Committee Legacy Report; Committee Programming

Home Affairs

27 March 2024
Chairperson: Mr M Chabane (ANC) & Mr B Pillay (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs convened virtually to consider and adopt its Legacy Report covering its achievements during the Sixth Parliament, and to review outstanding minutes.

The Chairperson emphasised the importance of the Legacy Report, which was presented by the Committee Content Advisor, incorporating the changes which had been discussed with the Chairperson. The report highlighted the Committee's achievements, ongoing work, and recommendations for future action.

Members expressed their appreciation of the comprehensive report, but raised concerns about oversight visits, particularly regarding the exclusion of visits to Visa Facilitation Services (VFS). The Committee Secretary explained the decision, and committed to seeking clarification. A Member proposed addressing the VFS and other pending matters in a special meeting.

Minutes from previous meetings dating back to last December were reviewed and adopted, including discussions on the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill and objections raised by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The Acting Chairperson highlighted the need for follow-up on pending matters, and announced upcoming oversight plans. The meeting concluded with a call for proactive engagement on pending issues.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said they had convened to consider the Legacy Report circulated earlier in the year. The Committee's support staff collaborated with the content advisor to revise the report, and Members would be invited to provide input.

He acknowledged that the term had not ended, as the Committee still needed to conduct an oversight panel and address electoral reform before adjourning. He mentioned discussing this with the content advisor and incorporating it into the Legacy Report once addressed.

Committee’s Legacy Report

Mr Adam Salmon, Committee Content Advisor, confirmed that he had incorporated the changes discussed with the Chairperson into the report, highlighting them in blue. Apologising for not sending the revised document earlier, he explained that he had been implementing the changes that morning, along with contributions from other Members. He assured them he would send the document for future reference.

He outlined the revisions made by the Chairperson, noting a more streamlined introduction and executive summary, with headings highlighted for easier reference. The Chairperson also included the context of the medium-term strategic framework (MTSF) and briefly outlined the Committee's work for follow-up, including meetings, budget vote reports, performance reports, and budgetary review and recommendations reports (BRRRs). Additionally, he provided a brief overview of the impact of COVID and reworded key achievements.

He proceeded to detail other adjustments made, such as concise sentences, rewording of challenges, and updates on ongoing work. He mentioned minor corrections made by the Chairperson and acknowledged contributions from Mr A Roos (DA). He also addressed issues related to oversight trips and stakeholder interactions, including corrections and additions suggested by Members.

Mr Salmon concluded by summarising recommendations for future work, including follow-ups on petitions, lawmaking and litigation, and monitoring modernisation projects. He presented the revised conclusion of the report, emphasising the need to finalise various bills and address the challenges faced by government entities.

Mr Salmon deferred to the Chairperson for further direction, seeking guidance on the next steps.

Chairperson Chabane was not present in the meeting due to poor network bandwidth, so Mr B Pillay (ANC) was elected to chair the meeting.


The Acting Chairperson thanked Mr Salmon for the presentation, and suggested using track changes to facilitate easier reading for Members by displaying additions or challenges on the screen. He highlighted a missing addition expressing concerns about decentralising the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to minimise downtime across the country. He also referred to oversight of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Reform Panel, suggesting that once presented to Parliament, Members could interact with the content advisor to address these issues.

He emphasised that everything captured thus far was a true reflection of the discussions. He then requested permission to open the floor for Members, while waiting for the Chairperson.

Mr A Roos (DA) commended the report as a fair reflection of the Committee's extensive work. He particularly appreciated the recommendation to potentially schedule more meetings in the next term to address the numerous items on the agenda. However, he raised concerns about recent incidents, such as the escape from the Lindela Repatriation Centre. He suggested that this incident should be included in the report for urgent consideration by the next Parliament. Despite this concern, he believed the report accurately represented the Committee's work over the past five years.

