Rescheduled Oversight Visit to North West Province: update

Ad Hoc Committee on North West Intervention

09 October 2018
Chairperson: Mr C De Beer (ANC; Northern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

Documents handed out: Content Advisor Document

The Committee met to receive an update on the rescheduled Oversight Visit to the North West Province and to consider and adopt Draft minutes of 06 September 2018.

The Committee heard that an investigation had been instituted to find out the events that had led to the aborting of the planned oversight. The Committee decided that it would request a written report and briefing emanating from that investigation from the senior administrators from parliament appointed to assist it, in that regard.

The Committee considered the programme for the oversight and agreed to proceed with a few technical amendments relating to travel and support staff.

The minutes were not considered.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed Members and noted that they had been supplied with briefing packets for the upcoming oversight visit. He reminded the Committee to also bring along a report the Content Advisor had produced from the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) and the North West (NW) Provincial Government presentations and tabled to the Committee previously. He introduced new staff members to assist the Committee.
He noted the apologies and handed over to the staff to brief the Committee.

Mr T Motlashuping (ANC; North West) requested that the Committee be taken into confidence as to what had been unfolding regarding the aborted planned oversight visit to the North West the Ad hoc Committee was supposed to have taken earlier.

The Chairperson replied that Adv Modibedi Phindela would be better able to explain the events that had taken place on the evening of the 12 September 2018 and the chairperson had directed that staff get a hold of him to come and do just that. There had been a total lack of coordination and administration regarding the planned oversight. He had followed up with an engagement with senior administrators of Parliament in that regard and had found out that warrants had only been issued at about 16:30 of the afternoon of 12 September 2018 for the Committees travel to the NW as without said warrants tickets would not have been issued.

Ms T Wana (ANC; Eastern Cape) requested that the Committee request a written report on the events pertaining to the collapse of that planned travel from Adv Phindela seeing that he was not there in person to report. That would also assist the Committee with keeping files.

The Chairperson replied that from his engagements he had not seen a draft report to regarding why the previously planned oversight had been aborted and remained in wait.

Mr S Mohai (ANC; Free State) said that he had engaged the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to brief her on the collapse of the scheduled travel arrangements and negative exposure of Parliamentarians who had honoured the scheduled arrangements by being at designated airports.  With the Chairperson they had agreed to request the Secretary of the NCOP to institute an investigation into what had happened and from that communication the NCOP had travelled to Gauteng province.  Certainly he agreed with the process that the Chairperson had proposed if he had met with senior administrators as the fall out had not only been in the NCOP but with the NW province and stakeholders that had been awaiting the Committee as had been previously planned.

Mr M Monakedi (ANC; Limpopo) noted that failing a written report submitted to the Chairperson and speculating that had Adv Phindela been present; he would have submitted an oral report, he agreed with Ms Wana’s earlier proposal that Adv Phindela submit a written report on the events surrounding the collapse of the oversight to the NW. That would allow the Committee to engage Adv Phindela in person at a later meeting.

Ms L Zwane (ANC; KwaZulu-Natal) concurred with the proposal from Mr Monakedi noting that the directive to Adv Phindela to produce and submit said report to the Chairperson would have to have a deadline.

The Committee agreed that it would await Adv Phindela‘s report.

The Chairperson requested Advocate Mongana Tau, Unit Manager, Parliament, to lead the Committee into his briefing paper. Before he handed over he asked whether every person required to report and assist the Committee as appointed by Parliament was present at the briefing.

Adv Tau replied that the invitation had been extended to all those appointed and relevant units.

The Chairperson interjected that the fact that there were absent staff members without any known reason spoke to the issue of discipline and he was requesting that Parliament had to intervene as it was unacceptable for support staff to stay away from meetings without reasons. 

Update on the Committee’s rescheduled Oversight Visit to the North West Province
Adv Tau informed the Committee that travel, logistic and ground support had been concluded for the Committee and support staff.

Ms Wana said that Mango Airline did not have a route travelling to the Eastern Cape Province.

The Chairperson said that the support staff were noting the concern of Members.

Adv Tau said that the Chairperson had advised the support staff to source venues that could support a crowd size of about 350 people. He had been assured by ground support that the Klerksdorp Auditorium, although made to accommodate more than 350 people, could be adjusted to carry that number and below.

