Before the Ad Hoc Committee deliberated on the Revised Public Participation Committee Report a point of order was raised by a member of the Democratic Alliance. It was asked whether the Committee would allow organisations who have made written submissions to do oral submissions as had been the case in the past. It cited that there were very substantive and comprehensive submissions from organisations such as The Banking Association of South Africa. The FF+ supported this proposal. The ANC and the EFF disagreed and pointed out that the Committee already had held public hearings and organisations were afforded an opportunity to make written submissions. The Committee had already received a letter from The Banking Association of South Africa. They argued that if the Committee was to discharge its responsibility timeously it could not have another public hearing in Parliament. The Committee had exhausted that process. A member of the EFF said that an impression should not be created that anyone was excluded from the submissions process. There had been several public hearings where the banking association or anyone else could have made their submissions. The matter was put aside as the meeting was procedurally out of order as the purpose of the meeting was to deliberate on the Public Participation Report.
The Committee Secretariat briefed Members on the Report on Public Participation on the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill. The report was the presentation of the views of the public on the Bill and their views outside of the Bill which related to section 25 of the Constitution in general. The report synthesized the views of the public and reflected these views as expressed in the submissions. The first chapter of the report was the introduction and overview of public participation. Chapter two dealt was a report on the written submissions. Chapter three was a report on the public hearings. This included an outline of attendance and responses of members of the public. A summary was also provided of the issues raised in the public hearings in all nine provinces.
It was agreed that the Committee should accept the report as a living resource document that could be worked on and use as a reference point. The Committee would adopt the report after the additions, in the next meeting. No new submissions would be made. Submissions would be allowed of the issued that had been raised in this meeting which parties wanted to elaborate on in writing. All the members could do was send their submissions to the Committee Secretariat. No discussions and no meetings would be allowed. The Committee agreed that the public hearings’ submissions should not be categorised according to a political party affiliation. Next week the Committee would then be able to adopt the report.
The Committee accepted the revised programme.
The Chairperson welcomed the members to the meeting. He said it was important to state from the outset that the quality of the process determined the quality of the product. When the Committee started this process it invited stakeholders to make inputs and encouraged them to be a part of the process. The Draft Amendment Bill which was gazetted to kick-start the process was a product of consensus among all of the members. This was commendable. When some of the members called for an extension for written submissions, Parliament did extend. It was through the Committee’s collaboration and participation that peaceful and successful public hearings were held. When the Committee met to consider the report on public hearings it was agreed without a vote to refer the consolidated report back for revision. The officials worked around the clock to produce and circulate the revised document. The Committee needed to commend Dr Thulisile Ganyaza-Twalo, Adv Vhonani Ramaano and all the Committee staff who took note of the concerns that were raised, addressed them and produced this report. This Committee had asked Mr Xaba to produce the input that he made which was accepted by all the members. Mr Xaba’s input became the input of this Committee and assisted the officials in doing their work. The officials had done sterling work. Today the Committee had a revised document. The purpose of the meeting was to consider the revised document. The members were free to raise the points they wanted to raise because the officials did the work. The product must be a product of this Committee. When members raised issues that they thought should be attended or not attended it was not a declaration of war against the officials. It was an engagement. He urged the members to engage in a constructive manner without casting aspersions on anyone or any official. The members were in this boat together and needed to work together peacefully. He handed over to the Committee Secretariat to do the presentation.
Ms T Mbabama (DA) raised a point of order. She first attended apologies for Prof Lotriet and Adv Breytenbach. She thanked the Committee Secretariat for assisting members in going through the submissions the previous week. She appreciated it. She asked whether the Committee would be afforded a chance to allow organisations who have made submissions to come in and do oral submissions as had been the case in the past? There were very substantive and comprehensive submissions from organisations such as The Banking Association of South Africa. She wanted to know if it was possible for the Committee to allow oral submissions because it was not in the programme.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Mbabama for acknowledging the work of the officials. He hoped the other members would also acknowledge and commend the work done by the officials. He discussed the matter of bringing in stakeholders to make oral submissions. The Committee had already received a letter from The Banking Association of South Africa. The Committee took the view that it was engaged in a process and this process had stages. The first stage was to invite all stakeholders to make inputs. There was an opportunity made available to all stakeholders to make inputs. The Bill was also gazetted and invited submissions. Stakeholders said that it was short notice, that it was the festive season and wanted an extension. Some of the political parties present in the meeting wanted an extension. Parliament allowed the extension. The Committee held public hearings. All stakeholders were invited to participate and that was part of the process. The Committee had reached a stage where the officials were to produce a consolidated report. The officials produced it, it was discussed and the Committee agreed that it must be revised. The officials cooperated and produced a revised report which was circulated. The Committee was at a stage where it did not want additional presentations because members of this Committee were literate, educated and experienced people. The members could read for themselves. He urged all members who wanted to read the submissions to read them. The members did not need to be tutored on the content of the submissions. He hoped that if the Committee were to discharge its responsibility timeously it could not have other public hearings in Parliament. The Committee had exhausted that process. Now it was time for the honourable members to consider the revised report today and if there were other revisions that needed to be done there was nothing wrong with members asking the officials to go and do the necessary so that the process was not stalled but moved forward. That was his input on the matter.
Mr C Mulder (FF+) said he understood what the Chairperson was saying. The Chairperson said that the Committee was at the point where it no longer wanted to hear any other inputs by stakeholders but he did not know if that was the position of the Committee or the Chairperson’s position. Some members were of the opinion that the Committee should allow institutions like The Banking Association of South Africa to present. He was not in agreement that the Committee should not allow people to come and make a presentation.
The Chairperson said that if the Committee allowed one group to present then where was going to be the cut-off point? If the Committee allowed The Banking Association of South Africa to present then it must allow CONTRALESA, the farmers’ associations, women’s organisations, youth organisations and associations of people living with disability. Where was the Committee going to stop? Parliament extended the life of this Committee on two occasions. The Committee could not go back to Parliament and ask to extend for another three months because the Committee wanted to hear people who have had an opportunity to be heard. If people did not take advantage of that opportunity to be heard, then that was a problem. It should console the members that the people Ms Mbabama and Mr Mulder were referring to had made written submissions which were available to members. The members were all literate people and could read for themselves. The Committee had very literate and competent officials who were able to analyse these submissions. He did not see the need for further public hearings now but he was not the Committee. He opened the matter to the members to engage with. His considered opinion was that the Committee was in stage two now to consider the report and to call Parliamentary Legal Services to address the Committee on matters of substance which relate to the amendment of the Bill and not another session of public hearings. That was his view but he was not the Committee. He left the matter in the hands of the Committee.
