The Committee met on a virtual platform to consider and adopt a report on the budget vote of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.
There was considerable discussion about whether the agenda for the meeting should include discussion of a letter to the Chairperson from the National Arts Council making allegations about two of the Committee's Members. The Chairperson ruled that it should not be included as the Council had not followed proper procedure by writing directly to the Committee instead of approaching the Speaker of Parliament.
In adopting the report on the budget vote, the Committee rejected a proposal by a Democratic Alliance Member to insert wording emphasising the autonomy of sport bodies
The Chairperson welcomed Members to the virtual Meeting and asked if the meeting agenda could be adopted.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) objected to item six on the agenda which concerned allegations made against him and Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) by the National Arts Council. He said this matter should not be on the agenda. As it was a personal matter, the Committee did not have the scope to deal with it.
The Chairperson said a letter was sent to the Committee by the National Arts Council (NAC) making allegations against the two Members and the Committee would be well within its scope to discuss the matter. However she noted that when the NAC submitted its letter, it should have first sent it to the Speaker and the Chair of Chairs at Parliament first and they would have informed the Committee of it. She said this item should not have not been on the agenda. These allegations came from a meeting which was not a meeting of the Committee and so could not be discussed as an item for the current meeting.
Mr Mhlongo said this was a private matter and should not be discussed. The allegations were unfounded. It was wrong for the Committee to discuss personal matters and his dignity had been undermined. There was no reason to table this issue. The issue had not been forced on the Committee by the NAC; the Committee had decided to discuss this matter.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) made a comment in isiZulu.
Mr M Seabi (ANC) said the Committee should understand this issue in context. The acting chairperson had alerted the Committee, and it had been agreed that the matter needed to be discussed at the next meeting. It had been agreed the matter should be tabled and that the chairperson of the NAC should be invited. The NAC chairperson could not make it to the meeting that was held. It had been decided that the matter be postponed because the NAC could not provide the Committee with sufficient evidence. A decision has been made that the NAC should redirect the matter to the Speaker of Parliament, which would enable the Speaker to give proper advice on how to handle this matter.
Mr D Joseph (DA) said there was a proposal to adopt minutes with this item in them. This meant the Committee could not make a decision on what must happen when an item was on the agenda. The matter must be on this agenda if the Committee decided to write to the acting chairperson and Speaker on this matter.
Ms V Malomane (ANC) proposed the evening meeting which would have discussed this matter be cancelled. The Chairperson had already responded on this matter. If the Chairperson had received a letter, it was within her rights to discuss it with the Committee. The Committee needed to decide whether it would adopt the agenda with this item on or whether it would remove it from the agenda.
The Chairperson said it was not the first time this matter had been put to Members. Before the Committee went on an oversight visit, she had informed Members that she had received a letter from the NAC; it had then been decided to go on an oversight visit and see matters at the NAC. The NAC had wanted to have a meeting even though they knew the Committee would conduct an oversight meeting. They had wanted to meet separately with the Chairperson, but she had insisted that she needed the Committee Members with her. She felt ambushed by the NAC when they continuously wrote to see her, on matters which had happened at a meeting she was not part of and didn’t chair. She had advised the NAC to write to the Speaker as this would be the correct way procedurally to lodge a complaint against an MP.
Mr Mhlongo said the Chairperson had the right to accept any item but there were two sides of a story, not one. He said he had asked the Chair to put an issue concerning a Member, Ms V Van Dyk on the agenda, but it had not been done.
The Chairperson said she had never received any request to put the matter about Ms Van Dyk on the agenda.
Ms Malomane said this matter had been discussed by the Committee. It had been decided in the last meeting of the Portfolio Committee that the allegations needed to be discussed. The secretary had advised that the matter be discussed on 11 May 2021. The Chairperson did not decide on this; it was Committee Members collectively on the advice of the secretary and Acting Chair.
Mr Mhlongo said Ms Malomane was making a statement and he was not done speaking. What was this Member speaking about?
The Chairperson said the Member had raised a point of order and it was sustained. The issue on Ms van Dyk had been referred to the Department.
Mr Mhlongo said he was just making an example
Mr Seabi said this should not be a dialogue. There were other people that wanted to speak and had raised their hands.
The Chairperson said she would recognise Members.
Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) said there was a need to discuss this. The Committee should adopt the agenda as it was and decide on the matter when it came up for discussion.
Mr Seabi seconded the adoption but said item six had already been discussed.
Mr Mhlongo said the agenda could not be adopted after Members had already discussed the matter. The agenda first needed to be adopted; then items were discussed.
Mr Seabi said the problem was that people did not listen when others spoke. He said the agenda should be adopted and item six should be noted as discussed, or the committee could decide that it was not discussed.
Mr M Zondi (ANC) said the Committee was wasting time discussing this matter outside the agenda. This matter needed to be resolved within the items of the agenda of the day. This matter could not be discussed and concluded outside the agenda. The matter must first be put on the agenda.
Ms Malomane said the item should be put as number three rather than six but must be reflected as it was in the set list.
Mr Mhlongo said what he item stated on the set list, because he did have the set list.
Mr Madlingozi agreed with Mr Seabi and said this matter must be put as it was on the agenda and not misrepresent the situation.
