The Committee discussed and approved its study tour report on the visit to Malaysia.
Members had an overall positive and good impression of their visit to Malaysia and felt that it was a conducive and a high level engagement.
The Committee received a briefing on its draft Fourth Term Programme. The briefing highlighted the Committee’s planned meetings and activities for the term. The focus for the new term will be on processing the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement and the accompanying bills.
Members raised the point about travel logistics and urged the Committee to plan ahead and be mindful of the fact that certain members were coming in and out from small provinces that had a limited number of flights going in and out per day and therefore correct travelling arrangements should be made and considered, or else they end up staying in the bigger cities when meeting times are moved etc. It was also noted that the Provincial week would be moved to a week later due to the immense amount of workload that needs to be done. The report was eventually adopted.
Draft report on the Study Tour to Malaysia
The Chairperson took Members through the draft report page by page, and invited Members to make input where they saw fit.
The Chairperson highlighted that the report was very detailed and rather lengthy, however it captured everything that was covered in Malaysia as well as the observations of the Committee as to what should be filtered in when they engage with the departments, both local and national, especially when it came to the enhancing of economic growth and looking at the model of Malaysia. Delivery of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) draft was well presented and carried a lot of important detail.
Mr F Essack (DA; Mpumalanga) highlighted paragraph 11.4.8 of the draft report which stated that the National Transformation Programme (NTP) had been instrumental in propelling the country out of the middle-income trap, in which it found itself in 2009. As at the end of 2016, its Gross National Income (GNI) per capita had increased to US$10.010 against the high-income target which was estimated to be US$12,272 for last year, based on PEMANDU’s estimate following the World Bank’s GNI per capita calculation. Members should be extremely cognisant of that particular paragraph, as it was very important.
The Chairperson said a question would be posed to the President that afternoon about the minimum wages, which was in relation to that question.
The Chairperson said it was a high-level engagement in Malaysia that week with all stakeholders and he thanked Members as well as the support staff for their input. The report would be presented in the House as well.
The report was adopted.
Draft Fourth Term Committee programme
The Committee Secretary introduced and took Members through the fourth term programme. She highlighted that meetings would either take place on Tuesdays or Wednesdays with a few meetings that may fall on other days of the week, however those would be indicated. Committee meetings would start on 17 October 2017, after the provincial week.
The Committee would meet for the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on Tuesday 24 October 2017 and the following day, there would be the normal lockup up session where once Members have entered they will not be permitted to leave until 13:50pm once the meeting has been adjourned.
The ministerial meeting on Thursday 26 October would be held jointly with finance and appropriations committees.
The following week all four committees will meet again on Tuesday 31 October 2017 to receive a briefing from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
Also on the agenda are meeting with the South African Local Government Association and Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) to get their input on the MTBPS.
On 8 November both houses will take a decision on the revised fiscal framework, yet to be confirmed.
Thursday 9 November the Committee will meet after caucus jointly with the Standing Committee on Appropriations to be briefed on the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill.
Friday 10 November will be the public hearings on the Division of Revenue Amendment bill.
There will then be a few days where the Standing Committee adopts their report and make their decision on Tuesday14 November 2017on the bill
Wednesday 15 November 2017, delegates will have to brief their provinces on the bill and then travel back to Cape Town, as Friday they will be considering negotiating mandates.
The Committee Secretary said on Tuesday 21 November, the Committee will have to consider final mandate and draft reports in order for the NCOP to be able to take a decision on the bill in the House on the same day.
The following Thursday 30 November 2017 gives the Standing Committee a chance to process their report and that means Friday 1 December the Committee will have to consider its reports on the MTBPS and make adjustments on the Appropriations and Finance Bill so that it is scheduled in the House for 5 December 2017.
The Chairperson said there is a report back session in the Eastern Cape that week however that will be discussed in the fourth term.
The Chairperson thanked the Secretary and added that when the Committee is briefed by the Minister on the MTBPS as well as the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill, that the chairs of finance committees in the provincial legislatures also be invited please and that SALGA is part of the process throughout seeing that they have seats in the NCOP.
Mr T Motlashuping (ANC, North West) raised that the meeting set for 15 November may be a problem due to the travelling logistics as there were very few flights from some provinces.
Mr Essack concurred with Mr Motlashuping.
Ms T Motara (ANC, Gauteng) replied that the Members did not physically need to be at the Committee to deliver the negotiating mandate.
