Moral Regeneration Movement; Music Business Unit of South Africa: briefings

Arts and Culture

22 August 2012
Chairperson: M T Sunduza (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Moral Rejuvenation Movement presentation covered its mandate and objectives, the organisational structure, governance, programmes, funding by the Department and successes. Challenges included funding and resourcing, minimal support from government, the political climate and public perceptions.

The Committee was not satisfied with the degree of information provided. It asked the DAC to assist the MRM in furnishing a detailed report in reply to the Committee’s many questions. Members raised questions about volunteers, coordination with provinces, funding sources, the legislation that governed the Moral Rejuvenation Movement, a request for MRM Programme of Action, a request for its financial statements, to whom the Moral Rejuvenation Movement was accountable, its relationship with the Department and the Moral Rejuvenation Movement’s organogram and a request for information about its Board.

The Music Business Unit of South Africa is an entity that represents the business interests of the music-entertainment industry. It had been established in response to calls from government for a single structure representing artists, with which government could work to protect the interests of performers. This was as a result of the President’s interaction with the cultural industry sector in November 2009. The Music Business Unit’s composition and objectives were explained. It outlined the problems faced by the industry, such as piracy, as well as solutions on how to fix these.

The Chairperson said that she had raised the question, even with the Minister, about whether South African artists had a support system and she had not received an answer. Discussion focused on the interaction between government and the music industry. Members asked why had feedback from relevant departments taken so long since the 2009 interaction with the President and half of Cabinet. The first feedback session was only diarised for September 2012. Members asked again how much help had been given to the industry by the Department of Arts and Culture. MBU said government needed to involve it in the decisions made and policies developed, especially since MBU had the expertise. However, instead of being valued and utilised, the MBU felt marginalised and left out of the conversation space. The Committee decided that it would write a letter to the President after a meeting with DAC to establish how far it had gone in supporting the creative arts industry. Music piracy was raised and MBU explained the solution it had to this problem.

Meeting report

Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) presentation   
Ms Zandile Mdlhadlha, MRM Chief Operations Officer, apologised as the Chairperson was unable to attend. Her briefing covered the mandate, vision and values of the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM), its organisational structure, governance, programmes, funding by the Department and successes. Challenges included funding and resourcing, minimal support from government, the political climate and public perceptions (see document).

Ms Mdlhadlha stated that the MRM understood that there were many organisations working towards moral renewal and MRM had gone to communities and encouraged and facilitated discussions in order to help communities to solve their problems.

Provinces and regions
Ms F Mushwana (ANC), referring to the organogram on page four, said the conference and secretariat informed the Board of Directors but she did not understand the relationship with the regions, the arrows did not convey much.

Ms Mdlhadlha replied there was a time when the current President sent a directive that the provinces must assist but there was nothing that bound them, the MRM merely had to negotiate. There was nothing that bound the municipalities to support them either. It was merely political will more than anything. This had been raised with the Presidency as well as the Department: one needed to have a structure. This was now being worked on. This was why the diagram did not say what the regions and provinces did as those in these areas often gathered independently and decided what to do. They were, therefore, like the bosses of the Board of Directors in terms of programming and looking for resources. This was why one did not see a direct line going to provinces and regions. The only people that had been employed were the six regional coordinators. Those coordinators worked with provinces and then reported directly to the MRM. This was partly because the MRM was finding it difficult to organise activities in some of the provinces.

Ms L Moss (ANC) asked if the people in the regions were volunteers. If so, they would not be able to use volunteers forever if the organisation wanted more productive work done on the ground.

Ms Mdlhadlha replied that people volunteered but they were given a stipend. There were also activities such as a walk against abuse. People volunteered and created such activities and MRM was able to attend.

Social Partners
Ms D Msweli (IFP) asked who its social partners were and which provinces had strong stakeholder relations.

Ms Mdlhadlha replied that the provinces vacillated between being strong and weak. This year Free State had been the strongest province and yet there had been a lull for years. Kwazulu Natal and Mpumalanga were also fairly strong. However there had been attempts at organisation in the Western Cape but this was still lacking. The MRM was dependent on the leadership as there was nothing that bound the leaders to follow the MRM. The Northern Cape was strong and the North West had started being strong. Those were the provinces being worked on. Gauteng was not strong at provincial level but it was at the municipality level. The MRM had not ‘won’ the province of Gauteng. She promised to give a full report of all the activities. The MRM had taken part in social dialogues, targeting certain groups. Last year they had targetted the youth and were still targeting the youth now, but in partnership with the elderly. Unfortunately they could not reach the entire South African community with the resources they had.

