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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 November 2004
AMENDMENTS TO FIREARMS CONTROL ACT REGULATIONS: BRIEFING; COMMITTEE BUSINESS PLAN, BUDGET AND ANNUAL REPORT: DISCUSSION
Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
SAPS National Commissioner comments on the Amendments to the Firearm Control Act Regulations, 2004
Committee Business Plan 2004 - 2005
Committee Budget Proposal for 2005 - 2006
Committee Annual Report, June - December 2004
The SA Police Services (SAPS) briefed the Committee on minor technical amendments that needed to be made to the Firearms Control Act Regulations of 2004. The Committee reviewed their Business Plan for 2004 - 2005, their Budget Proposal for 2005 - 2006, and their Annual Report for June - December 2004. The Business Plan and Annual Report were adopted with minor amendments. The Budget Proposal was adopted on the condition that the Chairperson received clarification from the Budget's authors on certain proposals.
Mr P Jacobs (SAPS, Assistant Commissioner) noted it was necessary to make some minor technical amendments to the Firearms Control Act Regulations, 2004 in relation to the Private Security Industry. Such amendments did not change the essence of the Regulations but rather, aligned the Regulations with the amendments to the Firearms Control Act, 2000. It was also necessary to prescribe application forms for the possession of more than 200 rounds of ammunition and for accreditation as an official institution. In addition, it was noted that Government Notice No. R.974 needed to be amended, as the Afrikaans and English texts stated different dates by which a dealer should apply for a licence.
In discussion on its Business Plan, Advocate A Gaum (NNP) stated that "July 2004" under "Strategic Objectives for the Committee" should be changed to "July 2005." The Chairperson agreed.
Mr A Maziya (ANC) pointed out that "oversight conducted" under "Exercising Oversight: SAPS" should be changed, as it was an ongoing process. The Chairperson agreed, adding that "March 2004 - November 2005" needed to be changed to "March 2005 - November 2005." Advocate Gaum noted that "March 2005" should be changed to "June 2005."
Advocate Gaum made reference to the study tour to Australia and the United Kingdom. He felt the countries were too far apart to both be toured in July 2005. The Chairperson said that they would be toured in different months, but that one month was budgeted for total tour time.
Mr Maziya argued that studies of countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom offered little practical benefit to South Africa, since these countries confronted very different situations. He recommended the Committee conduct study tours of other African countries instead. Mr F Maserumule (ANC) agreed. The Chairperson stated that the Committee needed to budget for visiting another country, regardless of what country they eventually visited. She assured Members that money allocated to the study tour could be used for travel to any country that extended an invitation to the Committee. Ms J Sosibo (ANC) agreed with Chairperson, stressing that the Business Plan needed to secure money for such travel.
The Business Plan was adopted with amendments.
The Chairperson asked the Committee to review the Budget Proposal. She mentioned that this budget requested significantly more money than the last budget, which had requested approximately R300 000. She argued that it was necessary to request additional funds since it was unlikely the Committee would receive the full amount requested. She noted that half or more of the R1.2 million requested would be sufficient.
Mr R Jankielsohn (DA) questioned how the Committee could possibly spend R30 000 per year on stationery. He asked for the formal definition of "stationery." The Chairperson mentioned that some of the figures listed in the budget were set maximum values not determined by the Committee. In the case of stationery, the Committee had to budget R30 000 regardless of whether or not that amount accurately reflected the Committee's needs.
Mr Maziya asked if the legal consultants budgeted for came from outside of Parliament. The Chairperson referred to page three, where it stated that "the Committee may need external legal opinions on certain matters. Based on past experience, it is estimated that three opinions might be required during the year."
Reverend K Meshoe (ACDP) asked for clarification of this statement. The Chairperson explained that the Committee had needed outside legal advice in the past but had not had the necessary funds. Therefore, it was necessary to allocate funds that could be used to secure external legal opinions. Mr Gaum argued that outside legal advice was a realistic need since it was the Committee's responsibility to oversee Departmental actions. Mr Maziya agreed.
Ms Sosibo questioned the amount that had been allocated for MPs' subsistence allowances outside of South Africa. Mr Gaum also had a problem with this figure. The Chairperson agreed that R6 912 could not possibly be the cost of nine nights' accommodation for twelve MPs.
Reverend Meshoe asked how many MPs would be going on the study tour to Australia and the United Kingdom. The Chairperson suggested the number be left at twelve. Reverend Meshoe mentioned that this would entail readjusting figures in the Business Plan.
Mr Maziya wanted clarification on how the amounts allocated for vehicle hire had been determined. He stressed the importance of understanding the Budget since the Committee would ultimately be responsible for defending it. The Chairperson agreed clarification was needed and said she would raise the concerns with the Committee clerk.
Mr Maserumule suggested that the author of the Budget should brief the Committee. The Chairperson felt it was more practical to have a Chairperson's meeting. Mr Maziya moved to accept the Budget on the condition that the authors explained the Budget to the Chairperson and that she amended the Budget in the Committee's interest after having spoken with the Budget's authors. Mr Maserumule agreed.
Ms Sosibo noted that it was the first time in her ten years on the Committee that she had seen a Budget Proposal. The Chairperson said that she was presenting the Committee with the Budget to increase transparency.
The Budget Proposal was adopted.
The Chairperson asked the Committee to review the Annual Report. She mentioned that the Committee's name needed to be changed from "Select Committee on Safety and Security" to "Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security."
Mr Jankielsohn noted that the addition in Section 5, "Financial Statements," was incorrect. The Chairperson explained that the figure of R209 999 included funds used by the previous Committee, although such funds were not listed under "expenditure."
Mr Maziya pointed out the Committee was requesting R1.2 million even though it had only spent R209 999 the previous year, which was less than the allocated R394 735. He asked how this would affect the Committee's chances of receiving additional funding. The Chairperson argued that it was necessary to ask for significantly more money to ensure there were enough funds for proper oversight trips.
The Annual Report was adopted with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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