The Committee met with the Fireblade Aviation to follow up on its activities to formalise the operation of the private terminal at OR Tambo as directed by the court. During its oversight visit to the Fixed Base Office (FBO) terminal in August, the Committee had expressed concern that the operation had not been solidified with a signed agreement. The Committee indicated that the meeting was scheduled to hear Fireblade Aviation owners’ version of the events so that it can take an informed decision.
The Fireblade Aviation owners gave a statement on the events that led it to take DHA to court. It also detailed the process it had followed in getting approvals to have the terminal operational. The Oppenheimer family insisted they obtained all the necessary approvals to operate a FBO terminal at OR Tambo International Airport. It dismissed media claims that the FBO was the only privately owned international airport facility, that flights at FBO terminal were not controlled, and that the FBO catered only for the Oppenheimer family. Although the Fireblade Aviation owners had no written approval from the Minister of Home Affairs, it claimed that they had minutes of a meeting where Minister Malusi Gigaba had told Fireblade that he would approve the facility. The Fireblade Aviation owners said the written document prepared after the inputs of key stakeholder departments had been submitted to DHA but the Fireblade Aviation owners were still awaiting the signed written contract.
Black First Land First (BLF) members interrupted the engagement and made some claims against the Oppenheimer family. Some BLF members approached the Oppenheimers in an apparent attempt to assault them but Members intervened and security was called in to remove the BLF members.
Members asked about the status of the appeal lodged by the Minister of Home Affairs, operations at the FBO terminal, the agreement between Fireblade and the Minister of Home Affairs, and those involved in engagement on the FBO terminal design; if Fireblade had informed the community before it started the project; what the benefit of the FBO project was for citizens of South Africa and how much money Fireblade Aviation paid state officials for offering services at the FBO terminal monthly.
Members noted that Fireblade claimed that the appeal lodged by the Minister of Home Affairs was not to challenge the approval that Fireblade had received but was for the right to appeal. Since Fireblade was already in operation, the government resources used at the FBO had to be accounted for. They noted that for now Fireblade had a gentleman’s’ agreement with DHA. Fireblade was asked to supply the minutes of the meeting where the approval was given by the Minister of Home Affairs and also other supporting documents by Friday 3 November 2018.
Members expressed concern at the meagre monthly amount being paid by Fireblade for services offered by state officials and that the state currently offered this service to private airports at an undefined cost. It was proposed that the written agreement between Fireblade Aviation and DHA must delineate the financing of state departments offering services at the port of entry as required by the legislative framework governing entry and departure from South Africa.
The Committee resolved to call the Minister and DHA Senior Management to clarify why there was no written agreement between DHA and Fireblade since the court ruling in January 2018. It also resolved that DHA must clarify what the amount paid by Fireblade Aviation was for and how the amount was calculated.
The Chairperson condemned in the violent acts of protest by Black First Land First in the meeting. People had the right to express its views but did not have the right to threaten another person. It was noted this was not the first time that Black First Land First protested in a meeting in breach of protocol and Parliamentary Rules. In line with Parliament’s ethos of being a People’s Parliament, Committees are open to the public to observe the work done by their elected representatives. The Committee resolved that it will inform the Speaker with the aim of preventing a future reoccurrence.
The Committee approved the motion of desirability for the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill [B33-2018] and would ask the IEC to comment in writing on the Electoral Amendment Bill [B24-2018] tabled by Mr Waters.
The Chairperson welcomed the Fireblade Aviation team. He informed Fireblade Aviation that those that would engage with the Committee had to take an oath. He asked the board chairman, Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer, to identify the officials that would address the Committee.
Fireblade Aviation board chairman, Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer, identified the four that would address the Committee.
The Chairperson informed them that they would have to sign the oath forms.
Mr M Hoosen (DA) asked if there was a Department of Home Affairs (DHA) official present at the meeting.
The Committee secretariat confirmed that DHA officials were not present at the meeting.
