Election of Chairperson

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02 July 2019
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to elect a Chairperson. Two persons were nominated and after voting, Ms T Joemat-Petterssen (ANC) was elected Chairperson with the support of the ANC votes. The DA and FF+ voted for the DA candidate and the EFF abstained from voting.

The newly elected Chairperson addressed the Committee briefly on the importance of the Committee and identified those aspects in the President’s State of the Nation Address that related to the work of the Committee. The ANC, DA and FF+ committed their parties to working together to deal with the scourge of crime and gangsterism in the country and to ensure that corruption was rooted out.

The Chairperson announced that the Committee would meet each day that week to receive briefings from all sectors of the South African Police Service as well as the Civilian Secretariat for Police and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate as the National Assembly would debate Vote 23, Police, and Vote 20, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, on Thursday 11 July 2019.


Meeting report

The Committee Secretary welcomed everyone to the Portfolio Committee on Police. She introduced herself and the Committee staff and, for record purposes, requested that Members introduce themselves.

The Secretary stated that in accordance with Rule 158 of the National Assembly Rules, she was calling for nominations for the position of Chairperson.

Mr A Whitfield (DA) indicated that he wished to make a point before the Committee proceeded with the election of the Chairperson. He suggested that perhaps the Committee was owed an explanation as to why the programme circulated to Members contained the name of Ms Tina Joemat-Petterssen as Chairperson before the election of a Chairperson. He acknowledged that it might seem petty but it spoke to a pre-conceived outcome before an election in terms of the Rules. He asked that the Committee be given an explanation as to how that happened, and why it had happened and, thereafter, the Committee could proceed with the election.

The Secretary apologised for the error. She noted that it must have been an oversight on the part of the Committee staff. She added that the programme she had before her did not contain the name of a Chairperson.

The Secretary called for nominations.

Mr K Maphatsoe (ANC) nominated Ms T Joemat-Petterssen (ANC) to be Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee.

The Secretary asked Ms Joemat-Petterssen if she was prepared to accept the nomination.

Ms Joemat-Petterssen was humbled to accept the nomination.

Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) seconded the nomination.

The Secretary asked if there were any other nominations.

Mr Whitfield stated that, in the absence of a Rule precluding Members from nominating themselves, he, Andrew Whitfield, nominated himself as Committee Chairperson.

The Secretary assumed that he accepted the nomination and asked if there was a seconder for the nomination.

Mr O Terblanche (DA) seconded the nomination of Mr Whitfield.

The Secretary called for a vote by a show of hands.

Five ANC Members voted in favour of Ms Joemat-Petterssen. Two DA Members and one FF+ Member voted in favour of Mr Whitfield. The EFF abstained.

Having gained the majority of votes, Ms Joemat-Petterssen was duly declared elected as Chairperson of the Committee.

The Secretary asked Ms Joemat-Petterssen to take the seat of the Chairperson.

Address by the newly elected Chairperson
Addressing the Chief Whip of the Majority Party and Members of the Committee, the Chairperson thanked them for giving her the opportunity to address them and she thanked those that had voted for her. She humbly accepted the important Portfolio and recognised it placed a huge responsibility on all their shoulders. Addressing Members of the Opposition, she stated that she knew that they would work together as one team and that they all recognised the importance of the task that lay ahead.

The Chairperson outlined that President Ramaphosa stated in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), on 20 June 2019, that safety and the police was a priority. One of his five priorities was social cohesion and building safe communities. The President had concentrated on the realisation of the 2030 vision of the National Development Plan (NDP) stating that it was the last decade to attain the vision of the NDP.  He had highlighted his goals and the following matters related to the Police Portfolio: addressing violent crime, gender-based violence and femicide, having a committed strategy against drugs and gang-related crime, forging a new social compact and commuter and tourist safety. The Chairperson noted that with hard work, the Committee would be able to reduce the scourge of violent crime in communities and in the country.

The Chairperson asked the Secretary to speak to the Committee.

The Secretary reminded Members that the Committee would sit at 14:00 that day and the Committee would adopt the Committee Programme at that time. The venue would be E249 in the National Assembly building.