The chairperson asked Adv. Tau to take the Committee through the programme instead of the logistics update report.

Adv Tau replied that his plan was to give an overview of the logistics before moving onto the programme.

The Chairperson asked whether the Committee whether it was satisfied with the flight plan and bookings.

The Committee was satisfied with the exception of Ms Wana’s concerns.

Adv Tau continued elaborating on the logistics, specifically the halls the Committee would use when engaging stakeholders.

The Chairperson asked whether the two venues had been confirmed for use by the Committee.

Adv Tau replied in the affirmative.
He also noted that:

  • Audio and sound equipment would be procured before the Committee travelled to NW.
  • About 150 people would be transported to Mafikeng and Klerksdorp.

The Chairperson recalled that he had ruled that seven days before departure, flight tickets had to be disbursed to Members; and that ruling remained in force.

Adv Tau said sites had been identified for both groups that would be attending the oversight, the administrators had also provided profiles for both of the sites for the Committee and the programme outline had been provided to members.

The Chairperson noted that the programme had first been circulated to a few members making up the subcommittee and the draft the Committee had before it had been approved by that subcommittee. He requested input from the Committee on the draft programme.

Ms Wana said it would assist the Committee to limit the number of stakeholders and noted that said stakeholders had not been specified in the draft programme. She wanted to know who the stakeholders were.
Ms Zwane said on the second day of the oversight the Committee would not have any briefing at a particular venue but would go to the sites and the briefings would be on site.

The Chairperson recalled that the Committee had asked and been responded to by the IMTT on what to engage on; during community engagements in the NW. All briefings would be at the identified sites.

Adv Tau said the ground support in the NW had been given a briefing document on why the Ad hoc Committee would be visiting the NW; that support had been reaching out to communities to publicise the oversight through radio and print-media where possible. To that extent no specific stakeholder had been invited except those that appeared in the draft programme and everyone else that wanted to engage the Committee had been invited to make representations as groups.

Ms Wana said she had no issue with the outline but was suggesting that the briefings be better structured than had currently been outlined in the programme. She had expected an ordered list of stakeholders such as trade unions and business chambers and not an open-ended platform as that had potential risks.

The Chairperson requested that staff send the invites to specific stakeholders as suggested by Ms Wana.

Adv Tau replied that had been noted.

Mr Motlashuping said his experience was that the Committee had to be mindful of inviting stakeholders and not giving them a platform to address the Committee. With large groups of stakeholders which had to be limited in the time allocated to engage the committee; the potential repeat situation the NCOP had had during provincial week in Gauteng, where members had to be rescued from stakeholders was very real and apparent. He pleaded for better management of the public participation aspect of the oversight.

The Chairperson said stakeholders were expected to submit written submissions as well as was the norm with ‘taking Parliament to the People’. He requested that the staff note that and he would be having another Management Committee (MANCO) meeting with staff on the issues emanating from the current meeting.

Mr Monakedi asked for clarity as to whether Adv Tau had said that no invites had been sent to particular stakeholders to date.

Adv Tau replied in the affirmative that the only invited stakeholders were those contained in the programme. Anyone else would have hear about the oversight through radio and print-media in the NW. Ground support had also indicated that it would alert Parliament about more stakeholders with interest as community mobilisation activities were expected to supplement the stakeholders list already contained in the programme.

The Chairperson said he expected that ground support feedback; about enlarging the list or not of envisaged stakeholders by Thursday morning at the latest.

Adv Tau said technically the two groups had been allocated one researcher, content advisor, communications person, committee assistant and a language practitioner for Setswana interpretation. Because of the limited number of interpreters, the support staff was negotiating with the NW legislature and administrators to supply two more interpreters to the Committee as the language services in Parliament had suggested that the Committee take four interpreters instead of two to the oversight.

The Chairperson ruled that by Wednesday the issue of the additional two interpreters from NW had to be finalised by Wednesday.

