The Ad Hoc Joint Committee on the Appointment of Board Members to the National Youth Development Agency spent more than three hours debating about the minutes of the previous meeting.
Two issues arose. The EFF, first, charged that it had not been invited to the previous meetings. The party felt it was being denied an opportunity to participate in the process by not being invited to the meetings of the Committee. It further stated that if its members were absent in the previous meeting, then this must be reflected in the minutes. The Committee Secretary and both Chairepersons replied that the EFF had been notified about past meetings.
Secondly, the DA pointed out there were a number of errors in the minutes. He said there was no consensus on the short-listing of the candidates. In the previous meeting, he proposed the committee must interview three times the number that was required. He further noted the Committee never discussed diversity and geographical spread of the candidates. The candidates were never discussed properly. So, there was no consensus on matters discussed on that day.
The Committee decided that “consensus” would be removed and be replaced by “resolved”. The majority of mebers pointed out that the DA had never raised an objection, but made a proposal that was rejected. The DA participated in the process, but did not state it has got an objection which it would like to be noted
The EFF further requested the Committee to add to the agenda a letter from the BMF which it said raised legitimate concerns about the short-listing process. The party also insisted the letter be discussed before the Committee debated the outline of the interview process.
The ANC felt the meeting should not be delayed because of some omissions which could be corrected later. It refuted claims that there was no discussion of the short-listed candidates because each Member was given a chance to nominate one candidate and then make a motivation. It accused the DA of not participating in good faith and casting aspersions on the process.
The minutes were eventually adopted with amendments.
The Committee further resolved that the discussion on the security clearance of the candidates should not be open to the public and media because it is not proper to discuss matters of the individuals in public and that the documents from the State Security are confidential.
Consideration of Minutes
The minutes were tabled for consideration.
Mr F Shivambu (EFF) told the Committee that the members of his party had no recollection of being invited to the meetings of the Committee. If members of the EFF were absent from the meeting; that should be reflected in the minutes. The minutes should not only state those who were present.
Ms Manopole explained that the minutes listed those who were present, both from the NA and NCOP. The blank spaces under the apologies section indicated there were no apologies on that day. She further pointed out that the other omission that is in the document is the total number of Committee Members, not only those of the EFF.
Mr B Mkongi (ANC) suggested that the attendance register should always be attached to the minutes to avoid unnecessary discussions.
Mr Y Cassim (DA) pointed out there were a number of errors in the minutes. He said there was no consensus on the short-listing of the candidates. In the previous meeting, he proposed the committee must interview three times the number that was required. He further noted the Committee never discussed diversity and geographical spread of the candidates. The candidates were never discussed properly. So, there was no consensus on matters discussed on that day.
Mr Mapulane said Mr Cassim’s proposal was tabled before the Committee and discussed. The Committee agreed on 14 candidates, not on the 21 proposed by Mr Cassim. The 14 candidates were nominated by consensus. The Committee agreed on that number, including the names of the candidates. It was further agreed that all Members would be given access to the CVs of the candidates, and that happened. The minutes documented what was agreed upon and was a summary of the discussion. It was not verbatim.
Ms Manopole stated that the Committee had an opportunity to address the issue of diversity. Each Member had a chance to nominate candidates. She did not understand why it was emerging now that the issue was never discussed.
Ms R Lesoma (ANC) said all Members were present during the discussion and they agreed not to “manufacture” criteria and guidelines that are contrary to the Act.
Mr Cassim said his intention was not to re-open the debate but to provide an accurate reflection of what happened during the meeting. He said the word “consensus” means everyone agreed. He suggested the use of the word “resolved”. Objections that had been substantiated should be reflected in the minutes. He proposed the objections be noted in the minutes.
Mr Mkongi said the DA likes to write minority reports on agreed matters. He did not understand why Mr Cassim said there was no consensus because the DA’s objections were defeated and the majority agreed on what should be done.
Mr M Mohapi (ANC) stated the minutes were a reflection of major issues debated in the meeting. Consensus meant the decision of the majority opinion.
Ms D Manana (ANC) indicated the meeting should not be dragged because of omissions. On geographic spread of the candidates, it was discussed from which provinces the candidates came from.
Mr Shivambu said “consensus” meant a general agreement. The Committee must state if there was an objection and that was not going to change what was agreed upon.