Mr Motlashuping asked her to elaborate on that point.
Ms Motara explained that if Members are not able to attend the briefing, either the alternate member will have to be in Parliament for the mandate to be presented or else an alternative solution would have to occur; however, representation was preferable.
It had been done before where Members are absent but the Committee received the mandate. In order for the Committee to finalise negotiating mandates they need 5 not physical bodies but 5 negotiating mandates in order to proceed.
She acknowledged that there are constraints on the legislature.
Provinces that do not process a negotiating mandate are not stopped from conferring a final mandate. No prerequisite is required, you do not have to confirm a negotiating method in order to have a final mandate as long as the Committee has 5 negotiating mandates they can then process the bill in the House. That was obviously the worst-case scenario as ideally all provinces should negotiate and have voting mandates as this impacts directly onto provinces and municipalities.
Ms Motara hoped it will be the last time voting happens without all provinces participating and that all provinces would participate this year, as it negatively affects the NCOP, the NA as well as the provinces as it becomes difficult completing efficient and effective work on the bill. The entire bill should be processed in 30 days, however, they will communicate closer to the time in terms of logistics in order to check which Members will be present and who will not so that they’ will be able to get alternate Members and avoid any problems that may arise on a committee level that may delay the processing in the House.
The Chairperson said the Northern Cape briefing will take place in Kimberly on the morning of Wednesday 15 November at 9am, followed by public hearings at 2pm on the same day.
Mr Motlashuping commented on the proposal on the presence of people who go to provinces and said precedence was set in the House in terms of mandates; and one should be mindful of the fact that people who are not even mandated feel entitled to jump in and comment and speak on the behalf of provinces when precedence had been set.
The Chairperson agreed, and said that was the reason he made the suggestion that chairs of provincial Finance committees be invited to be present at both briefings with either their secretary or researcher. This has been established since the fourth parliament, that they are on board with all the meetings taking place from the first day and have collected all the necessary documentation. He believed that this worked extremely well and should be implemented.
The Committee Secretary suggested the Chairperson should brief the Committee on the Wednesday, and in order for special delegates to come from the province, once they have been briefed in advance, 3 and 4 October 2017.
Ms Motara thanked the Chairperson; the programme would be circulated to all Members in the fourth term. The week of 2 October 2017 was initially supposed to be provincial week; however the issue was raised about going off onto recess and constituency period then straight after that will be provincial week. This meant that the provincial week was delayed by a week.
Week of the 2 October 2017 the whole Committee will all be back in Cape Town and will then all meet.
Ms Motara said parallel to the meeting on the 2nd will be SALGA training which is training of the 10 SALGA delegates of NCOP. Only the ten delegates will be trained by SALGA. Certain Members have been requested to do presentations. All committees will be doing backlog of work and there will not be any sittings. The Select Committee on Finance will also schedule its meetings during that time.
Ms Motara said the Economic Cluster questions would be back to 3 days starting on 17 October 2017 and because it is the biggest cluster it has been split 4 ways. Two ministries with two questions; time is approximately 3 hours for 2 ministries.
Questions to Deputy President will take place on 1 November 2017 and committees will then continue with all their outstanding meetings and reports.
The annual address from the President to NCOP will take place on 9 November 2017.
On 14 November 2017, committees will continue with the committee programme.
Taking Parliament to the People is scheduled for 24 November 2017.
The Fourth term will be extended to December in order to deal with the adjustment of the Appropriations bill and Finance bill.
Ms Motara said she would take it upon herself and the Committee Secretary to have one on one meetings with each Member just to know which provinces will be available to participate on briefings, public hearings, negotiating mandates and which provinces will not. Just to make the job easier as a committee.
On 15 November 2017 there will be briefings in provinces.
The Chairperson concluded that each and every Member was needed to help one another
Mr Motlashuping was concerned about issues not confirmed, especially in terms of logistics, and asked that confirmation be received well in advance.
The Chairperson said 3 and 4 October had to be utilised. The outstanding matter for the Committee was an engagement with National Treasury on expenditure of grants in the agriculture sector scheduled for 17 October 2017.
In January 2018, the Committee would carry out oversight visits in the Western Cape and the Committee should be proactive.
The Chairperson thanked the committee for all their hard work and thanked Ms Motara for the delivery of the Fourth Term programme.
Adoption of minutes
Committee Minutes dated 12 September 1017 were adopted unamended.
The meeting was adjourned