The Committee held a briefing on the National Public Health Institute Bill. Members requested that the function of the NAPHISA Bill be extended to state that the Bill must support the monitoring of communities that are at risk of being exposed to environmental health hazards. Members also requested that the Bill should provide support to provinces and local authorities with regard to responses to injuries sustained, surveillance and outbreaks of disease. The above mention requests were fulfilled via amendments to Section 3 (1) b and Clause 3 (1) g.
The following clause was added with regard to the composition NAPHISA Board because there was concern about a lack of representation: ‘The Board consists of the following members appointed by the Minister taking into account among other things the appropriate representation of race, gender and disability’. Clause 8 was amended to deal with the disqualification of board members: ‘a member of the Board must vacate her or his office if she or he had a new deal in place and had without the leave of the Board been absent from 2 consecutive meetings of the Board within a financial year’
The Committee considered and adopted the Amendment Bill.
The Committee considered and adopted its Legacy Report. The wording of Section 4 was changed to read, “the following piece of legislation was referred to the Committee”. This change was effected to cover the fact that the EFF and COPE were part of this Committee yet absent from this meeting. It was noted that the next Parliamentary Committee had to be informed about the TB issue and the points that had been made by the Public Commissioner on the Public Health Facility. Members were concerned about how petitions were dealt with and inserted “the Committee could not deal with the petition because it was busy dealing with legislation”, to sort out the matter.
The Legacy Report was adopted.
The Committee adopted the Report on the Recommendations of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change.
The Committee adopted minutes of 6 June 2018, 13 February 2019, 27 February 2019, and 6 March 2019.
Members thanked and said farewell to each other.
The Chairperson said that the agenda for the day was to deal with the National Public Health Institute Bill.
Briefing on the National Public Health Institute Bill of South Africa (NAPHISA)
An Official from the National Department of Health (NDoH) took the Committee through the amendments.
A Member from KwaZulu Natal (KZN) expressed concern that the phrase ‘environmental health’ had not been included in the Bill. An amendment to this effect was made to the function of the NAPHISA Bill in Section 3 (1) b. A phrase effecting this amendment was now included in the Bill. Similarly it was included in Clauses 3 (1) g, h, m, u, w, x, x (I) x (vii), and x (xi).
One of the Members from KZN requested that the function of the NAPHISA Bill be extended to state that the Bill must support the monitoring of communities that are at risk of being exposed to environmental health hazards. This request by the Select Committee was fulfilled via an amendment to Section 3(1) (y).
A Member from the Select Committee in the Western Cape suggested and accepted that the Bill should provide support to provinces and local authorities with regard to responses to injuries sustained, surveillance and outbreaks of disease.
Amendment No. 9 was a technical amendment related to grammar.
A Member from the Select Committee in KZN suggested that Clause 3(3) (z) be added which stated that ‘NAPHISA may provide training and technical information on health issues to help related community organisations and non-profit organisations’.
The amendment to Clause 5 dealt with the composition of the NAPHISA Board. The Committee was concerned about the lack of provincial representation. The Committee then found a way with the Department to include provincial representation. The new clause was as follows: ‘The Board consists of the following members appointed by the Minister taking into account among other things the appropriate representation of race, gender and disability’. The b part will now be ‘3 members representing a cluster of 3 provinces that must be prescribed based on demographics and burden of disease who must be nominated on a rotational bases by the respective provinces in the prescribed manner’.
The rest of the amendments dealt with the re-numbering and addition of clauses to accommodate the insertion of new clauses.
The amendment to Clause 8 dealt with the disqualification of board members. The new clause read ‘a member of the Board must vacate her or his office if she or he had a new deal in place and had without the leave of the Board been absent from 2 consecutive meetings of the Board within a financial year’.
The Member from the Department concluded her presentation and thanked the Chairperson.
Consideration and Adoption of the Amendment Bill
The Chairperson invited comments on the Bill from Members. In the absence of any comments, the Chairperson asked for a mover.
Mr A Mahlalela (ANC) proposed that the Committee accept the Amendment Bill.
Mr P Maesela (ANC) seconded the proposal.
The Chairperson then called upon Ms E Wilson (DA) to contribute to the discussion.
Ms Wilson said that it was the norm for the DA not to make comments until it has been discussed with the Board.
The Chairperson announced that the Amendment Bill had been adopted. The Chairperson thanked the Department for their patience.
Consideration and adoption of the Legacy Report
The Chairperson moved to the next item of the day’s agenda which was the consideration of the Committee’s Legacy Report on its activities undertaken during the 5th Parliament dated from May 2014 to March 2019. The Chairperson went through each page with Members and asked for comments.
