Election of Chairperson; Mandate of Committee

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Meeting Summary

 President Cyril Ramaphosa appoints Inter-Ministerial Task Team on North-West

A new ad hoc committee was established to inquire on the intervention in North West (NW) Provincial Government. Members of the Committee met to elect Chairperson of the Committee. Mr De Beer was elected as the new chairperson of the Committee.

Members expressed concern over the day scheduled for the ad hoc committee meetings. They preferred that the committee meet during after-hours rather than the Friday stipulated in the Committee programme.

The Chairperson said one of the urgent matters they needed to deal with was to get a full briefing from the Cabinet inter-ministerial committee on the North West led by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on their findings into governance issues. The Secretary of the NCOP said the ad hoc committee had up to 180 days to investigate whether the intervention was necessary. In terms of the section 100 and the rules of the NCOP‚ the ad hoc committee was at liberty to engage with other committees of the institution and the intervention teams.

Meeting report

Election of Chairperson
Adv Mongana Tau, Unit Manager: Committee Section, said this is the first meeting of the Ad hoc Committee to inquire into the intervention in the NW Provincial Government in terms of section 100 of the constitution.

In terms of NCOP rules, Rule 93 (1) states that the Secretary must call a meeting of a Committee within five working days after the names of the members of the Committee have been announced. This rule has been complied with.

Under Rule 91 (1) unless these Rules provide otherwise in a specific case, the Committee must elect one of its members as the Chairperson of the Committee. He then gave members the opportunity to proceed with the elections.

Adv Tau explained that the Committee comprised of eleven members. Where a member and the alternate are present, the latter will not have the voting power. In any Committee meeting, the alternate will have the right as a Member of Parliament to participate.

Ms T Wana (ANC; Eastern Cape) nominated Mr C De Beer (ANC) for the position and was seconded by another.

Adv Tau confirmed with Mr De Beer about his availability.

Mr De Beer accepted and confirmed his availability.

Opportunity was given for further nomination. Since there was no further nomination, he handed over to Mr De Beer to continue the meeting.

The incoming Chairperson thanked the members for the nomination and trust. He promised to try his best in discharging his duties. He asked who the secretariat of the committee would be as he did not want to go in search for the committee secretary.

Adv Tau said he would be responsible for the Secretarial duties in the interim. The NCOP however, was working on appointing the Secretary of the Committee but the urgency of the meeting was paramount.

The Chairperson thanked him for the clarity. He encouraged members to discharge their duties well.

Mr S Mohai (ANC; Free State) hinted on the urgency of the task and the fact that the Executive made the decision to invoke section 100 (1b) of the constitution. As a matter of urgency, the relevant inter-ministerial Committee should be called upon for full briefing to the Committee. The reason is for the Committee to determine the scope of its work and the extent to which it will probe matters brought to its attention.

The Chairperson told the Committee that in terms of the programme Fridays has been set aside for ad hoc Committees. Members should make themselves available on Fridays seeing the seriousness of the matter.

Mr T Motlashuping (ANC; North West) raised concerns over the last comment of the Chairperson. The comment is inconsiderate of what is happening in this country with regards to transportation. There are other expectations of the members as public representatives. Though members are availing themselves in serving the Committee, it is also a political responsibility to ensure that on Mondays they are in their constituencies offices. As members cannot travel beyond the day mentioned, they have said on several occasions that they will make themselves available even afterhours to discuss and deliberate on matters of importance.

The Chairperson replied that he is aware of that, but the Committee programme said that Fridays has been set aside for ad hoc Committees. He assured the members that the Committee won’t meet every Friday. The first engagement will be with the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the NW led by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. After this engagement will be the administrators and leaders of the administration team, this won’t occur every Friday.

Mr M Monakedi (ANC; Limpopo) said members will have to seriously consider the proposal of having meetings on Friday. He suggested that members should try to meet after hours and consider it first before looking at Friday meetings. If it fails, then the Friday meetings can be considered.

Mr Khawula suggested the Chairperson determine the intensity of the matter and the timeframe before working on any of the options already suggested.

Mr S Terblanche (DA: Western Cape) submitted an apology from Mr M Chetty (DA: KwaZulu Natal).

The Chairperson said the normal procedure was that members submitted written apologies for their absenteeism.

Outline of the mandate of the Committee
The Chairperson handed over to Adv Tau to make the presentation.

Adv Tau explained that the presentation highlights the procedure to be followed and the mandate of the Committee. The outline deals with the receipt of the intervention and referral, referral of the intervention to the Committee, consideration of the intervention by the Committee, Committee report and consideration by the House.

Receipt of the intervention and referral
Rule 254 (1) of the NCOP states that ‘Whenever the national executive intervenes in a provincial executive in terms of section 100 (1)(b) of the Constitution, the Cabinet member responsible for provincial affairs must submit a written notice of the intervention in the Council within 14 days after the intervention began. The notice must be accompanied by a memorandum explaining the reasons for the intervention. The Chairperson of the Council must refer the matter to the appropriate Committee of the Council’. The notice of the intervention has been duly received by members. Members confirmed receipt of the notice.

