Maynier's Private Defence Amendment Bill [PMB8-2013] deferred to 5th Parliament; Committee Legacy Report

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Defence and Military Veterans

13 March 2014
Chairperson: Mr M Motimele (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee adopted its draft Committee Legacy Report, with minor updates and corrections, and the addition of a reference to the ratification of the International Convention that had been done on the previous day in the House.

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 February were adopted, without amendments. The minutes of the meeting held on 5 February were adopted, subject to a correction of the figures relating to repair and maintenance, to clarify that the figure of R8 billion related to the 2011 year, and a typographical error. The minutes of the meeting on 26 February were also adopted, with a change to the wording of one paragraph that dealt with the Department’s statement that it would require a roll over in order to spend budget.

The Chairperson then reminded Members that after Mr D Maynier’s presentation of his Private Member’s Defence Amendment Bill, the Department of Defence and Parliamentary Legal Advisors had given their opinion. He suggested that Mr Maynier be given an opportunity to respond to that. Mr Maynier took issue with the procedure, noting that he had not been told that he would be asked to respond at this meeting, that he would probably require a long time to do justice to this, and objected to the fact that the Chairperson had not told him that the Department would be present at the meeting. Other Members suggested that perhaps Mr Maynier needed more time to go through the responses and thought it appropriate to hold over the Bill until the Fifth Parliament, but Mr Maynier said that it was not a question of whether he was prepared, but the process followed, and noted that he would be addressing the Speaker and Chair of Chairs on the issue. His objections were noted. The majority resolved that the Private Member’s Bill be deferred to the Fifth Parliament.

Meeting report

Draft Committee Legacy Report: consideration and adoption
The Chairperson noted that the draft Legacy Report had been circulated to Members. He called for comments on it.

Mr S Esau (DA) referred to the tabulated section detailing the legislation, on page 17, and said that in respect of the legislation tabled in 2014, a note should be made that the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Defence Amendment Bill, and the Infrastructure Bill should both be noted as still outstanding.

Mr Esau also said that, also on page 17, there was no indication of the status of the report on the oversight visit to the army training and oversight facilities.

The Chairperson said that the status would be noted as “published”.

Mr Esau also noted that on the previous day, the International Convention had been before the House and was adopted, and this needed thus to be updated in the report.

Members raised no further queries, but resolved unanimously to adopt the Legacy Report, with these amendments.

Committee Minute Adoption
The Chairperson tabled minutes of three meetings and indicated that changes in those had been underlined.

Minutes of 5 March 2014
Mr Esau said that on pages 3 to 4 there was a reference to repair and maintenance, where the figure of R8 billion was mentioned. He clarified that the Department of Defence (the Department) had said that this was the figure relating to 2011, and that in fact the figure was higher than this currently.

He further pointed out a typographical error, citing that the balance arrived at from subtracting the R1.9 billion from R3.3 billion was R1.4 billion. He noted that the Department of Public Works had apparently used this money on other departments.

Ms P Daniels (ANC) noted that at paragraph 3.1 there was a technical amendment that was needed.

Members adopted the minutes, as amended.

Minutes of 19 February 2014
Members adopted the Minutes, without amendments.

Minutes of 26 February 2014
Mr A Maziya (ANC) asked for the Committee Secretary to explain again her remarks about changes on the minutes.

The Chairperson confirmed that the changes were underlined.

Ms Daniels noted that, on page 3, that the way the matter was captured was not quite correct. The Department did not actually say to the Committee that it would not be able to use the budget, but it had instead requested assistance from the Committee to support a roll-over of the budget, and it had actually asked for “room to use that money” beyond the financial year end.

Mr J Maake (ANC) said that it was essentially saying that because of the issues around finalisation of the regulations it may not be able to use the money.

The Chairperson said that the comment was essentially about the rollover, and the wording would be clarified.

Members adopted the minutes, with amendments.

Private Member Maynier’s Defence Amendment Bill [PMB8-2013]
The Chairperson reminded Members that there had been a presentation from the Legal Advisors of the Department, and an opinion had been circulated from the Parliamentary Legal Advisers on the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Defence Act. He said that he would allow Mr Maynier an opportunity to respond on the presentation and opinion.

Mr D Maynier (DA) said that he should have received some warning if the Committee wanted him to respond. He had received no notification of that, and he pointed out that the agenda item merely noted that his Bill would be discussed. He said that it would probably take him at least two hours to respond adequately to the points that the Department had made.

Mr Maziya said that Mr Maynier’s response suggested that he may need more time to go through the responses, and he accordingly suggested that this be held over until the Fifth Parliament.

Another Member expressed that this would be the correct route to follow.

Mr Maynier noted that a process should be followed in Parliament that allowed for due deliberation on every Bill, particularly bills submitted by Private Members. He had not been advised, in advance of today’s meeting, that he would be given an opportunity to respond to the Department, nor was he told that the Department would be present. The issue was not that he was not prepared, but rather that the Chairperson had failed to give proper notice.

Mr Maake said that Mr Maynier was now repeating himself. He asked what would happen to the Bill should Mr Maynier not return to Parliament.

The Chairperson said that the issue would be dealt with if it happened.

A Member raised a point of order. He said that Members should be cautious about quoting rules that should be followed, without specifying what rule it was alleged had been broken. He did not think that the Chairperson had violated any of the rules. He agreed that the matter should be deferred to the next Parliament.

No other Members raised any objections to this proposal.

Mr Maziya said that the Committee should record its view that Mr Maynier, when submitting the BiIl, was essentially doing so in his capacity as a Member of the DA. He did not think that there would be any problem in the Fifth Parliament, because the DA would still be present.

Mr Maynier wanted to record his strong objection to the process, which he intended to take up with the Speaker and the Chair of Chairs.

The Chairperson noted that this would be noted.

Closing remarks
Mr L Diale (ANC), on behalf of the Committee, wanted to record his thanks to the Chairperson at the end of the Parliamentary year and the Parliamentary Term. He hoped that MPs, after campaigning for elections, would meet again.

The meeting was adjourned. 


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