Mr S Tshabalala, Committee Section Manager, noted that he was sitting as representative of the Secretary of Parliament to facilitate the appointment of a Chairperson for the Committee, and called for nominations. The ANC nominated Mr Cedric Frolick (ANC), but the opposition parties felt that at this stage the terms of reference and scope of the Committee's work still needed to be clarified, a point that had been raised at the last meeting, when it was resolved to get clarity on the matter from the House. The Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC noted that a meeting of all Whips had been held, at which it was agreed that the Hansard that reflected the statements of the Chief Whip of the ANC as to what documents should be considered by the Committee would be provided to confirm that the Committee would have the power to look into a multiplicity of reports. Opposition parties stressed that if the Committee was to be taken seriously, it must make sure that it followed up to the letter on previous decisions. The DA suggested that before moving to the business of the Committee, the tabling of the amendment by the House, together with the Chief Whip's statements as reflected in Hansard, should be before Members. The FF+ Member suggested that it must actually be attached to the House decision, so that it was not merely a reference document, but formed part of the Committee documentation. After copies of the Hansard were circulated to all Members, the meeting reverted back to electing a Chairperson, and Mr Frolick was unanimously elected.
The Chairperson took the Chair and confirmed that this Committee would be able to deal with all reports that were relevant, and that would include the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) report, based on the reports to the Security Cluster, the report of the Office of the Public Protector, any Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reports that may already be available, or others to be made available, and the President's response. Another ANC Members added that this would also include the inter-Ministerial Committee report, and an IFP Member suggested that any other relevant report should also be included. Members were in agreement that the Committee had the power to subpoena, but the Chairperson noted that this would be done as a last resort and it would prefer to "invite" anyone whose evidence may be needed. It should not be assumed that Members should produce a list of those to be subpoenaed in the following meeting. Whether or not anyone was to be called would only emerge as the discussions and deliberations on the documentation proceeded. It was agreed that the relevant documents would now be forwarded to all Members to allow them time to study them, and then to suggest a date for the next meeting, at which the programme would be able to be set, based on the work that the Members felt would be needed. The Committee was likely to meet after the sitting of the House at a date to be agreed.
Election of Chairperson
Mr Sikhumbuzo Tshabalala, Committee Section Manager, Parliament, announced that in terms of Rule 129 he was representing the Secretary of Parliament, in order to facilitate the election of a Chairperson for the ad hoc Committee. He called for nominations.
Ms D Dlakude (ANC) nominated Mr Cedric Frolick as Chairperson, and Dr M Motshekga (ANC) seconded that nomination.
Mr C Frolick (ANC) indicated, in answer to a question from the facilitator, that he was prepared to accept the nomination.
Committee’s Terms of Reference
Mr J Self (DA) noted that at the last meeting the Committee had been unable to elect a Chairperson because there was lack of clarity on the exact terms of reference for this Committee. He asked for a progress report on what had occurred since then.
Ms Dlakude noted that the ANC re-affirmed its resolution, as expressed earlier in the House that all the relevant reports would be dealt with in the meeting that would follow the Chairperson being officially elected. She confirmed that all the relevant documents would be looked at. There had been a meeting with the Chief Whips of all parties, to clarify what reports were being spoken of, and no report would be excluded.
Mr Tshabalala noted that his role and scope was limited only to facilitating the election of the Chairperson and nothing more. He could not facilitate interactions on the substance of the matters that the Committee must deal with. He requested that Members limit their discussions to issues around the election of the Chairperson.
Mr J Malaya (EFF) said that he found this disrespectful. The previous meeting of this Committee was adjourned for specific reasons, to decide upon the terms of reference. He would like now to hear what exactly the position was. It was necessary to be very careful and not to confuse parties and politics. He got the impression that Mr Tshabalala had been briefed by the ANC. He reminded the meeting that it had been resolved that the question of the mandate of the Committee was to go back for further discussion to the House. If Members were really taking this matter seriously, then if must make sure that the decisions were followed. Members had said that the question of the Committee's scope would be referred back and that had not happened. He reiterated that he found this unacceptable.
Mr M Mailman (DA) said that he had understood that this was to be brought back to the House. He noted the statement of the Chief Whip in the House when the matter was discussed earlier (which had listed the documents that should be able to be considered) and said that this should be attached to the terms of reference signed off by the House. He summarised that he believed that before moving on to the business of the Committee, there should be a tabling of the amendment by the House, plus the Chief Whip's outlining of the documents to be included. He agreed that difficulties would be caused if the earlier decisions were ignored.
Ms M Kublai (ANC) said that as she understood it, it was the resolution of the House, together with the Hansard reflecting the Chief Whip's statement that would determine the scope of the Committee. Noting the comment of Mr Malaya, she assured the Members that there had been absolutely no caucusing with Mr Tshabalala. She said that the agreement that had been reached was to hold a meeting of the Chief Whips of all parties, who would take their mandate and then brief those sitting in the Committee on the agreed procedures. She wanted confirmation that the copies of Hansard were available, listing all the documents, and pleaded that Members should move on to the business of the day.