Ms A Khanyile (DA) echoed Mr Roos's sentiments, indicating that she shared the belief that the report accurately reflected the hard work of the Sixth Parliament. She expressed hope that those entering the new term would address the outstanding issues outlined in the report.

Ms M Molekwa (ANC) expressed appreciation for the presentation of the report, and said that she did not have much to add, but accepted the report as presented with amendments.

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) thanked the team for the well-structured report, acknowledging that it accurately reflected the Committee's work. She expressed agreement with Ms Molekwa's sentiments. She initially felt there should be more focus on certain issues, but she found the coverage adequate upon reflection. She mentioned the Lindela issue that had arisen over the weekend, and expressed satisfaction with the current report.

Ms T Legwase (ANC) echoed the sentiments of previous speakers, affirming that the Legacy Report accurately represented the Committee's efforts throughout the term. She voiced her support for retaining the issues concerning SITA in the report.

Chairperson Chabane, his connection restored, acknowledged the extensive work that had gone into collecting the discussions and contributions to strengthen the Committee's work. He emphasised the importance of holding the executive accountable for the raised issues.

He agreed with Mr Roos's concerns regarding the incident at Lindela, noting that similar incidents had occurred in the past. He proposed adding this matter to the agenda of an upcoming meeting, aligning it with the oversight of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the electoral reform panel. He suggested that Committee support staff should assist in organising a special meeting to comprehensively address the Lindela issue before the term ends, ensuring continuity for the new Committee. He also highlighted the need to revisit the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) issue, which had been previously discussed during the Sixth Parliament.

He concluded by expressing his agreement with the submissions made by Members, and proposed considering the report with the framework and outstanding issues in mind.

Mr Roos seconded the motion to adopt the report.

The Acting Chairperson thanked Mr Roos for seconding the motion to adopt the legacy report, marking its completion of the Sixth Administration. He then inquired about any remaining items on the agenda, noting the content advisor’s mention of VFS in relation to oversight. He sought clarification on whether the oversight would involve only the IEC and not VFS, asking for the reason behind this decision.

Mr Eddie Mathonsi, the Committee Secretary, explained that when they submitted the application to visit both the IEC and VFS, it was considered by the House Chair, who had approved the visit only to the IEC. The reason for this decision was not provided -- they had simply indicated that approval was granted solely for the visit to the IEC, and not VFS.

Ms Van der Merwe expressed confusion regarding the reasoning behind the decision not to visit VFS. She questioned why Parliament would provide resources for travel and accommodation within the same province, but then restrict the Committee from visiting VFS. She emphasised the need for more detailed information to understand the decision better. Given the Committee's past challenges, she suggested that visiting VFS first could have been more beneficial. She asked Mr Mathonsi to provide additional information to clarify the matter.

The Chairperson thanked Ms van der Merwe for her input and assured her that they would seek clarification on the matter. They would interact with the Chair of Chairs in the next meeting to provide updates to Members. He had interacted with the Minister the day before, and the Minister had mentioned routine correspondence, indicating that they had met with the IEC and consulted with them. He expressed uncertainty about how to proceed with this matter, but suggested they might need to hold a special meeting to address it. He asked Mr Mathonsi to interact with the Chair of Chairs regarding both issues and inform the meeting accordingly so that they could consider the process during the special meeting.

Mr Mathonsi confirmed his ability to arrange a special meeting, particularly regarding the issue of VFS and the electoral consultation panel. He intended to write a letter to the House regarding VFS and the electoral consultation panel. He explained that the Minister needed to table the names to Parliament, which would then be referred to the Committee. He also mentioned sending a letter to the Minister's office after the report debate, emphasising the importance of tabling the names to the Office of the Speaker. He had discussed this matter with the Speaker's office, and proposed working on a meeting date once the names were tabled.

