The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry met on a virtual platform for a briefing by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition on its investigation into corruption at the National Lottery Commission. Following this, the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) made a presentation on measures to strengthen its operation and on its involvement in Covid-19 relief.
The Department began with a disclaimer stating that because the Denzhe Primary Care forensic report had been handed to the South African Police Service, it had received legal advice not to distribute the report and to limit the amount of information made available publicly. An additional three cases were still under investigation for fraud and corruption. Funds involved in the four cases amounted to over R50 million in total.
The NLC explained that all pro-actively funded projects were independently adjudicated by a Quality Assurance committee who, together with all support staff that attended an adjudication session, had to declare their interest prior to the commencement of any adjudication. Applicants/beneficiaries had to declare any possible conflict when submitting their applications and ensure full disclosure by their service providers and contractors regarding any relationship they might have to the NLC. The Commission had also revamped the system for infrastructure development. Control of the funds rested with the engineers until full completion of the project. The beneficiary then received its allocation of funds for operating the project.
In response to media reports, the Board of the NLC had appointed independent forensic auditors to investigate the allegations but the report had not yet been handed over.
The sale of National Lottery tickets had been prohibited at retail stores during the Covid-19 lockdown. Ithuba had since revised its 2020/21 annual income projections and hence its contributions to the Commission down by 27% from R1.64 billion to R1.19 billion. The Commission had supported communities during the pandemic by giving R50 million to the Solidarity Fund, R10 million was spent on hygiene goods and food parcels and R150 million was allocated for relief to qualifying non-profit organisations.
A Member asked the Department for the case number, to which law enforcement authority the Denzhe case had been reported and on what date it had been reported.
Members had many questions for the Commission. Why had the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee received R500 000 over the past ten years? As that Committee was not responsible for the development of sport, what was the money for? In addition, the SA Sports Trust had received R128 million. What was that used for? The SA College Principals Organisation was a niche organisation but had received R62 million. What was that used for? The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association, the fourth biggest beneficiary over the past 10 years, had received R54 million, but had the Commission done a proper audit of the Association’s books?
A Member noted that R43 million had been given to three municipalities. Was it the duty of the Commission to provide funding for municipalities? What was the reason for giving funding to those municipalities? He also noted that a technical and commercial high school in North West had received R15 million in funding. Why had one school received R15 million and other schools only received between R100 000 and R200 000?
Members further asked: Did the Commission accept that it had broken the law by not providing details of beneficiaries and that it was wrong? Who sat on the Proactive Quality Assurance committee? Did the Commission have plans to fund infrastructure as part of the economic recovery? Why had R18 million of the Covid-19 relief funding had not been expended? Why had the beneficiary information provided to the Committee been taken from an Excel spreadsheet and was not an extraction from the pay system itself, as requested by the Committee to ensure the veracity of the data? Why had it taken the NLC so long to disperse Covid-19 funds when NLC had set itself a deadline of July 2020? Was it true that several Board members had received Covid-19 relief assistance? When was the CFO placed on suspension, how much had he earned while on suspension and when was he expected to return to work?
A Member asked the Chairperson of the Commission whether he did not think that he ought to resign in the light of the corruption on his watch. Another Member called on Minister Patel to fire the entire C-suite leadership as well as the board of the Commission.
The Chairperson greeted the Committee Members and everyone who was connected on the online platform.
The Secretary confirmed that the meeting was quorate. There were a few additional Members of Parliament on the platform.
Ms Y Yako (EFF) explained that she would be leaving early to attend the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services meeting. The EFF Alternate, Ms T Msane (EFF), would remain in the meeting.
The Chairperson noted that the agenda included briefings by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) and the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).
Briefing by dtic
Mr Lionel October, DG, DTIC, began his presentation with a disclaimer: Because the Denzhe Forensic Report had been handed to the law enforcement authorities, dtic had received legal advice not to distribute the report and that it should limit the amount of information that was made available to the public. Dtic should allow law enforcement to complete its investigation
He noted that it had been a long outstanding matter but Minister Patel’s investigation into Denzhe and the investigation had been completed.
The Chairperson asked the DG not to discuss matters that were under investigation as he did not want the Committee to get involved in the investigation at that stage.
Mr October presented the background and scope but could not go into any details regarding the investigation that had been ongoing since 2018. In 2020, the Minister had given the dtic the authority to investigate a number of matters. The forensic report had been completed in August 2020 and handed to the Minister who had accepted it and handed it to law enforcement.
