The Committee considered and adopted its Draft Committee Programme for the first term as amended. Outstanding Committee minutes were also adopted. The Chairperson informed the Committee that to his knowledge there were two pieces of legislation that was outstanding for the Committee to deal with. These were the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill technical amendments and the National Gambling Amendment Bill. If there were any other pieces of legislation that were outstanding the Committee would deal with those as well.
The Committee also briefly engaged in discussion on the Committee’s Legacy Report from its predecessor. The Chairperson urged Members to not only work through the Legacy Report but also to identify matters from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 as well as other policies. Even the Nine Point Plan, if still relevant, previous Committee briefings, reports on oversight visits and international trips should all be taken on board with the aim of having a consolidated framework document that could guide the Committee’s strategy ahead.
Members urged departments to tailor their briefings to the Committee to the specific needs of provinces. The point of such briefings was for departments to elaborate on how they spent their budgets in provinces and even in municipalities. Briefings should also focus on policy initiatives and strategies whilst also speaking to matters raised and recommendations made by Members during oversight visits.
Consideration and adoption of Draft Committee Programme: First Term
The Chairperson pointed out that the Draft Programme started with the present meeting and ran up until the end of July 2019. Due to technicalities, some items on the Draft Programme would have to be shifted around. The Draft Programme mostly focussed on Annual Performance Plans (APPs) of the relevant departments which were the basis for Budget Vote Debates. Only 17 departments would be part of Budget Vote Debates. For the Committee, the Departments that would be part of the Budget Vote Debates were Small Business Development, Economic Development and Employment & Labour. Post July 2019, the Committee would be dealing with the other departments that were not part of Budget Vote Debates. He proceeded to take the Committee through specific items on the Draft Programme.
Mr E Landsman (ANC, North West) stated that he may not make some of the scheduled meetings as he had clashes with other Committees and would be abroad for a while as well.
The Chairperson responded that it was for this very reason that there were Alternate Members deployed to Committees in the event that a permanent Member was unable to attend.
The Committee agreed to the adoption of the Draft Programme as amended.
Adoption of outstanding minutes
The Committee adopted its minutes dated 26 June 2019.
Outstanding pieces of legislation
The Chairperson brought it to the Committee’s attention that during the Fifth Parliament there were pieces of legislation that were adopted by the National Assembly (NA) but was yet to be adopted by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). These pieces of legislation would have to be revived. Amongst these were the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill technical amendments and National Gambling Amendment Bill. With the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill technical amendments, the NCOP, during the Fifth Parliament, had simply run out of time to consider the amendments. On the National Gambling Amendment Bill, the Committee had in 2018 received final mandates on the Bill from the provinces. Unfortunately a stalemate was reached as three provinces each were against and for the Bill with one province abstaining. However, after the Committee met, two provinces submitted their voting mandates but no recommendations were made to the plenary whether to adopt or reject the Bill. Hence the Bill would have to be revived. Legal advice obtained by the present Committee was that the process on the Bill would have to start afresh. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would firstly have to brief the Committee on the Bill. Thereafter Members would have to brief their respective provincial legislatures. Provinces would then hold public hearings. Once those were complete then provinces would submit negotiating and final mandates on the Bill to the Committee. Thus far the aforementioned were the outstanding pieces of legislation that the Committee was aware of. Any others would be considered as well.
Discussion on Committee Legacy Report
The Chairperson stated that there was a Legacy Report of the Committee’s predecessor which Members needed to consider and look at. He suggested that Committee Staff provide the Legacy Report to Members. He noted that in management committee meetings there were discussions held around annual committee strategic workshops which could run for two to three days. Members would be divided into commissions based on the Committee they belonged to. He felt it important for Members to work through the Legacy Report, the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 as well as through other policies. The intention was for the Committee, before its strategy meeting, to have a framework document which consolidated all of the aforementioned. If the Nine Point Plan was still relevant it should also be included. Other matters to be included were briefings, oversight visits and international trips etc.
Mr J Londt (DA, Western Cape) was concerned and frustrated that during the Fifth Parliament, when departments came to brief the Committee, they would use the same briefing document that had been used to brief the Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) was not just a tick box or rubberstamp. Briefings had to be tailored to the specific needs of provinces. Further, given the huge amounts of departments that the Committee was doing oversight over, there needed to be a fair spread and representation of departments that appeared before the Committee. In the past some departments appeared much more than others before the Committee.
The Chairperson stated the relevant departments for the Committee were Trade and Industry, Employment & Labour, Tourism and Small Business Development. The Department of Economic Development would be absorbed into the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The Committee would also be focussing on the entities of departments. During July 2019, the Committee would be meeting with all aforementioned departments. The idea was for departments to elaborate on how they spent their budgets in provinces and even in municipalities. The role of departments in the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of municipalities should be covered in the framework document. He suggested the framework document be circulated to Members in order for Members to make proposals.
Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng) felt the Committee needed to harmonise its meetings with that of the Select Committee on Transport. Having just perused the Legacy Report of the Committee’s predecessor, he was not sure whether risks had been adequately covered in it. He also pointed out that having been an Ambassador at one point in time, there was a tendency for delegations from SA going abroad not to co-ordinate visits with one another. Many a times delegations arrived from SA at the same location abroad without knowing other delegations were also there. There seemed to be a lack of communication.
The Chairperson responded that it was quite difficult practically to contact each and every delegation whether it was from local government, the NCOP or the NA.
Mr Landsman agreed with Mr Londt that briefings from departments should speak to how budgets in provinces addressed poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The Chairperson added that briefings should also focus on policy initiatives and strategies.
Ms B Mathevula (EFF, Limpopo) proposed that when departments appeared before the Committee they should bring along their entities.
The Chairperson responded that it was difficult to invite departments and their respective entities at the same time to the Committee. Committees rarely had the entire day for a meeting as there were often plenaries scheduled in the afternoons. Once the Committee had dealt with departments it would thereafter deal with their respective entities.
Mr M Mmoeimang (ANC, Northern Cape) suggested the Committee also look at the High Level Panel Recommendations Report around ways of accelerating inclusive economic growth. He felt that attention needed to be given to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) so as to encourage the creation of employment.
The Chairperson agreed the High Level Panel Recommendations Report spoke to matters relevant to the Committee. When Members had done oversight visits, recommendations were made and matters were raised. These should be covered when departments did briefings on their APPs and Annual Reports. There could not only be reliance on interactions with the Office of the Chairperson of the NCOP and the Executive.
Mr Landsman stated that the Committee needed to monitor crises and matters that arose.
The Chairperson agreed. He recalled the Ford Kuga matter that had made headlines. Departments should keep the Committee abreast of these types of matters.
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KwaZulu-Natal) said that the Committee needed to be more aggressive on these types of matters.
The meeting was adjourned
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