Ms R Lesoma (ANC) urged the Committee to agree with the Chairperson’s suggestion. There were organisations and individuals who had made their input to the Committee. That was in the first phase. The Committee even clarified the difference between the Sixth Parliament process and the Fifth Parliament Process. She reminded members that in times of public participation there were vehicles and some of those vehicles were intertwined. The Committee even extended the period of submissions because there was an outcry for an extension. The public hearings were highly advertised in all possible mediums to allow people to come and make their submissions. She agreed with the Chairperson and urged members to do the same. The Committee had not rushed any part of this process. The members were very patient with one another with time. She suggested that the Committee proceed with its programme because nobody had been excluded. The Committee was very fair in terms of ensuring each individual and the collective were given an opportunity to make submissions. She agreed with the proposal that the Chairperson made.
Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC) said that in the Chairperson’s opening remarks and his response to the concerns raised, he had cut short any possible confusion. It was true that the role of the Chairperson was to make sure that ‘the sheep do not go the wrong way’. The members could not afford to take another route. He discussed what it was that the Committee should avoid. This Committee needed to avoid dilly-dally by way of trying to buy time. It was unnecessary. He reiterated the point Ms Lesoma raised that space and time was given to all and sundry to register their submissions through oral or written formats. When people complained that not enough was done, extensions were given. The Committee would consider the concerns of the DA and the FF+ if the people they wanted to make oral submissions did not have their original submissions captured in the report. If that was the case it would have been a completely different situation. For the DA and FF+ to say that the process of public hearings needed to be opened again would be an insult to this Committee. He urged the members to be considerate and take this process seriously.
Mr F Shivambu (EFF) said that thus far the process had been open for all stakeholders to make oral and written submissions. All the submissions would be considered in finalising this process. There was currently no need to make special arrangements for anyone. The Committee would consider all the views that had been made in finalising the report and amending the Constitution to allow for repossession and expropriation of land without compensation. All the views that had been made would be considered. An impression should not be created that there has been anyone closed out of this process. There had been several public hearings where the banking association or anyone else could have made their submissions. The Committee had been open to written submissions and that had been considered. He did not think that the Committee should entertain any other submissions.
He said it should be exposed that there was an attempt from the white liberal political parties to delegitimise this particular process. Every time there was progress they would always raise objections because they want to delegitimise this process and make it seem like there was something wrong with this process. It was not even about the process itself. It was about the ideological conviction that they did not want to fulfil what was stated in 2018. The Constitutional Review Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee had been established to amend section 25 of the Constitution. It was not about the process it was about the ideological point of view and they were trying to abuse this platform, to frustrate it so that the Committee was unable to achieve what the majority of the progressive forces have agreed. He said that the issue raised should be noted and rejected.
Ms Mbabama raised a point of order. She said then when members of this Committee wanted to dispute something they should not put words into others’ mouths. She did not say that she wanted to delay the process. She was just following procedure and past precedence. The accusations that certain members were trying to delay the process should not be accepted. Nobody was trying to delay the process. All she wanted was to try to keep to the process and past precedence. She asked the Chairperson to protect the DA and FF+ from ‘these people’. Nobody was trying to delay anything. All she was doing was making sure that the Committee had exhausted public opinion on this matter. If the public wanted to come to Parliament, then the Committee should allow the public to come to Parliament.
The Chairperson said that last week in his opening remarks he said that in terms of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights there was freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of opinion. As a democratic Committee, operating under the Constitution, it should allow members to express their opinions. When an opinion was expressed it did not mean that an opinion has become law. At the end of the day the members needed to persuade one another, like it did in the past, to find a solution. He called for political tolerance. Members needed to tolerate that other people may have opinions which were different from themselves and that did not mean that those opinions should be suppressed. Members did not need to become agitated about this matter. He asked the Committee to accept that there was freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of speech and then the Committee would deliver on its mandate.
Ms Mbabama said she disagreed. Some members were casting aspersions on the DA and FF+. She was not trying to delay the process. That should be put on record.
Mr Shivambu asked how was that a point of order when it was a disagreement.
The Chairperson said that he should be left to deal with the situation. There was a difference between casting aspersions and expressing an opinion. Expressing an opinion was a constitutionally guaranteed right of all individuals. He said the Committee should leave the matter there and pursue the agenda of finding a consensus. This was not a DA process; it was not an ANC process or an EFF process. This was a South African process. The members were all in the same boat and needed to find a solution to the challenges facing the country.
Mr N Masipa (DA) said that the Chairperson’s opening remark was that the Committee encouraged stakeholders to make inputs into the Bill. He reminded the Chairperson that there was a well-established practice that even if public hearings were held in provinces that a further round of public hearings could be held at Parliament where those who made expert level submissions about the substance of the Bill in question were afforded the opportunity to make oral submissions. Denying this opportunity for organised stakeholders within the land space, like the banking sectors that have invested quite heavily in this land, was very unfair. The Chairperson would have to seriously reconsider this decision. It was the supreme law of the country that the Committee was dealing with. The Committee was not working on a small bill. The Committee was working with the supreme law of this country. His view was that the Committee needed to follow this practice and failure to do so was tantamount to constitutional delinquency. The Committee would fail the law and fail the people of South Africa in not doing that.
The Chairperson responded that the programme of this Committee was adopted unanimously. No one from the DA or from the Committee raised the need for further hearings for the stakeholders. As the Chairperson he had not introduced anything. He was carrying out the mandate of this Committee and nothing else. He did not believe that there was any unfairness. He did not believe there was any constitutional delinquency because he was implementing the decision of this Committee and carrying out the mandate of this Committee. He did not agree with Mr Masipa. He was not the Committee and would allow other members of the Committee to make remarks. On the balance of the contributions he would be guided by the consensus on this matter.
Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) appealed that the Chairperson guide the Committee. He was of the assumption that today the Committee was supposed to, according to the agenda, be dealing with the report and considering the report. It was his view that the Committee had given ample time for oral and written submissions. All stakeholders in South Africa, in every province, were afforded an opportunity to make their submissions in public hearings, orally, or to make written submissions to the Committee. It could not be accepted that once the Committee concluded that process it then wanted to open it up for the elitists who have the means to travel and get to Parliament to make second submissions. The masses of the people who were land hungry, who were poverty stricken had no such means of travelling to Parliament. A fair and transparent process was afforded to all the people of South Africa. He appealed that the Committee proceed with looking and considering the report. If the process was opened again the interfaith organisations would also want to make submissions to Parliament. Traditional leaders from all the provinces would send their representatives to Parliament to also make submissions. He appealed to members that the process of submissions, whether oral or written, has already been adhered to. Today’s programme was for the Committee to consider the report that has been tabled.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mandela. There were houses of traditional leaders, there were interfaith organisations, various religious councils and trade unions. Was the Committee going to open for all of these people? If the Committee did it meant that it would be starting the process afresh and all the work that has been made would count for nothing. He said that it was actually an unreasonable request.
