First Term Committee Programme

Human Settlements

01 February 2023
Chairperson: Ms R Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Committee convened a virtual meeting to adopt its first term programme and outstanding minutes from the previous quarter.

During discussion on the programme, Members were told that the Committee had only one week for oversight visits each quarter, so it planned to visit two provinces per quarter to cover all the provinces due for visits.

Members complained about a lack of consistency in recording minutes, particularly the noting of apologies for absence. After the Committee Secretary had pointed out that apologies were often submitted during or after meetings, leading to omissions, the Committee agreed that if apologies were not received prior to a meeting -- unless there were valid extenuating circumstances -- Members would be recorded as absent.

The Committee discussed whether its engagement with provinces and metros should be a physical or virtual meeting. The outstanding minutes were approved.

Meeting report

The Chairperson asked for the agenda to be adopted.

Mr T Malatji (ANC) moved for the adoption, and was seconded by Ms S Mokgotho (EFF).  

The agenda was duly adopted.

The Committee Secretary relayed messages of apology from Dr N Khumalo (DA) and Mr B Herron (GOOD) due to prior engagements.

The Chairperson asked for the Members to show their faces when they spoke. This would ensure that the faces were familiar again with the other Members, as well as with the audience, as the video was being live-streamed. However, she realised that some Members struggled with slow internet connectivity because of load-shedding, and advised them not to show their faces to strengthen bandwidth.

Portfolio Committee's first term programme

The meeting moved to the reading of the programme for the first term, from February to March.

The Chairperson read out the programme, the aim being to remind the Members of what it entailed so they had clarity on some of the programmes they may have struggled with.

The Members were asked to move for the adoption of the programme.

(See attached document)

Mr A Tseki (ANC) moved to adopt the programme, but added that he had questions about the minutes of the metropolitan municipalities' briefing on the use of Urban Settlements Development Grants. This was scheduled for 8 March. He asked if the presentation from the metros could be sent a few days in advance, as it would be extensive. The presentation should also not be changed, as the previous presentations had been sent four days ahead to comply with the policy on submissions.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC), who was experiencing load-shedding, said she could not show her face due to an unstable internet connection. She asked if there would be a plan to visit the areas that had been visited in 2022, as some of them were in a dire situation, such as Nelson Mandela Bay. Otherwise, she adopted the programme as it was.

The Chairperson said another visit to the provinces was part of the oversight. That was why the Members would be visiting some of the provinces again, including the North West and Northern Cape. The Committee had only one week for oversights within a quarter, so it planned to visit two provinces per quarter to cover all the provinces due for visits.

Ms Sihlwayi said she was happy with the Chairperson's response.

Adoption of outstanding minutes

The Chairperson asked if the Members had sufficient time to review the minutes.

Ms E Powell (DA) confirmed they had ample time to read them.

26 October 2022

The minutes were from the meeting which dealt with the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR).

The Committee Secretary scrolled through the minutes, and Mr Tseki moved for their adoption, and was seconded by Ms Sihlwayi.

The minutes were adopted with no adjustments or amendments.

9 November 2022

The minutes were from the meeting on the national hearings on the Housing Consumer Protection Bill [B10–2021].

As the Committee Secretary scrolled through the minutes, Adv M Masutha (ANC) relayed his apologies for arriving late to the meeting, owing to a medical emergency.

The Chairperson acknowledged the apology and welcomed him to the meeting.

Mr Tseki proposed adoption of the minutes, with no adjustments. However, he asked if an IFP Member was present, saying it had been long since the IFP had attended a meeting.

Ms Sihlwayi seconded the adoption of the minutes.

The minutes were duly adopted.

11 November 2022

The minutes dated 11 November 2022 were read, and Ms N Tafeni (EFF) raised her hand to ask again about the IFP. In this set of minutes, an apology was noted for Ms Buthelezi, but during the meeting, no apologies were indicated as passed for the IFP Member. She asked for consistency when it came to the reporting or noting of apologies.

The Chairperson relayed the message to the Committee Secretary, elaborating on the need to verify the facts when writing the minutes.

The Committee Secretary responded that sometimes messages were sent via email or WhatsApp, even during a meeting. As a result, the Members were noted as absent with no apologies. She asked the Chairperson to communicate with Members so that they could provide apologies early, instead of sending them during the meeting, to be noted only after the meeting.