Four NLC Proactive Funding Projects allegedly linked to the COO, his friends and relatives were in the public domain and therefore the DG was free to discuss the matter. The four projects and the amounts involved were: Zibsimazi R4.8 million; I am Made for God’s Glory R11 millions; Denzhe Primary Care R27.5 million and Life For Impact R10 106 800.
The case in respect of Denzhe was with the SAPS. Investigations in respect of the other three projects were still in progress. A Report inclusive of the remaining three projects was expected by 15 September 2020. The Department was waiting for the State Law Advisor to appoint a lawyer to represent the Department.
Briefing by the National Lotteries Commission
Prof Ntshengedzeni Alfred Nevhutanda, Chairperson, NLC, introduced the officials of the NLC who were on the platform: Commissioner, Ms Thabang Mampane, Ms Xolile Ntuli, Chief Financial Officer, Mr Tsietsi Maselwa, Acting Chief Operations Officer, Adv N Nene Acting Legal Executive, Mr Marubini Ramatsekisa, Projects Manager and Spokesperson, Mr Ndivhuho Mafela.
Prof Nevhutanda explained that the Ms Mampane, would lead the presentation. He added that attached to the presentation was a list of beneficiaries which was in addition to the one already supplied to the Committee.
Prof Nevhutanda explained the process of allocating funds and stressed that the board members were not full time members and did not have any role in the allocation of funding to beneficiaries. Any dissatisfaction could be reported to the board.
Commissioner Mampane introduced the presentation and shared the presenting thereof with her colleagues.
The NLC explained that all pro-actively funded projects were independently adjudicated by the Pro-Active Funding Quality Assurance Committee which comprised the three members of the Distributing Agency. All members of the Pro-Active Funding Quality Assurance Committee, together with all support staff that attend the adjudication session, had to declare their interest prior to the commencement of any adjudication. In addition, the NLC had initiated a process whereby applicants/beneficiaries declared any possible conflict when submitting their applications. The NLC would request beneficiaries to ensure full disclosure by their service providers and contractors regarding any relationship they might have to the NLC. The Commission had also revamped the system for infrastructure whereby control of the funds rested with the engineers until full completion and handover of the project, after which funds allocated for operational cost would be released to the beneficiary.
Impact of Covid-10 on NLC
Ms Ntuli explained that the NLC derived its funding from Lotto ticket sales but on 25 April 2020, the sale of National Lottery tickets was prohibited at retail stores as it was not an essential service. Historically, 71% of the National Lottery ticket sales were from sales at retail stores. The operator, Ithuba had since revised its annual 2020/21 projections, and contributions would be down by 27% from R1.64 billion to R1.19 billion as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 relief fund included:
-R50 million to the Solidarity Fund
-R10 million for hygiene goods, food parcels and cooked meals to assist the most vulnerable groups.
-R150 million for relief to qualifying NPO’s. This process was about to be completed.
Prof Nevhutanda said that in response to the media reports and as discussed at the previous meeting, the Board of the NLC had appointed independent forensic auditors to investigate the allegations. The company was about to finalise its investigations and a report would be presented to the board. The board would send the report to the shareholder with findings and actions that would have to be taken by the board. The lawyers advised that once the report was out, those implicated had to be charged and the board would find ways of taking action in terms of every finding. The report would be available very soon, but he did not have a specific date.
The Chairperson noted that all Members were present as well as other Members of Parliament and Ms Msane was an alternate Member for Ms Yako so he requested that all speakers restrict their input to three minutes. Depending on the time, the Committee might have time for follow-up questions and written responses might be required.
Mr M Cuthbert (DA) attempted to engage but owing to load shedding at his location, connectivity was extremely poor.
Ms J Hermans (ANC) thanked the DG and the NLC team for the reports. She appreciated the fact that the Department had followed the request of the Portfolio Committee to undertake a forensic investigation.
Ms Hermans stated that the ANC respected the rule of law and would fight corruption and malfeasance wherever it was found without fear or favour. The ANC abhorred the cheap politicking of the DA that had stated on social media that “ANC members of the Portfolio Committee have tried to stifle the work of Parliament by defending the NLC indiscriminately.” That was not true.