Ms Manopole pointed out that the meeting did resolve on consensus and it must be stated that the DA wanted 21 candidates instead of 14.
Mr Cassim insisted that the objection should be noted and that was not going to change the decisions taken.
Ms Manopole agreed it was going to be noted that the DA objected to 14 candidates and suggested 21.
Mr Cassim stated there was no discussion on the candidates nominated. The demographic and geographic spread was not properly considered.
The Chairpeson disagreed saying each Member was given a chance to nominate one person and make a motivation. It was not true there was no discussion on the short-listed candidates.
Ms Lesoma moved for the suspension of the adoption of the minutes and asked the Committee to continue with the agenda.
Mr Mkongi added that the DA was not participating in good faith and was casting aspersion on the process.
Mr Mapulane said it should be agreed the Committee resolved to nominate 14 candidates instead of 21. The word “consensus” should be removed.
Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) indicated the Committee should tread carefully because it was going to end up rehashing the meeting. An objection was never raised, but a proposal was defeated. He said the Committee could suspend the minutes until such time they are seen as a true reflection of the meeting.
The Co-Chairperson indicated that “consensus” would be removed and be replaced by “resolved”. He said the DA never raised an objection, but made a proposal that was rejected. The DA participated in the process, but did not state it has got an objection which it would like to be noted.
Mr Shivambu wanted to know if the suspension of the adoption of the minutes is suspended would mean that matters arising would not be discussed.
The Chairperson agreed the adoption of minutes has been suspended and no matters arising would be discussed.
Mr Shivambu pointed out that on the first page of the minutes the EFF is not reflected. The EFF could not have agreed with the list of short-listed candidates that comprise 9 males and that is something that does not reflect the demographics of the country. He said some short-listed candidates have not even achieved Grade 12. Youth development is compromised because some people short-listed are machine lifters in a factory.
The Chairperson said the issue of feeling the EFF was not represented in meetings has been discussed many times. The Committee has raised the issue of chopping and changing members by EFF all the time. The issue was resolved when Mr Ndlozi was in the previous meeting. Members are ATCed so that the Committee could know the real Members of the Committee. She noted that Mr Shivambu is now representing Mr Ndlozi and the ATC process has not yet been finalised. This means Mr Ndlozi could attend meetings but not vote. It is the responsibility of Mr Ndlozi to inform his party about the process and who is going to represent him in the meetings.
Mr Mapulane added that Mr Shivambu has raised a query with him about not inviting the EFF to meetings. A copy of the invite and ATC was sent to Mr Ndlozi. He stated when you look at the list of the recipients; Mr Ndlozi’s name appeared there. The last time Mr Ndlozi was in the meeting, he was given access to all the CVs so that the EFF could participate in the meetings. But now Mr Ndlozi was not in the meeting, instead there was a new person.
Mr Shivambu said the EFF must be given an opportunity to participate in the process because it is not given invites to the meetings.
The Chairperson said it appears there’s a lack of communication between Mr Shivambu and Mr Ndlozi. The Committee has raised the inconsistency of EFF members attending the meetings. It is not true the Committee has denied the EFF opportunities to participate.
Ms Lesoma stated the Committee has been accommodating the EFF and proposed that the minutes be deferred so that the Committee could continue with its business.
Mr Mkongi suggested the Committee Secretary to state that the EFF was invited to the Committee meetings because it appears that this is the way that cases are being built and sustained.
The Committee Secretary stated he always sends a meeting notice to all Members. On 5 December 2016, emails were sent to all Members, including Mr Ndlozi’s work and private email addresses. On 6 December 2016, SMSes were sent to all Members to remind them about a meeting. On 7 December 2016, Mr Ndlozi said he was on his way to Fidel Castro’s funeral in Cuba.
Mr S Mncwabe (NFP) said if the minutes are deferred, the Committee should discuss the next item on the agenda.
Mr Shivambu wanted to how the interviews are going to be conducted if the minutes have been deferred to the next meeting.
Mr Mapulane said in hindsight the minutes should be adopted so that the Committee could focus on the work to be done. He proposed for the adoption of the minutes.
Ms Lesoma moved for the adoption of the minutes with amendments.
Ms Manana seconded the motion and proposed that in the minutes there should be a provided space for those who were absent.
Mr Shivambu stated it was clear the EFF was never invited to the meetings on the criteria for short-listing. It was not genuine to defer minutes and later adopt them. Matters arising should be discussed to show continuity of what had been discussed. That was the purpose of the minutes and to allow other views to be fairly expressed and debated.