The Chairperson recalled that the meeting was a follow up meeting after the Committee’s oversight visit at the Fixed Base Operation (FBO) of Fireblade Aviation owners at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport in August 2018. The Committee had engaged with Minister Malusi Gigaba and the DHA executive on the operations at the FBO of Fireblade Aviation. The Committee would invite DHA and the other departments that were involved to further engage. The purpose of the engagements is to interact with the directors of Fireblade Aviation to ascertain the status of the operations at Fireblade Aviation and how it operated at OR Tambo International Airport as a private aviation firm. He administered the oath to the four identified Fireblade Aviation team members according to Section 16 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament And Provincial Legislature Act.
The team from Fireblade Aviation swore to the oath and signed the oath forms.
The Chairperson said the Committee visited the FBO of Fireblade Aviation on 31 August 2018 to observe and understand its operations. This arose after DHA’s appeal was dismissed and a court order was given for Fireblade Aviation to proceed with operations at the FBO Terminal Hence the Committee would receive a presentation on Fireblade Aviation operations. The Committee has also interacted with Department of Health (DoH), DHA, Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, South African Revenue Services (SARS), Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and SAPS who are involved in activities at the port of entry at Fireblade Aviation. He said the Committee needed to clarify some operational matters with Fireblade Aviation after which it would send its recommendations to Parliament. After inspecting the submission presented by Fireblade Aviation, he informed them that in future all correspondence to the Committee had to be done on a letterhead and the executive authority had to sign such statements.
Fireblade Aviation board chairman statement
Fireblade Aviation board chairman, Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer, said he would be happy to sign the statement. In 2012, Fireblade Aviation proposed to invest in a world-class gateway into South Africa for non-scheduled aviation in domestic and international flights at OR Tambo International Airport. It entered into discussions with Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) and Denel and later signed a lease with Denel within the Denel complex at OR Tambo international Airport. It consulted with other key stakeholders and in September 2014 started domestic travel with an investment of R150 million. Fireblade Aviation knew it had to receive approvals from the state to provide customs and immigration services at the FBO terminal and also receive approvals from different government bodies before it commenced international flights. It went along with the specific requirements of all government bodies in its building designs and received 27 approvals from various government bodies between 2012 and 2015. The final approval from DHA was granted during a meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba in Pretoria on 28 January 2016.
After the meeting DHA failed to act on the approval and after multiple engagements with DHA and the Minister’s office, Fireblade Aviation resorted to the courts as a last option. Both the High and Supreme Courts found that the Minister of Home Affairs had granted permission to Fireblade Aviation to operate at the FBO terminal. The Minister of Home Affairs failed in his appeal at the Supreme Court and filed an appeal at the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the judgement. He did not challenge the finding that the Minister of Home Affairs granted approval to Fireblade Aviation. After the judgements, the first international flight passed through the Fireblade terminal on 12 February 2018 and since then 691 non-scheduled flights carrying 1401 passengers have passed through Fireblade terminal as at 30 October 2018. The comments by the media that Fireblade is the only privately owned international Airports facility are untrue. Other privately-owned airport facilities such as Lanseria and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airports offer international flight services and multiple bonded warehouses at South Africa’s international airports process goods carried on international flights. All the flights at Fireblade terminal are controlled by Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS), ACSA, DoT while customs and immigration services for international movements are provided by the state. Finally, its terminal is not for the use of only the Oppenheimer family. The terminal is available for any non-scheduled flight that received the necessary permissions from South African government and meet Fireblade’s operating criteria. Since it started operations only 5% of the 13 884 domestic flights and only 6% of the 691 international flights have been for the Oppenheimer family.
The Chairperson asked Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer to clarify if Fireblade Aviation had an agreement with DHA and other key stakeholders since it began operating in 2014 and to confirm the parties that were consulted in getting approval for its international operations. He asked him to elaborate on the statement that the Constitutional court found that the Minister of Home Affairs gave approval to Fireblade Aviation and the appeal was not on the approval given. The Minister of Home Affairs informed the Committee under oath that Fireblade Aviation would be appealing the decision of the Constitutional Court. Please share any document on the approvals with Members.
Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer replied that the FBO started operations with domestic travel and it had the same agreements and restrictions that were used by other private aviation companies. From 28 January 2016 Fireblade Aviation had thought it would begin international flight operations immediately. However this was delayed continuously until it went to the High Court. The High, Supreme and Constitutional Courts found that the Minister of Home Affairs had given approval for international flights. International flight operations had commenced on 12 February 2018.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer CEO Fireblade Aviation FBO said the standard operating procedures for flight operations for both domestic and international flights were set up by ATNS, ACSA and DoT, were agreed upon and had operated in 2015. Subsequent to the court order, the agreement was revised with the various government stakeholders and the second version contract agreement based on the verbal agreement has been submitted to DHA since 4 April 2018 but it has not been signed to date. Fireblade has been working with the government stakeholders based on the second version contract agreement after the court order.
Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer said the court papers and the 27 approvals were in the public domain.
The Chairperson asked Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer to submit the approval documents to the Committee to ensure that it confirms if all stakeholders signed the agreement.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer said all parties that were part of the negotiation gave verbal agreement and adopted the agreement but it was not signed in 2015. The second version of the draft was forwarded to DHA on 4 April 2018.
The Chairperson asked Fireblade to confirm the departments that gave the approval and the level of the officials involved.
Mr Robbie Irons, Director: Fireblade Aviation FBO, said the range of services covered were for domestic and international flights and it involved DHA, ACSA and Denel.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer said an agreement was signed between Fireblade Aviation and Denel SOC Ltd.
Mr Robbie Irons said ACSA requested Fireblade Aviation to engage with ATNS because it was the entity that controlled operations at OR Tambo Airport and also engaged with DoT.
The Chairperson asked Fireblade to confirm if it had the documents for the agreements.
Mr Robbie Irons said Fireblade Aviation had recordings of the 27 agreements.
The Chairperson noted that Fireblade claimed that the appeal lodged by the Minister of Home Affairs was not to challenge the approval that Fireblade Aviation had received but for the right to appeal. The Committee understands that Fireblade Aviation was already in operation but it had to account for government resources used at the FBO. It also noted that for now Fireblade Aviation had a gentleman’s’ agreement.
Disruption by Black First Land First (BLF) members
Mr Andile Mngxitama of Black First Land First interrupted the engagement and said the arrangements were made with the ANC and not the government. He claimed that Fireblade Aviation was lying, had captured ANC and also wanted to capture the Committee. He claimed that the Oppenheimer family was a criminal family. Some members of the BLF group approached the Oppenheimers in an apparent attempt to assault members of the family but Members intervened and security was called in to remove BLF members.
The Chairperson condemned in the strongest terms the violent acts of protest by Black First Land First in its meeting. He noted that the right to protest was enshrined in the Constitution and Parliament respects and endeavours to promote those rights. However, these rights have certain responsibilities attached to them that must be respected at all times. It is uncalled for any protester to threaten to harm anyone and disrupt the work of a committee. He remarked that people had the right to express their views but they did not have the right to harm another person in the process because it would become a criminal act if that happened.
Mr Hoosen said the Committee could not dismiss the incident as BLF had done the same before. BLF had behaved in an unconstitutional manner and the Committee would have to write a report to the Speaker.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Hoosen that the Committee had to speak with Parliament to ensure that groups did not express their views in an unconstitutional manner. This was not the first time that Black First Land First has protested in breach of protocols and Parliamentary Rules. In May 2017 a similar incident happened during a joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. In line with Parliament’s ethos of being a People’s Parliament, Committees are and will remain open to the public to observe the work done there by their elected representatives. The Committee would inform the Office of the Speaker of what transpired during the meeting, with the aim of preventing a future recurrence.
The Chairperson asked Fireblade Aviation to identify the logistics in place that allowed it to carry out its operations and clarify the level of engagements with the key stakeholders. He also asked Fireblade Aviation to elaborate on its engagements with Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee (BCOCC).
Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer said the Minister of Home Affairs appeal to the Constitutional court was right to hear his appeal.
The Chairperson noted that the Minister of Home Affairs had requested for the ‘right to appeal’ and had not appealed the court judgements.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer added that the Minister of Home Affairs had not denied that he gave the approval but had agreed.
The Chairperson said he would not allow Members to make comments on the court order.
Mr Hoosen said since the legal opinion the Committee had received was that there was no appeal lodged on the judgement then Members could engage Fireblade Aviation owners.
