the  Labour Centre Managers.

Mr Z Mlenzana (COPE, Eastern Cape) asked whether it would be necessary for the Committee to call the Labour centre managers in Cape Town, and what this would achieve. He thought that it would be more time and cost-effective to deal with the Port Elizabeth and East London Labour Centres at the first meeting, whilst the second meeting should deal with Labour Centre Managers.

Mr O De Beer (COPE, Western Cape) asked how many Labour Centre Managers would be present at the meeting, and whether they would have input into the discussions. He suggested that the meeting with them should be held in Eastern Cape.

Mr M Sibande (ANC, Mpumalanga), following up on Mr Mlenzana’s question, suggested that the Labour Centres in the Western Cape were suitable and should be visited. The Committee would have a lot of work to do and he asked the Committee’s Researcher to assist in grouping some of the provinces’ Labour Centre Management meetings together, whilst some of the Labour Centres should be targeted. He asked if the Committee had sufficient budget to accommodate all activities on the programme.

Mr M Jacobs (ANC, Free State) thought that the Labour Centre Manager issues needed to be considered in conjunction with Sheltered Employment Factories. He suggested that the Labour Centre Managers should be called to a meeting in Johannesburg, because the recruitment of managers was done there.

Mr De Beer agreed with Mr Jacobs. However, he thought that before meeting with Labour Centre Managers, it would be beneficial for the Committee to visit another Labour Centre, ideally in Cape Town, and that should be an unannounced visit.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should do oversight over a Labour Centre in Cape Town, replacing the meeting with Labour Centre Managers for the moment.

Mr Mlenzana commented that there was no timeframe allocated in the programme for the Labour Centre Managers meeting. He also mentioned that apparently the Labour Centres and Sheltered Employment Factories were to be renamed.

The Chairperson reiterated that no invitation would be extended to Labour Centre Managers until the Committee had visited the Labour Centre in Cape Town.

Adoption of Committee Minutes
16 November 2011
The Minutes of the meeting held on 16 November were tabled.

Mr M Jacobs (ANC, Free State) questioned whether these minutes could be adopted.

Mr Mlenzana noted that the purpose of adopting minutes was simply to agree that those minutes reflected what had been discussed at the meeting. It did not matter who was present, provided that there was a quorum. He thought the Committee could adopt the minutes, and brief those Members who were present on 16 November but who were not present today.

Ms Mabija did not agree with Mr Mlenzana, pointing out that some of the individuals present on 16 November were not invited to this meeting, and because the meeting of 16 November was a joint meeting, a joint meeting should adopt those minutes, to ensure no irregularities in the procedure.

The Chairperson took the point and said that those Members present on 16 November would be invited to sit together to adopt the Minutes of 16 November.

Minutes of 23 November 2011
The Minutes were adopted.

Committee’s Strategic Planning Report 2012
Ms R Barreto, Parliamentary Research Unit, presented the Committee’s draft Strategic Framework Plan (the Plan), noting that the introduction set out the vision of Parliament, to “build an effective people’s parliament that was responsive to the needs of the people and that was driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all people of South Africa”. The Select Committee on Labour, Public Enterprises and Communications was representative of Parliament. She read out the remainder of the vision and mission (see attached document for details).

The Plan was informed by the strategic priorities identified in government’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), and aimed to improve the lives of South Africa. There were ten strategic priorities:
a) Speeding up growth and transforming the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihood.
b) A massive programme to build economic and social infrastructure
c) Development of a comprehensive rural development strategy linked to land and agrarian reform and food security
d) Strengthening the skill and human resource base
e) Improving the health profile of all South Africans
f) Intensifying the fight against crime and corruption
g) Building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities
h) Pursuing African advancement and enhanced international cooperation
i) Sustainable Resource Management and use
j) Building a development state, including improvement of public services and strengthening democratic institutions.

The second section of the Plan explained that Parliament was divided into two Houses, and set out the obligations and mandates of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

She noted that the core objectives of Parliament were to pass legislation, to scrutinise and oversee executive action, to facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and other processes, to participate in, promote and oversee co-operative government and to engage in, participate in, and oversee international relations.