Dr M Gondwe (DA) said that the DA was not trying to be difficult. There was a precedent in the Constitutional Review Committee where it started a process of calling for submitters to substantiate their written submissions. The DA was trying point out a precedent that had been set by the CRC process. In the processes around the NHI there was an opportunity for submitters to come in and substantiate their written submissions. The DA was asking that people or organisations who have made written submissions be given an opportunity to come in. In the past the bar was set very high for Parliament when it came to enabling public participation. To ensure that members of the public were able to participate in Parliament’s processes was one of Parliament’s mandates. This mandate needed to be enabled as far and as wide as possible. The DA was not trying to be difficult. A precedent had already been set with the CRC process. Those who have made written submissions should be allowed to come in and substantiate those written submissions. She wanted to know how many written submissions the Committee received? She wanted confirmation on that matter.
The Chairperson said that as leaders they had to be loyal to the decisions made. The Committee decided on the programme and at the moment was following its decision. The Committee needed to be loyal to that decision. According to that decision the Committee was to consider the revised report. This was what the Committee needed to do. Wanting to know how many written submissions were made was a legitimate request but that request could not be entertained in this meeting because Adv Ramaano was providing secretarial assistance to this Committee and could not go back to the office and count the number of submissions. He asked the members to agree to be loyal to their decisions. He was not imposing anything as the Chairperson. He was simply implementing the decisions of this Committee. He would remain loyal to the decisions of this Committee.
Mr S Gumede (ANC) agreed with the views shared by the other members of the Committee. When the process started people had options. People could either submit a written report or go to the public hearings and express their views. People could have benefited from both processes. He did know the reason why people would then, after all the processes were completed, want to come back and be heard again. There was a temptation as people would begin to say things that were not part of the reports that they submitted. People may begin to reinvent the reports or the submissions that they had submitted. It may not be a good idea to accept people that had submitted. The Chairperson was correct because that would mean that Parliament had to open up and invite all others who made submissions to make a presentation. The Committee was in the process of considering the report. The Committee had not even started considering the report. The Chairperson had been interrupted. The Committee was discussing an item that was not even a part of the agenda. The person who raised this issue should have requested that the Chairperson consider including an item to discuss this issue that the Committee was discussing. The Committee had taken almost an hour discussing an item that was not part of the agenda. He suggested that the Committee get back to the agenda and for this item to be put aside. This item was not part of the agenda. If it was perhaps raised during the process of discussing the report it would have been better understood. For now, it came from nowhere and it was not part of the process. It was taking the Committee’s time.
The Chairperson said that Mr Gumede was right. The meeting was out of order. He had allowed members to make remarks because he did not want to be accused of making himself the Committee. He fully agreed with Mr Gumede that the meeting was out of order. This matter was not on the agenda. What was on the agenda was the consideration of the report. He would allow a few other members to make remarks and then he would make a ruling because the meeting needed to proceed. There was sufficient consensus that the Committee must proceed according to the agenda. He was tolerant of the deviation in the meeting which was procedurally wrong.
Dr Mulder responded to the matters that had been discussed. The Chairperson said that the Committee had a deadline set by Parliament. He understood that but surely when the Committee was dealing with an amendment to the Constitution a date set by Parliament should not be the ultimate judge on whether the process that amended the Constitution was technically correct. The second point the Chairperson made was that if the Committee allowed the banking association to make a presentation then what about the other institutions that would like to make a presentation to the Committee? He agreed with the Chairperson. There was a precedent in Parliament, from the First Parliament to the Sixth Parliament, on how these issues were dealt with. Even after accepting written submissions organisations would request the opportunity to come and give evidence in front of the Committee. The organisations would not only like to explain because in a written submission sometimes they only gave certain points so then they were able to elaborate and explain their position. The Chairperson said the Committee could not deal with that because it was sticking to the schedule. Some organisations had requested to give oral evidence in front of the Committee. That was the development that the Committee needed to take into consideration. In the past Committees would draw up a list of people requesting to give oral evidence and then the Committee would discuss that. The Committee would then decide who would be allowed to submit oral evidence from the whole spectrum of society. He was absolutely in favour of that idea and had no problem with that. The problem was if the Chairperson was not going to allow the Committee to accept oral evidence, as the organisations had requested, it would set a new precedent. It would be the first time a Committee, this time dealing with the Constitution, made a decision that it was not going to allow people who had asked to give oral evidence the opportunity to present. He pleaded with the Chairperson to make the oral submissions possible. He pleaded with the Chairperson to look into the process and how the Committee could achieve that. He heard the Chairperson say he would make a ruling on sufficient consensus. He did not accept sufficient consensus. If the Chairperson wanted to take a decision that the Committee would not allow people to give oral evidence, then the political parties should be allowed to indicate their view through a vote. He felt very strongly against the Chairperson’s proposal. The Chairperson was setting a very bad example in terms of the whole process. The Committee was amending the Constitution and the courts had set a very high bar of public participation. If the Committee decided that it was not going to allow organisations to submit oral evidence, then it would run the risk of failing the perceived law at this stage and the precedent that Parliament had set itself. The Chairperson said that the members should allow for freedom of expression and for freedom of speech. He accepted that. He took very strong exception to Mr Shivambu. He found it very strange that the EFF was incapable of looking at the world through any other glasses but through racist glasses. To refer to white parties was a racist statement. It was amazing to him that the EFF’s outdated, failed socialist policies were said to be progressive. Their policies were not progressive. They were archaic. He proposed that the Committee allow people to come to Parliament, those organisations who asked, to give oral evidence. He formally proposed that the Committee did that.
The Chairperson agreed with Dr Mulder that deadlines by Parliament were not the alpha and omega. That was why Parliament has been tolerant and gave the Committee two extensions. The Committee should not abuse Parliament by failure to be loyal to its decisions. In this meeting the Committee was supposed to implement its own decision to adopt a programme. The Committee was following a programme that was unanimously agreed to. The Committee should not address a need that has not arisen. This need to hear additional voices has not actually arisen. The only request the Committee received was from The Banking Association of South Africa. The Committee should move on and deal with the report, listen to the Parliamentary Legal Services and then the Committee could review the situation. At the moment there was no basis to review the situation and the Committee should proceed. Mr Shivambu spoke about liberalism. Liberalism was an ideology that was known and exists. There were black or African liberals and white liberals. When one referred to liberals then that was not racist. The Committee should not go down that route. He appealed to Mr Shivambu not to entertain that because he had not made any racist insinuations or suggestions.
Dr Mulder raised a point of order. He said the Chairperson was wrong. Mr Shivambu specifically referred to whites. He referred to whites and that was a racist statement and he objected to that.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should allow the Chairperson to address the matter. In South Africa people talk about white and black people. Mr Shivambu did not create white society or black society. There were black liberals and white liberals. The Committee needed to meet on another day to discuss the politics of race but not in the current meeting. Mr Shivambu was not dealing with race.
Mr Shivambu said that a political party with 100% white people did not want to be referred to as a white party. That was okay it would be discussed on a separate occasion. He added that Dr Mulder was not a member of this Committee and could not instruct the Committee.
Dr Mulder said that he was a member of the Committee and that Mr Shivambu should wake up.
Mr Shivambu said that he was speaking and that he should be allowed to speak.