The Chairperson said the Committee had established that the FBO operations were being challenged although there was no appeal against Fireblade Aviation. The Committee therefore needs to establish if the right operating environment is available for the FBO to operate. The information the Committee heard was that the Minister of Home Affairs had appealed the court order. The engagements with Fireblade Aviation owners showed that the Minister of Home Affairs had only asked for a ‘right to appeal’ but the Constitutional Court could be delayed in its decision on the right to appeal by the Minister of Home Affairs.
Ms B Dambuza (ANC) noted that Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer said that Minister Malusi Gigaba granted approval during the meeting in Pretoria on 28 January 2016 but overturned the approval when he got back to the office and DHA did not to act on the approval given. She asked if Fireblade Aviation had the minutes of the meeting and asked that he submit them. She asked for the period of the lease agreement with Denel. Did the FBO use the services of staff from other departments apart from DHA for the R117 000 monthly charge?
Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) noted the matter came to the Committee after the court order was given. The Committee wants to hear the Fireblade Aviation owners’ version to allow it take a decision. She asked Fireblade to state when it started operations at the FBO. It invested R150 million into the venture and she asked why it would invest in a business that was not profitable based on the claim made in the statement. When the Minister of Home Affairs met with the Committee, he said he did not give approval. Please clarify why the Fireblade Aviation affidavit claims that he only changed his mind because the Gupta family wanted that business. The Minister of Finance said he would not embark on the FBO project because it was not budgeted for. Please clarify how this was resolved and how Fireblade Aviation was able to get that approval. Why does Fireblade Aviation want this particular project because other private aviation projects exist?
The Chairperson asked Fireblade to elaborate on security and how it involves other key stakeholders.
Mr M Kekana (ANC) asked Fireblade Aviation to state how South Africans would benefit from the FBP operations and asked for the time frame of the lease agreement with Denel. He asked at what level it had engaged with each Department.
The Chairperson remarked that the Committee needed to understand how the FBO handled security at the airport because specific officials dealt with security, not necessarily SAPS. It is important that it shares the level of officials involved with security at the FBO. As government services at the FBO need to be accounted for the Committee needs to confirm if DHA and other key stakeholder departments have the FBO services captured in the annual performance plans.
Mr D Gumede (ANC) asked the team to identify the owners of the other privately owned airport companies.
The Chairperson said Parliament would follow up on other privately owned airport companies but if the team had answers it could forward it to the Committee.
Ms T Kenye (ANC) asked what operations it had been carrying out from 2014 to 2018. She asked Fireblade to state what its agenda was if the FBO project was not a profitable venture.
Ms S Nkomo (IFP) expressed concern that the FBO project had no contract despite the Oppenheimer family being in business for a long time. The engagements on the FBO project with key stakeholders was not thorough. She asked what the community and the Oppenheimer family would benefit from the FBO project. Was the community informed of the project before it started because this would have led to avoiding protests against the FBO project. She asked if the Oppenheimer family owned shares in other private airport companies in the country and asked them to assure the Committee that questionable flights would not come to the country. Were they still operating within the laws and prescripts of the country?
The Chairperson agreed with Ms Nkomo that the FBO project engagements had not been done thoroughly hence the protests seen during the meeting. Also the Committee needs to be sure that all key stakeholders are rendering the services needed for smooth flight movements at the FBO terminal.
Mr Hoosen said that as much as South Africa needed to show its support for investments, Parliament would not want to see anyone who was wealthy or influential using influence or power as the Gupta family had done. He asked Fireblade Aviation to assure the Committee that the process of establishing the FBO was above board. He asked them to share the events at the 28 January 2016 meeting that had led Fireblade Aviation to believe that DHA gave its approval. He understood that Fireblade had signed a lease with Denel but Denel had reneged on the lease. He asked their opinion on why Denel had reneged on the lease.
Mr A Figlan (DA) asked what Fireblade Aviation would benefit from the FBO project as it had stated that it was not a profitable project. He asked them to state the benefit of the FBO project to the community. He asked the Fireblade Aviation owners to state their relationship with Minister Naledi Pandor and why Minister Malusi Gigaba was against the FBO project.
Ms D Raphuti (ANC) said her observations during the oversight visit was that the FBO was servicing only the Oppenheimer family and this could have influenced the protests by BLF during the meeting. What motivated the Oppenheimer family to seek to embark on the FBO project at OR Tambo Airport. She expressed concern that the Oppenheimer family had not benefitted citizens in Kimberley, Northern Cape as the family had not invested in road maintenance.