Adv Tau said the briefing package also contained the proposed outline of the deliberations and planned events of the Committee to ensure that by 23 October 2018 the final draft report of the oversight would have been circulated to the Committee so that it could consider that report by 25 October 2018. The Committee section management had agreed that support staff would have to submit daily summaries of the unfolding events during the oversight so that by the last day of the oversight the draft report of the oversight visit could have been compiled

Mr Motlashuping said when the public participation process of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) and ‘taking Parliament to the People’ were unfolding recently; there were staff members of Parliament the Committee members had not even known about. He was glad about the role and duty allocations for the support staff but was concerned that the programme had not touched on the security and safety aspect of the oversight. There was the South African Police Services (SAPS) as well as Parliamentary security services in Parliament; and all had travelled recently with Committees during oversight without clear role allocations; he was requesting that in the NW all had to be allocated clear roles.

Adv Tau said that roles would be clarified as he proceeded with outlining the programme.

Mr Mohai interjected that step by step explanation of each individual item useful as it would be had to be avoided where necessary. He pleaded that the presentation deals with pertinent issues only.

Adv Tau said that Parliament had also allocated one individual for each of the two groups to assist with media coverage of the oversight tour through the parliamentary website as well as assist with other media outlet press inquiries. 

The Chairperson interjected that Adv Tau had to move onto the programme and leave the logistical arrangements.

Adv Tau continued with his briefing.

The Chairperson repeated that Adv Tau had to elaborate on the programme.

Mr Mohai said although he sympathised with Adv Tau regarding the previous failure of the Committee to depart to the NW he maintained that the Committee could not be required to discuss logistical arrangements at such length.

Mr Monakedi noted that the description and reason why the Committee would be in NW read as if the Committee had already determined the outcome of the oversight and he was cautioning that the language be revised to not read that the intervention had already been determined to be necessary.

The Chairperson said that the instruction and language of the programme came from the briefing document of the IMTT hence his earlier insistence that the Committee members had to bring along their IMTT report to the oversight as it was the guideline for the need for the intervention.  Alternatively sections 100 (2) (a), (b) and (c) could be referenced to outline the mandate and need for the intervention.  

Adv Tau elaborated on the travel arrangements.

Mr M Chetty (DA; KwaZulu-Natal) said that Mondays were constituency days across political parties. It would be wasteful to use the entire day for travel; he pleaded that the programme be revised so that arrival be for Tuesday so that Members could do their constituency work on Monday.

The Chairperson replied that the bookings unfortunately also covered availability of flights which spoke to travelling on the Monday.

Ms Wana said that Mr Chetty’s concern was beyond the ambit of the planning for the oversight and he could address it with his political party directly because the oversight was not a regular occurrence as it was widely known.

The Chairperson said the planning had tried to accommodate everyone. He requested Adv Tau to proceed with his briefing.

Mr M Khawula (IFP: KwaZulu Natal) suggested that the Committee be allowed to engage on the programme if Adv Tau was presenting on the documents before the Committee.

The Chairperson allowed the Committee to discuss the programme.

Mr Khawula asked how the sites to visit were chosen and how would assist him clarify whether the institution of section 100 of the constitution had been necessary in the NW.

The Chairperson replied that the sites had been identified through the work of the IMTT and its presentation to the Committee in particular.

Mr Motlashuping said that issues raised in the IMTT report certainly would not have covered everything, and his belief was that deeper challenges were what the oversight would assist to uncover. Because that IMTT report had been on specific projects and trade union related matters it felt as if the Ad hoc Committee would be doing ordinary oversight as select Committees were apt to do. 

Mr Monakedi said indeed the projects alluded to had been identified to be having special challenges but the oversight would not only be about verifying the report of the IMTT but the Committee would also be engaging communities to get direct inputs.

Ms Zwane said because the earlier oversight had been aborted it worried her that the Committee wanted to change on agreed sites to visit, seeing that there were new questions being raised about why the particular sites during the meeting.

Ms Wana said the question from Mr Khawula was relevant when the Committee was on the ground and after its briefing from ground support only then could it be compared with the IMTT report. She proposed that the Committee proceed.

Mr Monakedi said there was nothing amiss with Members wanting clarity and unity of purpose.

Mr Khawula said that it seemed that the assumption was that his question was driven by a hidden agenda when he simply had required clarity. His position was to understand whether structured and formalised groups like trade unions would be allowed to address the Committee during the oversight.

Ms Zwane asked whether trade unions did not form part of the stakeholders the Committee normally engaged on oversights.

Adv Tau replied that organised labour had been invited as per the plan.

The Chairperson noted Mr Mohai submitted apology excusing himself from the oversight. He then adjourned the meeting.


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