In a virtual meeting, the Committee discussed the way forward on the Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill. The Committee resolved to host a public hearing in Drakenstein. Members raised the importance of community participation and the Committee therefore resolved to extend public hearings to the Wellington, Worcester and Stellenbosch areas – members of the public had also written to Members of the Committee to request the extension of the hearings. All in all, four additional public hearings, alongside the three new proposed public hearings, making it seven public hearings in total. The dates would be communicated in due course. The Committee also agreed to make use of the Public Outreach Officers to engage the communities before the public hearing so that the public understood the issues around the Amendment Bill.
The meeting started with a roll call of Members present followed by the consideration of the minutes of previous meetings for adoption.
Committee minutes dated 25 March, 26 May, 11 May, 18 May and 12 May 2021 were considered and adopted.
Committee oversight report
The oversight report to the Mossel Bay Centre on 11 May 2021 was considered next for adoption.
Ms W Philander (DA) pointed out the omission of the information about the readiness of the facility to go online in assisting with vaccination registrations.
The Committee Secretary noted the omission and inserted same under point 4.2.
The report was adopted with amendments.
The Draft Annual Activity Report of the Committee for the 2020/21 financial year
The report was adopted.
Having adopted all pending minutes and reports, the Chairperson said that the Committee can begin sending out letters of requests for future meetings and public hearings.
Discussion on the way forward on the Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill
He informed the Committee of Ms Philander’s request that the Committee host a public hearing in Drakenstein.
Ms Philander thanked the Chairperson and proceeded to emphasise the importance of community participation, hence, the request for the Committee to extend public hearings to the Cape Island areas, especially the Drakenstein area, but more particularly Wellington, Worcester and Stellenbosch areas.
The Chairperson asked for objections to the proposal but there was none.
Mr R Allen (DA) explicitly supported the proposal by Ms Philander. He reminded the Chairperson to take note of previous submissions for further public hearings made to the Committee through emails and correspondence received by him.
To this, Ms Philander expressed support.
The above resolution for the consideration of additional public hearings was adopted by the Committee.
Ms Waseemah Kamish-Achmat, Committee Procedural Officer, sought clarity on whether the Committee would conduct a single public hearing to cover the three areas proposed by Ms Philander. If so, it will be necessary for the Committee to consider a venue that would be central for all attendees.
To this Ms Philander replied that the towns were not compact enough to host a single public hearing for all three areas. She then proposed that three different hearings be held in the three different areas.
There were no objections to this proposal.
The Chairperson said he will discuss logistics with the procedural officer after the meeting.
Ms Kamish-Achmat raised the issue of sorting out dates with the Chief Whip, as this was agreed in the last resolution by the Committee. She wanted to confirm that the Committee had made a resolution for four additional public hearings, alongside the three new proposed public hearings, making it seven public hearings in total.
The Chairperson replied that he will write to the Chief Whip to request more dates for the newly proposed public hearings.
Mr C Dugmore (ANC), who had some connection issues, asked if the Committee had resolved on the need for extra public hearings, while mentioning a public hearing previously motivated by Mr G Brinkhuis Al-Jamah).
The Chairperson clarified that resolutions on additional public hearings had already been adopted.
Mr P Marias (FF+) wanted to know what the justification was for these proposed public hearings; if they were aimed at explaining the Amendment; tabling the pros and cons of the Amendment; updating the public on the Amendment; or welcoming suggestions from the public on the Amendment.
The Chairperson replied that the public hearings were aimed at listening to what the public wants. He cited the example of a previous public hearing where the Department did not want to institute a specific method, but because the public wanted it, the method was instituted. The Committee decided on adopting another resolution for the Public Outreach Officers to carry out what should have been done in the first place, as these public outreach officers need to go ahead of time to brief the public so they know exactly what the legislation is about.
Based on the Committee’s resolution for additional hearings, Ms Philander noted that the next step will be for the Chairperson to engage with the Chairperson of the Programming Authority to finalise dates.
To this the Chairperson replied that he will write to the Chairperson of the Programming Authority after the meeting.
Mr Dugmore requested that the Committee, as it deals with constitutional matters, finds time at the next meeting or after the next public hearing to discuss the recent development where one sphere of government, which is the municipality of Cape Town, has indicated that it is not accountable to the legislature and should therefore, not have to answer questions. He opined that this was a constitutional matter which should be discussed, alongside its implications.
The Chairperson asked Mr Dugmore to put his request in writing, as he would like to ensure that the Committee does not overstep local government boundaries.
The meeting was adjourned.
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