The Chairperson asked Members to be guided by the meeting agenda and the statement presented to the Committee by Fireblade Aviation owners.
Ms Kenye asked Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer to elaborate on the statement ‘after multiple engagements failed Fireblade Aviation owners had to resort to the courts’.
Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer recalled that the meeting of 28 January 2016 was friendly and cordial and the Minister of Home Affairs gave a verbal agreement and said he would forward the contract to Fireblade Aviation after some processes had been fulfilled at DHA. Mr Robbie Irons, a member of the team present at the meeting, discussed matters with Mr Jackie McKay from DHA. The minutes of the meeting were sent to DHA, which were acknowledged as received but there were no comments. During the meeting, the Minister of Home Affairs spoke about when President Jacob Zuma would open the FBO at OR Tambo International Airport. There were also further engagements with key stakeholders on formalising the agreements. The decision to go to court was because Denel reneged on the lease agreement. He had no idea why Denel reneged on the lease agreement but something must have happened.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer said before Fireblade Aviation started, he and his father had considered if the company would make money. The purpose of establishing the company was to provide a gateway to South Africa for tourists, businessmen and the public even though when the company started it was operating at a loss. After research by his father and himself in 2012, the Oppenheimer family found that Anglo American was pulling out of aviation and the engagements with Minister Naledi Pandor included adding the international flights market into the design of the FBO. The business model that was agreed upon included selling one million litres of fuel which could only come from international flights. At present only 300 000 litres of fuel is being sold. The lease was about 10 years initially, a further 10 years was added, and an investment of R150 million was made with a projected profit of about R15 million per year. Fireblade Aviation hoped to recoup its investment in a few years and then start making a profit. All engagements with DHA was that customs and immigrations would be involved almost immediately and the offices for port health, custom and immigration were part of the initial sign off. It was never intended that the FBO terminal would be for the use of the Oppenheimer family alone; it was meant for all South African citizens. Out of the domestic flights of 13 884 only 5% have been for the Oppenheimer family. Only 6% of 691 international flights have been for the Oppenheimer family. Although aviation is not a huge employer of labour, the FBO terminal has 52 citizens in its employ and two young pilots are in training.
Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer said Mr Manne Dipico was not just a BEEE partner but was a substantial director at Fireblade Aviation FBO.
Mr Manne Dipico, Director: Fireblade Aviation, explained how he got into business with the Oppenheimer family after his retirement and assured the Committee that he was a substantial director. He recalled that in 2012 the Fireblade Aviation owners met with the then Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and the then Director General, Mr Mkuseli Apleni. Fireblade also engaged with all key stakeholders. Several changes on the design of the FBO terminal for international flights were recommended by the key stakeholders such as Ebola scans. All the changes in operational requirements were accommodated by Fireblade at the FBO. When Denel reneged, Fireblade went back to engage with Minister Gigaba but when there was no resolution in sight Fireblade went to court. Objections were noticed when Denel had a change in leadership.
Mr Dipico claimed that Minister Malusi Gigaba lied under oath when he informed the Committee that he did not approve the agreement for the FBO operation. This was why Minister Gigaba did not appeal the court judgement. Fireblade Aviation agreed to pay salaries of officials that participated in the day to day operations at the FBO for three years, after the objection raised by National Treasury that its paying of salaries for officials was not part of the budget. He gave an instance where a company had attempted to fly a box via the FBO but when the scanner revealed suspect materials, the box was not allowed to go through the terminal. Fireblade reported this incident to the appropriate authority and it reports on all security aspects as well.
The Chairperson asked Mr Dipico to specify the name of the company involved.
Mr Manne Dipico replied it was a company belonging to the Gupta family.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer asked Mr Robbie Irons to answer the question on unscheduled flights.
The Chairperson asked Fireblade Aviation to confirm the amount it was paying for services, for what it was paying and for how long the agreement to pay was. He asked Fireblade if it had come across any legislative framework that gave rights to the role of DHA in its engagements. He asked to elaborate more on the box that was about to be taken out of the country through the FBO terminal.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer said the Oppenheimer family did not have an interest in the other private aviation companies. Fireblade Aviation pays a monthly fee of R117 000.
