The newly constituted Ad Hoc Committee to consider legislation on the National Youth Development Agency held its first meeting. Mr L Johnson (ANC) was elected as Chairperson. The Committee agreed that the Chairperson should constitute a drafting team of three members from Parliament's legal experts, which would then lead to the terms of reference. The Chairperson asked Members to forward to him their views on the objects of the proposed Bill and the terms of reference. The first meeting of the Committee was scheduled for 16 October, and the Committee would report back to the National Assembly on progress on 20 October. It was suggested by one Member that public hearings may need to be held and there should be consultation with stakeholders. Members agreed that the team set aside dates in the weeks commencing 20 and 27 October to work on the drafts.
Membership of the Committee
The following were confirmed as Committee Members:
Mr L Johnson (ANC): Chairperson
Mr J Combrinck (ANC)
Mr S Kholwane (ANC)
Mr B Mkongi (ANC)
Ms P Mokoto (ANC) (absent)
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC)
Ms N Sibhidla (ANC)
Ms T Tobias-Pokolo (ANC)
Mr Y Wang (ANC)
Mr M Swathe (DA)
Ms D van der Walt (DA)
Mr L Greyling (ID) (apologies)
Ms S Lebenya (IFP)
Mr G Madikiza (UDM)
Committee Secretary: Ms Neliswa Nobatana
Election of chairperson
The Committee Secretary, Ms Neliswa Nobatana, called for nominations for a chairperson.
Mr J Combrinck (ANC) proposed Mr L Johnson (ANC) as Chairperson. This was duly seconded by other Members.
Mr Johnson, having been elected, then took the Chair.
National Youth Development Agency (the Agency): Discussion of the way forward for consideration of legislation
The Chairperson said that the Committee's short-term responsibility lay in the area of establishment of a National Youth Development Agency (the Agency). The exact terms of reference should be defined by the Committee itself.
Secondly, he was mindful that the new legislation would be 'committee-driven', and therefore it was necessary for the Committee to decide on the establishment of a drafting team for the new legislation.
The Chairperson asked Members if they wished to engage on the terms of reference.
Mr B Mkongi (ANC) welcomed the Chairperson's introduction. He said that the role of the drafting team would be to draft the Bill that would establish the National Youth Development Agency. The objects of the draft Bill would lead to the terms of reference of the Committee. Instead of beginning with the terms of reference, he thought that it was very important to begin with the establishment of the drafting team, which could then proceed further to discuss the terms of reference.
Other Members indicated their agreement with Mr Mkongi’s view.
The Chairperson said that no matter whether the Committee began with establishing the drafting team or discussing the Committee's terms of reference, the Committee was working towards the same objective.
The Chairperson inferred from Mr Mkongi's words that the Chairperson should be given the responsibility of constituting the team of drafters.
Members indicated their assent.
The Chairperson said that he expected Members, as members of political parties, to produce ideas on those terms of reference. The drafting team must be well-informed of Committee Members' views as to what they wanted to see in the resulting legislation.
The Chairperson then observed that there seemed to be little time available. It was necessary to agree when to meet to hear the objectives of this Agency's legislation and to hear the views of the drafting team.
Ms T Tobias-Pokolo (ANC) proposed that the Chairperson should announce the members of the drafting team. Secondly, she proposed that the Chairperson’s office should inform Members of the framework for holding public hearings.
Mr M Swathe (DA) seconded Ms Tobias-Pokolo’s proposal, and asked how many individuals would constitute the drafting team, and from where they would be selected.
The Chairperson said that he had just received information that by 20 October 2008 the Committee must report back to the National Assembly (NA) on the NA’s resolution of 23 September 2008. He therefore proposed that a drafting team of no more than three persons be established from amongst Parliament's legal experts. In view of the time constraints it would be necessary to work after hours. The Committee should meet again on Thursday, 16 October 2008.
Mr Mkongi proposed that the Committee request an extension of its deadline. He agreed with the Chairperson's proposal that the Committee meet on 16 October 2008, but asked that the Committee also meet from Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 October on the Bill. It would not be possible to give a full report to Parliament on the 20 October 2008.
Ms Tobias-Pokolo seconded Mr Mkongi's proposal. She stressed that it would then be necessary to request an extension of the time allowed to the Committee to give a full report. It would be essential to hold public hearings involving youth organisations and other parties that would be affected by the legislation, and these would have to be advertised in advance.
The Chairperson said that the 23 September NA resolution did not necessarily require a full report by 20 October 2008, but instead inferred that a progress report on establishment of the Committee was required. He did not think it necessary to request an extension of the deadline. It would, however, be necessary to set aside some time the following week so that Members could hold discussions.
Mr Swathe noted that the time was very short, and agreed with those Members who had suggested calling for an extension.
Ms D van der Walt (DA) suggested that the Committee might also work during the week beginning 27 October 2008. She pointed out that the second week in November was the final week of the term.
Ms Tobias asked for careful consideration of dates. The Committee, in scheduling its meetings, would have to be aware of the National Assembly's plenary sessions scheduled for 21 to 24 October 2008 and the requirement for Members to be available at all times when required to vote.
The Chairperson asked that Members should confirm that 16 October 2008 be set as the date for the Committee's next meeting to discuss proposals, draft legislation, and how to progress.
Members agreed with this date.
The Chairperson reminded all Members to present their proposals on the objects of the Bill to him, in good time for the meeting on 16 October.
The Committee Control Secretary asked permission to introduce Advocate Koleka Beja, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, who would be assisting the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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