Social Assistance Amendment Bill: Children's Commissioner submission

Social Development (WCPP)

15 September 2020
Chairperson: Mr G Bosman (DA)
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Meeting Summary


Social Assistance Amendment Bill

The Committee held a virtual meeting where the Department of Social Development (DSD) refreshed them on the objectives and background to the Social Assistance Amendment Bill. The Bill would enable improved benefits for orphans and quicker access to the Appeals Tribunal, and reducing the potential for fraud and corruption within the social grants system through the proposed Inspectorate for Social Assistance.

The Western Cape Children's Commissioner made her first submission before the Committee expressing the Office’s support for the Amendment Bill and noted the need for the inclusion of children in law-making processes that affected them.

In answer to questions by Members, DSD explained that the Bill aimed to assist orphans by providing an additional 50% over and above the current child support grant. Instead of following the prolonged foster care grant process, orphans or children in child headed households would apply for an increase to the child support grant which would be faster and less time consuming. The application for this would be through SASSA, as opposed to the tedious court process. This process would not interfere with the foster care system and those that were already in the process of applying for the foster care grant would proceed with the application. The application process for orphans was the same as for a child support grant.

Members were keen to know how soon the Bill would be passed and implemented; when would the regulations be made available as these often delayed the implementation of a new Act; whether the right afforded to the Minister in the payment of the additional amount might lead to discriminatory practices; the composition of the  Tribunal; the appointment of tribunal members by the Minister and the newly proposed role of Parliament in this process; if people would be able to approach the Tribunal directly and without legal representation and if the decision of the Tribunal would be final; the powers of the Inspectorate for Social Assistance; how its independence would be ensured and if people could lodge complaints directly to it.

The public had until 18 September 2020 to submit written comments. The Committee would consider the public comments when drafting its negotiating mandate on the Amendment Bill.


Meeting report

Chairperson opening remarks
The Chairperson said the purpose of the meeting was to hear a submission on the Social Assistance Amendment Bill [B8B-2018], a Section 76 Bill before National Council of Provinces. The Bill was referred to this Committee on 1 June 2020 and received a briefing on it by the National Department of Social Development on 1 September 2020. In terms of public participation, the Bill was advertised in mainstream and community newspapers of the Western Cape. The Bill could not be advertised in isiXhosa newspapers, because the timeframes for community newspapers need 10 days for placing the advert and there was a problem with the supply chain. A press release was issued in IsiXhosa to ensure it got picked up as a news item. The Committee complied with section 118 of the Constitution and the provincial parliament standing rules which indicates that the Provincial Parliament must facilitate public involvement in the process of its committees as required by the Constitution. After the public hearings, the Committee would consider the input made by the public. Public comments were open until 18 September 2020.

Social Assistance Amendment Bill: background and objectives by National DSD
Ms Erika du Plessis, National Department of Social Development said the Bill to amend the Social Assistance Act, 2004, was introduced to the National Assembly on 13 April 2018. The Bill lapsed in May 2019 due to the end of the Fifth Parliament. It was revived in October 2019 and subsequently considered by the Portfolio Committee on Social Development. The Committee held public hearings and received written comments. The majority of the comments were in support of the Amendment Bill. The Committee approved the Bill on 11 March 2020. The Bill was sent to the National Assembly. The National Assembly passed the Bill and referred it to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence. The NCOP was now seeking mandates from the provinces to enable it to respond to the request by the National Assembly for concurrence. The Committee conducted a public hearing to obtain views from its constituencies to submit their provincial mandates to the NCOP.

The Amendment Bill has three main objectives.
• The first objective is to empower the Minister of Social Development, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, to make additional amounts payable on top of existing social grants. This will enable the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to implement the extended child support grant policy, which seeks to pay an additional amount for orphans living with family members, on top of the existing child support grant.

South Africa has a large number of orphans. Most orphans are raised by grandparents or other family members. The foster child grant became the default grant for supporting orphans. However, the majority of families taking care of orphans cannot access the foster care system owing to overwhelming numbers and the limited resources within government to place children in foster care.

The foster child grant and the foster care system were originally designed for children in need of care and protection. These are children who have been abused or neglected and removed from their caregivers. Most orphans do not fit into this category and are safe in extended family environments. This resulted in many vulnerable children not being able to access the foster care system.

