The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation met to consider Committee minutes, matters arising from the minutes, and to deliberate on the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (Sesrea) appeal board recommendation process.
The discussion on the minutes of 10 March 2015 dealt not only with omissions and the need for the minutes to be redrafted by the Committee staff, but also led to a general debate on the quality of minutes and the challenges in producing them timeously. The previous turnaround time for the production of minutes used to be three days, but the new strategic plan had actually reduced the number of days for the issue of minutes to two days. Members also said that their individual names should not be used in the minutes, and that the contents should be regarded as coming from the Committee as a whole. The Chairperson said it was important that the minutes should be a true reflection of what had been discussed and if they were not a true reflection, they would not be adopted.
The Committee also deliberated on the selection process for candidates who would serve on the Sesrea appeal board. It was told there were 23 candidates for a minimum of seven positions. After discussion on the selection criteria to be followed, and the options for establishing a selection panel, it was agreed that the Committee would seek guidance from the Parliamentary legal team at its next meeting.
The Chairperson opened the meeting by welcoming all Members. She said that the purpose of the meeting was to consider Committee minutes, look at matters arising from the minutes, and to deliberate on the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (Sesrea) Appeal Board recommendations.
Consideration of minutes of 10 March 2015
The Chairperson said that it was not important to mention the names of Members who raised issues in the minutes. What was important was to look at the points that had been raised by Members because if they did not do that it would not be a true reflection of the minutes.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) agreed with the Chairperson. He noted that there were challenges that had been highlighted and one of those challenges was the financial constraints. As a Committee they had agreed that they would try to speak to the Lotto board so that it could speed up the process of funding. However, that point had not appeared in the minutes, which was a very serious concern.
The Chairperson said that the support staff should rewrite the minutes, because the minutes had to be a true reflection of the discussion. Also, it was agreed that when an individual Member stated something, they should not write the name of the Member, but rather make it a statement by the Committee. The Committee had agreed that they would talk to the Lotto Board through the information they were getting from the South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO). They should note that the minutes were not a true reflection of what had been discussed. Secondly, it should be noted that if there were gaps in the minutes, those gaps should be pointed out. The Committee Secretary was responsible for drafting minutes, assisted by the Content Adviser, in order to give a true reflection of what had been discussed.
Mr Teboho Thebehae, Content Adviser, said that they would support the proposal put forward by the Chairperson. But with the new strategic plan that had been adopted, there was an intention to increase the effectiveness of Committees, and part of that was to ensure the outputs of the Committee -- which included the documents, minutes, reports, etc -- were of a certain quality and were available on time. The previous turnaround time for the production of minutes used to be three days, but the new strategic plan had actually reduced the number of days for the issue of minutes to two days. This meant that the day after the meeting had taken place, a draft copy should be circulated by the Committee Secretary to Members, and on the second day those minutes should be made available to Members. That situation had resulted in the LOD section saying they needed to go back to minutes that were drafted or written in the National Assembly (NA), which would actually address the concerns of Members where their names were referred to. They did not need to write names, but rather summarise the submissions and deliberations so as to get to the resolutions of the Committee. The Committee Secretary would also have notes to support what Members had deliberated on and what they had submitted. However, the turnaround time would not allow for each and every Member’s input to be captured within that specific time.
The Chairperson said that all the inputs from Members, and the resolutions which would assist the Committee, should be captured in the minutes. However, if the Committee had not taken a resolution on an input, it would be understandable for that input not to be captured in the minutes. Members should point out the gaps in the draft minutes in order to come up final product.
Mr Thebehae said that after minutes had been made available for Members to peruse during a meeting or during the process of considering minutes, all the inputs and whatever Members wanted to reflect in the minutes would therefore be discussed at that time. It would not be a process where inputs were requested outside the meeting, as opposed to inside the meeting.
The Chairperson asked whether the two days for processing of minutes was workable.
Mr M Malatsi (DA) said that the two days gave them an opportunity to assess the meetings so that when they came back for the meetings, those inputs that had been incorrectly captured or missing could be raised at the meeting.