In terms of strong stakeholders, Ms Mdlhadlha replied that the Film and Publication Board had been very strong and had even assisted the MRM with resources. Social Development had also been very strong in some areas, especially at local level. Support from the South African Police Service was sporadic. One found in some areas they were strong in ensuring that discussion was facilitated and there were events. However, there was nothing that bound all these departments and organisations. There had been a promissory note from the National Lottery Fund for funding and MRM was waiting for the amount.

Ms L Moss (ANC) asked about funding saying it was important to give a breakdown of the finances. The Committee did not know where the money was being spent and from where they were getting the money. Was it only the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) who contributed or did other spheres contribute? The MRM could not have depended purely on the Department.

Ms Ellen Tshabalala, Board Member of the Moral Regeneration Movement, replied that the Department of Arts and Culture had been tasked with funding and Minister after Minister understood what was being done by the MRM and thus released funding. However, MRM could have many projects with little money coming from the Department. As a result the MRM had been battling with funding. She noted that within the MRM structure there were only four permanent people. It was a small contingency of people who had to make sure that the administrative work of all provinces was handled properly. Some premiers were reluctant to roll out moral regeneration and place it within their budget or even do anything about it. This in turn led to a poor delivery process. Gauteng was one of the places that experienced poor delivery but it had a lot of resources. The matter had been taken to the Patron to assist with negotiation with officials.

Ms Mushwana said she did not understand why the MRM was still awaiting funds for 2011/12 whereas R1.5 million was stated as having been received. How much was the MRM meant to get and how was this divided amongst the provinces?

Mr D Mavunda (ANC) asked about the enabling legislation that had established the MRM so the Committee could understand the line of reporting and the MRM programmes it encompassed.

Mr Mavunda said the Committee would like to know the programmes that linked directly to and involved communities. How did communities participate? He assumed that the programme breakdown given was the national component.

Unqualified Audit
Mr Mavunda said that the Committee would not understand the MRM’s unqualified audit until it explained what funds had been looked at by the Auditor-General and from where the funds had come. Had the funds been used precisely for the purpose requested as sometimes the Auditor-General just looked to see if the funds had been used. He asked what was the legislation driving the use of funds.

Ms Tshabalala replied that the Chief Operating Officer had brought a package of information on the financials: how the funds had been used and how the MRM had arrived at a successful unqualified audit. The Board resolved that it would employ its own audit firm and it would do all the Board’s books and from time to time advise on the problem areas and give suggestions for improvement. The unqualified audit report was quite pleasing. Even though parliamentarians had received a presentation from MRM and had understood the presentation, some Members of Parliament could not play a protective role when there had been negative publications, especially around its finances. She asked Members to recall that there had been a bad publication about Moral Regeneration Movement’s fruitless expenditure of R21 million which was untrue. Although the Committee had tried to help, the MRM did not feel that within Parliament there was a general acceptance of moral regeneration.

The Chairperson said Parliament did not have the responsibility to nor could they protect people from what the media said. As much as the media had written about the fruitless expenditure, Members could not protect them on an issue they did not know about. She had had questions from the media as well but had not answered them as she had not met the MRM.

Mutual Benefit
Ms Msweli asked if the people who attended MRM programmes, came and went without contributing anything.

Ms Tshabalala replied that there had been benefits not only from the Film and Publication Board which had been instrumental in going to provinces and teaching young people about the dangers of pornography but also there had been strong leadership in the National House of Traditional leaders. The Amakhosi had taken moral regeneration seriously and they themselves had played the part of serious advocates to the provinces and also the local communities in enshrining the values. They had also developed their own programmes which could be married to moral regeneration. MRM had nurtured what they were doing as these groups could drive it to many different areas. There had been tangible value even within the policing front. There had been a moral regeneration programme with the SAPS. MRM had been largely disappointed about other political parties that had embraced the Charter for Positive Values. It had been a crucial exercise to arrive at a common value system for the country as it cut across races and issues of respect carried a great deal of weight. There had been a lot of work put into arriving at the launch for the Charter of Positive Values. The country as a whole, across political lines, agreed to these values however there had been some provinces that had been reluctant to buy into the programme and drive it. It had been a battle and the CEO had done well in coming up with strategies and looking at local government support. The MRM had experienced hostility and a change of guard from provinces such as the Western Cape. The MRM did however get assigned coordinators but over a period of time, they were shifted.

