Postponement of public hearings on Public Service Commission Amendment Bill, with Minister

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Meeting Summary

The Committee decided to hold both agenda items in abeyance and give the Minister at least three weeks to consider the amendments and be briefed properly by the Public Service Commission on the bill as he is a new incoming Minister. The Public Service Commission will also have time to engage with the Minister on their request to be given more powers to enforce their recommendations.

The Chairperson also said that a decision was taken to have leaner delegations at meetings and to start using Skype and other ICT means to conduct meetings.

Meeting report

Welcome and Apologies
The Chairperson clarified that the meeting started at 10:00. The 09:00 time slot was reserved for internal meetings. The members of the public who were waiting in the morning had left due to the confusion. She welcomed and introduced the Minister, Mr Ngoako Ramatlhodi, who recently joined the Department. She congratulated him on his new position and said the Committee was confident that he would take the Public Services portfolio to a higher level.

An apology was received from Deputy Minister Buti Manamela.

Mr A Van der Westhuizen (DA) said Mr Erik Marais was an alternate member to the Committee, replacing Ms P Van Damme. He was not notified of the meeting and needed to be added to the communication circulation.

The Chairperson welcomed Advocate Richard Sizani, the Acting Chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Postponement of Agenda

The Chairperson noted that it was recommended to Parliament that Mr Ben Mthembu, who was also the former chairperson of the Commission, fill the vacancy for the Commissioner position. The next step was for the President to make the announcement.

The Chairperson said in the last meeting the decision was taken that going forward the Committee wanted to see lean delegations comprising of the Director General and the specialist on the matter up for discussion. The Committee needed to start exploring Skype and other communication options. She said the Committee needed to pioneer the move towards utilising e-government systems. She further stated that lean documents that were to the point were what was required.

The agenda had two items namely the public hearings on the PSC Amendment Bill and a briefing by the PSC on the Public Service Commission Amendment Bill.

The Committee decided to hold both agenda items in abeyance and give the Minister at least three weeks to consider the amendments and be briefed properly by the PSC on the bill. The PSC had repeatedly requested that they want their powers but this was not reflected in the proposed amendments. Hopefully the Chairperson of the PSC will also be appointed by then.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) said that today's meeting was not a fruitless exercise as the Committee was given an opportunity to engage.

Mr M Motau (DA) thanked the Minister for his presence, which he said made facilitation easier and gave the Committee the ability to come to resolutions quickly in their caucus meeting.He reiterated that the PSC had reported that their recommendations were not being implemented due to a lack of powers, and they could not remedy this.

Mr van der Westhuizen said he was served a copy of the amended public service regulations. They normally do not come to the portfolio committee members so he was surprised. He sought clarity on the way forward.

The Chairperson assured him that it was just for notification purposes.

Ms Lesoma added that since the Public Service Commission Bill was enacted, there were certain processes that need to unfold. The act would be implemented incrementally. Regulations stipulate that they appraise the Committee periodically for the sake of courtesy.

Mr Ramatlhodi reminded the Committee that the ministry had standing items in Cabinet and asked that Members bear with him not being able to attend all meetings. He would try to be as available as possible.

The Chairperson said Members were aware that the Committee meetings clashed with the Cabinet meetings; he would be notified in time, as they would be happy to have him address them himself. He was welcome to join their meetings whenever he was free.

The meeting was adjourned.

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