Documents handed out
Consideration of Executive Undertakings Guidelines (Brief Executive Undertaking document for information purposes
Consideration and adoption of outstanding minutes
Consideration and adoption of Maluti-A-Phofung Report
Consideration and adoption of the Committee progress report
The Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings met to consider and adopt outstanding reports from its oversight visits, as well as the Committee’s outstanding minutes.
During discussion on the hearing of the Maluti-A-Phofung petition, a Member commented that the recommendations seemed quite reasonable. How did they compare with what had been asked by the petitioners in the earlier petition? How did the recommendations compare with the relief the petitioners sought? Another Member said he had a problem with how the Committee was treating the recommendations. They were watered down. He suggested that the Committee get a legal team to draft the recommendations in a way which strengthened them, to ensure municipal compliance.
A Member said the Committee needed to underline its findings around the legitimacy of the court process and court order. It also needed to ensure that the municipality put in place basic services in those areas to which the petitioners would be relocated, and should make a determination on the number of families evicted. It was agreed that the recommendations should be re-drafted.
Consideration of Executive Undertakings Guidelines
Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) commended the Committee support staff for the document. It had been well researched and it was a great improvement on the last documents drafted by the staff. He moved the adoption of the document.
Mr M Mohai (ANC, Free State) seconded the adoption, without any amendments.
Adoption of Committee Minutes
Mr J Julius (DA, Gauteng) said a Member had received all the other documents from the Committee Secretary, except for the minutes.
The Chairperson asked whether that was the case with all the Members.
Mr Michalakis said other Members had received all the documents, including the minutes.
The Chairperson apologised and indicated that the minutes would be made available to the Member.
Minutes of 10 September 2015
The Chairperson said that many of the Members who were present, had not been at Mthatha. He asked that the minutes be set aside until the Members who had been at the meeting were present.
Mr Michalakis said Members did not have to have been at the meeting to move for the adoption of the minutes. Members who had been there were not at this meeting, and therefore they forfeited their opportunity to amend the minutes. He moved the adoption of the minutes.
Mr D Chetty (DA, KwaZulu-Natal) said it would be inappropriate for Members who were not present at the meeting to move the adoption of the minutes. There could be some issues which needed to be corrected. He agreed with the Chairperson that the minutes be set aside and not be adopted.
The Chairperson agreed.
Minutes of 23 September 2015
Mr Julius said it was not necessary for the opening passage of the minutes to indicate that the meeting had started with a quorum. The Committee already had a bad record for non-attendance.
The Chairperson said the line would be removed.
Mr Chetty moved the adoption of the minutes, with the amendment.
Mr D Ximbi (ANC, Western Cape) seconded the adoption.
The minutes were adopted.
Minutes of 14 October 2015
Mr Mohai moved the adoption of the minutes.
Mr Michalakis seconded the adoption.
The minutes were adopted without any amendments.
Mr Mohai asked why there were two sets of minutes for the meeting of 10 October 2015.
Mr Nkanyiso Mkhize, Committee Secretary, explained that there had been two public hearings held on the same day.
The Chairperson said there was no need to have two separate sets of minutes for the same day. The minutes could have been put together as one document.
Mr Julius said because the agendas had been separate, it was necessary to have separate sets of minutes.
Mr Mohai said the minutes should be collated as one document.
Draft report on the hearing of the Maluti-A-Phofung petition and inspection in loco
The Chairperson said the second petition letter to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) should be dated 22 September 2014, and not 2015.
Mr L Nzimande (ANC, KZN) indicated that his name was listed as having attended the public hearing in Maluti-A-Phofong. However he had not attended that public hearing, and that should be corrected.
Mr Michalakis said the recommendations seemed quite reasonable. How did they compare with what had been asked by the petitioners in the earlier petition? How did the recommendations compare with the relief the petitioners sought?
Mr Julius said as part of the recommendations, it should be included that the families evicted needed to be consulted to get proper housing, and preference should be given to them in the re-settlement.