Successes in relation to programmes
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) wanted to hear about successes that related to the people on the ground. All she saw were speakers. The MRM presentation said a lot but a not a lot had been achieved.

Ms Morutoa asked to whom the MRM accounted as they were not an organisation but a movement. They had resided in the Presidency and now were funded by Arts and Culture. The Committee needed details in order to be able to understand and explain the information that was being given in the MRM reports.

Ms Tshabalala replied that in terms of monitoring the DAC was the principal ministry and the MRM Patron called the MRM from time to time to understand what was being done. The DAC and the Patron had instituted a study to analyse the work done on moral regeneration. That was the report that the Committee had to receive to understand the impact of MRM on society. The report had been concluded and not yet received by MRM but they understood that it was with the DAC.

Mr Mavunda asked if MRM was an NGO or if it fell within the region of being part of government or public entity? He wanted to understand how funds were channelled from departments to the MRM and what the accountability was based on.

The Chairperson questioned who the MRM reported to in the DAC as the Committee did not understand what was happening with the MRM.

Ms Veliswa Baduza, DAC Chief Operating Officer, said that the Department had received the Medium Term Framework allocation. Within this they had about 26 public entities established by legislation which the Department was responsible for subsiding. The MRM was not a public entity. It had been established as a Section 21 company. DAC’s understanding was to give the entity ‘founding funding’ to allow it to create the movement which would then guide the country in terms of moral regeneration. DAC did not have an allocation within the MTEF to fund the MRM. What had been done was DAC had entered into a service level agreement for that particular year and allocated funding to MRM as any other funded project. It allocated to the MRM according to what they had available. There was no subsidy that was channelled via the Department to the MRM. Social cohesion was the responsibility of the whole country and MRM could not be seen a solely a governmental responsibility but a societal one. A multi-faceted approach that was needed to drive moral regeneration. The DAC did not have a direct reporting line to the MRM and MRM did not report to the DAC unless it had entered into a service level agreement.

Ms Baduza added that, by stating that it was a societal issue, the DAC was not reneging on its responsibility to monitor and track what was happening with the funding. It had received a report on how MRM funding was being allocated and the DAC had been satisfied with the report. The DAC got to know how the funds allocated to MRM were being utilised through the unqualified audits. The DAC had just received a report which was a study of moral regeneration in the country and the programmes rolled out by MRM and other stakeholders. The Minister was going to table that report in Cabinet and that would be an opportunity for Cabinet to engage on the report and provide further direction.

Ms Tshabalala noted that the previous Deputy Minister sat on the MRM Board so there was a seamless way of dealing with the challenges and agreements. The new leadership had not deployed the Deputy Minister to sit on the Board. This had been raised with the Minister. The MRM appealed to the Committee to ensure that this happened as it assisted them to understand the expectations of government.

Board of Directors and Organogram
Mr Mavunda wanted to know how the Board had been established and by which legislation.

Ms D Msweli (IFP) asked how many people formed the Board of Directors.

Ms Morutoa said the organogram was scanty and did not explain a lot which the Committee needed to know. She asked about representation within the Board of Directors. She argued that morals had degenerated and what they saw in the presentation was contrary to what she had experienced.

Ms Mdlhadlha explained that MRM was a non-governmental Section 21 organisation, established as a result of a Cabinet decision in 2002. The decision was that government support the work of the MRM and the then President agreed that the Deputy President should be the patron of the Movement so that they received support and leverage from government. This had been her understanding. There was a decision to make MRM a Section 21 organisation so it could be flexible and be able to raise funds. The then working committee had realised that now the MRM was an entity it was better to have a Board of Directors that could supervise the administration of the resources of the entity. Thus when decisions were made, the Board could make them rather than going to a working committee comprised of people from different organisations.

