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SPECIAL MEETING OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RULES COMMITTEE
DRAFT MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
17 May 2005 at 08:30
Mbete B (Speaker)
Mahlangu-Nkabinde G L (Deputy Speaker)
Doidge G Q M (House Chairperson)
Botha C-S (House Chairperson)
Baloyi M R Mentor M P
Ellis M J Mfundisi I S
Gibson D H M Nefolovhodwe P J
Jeffery J H Njikelana S J
Johnson C B Rajbally S
Kalyan S V Seaton S A
Madikiza G T Van den Heever R P Z
Masutha T M Van Wyk A
Staff in Attendance: K Hahndiek (Secretary to National Assembly), K Mansura (Undersecretary) and E Palmer (Legal Services).
- Apologies (Agenda Item 1)
- Adoption of agenda (Agenda Item 2)
- Report by Speaker on Task Team recommendations regarding National Assembly members found guilty of abuse of travel vouchers (Agenda Item 3)
Apologies were received from these members:
Bapela K O, Bhengu F, Chohan-Kota F, Greyling C H F, September C C,
Sithole D J and Tsenoli S L.
This item was not considered by the Committee.
The Speaker stated that as certain members of the Assembly had been convicted of fraud, she was taking the first opportunity at the commencement of the Second Term to seek the collective views of members of the Rules Committee in regard to taking forward the matter of the convicted Assembly members. She clarified that the matter was specifically about the five serving members of the National Assembly who had been convicted of fraud.
Mrs Seaton, supported by Mr Gibson, requested the Speaker to share with the meeting the recommendations of the Task Team Considering the Report of Pricewaterhousecoopers and National Directorate of Public Prosecutions, regarding the imposition of penalties. In response, the Speaker read an extract containing the recommendation from the Task Team report, as follows: The Presiding Officers should, at the conclusion of criminal or civil action against members in respect of the travel voucher system, where members have been found guilty or civilly liable, exercise their discretion in taking any further action in terms of Parliament’s rules and practices.
She explained that the announcement regarding the setting up of the Task Team had been made at a meeting of the Joint Rules Committee and therefore the feedback on the Task Team’s report would be made at that level. She was therefore not presenting the report at this meeting. In reference to the Task Team recommendation, Mr Gibson said that it would have been helpful if the Task Team had recommended a course of action. He added that while he was aware of the constitutional imperatives on Parliament in regard to the constitutional provision which says that a person is not eligible to be a member of the National Assembly if that person is convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine, the DA was of the view that the final effect of any sanction imposed in this specific case should be loss of membership of the Assembly by a member. He said that if Parliament was unable to terminate a member’s membership of the House, then parties should do so. The Speaker stated that while there were certain things that Parliament could do, the relevant political parties also had a crucial part to play in this regard. She was however requesting members to consider what Parliament could do.
Mr Nel said that as far as he was concerned there were two courses of action to follow in this instance, namely, that parties should make use of their own internal disciplinary processes to deal with the guilty members and that Parliament should implement the recommendation of the Task Team as it relates to action to be taken by Parliament through its Presiding Officers. He also pointed out that it was a matter of public record that the ANC had stated that at a certain stage it would take action against its members in accordance with internal party processes.
Mr Nefolovhodwe said that any action eventually taken against these members should be within the confines of the Rules of Parliament. He supported the view that members should concentrate on what Parliament could do. What parties did fell outside of this forum.
Ms Seaton suggested that the maximum sanctions provided for in the Rules should be applicable in this case. She noted that in terms of the Rules, the Assembly could suspend or fine members, adding that Parliament should in fact appeal to parties to urgently take harsh action against the relevant members.
Mr Nel noted that parties had expressed themselves in the meeting. The Rules contained clear procedures and the Presiding Officers should now urgently proceed along the lines set out in the Rules. This forum should not then prejudge the outcome.
In conclusion the Speaker thanked members for their inputs.
The meeting adjourned at 08:50.
SPECIAL MEETING OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RULES COMMITTEE
Chairperson: Speaker of the National Assembly
Secretary : Masibulele Xaso (NA Table) Ext. 3260 [email@example.com]
National Assembly Table Division
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