Members of the NCOP Ad Hoc Committee on Funding of Represented Political Parties met to elect a Chairperson and to discuss the mandate of the Committee. Members understood the importance of taking the process forward but were concerned about the number of meetings and sittings that they were currently attending as a result of the budget votes and the impending extended recess.
The Chairperson was elected and presented a draft programme for the following six weeks. it was decided that a media notice should be issued immediately calling for input into the Political Party Funding Bill, giving the public three weeks to respond. Thereafter, a week would be set aside for public hearings, following which, the Committee would have a week to consider the submissions and to deliberate on the Bill. The Bill would be sent to the House on 30 June 2018.
The Chairperson allowed some discussion by Members about possible ways to incorporate the work into the busy schedules, but no further decisions could be reached before Members had to attend a sitting in the House. The meeting decided that Members would have to be flexible and that the Chairperson would have to schedule meetings wherever there was a gap in the programme of the NCOP and the Committees. The next meeting would take place the following week on a day and at a time yet to be determined.
Election of the Chairperson
The Committee Secretary, Estelle Grunewald, welcomed Members to the meeting and thanked them for coming. She informed them that as it was a new Committee, Members should elect from among themselves someone as the Chairperson.
Ms Grunewald called for nominations.
Mr T Motlashuping (ANC) (North West) nominated Mr D Stock (ANC) (Northern Cape) for the position of Chairperson of the Committee.
His nomination was supported by Ms Z Ncitha (ANC) (Eastern Cape).
There were no further nominations. The Committee agreed unanimously on the nomination of Mr Stock as Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee on Funding of Represented Political Parties (NCOP).
The Committee Secretary announced Mr Stock’s election and he took the Chair.
The Chairperson thanked Members for his nomination and appointment. He explained that the meeting would be a brief one as the intention was to make arrangements to deal with the Bill on Political Party Funding and to set the process in motion as the Committee had only six weeks before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) rose for the mid-year recess. The schedule was, therefore, very tight.
The National Assembly had passed the Bill on Political Party Funding (B33-2017). The Bill needed concurrence from the NCOP. The Committee was not going to re-invent the wheel but would have an extensive public hearing process.
The Chairperson asked for proposals for the Programme of the Committee. As a point of departure, he stated that two things had to happen immediately. Firstly, Members had to agree on a day and time to meet the following week and, secondly, the Committee needed to agree on the placement of advertisements in the media calling for public comment on the Bill. He outlined the draft programme, but asked Members to note that it was a proposal and not cast in stone as he wanted input from Members.
Proposed six-week programme:
- An advertisement to be placed in the media from 21 May – 8 June 2018, calling for written submissions.
- All submissions to be opened and read, and shortlisted, if the Committee wanted to invite submitters to make oral presentations.
- Public hearings to be held from 11 June to 22 June 2018.
-The Committee would deliberate on the Bill and formulate a recommendation and a report from 25 June to 29 June 2018.
-The Bill would be sent to the House for adoption on 30 June 2018.
The Chairperson asked for inputs so that the Draft programme could be circulated and adopted at the next meeting.
Ms C Labuschagne (DA) (Western Cape) suggested that six weeks was too tight a timeframe and initially suggested that the Committee ask for an extension of one week. However, in discussion with colleagues, she became unsure about the feasibility of an extra week. In response to the Chairperson’s question of whether she agreed with the programme, Ms Labuschagne stated the NCOP was busy with budget votes and she did not know when Members were going to get things done. The programme was good, but she wondered where Members were going to find the days required.
Mr E Makue (ANC) (Gauteng), who was standing in as the alternate for Ms T Motara (ANC) (Gauteng), noted that the Committee was discussing dates, but it did not need to conclude the matter at that meeting. He requested that the Chairperson send the proposed dates that afternoon, so that Ms Motara could commit herself to the programme.
Mr M Monakedi (ANC) (Limpopo) wanted to propose that the Members go along with the suggestions of the Chairperson. The Committee needed some sort of an agreement in principle to start with the work that had to be done, as they did not have time on their side. He had noted what the Western Cape representative had said and agreed.
Mr M Chabangu (EFF) (Free State) agreed with the points but asked that the Committee Secretary check dates of other Committee meetings that Members of the Ad hoc Committee had to attend. That might ensure the availability of Members.
Mr Motlashuping noted that Members did not have to do anything regarding the implementation of the submissions process, so that could start. The Committee would not get another chance as at least three weeks was needed for submissions. Also, the majority of the Members were going out with the Joint Constitutional Review Committee to hear submissions from the public on expropriation of land without cmpensation. The Chairperson should look at where Members had other commitments.
Ms Ncitha acknowledged that her points had been covered by those of Mr Chabangu. It was important that the programme should not impact negatively on other programmes. Members had to have it at the back of their minds that they had to be flexible.
Mr Makue stated that one of the highest priorities Members had in the NCOP was the interest of their provinces. He wanted to throw in the idea that the Committee could canvass for input amongst their colleagues in the legislatures.
The Chairperson welcomed Ms N Koni (EFF) Northern Cape.
The Chairperson explained his problems about structuring the programme. The difficulty was that there were four or five Members who were also in the Joint Constitutional Review Committee that would begin its work on 25 May 2018. He had had a meeting the previous day where he had spoken to the Co-Chair of the Constitutional Review Committee and that Committee could only allow the Members who sat on both Committees two days in the week of 25 May 2018. If he extended the programme, there would be a clash, but he was aware that Members would possibly not be able to do justice to the work in six weeks. He therefore suggested that the time period be extended.
Ms Labuschagne stated that she had been confused and withdrew proposal her proposal to extend the programme by one week. She understood that they had to complete it within the six-week timeframe, come what may.
There was some confusion over the dates but that was quickly cleared up. The Committee was determined to finalise its work before the NCOP rose for the recess on 30 June 2018.
The Chairperson asked when the Committee would meet. Members had to explore all options early and late in the day.
Ms T Mokwele (EFF) (North West) commented that she did not know if there were parliamentary rules that assigned a particular day to a Committee. She thought that flexibility was better than a fixed day and time. The Committee could sit after a sitting or when it was still on, e.g. from 14:00 to 15:00. Members had to look into their programmes and inform the Committee Secretary. She had been in meetings since 08:30 that morning and Ms Labuschagne since 07:00. They had been moving from meeting to meeting.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee Members had reached an agreement.
Mr Makue added that according to his information, the National Assembly rose on 30 May 2018, so the Committee would have Thursday mornings as there would be no caucus meetings.
The Chairperson noted that Members had said it was necessary to be flexible and he agreed. He would look at empty slots in the NCOP, and on Thursdays, if possible. The Committee might even have to meet in the evenings, but he did not want Members complaining about the times of the meetings. Currently he was looking at the following Tuesday.
Mr Motlashuping agreed that there was a need to be flexible, but the Committee should not lose its focus on the following week. He proposed that the Committee meet on 23 May 2018, the following week, as there was no plenary on that date.
Ms Koni noted that Mr Motlashuping was repeating what had already been said about being flexible. The Chairperson and Secretary would have to look at the programme and take the gaps that they could find.
The Chairperson stated that he would work on a draft programme and circulate that to members.
The meeting was adjourned.