The Committee met to decide on a date for discussions on the Municipal Electoral Amendment Bill. Possible dates were 11 December 2015, or 23 January 2016. It was decided that the Chairperson would meet with the office bearers first to decide on a date and then confer with Members.
The Chairperson said that at the meeting the previous day the Committee could not conclude business because the provincial whips had to leave for another meeting, hence a decision could not be taken on how to proceed with the Bill. The only thing that had to be decided upon now was when to come back to finalise the Bill. She asked the Content Advisor to take the meeting through the process in terms of the public hearing. After this a decision could be taken as to when to come back to finalise the Bill.
Mr Adam Salmon, Content Advisor: Parliament, said the communications section had indicated that deliberations would continue next week, but by Friday there would be media statements, radio slots and radio interviews, and they would make sure that they complied with public participation requirements. There was not going to be broad scale expenditure on newspaper advertising like there was for the NA because there were not a lot of responses. Basically people were supporting the Bill so it was going to be done more through social media and the website. Public participation still needed to happen. If it happened by the Friday at the latest, the earliest this Committee could meet to discuss the matter would be on 11 December 2015, depending on how important the Committee felt it was to pass this Bill.
Ms L Zwane (ANC Mpumalanga) asked for clarity because the Bill was tagged as a Section 75 Bill. This meant one did not have to have public hearings in provinces. However the Content Advisor had spoken about public hearing so she was unclear.
Mr Salmon said that there would be public participation, it meant that the public did not have to come, they could just write to Parliament.
The Chairperson said it was either 11 December 2015 or 23 January 2016. Meetings could be in Cape Town or Johannesburg.
Ms P Mququ (ANC Eastern Cape) proposed the 11 December 2015.
Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA Western Cape) proposed the end of January as people already had commitments with their constituencies.
The Chairperson said that it should be borne in mind that the IEC training programme was unaware that the meeting did not finish the previous day, and their training programme was due to start in December. If this Committee did not finish then there would be a delay till next year.
Mr D Stock (ANC Northern Cape) was in support of a meeting in January because there was a problem in his province with regard to distances and he normally utilised weekends to visit his constituents. He had therefore set aside two weeks to visit constituents. He was in support of a meeting in January 2016.
Ms Zwane said that in terms of process, once the Committee had met, it would deliberate over the Bill and there would be agreement as a Select Committee. However there was still the sitting of the SOP when the Bill was passed. Her thinking was that there would not be a sitting anytime soon after the constituency period. This might finish on the 11th, but one would still have to wait. She suggested that the Committee meet in January 2016.
The Committee first confirmed the date of the State of the Nation Address, which was to be held on 11 February 2016.
The Chairperson suggested to first consult with the office bearers of the National Council of Provinces because this Committee’s sitting should precede the sitting of the NCOP.
The Chairperson said she would engage with office bearers first. She assured Members that the meeting would not take more than 30 minutes. A venue could be obtained in Gauteng, and then if there was a special sitting, the Committee may as well come back. She would advise Members after meeting with the office bearers.
The meeting was adjourned.