The Chairperson said that when he addressed the meeting last week he said that even if members did not agree with other members that everyone should be allowed to finish what they wanted to say. Everyone had their own opinion and they were entitled to it.
Mr Masipa raised a point of order. He asked the Chairperson to run this meeting properly. The members should speak through the Chairperson and not directly to one another. Otherwise the Committee would not get to the business of the day.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Masipa. He recognised Mr Shivambu. He asked the members to let Mr Shivambu finish what he wanted to say. Mr Shivambu had the right to express his own opinion.
Mr Shivambu said he was emphasising the fact that an impression must not be created that this process has not been consultative and that it had not exhausted the consultation process. The Committee was here because of the first Parliamentary resolution that established the Constitutional Review Committee. The Committee listened to people in communities and received oral presentations. After the Constitutional Review Report was adopted there was a specific resolution by Parliament about what the mandate was of this Committee. The Committee went back to the communities and dealt with the same question that was dealt with by the Constitutional Review Committee. There has never been, since 1994, a thorough and deeper consultation process than this process has been defined. There has never been any other legislation or Constitutional amendment that has had such an extensive consultation process. An impression must never be created that there was never consultation. It had been exhausted. The Committee knew everyone’s stance and view. Even the banking association came to the Constitutional Review submissions and made their submissions. The Committee knew what it wanted to repeat. It already made an oral submission and written submission. The Committee was not closing out anyone’s view in this process. The Committee had an obligation now, as elected representatives, to take a decision on what must be the way forward. The Committee had listened to all the perspectives. The Committee needed to finalise this particular process so that the Constitution could be amended. The Committee did not need to tip-toe around that fact to please minorities’ insecurities. It was not the Committee’s obligation. If people were insecure it was their own challenge. The Committee needed to finalise this process, take it to its logical conclusion and leave the racists out of this process.
Mr Mandela reiterated that the Committee could not open a separate platform for the elitist society in South Africa. The process of public hearings, receiving oral submissions as well as written submissions was open for all citizens of the country. Just because a public hearing was set in Hammanskraal does not mean that the elitist banking society of Pretoria could not go to Hammanskraal. That was a location that was decided upon by Parliament and everyone was afforded an equal opportunity to come and present. This Committee could not separately afford an opportunity for the elitists in South Africa to have their own process which was separate from the masses of the South African people. He called the members to order and ensure that the Committee committed to an equal opportunity for all the interests of the South African people. He strongly objected, after having done the work that was needed to be done, to the Committee opening a separate platform for those that could afford to come to Parliament in their private jets and leave the masses of people in the country who also wanted to give a second oral submission. This process had been exhausted by the Committee. He pleaded with the Chairperson that the Committee proceed with the business of the day that being the consideration of the report.
The Chairperson said that he was not going to make a ruling on the basis of a vote or on the basis of sufficient consensus. He wanted to make a ruling on the basis of procedure. Mr Gumede had pointed out that the meeting was actually out of order. No members suggested that the meeting’s agenda be amended to deal with any other matter other than the consideration of the report. He had a responsibility to be loyal to the Committee’s decisions. The Committee’s decision was that today it would be considering the report. He was not imposing his view or anything. He invited Dr Thulisile Ganyaza-Twalo to present the report.
Briefing on the Committee Report on public participation
Dr Thulisile Ganyaza-Twalo, Parliamentary Content Adviser, briefed the Committee on the Report on Public Participation on the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill. The report was the presentation of the views of the public on the Bill and their views outside of the Bill but which relates to section 25 of the Constitution in general. The report synthesizes the views of the public and reflects these views as expressed in the submissions. No form of analysis of the views of the public was done in this report. Instead, the extracts from the submissions were reflected in this report. Selected paragraphs were referenced as requested by the Committee in the meeting of 19 February 2021. The Committee officials were asked last week to amend the report according to the issues that had been raised in the Committee. Mr Xaba was also asked to make a presentation to the Committee staff and there had been an engagement. The first chapter of the report was the introduction and overview of public participation. Chapter two dealt was a report on the written submissions. Chapter three was a report on the public hearings. This included an outline of attendance and responses of members of the public. A summary was also provided of the issues raised in the public hearings in all nine provinces.
The Chairperson said the first thing to consider is whether or not the revised report addressed the concerns that the Committee had. The second thing to consider was whether the Committee was going to look through the report paragraph by paragraph until the end. He asked if the members were satisfied that the officials had revised the report according to the Committee’s recommendations?
Ms Lesoma welcomed the good work that had been done by the administration. She appreciated the written submission on the presentation in response to the report that was made by Mr Xaba. She said the report did reflect the concerns raised by the Committee. She appreciated the work that had been done.
Mr V Xaba (ANC) confirmed said that after the meeting where the Committee made suggestions on the report the administration, led by Dr Ganyaza-Twalo, looked at the presentations and revised the report. He confirmed that the report did take into account the concerns raised by the Committee. The Committee could now look at other matters like drafting the report.
Mr Mandela welcomed the report that was before the Committee. He had read through the presentation that had been given to the Committee. He wanted to highlight two issues with oral submissions and written submissions. He began to discuss the public hearings that the Committee attended.
The Chairperson said that he wanted the members to first answer the first question: whether or not the administration had done what they were requested to do by the Committee? Once that matter was settled the Committee would deal with the issues that wanted to be raised on the report.
Mr Mandela said he supported what the previous members had said.
The Chairperson asked if there was any member of the Committee who thought the administration had not done what it was requested to do. There was no hand raised. That meant the administration had carried out the decision of this Committee and produced a revised report that was acceptable. He said the next question was how did the Committee go about dealing with the report. Should the Committee do it paragraph by paragraph and highlight the shortcomings of the report?
Mr Mandela raised his suggestions for the report. He discussed what he saw lacking in the report. He raised two issues. The first related to traditional leaders. During the public hearings traditional leaders throughout the country utilised the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders and the National House of Traditional Leaders as well as CONTRALESA. Some traditional leaders came before the public hearings. In Witbank the Amandebele made a submission that while the Committee was dealing with the amendment to section 25, expropriation of land without compensation, they wanted to make sure that the land of the Amandebele was returned to them. He wanted that oral and written submission to be reflected in the report. He discussed attending public hearings in the Western Cape where a number of San and Khoi descendants, commonly referred to as Abatwa, made oral submissions. They said that they were one of the first peoples to witness the brutality of land dispossession as early as 1655. He pointed out that that submission had not been recorded in the oral and written submissions of the report. He wanted that matter to be noted.
Ms Lesoma said she wanted to respond to the question of how the Committee should navigate the report. The Committee should go page by page through the report and see where the Committee could include that points that Mr Mandela raised. The points he raised could probably be included in chapter three and chapter four. The Committee needed to satisfy itself that it went through the entire report in this meeting.
The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to be meticulous and thorough in dealing with the revised report. He suggested that the Committee go through the report page by page.
The Chairperson proceed to go through the report.
Mr Mandela said that the issues he raised should be located within the public hearing section.