She added that the ANC was on record as standing for accountability and transparency as far as the NLC was concerned. Secondly, the cheap politics of the DA had not won them voters, so it should not vilify other political parties as part of its strategy. With the publication of the beneficiary lists and by accounting to the Portfolio Committee, the NLC was on the right track. The ANC requested that it continued on that track. It was the hope of projects in the poorer communities. She loved the word coined by the Commissioner “beneficiary-centrism”. In doing that, the NLC should know that the ANC required good governance and accountability. It was evident from the NLC presentation that it had the requisite checks and balances in place. However, where people wanted to do wrong, they would find a gap. She requested that NLC close any gaps that it found and that it applied whatever policies and regulations were in place without fear or favour.
Mr Cuthbert attempted to connect once again.
Mr F Mulder (FF+) stated that he was also experiencing load shedding. He welcomed the reports and the investigation. He asked about the original ministerial investigation in 2018 and in 2019. He was not quite clear about the police investigation. What was the progress? He was also not quite clear about the difference between the internal investigation and the other investigation, part of which had ended up with SAPS. The matter had been ongoing for two years. He asked that the Committee be kept updated on the progress by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Mr Cuthbert connected via cell phone. He said that only R32 million of the R50 million was accounted for on the Covid-19 list that had been provided to the Committee.
Mr M Waters (DA) asked what percentage the NLC received from the lottery ticket sales and where the rest of the money went. Why was B-BBEE used as a criteria to identify beneficiaries? He failed to see why it mattered who ran an NPO as it was the beneficiaries who mattered. In that regard, he asked how many non-B-BBEE applications had been rejected. Why had the NLC provided Covid-19 relief funds to those who had previously received building funds?
Mr Waters had some questions based on information that he had received in response to questions in Parliament. Why had the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) received R500 000 over the past ten years? As SASCOC was not responsible for the development of sport, what was the money for? In addition, the SA Sports Trust had received R128 million – what was that used for?
He added that the SA College Principals Organisation had received R62 million. That was a niche organisation. What was that money used for? The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association was the fourth biggest beneficiary over the past 10 years, having received R54 million. Had the NLC done a proper audit of their books?
In the replies to parliamentary questions, Mr Waters had noted that R43 million was given to three municipalities. Was it the duty of the NLC to provide funding for municipalities? What was the reason for giving funding to those municipalities when there were many, many NGOs in dire need of funding? He supported the funding of schools. However, he noted that a technical and commercial high school in North West had received R15 million in funding. Why had one school received R15 million and other schools only received R100 000 to R200 000?
Mr D Macpherson (DA) thanked the NLC for coming to the meeting. He appreciated the appearance of the NLC before the Committee, even if they had been dragged there and had not wanted to provide information for more than a year.
He informed the Chairperson that a guest on the platform by the name of Tebogo repeatedly made rude gestures and comments on the chat page. He suggested that he be removed as he did that repeatedly and disrupted parliamentary proceedings. Mr Macpherson requested the Chairperson for protection from Tebogo’s unacceptable behaviour.
Mr Macpherson stated that the NLC had initially refused to provide the list of beneficiaries and, for all intents and purposes, they had broken the law by not providing the lists of beneficiaries. Did the NLC accept that it had broken the law and that it was wrong?
Mr Macpherson noted that the DG had stated that he was unable to provide the forensic report but that it had been reported to law enforcement. He asked the DG for the case number, to which law enforcement authority it had been reported, and on what date it had been reported.
He noted that the Proactive Funding was referred to a Proactive Quality Assurance (QA) committee. He requested the names of the people who sat on that committee. If it was a quality assurance committee, he asked how it was possible that so many crooked allocations for friends and family of the NLC had got through the QA committee.
Mr Macpherson asked about the vetting of NPOs and their accounting officers as had been indicated in the presentation. The vetting could not have happened if funds had been made available to NPOs that had been hijacked by friends and family members of people who worked for the NLC.
Mr Macpherson put a direct question to Prof Nevhutanda, requesting a “yes” or “no” answer. It was now known that under his chairmanship, money had been stolen from the NLC and had gone to friends and families of people working in the NLC. It had been used to buy cars, houses and to support the lives of girlfriends at the expense of people that really needed the money. It had happened under his watch and he had refused, unlawfully, to provide beneficiary information. Did he think that he should resign as the chairperson of the NLC now that all the facts were known?
