Investigation into Abuse of Parliamentary Travel Facilities: discussion

Joint Rules

17 February 2005
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050218jcrules

JOINT RULES COMMITTEE
17 February 2005
INVESTIGATION INTO ABUSE OF PARLIAMENTARY TRAVEL FACILITIES: DISCUSSION

Documents handed out:
Task team proposal by Presiding Officers
Terms of reference for multi-party Task Team

Chairperson: Ms B Mbete, NA Speaker

SUMMARY
The Presiding Officers tabled a proposal that a small multi-party Task Team be appointed to consider the recommendations and findings in the confidential reports of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the National Director of Public Prosecutions. They should complete this task by 18 March 2005. Proposed terms of reference were also tabled. Both proposals were accepted by the Joint Rules Committee. The twelve MP members of the Task Team were announced.

MINUTES

National Assembly Speaker’s address
The Speaker announced that the reports on the investigation into the abuse of Parliamentary travel facilities had been received from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the National Director of Public Prosecutions. The Joint Rules Committee now needed to decide how Parliament should proceed. She and the Chairperson of the NCOP proposed that a small multi-party Task Team be appointed to consider the recommendations and findings in the PWC report. She tabled proposed terms of reference for the Task Team and indicated that the Team should present its recommendations by 18 March 2005.

Discussion
Mr M Ellis (DA) queried the role of the Task Team in relation to any MPs who might face criminal prosecution.

The Speaker replied that the Task Team would be concerned with all aspects emerging from the report and would not focus merely on the criminal issue.

Mr A Nel (ANC) supported the proposal and said the investigation might have highlighted systemic problems. The Task Team’s main role would be to ensure that systems were appropriate, served the interests of MPs, and were accountable and transparent.

Mr A Harding (ID) queried whether the report should rather be sent to the Ethics Committee.

The Speaker replied that the Presiding Officers did not wish to make any assumptions as to the contents of the report and therefore had not considered the Ethics Committee appropriate at this stage. The Task Team, having completed its findings, could recommend a referral to that committee, or to any other appropriate body.

Mr M Mzizi (IFP) and Mr J Jeffrey (ANC) both stated that the report would no doubt highlight inadequacies in the rules or procedures relating to travel allowances, and agreed that the Task Team would be able to expedite the necessary improvements.

The Joint Rules Committee agreed unanimously with the proposal and the terms of reference.

The Speaker announced that the Presiding Officers would report back to the Joint Rules Committee at the next possible opportunity.

The Speaker announced the names of the members of the Task Team as follows:
Chairperson: Ms C-S Botha (DA)
National Assembly Members: Mr J H van der Merwe (IFP); Mr P Nefolovhodwe (AZAPO); Mr D Maluleke (DA); Mr M Njobe (ANC); Ms N Kondlo (ANC); Ms S Rajbally (MF); Mr T Masutha (ANC); Mr A Harding (ID); Ms L Jacobus (ANC)
NCOP Members: Mr T Setona (ANC); Ms H Lamoela (DA).

The meeting was adjourned.

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