Ms Tshabalala replied that in the genesis of the board structure, the leaders of all political parties had agreed that the faith based organisation were the cardinal vein to drive all morality issues. The Board also incorporated labour, sport, business and in time there has been a huge complement on the Board. One knows that when Board members are not paid, they attend meetings when they like and so this diminished into a smaller number of active board members. To complement the four MRM staff, all members of the MRM Board had a responsibility to run moral regeneration programmes in their provinces.

The Chairperson asked when was the election of the next Board and how long would the Board stand for? There was also a need to receive the MRM’s Programme of Action.

General Clarification and Understanding
The Chairperson said much as she had visited the office there were a number of questions that needed to be answered. MRM needed to understand that the Committee needed to have a base of understanding especially on the foundation and location of MRM. She asked about it because she knew the Deputy President was the patron. Her issue was if there was no legislation, then MRM would be living on ‘handouts’ relying on people giving money to them.

Ms Mdlhadlha replied that there was no legislation that governed the work MRM was doing. They had been working on it as a movement with the Presidency and the DAC. A decision had been made by Cabinet that the DAC was to be the conduit of the funds received by MRM.

The Chairperson understood that the movement was needed as a nation with all the moral decay of today up to the most local level but her issue was the legislation. Once she had confirmed that this was the first time that the MRM had reported in Parliament, she informed them that members of Parliament were very sensitive about reporting but she would have mercy on them today. The Committee had wanted a breakdown of its funds and a detailed report and that was why there were all these questions. The Committee wanted to know what had been done with the funds. There had been accusations and an outcry in terms of ‘financial squabbling’. She also wanted clarification on why MRM was located within the Department of Arts and Culture. People could ask why it was not located within, say, Social Development.

Ms Mdlhadlha said she wanted to apologise upfront for not giving enough information. What normally happened was that the MRM produced a large report which had not been presented here but this could be sent via email. The report would have given a bigger picture of the actual activities and where the activities were conducted. It was difficult for the MRM to report how much a district or a province spent because they responded to their principals such as mayors or to the province itself. They could merely tell the MRM how they spent their money but they did not report to them – it went through the departments.

The Chairperson was not sure how visible the MRM was. Morality was often associated with religion and churches and there were also various councils. Where did the MRM fit into all this?

Money given by government
Ms Moss said if the government had given money to bring the organisation from the ground they must have thought it would give value to South Africa. There had been an expectation and funding had been given since 2002. Although leaders had changed, the government was still the government.

Monitoring of MRM
The Chairperson asked the DAC if they were monitoring the events of MRM.

Activity if of MRM
Ms Mushwana said she did not see the MRM’s involvement in the various moral issues that plagued the country.

Proposals by Chairperson
The Chairperson proposed that the Moral Regeneration Movement give a detailed written report on all the questions asked. Without a detailed report, members would not be able to speak on the MRM. She also asked the DAC to sit down with the MRM and help in compiling the report.

Music Business Unit of South Africa presentation
Mr Eugene Mthethwa, Acting Chair of Music Business Unit (MBU), commented that it was a problem of the industry that it was dominated by men. It was not due to chauvinism but because of lack of capacity building in the empowerment of women.

Mr Lindela Mkhize, MBU Executive Board Member, said the MBU was called that because it was an entity that represented the interests of the business side of music at all possible levels avenues and forums. MBU ws the bargaining authority in the music-entertainment business to ensure the music-entertainment sector could thrive, expand and be competitive both nationally and internationally. The MBU was present as it had identified a lack of support from government and corporate South Africa. The entity was formed by business leaders from different components of the music industry sector. It was made up of people who had a vast experience in the industry. He argued that the vast amount of revenue that the industry generated went outside the country, around 75%. The successes of products went outside of the country due to a lack of capacity. Those representing the MBU today were the ones who knew what needed to be done if given the opportunity and capacity to work together with Parliament. They could make the business the country’s business.

Mr Lebo Morake, Acting Secretary General, presented on who MBU was as a collective. The MBU was responding to a presidential call where in 2009 the President had made an audit. It was understood that government was unable to respond to the call to be involved in supporting the creative arts, as the arts were not organised. The industry had thus decided to be proactive about this. The MBU was to be the first in line to showcase the creative input in the country as well as its business value. Mr Morake emphasised that the MBU was an entity that focused on business aspect of the creative arts industry, as it related to government policy and as it related to the impact those that created the resource (previously disadvantage people within our country). Those before the Committee were the face of the success in business in the industry. He then outlined the MBU’s mission, vision and objectives.

