Committee 2006 Annual Report: adoption; Oversight Visit Reports: postponement

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Defence and Military Veterans

15 November 2006
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

15 NOVEMBER 2006

Ms T Tobias (ANC)

Documents handed out
Committee 2006 Annual Report
Oversight report to Saldanha
documents available at Tabled Committee Reports once tabled]

The Committee met to adopt its 2006 Annual Report, with amendments. Adoption of the Committee’s Report on its oversight visit to Saldanha was postponed. The delegation of Members who embarked on the oversight visit to Canada reported back to the Committee on their experiences and activities. It was decided that the Saldanha and Canada trip reports would be consolidated into a single report.

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that a decision would still have to be taken as to whether it would meet during the December recess period in order to complete the Committee’s Draft Programme for 2007. Mr G Doidge, the Chairperson of Committees, had informed her that only Committees with urgent matters that had to be finalised would be allowed to meet as early as 17 January 2007. She informed Members that the strategic review of the Committee would take at least a week to complete.

Mr S Ntuli (ANC) commented that all matters that the Committee was unable to attend to during the 2006 term should form part of the following year's programme.

Committee Annual Report for 2006
The Chairperson informed Members that the Committee’s financial statements would be supplied on a separate sheet of paper. All the meetings held by the Committee over the past year must be included in its Annual Report, but that was not currently the case. All meetings which the Committee had originally scheduled, but which were subsequently postponed, should also be reflected in the report. The Chairperson suggested that a team of Members, selected by the Committee, be appointed to check the financial statements. This would enable the Committee to keep track of the funds it has spent.

Mr N Fihla (ANC) and Mr S Ntuli (ANC) agreed with the suggestion.

Mr Ntuli commented that he did not know all of the Committee’s support staff, whose names have been reflected in its Annual Report. He suggested that the period of time which they had worked for the Committee be reflected.

Mr O Monareng (ANC) wanted to know if Ms M Van Niekerk had done any work for the committee. He noted that they had been told that she had some personal problems.

The Chairperson replied that the question asked by Mr O Monareg was out of order. She said that Ms Van Niekerk was a researcher commissioned by the Committee. The research, which Ms Van Niekerk was responsible for, was completed and presented to the Committee before she had gone on compassionate leave. He reminded the Committee that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss the performance of staff members.

The Committee’s 2006 Annual Report was adopted, with the amendments.

Report on oversight visit to Saldanha
Dr G Koornhof (ANC) requested that the oversight report not be adopted by the Committee at the meeting, because Members had only received the report that morning and thus had not yet had the opportunity to properly consider it.

The Chairperson replied that it must first be established whether the first oversight report, dated 2005, had been tabled and adopted by Parliament.

Mr O Monareng (ANC) confirmed that the first report had been tabled in 2005. However Parliament was not in the custom of ensuring that the reports tabled by Committees were in fact sent to the respective departments for implementation. He proposed that Dr Koornhof’s suggestion be followed.
Mr Ntuli (ANC) wished to add the proposal that the Saldanha oversight report first be studied by the Committee before it was adopted. He suggested that the oversight report to Saldanha and the oversight visit to Canada be adopted and tabled at the same time.

The Committee did not adopt the Saldanha oversight report at the meeting.

Reportback on Oversight Visit to Canada
The Chairperson asked Mr Ntuli and Mr Monareng, the two Members who had accompanied her to Canada, to provide the Committee with a brief summary of their trip

Mr Ntuli informed the Committee that the delegation had an opportunity to interact with the Canadian Minister of Defence. It was interesting to note the gender balance in the Canadian Defence Force.

Mr Monareng stated that the tour comprised four days of hard work. On the first day the delegation met with the Canadian Standing Committee on Defence, and learnt a great deal at the meeting. The delegation also met with the Canadian Defence Ombudsman. It was interesting to note that the Minister of Defence held a powerful position in Canada. Canada had deployed peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan, the city of Darfur in Sudan and in Bosnia. South Africa and Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on training and peacekeeping. He noted that 13% of the Canadian Navy and Defence Forces were made up of women.

The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Report on the Canadian visit had not yet been drafted but when it was available it would be consolidated, together with the Report on the Saldanha visit, into a single report.

The meeting was adjourned.



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