The Chairperson explained that the Committee had received 30 petitions and had already started working on some. He further clarified the role of Advocate Gary Rhoda, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, in providing legal advice and requested that the Advocate submit a detailed report of the key legal issues raised in the petitions.
Members cautioned the Committee that political parties were preparing for elections in the coming months and that resolution of the petitions should be fast-tracked. They also asked for clear timeframes and thorough communication to all stakeholders.
Members, in citing the Sasolburg Masala Benefits Committee petition, raised concern about the delayed payment of surplus to beneficiaries, the apportioned payment received, the fact that the qualifications criteria applied by the funds trustee’s prejudices the funds members’ widows and orphans and the missing 25% invested with Sanlam.
The Chairperson summarised the meeting by noting that Members had agreed in principle on the process of dealing with the petitions. First, all petitions would be studied. The Committee would then determine the course of action. In addition stakeholders may be invited to make presentations to the committee.
Members raised concern that the meeting was meant to commence at 2pm and by 2:20pm the Chairperson had not arrived. Members deliberated on the protocol followed in the absence of the Chairperson and concluded that no agreement had been reached. The Chairperson arrived at 2:30 pm and apologised for the late start citing clashes in committee meeting schedules. Some Members informed the Chairperson that they would need to leave the meeting at the scheduled time of 3pm to attend their following meetings leaving little time for discussions.
In his opening remarks the Chairperson reiterated his apologies for the late start. He reported that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the petitions and adopt the minutes of the previous meeting. He also welcomed Advocate Gary Rhoda, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, who had been invited to offer legal assistance to the Committee on the petitions.
The Chairperson explained that this meeting should clearly set out the process in dealing with the petitions and not deal with them per se.
Mr J Gunda (Northern Cape, ID) requested that a halfday be set aside to peruse all petitions as the time constraint would not allow the Committee to perform the necessary oversight.
Mr A Matila (Gauteng, ANC) explained that there were only between four and six months left before electioneering campaigns and appealed for the support of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
Mr Gunda noted that this government had a responsibility to ensure that all members of society were treated equally and recommended that state law advisers be assigned to guide the Committee in resolving the petitions.
The Chairperson responded that Advocate Rhoda had been invited to the meeting precisely to assist with legal questions on the petitions. He informed Members that in the case of the Chiawelo Residents' petition the committee had invited all stakeholders and that the pastor and the church were not co-operating. He noted that some presentations were conducted in Johannesburg and once all presentations were completed the Committee should deliberate on the key issues raised and present a way forward. He further noted that the Member of the Provincial Legislature in the North West, who was tasked with handling petitions, had contacted him to request support in resolving petitions.
The Chairperson asked Advocate Rhoda if he could provide some more clarity regarding the petitions.
Advocate Rhoda responded that he had only received copies of the petitions hours before the meeting and had therefore not had the time to study them.
Members suggested that Advocate Rhoda be allowed some time to peruse all the necessary documents.
Mr Matila asked for clear timeframes given the time constraints.
Advocate Rhoda responded that legal opinion already existed on some of the issues pertaining to the petitions.
The Chairperson welcomed Members who had just arrived for the meeting and excused those who asked to leave. For the purposes of those who had just arrived the Chairperson explained that the Committee had received thirty petitions and that Members should give input as to which petitions should be prioritised with allocated timeframes. He said that such an approach should assist in fast tracking the resolution of the petitions.
Mr L Nzimande (KwaZulu-Natal, ANC) responded that petitions had been received from disgruntled and struggling poor people and that, while he agreed with prioritising petitions, he believed that all petitions should be given attention. He cited an example of the Sasolburg Masala Benefits Committee petition where petitioners comprised former and current members of a provident and pensions fund. He explained that the petitioners had raised the following concerns: the delayed payment of surplus to beneficiaries; the apportioned payment that they received; and the qualifications criteria applied by the fund's trustees prejudiced the fund members’ widows and orphans notwithstanding the missing 25% invested with Sanlam. He said that in order for the Committee to deliberate on the relief sought by the petitioners, which was to receive their equitable surplus share from the relevant fund, it would need to consult extensively across the financial sector.
Mr Nzimande implored Members to be realistic and follow a pragmatic approach. He recommended that the Committee inform petitioners of the process for review including timeframes and proposed interventions. He noted that the petitions were different in nature. He cited the petition of residents of Extension 5, Chiawelo, where mediation between community members and the church could resolve the matter. He concluded that other petitions he noted pertained to grievances around service delivery.
Mr Matila asked if the Committee had jurisdiction to approach another legislature. He questioned how petitions would be prioritised and what the criteria for such a selection would be. He said that some of the issues were not clear cut and that the Committee should work towards an action-orientated approach.
Mr B Nesi (Eastern Cape, ANC) agreed that there were gaps in information and reiterated that communication to petitioners was of paramount importance.
Mr T Chaane (North West, ANC) asked if information was still missing. He also requested that Advocate Rhoda summarise and isolate legal issues pertaining to the petitions to assist the Committee in its deliberations.
The Chairperson responded that there has been action on some of the cases. He assured Members that all petitions would be assessed and asked Advocate Rhoda to study all the necessary documentation before the next scheduled meeting.
In his concluding remarks the Chairperson summarised the meeting by noting that Members had agreed in principle on the process of dealing with the petitions. The committee would first study all petitions with input from the parliamentary legal advisers. The next step would be to determine the course of action. Stakeholders might be invited to present the Committee with further clarity.
Committee minutes: adoption
The Chairperson proposed adoption of the minutes of the meeting held in Gauteng on 15 October 2012. Mr Gunda seconded the motion.
Members objected that Mr Gunda was not present at the meeting and could therefore not second the adoption of the minutes.
Mr Adams raised his hand to second the motion.
The 15 October 2012 minutes were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Thusi Rapoo's Introductory Presentation before Parliamentary Select Committee on Petitions & Members Legislative Proposal
- Select Committee on Petitions and Private Members' Legislative. Proposals: Oversight Visit, Gauteng, 23 to 26 October 2012
- Mbonelaphanda Construction
- Ramadiba Motlatso Angelina
- Kgotla Kgolo ya Baphiring
- Chiawelo Residents
- Dispute over Bogosana Ba Lefaragatlhe.
- Bogosana Ba Lefaragatlhe
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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