Committee Draft Programme, Draft Strategic Plan and Annual Report: discussion

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


9 February 2005

Ms P Themba (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Committee Annual Report 2004
Draft Committee Strategic Plan 2005
Draft Committee Programme 2005


The Committee met to review their Draft Committee Programme, Draft Strategic Plan and Annual Report 2004 and make the necessary amendments. Questions raised included the proposed length of oversight trips, the relevance of accountability within the mission statement, the promotion of skills transfer, the nature of public hearings, and the relationship with provincial governments.

The Chairperson read through the Draft Committee Programme highlighting key activities. The training of Members on the Convergence Bill would be organised in due course. Constituency visits would be planned in conjunction with the Economic Affairs Select Committee.

Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC) proposed a new meeting time of 09h30 to avoid delays and disruptions caused by late arrivals. The Chairperson decided that meetings would commence at 10h00 in future.

Mr D Mkono (ANC) asked whether a trip to Dimension Data would take place. The Chairperson indicated that this trip would be arranged and Members notified of the date.

Mr K Sinclaire (NNP) sought clarity on the length of training and whether two days was sufficient to visit Coega.

Ms Ntwanambi asked when a trip to Alexkor would commence, and suggested that a Committee day be utilised for this purpose.

The Draft Programme was adopted with amendments and the Secretary would circulate the revised version to Members.

Draft Strategic Plan

Mr Z Kolweni asked whether timeframes should be included regarding pending legislation. The Chairperson indicated that the timeframes were not known at this stage.

Ms Ntwanambi asked whether the name of relevant departments could be added as a last column.

Mr Sinclaire asked whether a reference to the promotion of accountability should be added to the mission statement. The promotion of skills transfer this should form an important component of the statement. Ms Ntwanambi concurred and stated that human resource development should also feature.

Mr Mkono requested further elaboration on the need for human resource development.

Mr Mkono questioned whether the Committee should emphasise the concept of accountability within the plan. Mr J Sibiya suggested that the concept of accountability be discussed by Members to decide on the relevance.

Mr Sinclaire responded that a priority of the Committee was to measure service delivery and a grey area existed between oversight and accountability. Clarity should be ascertained from the Department. Members should measure how public funds were being utilised to determine value for money.

Mr Mkono stated that the Committee plan should remain realistic to the limitations of the NCOP in terms of membership and provincial visits. Incorporating additional responsibilities such as accountability could prove unrealistic due to time constraints and insufficient human resources.

The Chairperson stated that the term "accountability" would remain within the mission statement and serve as motivation for the year ahead.

Mr Sinclaire asked whether funds could be made available to assist stakeholders to attend public hearings as transport remained a problem for many. The Chairperson agreed and stated that the plan should indicate the provision of assistance for stakeholders.

Mr Mkono asserted that public hearings were usually arranged at a central point as the pending legislation impacted the nation as a whole, affecting both Houses of Parliament.

Mr Kolweni asked for clarity on the role of the NCOP in conducting public hearings and the distinction with the National Assembly in this regard.

The Chairperson replied that the NCOP did not conduct public hearings unilaterally but in conjunction with the relevant Portfolio Committee. The relevant provincial Standing Committee would be involved within each province. Any public hearing within provinces would be arranged in co-operation with the provincial authorities.

Ms Ntwanambi confirmed that public hearings involving national issues were conducted at a central point, but provincial matters such as demarcation, could utilise hearings at a local level.

Mr Kolweni recommended that allowance be made for a researcher to accompany Members during oversight visits.

Mr Mkono concurred and stated that the presence of a researcher could assist in verifying contentious issues that might arise. Funds were available to facilitate this as under-spending characterised Committee activities during the past year. The Chairperson agreed.

Mr Sinclaire reminded Members that many parastatals operated in neighbouring African countries and provision should be made for regional visits. Members should familiarise themselves with current social ills such as poverty and the experiences of rail commuters, in order to gauge service delivery. The Chairperson noted the motivation and appropriate plans would be made.

Ms Ntwanambi recommended that issues mentioned in the vision be included in the Strategic Plan for the sake of continuity.

Mr Mkono asked whether the site for King Shaka Airport had been confirmed. The location of airports often resulted in accessability problems for the general populace. He asked whether Members had any influence over choices of location.

Mr Kolweni reminded Members not to duplicate work that might have been conducted by the Portfolio Committee when devising strategic plans. The Chairpersons of the two Committees should develop an effective working relationship to avoid duplication and to promote effective interaction with the provinces.

Ms Ntwanambi stated that provincial visits would be conducted in collaboration with provincial Standing Committees and relevant local authorities.

The Chairperson responded that previously, all trips to provinces had involved prior communication with appropriate entities and a lack of consensus on the plan adopted.

Ms Ntwanambi suggested that oversight trips occur every three months in order to assess Committee work and ensure monitoring of relevant entities.

The Draft Strategic Plan was adopted with amendments.

Committee Annual Report

Ms Ntwanambi noted that a briefing by the Deputy Minister of Communication during 2004 was omitted from the Annual Report. The Chairperson acknowledged the omission and the Report was adopted with amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.


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