Mr Tshabalala said that copies of the Hansard were available.
Dr M Motshekga suggested that the Deputy Chief Whip had clearly outlined the process, and reiterated that all party whips had been included. Ms Kublai had made a correct suggestion in saying that copies of the Hansard should be made available. Further questions about the scope or documents could be asked once the Chairperson had been elected, and he too suggested that the Committee, without wasting any further time, elect the Chairperson so that the business could proceed, subject to having the document made available.
Ms Dlakude repeated that there had been a meeting with the Chief Whips of all opposition parties, when it was agreed that a copy of the Hansard that reflected the documentation mentioned by the ANC Chief Whip would be made available. Since that was indeed available, there was "no need to panic". This document clarified exactly what had been resolved in the House. Members would get that document. She also agreed that in the meantime it would make sense to proceed with the election of the Chairperson. She repeated that she had understood that all parties' Chief Whips who attended the earlier meeting would have taken this message back to the Members.
Mr Malema said that the problem was that it had been agreed to follow a certain path. The Chief Whips had then met and had agreed to provide Members with copies of the Hansard. He asked that copies of the Hansard now be made available, so that the business of the meeting could proceed.
Dr P Mulder (FF+) commented that Mr Tshabalala had exactly the same powers today as he had had last week. He said that the question was not limited to whether copies of the Hansard were available. Hansard was not merely to be a reference document, but should be attached to the resolution adopted, and become part of the documents of this Committee.
Dr Motshekga thought that Mr Malema and Ms Kubayi seemed to be in agreement, and the Hansard had been handed out. The situation had been corrected, so he thought Members were now in a position to move forward.
Mr Tshabalala reminded Members that one nomination had been put up, and accepted. He confirmed with the Members that no other nominations were to be made. He then announced that in terms of the Rules, Mr Frolick was now duly elected as the Committee Chairperson and he requested that he take his place.
Mr C Frolick (Chairperson, ANC) thanked Mr Tshabalala and said that Members now needed to consider the background, and noted that there had been some delay in this Committee starting its work. He wanted to confirm that this Committee would be able to consider and deal with all reports that were relevant, and that would include the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) report, based on the reports to the Security Cluster, the report of the Office of the Public Protector, any Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reports that may already be available, or others to be made available, and the President's response. He hoped that all Members were agreement with this, and, after receiving these documents, would be prepared by the time of the next meeting to discuss the draft programme and look at dates when the Committee could meet. He reminded Members that the Committee had until the end of October to complete its work.
Ms Dlakude wanted to add that the inter-Ministerial Committee report that started the investigation must be included in this list.
The Chairperson agreed, and said that this report had been presented to the JSCI, but it could also be made available.
Mr Maimane wondered if, in principle, this Committee could agree now that it had the power to subpoena people to appear before it, as this would affect the programme.
Dr Motshekga thought that this was not something that could be agreed in advance. When the Committee started considering the reports, they would decide whether there was a need to subpoena, on the basis of their discussions on the reports.
Mr N Singh (IFP) said that he did not believe that the Committee should confine itself only to those reports listed, as there may be others required. He accepted the principle that this Committee had the powers to subpoena, but who and at what stage would be decided as it moved along.
Ms Dlakude agreed with Mr Singh and said that this point could not be discussed now, before discussing the reports. The role of this Committee was to look into the report and recommendations, and not to open up investigations, as investigations had already been done. She reiterated, however, that this meeting was only scheduled to elect a Chairperson.
Mr Malema said that the Committee should not be impatient. Mr Maimane had taken the point of the documentation one step further, and he agreed with him that the possibility of subpoenas being issued would inform the timetable and this was not a matter that could be decided upon in isolation. He was of the view that perhaps some time was needed by all Members to look at all the necessary documents, and then propose a date for the next meeting, at which Members could then discuss whether any individuals were to be called. It may be that President Zuma or the Public Protector may need to be called to clarify some of the statements. He said that if there were extra documents that should be before the Committee, then Members should be able to suggest that at the next meeting, as well as propose any names of people to be subpoenaed. He said that his remarks were not intended to cause delay, but merely to respond to the Chairperson.
The Chairperson said that he had said that he had mentioned only a few documents. He wanted to emphasise that the Committee should not use the reference to "subpoeana" lightly. That would happen only at the end of a process. The Committee would work in line with Rule 138. If the need arose, the Committee should rather "invite" people to attend, so he wanted it to be understood that Members were not expected to come to the next meeting with a list of people to be subpoeaned.
He noted that all relevant documents would be copied and sent through to the Committee. The Committee was likely to meet after the sitting of the House and discuss the extent and the scope of the work needing to be done.
Members indicated their agreement with the Chairperson.
The meeting was adjourned.
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