The aim of this policy is to provide extra income support to orphans living with family members so that they do not have to go through the foster care system. This will relieve the burden on the foster care system and allow the Department to utilise their social workers more effectively while providing additional income support to orphans without them needing to go through the cumbersome foster care system.

Applicants will not require a court process nor the associated social work process before being able to apply for the additional financial support. However, once the grant is allocated, they will be referred to the Department for social services and support.

• The second objective of the Amendment Bill seeks to streamline the appeals process.
The process at present is made up of two parts. If someone applies for a social grant and SASSA rejects the application, the applicant has a right to appeal. However, before they may appeal, they first need to go back to SASSA and request SASSA to reconsider their application. SASSA has 90 days to do this and in the majority of cases, they still reject the application, as it does not consider the merits of the case – they only check if they have complied with the administrative requirements of the legislation. Only then may an applicant approach the Appeals Tribunal. The appeals process takes 90 days. The full process thus takes six months. The Amendment Bill proposes to remove the 90-day SASSA reconsideration process to reduce the appeal time frame from six months to 90 days.

• The third objective is to change the organisational structure of the proposed Inspectorate for Social Assistance from that of a national department to that of a government component. Establishing the Inspectorate will assist in ensuring that fraud and corruption are adequately addressed.

In conclusion, these objectives are aimed at improving the efficiency of the social grants system, enabling improved benefits for orphans and quicker access to the Appeals Tribunal, and reducing the potential for fraud and corruption within the social grants system.

The objectives of the Bill were to empower the Minister of Social Development with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance to make additional payments linked to social grants; to streamline the appeals process; to provide for payment of benefits to a child-headed household; to provide for an Independent Tribunal to consider appeals against decisions of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA); to provide for social relief of distress in the event of a disaster; and to have the Inspectorate for Social Assistance as a government component rather than a department.

Western Cape Department of Social Development response to Bill
Mr Mzonde Hlewu, Chief Director: Community and Partnership Development, Western Cape Department of Social Development, handed it over his colleague for comments on the Bill.

Mr Lionel Arnolds, Director: Community Development at Western Cape Department of Social Development (WC DSD) said the Department welcomed the Social Assistance Amendment Bill as the realisation of social-economic rights was critical to overcoming the critical challenges of poverty and inequality. It also welcomed the Bill in the context of the tremendous strain on the current foster care system and the need for much needed social work services to be directed to intervention and early prevention work. The Bill would ensure that the majority of orphans living with relatives are able to receive adequate social assistance through the top-up grant. Social security was an important safety net that helped relieve poverty and diminish some of the immediate hardships. Given the challenges of poverty and inequality, it was important to have an effective social security system that responds to the needs of the vulnerable. Social assistance in the form of that Amendment Bill was an important pillar for the overall social security system and gave adherence to section 27 of the Constitution. It was also important that the Committee assessed the legislative changes in the light of the prevailing realities of those that the policy sought to serve and protect. Retired social workers were an important resource to consider for the tribunal and Western Cape was of the belief that the amendment would also bring greater alignment between the Disaster Management Act and contribute to coordination and better response times in disasters. The Bill would help to ensure that those requiring these services were able to access them without undue administrative delays.

Discussion on Social Assistance Amendment Bill
Mr R Mackenzie (DA) asked what the timelines were for implementation of the Bill. How would the Bill affect those that were already receiving social grants, would they immediately go into the new system or would they need to reapply again?

Ms Molebogeng Unisi, DSD Social Assistance Directorate, replied to Mr Mackenzie that the administration process of the foster care system had been started and those that had applied, their applications were already in court. The increased grant for orphans and child headed households would not interfere with the foster care grant as these will be two different forms of social assistance. The foster care system was designed for children who are in need of care and protection; those children would continue with the process. The increase of the child support grant for orphans and child headed households would assist to relieve the crowded foster care system. Community members who were raising orphans and those children who are in child headed households would have an option to apply without the overloaded process of going through the courts as it sometimes takes months and years for children applying for foster care. This will assist those orphans who are in families and those children who are living in child headed households and the administration will be through SASSA and not the tedious foster care system.

Mr Trevor John, DSD Director: Policy Implementation Support, explained that they would have to await the enactment of this Bill, and once it has been enacted they would proceed with the publication of the regulations. They did have draft regulations that outline the application process and procedures. The process is similar to applying for a child support grant. The only difference is if that child is an orphan or in a child headed household, the child would be eligible for an additional payment.

