The Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services could not consider and deliberate on submissions on the Ikamva National E-Skills Institute Bill. The Committee noted that it had received only four submissions but they were not substantive. The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee had followed all the constitutional procedures on public participation and wondered if it should consider employing other means to get more inputs from stakeholders. He further noted that there is usually a lot of interest for controversial bills and it was not surprising that there was subdued interest for this bill as it did not fall in that category. The DA proposed that CoLabs that did not make submissions should be invited to appear before the Committee. The Committee resolved to discuss the way forward at the next meeting.
IKAMVA National E-Skills Institute Bill: consideration of submissions
The Chairperson informed Members that the Committee only received four submissions on the Bill. The submissions were from PL Mamafha, Adi Makhado, Elcort Matlala, and S’busiso Ntombela. He pointed out that the submissions had nothing substantive.
The Chairperson asked Members if the Committee had to devise any other means to solicit more inputs from other people. The Committee had sent media releases to all media houses in different provinces and everything had been done according to the Constitution so that affected people or stakeholders could respond.
Ms M Shinn (DA) stated that she was disappointed with the level of public participation. Only one organisation, CoLabs Western Cape, made an input regarding the Bill. Other CoLabs from around the country did not bother to come to Parliament though they are the main beneficiaries of the Bill. She suggested the other CoLabs should be invited to Parliament so that the Committee could understand if they still want to be funded by the government. She further indicated their role as MPs is to pass the Bill and interrogate people who are supposed to benefit from the Bill in order to allow the Committee to pass it.
The Chairperson stated that people had a right to respond or not to an invite. If they feel the Bill is not affecting them, then they are not going to respond to the Committee’s invite. When a Bill is controversial, submissions are aplenty. But if there is no controversy, few submissions should be expected. That could be the problem with the Bill under discussion. He reminded the Committee it is the House that made the final decision on the Bill and could bypass the decision of the Committee. He maintained that one word is enough to kickstart a very important process. For example, if there are elections and you go and vote alone, that means your vote counted against those who have not bothered to vote at all.
Mr C Mackenzie (DA) concurred with Ms Shinn. The absence of the CoLabs was a serious cause for concern, especially when you look at the millions of rands that were being spent on the public participation processes.
The Chairperson indicated the matter would be considered and deliberated in the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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