Newlands Facility Availability Policy; Summons of Mayor Marais

Sports, Arts and Culture

06 April 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


6 April 2001

Ms N. Bhengu (ANC)

The meeting focused on the process to determine the next steps in view of Cape Town Unicity Mayor Peter Marais' failure to appear before the committee. The committee had invited him to provide information so that a way forward can be charted to achieve the goal of non-discriminatory use of the Newlands stadium facilities, particularly for soccer. In this meeting, a sub-committee was formed to consult with the parliamentary law advisor and others on the means by which to compel the Mayor to appear before the committee.

The Chairperson stated the purpose of the meeting was to take decisions on the discussions and proposals covered at the 5 April meeting. The Chair then noted the seriousness of the Newlands issue and the Mayor's unwillingness to appear. She spoke approvingly of the proposal by Mr Chauke (ANC) that a sub-committee be formed to initiate the process of the Speaker issuing a summons to the Mayor. She suggested they examine applicable time frames, in consultation with the parliamentary legal advisor, who on 5 April had outlined the legal procedures the committee must comply with in seeking to compel the Mayor to appear. She also remarked that the Mayor is to appear not "in order to try him", but to provide information so that a way forward can be charted to achieve the goal of non-discriminatory use of the Newlands facilities, including and especially soccer. She noted that the Constitution allows the committee to obtain information when necessary, and that the committee is willing to exercise this power.

Mr Chauke (ANC) restated the above proposal, suggesting that the sub-committee be multi-party and be allowed to explore other measures which might be taken in accordance with applicable laws and rules.

Mr Frolick (UDM) seconded Mr Chauke's proposal, adding it was unfortunate the perception had been created that the committee wanted the Mayor to appear "dead or alive". He noted that when the committee first discussed the Newlands matter on 27 March, DA members Lee and Morkel had concurred that all stakeholders, including the Mayor, needed to appear to provide information.

Mr Morkel (DA) stated that the last two committee meetings had been "depressing", and less than productive due to "political infighting". He went on to affirm his commitment to address Newlands and other problems the committee needed to deal with. He continued by reminding the committee that the issuance of summonses was not initially contemplated, and that the immediate issue is whether the Mayor intends to accept an invitation to appear. He suggested the Mayor be given a reasonable (ie 7-10 days) notice so there will be less chance of conflicts with his busy schedule. He stated that he nonetheless endorsed Chauke's proposal as a short term measure to move the process forward in a way which will hopefully create a less sensationalised atmosphere than that prevailing this week. He also noted that the Mayor's participation is clearly integral to reaching any resolution, and also suggested that the sub-committee be allowed some flexibility to recommend that others appear before the committee.

Mr Lucas (IFP) suggested that designation of the sub-committee be considered. He hoped a mutually satisfactory solution to the current impasse could be found, as the committee, as "part-time citizens of Cape Town", respects the Mayor.

Mr Louw (ANC) echoed Lucas, adding "we will never, never do anything to disrespect the Mayor, but the committee needs to do its duty."

The Chairperson, directing her comments to Mr Morkel, reiterated the committee's right under Constitution Sections 55 and 56 to summon any person. She said the Mayor's presence is necessary to meet the committee's purposes. Moreover, as the Mayor had "belittled and ridiculed" the committee in the media, saying he would have to be dragged here in chains before he would appear, the committee would use constitutional measures in order to resolve the Newlands matter and thus serve vital public interests, including the 2010 World Cup soccer bid.

Mr Ntuli (ANC) added that the Mayor could have suggested an alternate time to meet with the committee, but since he didn't the Constitution must be used to compel him to do so.

An ANC member proposed that Messrs Chauke, Frolick, Lucas and Morkel, as well as the Chair, comprise the sub-committee. The Chair added that it should also include an NCOP representative, as its scope encompasses matters of provincial concern.

These proposals were seconded. Mr Morkel, noting that there appeared to be more consensus than disagreement among committee members, requested that his fellow DA committee members, Messrs Swart and Lee, be allowed to substitute for him on the sub-committee, if requested in future. The Chair rejected this request, noting:
-"performance" is a relevant criterion by which to judge such a request, and Mr Lee is new to the committee and not used to its "cooperative approach", as evidenced by his last-minute announcement of the DA's opposition to the SA Boxing Bill during the 30 March final committee vote on it;
-"commitment" is also important, and Mr Lee had not appeared at any of the meetings of this week, and as such evidently did not have the requisite "spirit of reconciliation" to reach a solution to the problem.

The Chair specified the sub-committee's "terms of reference" as follows:
1. To consult with the parliamentary law advisor on the means by which to compel the Mayor to appear before the committee in accordance with applicable law and rules, paying particular attention to time frames;
2. To interface with the Speaker as necessary under the rules in order to compel the Mayor's appearance;
3. To approach the Chief Whip for permission for the sub-committee to meet over the coming recess;
4. To report back to the full committee.

Mr Morkel (DA) requested that the terms of reference also include the ability to determine other stakeholders to be invited to appear before the committee. Mr Frolick (UDM) noted that the necessary participants had already been identified, and queried whether Mr Morkel was attempting to re-open that issue, or somehow insulate others (ie the Mayor) from the process the committee was embarking on.

Mr Louw (ANC) asked the Chair to close the meeting and not allow Mr Morkel to waste further time. Mr Chauke (ANC), agreeing with Louw, suggested that Mr Morkel take up further questions within the sub-committee.

The Chair adjourned the meeting.


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