Consideration of the intervention by the Committee
As a House, the NCOP has 180 days to indicate whether it agrees with the intervention or not.
Rule 254 (4) provides that the Committee must –
(a) investigate whether or not the intervention was necessary;
(b) afford the provincial administration concerned and the national executive each the opportunity to state their case.

(c) confer with the select Committee responsible for finance matters, if the intervention is for the purpose of maintaining economic unity;
(d) confer with the select Committee responsible for security matters, if the intervention is for the purpose of maintaining national security; and
(e) report to the Council within 10 days of the report having been referred to it.

Committee report
Rule 254 (5) provides that the report of the Committee must –
(a) contain a recommendation whether or not the intervention should be approved;
(b) be placed on the order Paper for consideration.

Consideration of the report by the House
Rule 254 (6) (7) (8) provides that
6) If the Council approves the intervention, the Committee must on a continuous basis investigate whether or not it is necessary to continue the intervention, and report to the Council.
(7) The Council must review the intervention regularly and make any appropriate recommendations to the national executive.
(8) The secretary must communicate any relevant resolution of the Council to the national executive, the speaker of the provincial legislature concerned and to the Premier of the province concerned.

Mr Motlashuping said that even though Rule 254 (1) of the NCOP was confirmed, subsection (2) was not dealt with. The subsection provided that ‘the notice must be accompanied by a memorandum explaining the reasons for the intervention’.

Mr M Khawula (IFP; KZN) asked a question on Rule 254 (4)(b) which provides as follows ‘…afford the provincial administration concerned and the national executive each the opportunity to state their case’. He asked how many Departments were involved and the names of the Departments in respect of North West.

Ms L Dlamini (ANC; Mpumalanga) asked the relationship between the Committee and the select Committee concerned.

Adv Tau replied that there was a letter and asked for permission to read it.

Mr Motlashuping said that if there was a memorandum there was no need for it to be read.

The Chairperson said that the letter was sent on 9 May. There was a statement issued by the Minister of Communications after the cabinet meeting on 23 May 2018. Page 2 of the statement refers to Northwest. He asked the secretary to mail the page to members of the ad hoc Committee. The statement on that page referred to section 100 (1) (a) and 100 (1) (b) which are two different things.

Advocate Modibedi Phindela, Secretary of the NCOP, said the Committee had to confine itself to the terms of reference as contained in the letter of the notice of the intervention. The reasons for the intervention were contained in the notice of the intervention referred to the Committee.

Responding to the question raised by Ms Dlamini, Adv Tau said that in terms of the rules, the ad hoc Committee is at liberty to consult or confer with other select Committees being mindful of the fact that section 100 (1) (b) also refers to Select Committee on Health. In terms of the resolution adopted by the House for the establishment of this Committee, one notable point was that the intervention cuts across the Departments in NW. This is why the ad hoc Committee was set up. In the ordinary cause of events, if it is one Department then only that select Committee deals with it. In this instance, because the intervention refers to NW provincial government, the ad hoc Committee was established.

The Chairperson said that in a similar situation where Limpopo had been under administration in the fourth Parliament other relevant committees had been invited to participate

Mr Khawula said his question has not been answered, is it a certain Department or the all provincial departments in NW: If it was a particular Department, which one?

Ms Dlamini said her concern probably was technical because the Provincial Department of Health (DoH) had been referred to the Select Committee on Social services before the entire province of North West was put under administration; therefore she wanted to know whether the Select Committee superseded the ad hoc committee or vice versa?

Mr Mohai said there was one important achievement which was the establishing of the Committee. The concerns raised by members were very important, however, the IMC would give a comprehensive report to provide the Committee with information regarding NW and the Departments that are affected in much more details. This will enable the Committee to determine to what extent other select Committee can be involved.

Adv Tau said that the memorandum referred to the entire province but the briefing by the IMC would help determine the Departments under section 100 (1a) and the ones under section 100 (1b).

The Chairperson said that the IMC engagement was a crucial one, in that it would show the Committee the way forward.

Ms D Ngwenya (EFF; Gauteng) representing Ms L Mokwele (EFF; North West) asked if the memorandum was the same with the letter before the Committee or whether there is another one.

The Chairperson said that there was only one correspondence and it serves as the memorandum.

Mr Khawula said it was not right to be relying on the briefing by the IMC before having knowledge of the department(s) that the Committee will be dealing with, that showed that adequate preparation had not been made for the meeting.

Mr Motlashuping said that even though the task of the Committee today was to constitute the Committee, the Committee should not be so myopic to think that it cannot engage on a document presented before it. The constitution of the Committee is not the only agenda of the meeting, there are documents before the Committee that needs to be engaged with and it is within the rights of the members to do so and not wait for another process.

The Chairperson said that what was before the members was the only thing they had; however, members must do their homework and keep next Friday open. Members must look at the NCOP programme. The IMC is not one person, it consists of about 8-9 Ministers.

Ms Dlamini said the Committee should be open with the after-hours proposal.

Mr Mohai said that every opportunity will be used to meet within the week if not then the Friday option will be considered.

The Chairperson thanked the members,

The meeting was adjourned.


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