Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill;International Parliamentarians’ Association for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Ipaaf) Report: Consideration

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Meeting report

Agriculture and land Portfolio Committee & LAND AN ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS select Committee JOINT MEETING
28 August 2001
MARKETING OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AMENDMENT BILL;INTERNATIONAL PARLIAMENTARIANS’ ASSOCIATION FOR AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES (IPAAF) REPORT: CONSIDERATION


Chairperson
: Mr P Holomisa

Documents handed out:
Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill [B26 – 2001]
Explanatory Memorandum to Additional Amendments of Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill (see Appendix)
International Parliamentarians’ Association for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (IPAAF) – (Second General Assembly, Seoul, 11-13 June 2001) – Report of the South African Delegation;
Charter of the IPAAF (February 2000)


SUMMARY
The Committee considered the Department's proposed amendments to the Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill. The Department of Agriculture presented the proposed amendments to Clauses 1 to 13 of the Bill. Most of the discussion revolved around whether the Portfolio Committee should be involved in the appointment of members to the National Agricultural Marketing Council, or whether this task should be left to the Minister alone. This matter remained unresolved. The majority of the proposed amendments were however agreed to in principle. The Committee agreed to vote on the proposed amendments to the Bill at their next meeting.

Members of the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs then joined the meeting to consider the IPAAF Report.

MINUTES
Marketing Of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill

Ms R. Van Zyl (Department of Agriculture) briefed the Committee on the proposed amendments to the Bill that had been made by the Department of Agriculture (see document) 

The Chairperson proceeded through each of the proposed amendments to the Bill in more detail inviting the Committee’s comments.

Clause 1:
The discussion on Clause 1 focussed on the role the Committee should play in the selection of members to the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC). The debate that followed related to the issue of whether the Committee should play a role in the actual selection of the members to the NAMC or whether this selection should be left to the discretion of the Minister of Agriculture.

Mr A. Van Niekerk (FA) suggested that the Committee should be part of the decision making process with regard to the selection of members of the NAMC.

Dr Schoeman (ANC) agreed that the Committee should be party to the selection process so as to ensure that it was democratic.

Mr G. McIntosh B (PAC) suggested that if the Committee was empowered to nominate a list of persons from which the Minister could select the final members of the NAMC, then he did not see any reason why the Committee should not be empowered to actually select the members themselves.

The Chairperson intervened and pointed out that the intention of the Bill was to do away with the Committee being involved in the final selection process.

Mr Schoeman commented that if the Committee was involved in the selection process to the extent that they nominated a list of persons from which the Minister could make his/her selection, he felt that the Committee need not be involved in the final selection of members from this list. He stated that the Committee should have faith in the appointments made by the Minister from the list given to him/her by the Committee.

The matter remained unresolved.

Clause 2:
The Committee agreed in principle that this Clause should be amended so as to allow the Committee the opportunity to provide the Minster with a list of persons from which the Minister could make his/her selection.

Clauses 3,4 and 5:
The Committee agreed in principle to the proposed amendments outlined by Mrs Van Zyl and as set out in the document headed SS060601.

Clause 6:
The Committee agreed generally to the proposed amendments as set out in the document headed SS060601. It was however agreed that Clause 6(2)(b) should be deleted from the proposed amendments.

Clauses 7, 9 -13:
The Committee agreed in principle to the contents of these Clauses as they appear in the Bill.

Clause 8:
The Committee agreed in principle that this Clause should be deleted.

The chairperson concluded the deliberations on the Bill by suggesting that the Committee vote on the proposed amendments at their next meeting.

International Parliamentarians’ Association for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries IPAAF Report
Certain members of the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs (Select Committee) then joined the meeting. Rev Moatshe (Chair: Select Committee). briefly introduced the IPAAF report. Members of the Select Committee believed that there was a need for Parliamentary Committees to be involved in the conclusion of international agreements relating to various trade issues, and hence that South Africa should join the IPAAF.

Mr A. Van der Merwe (NNP) suggested that prior to any decision being made regarding whether or not South Africa should join the IPAAF, he felt that there was a need to consult with other relevant parliamentary Committees such as the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry.

Mr Van Niekerk suggested that Mr Ndzanga and the Chairperson contact all parliamentary Committees that could possibly have some interest in whether or not South Africa joined the IPAAF. He further suggested that they inform these Parliamentary Committees of the disadvantages and advantages of becoming a member of the IPAAF and request their input on the issue.

The Chairperson expanded on Mr Van Niekerk’s suggestion by stating that a date should be set by which these parliamentary Committees should have submitted their responses and representations.

Both Committees agreed on this course of action and the meeting was adjourned.
 