Mr Mackenzie expressed his appreciation for the clarity given. He wanted an indication of the timelines. Once the Bill is passed and assented to by the President, how ready would DSD be in drafting the regulations and publishing them so people know what to do. The problem with much legislation is it gets published but it takes another year or more for it to be implemented. That was where the holdup was.

Mr John replied that DSD had a rough set of regulations that they had drafted. They need to have them put into a technical and legal format and they would then be able to publish that set of regulations for invitation of public comments, incorporate the comments and have a final set of regulations published. They were hoping to do this as soon as possible so when the Bill is passed they would have the regulations out as soon as possible.

The Chairperson said a part of what the Bill sought to do was to align to the Disaster Management Act when it came to the assistance of social relief of distress. Would those regulations be speaking to internal arrangements within SASSA as well? They knew, for instance in the City of Cape Town Metro, how the SASSA disaster relief process had changed several times. It used to be contracted to local NGOs through the municipality but that process changed to where the contracting of support was done centrally. How would that be affected?

Clause 4, which inserts section 12A, provided for the prescription of additional payments linked to social grants, it said that such prescription must be in concurrence with the Minister of Finance, but it did not specify the nature and circumstance under which those payments become payable. The right afforded to the Minister to differentiate on the basis of need between social grant beneficiaries was not qualified. Did he not think that might lead to discriminatory practices or some form of irrational practices because it was not clarified? Or was that something that was going to be clarified in the regulations?

Mr John replied that the regulations would specify the conditions under which those additional payments would be made. For example, the R20 top up paid to all beneficiaries 75 years and older would appear in the regulations. They would stipulate in the regulations the provisions for disasters and how those are dealt with.

The Chairperson said clause 9 inserts the right of delegation by the Executive Director. The power conferred on the Executive Director by the principal Act may be delegated to a staff member or officer of the Inspectorate. Was that not an unrestricted discretion and open for abuse?

Ms du Plessis replied that there would be no discrimination or interference as the Inspectorate would consist of officials who would also be appointed by the Minister. They would ensure that there is no discrimination.

The tribunal was established in 2008 and they were currently halfway setting up as an independent tribunal. They had offices in three provinces: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. DSD had dedicated provincial coordinators for each province to visit SASSA outlets and do communications and workshops on how to lodge an appeal and bring the tribunal to the attention of the public, especially in rural areas.

Mr P Marais (FF+) commended DSD on the Amendment Bill for intending to transfer the responsibility more from the National Department to Social Development, it was a good move. He asked if they had ticked all the boxes. When they said they had limited resources, to what extent was that being abused? Did social grants not contribute to the high level high of pregnancy of unwedded mothers especially in the rural areas, where mothers had four or five children relying on the child support grant? Did they address all the other problems relating to the problem you were trying to solve? They say they are going to protect children, they are going to care for them, they had limited resources but the only answer they seemed to have was every year give them R20 more. How many children were without fathers? What were the underlying factors there? He knew of communities who did not have extended family customs and in some cultures it was a practice – the grandmother or aunts raised the children. To what extent were they addressing real problems of gangsterism for children that grew up in the streets? Was there something in the Amendment Bill that would cause Social Services to regularly visit the families who got foster care grant to see the conditions under which those children were living. Were they fed and clothed properly? Or were they simply paymasters that ensured that each month every person received their R300. Were they addressing the real problems there?

Ms N Bakubaku-Vos (ANC) said the ANC welcomed the objectives of the Bill and they were in full support as it would assist the vulnerable, especially orphans, reduce the application period and cut red tape. She asked about the costs of the process and how the delays would be fast-tracked. When could the Bill be expected to be passed as there was a great need for what the Bill sought to achieve? What would be the composition of the tribunal? How would it function in provinces? The establishment of the Inspectorate for Social Assistance was a necessary measure. How would its independence be ensured? What would be its powers and functions? Would people be able to lodge complaints directly to it?

Ms du Plessis replied that the inspectorate powers were set out in clause 24 of the Amendment Bill. Yes, people would be able to approach the inspectorate directly about any fraud or suspected fraud.

