Provincial Study Tours; Report on Hague Conference; Asbestos Case: discussion

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


This Report is a Contact Natural Resource Information Service
Taking Parliament to People, and People to Parliament


20 June 2000

Documents handed out:

The Committee looked at the draft reports from their provincial study tour, noting that the Western Cape is the only province that has not been visited. The report from the tour is to be recirculated for members' comments. The Members were unanimous in their view that the report from the Hague Conference was inadequate and they asked the Chairperson to look into how it could be refined. The Committee then discussed the Asbestos case and what members should be doing in lieu of the ongoing court case in London.

Provincial Study Tours
The members asked to have the reports recirculated. The committee chair requested that the clerk do so, and asked that the members submit their comments to her before the committee meets again in August.

The Western Cape is now the only province that has not been visited, and the committee discussed when it would be possible to do so. A consensus was reached that it would be best to visit before the local elections, and that the most appropriate time would be during the constituency weeks at the beginning of August. A final decision will be made once the programme for August is released, probably by the end of this week.

There was also some discussion about whether the members should split up into groups for this tour. However, since the agricultural activities of the Western Cape are quite varied, it was agreed that the committee as a whole should get an overview of the province.

Report on the Hague Conference
The members were unanimous in the inadequacy of the report and the Chair agreed to look into how it could be refined.

Asbestos Case
Committee members were unable to join the delegation to attend the landmark case on asbestos mining to be held in London, as per invitation of the Chair of the Portfolio Committee of Environmental Affairs the previous week. The case involves an asbestos mining company called Cape PLC, which operated in Priska (Northern Cape) and Mafefe (Northern Province). The Committee will need to be briefed on this issue.

There ensued an informal debate amongst the members about how the asbestos issue has been handled. Mr Van Niekerk (NNP-Northern Cape) argued that the publicity has negatively affected tourism and development in the affected areas, and that this was an aspect that needed to be dealt with. He proposed also that the committee seek expert advice on the effects of asbestos, since there are many misperceptions on the issue. For example, while asbestos fibres are harmful to workers in the mines, asbestos roofing, once installed, has no ill-effects.

Reverend Chabaku (Free State) asserted that this is a controversial issue and one that affects the entire nation.

Dr Conroy (NNP-Gauteng) supported the call for a debate with expert input. He felt that the danger from asbestos had been blown out of proportion, and that there are other chemicals used in construction and other every day activities that are more harmful.

Mr Mokoena (ANC-Northern Province), however, felt that the inclination to play down the effects of asbestos to avoid negative publicity was a trap, and that the issue should not be diluted while people are dying.

Mr Van Niekerk said that he wished to reiterate Mr Moekena's concern, and revealed that he himself has lived on a farm where asbestos was being mined, has known people who have died, and is afraid for himself and his children. He does not want to dilute the issue, but believes that we need perspective on the scientific hazards.

Reverend Chabaku suggested focusing on the report from England and getting expert advice, so that the Committee could focus on the national issue.

Dr. Conroy added that a debate could affect the court case in London if the specific focus on the workers was lost.

The Chair proposed looking seriously into the issue after the recess.

Other issues
It has been impossible to arrange a briefing on fisheries for this week; this will need to be prioritised for the first meeting after the recess.

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to discussing the budget and schedule for a trip to Israel to learn about land reform and development.

The copyright in this material subsists with the Contact Trust. Further distribution or copying of this material is prohibited without the prior agreement of the Contact Trust.


No related


No related documents


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: