The proposed deliberations on the impact of the State of the Nation Address were postponed to a future meeting.
There was an extended discussion on the Minutes of 29 January and it was decided, in the absence of Mr Lekgetho to give input, that the Minutes would reflect his comment, but also reflect that the Committee had rejected his comment.
There was also extensive discussion on the important role of the Committee’s researcher and it was agreed that he should, to the best of his ability in light of his heavy workload, attend all meetings and be readily available to assist Members with their information needs. Members commended his previous work.
There was consensus that unresolved issues could be taken further at a Committee workshop.
The Committee’s minutes of the four meetings from 29 January to 19 February 2008 were adopted, with amendments.
The Chairperson noted that the deliberations on the impact of the State of the Nation Address would be postponed to a future meeting.
The Chairperson reported on her and Ms D van der Walt’s attendance at the celebration of Mother Tongue Day on 21 February 2008, under the auspices of the Pan-South African Languages Board. She commended the performance of the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Ms D Van der Walt (DA) expressed her full agreement with the observations of the Minister of Arts and Culture, Hon Pallo
Mr M Bhengu (IFP) asked if the Department of Arts and Culture would act on the Committee’s resolution that social cohesion had not progressed far enough (29 January 2008).
The Chairperson replied that if Members were not satisfied, the Committee could recall the Department’s delegation.
Mr H Maluleka (ANC) noted that the Director-General had agreed on that point.
The Chairperson asked Mr Bhengu if he was satisfied.
Mr Bhengu said that he was satisfied.
Ms P Tshwete (ANC) proposed that when Members raised issues, they focused on the Committee’s core concerns of arts and culture. This was especially so when put in writing.
Mr Maluleka agreed with Ms Tshwete.
The Chairperson said that she thought that all Members would agree.
Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) said that Members’ comments and questions in response to a presenter must be fully noted in the Committee’s minutes. Moreover, the attendance of a researcher was essential to ensure that all such points were documented for future reference and follow-up.
The Chairperson said that she was seriously worried about the continual absence of the Committee’s researcher. She endorsed Ms Ramodibe’s concern that all such points be documented fully for future reference and follow-up.
Mr Bhengu added that the researcher should attend.
Ms Tshwete said that the Director-General’s responses had not answered all Members’ concerns, other than those of language (29 January 2008). She stressed that the researcher should be present. The Committee Secretary could not follow-up every matter. It was the researcher’s job to follow-up any questions not answered by the Director-General.
The Chairperson said Ms Tshwete’s remarks reaffirmed her own views.
Mr Gololo agreed with both the Chairperson and Ms Tshwete, and added that the researcher should assist in the drafting of minutes.
The Chairperson summoned the researcher, Mr N Van Zyl, who explained the heavy load of work and responsibilities in his department. However, he assured the Committee that he would do his utmost to assist Members.
Ms Van der Walt commended Mr Van Zyl’s previous work.
Mr Maluleka suggested that the commendation should be in writing.
Draft Committee Minutes
Mr Maluleka said that Mr G Lekgetho (ANC)’s comment in the 29 January 2008 meeting that sex work should be legalized so as to eradicate poverty, create jobs and contribute to the taxation of the country had thrown an unfavourable media spotlight on the Committee, and it had been suggested that the Committee supported the idea that prostitution could relieve poverty. Mr Maluleka proposed that this comment be deleted from the Minutes.
Ms D Van der Walt agreed with Ms Tshwete’s call for Members to focus on the Committee’s core concerns of arts and culture. Most of the Members’ concerns and comments recorded in the minutes of 29 January 2008 were not strictly relevant to arts and culture. She agreed that Mr Lekgetho’s comment had made the Committee a ‘laughing stock’ of Parliament.
Mr Bhengu said that it would be unwise to delete Mr Lekgetho’s comment; he proposed recording that the Committee was opposed to the comment.
Ms Ramodibe said that the Committee’s minutes were intended as a true reflection of the Committee’s proceedings. It was important to express in the minutes that there was a clear rejection of Mr Lekgetho’s comment.
Mr Maluleka said that a true reflection did not mean that everything discussed should be recorded, but rather that the Committee’s resolution should be recorded.
Mr M Matlala (ANC) said that he agreed with Mr Maluleka. Mr Lekgetho’s comment had not been discussed. It was just a comment.
Mr C Gololo (ANC) said that he agreed with Ms Ramodibe. The Committee had not discussed Mr Lekgetho’s comment, and had clearly rejected it. There would be no problem in retaining it in the minutes but these must clearly reflect that the Committee was opposed to the comment.
Mr Matlala emphasised that it was only a comment. It had not been on the Committee’s agenda. Moreover, the Committee had not discussed it. He believed that the comment must be totally deleted.
Ms Van der Walt referred Members to the heading ‘3.1 Members’ concerns and comments’, and to the wording ‘One Member commented …’ and said that words should be added to the effect that the Committee rejected Mr Lekgetho’s comment. In that way the Committee’s concerns would be covered.
Mr Gololo said that Mr Lekgetho’s remark could not be included under resolutions, because it could by no means be considered a resolution. However, it could be described in the minutes as a comment.
Mr Bhengu said that Mr Lekgetho’s comment had created a stigma, although it had never been discussed by the Committee. Journalists were notorious for making the most of a comment such as Mr Lekgetho’s, which was, after all, the view of one individual.
The Chairperson said that the minutes under consideration were still in draft. From her own understanding, Members were opposed to Mr Lekgetho’s comment. It was her feeling that the comment had never been discussed.
Ms Van der Walt again objected to withdrawing the comment from the minutes. It was something that had happened. She advised adding the words: ‘The Committee rejected the comment.’
Mr Maluleka said that if it was just a procedural matter, he would understand.
The Chairperson suggested adding the wording: ‘The very same comment by the Member was rejected.’
Mr Gololo suggested the wording: ‘The entire Committee rejected the comment since it was not on the agenda.’
Mr Matlala maintained that the issue should be removed from the minutes.
Mr Maluleka asked for the words ‘The entire Committee rejected the proposal’ to be added.
The general consensus of Members was that Mr Gololo’s proposed wording was agreed upon.
Ms Van der Walt asked for ‘Democratic Party’ to be corrected to Democratic Alliance.
Mr Gololo said that he had been misquoted. He had not implied that the
Members drew attention to various mistakes, such as unexplained acronyms, omission of page numbers, errors of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style, including the omission of some Members’ initials.
Ms Van der Walt observed that television, computers and cellphones encouraged American spelling. She further observed that minutes should be dealt with at every meeting rather than accumulated and considered in a batch.
There was discussion on the need for a clear distinction between comments and resolutions. ‘Recommendations’ was suggested as an alternative to ‘resolutions’. It was agreed that this could further be discussed in a Committee workshop.
The Committee’s minutes of its four meetings, 29 January to 19 February 2008 inclusive, were adopted with amendments.
Ms Tshwete suggested that unresolved issues, such as FESTAC’s allegedly unsatisfactory experiences with the Department of Arts and Culture (05 February 2008), should be listed for discussion in a Committee workshop.
Mr Bhengu supported Ms Tshwete’s suggestion.
The meeting was adjourned.
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