Mr S Mbuyane (ANC) appreciated both presentations but he said that Members should not play to the gallery on Twitter and on Facebook. He had a serious problem that some people started the meeting before the actual meeting, during which issues could be clarified.
He stated that in the past the NLC had been criticised for not supporting the NPOs. Animal projects were given a lot of money while rural communities were not getting anything when they needed it. With the proactive funding, schools, clinics etc. received support and were liberated. He was pleased that communities in rural areas could now become beneficiaries whereas in the past only animals were taken care of.
Mr Mbuyane asked about the infrastructure programme announced by the President. Did the NLC have plans to fund infrastructure as part of the economic recovery?
Mr Cuthbert asked why R118 million of the Covid-19 relief funding had not been expended. Why was that?
He had been informed that the beneficiary information provided to the Committee had been taken from an Excel spreadsheet. The Committee had requested an extraction from the pay system itself to ensure the veracity of the data. Why had the Committee not received details from the pay system? Why had it taken the NLC so long to disperse funds when NLC had set itself a deadline of July 2020?
He had also been informed that several Board members had received Covid-19 relief assistance. Could that be confirmed or denied?
Mr Cuthbert asked when Mr Phillemon Letwaba was placed on suspension, how much had he earned while on suspension and when he was expected to return to work. How did the NLC carry out monitoring on proactive funding when there was limited information available on the projects, even to those who worked for the NLC? The Covid-19 relief fund list showed that the Cape Ministerial Association had received R100 000, despite well-detailed accounts in the media of how the Association misused the money and used it to improve their lifestyles.
Mr Cuthbert stated that under the current leadership there was no chance of restoring credibility to the work of the NLC. Despite the revelations of corruption at the NLC and people behaving contrary to the law, no one had seen it fit to resign. The board and management should be ashamed of their behaviour. They knew that they should do the right thing by resigning. He called on Minister Patel to fire the entire C-suite leadership as well as the board of the NLC to ensure that an interim leadership could be put in place – one that was not politically exposed and had not used the NLC money for corrupt purposes. He had seen the NLC trying to paint a picture that it was now going to put all the correct procedures in place, but what had was going to happen about all the money that should have gone to the most vulnerable in society. He found the NLC disingenuous.
He added that additional information had to be included in the beneficiary list: project numbers, sectors, the province in which the funds had been spent, and not where the NGOs was located, whether the money was Proactive Grant funding or other funding. The information should also include whether the money was paid in a tranche or in one amount. Both figures should be given.
Ms P Mantashe (ANC) stated that she had been kicked out by the system for the presentation but she had read it and she wanted to know what the NLC was going to be grilled on. She wanted to wait for the investigations. There was no point in grilling anyone at that stage.
Mr October stated that, as he had indicated in the disclaimer, he was limited in the information that he could provide.
He informed Mr Mulder that in 2018, the matter had been under former Minister Davies and the scope of the investigation conducted by the board had been limited and there had been a conflict of interest. That meant that the prior investigation had not got to the nub of the issue. In 2020, the new Minister, Minister Patel, had instructed the Department to conduct a forensic investigation. As an Accounting Officer, he did not have the authority to investigate another Accounting Authority, such as the board of the NLC. However, the Minister had the power to conduct such an investigation and he had delegated that power to the DG. The Department had appointed a forensic firm to conduct the investigation and it was that investigation that been completed and that had looked into Denzhe.
The DG informed Mr Macpherson that the case had been given to SAPS on 28 August 2020 by means of an affidavit which had included the forensic report. No case number had been received.
Prof Nevhutanda replied to Mr Macpherson who had asked him if he intended to resign. The answer was most definitely in the negative: he had no intention of resigning. The Minister would have to show him his mistakes and tell him to resign. That finalised any speculation by Mr Macpherson.
He clarified that there was no a R118 million left. The previous day, Mr Cuthbert had said that the NLC would be grilled. The NLC could not take it lightly to be adjudicated by the public.
He stated that the problem of connectivity was disadvantaging everyone.
Mr Ramatsekisa had indicated how much money had been adjudicated and paid out. That could not be disputed as it was in black and white. The money was in the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF). R54 million had been distributed. Mr Ramatsekisa had said that some projects still had to be paid. The NLC could not pay bogus organisations and so he had to verify organisations before making payments.