The Chairperson said that seemingly it would take them two weeks to adopt their minutes instead of 30 minutes, because the process was longer. On the issue raised by Ms Manana, they had said they would be happy if they did not write names in the minutes, but rather the resolutions of the Committee.
Mr D Bergman (DA) said that it was a fifth time in their short spell where they had had to discuss the minutes. It was a concern that every time they had made a decision, a week or two weeks later, they asked for more or less, whatever the case might be. What they should look at was what the standard was elsewhere. If the standard in all other Portfolio Committees was a certain level, they should be at that standard at least. The feeling was that there should be a standardised mechanism in terms of how minutes were distributed and what they should include and should not include. They should try to maintain that, because otherwise they may find themselves faced with difficulties. There were transcripts and forms of records of meetings, and what they did not want was, for instance, Boxing SA coming and presenting and using the minutes because they were a comprehensive record. While they were a full reflection of the meeting, they were not actual minutes but rather transcripts. Therefore they should leave the names out and agree that all Members who were present at the meeting had contributed to the discussion.
The Chairperson said that they had noted that the names should not be written in the minutes, but the minutes should be a true reflection of what had been discussed and if they were not a true reflection, they would not be adopted. The minutes would be referred back to the drafters and be brought back to the Committee when they were ready.
Deliberation on Sasrea Appeal Board recommendation process
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to take the Committee through the Sasrea Appeal Board process.
The Committee Secretary said that in terms of the process, it should be recalled that the Minister wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), requesting that the process for appointing nominations to the Sasrea Appeal Board be handled by Parliament and be referred to the Committee. Subsequently, the Committee had advertised and received four nominations. The nomination deadline had expired. The Committee had 21 CVs before it. The process had been followed, in terms of which the support staff had catalogued, summarised and copied the nominations which Members saw before them. The Committee could decide which process or procedure it wished to follow. There were not so many nominations that the Committee would want a separate team to deal with them.
The Committee Secretary requested that the CVs of nominees be kept safe because they had very sensitive information. During the Committee meetings, they would be discussing the summary documents of the key people, and for security reasons, care should be taken of individuals that were not Members of Parliament. The Committee would peruse the nomination documents and candidates for provisional short listing would be selected. The reason for this was the process of vetting. For example, if the Committee had received 300 nominations, it would not want to vet 300 people.
Therefore, it would not be a long process. The shortlist the Committee decided on to call for interviews would be published, and then the interviews would take place. The Committee would meet to consider which final candidates they would recommend via the NA to the Minister for appointment. That recommendation would then be published and submitted to the NA for completion. It was up to the Minister to appoint the candidates that the Committee had recommended to him.
Mr Bergman asked how many candidates they were selecting.
The Chairperson said that there about 23 candidates, and they needed a minimum of seven. Therefore, first and foremost, this was what the Committee should agree on. In that meeting, they should look how many vacancies the seven candidates would fill, and if they needed to have reserves.
Mr Mphumzi Mdekazi, Parliamentary Researcher, said that the Committee Secretary had stated that they needed a minimum of seven board members and they had 23 CVs in front of them. Therefore, when they shortlist, they should shortlist more than seven candidates so that they would have more options.
The Chairperson said that they needed seven candidates and should add three candidates to make them ten, in case one of the seven candidates resigned, so that they would avoid the process of doing more selections and interviews.
Mr Thebehae said that when they selected board members, the Act did not provide for additional members. Therefore, they should either stick to the seven candidates, or choose nine candidates, depending on how the Committee felt.
Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) said that the suggestion of nine candidates was not that they should be appointed, but it would be for the shortlist they were making out of the 23 candidates. Then they would go to the interviews and once that process was done, they would have the seven candidates.
Mr Mmusi said that generally when they interviewed people for one position, they selected about five candidates. He suggested that they should select about 14 candidates for those seven positions.
Ms D Manana (ANC) said that they could not select seven candidates for seven positions -- they needed to select more than seven people.
The Chairperson said that when they did the selection, they should look at selecting 14 candidates. However, it should be known that costs would be involved in terms of flying the 14 people to the interviews, and there was no other option. The process of selection to be smooth depended on Members of the Committee.