Mr Shivambu raised a question on page 19 of the report which was the conclusion of chapter two. The conclusion stated that ‘the whole process elicited more than 200 000 submissions’. He wanted to know if that was the correct number? He said that people would use that number to try and delegitimise the process.
Adv Ramaano confirmed that it was an accurate reflection of the number of written submissions received.
Ms Mbabama had a question on the same point. She said the sentence said ‘the whole process elicited more than 200 000 submissions’. It could not be said that this was an accurate number when it said ‘more than’. It was not an exact number and she hoped Adv Ramaano would give the Committee the exact number. This number came from Adv Breytenbach who was working with him with the submissions.
The Chairperson said there was no train smash. It was correct to say ‘more than’ because it was not an exact number. The Committee could not expect Adv Ramaano to now, in this meeting, go and verify the exact number.
Ms Mbabama said that she did not ask Adv Ramaano to verify the number. This was based on what was agreed between him and Adv Breytenbach. She said Adv Ramaano should clarify himself because the Chairperson was not there.
The Chairperson said that the meeting of Adv Breytenbach and Adv Ramaano did not inform this report. The Committee needed to give Adv Ramaano an opportunity to make sure what the exact number was. That could not be done in this meeting. He agreed with Ms Mbabama that the Committee needed an exact number but for the purposes of this meeting the Committee should accept that there were more than 200 000 submissions. The Committee needed the exact number.
Adv Ramaano confirmed that he discussed the number of submissions with Adv Breytenbach and there was no agreement that he had to have the exact number in today’s meeting. He would provide the number at a later stage as he was still tallying the number of submissions.
The Chairperson said that was a reasonable explanation. This number of submissions raised the question that if the Committee wanted to call people to Parliament was it going to call on more than 200 000 people? Was that reasonable? Was it doable? He was not opening the matter up for discussion. He was just making an observation.
Ms Lesoma said that the issue raised by Mr Mandela could be included on page 24 of the report which discussed the oral submissions received which were noteworthy.
Ms Mbabama raised an amendment on page 34 of the report under ‘Key Proposals to Amendment Bill’. The proposals by the DA were not included. She felt that the DA did make some proposals for amendments.
Ms Lesoma made a comment. She assumed that where the report discussed submissions that it reflected the political party submissions taken directly from the written submissions that were submitted. She wanted confirmation on that matter. She wanted to make sure there was no rewriting or the correcting of English. She wanted confirmation that the administration took the written submissions directly from the political parties’ submissions and that no corrections had been made.
Dr Ganyaza-Twalo responded that the administration had not edited any of the information received.
Dr Gondwe raised a concern with bullet number seven under ‘Arguments Rejecting the Amendment Bill’ on page 50 of the report. She said there was not consistency within the report. In certain parts of the report it stated arguments supporting and arguments against the Bill. She wanted there to be consistency in the subheadings. In bullet number seven reference was also made to the skilling of people in order to work the land and a skills transfer happening. This submission came from Agri Limpopo during a public hearing in being held in Makwarela Community Hall. During the hearing a member of Agri Limpopo raised an objection of the hearing being held in Thomo because there was very little agricultural activity in Thomo. She said that very little land lied in private hands. She asked the Committee why the public hearing was being held there instead of Waterberg. Dr Gondwe wanted that to be noted in the report.
The Chairperson asked the members if there were any comments on what had been raised.
Ms Mbabama asked if the Chairperson was asking the other members of the Committee to confirm what Dr Gondwe had said or was he asking the members of the administration if they could incorporate what Dr Gondwe had raised. She did not understand.
The Chairperson replied that he was asking the members of the administration. The Committee was raising issues that had not been captured or not captured properly in the report. He said the matter would be left with the administration to attend to.
Dr Gondwe said she was happy to have the administration listen to the recording of the meeting and pick up on the matter raised. It was the public hearing that was held in Thomo Community Hall. She distinctly remembered Agri Limpopo raising this issue.
The Committee Secretariat indicated to Mr Mandela that his point about the Amandebele’s submission had already been included in the report. It had been adequately covered in the report.
Dr Gondwe raised a point under bullet two of the Mpumalanga public hearings ‘Summary of Key Reasons for not Supporting the Bill’ on page 55 of the report. She did not think that the point clearly indicated what was said. It was an oral submission made by Mpumalanga Agriculture. The point made was that 90 to 95% of farmers used their land as collateral when securing production loans from banks and cooperatives. If land was expropriated without compensation these farmers would not be able to secure these production loans and would owe banks and cooperatives. She was concerned that the way it was captured in the report did not articulate that point. The majority of farmers used their land as collateral when securing loans. If land was expropriated these farmers would find themselves in a situation where they were not able to secure loans and owe banks and cooperatives. She also had two corrections to make under the public hearings in the North-West. One submission was made on behalf of Afriforum stating that land grabbing and not paying for it was tantamount to theft. Afriforum also made the point that the State owned a quarter of all agricultural land and that they were not against land reform but were against land grabs. If land was seized without paying for it the country would experience lower economic growth. She did not see this point included. An oral submission was made in Potchefstroom that the State owned two million hectares of land and that if there was going to be any redistribution of land it should start with that land. The point was made that land redistribution could happen without having to amend the Constitution. She raised an issue under the Western Cape public hearings under bullet point number four. A submitter in Mossel Bay said that there was a fear that not only would land be expropriated but also people’s property. The Committee officials needed to see if they picked that up on the recording as well. She then discussed bullet point number five. The submitter of this particular oral submission indicated that the majority of land claimants opted for money rather than land and stated that the majority of land claims were in respect of urban and not rural land.
Ms Lesoma raised an amendment on the conclusion of the report. The sentence said that the ‘report on public hearings adequately captures the views of the public’. She suggested to the Committee that the choice of words created a problem. She suggested that the sentence should say that the report ‘seeks to capture the views of the public’. If it adequately captured the views of the public, then no corrections would have been made to the report.
Dr Mulder made a general statement on the report. The report said that it was a ‘Report On Public Participation on the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill’ and then it dealt with all the various aspects. Public participation included written submissions as well as public hearings. He had a problem with the part of the report that dealt with public hearings. Throughout the process it went into the details of people representing political parties. For example, it stated that ANC members made the following points or EFF members made the following points. His problem was that other political parties made use of written submissions. For example, the FF+ submitted an extensive written submission. In the part of the report that dealt with written submissions it did not refer to the political parties that made written submissions and their points of view. If one looked at the report in its totality, then it should either refer and accept that different political parties made submissions and that it should be recognised in the written submissions. It should not be a case where recognition was given to certain political parties that made their points of view and not acknowledging other parties. On page 25 of the report it dealt with the public hearings and lists the submissions made during those hearings by the public. It then gave a schedule of the total public hearing submissions that were made. It indicated those submissions that were for and against the Bill. The same thing should be done with the written submissions. The report needed the exact number of written submissions. The report also needed to indicate how many written submissions were in favour and how many were against the Bill.