Prof Nevhutanda explained that the NLC consisted of the board, the NLDTF and NLC. Regarding SASCOC, a lot of money had been paid to it as it represented an elite organisation that tapped individual sportsmen and women in schools and universities and prepared them for the Olympics. It was the Sports and Recreation Committee that had given the money to SASCOC. He told Mr Waters that the Sports and Recreation Committee had been appointed by the Minister and not by him or the Commission. After the cry that too much money was going to SASCOC, the current Act placed SASCOC like any organisation. The previous Act had not placed any minimum or maximum on the amount of money. The first democratic Minister of Sports had arranged for SASCOC to get lottery funds because they did not get government money, so they got money for training, equipment and travel so that they could go and get medals for the country. He could not say that they were using the NLC money correctly. SASCOC had presented a reported and NLC had sent monitors but he did not know if the money had been correctly spent because some of the people on the committees were already dead. SASCOC had received R80 million and R70 million but the people involved were specialists and he was not, but as some of them were dead, they could not be asked about it. That was hard luck.
Concerning funds to municipalities, Prof Nevhutanda stated that the previous Lotteries Act, i.e. before 2014, had also allowed agencies of government to apply for NLC funds as long as the municipality had a particular project to which the funds would go. The money was not intended to be added to the fiscus. One municipality in KwaZulu-Natal had been experimenting with the National Health Insurance four years ago. They had wanted to buy cars to be able to go to people and check on those who had high blood pressure and on children who could not get to Home Affairs to apply for identity documents. That was why that municipality had received funding.
The Polokwane municipality had simply been a conduit for the OR Tambo Olympics, an event that had included the whole SADC region. It was a prestigious event for the country. The municipality had applied for R15 million. It was true that there had been some issues with the Polokwane audit. How did one expect the NLC to excel in funding when it had given only R15 million while National Treasury had given Polokwane more than R10 billion? Should the NLC have declined to support a prestigious event because of some deficits in their accounting when government had seen it appropriate to give Polokwane billions of Rand, and the officials in National Treasury were appointed by the same government that appointed him? If he could not use National Treasury as a criteria, what criteria should he use?
Prof Nevhutanda responded to Mr Macpherson’s statement on beneficiaries. The NLC was following the same law created by Mr Macpherson in Parliament and it was following its interpretation of Parliament’s law. The list was given against Parliament’s law, not his law. The NLC would give the Members what they wanted, but the only thing was that they had to ask the Minister to change the regulations, and the NLC would follow suit.
He assured the Committee that no board member had received money for Covid-19 projects. That would not be good as some of the board members were educated and were lawyers. He would ask the members of the board to declare if they had received money by cash or funds that had been transferred to them. He had told the community to go to law enforcement if members of the community had evidence of corruption. The community had not done that, so the board members could not be part of the corruption.
Prof Nevhutanda requested the Commissioner to respond to some of the questions.
Commissioner Mampane explained what happened to the money earned by the sale of each Lotto ticket. The percentage of a ticket to be paid to the Commission was negotiated between the board, the Minister and the Operator when the licence holder began to operate the lottery. In fact, that percentage had to be on the request for proposal (RFP). The board had to show maximum of distribution to good causes. Taking a R5.00 ticket as an example, Ithuba would give R1.01 to the NLDTF (National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund) which was 23%; 48% went to prizes; 17% went to operating expenditure of the operator; 4% was profit for the operator; SARS received 15% VAT, plus 2% which was taxation. The amount received by the NLC would range between R1.5 and R1.6 billion p.a.
She responded to the question about selecting only companies that complied with B-BBEE requirements. That stipulation applied to procurement by the NLC supply chain management. The criteria did not apply to beneficiaries.
Concerning the giving of operating costs for infrastructure projects to the engineers, she explained that the NLC had funded the building of 127 brick and mortar ECDs and the remainder of the 200 ECD centres supported by the NLC were housed in containers. It was those projects in which the engineers would retain the funds until the building was complete.
As far as monitoring and evaluation was concerned, Ms Mampane stated that she could provide the information, or even give a presentation, if so required. Quality assurance depended not only on monitoring and evaluation, but also on the internal audit and a team of investigators that followed the work of the two quality assurers. They studied the project, visited the project, provided support and reported from time to time if things were not going well.
