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DEFENCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 June 2006
COMMITTEE MINUTES; HEITMAN AND DE CONING MATTER POSTPONED
Chairperson: Ms V Tobias
Committee minutes for 22, 23 and 24 May 2006 on public hearings on Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Regulation of Activities in Armed Conflict Bill
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The Committee discussed previous minutes deliberated at short on the SCOPA resolutions. The letter from Helmoet Romer Heitman would be discussed at a closed meeting as he had requested so this morning. Cedric de Coning's letter would be discussed by the Committee next term.
The Chairperson stated that she had received a message from Mr Heitman that his letter should be discussed during a closed meeting as it had to do with intelligence operational issues. The Committee would therefore not entertain the letter. They would also discuss Cedric de Coning's letter next term.
The Department of Foreign Affairs had indicated that the person who had been in charge of the mercenary presentation was still in the DRC and would not be available.
Mr M Sayedali-Shahali-Shah (DA) suggested that the letter could be discussed when the Department and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) come to present to the Committee.
Mr O Monareng (ANC) suggested that the letter was an operational letter and should be discussed by intelligence people.
The Chairperson moved for the adoption of previous minutes.
Mr Sayedali-Shah had problems with the minutes as they had not been true reflection of the proceedings. Of all the members who asked questions only one member's name and question appeared. Only seven of the fifteen companies that had given an oral submission appeared on the list.
Members of the Committee felt that Mr Sayedali-Shah was conducting himself in a manner that was unbefitting. They felt that the minutes reflected truly the hearings.
The Chairperson stated that minutes were supposed to be a reflection of the meetings and that members could however get transcripts as back-up information and not for adoption. She asked Mr Sayedali-Shah to state his objections clearly, page by page and sentence by sentence.
Mr Sayedali-Shah did not state his objections but merely repeated that all three minutes were not reflective of the meetings.
Mr M Booi stated that Mr Sayedali-Shah's conduct had been undignified and disrespectful to the Chairperson as he continued to talk on the side whilst the Chairperson was addressing the matter.
The Chairperson decided that these minutes should be adopted in the next term. Members would be given the transcripts of the hearings to look at during recess and they could raise specific issues when the Committee convened.
The Chairperson noted that she had forwarded the resolutions from the Standing Committee of Public Accounts to members and she hoped that they had looked at them.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked what if there were issues not addressed by SCOPA? There were issues that had been discussed two years ago and were still here.
The Chairperson stated that was why they were having a workshop shortly in order for members to understand better the Committee's oversight role. All this would be discussed then.
She commented that at the opening of the next parliamentary session, there would be a trip to Canada and seven members who had been chosen would go. Those not going would be given chance to go at a later stage.
The meeting adjourned.
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