Corder Report on Oversight and Accountability: consideration

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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

21 June 2000

Ms Chohan-Khota (ANC)

Documents Handed Out:

Report from the Public Services Commission
Report on Oversight and Accountability

Ms Chohan-Khota apologised for the lack of properly scheduled meetings which was the result of the recent high frequency of Portfolio Committee meetings. A roster of meetings would be generated so members would know in advance when these meetings were to be held. She requested that parties prioritise a member to attend these meetings in preference to other meetings. She also drew attention to the submission from the Public Services Commission that had just been received.

Mr Rabie (NNP) requested a copy of the Report on Oversight and Accountability by Professor Corder, and Ms Chohan-Khota (ANC) stated that she hoped that Mr Rabie (NNP) had at least read the contents of the report as the main focus of the meeting was to be the substance of the report. She was concerned with the absence of the Democratic Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party [IFP representative arrived later] but asked all the parties present to give a broad synopsis of their response to the report.

ANC comment on the Report
Ms Chohan-Khota for the ANC viewed the report as a broad basis for discussion and saw the enhancing of existing procedures at Parliament as a favourable process. However it was felt that the report fell short in many respects, most notably in the lack of consultation with key stakeholders such as Committee chairs and Members of Parliament. In communication between Professor Corder and Ms Chohan-Khota, Professor Corder ascribed the shortcomings of the report to the time constraints under which the report was compiled which necessitated the narrowing of the original mandate from Parliament. Professor Christina Murray was consulted on Chapter Four on the role of the NCOP but the chapter remains scant and does not do justice to the NCOP. Chapter Five was subcontracted to IDASA and was viewed as "half-baked" and marked in its lack of consultation with the committees, especially with regard to the committee performance tables contained in the chapter.

The ANC proposed that the committee consider the report chapter-by-chapter and flag any issues which the committee feels itself ill-equipped to deal with because of inadequacies in the report. At the end of discussions these issues can be returned to and consultations with the role-players made. The work to be done lies mainly with Chapters two to seven, and six meetings would therefore probably be necessary. Mr Surty (ANC) expressed reservation that such a number of meetings could be scheduled and Mr Jeffery (ANC) proposed a block of meetings to prevent the need to fly in and out of Cape Town repeatedly.

NNP comment on the Report
Mr Matthee (NNP) agreed that the report could serve as the basis for discussion and took note of the ANC comments on its contents. He was not in a position to comment on the substance of the report and would comment more fully during the chapter-by-chapter discussions. The NNP was in agreement with the proposed process.

Ms Chohan-Khota felt that due to the unique nature of the South African Constitution, little comparative study would be relevant, but if consultation was needed academics could be invited as guests to brief the committee. She also noted that as an ad hoc committee their task should be completed as soon as possible, preferably before the end of the year, and that their task was not to make decisions but rather to offer recommendations to the Rules Committee.

There was concern that the Democratic Party would take the process back at the next meeting, but Ms Chohan-Khota resolved to chair the meetings firmly so that issues would not be reopened.

UCDP comment on the Report
Mr Mfundisi (UCDP) had not had time to review the report but appreciated the process proposed by the ANC and preferred the block meeting proposal of Mr Jeffery (ANC). Ms Chohan-Khota noted that the UCDP had not been represented at the previous meeting and appreciated the difficulties faced by the small parties and offered to assist the UCDP in this regard.

IFP comment on the Report
Mr Zondi (IFP) had no problems with the proposed procedure, but proposed the briefing of an alternate member as he foresaw problems that may preclude his future attendance. He acknowledged that the report had been circulating for a long time and should be dealt with but was not in a position to express a view on it.

Ms Chohan-Khota stated that she had specifically requested Mr Cassim (IFP) to prepare a viewpoint on the report, and that as he was the alternate member for the IFP any attendance arrangements should be made with Mr Cassim.

Mr Jeffery again suggested block meetings although there was some concern over travel vouchers for this. Ms Mahomed (ANC) proposed returning to Cape Town a few days before Parliament reconvenes to avoid wasting vouchers. It was decided that subject to approval by the Presiding Officer meetings would tentatively be arranged for 6-8 September 2000 and contact details were exchanged in this regard. At the suggestion of Mr Setona (ANC) supported by Mr Surty (ANC) it was decided that the opinion of the Chairpersons Forum be obtained prior to these meetings as their perceptions may be useful to have.

Ms Chohan-Khota closed the meeting.


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