Ms Unisi responded to Mr Marais’ question on whether DSD was looking into other challenges. The department was continually looking into the impact of the child support grant, the challenges of vulnerable communities and how they could assist as DSD to alleviate poverty. The main object of the Bill aimed to assist orphans as their needs were often more than other children. Families who took in orphans into their household had to stretch their limited resources and that could cause some social ills within families. The Bill would provide an additional 50% over and above the current child support grant. They looked into the number of orphans they had in the country and how sustainable this policy was. They would assist in addressing vulnerability such as a young girl’s basic needs as she might go and seek support elsewhere. It was important to address and understand these vulnerabilities. Due to the long administrative delays and burden on the foster care system, increasing the child support grant for orphans would ensure that these vulnerabilities were reduced. Those were some of the psycho-social challenges they addressed.

Mr Marais appreciated the responses. He was pleased that in the Western Cape they are delivering medicine to people’s homes. He asked if they could extend that into social services. Could social services ensure that those who received a foster care grant were visited to ensure the money was actually spent for the welfare and benefit of the children. Did they visit these homes? How regularly did they visit the homes? How regularly did they interview foster children or do they let the parents have the money without checking?

Ms Unisi replied that the social workers had been burdened with responsibilities that some were unable to meet due to a number of reasons. The foster care system was designed to cater for children who were in need of care and protection. With the number of applications received, social workers ended up focusing on the administrative responsibilities. The implementation of the Social Assistance Amendment Bill would assist to reduce the load that social workers carry and they would be able to put more focus on the children who were in need of care and protection. Increasing the value of the child support grant for orphans would reduce the workload and burden on the foster care system. They were hoping that the social worker would then be able to focus on the work they had specialised in.

The Chairperson requested Mr Arnolds submit a written version of his input to the Committee.

Children's Commissioner submission on Social Assistance Amendment Bill
Ms Christina Nomdo, Western Cape's Commissioner for Children, thanked the Committee for the opportunity saying this was ground breaking for the new Office of the Children’s Commissioner to engage directly with the parliamentary process. Her focus was on the Social Assistance Amendment Bill and child participation.  The Commissioner for Children supports the amendments to the Social Assistance Act on the child support grant (CSG). The amendments enabled families who cared for orphans to receive a larger child support grant. This would ensure smooth administration and was better than applying for a foster care grant which took time and burdened social workers and the courts. The Commissioner noted that children had the right to be involved in decisions that affected their lives. It was important to evolve the law-making process in becoming a more mature democracy where everyone, including children, found a way to be heard by decision makers. The Commissioner would support legislatures, especially the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) developing a child-friendly process for hearing children’s inputs.

The Chairperson thanked the Commissioner for highlighting that as a province they have a commissioner for children that is able to assist and guide the Western Cape in child participation. Both the national parliament as well as the provincial parliament do not make space for children to actively participate – the only space was for the children to make submissions. During the interviews for the Children's Commissioner, there were several submissions from children on what they would like the Commissioner’s role to be. There is a need to adjust and ensure that children’s participation takes place, also for ensuring that children understand the legislative process and to translate these verbose documents into understandable snippets for them.

The Chairperson asked if the stakeholders present such as the West Coast District Municipality team if they wanted to make an input or ask a question but they replied that they would make a written submission.

Once again, the Chairperson reminded members of the public that they had until 18 September to submit a written submission to the Committee to be considered while formulating their negotiating and final mandates.

Discussion on Social Assistance Amendment Bill
The Committee continued asking questions to the National and Provincial Departments.

Mr Marais asked if the tribunal had the same authority as the court. What was the legal status of the tribunal? Was the tribunal decision open to appeal or was it final? Could anybody approach the tribunal or would they need to go through the Department of Social Development?

Ms du Plessis replied that the decision of the tribunal was final. However, in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA), if the appellant is not satisfied, that person can approach a court within a period of 180 days from the day the decision was taken by the independent tribunal.

Mr Marais asked if a legal practitioner must represent the applicant or could they represent themselves at the tribunal.

Ms du Plessis replied that the applicant did not need to work through SASSA or a legal practitioner, they could approach the tribunal directly without legal representation. The evidence before the tribunal was based on documentary evidence which would be obtained through SASSA. The independent tribunal had powers to override SASSA.

Mr Mackenzie asked if the independent tribunal gets appointed by the Minister of Social Development.