Mr Mthethwa argued that there were credible faces needed in order to communicate to people. Those sitting before the Committee were these faces. The men sitting there had millions of fans. When they crossed the border they became ambassadors for the country. He outlined the commitments made by government (see Sandton Convention Centre document). He asked if the Committee could follow up on the behalf of the MBU and seek out progress reports. In 2009 the President had had a meeting with the sector and the President had drawn half of the Cabinet into that meeting. Government had made commitments. He listed the required improvements which were outcome based.

In 2007 Minister Pallo Jordan had said that the current situation in which performers are excluded from pensions, social security, unemployment benefit, health schemes and workers’ compensation was untenable in the long term. But only the organized strength of unionized creative people would bring it to an end. Mr Mthethwa said the issue of the industry needing to organise was not a new notion. There had been a call by former President Thabo Mbeki who had encouraged the sector to unite in order to become stronger and allow the government to interact with them. He argued that government hold workshops and come out with resolutions. Government had had consultations with the private sector and then went on to become implementers which sometimes stifled the industry as government officials brought in “friends” to take part in various events. This meant that it was difficult to organise. Why would people join something such as a Creative Workers Union if they could merely use contacts to secure a job?

Support system for artists
The Chairperson said that she wanted to raise the issue that she had raised even with the Minister: did South African artists have a support system and she had not received an answer, it was still being looked into.

Success abroad
The Chairperson wanted clarification on the comment made that the success of some of the projects was made outside of the country.

Mr Mkhize replied that they were talent scouts. When they discovered talent they did not have the capacity to develop it fully and thus needed to look abroad to complete the development such as with an international record company. These international entities had full capacity and they then demanded a bigger share as they had put in all the money. If government listened and understood the real challenges, it could work with those present to find solutions. When he signed an artist, he signed them to Universal Records (an European company) and now they owned the intellectual property and the artist. He asked for this to be addressed or else artists would continue to die as paupers.

The Chairperson noted the issue of SABC not playing local music. She argued that half of the time one watched international artists. The legacy of international celebrities lived on but not that of local artists.

Explanation by the DAC
Ms Mortutoa wanted the DAC to explain if something had been done to aid the work done within the music industry. She felt some of these problems needed to be taken up by Cabinet. She was frustrated that so many promises had been made by important people who were leaders of the country.

Mr S Ntapane (UDM) agreed that a response was needed from the DAC.

Ms Banduza replied that the DAC would like to request that the MBU give the presentation it had just given to the Minister. As indicated, they had responded to a call from the President for the sector to organise themselves. She said the Department was happy to facilitate a meeting between the MBU and the Minister. After the 2009 meeting there had been a follow-up by the President as he wanted to go back to the structure and give feedback on where government was in terms of the mandate given to each department. Deputy ministers were meeting on the 22 August to give feedback on how far each department had got with those mandates. She wanted to assure the Committee that there was a process happening to allow the President to engage the sector. The feedback would be within the first two weeks of September.

A DAC official added that the meeting happening on the 22 August was to discuss all the issues that had been raised. Those departments that had been asked to respond were part of the meeting and they were reporting on what they had been mandated to do.

The Chairperson asked why this was happening only in 2012, it had been three years since the meeting.

Mr Mthethwa said that there had been processes and even consultations. There had also been the construction of a Creative Workers Union which had worked with the DAC. These were the commitments that had been made. He had been hoping the DAC would say “this was what had been done” and not that “there was a process”.

Ms Baduza replied it might have seem that nothing had happened since 2009 but this was not the case. It was the President who had called in the industry in 2009; thus it was the Presidency leading the process of going back to the cultural industry. The Deputy Minister and Presidency had been tasked to lead the process of consolidating what had happened since 2009. She would imagine that all departments had done something between 2009 and now – which was what was being reported on in the 22 August meeting.

Mr Lindelani Mkhize replied he wanted to stress that the MBU was not saying that government was not doing anything, they were doing something. The problem was that there was misguidance and the focus was sometimes lost. An example was the North Sea Jazz Festival. This was misguided as R35 million was being used to bring outside artists to perform for a weekend. With that same money that department could have created a while host of jobs for people within the industry. The MBU knew what could be done and should be done. What he was arguing was that government should use the people within the industry.

