Committee Annual Report and 2004 Programme: adoption

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


27 January 2004

Mr D Kgware (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Committee Annual Report
Committee 2004 Programme (Awaited)

The Committee went through the Annual Report page by page and suggested minor technical .changes. They discussed the Committee's ability to spend its budget and complete its work, before the Report was adopted. They agreed to postpone the Strategic Planning Meeting until after the elections, but desired that the Education Department brief them urgently about the Matric results and the Language Bill. Mr Raju walked out after a disagreement about whether he was a member of the Committee.

The Chairperson advised that the format of the Annual Report was changed occasionally by the Committee Clerk. The Committee discussed the report page by page.

Mr Raju (DA) asked the Chairperson to explain the phrase "expand on partial objectives".

The Chairperson explained that at the strategic meeting held last year, it was decided that the Committee had done what they could, but were not able to accomplish everything.

Mr Raju responded that the Committee had to live up to its expectations and not partially.

A member advised that there was a grammatical error in the last paragraph of page 2 and "of" was spelt incorrectly.

Mr Van Niekerk (NNP) advised that there was no mention of the Committee's heavy involvement in the Private Members Legislation and that this should be included. The report incorrectly stated that there was a briefing by Pan-South African Board (PANSALB) on the Language Bill. PANSALB had briefed the Committee on the Private Members Legislation Proposal and not the Language Bill.

Mr Raju enquired about whom had attended the functions stated in the report. He had not been aware that any functions had been approved in the Committee meetings.

The Chairperson said that all functions were tabled at Committee meetings and that Mr Raju had not always been present. Attendance of functions depended on activities in Parliament and whether the leadership approved Committee Members attending in the light of budgetary constraints. He had attended the Sports Indaba; the Strategic Planning Workshop and the function at Fancourt (he had paid his own expenses at the latter). He had been unable to attend invitations to the Presidents Cup, the All Africa Games, and the Outdoor Sport function because of parliamentary commitments and prohibitive costs.

Mr Raju expressed disappointment because he lived in Ndwete and could have attended the Sports Indaba if the Committee had sent him. They should react positively to all invitations.

The Chairperson said that the leadership would not have allowed it as each person was assigned to a certain area. The area of Ndwete in Kwazulu-Natal was covered by Ms Vilakazi of the IFP. Mr Raju disagreed with that decision.

The Chairperson suggested that they discuss the issue with the Chief Whip and Chair of Chairs.

A member asked the Chairperson whether they represented South Africa or only a particular province.

The Chairperson advised that the matter would have to be discussed at another level.

Ms Vilakazi said that the Annual Report should be more transparent.

Mr Van Niekerk said that the Committee had been trying for the past six months to get the financial implications on the Language Bill from the Department of Arts and Culture. This should be reflected in the report.

Mr Raju remarked that the section in the report regarding the limitations on the Committee was not correctly phrased.

The Chairperson explained that all Committees were clustered and if they all attended functions, the institutional activities in parliament would suffer. He admitted that there was a lack of proper planning and asked Mr Raju if he would help in rephrasing the paragraph.

Mr Van Niekerk suggested that the phrase be changed to "because of constraints this Committee was unable to fulfill all its obligations". The Chairperson agreed.

Budget and Control:

Mr Raju enquired about the overseas trip allocation.

The Chairperson said that in the new budget for this year, the overseas trip allocation was too much.

Members agreed that the Committee had spent R83 000 and that the balance was R217 000.

Mr Raju asked why only R83 000 had been spent if the Committee had been allocated R300 000.

Mr Van Niekerk explained that money allocated should only be used if and when required. He suggested that the money be used for the smooth running of the Committee.

Mr Raju agreed and enquired why the Committee did not function in a manner that would allow it to spend more.

The Chairperson replied that this Committee also gave guidance on other matters such as health. They could not spend the money as they pleased as leadership held them accountable for the budget.

Mr Tlhagale (UCD) said that they could not be expected to go to other provinces to spend the money as there were other institutional processes that needed to be conformed to.

Ms Gouws (DA) said that the leadership was cancelling NCOP engagements and felt the NCOP members were treated as second best.

The Chairperson advised that they seldom went because of other parliamentary obligations.

Mr Raju said that on many occasion they had wanted to go on trips but had been advised that there were no funds available.

The Chairperson replied that although on paper, the money was not necessarily available immediately. There was still the Finance Department to deal with.

Mr Raju agreed with Ms Gouws, that whenever there was a "tightening of the belts", the NCOP suffered. The Portfolio Committees never had this problem and that their budgets were almost immediately available.

The report was voted on and adopted.

2004 Draft Programme
The Chairperson reported that he had been trying to get the Department of Education to brief the Committee on Matric Results. Research should be done in the areas of the New Curriculum, Outcomes-based Education (OBE), and transformation of tertiary institutions to accommodate such students. The problem did not lie with the state schools but with the tertiary institutions. He did not believe it was fair to penalise a student by having him or her repeat another year. He emphasised that the Committee should address this aspect.

Mr Raju commented on the Strategic Planning Meeting to be held on 3-4 February 2004. Due to elections, there could be different members on the Committee and it would be prudent to postpone until after the first week of the elections. The Chairperson agreed.

Mr Van Niekerk stated that the Department of Education needed to brief the Committee on the Language Bill.

Ms Vilkazi agreed and asked that the process be sped up as children need to be taught in a language that they understood.

The Chairperson informed members that there was an invitation to the Sport Conference in Pretoria and one person had to be nominated by the Committee. The Committee would pay and the nominatee would have to address constitutional issues in sport and report back. The Chairperson added that there is no legislative act governing sports and that he was not referring to sporting federations. Mr Van Niekerk was asked to research the topic.

The Committee agreed to send Ms Themba, alternatively Mr Van Niekerk.

Mr Raju asked the Chairperson why he had not acknowledged that Ms Gouws had nominated him and added that it would be necessary to have a member from the official opposition party.

The Chairperson advised Mr Raju that his name had been removed from the Select Committee on Education and Recreation and that the leadership would not allow him to attend the Sports Conference.

Mr Van Niekerk suggested that they should vote on the proposed nominations.

The Chairperson advised that this could not be done as Mr Raju was not a member of the Committee on Education and Recreation but a member of another Committee.

Mr Raju walked out of the meeting to express his discontent.

Chairperson said that he understood that Mr Raju was passionate about sports but he had to take up the matter with the leadership.

Ms Gouws advised that it was essential that a member of the official opposition party attended the Sports Conference and that if Mr Raju could not attend, she would nominate herself.

Mr Van Niekerk responded to Ms Gouws that the DA was not the official opposition party. Other Members concurred.

The Chairperson said that he would amend the draft programme.

The meeting was adjourned.


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