The Powers and Privileges Committee convened to elect its Chairperson and discuss the matters before the Committee. Mr P Mapulane (ANC) was nominated. There we no objections or further nominations.
Mr Mapulane accepted his nomination as Chairperson of the Powers and Privileges Committee.
The Chairperson briefly spoke to matters before the Committee.
Election of the Chairperson
Adv Victor Ngaleka, Procedural Advisor, National Assembly Table, informed Members that the main purpose of the meeting was to elect the Chairperson of the Committee in terms of the House rules. He noted that there were six Members present – this was a quorum so the meeting could continue.
The procedure of the election dictated that Adv Ngaleka would call for nominations and a seconder from the floor. He asked Members to introduce themselves when making a nomination for record purposes. If there is only one nomination, voting will not take place and the nominated Member will be declared the Chairperson. If there is more than one nomination, the names of the nominees will be put to a vote by a show of hands. The nominee with the majority number of votes will be declared the Chairperson. He asked Members if there were apologies - there were none.
Adv Ngaleka proceeded to call for nominations.
Mr D Stock (ANC) nominated Mr P Mapulane (ANC) as Chairperson of the Powers and Privileges Committee.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) seconded the nomination.
There were no further nominations or objections.
Mr Mapulane accepted the nomination and was duly elected Chairperson of the Powers and Privileges Committee.
Mr Mapulane thanked Members for their confidence in him. He hoped that Members would work as a Committee to achieve its objective as expected. This would help enforce the rules of the House and deal with the conduct of the Members in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Amendment Act. He stated that, unlike other Portfolio Committees, the Powers and Privileges Committee has a challenging responsibility of dealing with fellow Members and colleagues. He hoped that there will be no enquiries about Members of the Powers and Privileges Committee on their conduct. Therefore, Members of the Parliament who are elected by the people should do their best in fulfilling the expectations.
Matters before the Committee
Adv Ngaleka stated that there are two matters that have been referred to the Committee. One took place at the mini-plenary during the Budget Vote on Public Enterprises. It involves the disruption of Minister Gordhan.
The second matter is the incident that took place during the State of the Nation Address on 13 February 2020.
A number of documents and a video footage of the incident that took place in venue E249 on 16 July 2019 were given to Members to assist them in looking into the matters. He stated that a process of securing USBs loaded with the incident that occurred during the State of the Nation Address was underway, as the file was too big to fit onto a DVD - Members will be notified about its availability in due course.
The Chairperson asked Members and guests present to introduce themselves. He noted there was a strong representation from the National Assembly Table as well as lawyers. The matters that the Committee will be dealing with are challenging as they involve human rights.
Dr A Lotriet (DA) asked for clarification about a 2004 Bill that was included in the documents provided. An amendment was passed in 2019 but the status is not clear i.e. whether it has been promulgated or assented. She was of the belief that a clarification would help in the Committee proceedings. She hoped Adv Jenkins would help in clarifying the matter.
Adv Jenkins, Senior Parliamentary Legal Advisor, responded that the Bill was promulgated as there are no new regulations and/or budget to depend on. He endeavored to double check its current status for clarification purposes.
The Chairperson promised to have an accurate answer at the Committee’s next meeting regarding the Bill. He advised Members to go through the resources provided. He would have a meeting with the team that has been assigned to work with the Committee and will prepare a programme for the remaining term and bring it before Members for adoption as soon as possible. Some of the matters had been brought before the Committee at an earlier stage and need to be tackled as soon as possible. Justice delayed is justice denied. The House will criticise the Committee if it takes time to deal with matters brought forward.
Both matters involve Members of the EFF and he would like to assess the matters and seek advice on how to deal with them. He proposed that there should be an orientation for Committee Members with a legal adviser on the expectations, relevant documents, basis of the Powers and Privileges Act and the Rules of the House. Adv Jenkins was asked if he could be of assistance.
The Chairperson noted that Monday is constituency day and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Members are in other Committees. Members could ask to be excused as the amount of work to be done is unknown but was sure that when the Committee meets, he will have the knowledge.
The meeting was adjourned.
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