Committee Report on Economic Development 2014 Budget: discussion deferred

Economic Development

07 July 2014
Chairperson: Ms E Coleman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee on Economic Development was joined by the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development. The Chairperson explained that the committees would have joint sittings for some time as the latter Committee’s budget vote was within the Portfolio Committee on Economic Development’s vote. That was an existing practice for all new committees.

The Committee could not deal with the agenda as the documents that were required to do so had not received by Members. It was explained that the documents were sent to the Chairperson very late the previous day and the support staff misunderstood her instructions on how to distribute them.

The Committee agreed to reconvener later that day for the International Trade Administration Commission briefing, which was also going to be informative and important for the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks

The Chairperson opened the meeting by welcoming Members of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development who had joined the Committee meeting. She apologised for the Secretary of the Committee who was sick.

The Chairperson said that when discussing the agenda of the meeting she had asked that the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) appear before the Committee during the current meeting; however she was just informed that ITAC could not make it for the morning session and would be joining the Committee in the afternoon session. The Committee was supposed to be considering the budget report, but she had only received the draft report late the previous day. After receiving the report she gave an instruction to the support staff to deliver the report as it was to the Members’ secretaries.  With the draft report was the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) cooperate plan. The Committee was supposed to consider the plan during the previous week, however IDC had not tabled the plan to the Speaker and the Committee could not consider it as there was no document to refer to.  There was also a letter sent by the Director General, which he had since withdrawn due to “ill advice” by the legal team. The plan had since been referred to the Committee and copies were available for Members.

Committee Report on Economic Development 2014 Budget

The Chairperson said that the rules of Parliament dictated that the Committee only considered a matter after Members had an opportunity to go through the document dealing with the issue. The Chairperson gave Members an opportunity to go through the draft report, and then on Thursday the Committee would be adopting it. The report only covered the work done by the Department; however the Committee was allowed and instructed to produce a report of entities on the basis of the Strategic Plan of the Department. The Committee was doing its work on behalf of the legislature and therefore had to abide by the rules governing the legislature.

Mr S Marais (DA) brought it to the Chairperson’s attention that though she said the document was delivered yesterday some Members were outside Cape Town and therefore did not have their copies and were not even aware that the documents were in their pigeonholes. He asked that Members be supplied a hardcopy or be given the opportunity to fetch the document in their respective offices.

The Chairperson said she deliberately gave an instruction to not put the document in the Members’ pigeonholes but to rather deliver them directly to the secretaries of Members, because the document had arrived late. That instruction was issued knowing that Members were not around and their secretaries could let them know that there was a report.

The Chairperson said though Members were expected to be to be travelling to Cape Town on Monday’s that did not mean that was not a working day. Though some may use the day for party work, Members were still paid as Members of Parliament as though it was a working day. The Committee had until 11 July to ATC its report, there was a strict and limited timeframe.

Ms N Bhengu (ANC) said she got her documents before she came to the meeting.

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that the Portfolio Committee on Small Business and Development would be sitting with the Portfolio Committee on Economic Development for quite some time as the Economic Development sat with Trade and Industry when it was first started. The vote of the Committee was within the vote of PC Trade and Industry.

Mr Marais said that he had just spoken to his secretary and nothing was delivered to her, and in his pigeonhole there was only the ITAC document.

The Chairperson deduced that the support staff misunderstood her instructions to deliver the documents for the meeting to the secretaries of Members and not drop them in the pigeon holes.

Ms Bhengu said besides delivering hardcopies, Members had communication gadgets. They could receive emails via their cell phones, iPads and computers. There were many ways to communicate between Members and the support staff besides the pigeonholes to ensure that Members received all essential documents and knew of Meetings.

The Chairperson asked that the meeting adjourn until 14:00.

The meeting was adjourned. 

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