Committee Programme & Planning for Australian Study Tour

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

30 January 2007

Mr F Adams (ANC, Western Cape)

Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Programme

The Chairperson expected this to be a busy year for the NCOP as the government was now set on focusing on delivery and implementation programmes. This meant there would be a lot of oversight to ensure the implementation of what government had promised. The committee programme was adopted with possible amendments to come at a later stage.

The Committee delegation for the Australia study tour amounted to five members: three ANC, one DA and one from another party. There not being another party on the Committee meant four ANC and one DA. The Chairperson and secretary would consult with the Chief Whip about delegation representation.

Committee programme
The Chairperson welcomed members and the media to the first meeting of the year. This would be a tough year for the NCOP. After the Lekgotlas that had taken place around the country the government was now set on focusing on delivery and implementation programmes. For the committees and the NCOP there would be legislation and a lot of oversight to see the implementation of what government had promised. As the other committees that members served would be busy, he would try to keep the work of this Committee to the essentials. The NCOP Chairperson had instructed that adjustments to the NCOP Rules be made to give Special Petitions to this committee also. Currently the committee was not dealing with special petitions, only legislative proposals.

He suggested that the Committee adopt the draft committee programme as is with possible amendments coming in at a later stage, because the programmes in the institution changed on a daily basis.

Mr A Moseki (ANC, North West) noted that members belonged to other committees as well and clashes needed to be avoided so this should be taken into account when drafting the programme.

The Chairperson responded that there were only three fixed dates so far for this Committee's programme. They were waiting for the programmes of two other parliamentary committees before fixing dates for their programme. Hence the proposal of adopting their programme with possible amendments. The programme would then be redrafted with specific dates attached to it.

The programme was adopted.

Australian Study Tour
Mr Adams explained that this Committee in its previous term had gone to Germany and Britain and the book dealing with members legislative proposals was brought out based on those principles.

Three countries had been proposed but Australia was strongly recommended because the Australian system was similar to that of South Africa and Australia was the only country that had committees dealing with legislative proposals and special petitions.

Unfortunately the proposed dates of 17 – 24 February were the only dates that Parliament could give the committee for an international study tour to look at the Australian model and see a best practice model in terms of petitions and legislative proposals. Legislative proposals in the NCOP were quite different to the National Assembly. The trip had been approved and extra funding provided based on those dates. However, Foreign Affairs had informed them that the Australian Parliament would be opening on 6 February and their programme was too full. Another letter would be sent to Foreign Affairs informing them that those were the only dates in the current financial year this Committee had. Hopefully the Australian counterparts would be able to accommodate the committee.

He continued that it was necessary to select candidates as five committee members plus a staff member had been approved. There was a need to look at who had attended meetings regularly thus far. He expressed concern that it could be a male-only delegation.

Mr K Mokoena (ANC, Limpopo) thanked the Chairperson for the international study tour initiative in order to get a broader view on how to do things here, and learn from other countries. He proposed that the ruling party plus the Democratic Alliance provide names for the trip within a specific time frame.

Mr D Worth (DA, Free State) proposed that the chairperson select the opposition member from the DA.

The Chairperson noted that, based on regular attendance, he would recommend Mr Worth. A delegation of five would need to be three from the ruling party, one from the official opposition being the DA, and one from another party. There were no other political parties on the committee except one alternate who did not attend meetings. He suggested the ruling party fill the gap of the ‘other’ party, and Mr Worth represent the official opposition.

Mr Moseki felt that the issue of gender balance was very important.

The Chairperson responded that Ms Hollander served on the committee as Deputy Chair, but he would ask the Chief Whip to look at the attendance register in terms of gender as well. He would follow up with the Chief Whip’s office.

Mr Moseki agreed with Mr Worth’s proposal that the chairperson should sort this out.

Mr Mokoena did not think it would be right for the sake of representivity to take just any person. Instead they should look at the members who attended meetings even if that meant a male-dominated delegation.

Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) felt very strongly that they should look at regular representation on the Committee by members and then see who should go based on that.

The Chairperson agreed that that was also one of the criteria to be looked at.

It was agreed that the Chairperson and secretary would attend to this and get back to members within the course of the day.

Mr Watson did not think the committee could allow a member or members of a party to be disadvantaged due to attendance at a very important meeting of another committee.

The Chairperson concluded that he would follow up with the Chief Whip regarding the membership and the balance of the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.



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