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LAND AND ENVIRONMENT AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
9 March 2005
Committee REPORTS AND Programme: Adoption
Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Programme
Committee report on study tour to North West and Mpumalanga, 8-12 November 2004 (Available shortly at Committee Reports)
Bangkok World Conservation Congress: Draft Report of Environment Select and Portfolio Committees
The Committee decided to delay adoption of their report on study tours to North West and Mpumalanga provinces between 8-12 November 2004, because it was not complete. The Committee Report on the visit to the Eastern Cape and Western Cape was also not available. Discussion on this also raised the matter of two reports apparently still outstanding from the Public Services Select Committee covering the same visits, but pertaining to public service issues. The Committee Report on the World Conservation Congress in Bangkok and the Committee Programme were adopted.
Rev Moatshe said the Report of the provincial study tour was incomplete and could not be adopted. It did not include a report for Eastern Cape and Western Cape. These reports should not be brought to them piecemeal.
Ms H Matlanyane (ANC) agreed the adoption should be shelved and that all reports should be issued to Members before a meeting in future, in order to avoid unnecessary delays.
Rev Moatshe said he had not seen a report from the Public Services Committee on these last two visits. It was his understanding that the two Committees were to submit separate reports, as they covered different issues.
Mr R Tau (ANC) said there had been a first report submitted by Public Services and that this had been a combined report with Land and Environmental Affairs. It had been suggested subsequently to separate out the issues relating to the two Committees. The matter should have been addressed by the secretary of the Committee for Public Services, Mr Monwabisi.
Rev Moatshe said he could not recall this and said the first report from Land and Environmental Affairs did not contain issued pertaining to Public Services.
Mr van Rooyen agreed that this was a good method of getting others on board. He reminded Members of a briefing with Marine Services Management where the environmental officer had informed them of an aquaculture seminar that they would be co-ordinating and had also budgeted for in 2005/06.
Perhaps the Committee should join forces with them.
Rev Moatshe said that a policy from the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs was before cabinet. A copy of the policy would be circulated to Members.
Mr Mzizi commended the Chair for his choice of action on the matter.
Rev Moatshe said the matter would be deferred, but would remain on the agenda until other stakeholders had been engaged. He asked for adoption of the minutes.
Mr van Rooyen asked whether it was appropriate for the minutes o be signed before the adoption of the meeting.
Rev Moatshe said that it was not usual practice for the minutes to go through this process, but he agreed that if they were submitted for adoption they should only be signed afterwards. Rev Moatshe said that this current report as well as the previous one only pertained to Land and Environmental Affairs issues. The only omission was the report from the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. He said that this was a matter, which concerned Mr Monwabisi. He suggested that Mr Tau discuss the matter with him and that he would pursue it with their researcher. Public Services would have to submit a report on all eight provinces. He suggested the adoption be deferred until all reports were available. The Committee agreed and moved on to the Bangkok Report.
Mr Adams felt the report was a true and comprehensive refection of events at the Conference. He referred Members to two typing errors.
Mr Mzizi referred to page 4 in the draft, asking whether any steps had been taken to implement the resolutions passed and whether the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Tourism would be called to appear before the Portfolio and Select Committees to brief Members on the IUCN Programme.
Rev Moatshe said the relevant South African regional offices should be responsible for this.
Mr Mzizi asked whether there was a time frame for this. Rev Moatshe said that these could be set once the Report was adopted. The Report was then adopted.
Rev Moatshe went through the Draft Provisional Programme of the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs. He noted that Water and Forestry briefings would occur later in the year.
Mr van Rooyen asked that the Committee Members visit the Sasol and Caltex sites. The standard of air quality in that area had to be investigated. This had been raised at the Environmental Conference for Women. Rev Moatshe agreed.
The Programme was then adopted.
Rev Moatshe said the concept of aquaculture had been introduced to South Africa in 2003, but had not been taken forward. He had arranged a seminar including the Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committees of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Water and Forestry, as well as Environmental Affairs and Tourism. He had invited the Chairperson of Trade and Industry as well, but he had not been available.
