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AD HOC JOINT SUBCOMMITTEE ON PARLIAMENTARY OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
4 June 2002
DISCUSSION ON THE DRAFT REPORT BY THE TECHNICAL DRAFTING TEAM
Documents handed out:
Memorandum by the DP (can be faxed on request)
Technical Team's Draft Report
Report on Oversight and Accountability (Corder Report)
Chairperson: Ms Fatima Chohan (ANC)
The Committee agreed to incorporate some of the recommendations proposed by the Democratic Party in the Draft Report. The other opposition Parties were still preparing their positions, which they would submit to the Committee at its next meeting.
The meeting was delayed for one hour due to the lack of a quorum. The Chairperson decided that, due to the poor attendance at this session and in view of the fact that most parties have not submitted their position on the Draft Report, she would reschedule the substantive deliberations on the report for the next meeting.
The Chair pointed out that the meeting would deal with the Parties' in-puts to the report and then deliberate on issues arising thereafter. She noted that the DP had handed in its report and invited members to express their comments on the report.
Mr Mathee (NNP) said that he would table his Party's position in the next meeting but would send a representative to the meeting. The Chair acceded to this request.
The Chair said that the ANC would support Par.2 of the DP's recommendations. In principle the ANC would agree to the incorporation of terms of reference but this would be subject to a verification to determine precisely what such terms entail.
Ms Chohan said further that the ANC supports item No. 7 of the DP's Memorandum and also item No.10. As for the latter, the words "the Ad Hoc Sub-Committee" should be replaced by the words "in our discussions, it was pointed out that...".
The Chair observed further that her Party welcomes item 11 on the DP's Memo since the person who proposed the provision has since withdrawn it. Parliament should be left with options from which to make an informed choice when such need arises.
The Chair pointed out that her Party would not support the comment on Para. 23 of Chapter 5 in the Memo given that the position on this issue has since been clarified.
With regard to the recommendation on Para 25, the Chair agreed that all the recommendations made thereunder should be reviewed. Equally, the Chair said that the ANC would incorporate the suggestion on Par. 31 of Chapter 6, up to the word 'objectives' and that the Annexure of the report submitted by the Committee would be added.
The Chair pointed out that the next session would look at issues around resources and capacity hence that would afford Members an opportunity to incorporate some of the DP's recommendations.
Mr Cassim (IFP) contended that there was no equity in the distribution of resources to various Parliamentary Committees and buttressed his contention by pointing out that the Justice Committee had been allotted R1.3m whilst the other Committees get about R300, 000.
The Chair explained that the activities carried out by different Committees were varied in scope and substance and that therefore it was expected that their budget bill would be uneven.
The Chair said that the ANC supports the suggestions on Para 32 and that the last paragraph under this item would be incorporated right up to the phrase 'â€¦by the President'.
The Chair said that she did not follow their suggestion for Para. 37 of Chapter 7 and requested Ms Smut to clarify the position.
Ms Smuts (DP) explained that the South African Parliamentary system does not "appropriate" budgetary funds but that such funds are voted for after discussions.
Mr Cassim (IFP) concurred with Ms Smuts and explained that unlike the position in, say, Kenya where a fixed rate of amount is reserved for each Ministry, the South African position is that such funds are allocated by way of a vote that is preceded by Parliamentary deliberations.
The Chair asked whether what Mr Cassim's observation was the true position pertaining to the Kenyan Constitution.
Mr Cassim said that he was not precisely sure and sought the Chair's time indulgence to confirm the exact position.
Mr Cassim offered that he had managed to secure a copy of the Australian experience, which he passed over to the Chair to assist in clarifying some of the outstanding issues at hand. He then requested the Chair to look into the possibility of a videoconference with the US counterparts to workshop with them on these matters of common interest.
The Chair explained that what would be tabled in the next session would be a comprehensive report that would help in the understanding of the Committee's overseeing role wherefore it would be necessary to commence a series of workshops at which stage Mr Cassim's suggest would be incorporated.
The meeting was adjourned.
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