Committee report on Public Enterprises Budget Vote 2019 incident; Matters referred to the Committee deferred

Powers and Privileges of Parliament

30 April 2021
Chairperson: Mr P Mapulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Powers and Privileges Committee

10 Mar 2021 Performance Agreements of Accounting Officers for 2020/21; Filling Heads of Department posts; Brand SA update on challenges & suspended CEO; with Deputy Minister
All Committee Proceedings & Documents
National Assembly Rules
Physical Removal of Member from Chamber on Removal of members from Committee Room E249 during mini-plenary debate on Budget Vote 11: Public Enterprises on 11 July 2019

Hansard: 11 July 2019 & Video
Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act 4 of 2004
Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Amendment Act 9 of 2019

The Committee met virtually to consider and adopt its report approving sanctions against EFF Members for an incident at the State of the Nation Address however this was deferred as the Committee staff said legal advice was still being sought. The Committee Chairperson was not pleased about this.

The Committee adopted its report on allegations of conduct constituting contempt of Parliament during the 2019 budget vote debate of the Department of Public Enterprises. The Committee agreed on the inclusion of the dissenting views.

The Committee was not pleased that it could not engage on a complaint received by the former CEO of BrandSA stemming from what was said against his name in a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration. The complaint could not be considered as the Committee did not provide Members with the necessary documentation.

The Committee resolve to deal with the matters referred to it at its next meeting.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed everyone present noted apologies and submitted the agenda for adoption by Members.

Committee Agenda
Mr Victor Ngaleka, Committee Procedural Officer, advised the Committee defer item seven on the agenda to the next meeting, which is the report on the implementation of sanctions imposed on affected Members of the House in respect of the 21 August 2014 incident. Legal advice has been sought on the matter and it should be finalised soon. Thereafter the report can be considered at the next Committee meeting.  

The Chairperson was not pleased and indicated that he should have been informed about the matter before the meeting. He welcomed the suggestion and resolved to consider the matter in the next meeting.

Consideration of draft minutes
The minutes dated 31 March 2021 were adopted without any amendments

Consideration and adoption of draft Report into allegations of conduct constituting contempt of Parliament during the mini-plenary on Budget Vote 9: Public Enterprises on 11 July 2019
The Chairperson indicated that this Report was discussed and a proposed sanction was accepted as presented by the initiator, Adv Ncumisa Mayosi. The Report detailed the proceedings of the Committee’s meeting.

Dr M Ndlozi (EFF) suggested that he would like the Report to indicate the actual substantial submissions made by the Members that disagreed. The Report indicates that he had differing views but it is silent on what basis he disagreed. He suggested a paragraph be included on the reasons why he disagreed.

There were questions that were put to different witnesses but these questions were not included in the Report. He proposed that the Report be accompanied by the transcript of the proceedings for the purposes of both the record and court processes ensuing.

Ms B Maluleke (ANC) did not differ with the previous Member on having the transcript of the proceedings accompany the Report. However, she disagreed with the inclusion of a paragraph that speaks to the reasons why he disagreed.

Ms V Siwela (ANC) suggested that the Report must be adopted as planned as this matter was dealt with in the previous meeting. She did not agree with the suggestion that Dr Ndlozi draft a paragraph detailing his disagreement with the sanction.

Mr H Hoosen (DA) said the generally accepted practice is that if any Member of the Committee has a dissenting view, those views must be included in the Report because it is a factual representation of what the Member said in that meeting. There can be no harm in including a different view and he was not opposed to the proposal. However the Secretariat should be responsible for drafting that dissenting view.

Secondly, as for including the transcript to accompany the Report, he did not think this was necessary and he did not recall this happening before. The transcript will be accessible and the House will only consider the Report and Members can access the transcript if they require it.

The Committee resolved to include the dissenting views of Dr Ndlozi and agreed that Mr Hoosen was correct in his second point that it is not normally the practice to include the transcript of the proceedings.

The Report was adopted with the amendments.  

Matters referred to Committee
The first complaint was received from the former CEO of BrandSA, Dr K Makhubela, who complaint that  the Chairperson of BrandSA, Ms T Tobias, during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration on 10 March 2021, made some alleged misrepresentations about Dr K Makhubela.

Mr Andile Tetyana, Parliament Legal Services, detailed the complaint and said that on 10 March 2021, there was a presentation made to the Committee and in that presentation the current Chairperson of the Board made a statement that Dr Makhubela was fired due to a charge of misconduct. He [Dr Makhubela] is of the view that this was factually incorrect and the Committee was misled by the Chairperson of the Board, Ms Tobias.

The complaint was the refereed to the Committee in terms of Section 25, which is aimed at protecting members of the public from any alleged disparaging remarks by Members of Parliament that might affect their reputation in the public. If this is found to be true, there is a procedure that must be followed outlined in the Rules of the National Assembly. It also outlines what the Committee should do.

He suggested that the Committee minutes of that meeting [from the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration] must be sought as well as the Committee Report to assess the veracity of the complaint raised by Dr Makhubela. The Committee must also look into the redress that the complainant is seeking from Parliament. The first redress is to correct the false reporting by BrandSA and the second redress is that the complainant has sent Parliament a document titled ‘The Anatomy of Corruption at BrandSA’ and he has asked Parliament to assist and he has reported this matter to SAPS. It is the Presidency that is responsible for exercising oversight over BrandSA and decides what it is going to do with the corruption dossier.

Rule 214(4) outlines that the Committee must then inform the complainant that a request to have the response recorded has been received, and thereafter consider the request in accordance with the criteria that has been approved.

Further, he outlined the process that the Committee shall then follow once the request to have the response recorded has been received by reading out Rule 214(4)(b) of the Rules of the National Assembly.

The Secretariat had not sent out the documents for the Members to deliberate on the matter.

The Chairperson was very unhappy with this.

Dr Ndlozi said that it was difficult to engage on the substantial issue without the necessary documentation. It is difficult to immediately agree with the procedure because the Members did not receive the documentation. It would be an injustice to engage on this matter without having formed an independent opinion informed by assessing the documents.

Ms Siwela agreed with Dr Ndlozi and appealed that Members were furnished with the documents in order to peruse the matter thoroughly and apply their minds before making any decisions.

Mr Hoosen also agreed and suggested that perhaps the Committee can seek some legal advice on the extent to which Members enjoy some level of immunity for the comments that they make in Parliament and how that provision affects this complaint. This is an important to consider before this matter is taken forward.

The Chairperson was not pleased with the secretariat for not furnishing the documents to Members. Members cannot engage on an issue if they have not received the documents prior to the meeting. The Committee does not have the luxury of time to postpone meetings because documents have not been circulated to Members. This was unacceptable and the secretariat needs to pull up its socks.

In the meantime, the administration and the Chairperson must make the necessary follow ups in terms of the set out procedures. If the procedure outlined in the Act says that documentation must be requested as well as the Reports regarding the matter, this can be done for now and by the time this matter is going to be deliberated, Members would have received all the documents to make a decision.

Members resolved to postpone the meeting until further notice.

The meeting was adjourned.



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