The Chairperson asked if this was part of the agreement.
Mr Robbie Irons replied that the engagements were with the Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee (BCOCC) which is responsible for flight transport in the country and it is now been taken over by the Border Management Authority (BMA).
The Chairperson said the amendment that would empower BMA to take over BCOCC was still with the NCOP and Parliament was still working on the amendments. The Committee wants to know the level of involvement that Fireblade Aviation had with BCOCC.
Mr Irons replied that Fireblade Aviation went through the agreements with BCOCC. Aviation is a highly regulated business and the assumption that certain flights take place at FBO without approval from aviation stakeholders is false. The final agreement drafted on 4 April 2018 is still in the DHA.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer said version 1 of the agreement was made during the meeting in 2015. The second version was submitted to DHA in April 2018.
The Chairperson asked them to state the people involved.
Mr Irons replied that it was the Minister, the DG Mr Mkuseli Apleni and the DDG Mr Jackie Mackay.
The Chairperson noted that from January 2018 to date there was no signed contract agreement between DHA and Fireblade Aviation. He asked the team to state the operations of the FBO.
Mr Irons listed the approvals that Fireblade Aviation had received.
The Chairperson asked the team to be very detailed when it meets with the Committee on any matter. The Committee would identify the documents that needed to be submitted at the end of the meeting.
Mr Irons said the initial engagements started in 2012.
The Chairperson asked the team to state how it dealt with operational services at the FBO terminal.
Mr Irons replied that Fireblade Aviation had agreements with ACSA, ATNS and DoT on its operational services and he described the highly regulated aviation process that was controlled by ATNS, ACSA and DoT. Key stakeholder departments were notified of flight plans and passenger manifest 24 hours before the flight landed or departed the country. The FBO officials were not present in the ‘sterile zone’ of the terminal during the operations only Department officials were present.
Ms Mkhaliphi expressed concern at what might happen if FBO did not inform officials about the flight plan and passenger manifest 24 hours before the flight landed or departed the country. The Committee had noted during its oversight visit that FBO was not within OR Tambo Airport but was 20-30 minutes’ drive from OR Tambo Airport. She asked if Fireblade Aviation had met with the new President and new Finance Minister on the new FBO developments. Fireblade in its brief claimed that the FBO is operating at a loss but it had not stated why it is still pushing to continue operations. No business entity would want to continue to operate at a loss. She asked the Oppenheimers if any of their companies were involved in tax avoidance or profit shifting. She asked for a demographic and gender breakdown of its 52 staff.
Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer replied that the company was not engaged in tax avoidance and he had not met the new President in his new capacity nor the new Minister of Finance. There would be no flight movements in or out of the country if FBO does not inform key Departmental officials.
Mr Hoosen noted the box was not taken out of the country through the FBO terminal and he asked why Fireblade Aviation allowed the box to taken out of the FBO terminal.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer replied that the box was for a domestic flight and the incident happened before FBO started international flights. FBO had not opened the box before the client took the box out of the premises.
Mr Nicholas Oppenheimer said the duty of FBO was to prevent the box from getting to landside transit because it was a domestic flight. The case would have been different if it was an international flight.
Mr Hoosen asked the team to state who the box belonged to.
Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer replied that the box was being moved by a Gupta family member to a Gupta family flight.
The Chairperson asked to which entities FBO reported the incident.
Mr Irons replied that it was reported to BCOCC and SAPS.
Ms Nkomo asked them to compare FBO terminal performance using international benchmarking. She asked how it had involved the community in the FBO project.
Ms Dambuza asked if the R117 000 monthly fee was for DHA only or all stakeholder departments.
The Chairperson asked who calculated the R117 000 monthly fee for the FBO terminal and to which department it was paid. He asked which stakeholders agreed to the infrastructure put in place at the FBO terminal. He noted that the Oppenheimer family had made an investment of R150 million for a specific period. The FBO terminal was not for the sole use of the Oppenheimer family as only 5% of the domestic flights since 2014 were for the Oppenheimer family.
Ms Raphuti asked how Fireblade envisaged creating job opportunities for youths at the FBO terminal. She asked the Oppenheimers to comment on the effects of their investments on Kimberley roads.
