The Committee Researcher took the Committee through its 2012/13 Draft Business Plan which looked at the Core Objectives of Parliament, Key Policy Developments for South Africa and Key Issues for the Committee. Relevant tasks and activities were then outlined for the Committee.
The Committee Researcher, Mr Adam Salmon, took the Committee through the 2012/13 Committee Draft Business Plan which he had drawn up. He said members of the Committee were welcome to change any information in the document as it was a draft. He went through the core objectives and functions of Parliament which were to: (1) pass legislation, (2) scrutinise and oversee executive action, (3) facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and over processes, (4) participate in, promote and oversee co-operative government, (5) engage in, participate in and oversee international relations. He went on to state the mission of Parliament: “As the freely elected representatives of the people of South Africa, our mission is to represent, and act as a voice of the people, in fulfilling our constitutional functions of passing laws and overseeing executive action”.
The next section dealt with a Strategic Overview and Key Policy Developments for South Africa. He spoke about key issues:
▪ Matters emanating from Parliament’s core objectives which included outstanding legislation, developments in the oversight process, increased international participation, the need for improved public participation and developments in the co-operative government processes.
▪ Further development and implementation of institutional policies to guide implementation. This included institutional governance, parliamentary policies and divisional policies.
▪ The development and implementation of modern institutional systems and technologies focused on functional systems, management systems and review of the MSP.
▪ Increasing the capacity of members and officials, development of knowledge and skills. This included competency profiling and assessment, culture alignment, confidence and lastly organisational structure.
▪ Institutional culture and communication supporting implementation included creation of an internal culture supporting service delivery and improvement of internal and external communication.
▪ Providing a work environment enabling the delivery of services and that included working space, office space and facilities and equipment.
Mr Salmon explained the vision of Parliament as adopted in 2005.
”A build an effective people’s Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all”
He proceeded to tease out what this vision means as well as what is meant by constitutionality, people-centeredness, co-operative government, professionalism and good institutional governance.
Key issues for the Committee were explained as follows:
On the basis of challenges and problems (environmental analysis), the following key issues were put forward for the Department of Home Affairs, Government Printing Works, Electoral Commission, and Film & Publication Board.
As identified in the State of the Nation Address 2012:
▪ Improving Border Crossings, Port Capacity and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as part of regional trade corridors.
▪.Advocating for improved DHA infrastructure as part of initiatives of the Presidential Infrastructure Commission/Summit.
▪ Improving National Security, fraud detection and prevention through online verification of identity such as fingerprints.
▪ Updating needed scarce foreign skills lists and speeding up visa provision in line with the required technical and engineering capacity needed for large infrastructure projects.
▪ Job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.
Other key areas:
▪ Overview Quality Assurance: security and accuracy of data and documents.
▪ Monitor Information & Communications Technology (ICT) constraints: focus on infrastructure
▪ Scrutinise legal migrant and refugee document delivery times.
Possible Legislation of relevance to committee:
DHA would not be amending any legislation this year but added that there would be a draft Immigration Policy. He said that the following would form part of possible legislation:
a. Role of Home Affairs in the Trafficking Bill
b. Electoral Commission
c. Marriage Amendment Bill, 2009
d. Possible Identification Amendment Act
e. Draft Immigration Policy
f. Immigration Refugee Act Amendments
g. Muslim marriages Amendment Bill
h. Discuss possible prevention of Child Pornography Legislation.
DHA would not be processing any legislation this year but there would be draft Immigration Policy. Legislation that the Committee should keep an eye on:
Trafficking Bill (Role of Home Affairs in this piece of legislation)
Marriage Amendment Bill,2009
Possible Identification Amendment Bill
Draft Immigration Policy
Immigration/Refugee Act Amendments
Muslim Marriages Amendment Bill
Discuss possible Prevention of Child Pornography Legislation.
Relevant tasks and activities were then outlined for the Committee.
Mr G McIntosh (COPE) said the National Development Plan was a draft and the Committee needed it to be completed so that it could plan its activities. He added that the METF budget needed to be emphasised more in the Business Plan.
Mr M De Freitas (DA) said the Committee required more research on where to send its Members on observer missions. The Committee would have to prioritise which elections it should visit.
Mr Salmon said that the Committee should not attend all the elections but focus on key ones such as Kenya and Angola.
The Chairperson added that the Committee should speak to the Whips concerning the observer missions so that the Committee could send at least two of its members. She added that it would be good to gain experience and learn the do’s and don’ts.
Mr M Mnqasela (DA) had concerns about maritime border control and about prioritising observer missions.
Ms S Bothman (ANC) noted the Department’s entities on land and in ports should be covered.
Mr A Gaum asked about attendance at international conferences.
The meeting was adjourned.
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