In response to the question on the amounts given to SASCOC, the Organisation of SA College Principals, the Cape Town Minstrels, and the North West school, she needed to go back to the system to get full and accurate information as to what the money had been spent on. She did not have the details with her as the information would be on the old system. The Commissioner promised to provide the details by the Friday of that week.
The Quality Assurance members who presided over the adjudication of proactive funding programme were:
Mr Thendo Ramagoma of the Arts and Culture Committee
Ms Portia Loyilane of the non-profit/charity organisations
Mr Mveleli Ncula of the Sports Committee
Commissioner Mampane responded to the request for project numbers and provinces. She said that the NLC had been giving provinces but would try and give project numbers as well. In respect of providing information, the NLC was faced with challenging times as it had to adhere to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and that might impact on providing addresses. The NLC would have to look at what information was possible to share with the Committee.
Commissioner Mampane asked for any evidence that Members had implicating the board in corruption in terms of receiving Covid-19 funding. She knew the calibre of the people serving on the board and they could not possibly be involved in corruption.
The Chairperson asked Members for any follow-up questions, but requested that they be brief.
Mr Mbuyane said that his questions had not been answered. He had asked whether the NLC had been criticised in the past for not giving support to NPOs. Had the NLC supported animal-related projects while rural communities were neglected? School, clinics and NGO funds were liberated following the advent of proactive funding. Yes or no? Did the NLC support infrastructure programmes, as announced by the President, which supported economic recovery?
Mr Macpherson said that he had not been given details of the people who sat on the quality assurance committee. Prof Nevhutanda had failed to explain how the funds had gone through the vetting but still ended up being used for corrupt purposes. The Professor had said that he followed the law that parliamentarians had passed and had followed his interpretation of whether the NLC was required to release benefits. The same law had previously allowed Prof Nevhutanda to release the information but then he had changed his mind or changed his interpretation of the law, which had not changed, and had chosen not to release the information. To pass the buck was disingenuous. Under his watch, Prof Nevhutanda had broken the law and had allowed corruption to engulf the NLC. He suggested that it was not up the Minister to fire him but, self-respect for his own reputation, and an understanding that the NLC had collapsed in terms of its duties to stop corruption, should lead him to resign. Did he agree or not?
Mr Cuthbert stated that he had not received a response to his questions on Phillemon Letwaba and his suspension and how much he had earned under suspension, as well as his return date. He clarified that he had not asked about the Covid-19 Relief Fund. He had been told that Covid-19 relief assistance had been provided to board members and that it had totalled thousands of Rand. What was the response?
Finally, Mr Cuthbert asked a question that he had asked the Minister the previous day about United Industrial Cables (UIC), a company in which Prof Nevhutanda had been listed as a director. Was it true? Was it not a conflict of interest by virtue of the fact that he was Chairperson of the NLC?
Prof Nevhutanda thanked Mr Cuthbert for being so honest. He obviously read a lot, which was encouraging. Company Law said that one had to be listed in the company documents. He and Mr Cuthbert were part of the dtic family. The CIPC could print a form to see if Prof Nevhutanda was a member of the company. He knew the company United Industrial Cables (UIC). The company had wanted him to be part of the company, about four or five years ago, and he had agreed to join as a director. He had been excited because he was going to be a director and he had not asked where they would get funding from. In that same week, five years ago or so, he had updated his CV to say that he was a board member of UIC. However, he had never followed up the matter and so he had never actually become a board member at UIC. Mr Cuthbert and the DG could request a list of directors of UIC from the CIPC - his name would not be there as he had never been a board member of UIC.
Commissioner Mampane agreed that the NLC funded SPCA which was a very active NPO. If it did not appear in the funding priority list, it did what the NLC expected beneficiaries to do and contacted the NLC. The NLC always sent a list to beneficiaries and the SPCA was one of the most active in coming back and saying so if it had been left out. It was one of the most active NPOs, even during Covid-19 lockdown. It was an organisation that the NLC took very seriously and it had given R5 million or R7 million to the SPCA.
Rural support for creation of jobs was also important to the NLC but it was quite difficult to come up with suitable infrastructure projects. The NLC would have reduced funds in the current year, especially as 90% of the funding had to go to applications for projects, but she believed that the proactive funding would be used in rural areas where there could be a creation of jobs and development opportunities. Schools had approached the NLC and the research people were going through the information, of the schools, for example Daggakraal school that had been on television, to see what could be done.
