Members commented that there was a problem in receiving notices of meetings. The Committee received a progress report on airport parking for Members from the Under Secretary of the National Assembly, who noted that new cards had been purchased and would be sent to Members after some outstanding administrative issues had been resolved. There was some confusion still over the number of cards to be issued. Members were critical of the fact that this had not yet been finalised.
Members then raised the point that travelling allowances were taxable, which was considered unfair, and added that wear and tear allowances for motor vehicles should be permitted. It was proposed that a special session be arranged to clarify benefits and tax. The matter was deferred to a future meeting to decide how it should proceed. The suggestion was made that the Select Committee on Finance deal with the issue in conjunction with the financial unit of Parliament and the South African Revenue Service, and that the mandate for negotiation with the Revenue Service be clarified.
Feedback was requested on the revised leave policy, but it was indicated that no report was yet available. Members noted that the Joint Committee on Rules was also dealing with leave policy, and this meeting should have taken place prior to their discussion.
The Committee adopted the Minutes of 13 June and 17 October.
Mr M Mzizi (IFP) noted that the Committee on Safety and Security was having a meeting at 10:00.
Mr A Watson (DA) stated that there was a problem with Members receiving notices and added that he was not sure if sufficient notice had been given for this meeting.
Adoption of Minutes 13 June and 17 October 2007
The Chairperson moved for the adoption of the Agenda and asked whether there were any additions. She then moved to the adoption of the minutes for 13 June 2007.
Mr Watson thought that these minutes had already been adopted on 17 October 2007.
The Chairperson added that the Minutes had been amended, and therefore were being tabled again in their new form.
Members adopted the Minutes of 13 June.
The Chairperson moved for the consideration and adoption of the minutes for the meeting of 17 October 2007. She referred to the status on parking at airports on page two of those minutes.
Members adopted the Minutes of 17 October.
Airport parking, benefits and tax issues
The Chairperson asked for a progress report on airport parking.
Mr Kamal Mansura, Under Secretary: National Assembly, replied that a response had been received from the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) that the new cards had been purchased, but they could not be used until some matters had been clarified. Members would be issued with cards for every major airport once the issues had been resolved.
Mr M Sulliman (ANC) requested how long this would take.
Mr Mansura replied that the matter depended on ACSA and that Parliament would hear from it once the administrative matters had been resolved.
Mr C Goeieman (ANC) asked whether Members would receive more than five cards or whether they would only receive a card for the province where they were based.
Mr Mansura replied that ACSA indicated that one card would create problematic billing issues.
Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC) suggested that Members should then receive two cards, one for their home airport and the other for Cape Town.
Mr T Setona (ANC) agreed that this would make sense.
Mr J Sibanyoni (ANC) stated that Members needed finality on this issue. He was not sure if communication between the NCOP and parliament was adequate.
Mr Watson added that there seemed to be some confusion. It was stated that three cards would be issued and that they would be ready on 1 March 2008, which had already passed.
Kgosi L Mokoena (ANC) stated that all travel claims were subject to tax. He felt that being taxed for travelling in order to meet parliamentary obligations was unfair and stated the need for an investigation into this issue.
Mr Setona proposed that Members arrange a session to clarify their benefits and tax. He expressed the need for a forum so that critical advice could be given and Members could take a decision on matters that affected them.
Ms M Oliphant (ANC) suggested this issue be deferred to the next meeting, and suggested that the Select Committee on Finance should deal with the issue.
Ms J Terblanche (DA) added that when the Select Committee on Finance dealt with the issue, they should do so in conjunction with the financial unit of Parliament and South African Revenue Service (SARS). She asked what mandate the financial unit of parliament had when it went to SARS and negotiated on behalf of Members
Mr Mzizi added that the issue of claims became an issue when there was too much discussion without a resolution. He concurred with Mr Mokoena on the taxability of travelling expenses and added that wear and tear on private vehicles should warrant reimbursement.
Mr Setona stated that the Committee should be cautious and prepare a memorandum on these fundamental policy issues.
Revised leave policy
The Chairperson asked Ms Ntwanambi for feedback on the revised leave policy.
Ms Ntwanambi replied that unfortunately no report was available yet, and requested that this issue be deferred again.
Mr Watson stated that on 19 March 2008 a Joint Committee on Rules meeting was conducted and had also looked at leave policy for Members. He asked which body was looking at policy. He stressed the need for synergy.
The Chairperson replied that this meeting was supposed to have taken place before the Joint Committee on Rules meeting.
Ms M Oliphant (ANC) stated that the membership of the NCOP differed from that of the NA, hence there were two different bodies dealing with the issue.
The meeting was adjourned.
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