Mr Mahlalela remarked on the wording of Section 4 on page 16, which read, “the following piece of legislation was referred to the Committee”. He thought it was incorrect as the Committee consisted of Members from the EFF and COPE as well and they were absent from this meeting. He suggested that either the Committee rework the sentence or the EFF and the COPE should be included.
Mr Maesela commented that in reference to page 26, the oversight visit to the Free State Province took place twice and it should be reflected in the report.
Ms R Adams (ANC) reminded Mr Maesela that the report for the first oversight visit was on page 20 and the second oversight visit was on page 26.
Mr Mahlalela commented that the next Parliamentary Committee needed to be informed about the TB issue.
Mr Mahlalela commented on the meeting with the SANC (South African Nursing Council). He remarked that with the Joint Committee, the issue of handling the SANC was different from how it had been handled in previous years. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of the points that the Public Commissioner had made on the public health facility, and added that the next Parliamentary Committee ought to be made aware of these points.
Mr T Nkonzo (ANC) asked that the point about the TB Caucus be emphasised.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mahlalela’s point that TB is what the Department is overseeing.
The Chairperson commented on the point about the Joint Committee between the NCOP and the NA (National Assembly), and felt that it was a matter of duplication. She raised the issue of when a Bill is not tabled in a Committee and asked if this should be reflected in the Legacy Report.
Mr Mahlalela said that it was not about what the Committee had done with a Bill, what mattered was that a Bill was with the Committee in terms of a Parliamentary process. In addition, the Committee might not be able to deal with a Bill due to Parliamentary processes.
Mr Mahlalela remarked on the issue of petitions. He said that there were petitions that were attached to the Committee that had never been brought to the Committee’s attention. A petition was brought forward last year. He asked whose responsibility it was to bring those petitions to the attention of the Committee.
The Committee Secretary answered that there was a committee to deal with petitions in Parliament and she was only aware of it now.
Mr Mahlalela responded that the explanation from the Committee Secretary would hardly suffice.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee delete the sentence and insert the sentence “the Committee could not deal with the petition because it was busy dealing with legislation”.
The Chairperson asked for further comments from Members.
The Chairperson concluded the Legacy Report and said that the Legacy Report could help the in-coming Committee to get to know the situation of the previous Committee.
Mr Adam moved for the adoption of the Report.
Mr W Maphanga (ANC) seconded and the Legacy Report was adopted.
Report on the Recommendations of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change.
The Committee made a page-by-page review of the Report. The Report on the Recommendations of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change was adopted.
Mr Mahlalela discussed the issue of the independence of the Ombudsman in ensuring the independence of the entity. He said that the Ombudsman should be appointed by the Parliamentary Committee and not by a Cabinet Minister. He stressed that it had nothing to do with the International Convention either.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Mahlalela, agreed that it was indeed an important and profound input, and reiterated Chapter 9 of the Constitution that protected the independent role of Members in the Portfolio Committee.
Mr Adams and Mr Nkonzo adopted the point of correction made by Mr Mahlalela.
Consideration and adoption of minutes
The Chairperson directed the Committee to move to the consideration and the adoption of the four sets of minutes. These minutes were 13 February 2019, 27 February 2019, 6 March 2019 and 6 June 2018.
Minutes 6 June 2018
Mr Maphanga said that his initials needed correction on the register sheet of the minutes.
Ms Adams said that her initials ‘RC’ needed to be inserted on page 2.
Minutes of the 6 June 2018 were adopted with amendments.
Minutes of the 13 February 2019 were adopted.
Minutes of the 27 February 2019 were adopted.
Minutes of the 6 March 2019 were adopted.
The Chairperson invited Members of the Committee to make their farewell bids.
Ms Wilson thanked the Committee and said that she appreciated the time that they had spent working together. Despite the difference between the DA and other political parties on many issues, the ultimate goal of Members was the same, to ensure that the country had a proper healthcare system for every South African. She expressed her great appreciation to the Support Staff, the Researchers, Secretaries and other assistants because in spite of all the challenges at work such as organising Members’ trip to Cuba, they had always pulled through.
Mr Mahlalela extended the gratitude from the ANC to the Parliamentary staff for their excellent work conduct and performance.
Ms James thanked the Members and expressed her gratitude to the Support Staff.
The Chairperson thanked Members for making their farewell bids and said that although they came from different political parties, the goal that they worked towards was the same. She said that she had also learnt a lot from Members. Although there were dramas in the House that was broadcast on television, this was not the case in this Committee. She thanked the Parliamentary Supporting Staff, and commented that she had been called names, been given directives and there were moments when she had lost her cool, but it had all been for the greater good and had helped her fulfil her responsibilities. Finally she thanked her political party and expressed her appreciation of their trust in her to have let her led this Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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