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SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
20 October 2004
COMMITTEE PROGRAMME AND BUSINESS PLAN: ADOPTION
Documents handed out:
Department Annual Report 2003/2004 (offsite link)
National Development Agency Annual Report 2002/2003
Members adopted their Committee programme without discussion, but the Business Plan was not yet available. They then discussed the delays in constituting the Advisory Board to the South African Council for Social Services Professionals, and agreed to follow up with Department officials at their meeting the following week. They would also seek reasons why the Centre for Joint Authority (CJA) had not yet tabled their Annual Report. Members further discussed the Provincial Legislature's engagement with the Children's Bill, along with a number of other more bureaucratic Committee arrangements.
Ms T Tshivase (ANC) explained that their Business Plan was not yet ready and that the Committee would therefore only consider their Programme.
Mr M Walters (DA) enquired about the forensic audit into corruption in the National Development Agency (NDA). He suggested that a special date be set for a reportback. Ms Bogopane-Zulu (ANC) suggested that the proposed report back be accommodated in the next financial year, as she did not think that the forensic audit process would be completed before March. This issue was flagged for discussion
Ms T Tshivase asked for any proposed amendments to the Committee Programme. As there were none, the Committee unanimously adopted the Programme in its current form.
The Committee Clerk read out correspondence dated 18 October, from the National Welfare and Social Services Forum. This asked the Committee to follow up their attached letter to Minister Skweyiya that expressed concern that the Advisory Board to the South African Council for Social Services Professionals had not been set up. The letter noted that the relevant legislation had been passed three years previously and that nominations had been requested a year before.
Ms Bogopane-Zulu said she had already addressed a letter to the Minister on the matter. Two members of the Advisory Board were Ministerial appointments. She had been assured that the appointments would have been finalised the previous week.
Ms I Direko (ANC) proposed that the Committee await the Minister's response to the Forum's letter before intervening.
Ms S Rajbally (MF) requested that the Chairperson liase with the Minister about the letter, gain his response to the Forum's concerns, and report the outcome to the Committee. Mr Godi (PACA) suggested that the Committee allow the Minister time to respond. He did not think it was necessary to be concerned at this stage.
Ms L Peterson (Department Parliamentary Officer) responded that the Minister was aware of the issues around the Advisory Board. Nominations had been forwarded previously, but the process had lapsed, so the call for nominations had had to be renewed.
Mr M Walters suggested that any further questions could be posed to the Department during their reportback to the Committee the following week.
Ms Bogopane-Zulu asked that receipt of the Forum's letter be acknowledged, indicating the Committee's discussion on the matter.
Ms T Tshivase referred to a memo around training from the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). It was accompanied by a questionnaire to gauge the capacity needs of Committee members. The questionnaires would need to be submitted the following day.
Ms Bogopane-Zulu proposed that all Members receive a copy to submit back to Ms T Tshivase for consolidation by her office. Ms I Direko seconded her proposal.
Ms L Peterson advised Members that the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs had held an extensive training workshop about refugees. She suggested that this Committee specify areas of training and linked this to the Department Policy Indaba at the end of the November. She reminded Members that a designated week had been set aside in the Parliamentary programme for capacity building.
Ms T Tshivase tabled an invitation received by all Members from the Community Law Centre to the launch of a book entitled "Child Justice in Africa." It was agreed that the Committee Clerk would make transport arrangements on the receipt of attendee names.
Ms T Tshivase asked for comments on the Committee's recent provincial visits and interactions with the provincial legislatures. She expressed her belief that it was a successful undertaking.
Ms S Rajbally suggested that the challenges they had encountered needed urgent attention. She cited disillusionment about lack of delivery and suggested that Members liase directly with the Ministry. She expressed her shock that the new provincial Welfare Committee in Pietermaritzburg that had not even seen the Children's Bill.
Ms La Peterson stressed that there has been broad consultation about the Bill within Department structures. The Bill was still with the National Assembly and that it would not go to the provinces until it had been passed in the National Assembly.
Mr B Solo (ANC) responded that officials should be aware of the Children's Bill, regardless of Parliamentary procedure. He was concerned that Members of the Provincial Legislature would be unable to explain the issues contained in the Bill to their constituency members. Ms Mars (IFP) agreed and said that this was creating problems for MinMEC as well.
Ms L Peterson reported that the Department had released its Annual Report on CD-ROM and acknowledged that this had not been tabled timeously. The Department had received an unqualified report. She confirmed that the Department would make a presentation the following week to the Committee and that the Acting Director-General would be present.
She reported progress with regard to the NDA. An advertisement for the new CEO has been placed. She stated that the forensic audit report might not be made public immediately, but that the Standing Committee for Public Accounts (SCOPA) would look at the Report.
Mr M Walter said that the Centre for Joint Authority (CJA) had not tabled their Annual Report. Ms Peterson confirmed this and said they were required to explain their reasons for failing to do so. She suggested that questions on this be put to the Department at the Committee meeting the following week.
The meeting was adjourned.