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PRIVATE MEMBERS’ LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS AND SPECIAL PETITIONS: STANDING COMMITTEE
9 November 2005
MRS C KELLERMAN'S PETITION
Chairperson: Ms M Mentor (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Consideration of Mrs Kellerman's petition had to be postponed once again. Petitions had to come to the Committee through the Speaker’s Office and a petition could not be considered if it had not followed the required route. This error was attributed to the administrative staff who should have anticipated that a covering letter from the Speaker's Office was missing. The Committee will try to include the petition at the following week's meeting.
Although there was not a quorum, the Chairperson addressed the meeting saying that there was a technical problem with this petition. Petitions had to come to the Committee through the Speaker’s Office and a petition could not be considered if it had not followed the required route. The problem was that there had been no covering letter from the Speaker’s Office to say that this petition had been received.
Mr D Gibson (DA) drew the Committee’s attention that this petition dated 28 October 2004 had been sent to the Secretary of Parliament under cover of a letter and with petition signed by Mrs Kellerman, and requested that it be forwarded to the Speaker. Mr Gibson quoted from the letter:
"I enclose herewith a petition signed by Mrs Chloe Kellerman and shall be most grateful if you would forward it to the Speaker. No doubt the Speaker would in turn forward it to the Private Members’ Legislative Proposals and Special Pensions Committee for consideration."
Mr Gibson continued that this matter had already taken a year and one would think one could have looked for the relevant papers before the meeting started rather than postponing this meeting again. Through error, Mr Gibson, as presenter of the petition, had not even been invited to the previous meeting. Now there was no quorum. The technical problem should have been sorted out by now.
The Chairperson responded that just because Mr Gibson had written to the Secretary of Parliament in October last year, did not mean that the issue was for this Committee. There was nothing to indicate correspondence from the Speaker’s Office granting permission, and the Chairperson would wait until the letter from the Speaker’s Office was received. The Speaker had to authorise the petition to be valid.
Mr Gibson agreed that the matter could not come before the Committee unless it came from the Speaker’s Office.
Mr A Ainslie (ANC) agreed that there was no indication that the matter had been to the Speaker’s Office, which was a kind of filtration process. A decision in the Speaker’s Office could short circuit the whole process. There was an indication that it had been to the Secretary of Parliament. It was possible that the Secretary had directed it from his Office to the Committee. The fact of the matter was that the proper procedure had not been followed and the Committee could not continue.
Mr G Magwanishe (ANC) said that the Chairperson was quite correct. The fact that it had come to the Committee did not mean that proper procedure had been followed.
Mr Gibson wanted to clarify that the advocate had followed the correct procedure and the Minister had followed the correct procedure. The Speaker had returned it to Mr Gibson for his signature. The problem lay between this Committee and the Speaker’s Office. People were not treated properly if they had to wait for a year and then because of some foul-up between this Committee and the Speaker’s Office, the petitioner had to return again. It should not happen that this error was only discovered at the meeting. The problem was with the administrative staff. It was also a disgrace that there was no quorum. He asked that this matter still be heard and said he would be happy to meet again.
The Chairperson agreed it was a disgrace that there was no quorum, not one party only but all the parties were guilty. Mr Gibson had acted correctly and the Speaker had done so too. The problem was with the staff. She would once again say to the staff that they had to give documentary proof that the matter was valid as it had gone through the correct channels. There was a committee meeting with Department of Justice during the following week and she would see whether this agenda item could be includedin that meeting. Mr Gibson as presenter of this petition would be informed of the exact date it would happen.
The Chairperson apologised to Mrs Kellerman for the inconvenience.
The meeting closed.
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