The Chairperson said Members could ask questions only that related to the FBO terminal.
Mr Dipico replied that Fireblade Aviation would answer questions that related to the FBO terminal only.
Ms Kenye asked if the engagements on FBO terminal involved the Ministers of Defence and State Security.
The Chairperson said BCOCC was the regulatory authority at the time in question. The Ministers of Defence and State Security had not assumed roles at that time.
Mr Hoosen asked if the Committee would have time to discuss the way forward
The Chairperson said the Committee would require the documents from Fireblade Aviation by Friday 3 November 2018. The rest of the documents are in the public domain. The Committee would engage with the Minister and DHA because the court order issued allows the FBO terminal to be operational but the signed contract is not yet available. The Minister and DHA would have to inform the Committee when it would sign the contract agreement. The Committee would not want to be seen as arguing with the court order what is needed is to see how the agreements would operate and the state official that provide services at the FBO are paid. The Committee has observed that it was not an agreement between the Oppenheimer family and DHA but a contract agreement between a private company and DHA that involved key stakeholders. The agreement has to be based on policy and legislation therefore the Committee has to engage with the BCOCC executive authority at DHA. Also the monthly cost of R117 000 is paid to DHA, Port Health, immigration and customs has to be accounted for by the Minister and DHA. The purpose of the meeting today was to follow-up with Fireblade after the Committee oversight visit. The Committee would need to confirm if agreements are available for the other private airports in the country and if the services rendered by state officials at the terminals of other private airports attract payment. He appreciated Fireblade Aviation's engagement with the Committee but mandated them to ensure that FBO operations became proper as backed up by a signed agreement.
Electoral Laws Amendment Bill and Private Member Bill: approval
The Chairperson invited Members to discuss the motion of desirability or non-desirability for the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill [B33-2018] and the Electoral Amendment Bill [B24-2018] tabled by Mr Waters (DA).
Mr Hoosen asked if copies of both Bills could be given to Members because when the Committee dealt with the Private Member Bill tabled by Mr Waters there were some questions that the Independent Electoral Committee (IEC) could not answer. Some of the proposals by Mr Waters in his Private Member Bill might not be possible to address. He wanted to get written responses from IEC on the possibility of the proposals as the recommendations would guide the Committee on a fair process. He agreed to the motion of desirability for the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill.
Mr Gumede agreed that the Private Member Bill tabled by Mr Waters still needed discussion. The Electoral Laws Amendment Bill was urgent because elections would come up next year. He also agreed to the motion of desirability for the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill.
Ms Nkomo said she would like to move to adopt the motion of desirability for both Bills because she understood the inputs made by Mr Waters but these inputs needed to be refined. The matters raised by Mr Waters are quite urgent as elections would happen within next year. For instance the Committee needs to debate how the votes were counted in Canada and what happened during the voting process within Africa.
The Chairperson said Mr Waters had made his claims. The Committee still needed to debate whether it agreed with the claims or not. Members need to adopt the motion of desirability on the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill but would need to engage with IEC on the amendments proposed by Mr Waters in his Private Member's Bill. Afterwards Members would deliberate on adopting the motion on desirability on the Private Member's Bill.
Mr Hoosen said the Committee needed to ask IEC to give the Committee a written response to the proposals in the Private Member's Bill.
The Committee approved the motion of desirability on the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill.
Ms Mkhaliphi noted that the Electoral Amendment Bill [B24-2018] was not listed on the DHA list of Bills.
The Chairperson said the Committee had requested that DHA submit a list of legislation but the document submitted was not legible. The Committee had to request a more legible document from DHA.
Mr Hoosen said DHA also needed to submit the cost of contingent liability on legislation to the Committee.
The Chairperson resolved that the Committee would condemn the submission of such a document, register its disappointment and mandate DHA to submit a more legible document. He noted that DHA officials had harassed some SADC dignitaries at OR Tambo airport. The Committee would inform the Speaker of its recommendations. He outlined the timetable of the Committee for the next week.
Mr Hoosen reminded the Chairperson that the motion of desirability on the Private Member's Bill had to be included next week.
The Chairperson informed the Committee secretary to include this in next week’s agenda.
The meeting was adjourned.