The Chairperson said that Dr Mulder was right. It was also connected to the question of consistency. The administration had noted his point and would address those issues. The Committee had the following options. The first option was to adopt the report subject to additions that had been suggested. Or there was the option to adopt the report after those additions have been made. He asked the Committee what option it preferred?
Ms Mbabama recommended that the Committee choose option two and adopt the report after the additions had been made. The reason why she said that was because some of the members needed to go back to their notes especially on the point that was raised by herself and Dr Mulder in cases where other political parties were not quoted in the report. She recommended that the Committee wait until all the inputs have been made before adopting the report. She asked the Chairperson if the members would be allowed to talk to the Secretariat directly. She was worried that next time the Committee sat down and she came in with a new point that had to be added to the report that there might be objections from some of the members to say it was not raised previously. She suggested that the Committee adopt the report after all the submissions by the members had been done.
The Chairperson said that as soon as the Committee allowed members to talk to the administration it may become undue influence. Members of the administration were professionals. They had professional integrity and had to protect the integrity of the institution. The contact that the Chairperson had authorised was if members went to the administration to access information but not to discuss the formulation of the information or anything like that. As far as additions and formulations were concerned all those things must be raised in the meeting like now and that was sufficient. There should not be any discussions with the administration. It may compromise their professional integrity, the integrity of the institution and may raise suspicions that some members had prevailed over the administration. He did not want to put the administration in such a difficult situation which may become unethical conduct.
Ms Mbabama agreed with the Chairperson. She asked that the Committee be allowed to make submissions for changes in the next meeting.
Mr Shivambu raised a point of order. He said that a dialogue should not be allowed. This was not only Ms Mbabama’s meeting. There was a Chairperson who was presiding over the meeting. The Chairperson should be allowed to Chair the meeting. Mr Shivambu said Ms Mbabama should shut up and listen to what the Chairperson was saying.
Ms Mbabama said that Mr Shivambu must shut up and called him kwedini.
The Chairperson said that the members had done very well until now. He asked that the members continue on that note.
Ms Lesoma said that the Committee should accept the report as a living resource document that the Committee could work on and use as a reference point. She qualified why she used the word accept instead of adopt. In the next meeting the Committee would be dealing with the actual text. Amending the actual text was the most important and the Committee should not be impeded in doing that. She suggested that the Committee accept the report as a living resource document that can be used. That would allow and afford members to say whether they wanted to include something into the report.
Mr Gumede recommended that the Chairperson allow all the parties an opportunity to submit issues and matters that were discussed today to the officials for them to amend accordingly. It must be things that were discussed about the report and not a completely new item.
The Chairperson agreed that by interacting with officials the members would use the issues that were raised in this meeting, formulate them and submit them to Adv Ramaano. There should be no discussion involved in the interaction. It must be a submission only. He thanked Mr Gumede for his suggestion. It was helpful.
Ms Mbabama said it was so strange because she was saying the exact same thing and now it was accepted.
The Chairperson said that Ms Mbabama was saying the same thing but that she had an altercation with another member and he could not hear properly.
Ms Mbabama said that there was favouritism happening in the meeting. She said exactly the same thing that Mr Gumede said. This was favouritism.
Ms N Ntobongwana (ANC) said that order needed to be raised in the meeting or the Chairperson could kick Ms Mbabama out of the meeting. The members could not continue listening to hear all the time. She had to raise her hand like the other members. The meeting could not continue like this.
Ms Mbabama said that the other members did not raise their hand because they said whatever they wanted. She said the Chairperson could kick her out of the meeting if he wanted to.
The Chairperson said he was speaking and urged for calm. Ms Mbabama had correctly asked if the members could interact with the administration. Mr Gumede also asked if the members could interact with the administration. Such interaction should be limited to a submission and elaboration of what was raised in the meeting. He was happy that Ms Mbabama and Mr Gumede agree. There was no issue.
Ms Mbabama interjected and said that it was only allowed after Mr Gumede said it. After she raised the point the Chairperson said no. She said that the Chairperson was biased.
The Chairperson said that that was her opinion.
Mr Gumede said that the Chairperson did not say no to her.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Gumede that he did not say no to Ms Mbabama. He just allowed other members to make contributions.
Ms Mbabama said that she would get the recording.
The Chairperson said that was fine and that she was entitled to listen to the recording. He asked that the members not fight.
Ms Ntobongwana raised a point of order. The members have listened and continued to listen to Ms Mbabama disrespect this Committee. Ms Mbabama had disrespected the Chairperson. Ms Mbabama even went on to called Mr Shivambu a kwedini. The way Ms Mbabama was behaving in this Committee was wrong and was out of order.
The Chairperson said to the members that the only thing that qualified them to be honourable was self-respect and the respect for others. Once the members ceased to respect themselves and respect others then they were not qualified to be honourable members. Moving forward it should be agreed that the house rule was self-respect and respect for others. That meant that shouting at other members was unacceptable and using derogatory language was unacceptable. The members were public representatives. If the members did not respect one another then how would the members even respect the public. The platform that the members were using was not their platform. The members were given the platform by the public to use advance their interests and not the egos of members.
Mr Shivambu said that the members needed the necessary composure and must not be agitated by provocateurs. The intention was clear that stooges had been hired to try draw attention away from this process.
He made an observation of the entire report. He did not think, after reflecting on the public hearings, that the Committee should categorise the submissions as political party submissions. Those people who were participating in the public hearings were participating as members of the public. They could have been wearing political party regalia but the Committee could not even verify if they were members of those organisations because wearing regalia of an organisation did not mean anything. The Committee needed to deal with the content of the dominant submissions that were made in all the provinces that were visited. There was a stage in the Parliamentary discussions where political parties made their own submissions. When the Committee dealt with that section that detailed with the deliberations in the Parliamentary discussions then that that could be attributed to political parties. Those were the official submissions of political parties which detailed their respective views on the amendment. Instead of adding what was said in the public hearings to political party submissions it should be consider submissions made by members of the public. The Committee could then reflect on the content of what was raised. The Committee could then adopt the report based on the content of what was raised. The submissions of the members of the public should not be stratified into political parties. He urged the Committee to not entertain the agent provocateurs. It was mostly self-hating people who had been hired by the establishment to disrupt this process. He said it was foolish girls who were trying to take the Committee for a ride.
The Chairperson asked the members to express themselves on this proposal by Mr Shivambu. He wanted to make a ruling on it and said that it was a very important point made. It was a valuable point.
Ms K Mahlatsi (ANC) voiced her appreciation of the Chairperson’s composure in managing this Committee. She believed that the members of the Committee ought to behave in an appropriate manner befitting the stature of the responsibility given to them. The shouting and the screaming on this particular platform did not go over well with society especially since this Committee was dealing with the profound issue of land. She thanked the Chairperson for steering the Committee quite well under difficult circumstances. She supported the view of Ms Lesoma in relation to the report being a living document that might not be adopted today. Inputs should be allowed to come through. That process of allowing inputs to come through must not stop the Committee’s programme and what was expected of this Committee. She supported the Chairperson’s view the Committee should not allow members to interact, in the manner the Chairperson mentioned, with the administration in order to safeguard the integrity of the process, of the Committee and the professionalism of the administration. If the members wanted to submit to the administration, then they should submit. The submissions made must be in line with what has been discussed in this meeting. No new things which may have not arisen in this meeting may be submitted.