The Chairperson ruled that the item be removed and that the matter was closed now. She asked the Members if she could move on and start the meeting.
The Committee adopted the minutes for meetings held on 30 April, 4 May, 5 May, and 6 May 2021 with some corrections proposed by Members.
Mr Mhlongo commented on the 6 May minutes. He said he had sent an apology for missing the meeting and asked if it could be reflected in the minutes.
Mr Seabi asked whether it would be procedural to include an apology that had not been presented in the meeting in the minutes, because this was not a correction.
The Chairperson asked the secretary whether they had received an apology from Mr Mhlongo.
The committee secretary informed the Chairperson that he did not receive an apology letter from Mr Mhlongo’s office.
Ms V Van Dyk (DA) commented on the 6 May minutes. She said she had submitted an apology through WhatsApp to the secretary and asked that the spelling of her name be corrected.
Mr Seabi said since the apology was not presented in the meeting, it should not be included in the minutes now. The minutes should be a true reflection of the meeting.
Mr Mhlongo said this had been done before and the Committee needed to have consistency. What was done on the right should be done on the left.
Ms Malomane said the Committee was correcting what was wrong and not adding things that never happened. The secretary had said an apology was never received so why must the Committee include it?
Ms van Dyk said she did submit an apology and could send the Chairperson proof of that. She said it was unacceptable that the minutes did not show she had submitted an apology and asked the Chairperson to rectify this
The secretary confirmed that Ms van Dyk had sent an apology through.
Mr Mhlongo said the Committee is going back to the old way of doing things and asked if Committee minutes could be adopted at regular meetings rather than having a special meeting for minutes. He said the Committee had agreed on this and asked the Chairperson to implement this.
The Committee secretary said these minutes were mostly from the previous week and the turnaround time for minutes was three days, so the Committee was still within its timeframes for adopting minutes.
Mr Mhlongo said if a meeting is on a Tuesday, those minutes must be adopted on Thursday.
Mr Seabi said in principle he supported what Mr Mhlongo was saying but the Committee had had meetings every day in the previous week and the administrators had to prepare for these meetings. One of the administrators also had a family emergency and the Committee was left with one administrator, so it would have been impossible to prepare minutes.
The Chairperson said the previous week was a busy week and the secretary did not have sufficient time to prepare minutes.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture on Budget Vote 37: Department of Sport, Arts and Culture
The Committee’s content advisor took Members through the Committee’s report on the budget for the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture for 2021/22.
The Chairperson asked if Members would like to engage with the report.
Mr Joseph said the Department planned to build 87 libraries in schools and asked if the Committee could inquire from the Department how they came up with that number. He said there should be a follow up on the unfunded mandate and staff issues on Robben Island. He asked if the expression, recycling of board members, be changed to consequence management because if he remembered correctly, that was the discussion relating to the board.
Mr Mhlongo asked if it could be included in the report that sports must be autonomous, and the government must support their autonomy. ” The Committee should move and support this motion. He said a date had to be recommended for the sports indaba
Mr Seabi said he did not understand Mr Mhlongo’s comment and asked if he could explain it. He understood that currently sporting bodies were autonomous, and the government regulated them through legislation.
Mr Mhlongo said he was speaking about self-governance and empowerment of these bodies. He said Cricket South Africa claimed they experienced coercion when they went to a meeting of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). He said SASCOC also agreed that there was no autonomy.
The Chairperson said Cricket South Africa did not say this. SASCOC had mentioned it. Only one entity had a problem and the people that were affected were not complaining and did not see it as a negative. SASCOC was the only entity complaining against three other bodies. The Chairperson said this debate could not be opened since these bodies were not present. .
Mr Zondi agreed with Mr Seabi and said these bodies needed to be autonomous within the guiding legislation. He said the issues raised by Cricket SA and SASCOC were not issues of autonomy.
Mr Seabi said this remained a point of debate. These bodies could not expect to operate outside of legislation and regulations. He said Mr Mhlongo’s point could not be included because there was already legislation that gave sports bodies’ autonomy.
Mr Mhlongo said autonomy was about independence and said sporting bodies did not have independence.
The Chairperson said that, as Members had pointed out, there already was legislation on this matter, so there was no need to include it as a recommendation.
Mr Seabi agreed with the Chairperson
Mr Joseph said the process had not been completed and SASCOC still needed to have a meeting with the Committee. He said the recommendation needed to be parked until after the Committee had met with SASCOC.
Mr Mhlongo asked if the legislation could be quoted and put in the report.
The Chairperson said the Committee would deal with this matter at a later stage after it had met with SASCOC, and this discussion would be noted but not be put as a recommendation.
Mr Mhlongo suggested a recommendation to the effect that political interference was not needed.
Mr Seabi said Mr Mhlongo was trying to bring the same recommendation with different wording. As previously stated, the matter was covered in legislation, and the Committee agreed that it would meet sports bodies before continuing on this matter.
Mr Zondi said if this recommendation was included, it would seem as if the Committee knew for sure that there was political interference in the sports bodies, which was not the case. There were only interventions and these interventions were called for by legislation and were according to the law. There was no need to include this recommendation in the report.
The Chairperson ruled that the recommendation would not be included in the report.
Mr Mhlongo asked the Chairperson to note the DA's reservations about the report.
The Report was adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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