No resolutions had been made, necessitating another meeting of chairs, in order to finalise the issue. he said it was premature to set a date for another seminar. He asked to be allowed to pursue the matter further.
Mr van Rooyen said the trip was well organised, but that there were serious issues, which needed attention, such as the awarding of tenders within the park for periods of twenty years.
Mr Tau thanked Mr Bauer for his efforts. He said that two technical reports were still outstanding, which had been promised by this week. He was concerned that when the National Assembly went to visit the KNP again in May, this would create confusion and a poor impression of parliament. Perhaps the NA could be encouraged to visit other areas of Mpumalanga, which the Select Committee had not been able to visit. The problems identified on this visit required appropriate responses and reporting, rather than observing again by another group.
Rev Moatshe said that the report on Limpopo, Free State, Northern Cape and Free State would be tabled before the house that afternoon and a statement made. He felt the trip to KNP had been very successful.
Mr Adams said that despite the rip being arranged at short notice, it had gone well. He did want raise the apparent need for more assistance on such trips as the Committee secretary had struggled to cope with all his own responsibilities, while having to attend to logistics.
Mr Mzizi said this raised a very serious concern, which needed to be addressed. He had experienced countless problems on his trip to Free State, ranging from accommodation, which had been booked and subsequently cancelled, return flights which had not been booked and considerable time and energy wasted in dealing with these practicalities. The arrangements of such trips lacked professionalism. This was entirely unacceptable.
Mr Adams hastened to say that this was no reflection on the Committee Secretary, who had done excellent work on the KZN trip.
Ms Matlanyane commended the Committee Secretary for his work. She suggested that observations made on the trip be pursued, for example the poor standard of accommodation for employees in the Park. Levels of service were not acceptable and she was concerned about the exclusivity of certain area in the park where access to the public was restricted. This matter needed to be investigated. Rev Moatshe agreed.
Mr Adams said the Committee should invite Cheryl Carolus, head of the African National Parks, and David Mabundla to raise the concerns of the Committee.
Ms B Dlulane (ANC) suggested that the Portfolio Committee also be invited to this discussion.
Mr Mzizi agree with Mr Tau, except for his suggestion that the Portfolio Committee be advised not to go to KNP in May. He said the NCOP and NA were two fully-fledged entities in the Constitution and as such ran parallel to each other with their own function. The Portfolio Committee should be briefed on the visit by the Select Committee.
Rev Moatshe said the matter should be dealt with in a sensitive manner maintaining a healthy respect and relationship with their counterparts in the National Assembly.
Mr Adams thanked Rev Moatshe’s Personal Assistant for her work in the background in ensuring that their trip was a success.
Rev Moatshe said that he would like an explanation from the Committee Section why a Personal Assistant cannot go on such trips.
Ms Dlulani said that an explanation previously offered was that the Committee Section did not have budget for personal assistant, only for a research and a Committee secretary on these trips.
Mr Bauer said that he had applied for Matilda to be included. This had been denied by the Committee Section on the grounds that personal assistants should stay behind to man the office while the Chairperson is away. Permission had been granted for a Committee assistant. Mr Bauer said that he could not find a suitable person for this.
Rev Moatshe said that he would pursue the matter with the Council and in a meeting with other chairpersons.
Mr van Rooyen said he could not accept that there was not sufficient budget to include another person as R16 million of that budget was being returned.
Rev Moatshe announced that issues pertaining to Taking Parliament to the People would be discussed on Tuesday and Thursday.
There was a schedules oversight period from 5 to 8 April. Rev Moatshe suggested that the Committee visit KwaZulu Natal. The Members agreed.
Mr van Rooyen reminded Members that on 6 April a briefing by the Department of Agriculture was scheduled.
Ms Olifant said that the oversight responsibility overrode this. Rev Moatshe suggested that the briefing be rescheduled.
Rev Moatshe announced that Budget votes would be taking place on 12 April for Agriculture and on 14 April for Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Briefings would have to occur before these dates. There had been an invitation from the Rand Water Facilitation Plant to Members from Gauteng.
The meeting was adjourned.
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