The Chairperson suggested Members who sent apologies during the meeting should be regarded as absent. Ms Sihlwayi agreed with this principle.

Adv Masutha agreed with the general principle, but asked for flexibility around the matter based on motivation. Members should be allowed to explain why an apology had been delivered late. Some life circumstances may lead to the lateness of an apology. However, without a reasonable explanation, Members should be noted as absent.

Ms Tafeni pointed out that Members were informed about meetings well in advance. The quorum always suffered as a result of lateness or lack of attendance. Those who submitted apologies during a meeting should be noted as absent. Unforeseen challenges, such as load-shedding and other factors, could be relayed to the Committee Secretary via SMS during power outages.

The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to write a letter to make this decision official. A letter would be sent to all Members informing them of this decision.

The minutes were duly adopted.

16 November 2022

The minutes dated 16 November were presented on the screen.

Mr Tseki moved for their adoption, and was seconded by Ms Sihlwayi.

The minutes were duly adopted with no amendments.

18 November 2022

The minutes dated 18 November  were presented on the screen.

Adv Masutha moved for their adoption, and Ms Sihlwayi seconded the motion.

The minutes were adopted with no amendments.
23 November 2022

The minutes dated 23 November were presented on the screen.

Adv Masutha moved to approve them, and Mr Malatji seconded the motion.

The minutes were duly adopted.

25 November 2022

As the Committee was considering and adopting these minutes, the Chairperson reiterated that the Members were no longer permitted to send apologies during a meeting. Members unable to attend for various reasons must state this prior to the meeting.

Mr Tseki moved for the adoption of the minutes. Mr Malatji seconded their adoption.

The minutes were adopted with no amendments.

30 November 2022

The minutes dated 30 November were moved for adoption by Ms Tafeni, who was seconded by Ms Sihlwayi.

The minutes were adopted with no amendments.

Committee matters

The Chairperson asked the Secretary if the Portfolio Committee's annual report had been circulated to all the Members.

The Secretary indicated that she was waiting for the Chairperson to give the green light on that.

The Chairperson said she would be circulating the report to the Members, and they should go through it as soon as it arrived to reflect on some important Committee activities, including the number of meetings that the Committee had had. This information would also be used for auditing purposes.

She that, as per the agreement made a few years ago, the Committee had to meet with the provinces and metros, and the meeting must be physical. She asked the Members to voice their opinions regarding this matter.

Adv Masutha apologised for missing all the meetings that took place in person. His health circumstances had been severe at the time, but he had made great progress since then. He assured the Committee that any physical meeting would be manageable with the new progress made by his cardiologist.

The Committee Secretary asked when the meeting would occur, and if it would be hybrid or physical.

The Chairperson said that a hybrid meeting would be ideal, as this would accommodate those who might not be able to make it physically.

Ms Tafeni proposed that invitees must be present physically, to avoid most participation being done virtually.

Ms Sihlwayi said that virtualisation had been a good way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Committee should not have a hybrid meeting for a meeting with provinces and metros. The previous physical meetings with provinces had been valuable.

Mr Tseki asked if the Committee planned to ask the metros to intervene in areas in the provinces that might not even be in their budget for now. He proposed that the Committee should ask the metros to assist in those areas.

Adv Masutha expressed his confusion around the matters involving provinces and metros, particularly the lack of unity in resolving matters that the Committee had identified as challenges. The Committee was trying to achieve coordination and co-planning between the three spheres of government. That needed to be visible.

The Chairperson noted the proposal to share with the metros what the Committee had observed in the past during oversight visits. Some of the metros were the developers, and should be given more information about the issues that had arisen during the oversights. She added that in the past, mayors were sometimes not present in meetings with the provinces. The Committees had to find a way to ensure that the municipal managers and mayors were not allowed to miss the meetings. The fastest way to achieve this was by sending out invitations early. The only acceptable reasons for declining an invitation were illness or the death of a family member or a loved one. As the Committee Secretary would be interacting with the municipal managers and mayors, they must be briefed on that information.

Ms Tafeni reminded the Committee that the meetings with provinces would not be recorded or broadcast for public view.

The Chairperson said invitees should not be given the option to attend the meeting remotely, unless the reason was of a compulsory nature.

The meeting was adjourned.


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