Submissions for 2007: discussion; Programme of Action for 2008

Constitutional Review Committee

29 January 2008
Chairperson: Mr S Montsitsi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee briefly discussed the submissions from 2007 and the Chairperson stated that after the necessary documentation had been provided the submissions would be finalised. The draft programme for 2008 was discussed and it was agreed that the programme would start on 22 February and that the Provincial Legislature topic would be reprioritised. The issue of the number of members attending the trip to France and Germany was discussed and a proposal was made that a request be made for the entire committee to be included. The Chairperson stressed the need for a proactive approach to issues, which was met with enthusiasm by the rest of the Committee. The programme would have more detail added to it as interactions took place and the agenda proceeded.

Meeting report

Submissions during 2007
The Chairperson noted the challenge of meeting, due to the fact that members had commitments to a number of other committees as well.  Submissions had been made during 2007 and it would be expected that the committee would finalise these this year. Despite the legal department providing an overview, the Committee still needed to deliberate on the issues. He added that now the Committee had a new Chairperson and Secretary. The summary of submissions document would be re-circulated as well as the comments from the legal advisors in order to allow for finalisation.

Mr F Adams (ANC – Western Cape) thanked the Chairperson for informing Members about the meeting and appreciated his efforts to get the committee into gear, but added that he had not received a copy of the 2007 submissions.

The Chairperson added that he was not sure if his secretary had all the Members’ contact details and would see that she got them in order to prevent this from happening again.

Mr L Joubert (DA) added he was not informed of the meeting and was told by a colleague.

Draft Programme of Action for 2008
The Chairperson said that the draft programme reflected some of the issues that needed to be dealt with during the first quarter. He added that the Committee was moving to a situation where it could go out and interact with stakeholders, instead of having to wait for them to brief the Committee, and if research needed to be done, the committee could travel in order to do so. The Chairperson stressed that the Committee needed to be mobile and that he wanted to re-evaluate it. He stated that the programme was a draft, and welcomed any proposals. The Chairperson stated that they were trying to put the public submissions first, followed by the Provincial Legislature and then the trip to France and Germany in order to compare constitutions.

Dr J Delport (DA) asked whether the Chairperson was certain that France and Germany would receive them during the demarcated period of 31 March to 11 April.

The Chairperson replied that communications were being directed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and that the programme was still a draft, but stated that he hoped it would hold.

Dr Delport noted that the programme for the Committee ended at 13:00  every day and asked whether it was not possible to do things during the afternoon.

The Chairperson replied that it would not be a problem.

Mr A Gaum (ANC) stated that the Committee needed to check if it had available funds from this financial year, which ended on 31 March 2008, in order to prevent having to use funds from the forthcoming financial year for the trip to France and Germany. If necessary the trip could be moved forward to ensure that it fell within the current financial year. He added that the Committee should submit travel plans as soon as possible. Mr Gaum proposed a delegation size of seven.

Mr M Mokoena (ANC – Limpopo) proposed that the Committee should expand on the programme in order to include a more detailed description of what would be done on a given day. He added that he wanted the committee to be more proactive. With regard to the Provincial Legislature meeting scheduled for 7 March, he requested that it be reprioritised as it was of great importance to sort the issue out so that Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo could function properly. He added that there was a Committee Chairperson dealing with floorcrossing and asked how far that Committee was from determining when the ANC-approved legislation abolishing this practice would be finalised. He stated that this Committee needed to be less reactive and more proactive.

Mr A Watson (DA) agreed with Mr Mokoena.

Mr Adams stated that the schedule for 15 February would conflict with the opening of most provincial legislatures and thus requested that the programme start on 22 February.

Mr Gaum agreed with Mr Adams. He added that the programme was provisional and could be added to as matters progressed.

The Chairperson replied that with regards to the concerned provinces, Members could get the necessary research done and then provide specific dates to visit these provinces in order to resolve the provincial legislature issues. He added that members would be given an opportunity to forward proposals. The changing of dates would not be a problem.

Mr Joubert added that there were a number of transitional arrangements that needed to be looked at.

The Chairperson replied that they could be raised and examined in the third and fourth quarter.

Mr Mokoena asked whether he was properly understood and stated that in the Committee records there were proposals on file, which should be put on the programme to specify exactly what would be discussed.

Mr Delport asked whether the Committee was sitting on 15 February.

The Chairperson replied that it would be amended, and added that the researcher would flesh out the programme.

Mr Gaum asked whether the delegation proposal of seven was accepted.

Mr Watson interjected that the committee should request that the entire committee go on the trip, which would then subsequently be cut down to approximately seven by The Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Chairperson stated that they could submit a number of nine.

Mr Joubert added that there was a precedent in the Justice Committee taking the entire Committee due to the fact that they had never had to travel before.

The Chairperson agreed that nothing would be lost by submitting such a proposal.

The meeting was adjourned.

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