Ms Morutoa said it looked like there were parallel engagements. It had been said that the Minister of Arts and Culture had already had a summit and had made deliberations. Yet there was also the Presidency who had met the artists. This was what was being focused on. Hence the Minister who accounted to Parliament needed to come and account on what had been happening.

Mr Ntapane said that the individuals who had presented were tried and tested individuals and had done a lot for themselves and were now concerned about their industry. The issues that were being raised were important for the country. He advised the Committee to write a letter to the President as the matter was with the President. The MBU had come before the Committee and the recommendation to the President was to appoint a person to lead the team, as feedback to the people was important. If it really happened that the DAC did not use the organised association and merely appointed people to perform, then it was wrong. This would mean that well-connected artists would not feel the need to join the association. He wanted to commend the work done by the MBU.

Ms Moss said she was sad and disappointed to see the people who had worked so hard during apartheid to give a voice to black people, still struggling to have their voices heard after 20 years of democracy. Government had promised to help. She urged the Portfolio Committee on Labour to come to the table as this industry had workers that were exploited.

Ms Morutoa said that the Committee was going to write a letter but there was a need for the Minister to come and say how far the DAC had gone with supporting the creative arts industry and this would empower the Committee to write the letter to the President.

Mr Lekelo Morake, Acting Secretary General of the Music Business Unit, replied that the MBU was honoured that the government had engaged the art sector in this way in 2009. He wanted to say that there were issues that had remained on the table since 2004. Members of the MBU were frustrated with what appeared to be a deliberate attempt by government (and more specifically certain government departments) to minimise their intellectual capacity and their experience. In their individual capacities, members of the MBU had given proposals to ministers and senior government officials. They were consciously aware of the element of deliberate dismissal by government, for them as South African citizens as well as their input domestically and internationally. They had placed thousands of youths in some of the highest wage-earning cities in the world through their own personal projects. The government had, however, never consulted with them to impart their knowledge and experience. Those who were part of MBU had come together hoping that the formation of the MBU would make government think “here was a team of proven professionals who had transformed peoples lives and contributed to the economy” and actually listen to them. He argued that their track records had not seemed strong enough to allow them to give council to government. He wanted to tell government that the members of the MBU were valuable and could be utilised, instead of marginalised and left out of the conversation space.

Relationship between artists and Department
Ms Mushwana said there seemed to be something wrong with relationship between the artist and the Department. If there was something wrong, something needed to be done.

Ms Mushwana said she was concerned about piracy and she was sure it was destroying the industry. She was not sure how they as Parliament they could help. She asked that MBU communicate on this subject in order for them to help.

Mr Lindelani Mkhize replied that the MBU had answers around piracy that could empower those engaging in it and not merely clamp down on them. MBU was however not being invited by government into the conversations on the issue. The only answer government had was arresting those people on the streets. The MBU had the answers and did not get invited to the talks on piracy.

Mr Sello Twala, Executive Committee Member, replied that the MBU had identified 40,000 spaza shops in the township that could be used to distribute music. The reason the music was pirated was because it was inaccessible in the township. There had been a pilot run with Industrial Development Corporation. If the government could assist, the industry could employ millions.

Origin of MBU
Mr Mkhize replied that the MBU came about due to the frustrations the industry had when they presented to various organisation and were not getting responses.

Closing Remarks
Mr Mthethwa closed by saying that the means and processes of the industry were not in the country’s hands. The MBU and others wanted to create an alternative industry as the South African industry was owned outside. There was a great deal that could be done but if the members of the industry were left out of the discussion then nothing could be done properly.

The Chairperson said she was disappointed about some of these issues and the Department had to follow up on these. She sometimes hated workshops where people talked and talked and nothing was done. Implementation was sometimes not done. A letter written would be written to the Presidency. There also needed to be a push for political parties to support artists as it seemed nothing had been done. There was a need to celebrate local artists and not look towards international artists all the time. The Chairperson said this was the beginning of many future meetings on the topic.

The Chairperson complained about the constant lack of attendance of a certain ANC committee member over the past three years, saying one only saw the person when there was travelling involved. This person needed to be substituted with someone who was dedicated. She also noted that a COPE member tendering apologies because of a clash with party commitments on the day of the committee meeting, was out of order.

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