Committee's Draft Report on joint international study tour to Uganda: tabling

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Meeting Summary

The agenda for the meeting was to discuss the draft Committee Report on a joint study tour that this Committee had undertaken to Uganda. However, although the Report was briefly presented, the majority of Members were reluctant to comment on or adopt the Report at this stage. They also commented adversely on the lack of assistance from the South African parliament with regard to the study tour. Another meeting would be arranged to decide upon the final recommendations to be inserted in the Report, and to adopt it.

Meeting report

Committee’s Draft Report on joint international study tour to Uganda
At the request of the Chairperson, Mr T Madiba, Parliamentary staff member, and Mr M Manele, Committee Secretary, tabled the draft Report on the Committee’s joint international study tour to Uganda (the Report).

Mr Manele focused on points 13, 14 and 15 of the document. Point 13 related to the key observations and learning points gained through the tour. He reasserted that, in Uganda, the local government funding grants took cognisance of the geographical and population size, to ensure efficiency. The point was made that one of the most important aspects from which this Committee could learn related to the powers and functions within the public service, and said that the Ugandan government had a decentralised administrative system. Some of the Ugandan committees were given powers similar o those of a court in relation to enforcing the attendance of witnesses, and examining them under oath, and citing any person for contempt.

Mr Manele noted that, similar to South Africa, the Accountability Committee (akin to the South African Standing Committee on Public Accounts) was chaired by an opposition Member.

Mr Manele noted, in point 14, appreciation to stakeholders who assisted in the Ugandan tour. He noted that point 15 had stated that the tour was a success. This point also suggested that, in the interests of cooperative governance, the NCOP should consider amending the NCOP Rules to provide for the establishment of a Local Government Accounts Committee. It was further recommended in the report that the NCOP should consider the option of creating a Petitions Office, to offer administrative management and provide dedicated support to the current Committee on Petitions and Members Legislative Proposals.

Mr Madiba added that the Committee needed, in particular, to consider the recommendations, and whether they correctly reflected the Committee’s view, and whether the Report be implemented now or in the future.

Discussion
Mr A Nyambi (ANC, Mpumalanga) welcomed and appreciated the content of the Report. However, he suggested, in relation to point 15, that the first recommendation be drafted to provide for additional powers for  the oversight body for municipalities. Whilst this was needed, it was not necessary to set up a different office from those that existed already.

Mr L Nzimande (ANC, KwaZulu Natal) felt Members needed more time to study the report in more detail before making formal comments. However, by way of preliminary comment, he noted that some of the points made under point 13 were already covered in South Africa.

Mr Nzimande also requested clarity whether the letter of appreciation went to Parliament or to the Commission. He noted that the Ugandan committee had an interest in visiting South Africa and asserted that it was important to build good relations with counterparts from other countries.

Mr D Bloem (COPE, Free State) asserted that this Committee should make its own observations on the project. No recommendations were included in point 13 as to what exactly had been learned.

Mr D Joseph (DA, Western Cape) thanked the support staff for their hard work.

Mr Joseph asked whether, in other municipalities, the accountability structures were chaired by opposition Members.

Mr V Manzini (ANC, Mpumalanga) thought it necessary to finalise the recommendations.

Mr A Matila (ANC, Gauteng) said that there was no need to include recommendations. However, he felt very strongly that the difficulties that the Committee experienced from the side of Parliament in relation to this tour should be reflected on the report, and asserted that the Committee was not given enough support by the South African Parliament.

Mr J Gunda (ID, Northern Cape) agreed that a comment that the Committee did not receive sufficient assistance from Parliament with regard to the tour should be embodied in the Report. He further  requested the Chairperson to liaise with relevant stakeholders so they could note the difficulties the Committee had with Parliament.

The Chairperson stated that the report now should be thoroughly studied, and adopted at another meeting. He thanked the delegates who attended the tour.

The meeting was adjourned

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