Ms du Plessis confirmed and said that during the National Assembly process, the Portfolio Committee requested a provision that the Minister may appoint an independent tribunal "after consultation with Parliament". It was approved that the Minister may appoint after consultation with Parliament.

Mr Mackenzie asked if it was not a parliamentary process but a Ministerial process, does the Minister initiate it and then refer the candidate to Parliament for concurrence?

Ms du Plessis replied that it is a ministerial process, they advertise in the broader media and appropriately qualified persons who qualify would be represented to the Minister. They believe that the list would also go to Parliament through the Minister.

Mr Mackenzie wanted to confirm if the ministerial process was where the Minister appoints the person and informs Parliament which notes it or does the proposed appointment go to Parliament for ratification.

Mr Marais asked if the Premier and Western Cape Minister of Social Development were at all involved in the decision making as was the case with the Police Commissioner where Commissioner had a say because it affected the province.

Ms du Plessis replied that neither the Western Cape Premier nor Minister were part of the process as the Minister of Social Development appoints the tribunal.

Mr Marais expressed his dissatisfaction with that.

Mr John Mokwele, Director: Appeals Unit, Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals, DSD, said that the tribunal was an institution that was separate from the administrative work in the department. It included independent people who were appointed from the legal and medical fields. The Minister would advertise for the appointment, once the applications had been received, those shortlisted applicants would be run through Parliament through the Portfolio Committee to consider the names and evaluate if they were fit and proper to be appointed on the tribunal. The tribunal was not an executive director, it was a component within the department. It was not a separate institution like other tribunals, but was a unit that was independent in its services to ensure that there was no influence either by the Minister or SASSA in the decisions taken. The responsibility of the Minister was a national competence. Provinces were not involved at all in the decisions taken about the tribunal. The Minister would make a decision and inform colleagues of this through a submitted report. The national Minister of Social Development had the responsibility to run the business of the tribunal. The tribunal accounted to her in terms of responsibility and reports on its activities, number of applications received and number processed.

Mr Marais asked why National DSD bothered to consult or brief them on the Amendment Bill if they were ignored in the processes that would follow. The national government was increasingly forcing its will on provinces dictating to provinces how they should run their affairs. They should be careful of that. The principle involved in the Bill was something the Freedom Front Plus would support, but the interference by  national Ministers and the total ignoring of provincial cabinet was something they could not support.

The Chairperson advised Mr Marais to make a written submission to the Committee of amendments he would like to make to the Bill by 18 September 2020. The Committee would then use that in its deliberations when considering the Western Cape negotiating mandate to the NCOP.

Mr Marais said he would make his submission to the Committee.

Mr Mackenzie said he had asked for clarity several times on the process for appointing the tribunal. It is important to get clarity because these things will be included in the reasons why we support or do not support the Bill. One official said the Minister advertise and inform Parliament. Now the other official said that the Minister advertises and Parliament recommends. Those are two completely separate processes. Which is the correct process? Does Parliament recommend the person or does the Minister advertise and inform Parliament?

Mr Mokwele replied that the Minister must in consultation with Parliament appoint the tribunal members. What would happen was that after advertising and shortlisting people that the Minister was going to appoint, the Minister must consult Parliament on the list of people. Parliament could then object if it had an objection to any of the names. Parliament would not do the shortlisting on behalf of the Minister.

The Chairperson asked if Parliament would be involved as the Act did not include Parliament. Can we get confirmation that Parliament is involved or is it completely a ministerial appointment? If it is a unit in the department he did not see how Parliament is involved.

Mr Mokwele replied that during the NCOP deliberations, the NCOP members recommended the insertion of "after consultation with Parliament" in section 18(1) where the Minister must appoint an independent tribunal of appropriately qualified persons.

In response to the Chairperson asking if that clause was to be added, Mr Mokwele confirmed that it was.

Mr Marais said that Mr Mackenzie had a valid point; "in consultation" and "after consultation" had two different meanings. "In consultation" meant that you could not appoint the person without the concurrence of the other. If the Minister appoints "after consultation" it would be a rubber stamp action by Parliament.

Mr Mackenzie agreed with Mr Marais. He wanted to understand what the change was that the NCOP wanted. What was the intention of the NCOP because that did not come through clearly from the officials?