She also discussed the point raised by Mr Shivambu. She agreed with his proposal. It was not about the political affiliation of the members of the public or what regalia they were wearing. It was about the members of society. She supported the view that where the political parties submitted their views they should be classified as such during the formal submissions. The public hearings should not be classified into political parties because it was members of the public who had participated in this particular programme.
Mr Masipa made a few observations. He said that the Chairperson needed to manage this meeting better and show his impartiality. The frustration coming from Ms Mbabama was because the Chairperson was not showing impartiality in making the inputs. He felt that sometimes the view had to come from a certain political party for the Chairperson to actually support it. The Chairperson needed to be made aware of that.
He then made an input on the report going forward. He felt that the written submissions were not dealt with in the same way as the oral submissions and this should not be accepted. If left in the current format the further deliberation would largely be ignoring the content of the written submissions. The report was problematic in that it worked largely from assumptions. This Committee and Parliament was under an obligation based on the resolution underpinning the establishment and work of section 25 Ad Hoc Committee to amend the Constitution. From a legal position this was not right. The resolution that led to the establishment of the section 25 Ad Hoc Committee was neither final nor instructive in nature. Anyone arguing to the contrary should read the judgement about the instruction of the Public Protector to Parliament. It was well within the authority of this Committee to report to the National Assembly that it had found that no Constitutional amendment was necessary in order for land reform or restitution. The way the resolution was phrased made it clear that this Committee was to initiate a process that may result in the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution. It was unacceptable that the point of departure of the draft report was that the purpose of the Committee was to amend the Constitution. The purpose of the public hearing was to hear the view of the public on how the Constitution was to be amended. In this regard it was also problematic that it would seem, on the basis of the draft report, that the Committee was to take into consideration all proposals for amendments that was not strictly aimed at the nil compensation issue on which the Parliamentary resolution ruled and the broader issues of section 25. He argued that the Constitutional amendment was not necessary to allow for either nil compensation, or to enable land reform or land redistribution. The report, in the view of the DA, should be improved to deal with all proposals and submissions in a fair manner. He agreed that this should not be a political report but that it should be a public report.
The Chairperson responded that he was taught by the likes of former President Kgalema Motlanthe. When one chaired a meeting one must not take sides. One needed to listen to arguments and opt for superior arguments. A Chairperson needed to allow himself to be persuaded. He was entitled to be persuaded. If he was persuaded by a member of the EFF and that member’s argument was superior to the argument of the ANC, he would accept the argument of the EFF. He was not the Chairperson to promote one political party above another. He had a Constitutional obligation to treat all members with equal rights and duties in this meeting. He would not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their membership to a political party.
Mr Xaba said that this meeting reaffirmed three cardinal principles. The first was that the Committee needed to, at all times, protect the integrity of the support staff. The second was that the Committee needed to protect the integrity of the institution that both the staff and the members represent. The third was that the Committee needed to protect the integrity of the process. Those were fundamental principles that the Committee needed to uphold at all times because they were at the centre of the process that the Committee was embarking upon. He said it was unfair for the members to impugn the impartiality of the Chairperson when it was those members who were disrespecting the rules of this meeting. He did not know how many times the Chairperson tried to call them to order. At times the meeting nearly degenerated. It was absolutely uncalled for members to behave in such a manner.
He supported the point raised by Mr Shivambu. During the public hearings no one stood up saying that they were representing the EFF. Individuals were making presentations as members of the public regardless of their political affiliation. Nobody was asked who they made the presentation on behalf of. That a person wore political party regalia did not necessarily mean that they were expressing a view on behalf of that political party. He said that there was the issue of being authorised to speak on behalf of a political party. He could not speak on behalf of the political party if he was not authorised to speak on its behalf. In the event where a person said they were presenting their political party, implying that they had the necessary authorisation to speak on behalf of the political party, that needed to be recorded as such. Those two needed to be separated. When an individual said they were representing a political party then it should be recorded as such. But where people were contributing as members of society then they should not be ‘discriminated’ from other members of public who were not wearing any political regalia who stated views which could easily be associated with a political party. There had to be consistency on that matter. He supported both the contributions made by Mr Shivambu and Ms Mahlatsi. He said that there were two options for the Committee concerning the report. The first option was to accept the report subject to the proposed amendments. In this meeting none of the members preferred that option. Some amendments were substantive. The second option was preferred by the discussions in the meeting. The Committee must accept the report after the amendments were incorporated. That could only happen at the next meeting of this Committee. The staff would come back and say that at the last Committee meeting these were the proposed amendments and it would be put to the Committee to accept or reject whether it correctly captured what was discussed in the last meeting. The Chairperson then said that between now and the next meeting members be granted an opportunity to elaborate on the issues that they raised in today’s meeting. The Chairperson was not opening up for new issues otherwise it would unravel the discussions that the Committee had so far. All the issues raised today were welcomed as matters that must be incorporated in the report. If the Committee allowed a different process, then members would be presented with issues that they would be hearing for the first time. It would set this Committee back. The members needed to move forward with this very sensitive responsibility. He hoped that the members would offer the Chairperson maximum cooperation and respect the rules of any meeting.
Ms Ntobongwana emphasised that submissions that would be sent to the officials should not be new issues or things that were not part of the recordings. The administration needed to be mindful of that. Members should not be allowed to bring new contributions that was not said in any meeting. She supported what Ms Lesoma raised.
The Chairperson repeated that as the Chairperson he would be guided by superior arguments. He would remain open for persuasion. He could not discriminate against any party in this meeting because every member of Parliament was there because they were voted by the South African people. The South African people needed to be respected as a whole regardless of their political affiliation. Where the Committee suspected that he was out of order the Committee should raise it and he would not be offended. He did not represent himself. He represented Parliament. He was put in this position by Parliament. He thanked Mr Xaba for restating the fundamental principles. Principles of integrity of the process, of the institution, and the integrity of the support staff. If the Committee Members violated those principles, then the members did not deserve to be members of Parliament. In this discussion something had been demonstrated. Mr Shivambu raised an issue about not categorising people by political party membership. He was persuaded but he did not accept the view then. He wanted other speakers to comment on that matter. Ms Mahlatsi supported Mr Shivambu. Mr Xaba supported Mr Shivambu. This meant that Mr Shivambu advanced a superior argument which persuaded other members regardless of their political parties. This is what the Committee should do. Members should persuade one another regardless of political affiliation because when South Africans look at this institution they were not looking at individual political parties. They say ‘our Parliament’. Parliament alone was not the ANC, DA or IFP. Parliament was the Parliament of the people of South Africa. The integrity of Parliament and its members were paramount. He was happy that all the members accepted what Ms Lesoma proposed.
