Election of the Chairperson

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

14 February 2023
Chairperson: Mr P Modise (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee convened on the virtual platform to formally elect a Chairperson of the Committee.

Following the resignation of Ms F Muthambi, the position of the Chairperson was left vacant. As per Rule 158(1) of the National Assembly Rules, the Committee must elect a Chairperson once there is a vacancy. However, some Committee Members were frustrated by the significant delay in that process. An official complaint was sent to the Chief Whip of the majority party requesting an urgent solution.

Following that complaint, the Office of the Chief Whip of the majority party requested the manager of the Committee section and the Committee Secretariat to formally apologise to the Committee for delaying the process and allowing the election process to unfold and proceed.

The Committee unanimously nominated Mr P Modise (ANC) as the Chairperson of the Committee.

Meeting report

The meeting was originally scheduled to commence at 6:30pm but was delayed due to Mr P Modise (ANC) struggling to join the platform.

After waiting for Mr Modise to log in for nearly 15 minutes, Members started to express their impatience at the prolonged waiting time.

Ms A Weber (DA) and Mr D Bryant (DA) suggested to the Committee Secretariat that the meeting proceed.

Mr N Paulsen (EFF) expressed his impatience at this long wait and described it as unacceptable. He said he would write to the House Chairperson about this issue and expressed his intention to leave the platform.

Ms T Mchunu (ANC) urged Mr Paulsen to stay on the platform and explained that the internet connectivity issue was not within Mr Modise’s control. She thus asked Mr Paulsen to give Mr Modise some time so that he could join the platform.  

After speaking to Mr Modise privately, the Secretariat indicated to the Committee that the meeting could begin at 7:20pm.

Mr Bryant enquired about network issues with the Secretariat. He asked for the issue to be looked into since it is hampering Members’ ability to log onto the platform on time.

The Secretariat informed the Committee that the main purpose of this evening meeting was for Members to formally elect a Chairperson of the Committee.

Election of the Chairperson

Ms N Giba, Parliament Committee Section, thanked Members for their participation and iterated the official complaint that Parliament had received on 8 February from the Office of the Chief Whip of the majority party about the conduct of the Committee Secretariat whilst presiding over the election of the Chairperson in the Committee’s last meeting. The complaint was about the possible irregularity which arose from that meeting as well as the possibility of such an irregularity having been advised by the Secretariat’s line manager. As a result, the Chief Whip of the majority party has requested the following remedial actions:

  1. The manager of the Committee Section and the Secretariat of the Committee must correct the procedures for the election of the Chairperson;
  2. The manager of the Committee Section and the Secretariat of the Committee must formally apologise to the Committee in this meeting for misunderstanding the processes;
  3. The process to elect the Chairperson be permitted to proceed in this meeting as provided by the National Assembly rule.

Ms Giba emphasised that the role of a Committee Secretariat in the process of the election of the Chairperson was to ensure that the meeting was convened, the agenda was distributed accordingly and guide the Committee through proceedings. After Members voted for and nominated the Chairperson, the name of the nominee would be published in the ATC which is also where the role of the Secretariat ends.

She outlined Rule 158(1) of the National Assembly Rules that a Committee must elect one of its Members as the Chairperson of the Committee once there is a vacancy.

That said, Ms Giba wished to apologise to the Committee on record.

The Secretariat followed and explained that she had read the rules incorrectly and guaranteed that such errors would not happen again.

Mr M Dlamini (ANC) commented that Committee Members should also show sympathy to the administrative staff and accept their apology.

Ms N Gantsho (ANC), Ms S Mbatha (ANC), and Mr N Singh (IFP) all indicated that they had accepted the apology.

Ms Gantsho and Ms Mbatha nominated Mr Modise to be the Chairperson of the Committee.

Mr Modise accepted the nomination.

No objection was noted and Mr Modise was officially nominated as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee.

The Secretariat offered her congratulation.

Chairperson’s remark

Mr Modise firstly apologised for the delay on his part as it was not intended.

He thanked Members for their support and appreciated them for entrusting him with this huge responsibility for steering this ship which he described as “a continuation of a greater journey”. He indicated that he would strive to strengthen that journey in order to serve the people of the country.

Mr Modise welcomed the return of Ms H Winkler (DA) and the joining of Mr Dlamini to this Portfolio Committee.

Mr Modise thanked former Chairperson Muthambi for her stellar work for this Committee. He expressed his appreciation for the support of the organisation that he came from, the African National Congress.

He informed Members that his open door policy remains and he is committed to listening to the voices of everyone.

Mr Bryant, Ms Winkler and Ms Weber, as Members of the opposition party, congratulated Mr Modise and affirmed the willingness of the DA caucus to work with him in the best interest of the Committee. They were all looking forward to having a lot of fruitful engagements with him in future.

Mr Singh also congratulated Mr Modise.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.


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