Lunga Kona petition report was adopted with amendments.
On the Transkei Road Transport Corporation Petition, the issue before the Committee was non-payment of benefits. Legal opinion stated that the issue was the Province agreed to employ all of those people. Even though the case happened, Umanyano did not fulfill its obligation. The onus was on the province, not Umanyano. The Committee would make it part of their recommendation, now that it had the legal opinion it must hold them accountable
The Committee adopted the report on the Transkei Road Transport Corporation Petition
PMG missed the first part of the meeting.
Lunga Kona petition report
Dr H Mateme (ANC, Limpopo) asked for clarification as to who reported to whom; the role of the council was not in question.
Mr J Mthethwa (ANC, Kwazulu-Natal) said the Committee should recommend to the council. The council could say if there was a serious problem.
Mr S Mthimunye (ANC, Mpumalanga) suggested the Committee seek legal advice on this matter beyond the meeting. South African Local Government Association (SALGA) were represented in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and in the spirit of intergovernmental relations it should interact with local state legislatures and perform oversight on a case by case basis.
Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) agreed with Mr Mthimunye, stating that in 5.2 and 5.4 state that Provincial Treasury, The Provincial Department of Roads and Public Works and the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) should appear before the Committee. This was how provinces reported back to council. At most, the Committee could make a recommendation to the Provincial Legislature and report back. It cannot instruct the legislature to do anything, it can only make recommendations. The Provincial Legislature must then report back to the Committee on the recommendation. It would set a dangerous precedent if council were to start instructing Provincial Parliament. NCOP can make recommendations. It cannot force the executive structure of a province to listen.
Mr D Momokaledi (ANC, Limpopo) agreed, but noted that in paragraph 5.2 it allows for Provincial Treasury to appear before the NCOP Finance Committee. The NCOP Finance Committee can then report to this Committee. He felt that that was the best way forward.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Momokaledi and asked if the Committee could move to adopt the report with amendments.
The report was adopted with amendments.
Transkei Road Transport Corporation (TRTC) Petition
The Chairperson said the petition was about the payment of monies to former employees.
A Member of the Committee recalled that Mr L Gaehler (UDM) had asked that the report include Sanlam as a recent report from the National Department of Transport indicated that Sanlam had paid all the pensions. The forensic investigation that the Office of the Premier was going to commission should determine whether there is money held by First National Bank (FNB) and Old Mutual. The Office of the Premier should be given four months to report back to the House on the outcome of the investigation.
Mr Michalakis noted that the Committee needed to bear in mind that it was not a court of law and could not force the private sector to do anything but felt that a recommendation from the Committee would do no harm and he had no objections.
Mr Momokaledi explained that there was a letter from FNB, which had money from TRTC. This was government money which was just sitting there. He felt that this money should be back in the government’s kitty.
A Member of the Committee explained that the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) mentioned a legal judgment. The SIU implied that it had no jurisdiction over the matter. She questioned whether the contractual obligation to provide employment to former employees of TRTC was enforceable. The question was not around non-payment of benefits. The legal team agreed with this and took matters a bit further.
Dr Mateme expressed concern that this was an old matter which was not going away. There may be something the Committee was missing from the people on the ground. The provinces should assist with the issues, if they are not going away the offices and boardrooms are missing something.
A Parliamentary Legal Advisor noted that it was not the first time the legal team had advised on this matter, and it had provided advice twice to National Assembly. All arms of the state are equal and have clearly defined roles and functions in terms of the Constitution, none trump each other. If a matter is pending in court it doesn’t mean that Parliament cannot investigate. In law there was nothing to say that Parliament cannot deal with a matter within its confines. Parliament can decide to wait on a court ruling before acting. This matter was ruled on in 2011 so was not pending so that rule does not apply in this case. Most importantly, the subject matter is different to what was raised in the petition. The non-payment of benefits was before the Committee. The court’s decision related to the enforceability of a particular clause. Nothing prevents the Committee from acting, Parliament can decide to wait.
The Chairperson asked for the recommendations from Umanyano.
Mr Chetty referred to the legal opinion, stating that the issue was the Province agreed to employ all of those people. Even though the case happened, Umanyano did not fulfill its obligation. The onus was on the province, not Umanyano. He asked whether the Committee can make it part of their recommendation, now that it had the legal opinion it must hold them accountable.
The chairperson asked if the committee could adopt the report with the amendment from Mr Chetty
Mr Mthimunye felt that this was a labour matter and questioned whether it should go to the office of the Premier since this option was exhausted previously. He suggested the Committee take the matter to Labour or Finance as departments, rather than as a Committee? Finance has powers to dig deep into the matter. These financial institutions were not prepared to pay people their pension money. Provinces may not have as much power as national government departments.
A Member of the Committee noted that the Committee had asked National Treasury to appear before it but because the pension was not from the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) it had no jurisdiction.
The report was adopted with amendments.
Adoption of minutes
Minutes of a previous committee meeting was adopted.
Committee visit to Ghana
Mr Michalakis expressed frustration at having received notice on Thursday that the Committee must be in Ghana on Saturday; this was unacceptable. Every trip, not limited to this committee, goes through administration right through to the Secretary of Parliament and gets stuck. With SAA in the state it was in, it was impossible to be in Johannesburg on a day’s notice.
The Chairperson said he went to the office of the House Chairperson who said that he would fast track it.
Ms Mokwele (EFF, North West) stated that the house chairperson was always abroad.
Mr Mthimunye said there were two applications before the office of the House Chairperson that had to do with this Committee. The Committee would need to combine its trip to include Botswana as well. He asked the Chairperson whether he could facilitate a meeting at lunch that day.
The meeting was adjourned.