Ms Mbabama raised a point of order.
The Chairperson said that he said proceed and recognised her. What was the problem?
Ms Mbabama said that her hand was up before Mr Xaba. She asked if she could respond to what had been proposed by Mr Shivambu and Ms Mahlatsi. She said that the Committee should not play with semantics. Whether a person said it was authorised by the DA or speaking on behalf of the DA should not make any difference. The Committee was looking at a report of what happened during the public hearings. If a person stood up and parroted the same thing on and on it meant that that person has been instructed. If people were talking in their individual capacity, then surely there would have been differences in their submissions. She was talking directly to the submission of the EFF. Most of the people who spoke on behalf of their political party said so. If the Committee said that the report was a reflection of what happened on the ground, then it must be a reflection of what happened on the ground. She objected strongly to the view that that needed to be changed in the report.
Ms Mahlatsi was opposed to what Ms Mbabama said about people being instructed to speak. Did Ms Mbabama have any evidence of what she was insinuating in this meeting? She said Ms Mbabama needed to substantiate what she said.
Ms Mbabama said that she did have the evidence if Ms Mahlatsi wanted it.
The Chairperson said that Mr Shivambu indicated that there was no way the Committee could confirm that when people were wearing the regalia of a political party that what they said was necessarily from that political party. He said that members of political parties had a forum in Parliament to address these issues. When the Committee attended public hearings it said that it wanted to listen to the public. In his view Mr Shivambu, as supported by Ms Mahlatsi and Mr Xaba, was correct. Saying that political parties were the ones who presented in the public hearings would defeat the purpose of holding public hearings. The fact is that some political parties were on the ground and interacted with people and the people like their submissions. The people then come to the public hearings and repeat the submissions of those political parties. It was a credit to those political parties to show that they were in touch with the people and able to influence the people. That could not be held against the parties. He said that the discussions should be put aside and that it was out of order. The position that has emerged from this meeting was that the Committee could not reflect the outcomes of the public hearings according to political parties because the Committee was not going there to listen to political parties but to the public.
Ms Mbabama said that her hand was still raised and wanted to be recognised. On behalf of the DA she submitted her strong objection to this decision. The report was supposed to be a report of what happened on the ground. People had actually stood up and said, and she was not talking about regalia, that they were talking on behalf of the EFF. Some of the people said that they were talking on behalf of the ANC. Others said that they belong to the DA and provided the view of the DA. People did not say that they were speaking out of their own personal capacity. She felt that the Chairperson’s decision was wrong. She wanted the DA’s objection and position to be included in the minutes. She said that the Chairperson was absolutely wrong.
The Chairperson said that members of political parties had the right to speak but that did not make them public hearings. He was not persuaded by what Ms Mbabama said.
Ms Mbabama asked that her objection be noted. She wanted the Chairperson to note the objection in the minutes of the meeting.
The Chairperson said that this was a democratic process. The Committee did not rush to note things. It was important to listen to everybody and see what the balance of evidence was. He said Ms Mbabama must not rush him to note things before he listened to other people.
Mr Shivambu suggested that the Chairperson make a summary of the points raised and that the meeting proceed forward. There had been adequate consensus on the way forward.
Mr Moroatshehla said that the meeting was degenerating because it was the Chairperson against Ms Mbabama. He thought the Chairperson was making a summary based on the view of the participants. It was obvious that the Chairperson’s summary would be directed by the views of the majority. If there was a minority or a dissenting view, then that would be noted and the Committee would move on. A debate should not be engaged in. It was not possible in a meeting for the Chairperson to satisfy everyone. He said for the sake of progressing the meeting the Chairperson should note the dissenting view and the Committee should move past it.
Ms Lesoma said that the members had been patient and accommodative with each other. She agreed with Mr Shivambu that the Committee hear the Chairperson’s summary and then close the meeting.
The Chairperson said that he was deliberately accommodative and composed. He really wanted to make sure that the Committee moved together and persuade one another. He was persuaded by those who were saying that the Committee move ahead and for the Chairperson to make the summary.
He said that the Committee had two options. One was to adopt the report subject to additions. The second was to adopt the report after submissions and amendments. What came out of this meeting was that the Committee should adopt the report after additions which would be in the next meeting. He agreed with Ms Lesoma’s proposal that the report be a living source document which would be amended as parties made submissions based on what emerged in this meeting. No new submissions would be made. Submissions would be allowed of only things that had been raised in this meeting which parties wanted to elaborate on in writing. When the submissions were made, Members were not authorised to interact with the administration. All the members could do was send their submissions to the Committee Secretariat. No discussions and no meetings would be allowed. Access to submissions was still open. People could communicate with the Committee Secretariat to ask for access to the submissions. The Committee agreed that it did not want to have an inquiry into who represented which party at the public hearings. That was not practical and not desirable. The Committee needed to accept that it conducted public hearings and not political party hearings. The report must be amended accordingly. In any meeting there were different opinions. The balance of opinions must carry the day. Those who said that the public hearings should not be recorded according to a political party basis have carried the day and that was what the Committee should do. He thanked Mr Xaba because this meeting accepted his input. His input became the position of this Committee. The Committee agreed that Mr Xaba put his input in writing and submit it to the administration because the administration had asked for guidance. He did not occupy the offices of the administration. He had made a submission. He thanked Dr Ganyaza-Twalo for her able leadership and the way she had responded to the Committee’s requests. He thanked the rest of the support staff for ensuring what needed to be done was done on time. Today the Committee was able to work with a revised document. He appreciated the work that they had done and said that they had the Committee’s support. He had no doubt that even the issues raised in today’s meeting would be captured properly by the officials. Next week the Committee would then be able to adopt the report. In the meantime, the report would be a living source document. The Committee was on course and moving together. Another principle of meetings was that when it was agreed that the Chairperson must summarise and the meeting move forward if anyone wanted to speak after the summary it would become a new meeting. It would become another meeting because if members spoke then other members would want to respond.
Was that how the Committee wanted to work? He asked Dr Mulder and Mr Masipa that after concluding the meeting if they wanted to start another meeting? Was that how they wanted to work?
Dr Mulder said that he did not want to start a new meeting. He wanted to say that he supported the Chairperson’s summary.
The Chairperson thanked Dr Mulder for his support.
Mr Masipa thanked the Chairperson for his summary and said the meeting should be brought to a close.
Consideration of revised Committee programme
Adv Ramaano presented the Committee’s revised schedule for consideration.
The Chairperson asked the members if the revised programme was acceptable.
Mr Moroatshehla proposed that the Committee adopt the revised programme.
The Chairperson said that as a Chairperson he was accountable to the Chair of Chairs. Any changes the Committee made to the programme needed to be applied for permission. The Committee accepted the revised programme. He thanked the members in the meeting and wished them well.
The meeting was adjourned.
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