Mr Cassim stated the issues he raised were conflated. The issue was not about 14 candidates. After the Committee had gone through the process, he objected to the process by saying it was not right. “When you motivate it does not mean there is a discussion”. He added that he had a right to express an opinion when he disagreed with the process. His objection to that meeting was that the short-listed candidates were not thoroughly considered and the demographic and geographic spread of the candidates was also not considered.
Mr Mapulane said Mr Cassim never raised an objection, but raised a point that was debated and rejected.
Mr Shivambu said the minutes were deferred because the Chairperson wanted to consult the Hansard because it appeared she was not sure about what was recorded in that meeting.
Ms Manopole said the previous meeting was chaired by Mr Mapulane and the Committee Secretary was asked to put it on record that the EFF was invited to the 8 December 2016 meeting.
Mr Mapulane said it appeared Members had raised no objections to the adoption of minutes. If the majority of Members had objections, there was a problem. If it was only a few, the meeting would go on.
Ms Manana stated that Members had moved for the adoption of the minutes and those who wanted to voice objections should be given a chance.
Mr Mapulane proposed some amendments to the minutes:
The word “consensus” should be replaced with “resolved”.
To state the DA proposed the Committee to interview 21 candidates, but the Committee did not support the proposal
A view was expressed that the shortlisted candidates do not reflect the geographic and demographic spread of the country, but the Committee indicated the short-listing process has followed the guidelines of the Act.
Mr Mohapi moved for the adoption of the minutes with amendments.
Ms Manana seconded the move.
Mr Shivambu objected to the adoption of the minutes on procedural grounds.
The Chairperson reminded him he could not vote.
Mr Hlengwa proposed that the matter be dealt by the Committee only and not be open to the public and media, and asked that the live television and recording material be switched off.
Mr Mncwabe supported the idea saying it was not proper to discuss matters of the individuals in public.
Mr Shivambu stated that the rules of Parliament state that the meetings of Parliament are open to the public and this was not the first time that such a process was happening. He further suggested that the Committee looks at the BMF letter regarding the short-listing process because the BMF appeared to have objections to the process.
Mr Cassim asked if there was a basis to close the meeting to the public and media because when people apply for these positions, they are opening themselves to public scrutiny.
Mr Hlengwa said the Committee would not be breaking the rules of Parliament, but it would be unwise to interrogate them first in public.
Mr Mncwabe further added that the document from the State Security was confidential. The proper platform was to interrogate the information the Committee received.
Mr Mapulane stated that the Committee had the right to meet in a closed session as stipulated in the rules of Parliament. He read out the Rule regarding closed meetings. He also stated those who are mentioned in the State Security report would have an opportunity to contest the information during the interview process. So, it was better they were not discussed in public.
Mr Shivambu asked the Committee to first look at the objections stated in the BMF letter which disagreed with the process of short-listing before the Committee discussed the outline process. The BMF letter raised genuine concerns.
Ms Manopole said there was consensus on the security matter that the meeting should be closed to the public and media.
Mr Shivambu said he could not understand why questions should be discussed by the Committee before the interview process. None of the Members should know which questions to be asked during the interview. He also said the ANC members were going to take the questions to the ANC Youth League NEC members who were short-listed.
Mr Mkongi said Mr Shivambu was misleading the nation. The short-listing was done last year with all political parties, except the EFF which decided not to honour the invite.
Mr Mapulane said the BMF letter could be discussed after the outline process.
Mr Mohapi pointed out that some paragraphs of the letter had a bearing on the interview process that was going to happen, especially if the Committee discussed it live.
Ms Manana said it was unfair for Mr Shivambu to say the ANC members were going to take the questions that were going to be asked during the interview to the ANCYL NEC members.
Mr Mncwabe proposed that the Committee should not spend time discussing the BMF letter because it was a request. A request could be accepted or turned down.
Mr Cassim said there was no reason for discussing the BMF letter in public. It was already accommodated in the agenda.
Mr Hlengwa said he was raising this matter because the Committee agreed last year to use the meeting to prepare for the interviews. He said he is in line with the agreement of the Committee and maintained it is in the interest of the process to stick to the agreement of the Committee.
The Committee finally agreed to discuss the security matters in a closed session.
The meeting was adjourned.
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