Committee Programme

Social Development

13 June 2006
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Meeting report

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
14 June 2006
DRAFT COMMITTEE PROGRAMME FOR 2nd AND 3rd TERMS

Acting-chairperson:
Adv M Masutha (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Programme for 2nd and 3rd Terms

SUMMARY
The Committee discussed the mediation process that would take place regarding the Older Persons Bill, its forthcoming trip to Australia and its Draft Programme for the 2nd and 3rd parliamentary terms. The Committee expressed concern at a reduction of the number delegates allowed on the Australian trip.

MINUTES

The chairperson stated that Ms Tshivase (ANC) was away on an overseas trip on parliamentary business.

Mr M Fukula (Committee Secretary) informed the Committee that the Older Person’s Bill had been rejected by the NCOP to allow for a mediation process to begin. Two lines had been omitted due to a technicality and were not the fault of the Committee. The missing lines had been noticed by the Northern Cape Province who had alerted the NCOP.

He said the names of people who will form part of the Mediation Committee were Ms J Chalmers (ANC); Ms M Gumede,(ANC); Ms X Makasi (ANC); Adv M Masutha(ANC); Ms E Ngaleka (ANC); Ms H Weber (DA); Mr M Walters (DA), and Ms I Mars (IFP) as listed in Order Paper of 14 June 2006.

Ms Gumede asked if the mediation process could be explained.

The Chairperson referred to Sections 75 and 76 of the Constitution, which provide procedures for the passing of Bills in Parliament. Section 75 deals with primarily with Bills that have a national impact whereas Section 76 deals with Bills that have an impact on the provinces in particular. The Older Person’s Bill fell within Section 76. In the event the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces not agreeing on the final version of the Bill a team would be appointed, made up of members from both Houses, to form a mediation committee to resolve the dispute. If they could then not resolve the matter at mediation level, the matter would lapse.

Mr Fukula remarked that the Australian trip by the Committee had been scheduled to take place in the next term from 7-11 August. The delegation would be made up of Adv Masutha; Ms I Direko (ANC); Ms  Tshivase; and Mr Walters

The Chairperson felt disappointed by the small number of members on the list for the Australian trip. He was concerned about the cost of the trip as R52 000 had been set aside for traveling expenses only.

He said that the purpose of the trip was to look at how the Australian Legislature exercised oversight over the Social Security Agency and what were the challenges and ‘smart’ ways of doing things in their Parliament.

Mr B Solo (ANC) asked who decided what to do and how to run the Committee’s affairs. His name had initially been on the list for the Australian trip. He felt Parliament was not treating the Committee fairly. Other committees had had many trips with large contingencies authorised by Parliament. He suggested that a uniform standard be applied to all parliamentary committees

Ms Gumede commented that some members of the Committee had attend meetings only once in six months

Ms Mars commented that the Home Affairs Committee had travelled with only three members . She felt there was a need to investigate why some committees were approved large delegation while others travelled with few members.

The Chairperson suggested the concerns raised be dealt with by the chairperson of committees and possibly be sent to the chief whip of the majority party. It was the Management Committee that had discussed the matter.

Mr Solo felt the Committee’s draft programme had not provided for oversight on piloted areas such as rural areas

Ms Gumede suggested that the Committee should start oversight of rural areas .She felt the Committee always considered well advanced areas like Gauteng and forget rural areas. People in rural areas only heard about the existence of white people but had never seen them

Mr Walters referred the Committee to the joint briefing by the Departments of Social Development and Justice on the Child Justice Bill, scheduled for 13 September on the draft programme. He suggested sexual offences be included.

Ms H Bogopane-Zulu (ANC) referred the Committee to the last page of the programme. She felt the Committee had dealt with the NDA (National Development Agency) on numerous occasions. She suggested the NDA briefing be replaced by an outreach visit or consideration of how the NDA made decisions in terms of funding long-term contracts and how changes to NGO funding impacted on NDA short-term and long term grants.

She referred the Committee to the item on the 2007 Development Support: Departmental Programmes, and suggested that the Umsombuvu Youth Fund be invited to update the Committee instead of the Department Programmes. She added that Committee should focus on the implementation of youth service.

The meeting was adjourned.

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