Commissioner Mampane informed Mr Cuthbert that Phillemon Letwaba had been on suspension since March 2020 and was still on suspension and being paid, but the NLC had been advised that he should not return whilst the dtic investigation was continuing. She would provide information on the amount of money he had received whilst on suspension to the Committee in writing.
Prof Nevhutanda told Mr Macpherson that he would not be resigning: the answer was still in the negative. He saw no reason why he should step down.
Mr Ramatsekisa informed Mr Macpherson that the quality assurance members who decided over the proactive funding programme were:
Mr Thendo Ramagoma of the Arts and Culture Committee
Ms Portia Loyilane of the non-profit organisations
Mr Mveleli Ncula of the Sports Committee
Ms Nomabela Laleni, Legal Executive, informed Mr Cuthbert that he should supply her with the information regarding Covid-19 money going to board members. She requested that the NLC be able to investigate the facts so that there were no unsubstantiated allegations against board members.
Mr Cuthbert attempted to raise a point of order. He took exception to what the legal manager said … parliamentary privilege… The line broke up and the Chairperson asked Mr Cuthbert to respond in writing.
Mr Mbuyane said that the Committee could not hear and so Mr Cuthbert should raise his point of order in writing. There was an agreement if Members could not hear someone that Member had to put the point in writing.
The Chairperson noted that some responses would be given in writing. He released the DG and the NLC.
The minutes of 18, 19, 25, 26 August 2020 were presented and adopted unanimously by the Committee with no amendments.
Fourth Quarter Committee Programme
The Secretary of the Committee explained that he had circulated the Committee Programme for the 4th Quarter. He informed Members that the Programming Committee might or might not change the timeframe for the 4th Quarter, and if the timeframe was changed, the programme might need to be adjusted. He had based the programme on assumed Committee decisions but there would be no difficulty in adapting and aligning the programme, if need be. He had incorporated the decision by the Committee to delay its meeting and decision on the remitted Bills but once the Committee had taken decisions in respect of the Bills, the programme might have to change.
The Chairperson asked Members if there were any comments on the programme. He indicated that the Committee’s obligations in terms of the financial reports, etc. had been taken into account.
Mr Mbuyane suggested that the Committee accept the proposed programme. The Members would consult in the study group before approving it. He did not know what had informed the programme. Was it the current work underway that had informed the programme?
The Chairperson noted that the programme remained as it had been presented but explained that it was a proposal and the Committee Members could request changes in the following term if they wished to do so.
The Secretary explained that he received a request to submit a programme to the House Chairperson. As it was the last meeting of the quarter, the Committee should adopt the programme unless the Committee wished to meet during constituency time. The current programme could be adopted based on the understanding that requests for changes could be made at a later stage.
Ms Hermans asked when the programme had to go to the House Chairperson. Did it go together with the items to be covered? The timeslots could remain but the programme was subject to change following the study committee’s decisions, after which the items to be addressed during those timeslots could be included.
The Secretary explained that the Committee was obliged to submit an approved programme but it could be changed later. The dates might need to be changed once the Programming Committee had decided on dates, but the programme was in alignment with the rules and regulations regarding issues that the Committee was obliged to address, such as the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report, plus items that were currently being handled by the Committee.
Mr Mbuyane said that the Secretary was clarifying the programme but he had not said what had informed the programme. The Members should have given input. There were loopholes in terms of the Secretary’s engagement with Members. He noted that the three-month and six-month period for SABS to record meetings had lapsed. Allowance had to be made in the programme for oversight visits and the Committee had to meet to determine a strategy in terms of how it wanted the Department to move forward.
The Chairperson explained that the programme was a proposal to the political parties. He asked when the parties would like to approve it. Although he admitted that dates were still outstanding from the NA Programming Committee, the programme had to be considered and adopted. He asked the Secretary when the Chairperson of the Programming Committee required the Committee programmes.
The Secretary said that Committees would probably be requested to submit programmes that day. He repeated that the programme could be changed after it had been submitted.
The Chairperson suggested that if Members had changes by Friday that week, an urgent meeting could be called to look at the programme.
The Secretary explained that if a meeting could not be convened, the Chairperson had the right to make the requested changes and to determine the programme for the Committee.
The Chairperson noted that Members had the right to be informed of the programme. He added that the next meeting would be on 6 October 2020.
The Chairperson thanked the Members for their participation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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