The Committee met to elect a new Co-Chairperson and to adopt the programme on the way forward. After a slight delay in order to constitute the required quorum, Members elected Mr S Maila (ANC) as the new Co-Chairperson.
Following a brief discussion, the Committee also adopted its programme for the period leading up to the end of its mandate, which would culminate in a final report to Parliament.
The discussion on the programme centred around the upcoming round of oral presentations scheduled for 25 and 26 October 2018. The question was whether or not to continue with an earlier decision to exclude from the process individuals who represented only themselves, in favour of those representing constituencies.
The argument in favour of continuity was that a decision had been made and the Committee should stick to it. The counterargument was that the decision had been taken under pressure and now that the pressure had eased, there was no need to continue with the decision. The latter view prevailed,
The PAC was removed from the list of people that will present as they were able to participate via their representation in Parliament and they had been engaged with previously.
Co-Chairperson Nzimande, welcomed members and tabled the agenda for consideration and adoption.
Members adopted the agenda by acclamation.
Co-Chairperson Nzimande announced that Mr V Ramaano, standing in for the Committee Secretary, was on hand to assist with the election of the Co-Chairperson (Acting).
Apologies were noted from three absent Members.
Having established that the Committee was temporarily unable to form a quorum for the election of the Co-Chairperson, the meeting deferred the issue for later. The meeting moved on to the next agenda item: adoption of the Committee’s programme.
Directing attention to the oral representations to be held before the Committee as part of its programme going forward, the Co-Chairperson invited Mr Ramaano to speak on the matter.
Mr Ramaano said according to the programme, 25 and 26 October 2018 were set aside for the hearing of oral presentations from 19 stakeholders. However, a few more names could still be added to this list as officials were still trying to get hold of those whose contact details were missing.
As a reminder, the Co-Chairperson said that 120 stakeholders had responded to the Committee’s advert on oral presentations. Out of those, 42 had since appeared before the Committee. The Committee then decided that at least half of the 78 left should be considered, but on condition that the stakeholders represented actual constituencies; that written submissions were substantial; and representatives were still available. The current list was the result of that pruning process. What remained for the Committee was to finalise the list in order that “political approvals can then be made”, the Co-Chairperson said.
Dr G Koornhof (ANC) said he seemed to remember that a previous decision had been taken that oral presentations would be afforded only to those representing a constituency, as opposed to individuals representing themselves. The current list however contained some individual names. Could the Co-Chairperson clarify this apparent contradiction?
In addition, Dr Koornhof asked: in light of the decision that political parties currently represented in Parliament would not be considered for oral presentations, why was the name of the PAC still on the list?
The Co-Chairperson agreed with Dr Koornhof that the PAC should be removed from the list. He also concurred with Dr Koornhof regarding the Committee’s position on constituencies versus individuals, and asked Mr Ramaano to confirm that the list indeed reflected the same. Mr Ramaano replied that it was difficult to say whether or not a “submitter” indeed represented a constituency. The submissions were e-mailed by people purporting to represent organisations, but it was hard to prove that this was the case.
Mr V Smith (ANC) was of the view that as it was, the list was quite manageable. He recalled that the decision to exclude individuals had been made under the pressure of time-frames, and given the fact that the Committee now had enough time, and a lighter load, the decision could be dispensed with.
Mr K Mpumlwana (ANC) asked for clarity regarding the inclusion of the FW De Klerk Foundation in the list. Had this organisation not appeared before the Committee already?
He was informed that the Foundation still had to make a presentation.
Mr M Mhlanga (ANC) opposed Mr Smith’s proposal that the list be left as it was. He argued that a decision had been taken and the Committee should stick to it. The Co-Chairperson proposed a compromise: since it was true that the number of oral presenters had “gone down drastically”, the Committee should accommodate individuals, but on condition that their submissions were judged to be “substantial”.
Mr Mpumlwana said if memory served him well, at previous public hearings held by the Committee, people had been given a maximum of three minutes to speak. However, he understood that in the envisaged round of oral presentations, people would be given up to ten minutes. He therefore did not understand how the PAC could not be allowed to participate under the new dispensation.
The Co-Chairperson reiterated that the PAC was no longer part of the list because it already had Parliamentary representation. To Mr Mpumlwana’s reply that the PAC was only represented in the Gauteng legislature and not in the National Assembly(NA), the Co-Chairperson countered that the party still retained its seat in the NA. In any case, he pointed out, the Committee had already given the PAC president an audience, as part of a concession to minority parties not represented in the Committee.
Mr Mhlanga wanted to know what criteria were used to decide whether an individual submission was substantial or not? By whom was that evaluation made?
The Co-Chairperson replied that of the original 120 stakeholders, the majority simply provided one line answers to the question of whether or not the Constitution should be amended. A more substantial response therefore was one which provided support arguments whether for amendment or the opposite. A large part of the work of evaluating submissions was done by the Committee staff, including the legal unit and content advisers, and in some cases the Chairpersons themselves.
Mr Koornhof said he wanted it put on record that in case Parliament should decline the budget for the payment of travel arrangements for those still to appear before the Committee, the Committee would “push on” regardless.
The Co-Chairperson proposed that members should wait and “cross that bridge when we get there”.
Mr Smith proposed that the programme be adopted. The Co-Chairperson, having noted him, urged Members to keep in mind the following:
- by the 15th of November 2018, the Committee would have considered and adopted the final report
- by at least the 16th of November 2018 the report would have been ATC’d
- the following week around the 25th, 26th, 27th or the 28th of November 2018 the two Houses might meet for a joint sitting to debate and adopt the report. Thus, there were “no extensions any more” to the programme and everything would be wrapped up by the end of November 2018.
Mr Smith moved for adoption of the programme and Mr Mhlanga seconded the motion.
Mr Smith called for a ten minute break before moving on to the next item on the agenda – the election of the second Chairperson.
The Co-Chairperson agreed.
Election of Second Co-Chairperson
The Co-Chairperson handed over to Mr Ramaano to conduct the election. Mr Smith nominated Mr Stanford Maila (ANC) as Co-Chairperson. Dr Koornhof seconded the nomination.
In the absence of further nominations, Mr Maila was declared the new Co-Chairperson of the Committee.
Mr Maila thanked members for showing confidence in him and made the observation that despite the absence of a second Chairperson, the process had gone smoothly and would continue in the same way.
The meeting was adjourned.
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