Mr Mohai said that before any other recommendation was added, the Committee needed to deal with the actual petition which had been submitted. In terms of the constitutional mandate of the separation of powers, the Committee did not have a mandate to deal with a matter relating to outcomes of a judicial process. The Committee needed to focus on the specific aspects contained in the petition.
The Chairperson said some of the issues the petitioners had brought to the Committee were that they had been evicted without warning, as a result of the evictions school children were now far from schools, and the environment to which they had been evicted had unbearable conditions, among others.
Mr Michalakis said when the Committee had started with the petition, he had been under the impression that the Committee could not go into the validity of the court order in order to assess whether the eviction was lawful or not. The Committee did not have the authority to look at that. Some of the relief which was sought by the petitioners touched on that, but because it was not in the Committee’s jurisdiction, it could not look at that. However, it was within the Committee’s powers to make recommendations to the municipalities which could assist the petitioners.
Mr Nzimande said he had a problem with how the Committee was treating the recommendations. They were watered down. He suggested that the Committee get a legal team to draft the recommendations in a way which strengthened them, to ensure municipal compliance.
Mr Mohai said the petition was primarily around the ownership of land. The land belonged to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, therefore the municipality was not at fault. He disagreed with Mr Julius’s recommendation that the people removed from the land should be prioritised by the municipality for the allocation of houses. The municipality was a sphere in itself and it allocated services according to internal processes and processes. The Committee had no authority to make such a recommendation. The people who had invaded the land should be incorporated into the list of municipal housing, and normal municipal processes should be followed. The Committee needed to support the legitimate processes of the court outcome.
The Chairperson said the issue of the lack of land was a very important one.
Mr Michalakis responded to Mr Nzimande’s recommendations and said there was a separation of powers between national, provincial and local government. The Constitution made provision for assistance but this was very limited and very clear in the Constitution. Parliament could not interfere in other government spheres outside of the framework stipulated in the Constitution. The rule of law was supreme, and Parliament was not above the Constitution.
Ms T Wana (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked about the interventions which had been put in place by the municipality in dealing with the relocations after evictions. She said the Committee should look to the Constitution to see how the petitioners could be assisted.
Mr Julius said by making recommendations to municipalities, municipalities were not being ordered to implement those recommendations, they could reject them. Also, the petitioners should be given preference on the serviced sites -- this would please traditional leaders.
Mr Nzimande said he had been misquoted by Mr Michalakis. He explained that the point he was making was that in most instances, traditional leaders did not respect municipalities in the implementation of Section 81. The recommendation therefore was that the Committee’s recommendations needed to be strengthened, to cite Section 81. The Committee had a responsibility to respond to the petition which had been put before the Committee.
Mr Mohapi said the Committee needed to underline its findings around the legitimacy of the court process and court order. The Committee also needed to ensure that the municipality put in place basic services in those areas to which the petitioners would be relocated.
Mr Julius said the municipalities needed to make a determination on the number of families evicted.
Mr Nzimande suggested that the recommendations be re-drafted by the Committee’s research staff.
Mr Michalakis agreed with Mr Nzimande that the recommendations should be re-drafted.
Report on work and activities of the Committee to date
The Chairperson said the intention of the report was to give a synopsis of the work of the Committee to date.
Mr Julius said the in-house challenges facing the Committee should be highlighted under “Challenges facing the Committee”, and included in the report.
Mr Michalakis said the report needed to include the reports adopted by the Committee in the day’s meeting.
Mr Mohai said the challenge stipulated in the report, that because the Committee shared membership with two other committees in the NCOP, the Committee was unable to sit for an entire week or more on oversight visits, was not accurate. This point should be removed, because it was not a true reflection of the challenges facing the Committee. Members always accommodated each other when there was an oversight visit scheduled.
The Chairperson added that the point should rather have reflected that the Committee was the only one which met for an hour and a half once a week. The Committee was the only one with three clusters. The Committee’s allocation was for Friday, but that day did not work for meetings and Parliament had accepted that.
Ms Wana proposed that meetings took place on Thursdays.
The Chairperson responded that Thursdays would not work because parties had their caucuses on that day. He said the discussion on the report would continue at the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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