Statement in the House by Mr T Yengeni; Sanctions; Party Funding

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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

4 March 2003

Chairperson: The Speaker (Ms F Ginwala)

Please note: Parliament's official minutes of this meeting are awaited. Here is a PMG report of part of the meeting as well as Parliament's draft summary of decisions:

Statement in the House by Mr T Yengeni
Prior to looking at the first agenda item dealing with sanctions, the committee considered the statement of Mr T Yengeni (ANC) to the House in 2001 in which he deliberately misled the House, and by implication the public. [In a pleas bargain agreement with the State in February 2003, Mr Yengeni was convicted on charges of misleading Parliament by failing to declare the discount on his Mercedes-Benz 4X4].

Mr Green (ACDP) said that by virtue of Mr Yengeni's own admission in court, he had deliberately misled the House and that the party whom he represented had to take action against Mr Yengeni.

All the Members felt that deliberately misleading the House was a very serious offence and the integrity of the House needed to be protected but they could not agree on who had the responsibility for taking action and what the solution would be.

The Chairperson said that parties should dispense with blaming each other and accept collective guilt and not defer the matter any further but rather act on the matter.

Ms S Seaton (IFP) said that if they could not expel Mr Yengeni, they could ask him to resign.

Mr A Nel (ANC) was concerned with procedure and felt that Mr Yengeni should be given the opportunity to account for his behaviour and be heard by the House.

At this point the Speaker requested that the Deputy Speaker chair this item of the agenda.

In an effort to expedite the matter the Speaker proposed that Mr Yengeni be invited to address the House on the contents of his March 2002 statement, whereafter the House could decide how to proceed on the matter.

Mr N Nhleko (ANC Chief Whip) requested time for parties to caucus.

The meeting adjourned for a fifteen minute caucus.

On reconvening the meeting, the opposition parties (IFP, DP, NNP, ACDP, AZAPO, UCDP) noted their support for the Speaker's proposed motion.

Mr P Nefolovhodwe (AZAPO) said that he saw nothing wrong with Mr Yengeni coming to appear before the House. He added that the integrity of the institution had been compromised and that Parliament must be respected. He believed that Mr Yengeni had hurt the House and should account to the hurt House for his actions.

The ANC was not in support of the motion and cited a precedent set when ministers had been accused of misleading Parliament and a smaller committee had been set up to investigate.

The Speaker felt these two issues were not on a par. Mr Yengeni had deliberately made a statement to the House after asking for the opportunity to do so. The ministers had misled the House during debate and the asking of questions.

Mr M George (ANC) proposed an amendment to the Speaker' proposal. The amended proposal, based on the above precedent, was that an ad hoc committee should be appointed to consider the statement and give Mr Yengeni an opportunity to be heard. That committee would report recommendations to the House on how to proceed.

The amendment was put to the Committee and approved with 24 Members supporting and 11 voting against. The opposition parties requested that their objections be recorded.

The proposal by the Speaker fell away.

The Speaker reverted to being the Chair.


  1. Statement in the House by Mr T Yengeni
    1. Speaker proposed that in the light of the fact that Mr Yengeni obtained permission to make statement in the House in 2001 regarding his conduct, Mr Yengeni be now invited to address the House on contents of that statement, whereafter the House could decide how to proceed on the matter.
    2. Mr M George proposed as an amendment that following precedence, the House by Resolution expeditiously appoint ad hoc committee to consider the statement and give Mr Yengeni an opportunity to be heard, the committee to report recommendations to the House on how to proceed.
    3. The amendment was put to the Committee and approved with 24 Members supporting and 11 voting against. The DP, IFP, ACDP and UCDP requested that their objections be recorded.
    4. The proposal by Speaker fell away.

    6. Concerning moving the motion in the House today without notice by ANC, parties indicated that they would object to the no notice being given. Notice would therefore have to be given.
  2. (a) Sanctions
    1. It was agreed that:
      • in principle the penalties contained in the Code of Conduct be written into the National Assembly Rules as sanctions that can be imposed by the House.
      • Rules Subcommittee to frame appropriate Rules.
      • Rules Subcommittee could report on any problems that could arise from those penalties and their application.
      • Parliamentary Legal Advisors to consider appropriate procedures to be associated with such Rules.
      • Special Rules Committee to be convened end of March to consider the subcommittee report.

      2(b) Problems experienced by Ethics Committee

        1. Mr L T Landers reported on problems being experienced by Ethics
        2. Committee when potential witnesses refuse to provide information to

          the Committee.

        3. It was noted that that the new Powers and Immunities Bill was to come
        4. before the House before the end of March.

        5. It was agreed that:
          • the function and powers of the Ethics Committee should be addressed systematically in consultation with the Ethics Committee.
          • Recommendations thereafter be put to the Joint Rules Committee
      1. Report of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of Committees
        1. Office of the Chairperson of Committees and Deputy Chairperson of Committees:
          • On the definition of the functioning of the Chairperson of Committees and Deputy Chairperson of Committees and their role as Parliamentary Office Bearers, a draft has to be submitted to parties before the next Rules Committee meeting.
            1. Committee Travel Policy
              • The Task Team headed by Mr M F Cassim to present

recommendations to the Deputy Presiding Officers

      • At request of the Chief Whip of the ANC, investigation to include composition of delegations.
      • After Deputy Presiding Officers receive recommendations, all role players to be consulted.
  1. Filling of vacancies
    1. Concerning the "Reasonable period" parties to consider and discuss at Chief Whips' Forum for it to report to the Rules Committee end of March.
  2. Powers and responsibilities of Structures of Parliament, including possible conflict between the PFMA and the Rules
    1. Noted that ANC is preparing a document on this matter.
    2. Agreed that:
      • Other parties should also establish party positions
      • IFP be requested to amplify its proposal
      • Parties to submit their proposals to the Speaker who will circulate them to all parties for the next Joint Rules Committee.
      1. Delayed Replies
        1. In principle, all parties agreed to the Guidelines
        2. Speaker to write to the Leader of the Government Business requesting discussion by the Executive and comment.
        3. Guidelines approved subject to any comment which will be reported back to Rules Committee.
        4. Guidelines to be implemented from 1 April 2003.
      2. Party Funding
        1. In principle all parties agreed to the proposals.
        2. The Parliamentary Chief Financial Officer to look at financial aspects and Parliamentary Legal Advisors to look at legal aspects.
        3. At the next Rules Committee adopt formally and then table.



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