The third section of the Plan set out the specific mandate of the NOCP. The NCOP represented provinces in order to ensure that the provincial interests were taken into account at the national sphere of government. This was achieved by participation in the national legislative process and in the NCOP providing a link between the public and national government, in regard to issues affecting provinces.

The fourth section of the Plan focused on the objectives of the NCOP. Members of the NCOP would be led by Constitutional imperatives in performing their work. There was a need to focus the work and resources of the NCOP on functional areas of concurrent national and provincial legislative competency, to maintain a dynamic relationship with the provinces, and to have close working relationships between the NCOP and local government. Another major strategic objective was the promotion of provincial interest. There must be  adherence by the three spheres of government to the principle of co-operative government and intergovernmental relations, and they must follow up properly on government policies identified for those spheres. The NCOP should also enhance public participation programmes, through educating the public and creating forums for public consideration of issues affecting provinces. The NCOP should initiate and implement programmes aimed at assisting the vulnerable groups in society, and ensuring that the NCOP was active in building a Parliament that was responsive to the need of the public.

Ms Barreto noted that section 5 of the Plan gave an overview of the work of the Select Committee on Labour, Public Enterprises and Communications. There were three departments that reported to the Committee, namely the Departments of Labour, Public Enterprises and Communications. She summarised that the Committee must obviously work within the Constitution, legislation, and Rules and regulations of the NCOP. The Committee could summons individuals to appear before it, and could receive petitions, representations or submissions from interested persons or institutions. It may conduct public hearings, and permit oral evidence, representations and submissions. The Committee may, subject to the Rules, determine its own procedures, meet at venues, including venues outside Parliament when the NCOP was not in session, meet on any day and any time. It may also exercise any other powers assigned to it by the Constitution, legislation, the other provisions of these Rules or resolution of the NCOP.

Section 6 of the Plan set out the oversight priorities. The Committee had identified key service delivery areas for oversight purposes, and it must ensure that its oversight work was guided by input from provinces and local government, and that any oversight initiatives were coordinated. The focus areas of 2011/2012 were taken into account in the planning of 2012/2013. The Departments of Labour, Public Enterprises and Communication were invited to present their strategic plans and challenges foreseen for the coming financial year, and these were taken into account when formulating the Plan.

Mr Groenewald, Mr Jacobs and Mr Mlenzana thought this document captured all essential points and agreed that the work was well done.  

Mr Groenewald thought that the names of the state owned entities should be checked as he thought that these had changed.

The Chairperson noted that the NCOP was to engage with the departments to enable to names to be changed from “State Owned Enterprises” to “State owned Companies”. She noted that although apparently some of the changes were already being reflected internally, this may not have been formally done, and this matter was to be discussed with the Ministers.

Mr Jacobs said that there were 22 entities reporting to this Committee, but those not outlined were not that important.

Mr Mlenzana thought that there should be engagement with all of Parliament, not just the NCOP, on names that needed to be changed, and this was not a decision that lay with the Committee. He thought that this debate should be initiated, followed by a report, and said that the names could not simply be changed without also giving input to the public.

The Chairperson agreed that there were 22 entities, and that their priorities needed to be questioned.

Mr Mlenzana asked for clarity on page 7 of the Plan. He noted that the Committee’s Plan and focus areas seemed to be weighted more heavily towards labour issues, particularly migration and skills. He wondered if there would be sufficient funding to ensure that the departments could carry out their mandates effectively, and to what extent the Committee would be involved in these activities.

Mr Mlenzana also questioned some of the terminology, noting that departments used different names when referring to the same entity.

Mr Mlenzana wanted clarity on the statement, on page 16, that legislation affecting the Department of Communications would be “set out” in the fourth quarter.

The Chairperson asked that Mr Mlenzana’s input was to be added to the draft. Other issues raised by Members must be taken into account when the document was finalised.

Ms Barreto suggested that perhaps a footnote in regard to the change of name to “State-Owned Companies” could be included. She could put all comments and issues raised about the entities in a preamble to the document. All entities would be included, but some would be prioritised, and this would give some flexibility to the Committee’s programme in case other issues were raised during the year.

Mr Mlenzana added that the preamble should also state that the Committee was at liberty to choose which entities it wished to prioritise in its work.

The meeting was adjourned.


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