Mr Thebehae said that before they got to the selection of 14 people, they would need to look at all 23 CVs before them, because not all the candidates who had applied qualified for the seven positions. The current list required further elimination before the process of short listing.
Mr Bergman said that they should go through the CVs at the meeting, and they would probably find that there were five or six candidates who would fall away. The only thing they needed to clarify was any conflict of interest. He asked whether there would be a conflict of interest if one of the sporting codes nominated one of their own to the board.
Mr Bergman said deliberations to interview 20 people would be logistical nightmare, because they might find that the first three interviews took three hours and then the others might have to be sent home and come again on another day. The suggestion was that they could divide themselves into two teams after they had gone through the CVs.
The Chairperson said that the last suggestion was not acceptable, because they needed the involvement of the same team Members, and could not split the Committee when they did interviews. They were not a big Committee, and they needed all Members to collectively participate in the process of interviews
Mr Ralegoma said that they should also get guidance on the actual composition in terms of gender, race, etc, because those were key factors that were needed, and they cut across experience.
Mr M Mabika (NFP) said that they were mixing issues. For the purpose of doing the interviews it was important to first agree on the composition of the panellists. The panellists themselves would do the interviews, but not all of them.
Mr Mabika said that it would be proper to agree that they would interview more than ten candidates, and they should set the criteria to see whether the people they would interview did qualify, because they could find that out of the 23 people that had applied, only seven or fewer qualified.
The Chairperson said that the criteria used for interviews were in the Act and if a Committee was doing interviews, it would be provided with legal advisers from Parliament to guide them. The Office of the Speaker should give them law advisers who would brief them on the criteria to be used in the process of interviews.
Mr Mdekazi said that looking at CVs that were before the Committee, out of the 23 people that had applied, there were only ten that qualified. They needed to be sensitive on issues of demographic features, disabilities, and experience, as well as gender and age, because they had a 28-year-old candidate who did not have experience.
Mr Thebehae said the Committee could take the decision on the question of the composition of the panel. It did not have to reduce the permanent Members of the Committee. Secondly, the option to reduce the panellists to a certain number should also be put in a motion if that would be the case, and the number would be determined on the proportional basis of representation in the Committee. Thirdly, the issue of the composition of board members could also be determined by Members, based on the minimum of seven that should be put in place. However, the numbers based on gender in terms of who qualified, or not, would require an elimination process, after first determining who the panellists were. Of course, the issue of gender and experience was important. The Act itself, when looking at the requirements, did not establish that a person must have a certain degree. But of the seven candidates, one had to have a legal background and be a practising attorney. However, for consistency purposes in their advert, they had indicated that the academic qualifications must be provided, with copies thereof, so that there would be a basis for elimination and selection. In the Act, there was no requirement that stipulated any academic qualification.
The Chairperson said that the youth should not be eliminated on the basis of inexperience, because there was nowhere they could buy experience. The board should not consist of only old men and old women, and the problem of youth not being given opportunities should not be encouraged. At the next meeting of the Committee, they should invite the legal advisers to advise the Committee on the criteria to be used in the interview process.
Mr Mabika said that the team should, from the nominations, compile a list of who qualified based on what the advert was saying, and who did not. They should then assess if out of those who qualified, there was under-representation in terms of gender and diversity and make a plan on how to address the situation.
The Chairperson said that Members should agree on who would be the panellists that would be doing the work, together with the legal advisers from Parliament.
Ms Manana asked how many Members should be panellists.
The Chairperson responded that the Committee should decide. The panellists should be composed of the parties that were serving on the Committee, according to their proportional representation.
Ms Manana proposed that all permanent Members of the Committee should be on the panel.
Mr Mabika said that the whole Committee was proportionally represented. Therefore, if they took the whole Committee, there would be no need to check who qualified and who did not.
The Committee agreed that all Members who were proportionally represented in the Committee would serve on the panel. At its next meeting, the Committee would invite and seek guidance from the Parliamentary legal advisors on the criteria to be followed when conducting interviews, and guidelines on the selection process.
The meeting was adjourned.
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