The Ad Hoc met for the first time to elect its Chairperson. In a process led by the Committee Secretary, Mr L Landers (ANC) was nominated and seconded, without any objection, as the Chairperson of the Committee.
In discussions to establish the programme and meeting dates of the Committee, it was agreed that the Committee could meet during plenaries, during the constituency period and on Fridays. On those days, the Committee was going to meet till 16h30.
A Member of the Opposition asked a question related to the scope and approach of the proceedings. In response, a Member of the Majority Party explained that it was too early for discussions on the approach of the proceedings as it was of importance for the Committee to first read the report of the Public Protector and the relevant Act and only then could an approach be decided upon.
Introduction by Committee Secretary
The meeting was opened by the Committee Secretary, Mr Eddie Mathonsi. He introduced the support staff of the Committee who included, the Committee Researcher, Mr Adam Salmon, the Content Advisor, Mr Themba Mthetwa; and the Committee Assistant, Ms Nandipha Maxhegwana.
Election of the Chairperson
Mr Mathonsi explained that this was the first meeting of the Committee and the procedure required that the Chairperson of the Committee had to be appointed. He explained that he was going to request for nominations from Members and if only one Member was nominated, it meant that the nominated Member was going to be declared the Chairperson. If there were several nominations, there was going to be a vote and the Chairperson was going to be the Member with the majority vote. Thereafter, Mr Mathonsi requested for nominations from the Committee Members.
Mr B Manamela (ANC) nominated Mr L Landers (ANC).
Mr Mathonsi registered the nomination and asked the Members if there was any seconder.
Ms Maunye (ANC) seconded the nomination of Mr Landers.
Mr Mathonsi asked if there was any other nomination. There were no other nominations. He then informed Mr Landers that he had been elected as the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee.
Deliberation on Committee Programme
The Chairperson explained that the National Assembly had given the Committee a task and he had given some thought to how best the Committee could proceed but he was open to suggestions from the Members. He proposed that the Committee could begin by looking at a programme of meeting dates because there were many other Members in the Committee who held other senior positions in other Committees and as a result, their programmes were probably set. His own programme on the Portfolio Committee on Justice was set well in advance and had made it clear that he was not going to interfere with that programme.
The Chairperson further informed Members that he had discussed the issue with the House Chairperson, Mr C Frolick (ANC). Mr Frolick had proposed that the Ad Hoc Committee could meet during plenaries, during constituency periods and on Fridays. He asked if the Committee agreed to this and when the next meetings would take place.
The Chairperson reminded the Members that they had a fair amount of reading to do, if they had not already done so and they were going to need the Public Protector’s report. It was a fairly thick document which had to be read carefully together with the recommendations. The motion establishing this Ad Hoc Committee referred to the Electoral Court and the Electoral Commission Act and Members needed to have this Act as well. He called on Members to comment on the issues he had put before them.
Ms L Dunjwa (ANC) proposed that in terms of the programme, the Committee could look at the week of the 23 September 2013 which was the constituency period to meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Mr Landers reminded the Committee that Tuesday, 24 September was a public holiday and the Committee could not meet on that day.
Ms Dunchua then proposed that the Committee could meet next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Mr H Schmidt (DA) asked for how long the Committee was going to be meeting on the agreed days.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was going to meet for the whole day.
Mr Schmidt asked what the whole day meant.
The Chairperson said that it was up to the Members to decide for how long they were willing to meet during the decided days.
Ms Dunjwa proposed that the end of the day could be set for 16h30.
The Chairperson confirmed with the Members if this proposal was appropriate.
Mr Schmidt asked for a broad overview of the proceedings. Was the Committee just going to look only at the Public Protectors report or other related matters?
The Chairperson replied that it was important to look carefully at the motion which was adopted. He referred to it by reading that in correspondence to the Speaker, the Public Protector requested that consideration be given to referring the report to the Electoral Court to allow it to investigate the matter in terms of Section 20 (7) of the Electoral Commission Act. He said that the wisdom of the Members may exceed his and the Committee could be persuaded differently and say it could be done differently but that was essentially what the motion said. If the Committee diverted from that, such a diversion had to be motivated for. He had a whole lot of people phoning him and giving him lots of advice on how the Committee should proceed and he had not responded because he was not yet a Member of the Ad Hoc Committee. However, it was the discretion of the Committee.
Mr Manamela said that it was too early to have a discussion about how the proceedings should be approached. The Members had to first read the report and by next Wednesday, the Committee would have gotten a sense of the content of the report and then that could be looked at in relation to the motion and then decide the way forward.
The Chairperson agreed to Mr Manamela’s proposal. He asked Members if there was any other issue which they wanted to discuss.
The Chairperson asked if Members were in agreement on the meeting days. After confirming the days of the meeting, the Chairperson explained that this was all that the Committee had to discuss.
The meeting was adjourned.
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