Mr Mokwele replied that it may be difficult for them to say expressly what the intention of the NCOP was. What the NCOP provided was that they were supporting the Bill but they wanted the Minister to make the appointment "after consultation" with them. The NCOP had its own understanding of the legal aspect of "after consultation". He was not aware of the reasons they had arrived at that decision.

Mr McKenzie appreciated the response saying it made more sense. He asked if the regulations state that are Parliament must give feedback on the names that must be shortlisted?

The Chairperson asked if the regulations in their current form made provision for how the Minister would consult with Parliament or did it leave it open to Parliament to decide what that consultation must include.

Ms du Plessis replied that the current regulations did not prescribe any specific method or provisions on how the list would be presented. DSD would look into it. They had raised the question with the state law advisors and their response was that it was envisaged that the department, assisted by any selection panel that might have been set up would undertake all the processes preceding the appointment by the Minister such as advertising, shortlisting and recommended certain suitable candidates to the Minister. Before the Minister made the final appointment, it was envisaged that the Minister would in accordance with the proposed amendment consult with Parliament on the list of persons intended for appointment. They would provide a summary of their qualifications to enable Parliament to make sound recommendations. Other pieces of legislation require National Executive Members to consult with Parliament. This was usually done under cover of a letter addressed by the Minister to the Speaker of the National Assembly and NCOP Chairperson.

The Chairperson said that it still left it open for Parliament to determine whatever process it wanted to follow for what that consultation process would look like. He asked if Mr Mackenzie and Mr Marais were covered in those responses.

Mr Mackenzie said he was covered but Ms du Plessis added another three or four words in last sentence from the state law advisors where she said Parliament make recommendations. It seemed like there was a role to play by Parliament. He presumed that would be clarified in the regulations.

The Chairperson said that the proposed amendment to clause 7 substituting section 18(1) was very clear. It said the Minister must, after consultation with Parliament, appoint an independent tribunal. It still put it in Parliament’s court to decide what the consultation process needed to look like. That was something they needed to monitor – how effective Parliament wanted to be in that process.

Mr Marais said that they were all aware that they had different cultures in the different nine provinces. In terms of families, foster parents, extended families, the rules did not apply in all communities exactly the same way. It was important that each provincial government and their department be part of that process or they must consider if any family unit, any applicant should be considered on merit. You could not have a National Minister deciding what should happen in a particular case in a province by his appointees. That province should be in a position to say their demographics were totally different from the demographics in other provinces and how they applied that and what social factors should be attached to their considerations were not those of somebody else. They had totally different norms and standards and family compositions. You have provinces where one husband has five or six wives, while in another province they have only one wife. It was totally different; the children were differently affected. He would like the DA and the ANC to consider that. They could not let National Ministers dictate to provinces any longer.

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) said the Chairperson was clear that they still had time to consider submissions so she did not think they needed to go further on this at that moment. Mr Marais should not go into that space. If a party wanted something to be included in the Bill they can do their submission.

The Chairperson agreed. Members of the public and stakeholders had until 18 September 2020 to make their written submissions to the Committee. They still had time to consider input from members of the provincial Parliament as well. They did have time to discuss how they wanted to move forward.

The Chairperson thanked the departmental officials, the Commissioner for Children and members from the West Coast District Municipality for joining them and choosing to participate in the work of the Committee.

Committee programme
The Chairperson addressed the way forward on the Bill. The next stage of the NCOP legislative process was the presentation of the negotiating mandates scheduled for 7 October 2020 in the NCOP committee. This Committee needed to schedule a meeting to formulate their own negotiating mandate by 6 October 2020 and he suggested meeting on 6 October 2020 from 09:00 to 12:00.

Mr Mackenzie said the Committee had agreed to meet on 21 September since the NCOP committee was meeting on 22 September. On 28 September the Committee would meet for its final mandate.

The Chairperson replied that those dates were being adjusted because the NCOP had adjusted its programme and pushed this into the fourth quarter.

Mr Mackenzie said they did not need to adjust their dates as they were already firm.

Ms Bakubaku-Vos said Monday would not work for them they had constituency offices that they needed to serve. Monday was out for them because it was constituency day.

The Chairperson requested that he and the Committee Procedural Officer look at the WCPP programme and come up with a proposal for both meetings; then come back and see if the dates were convenient for Members. They knew that Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 October was budget training the whole day.

The Committee agreed.

Meeting adjourned.



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