The Chairperson indicated that she would allow Members to make brief inputs, should they wish.

Mr Whitfield spoke on behalf of the Democratic Alliance (DA) stating that the DA had opposed her election but she had been elected and was now Chairperson of the Committee. As she had said, the responsibility they all carried and, in particular, the responsibility that rested on her shoulders, was the safety of their communities. The Committee has to uphold the commitments Members made as public representatives of South Africa to uphold the Constitution of the Republic and to make sure the Committee played its oversight role without fear or favour and got to the bottom of the scourge of crime in the country.

Mr Whitfield stated there were people at home looking to Parliament to make sure their children, themselves and their grandchildren could grow up in safe communities. The centre of the commitment in that Committee had to be to ensure the country had an honest and professional police service. The rot started from the inside. He believed the Committee had a fundamentally important role to play in ensuring it held the police accountable as well as the criminals out there who were collaborating with political syndicates in the country. The Committee should not rest until every stone had been turned over in pursuit of a safer South Africa for all citizens in the country.

He added that the responsibility lay with all Members but he stressed the importance of the Chairperson’s ability to lead the Committee to eradicate crime in the country.

Mr Maphatsoe congratulated the Chairperson on her election. Democracy had prevailed as Mr Whitfield had suggested. He hoped the Committee would prioritise crime. The police had already started to root out gangsterism in the communities. It was affecting everybody and he appealed that Members recognised that crime did not have a political affiliation but affected society as a whole. He wanted the Committee Members to work together and not to politicise the role of the police and for Members to play their role of oversight without fear or favour in holding the Executive accountable. The safety of the communities had to be prioritised. If Members worked together regardless of political affiliations, they could prioritise matters raised by the President and not allow gangsters to take over communities. They had to feel safe. The Committee should support the men and women in blue.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) agreed that democracy was democracy. Democracy was sometimes quite strange and that morning there had been the example of three lions and a lamb that had to vote for who they would have for lunch. He added that the result was the result.

Mr Groenewald wished the Chairperson well in her position. It was a very important position. He has been a Member of the Committee since 1994, and even earlier since 1989 when he had first become a Member of Parliament. In his experience, the Police Committee had not been used to score political points. He had heard what the Chairperson said and hoped the Committee could adhere to that commitment. The crisis of crime in South Africa was of such a nature that party politics had to be put aside to find the best solution to solve the problem. There had to be no illusion about the task that was on their shoulders to ensure there was accountability. As Members of Parliament who represented the people of SA, Members had an obligation to ensure there was accountability and they would have to ensure they did that to the best of their abilities.

Mr Groenewald assured the Chairperson that as far as the Freedom Front Plus was concerned, it would contribute to the Committee and those contributions would be in the best interest of all people in SA. He wished the Chairperson luck.

The Chairperson thanked Members for the congratulatory messages as well as their commitment to the work at hand. The Committee’s responsibility was to increase police visibility, employ more policemen and policewomen, create an active role for citizens, and improve the success rate in investigating and prosecuting crimes. The Committee was there to ensure professionalisation of the criminal justice system, and not the politicisation of the criminal justice system. A crime did not have a headline of colour, political party, gender, race or creed. South Africa was one country facing the same problem. Fortunately, all Members were in agreement that crime had to be reduced in the country. She was of the view that the Members would work well together. They did not have a choice.

The Chairperson announced that at 14:00, the Committee would hold the budget hearing briefing on the South African Police Service (SAPS) Programme 1 (Administration). On Wednesday, 3 July 2019, the Committee would have the budget hearing briefing for SAPS Programmes 2 and 3 (Visible Policing and Detective Services). On Thursday, 4 July 2019, from 9:00 to 17:00, and on Friday, 5 July 2019, the briefings would include the Priority Crimes Investigation Unit and the Civilian Secretariat for Police as well as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). The Committee would continue with its Budget Vote Report on Tuesday, 9 July 2019, and on Thursday, 11 July 2019, the House would debate Vote 23 and Vote 20: Police and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

The meeting was adjourned.



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