The Acting Chairperson expressed his support for what had been said, and emphasised the importance of visiting VFS, noting that it had been part of their oversight programme in the last quarter. He made a special appeal for the Committee to complete this visit, even suggesting that the Chair had the authority to request permission from the Chair of Chairs to proceed with it. He also highlighted the process that needed to be followed for the report on the panel, indicating that Mr Muzi Njoko, Acting Parliamentary Officer at the Department of Home Affairs, needed to follow up on it. Additionally, he mentioned the need to get an update on the status of the bill that had gone to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and would need to come back to the Committee for further consideration, even though Parliament was rising.

The Committee Secretary provided an update on the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill, stating that it had been debated in the NCOP. He noted that no changes were made during the debate, and according to parliamentary papers, it had been submitted to the President for assent. Therefore, the bill would not be returned to the Committee.

Mr Njoko confirmed the information provided earlier. He acknowledged receiving a letter from the Office of the Speaker outlining the process that needed to be followed. He affirmed his agreement with the information presented, and said that he would be guided by the decisions made in the meeting.

Adoption of Minutes

Minutes dated 1 December 2023

Mr Chabane moved their adoption, and Ms Van der Merwe seconded the motion.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 4 December 2023

Mr Roos moved their adoption and Mr Chabane seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 8 December 2023

Ms A Ramolobeng (ANC) moved the adoption, and Ms Legwase seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 12 December 2023

Ms Khanyile moved their adoption, and Ms Legwase seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 6 February 2024

Ms Van der Merwe moved their adoption, and Ms Molekwa seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 09 February 2024

Ms Molekwa moved their adoption, and Ms Van der Merwe seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 14 February 2024

Ms Van der Merwe moved their adoption, and Ms Legwase seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 19 February 2024

Ms Molekwa moved their adoption, and Ms Legwase seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 20 February 2024

Ms Van der Merwe moved their adoption, and Ms Molekwa seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 22 February 2024

Ms Ramolobeng moved their adoption, and Ms Van der Merwe seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 27 February 2024

The original item number 3 was amended.

Ms Khanyile moved the adoption, and Ms Legwase seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 1 March 2024

The Committee Secretary provided additional information regarding the minutes of 1 March. He said that they had finalised the clause-by-clause review of the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill during that meeting. He mentioned that there had been a proposal by Mr Roos to include certain details in the minutes. Specifically, the Democratic Alliance had objected to the adoption of the bill because they believed that Clause 29 unfairly amended the formula used to allocate funds, and removed the political party funding donation limit and threshold without implementing an interim limit and threshold. The Democratic Alliance (DA) had argued that these changes were not merely consequential amendments, and insisted that an impact assessment of political party funding be conducted to advise on substantive changes for future general electoral amendment bills. This information has been added to the minutes of the meeting.

Ms Legwase moved the adoption of the minutes, and Mr Roos seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 05 March 2024

Ms Molekwa moved their adoption, and Ms Khanyile seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 19 March 2024

Mr Roos, who had made amendments to a typographical error, proposed the adoption, with amendments. Ms Khanyile seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Closing remarks

The Acting Chairperson reiterated the need for follow-up regarding the tabling of the panel, and suggested contacting the Chair of Chairs regarding oversight visits to both VFS and the IEC. He also requested the Committee support staff to include the discussions on the Legacy Report.

He inquired if the Committee Secretary had any announcements.

Mr Mathonsi said that the oversight plans were scheduled for Members to depart on 7 April, to spend the entire day at the IEC headquarters on 8 April, and to visit the Result Operation Centre both nationally and provincially the following day. On 10 April, the Committee planned to visit the ballot printing facilities. However, as the Committee intended to visit VFS, this plan might change since they would be in Pretoria. The programme had been sent to the IEC and the Chairperson, who planned to discuss it further with the Committee Chairperson. Accommodation had been identified, with initial arrangements not deemed satisfactory, prompting consideration of the Southern Sun Hotel in Arcadia as an alternative.

The Acting Chairperson suggested informing the IEC that VFS would also be visited, to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed by the three-day visit.

The meeting was adjourned.


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