The Draft Northern Cape Report 2014 was adopted as amended.
The Committee engaged on discussion over its Third Term Committee Programme. Much of the discussion centred over the planned oversight visit to Pretoria on the 25-28 November 2014. The Committee intended to pay a visit to the offices of the National Department of Tourism, SA Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of SA. The issue was however about the availability of members to undertake the oversight visit. The problem was that the oversight visit clashed with activities of other committees that members also belonged to. It was suggested that the oversight visit to Pretoria should be postponed until 2015. Some members were in favour of the suggestion whilst others were not. In the end it was decided that the oversight visit should go ahead as planned and that members needed to inform the Committee Secretariat whether they were able to make it or not.
Members requested the Chairperson to raise the issue of committee clashes and committee activity clashes with the powers that be in parliament. The issue was considered important given that it affected the ability of members to perform their duties.
Draft Northern Cape Report 2014
Minor spelling changes were effected to the Draft Report. It was adopted as amended.
Third Term Committee Programme
Mr Jerry Boltina, Committee Secretary, reminded members that the Committee was scheduled to undertake a visit to the Airports Company of SA (ACSA) at Cape Town International Airport. The visit could unfortunately not take place as Parliament had scheduled a joint sitting on the same day as the visit.
The Chairperson stated that from 25-28 November 2014 the Committee was scheduled to undertake an oversight visit to Pretoria at the offices of the National Department of Tourism (NDT), SA Tourism (SAT), and the Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA). The reality was that some of the members of the Committee were tied up with activities from other committees that they belonged to and there was thus a clash of commitments.
Both Ms P Adams (ANC) and Ms E Masehela (ANC) sat on the Portfolio Committee on Public Works. It came to light that both of them had activities pertaining to the Portfolio on Public Works, which clashed with the Committee’s oversight visit to Pretoria.
Ms Masehela stressed that the issue of clashes needed to be addressed by the powers that be in parliament. If it was not then members would miss out on important committee business relating to whatever committees members sat on.
Ms P Adams (ANC) said that members should not have to choose between different committee activities.
She asked whether the oversight visit by the Committee to Pretoria could not be postponed until 2015 just before the President’s State of the Nation Address.
Ms S Xego-Sovita (ANC) supported the suggestion made by Ms Adams. If the Committee did not accept the suggestion she would be willing to split her oversight time between commitments of the Committee and the Portfolio Committee on Transport.
Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) explained that where a member was a permanent member of a committee that committee should get preference. The committee where a member was only an alternate member should get second priority. It was about prioritising.
Mr S Bekwa (ANC) was not even sure in which of the committees he served on, whether he was a permanent member or an alternate member. If he were a permanent member of the Committee he would be willing to join the Committee on the oversight visit to Pretoria.
Ms Xego-Sovita was a permanent member of both the Transport and Tourism Portfolio Committees.
Mr J Vos (ANC) suggested that clarity be sought over the issue of permanent or alternate memberships to committees. It was important that the Committee do oversight. He did not support the earlier suggestion made by Ms Adams about postponing the oversight visit to Pretoria to 2015. Members should take their jobs seriously and the oversight visit should go ahead as planned. The Committee had gone through many briefings and presentations and it was now time for the Committee to check on what was happening in the industry first hand.
Ms Masehela was however unsure as to whether she was a permanent or alternate member of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works. Members were informed on which committees they served it did not state whether they were permanent or alternate members.
The Chairperson stated that tourism was a key driver for the South African economy and was important for job creation. Tourism needed to be taken seriously.
Mr A Whitfield (DA) said he was an alternate member of the Committee and able to join the Committee on oversight on 25 and 26 November 2014. Mr G Krumbock (DA) had informed him that he would be available on 27 and 28 November 2014. The performance of oversight was a critical role of the Committee.
The Chairperson addressed Mr Krumbock. She had been led to understand that the National Department of Tourism (NDT) had been unable to fill vacancies due to a lack of accommodation. She asked him whether the previous Committee had been able to visit the offices of the NDT.
Mr Krumbock responded that the previous Committee had only visited airports and border posts at the time of the 2010 FIFA World Cup but had not visited the offices of the NDT.
Mr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Adviser, wished to emphasise the importance of the oversight visit. The intention of the oversight visit had not only been to visit the offices and staff of the NDT and SA Tourism. Of great importance were the presentations that the Committee was to receive on the First and Second Quarterly Reports 2014/15 of the NDT. The Committee had already identified red flags that the presentations would allow members to further engage on.
The Chairperson pointed out that the NDT had met with the Standing Committee on Appropriations on 11 November 2014 to account for R78.9m of non-spent funds. Quarterly reports were crucial to the work of the Committee. If quarterly reports had been provided to the Committee then perhaps the R78.9m of non-spent funds would perhaps not have taken place. Another concern was the overlapping of programmes between the NDT and SA Tourism. Mr Krumbock had put it hypothetically to the NDT that if they were given whatever funds they needed what would they do with the funds. The NDT had not answered the question, and it was therefore evident that the NDT did not have a plan. A further concern was that Annual Performance Plans and Strategic Plans did not correlate. The Committee had to perform oversight over programmes and projects. The Committee needed to follow the money.
Mr Vos suggested the visit to Gauteng Province could be the first visit by the Committee to a province where projects could be checked on, and visits to other provinces could follow. Members could visit Social Responsibility Infrastructure (SRI) projects as well as Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) projects. There was no need to postpone the oversight visit as it had already been catered for in the Committee’s Programme.
He was aware that some members would be affected by the municipal by elections that were taking place on 26 November 2014.
The Chairperson noted the suggestion made by Mr Vos but preferred that the itinerary of the oversight visit be left as it was. The Committee could undertake dedicated visits to check up on projects in the provinces in 2015.
Mr Boltina impressed upon members that the Committee Section needed to know with certainty which members were able to go or not go on the oversight visit to Pretoria.
The Chairperson replied Mr Vos, Mr Whitfield and Mr Krumbock had already indicated that they would be able to make the trip to Pretoria.
Ms Xego-Sovita wished the Chairperson to bring up the issue of committee meeting clashes and committee activity clashes with the powers that be in parliament. She asked Mr Boltina what was the latest date by which members had to inform him whether they were able to make it for the oversight visit or not.
The Chairperson responded that over the issue of clashes she had already written a letter to the Deputy Chief Whip and the Chairperson of Chairpersons. Arrangements for the oversight visit would be started on 17 November 2014. She hoped to meet with the Chairperson of Chairpersons later in the day.
Adoption of Minutes
Committee minutes dated the 24 and 29 October 2014 were adopted as amended. Members affected spelling and substantive changes where needed. Committee Minutes dated the 7 November 2014 were adopted without amendment.
The meeting was adjourned.
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