Appendix 1:
EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM TO ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS OF

MARKETING OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AMENDMENT BILL

[B26-2001]

CLAUSES 1,2 AND 3

(Clause 2 of the Bill)

(Section 4 of the MAP Act)

This amendment is effected to introduce the requirements that members of the National Agricultural Marketing Council have to conform to in order to be eligible for appointment to the Council and to bring this Act in line with the amendment of the Agricultural Research Act, 1990 for the sake of uniformity.

 

CLAUSE 4

(Clause 4 of the Bill)

(Section 8 of the MAP Act)

The national Department of Agriculture inserted clauses 4 and 5 into the amendment Bill to amend sections 8 and 8A of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, 1996 in order to bring the last mentioned Act line with the Public Finance Management Act, 1999. The Department of Finances however objected to the amendment of section 8 of the MAP Act. The concurrence of the Minister of Finance is still required for approval of the system in accordance with which the employees of the Council are paid remuneration, allowances, subsidies and other benefits. In terms of the PFM Act, concurrence of the Minister of Finance is no longer required for the approval of the Council's budget or supplementary budgets in terms of section 8A.

 

CLAUSE 5

(Clause 10 of the Bill)

(Section 15 of the MAP Act)

Section 188 of the Constitution deals with the functions of the Auditor-General. Section 188(2) of the Constitution determines as follows:

"In addition to the duties prescribed in subsection (1), and subject to any legislation, the Auditor-General may audit and report on the accounts, financial systems and financial management of-

(a)…

(b) any institution that is authorised in terms of any law to receive money for a public  purpose."

In terms of this provision the Auditor-General may therefore audit and report on the accounts of any institution or body of persons that collect levies under the MAP Act as that would constitute receiving money for a public purpose as contemplated in section 188(2) of the Constitution. A legal opinion obtained by the Office of the Auditor-General however indicated that the amendment of section 15 of the MAP Act might affect the Auditor-General's powers under section 188(2) of the Constitution as section 188(2) is made "subject to any legislation". It was never the intention of the national Department of Agriculture to diminish any of the Auditor-General's constitutional powers by means of this amendment. To clarify the matter beyond any doubt the Department is therefore proposing an amendment to clause 10 to ensure that the amendment of section 15 does not affect the Auditor-General's constitutional powers.

 

CLAUSE 6

(Clause 11 of the Bill)

(Section 22 of the MAP Act)

Members of the deciduous fruit industry expressed concern with regard to the proposed amendment of to the Portfolio Committee for Agriculture and Land Affairs through Gaby Gess Attorneys. It appears that the crux of the concern is the possibility that directly affected groups may not be properly consulted before the Minister imposes a prohibition under section 22 of the Act. To address this concern, a compulsory consultation procedure similar to the consultation procedure described under section 11 of the Act (with regard to statutory measures and levies) is introduced in the MAP Act.


MARKETING OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AMENDMENT BILL

[B26-2001]

CLAUSE I

1.         On page 2, in line 12, after "other" to insert "appropriate"

 

CLAUSE 2

2.         On page 2, in line 8, after "amended" to insert "- (a)".

 

CLAUSE 3

3.         On page 3, after line 13, to add "; and".

4.         On page 3, after line 13, to add the following paragraph:

(b)        by the addition of the following subsections:

"(13)     A person may not be nominated or appointed as a member of the Council if such person-

(a)        Is not a South African citizen or permanently resident in the

            Republic;

(b)        is an unrehabilitated insolvent in respect of whom the trustee

            of the insolvent estate has not certified that the insolvent is a

            fit and proper person to serve as a member of the council;

(c)        has failed or is unable to comply in full with a judgement or

            order, including an order as to costs, given against such

            person by a court of law in civil proceedings;

(d)        Has been convicted of an offence involving an element of

dishonesty or has been sentenced for any other offence

committed on or after 27 April 1994 to a period of

imprisonment without the option of a fine;

(e)        is of unsound mind; or

(f)         has contravened section 7 of the Promotion of Equality and

Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Act No.4 of

2000), and it has been so determined by an equality court.

 

(14)       A member of the Council shall vacate his or her office if that member-

(a)        is declared insolvent or surrenders his or her estate

            voluntarily;

(b)        is found guilty of an offence and sentenced to a period of

            imprisonment without the option of a fine;

(c)        resigns as a member

(d)        is nominated as a candidate for election as a member of

            Parliament, a Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, the

            National  House of Traditional  Leaders,  a  provincial

            legislature or the council or other governing body of a local

            government body or is appointed as an official of a political

            party and whose functions as such are incompatible with the

            functions of a member;

(e)        is removed from office under subsection (15); or

(f)         has contravened section 7 of the Promotion of Equality and

            Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Act No.4 of

            2000), and it has been so determined by an equality court.

 

(15)       The Minister may at any time remove a member of the Council from office if such member is incompetent to fulfil his or her duties or is guilty of misconduct.".

 

CLAUSE 4

5.         On page 3, to delete clause 4.

 

CLAUSE 5

6.         On page 4, in line 14, to substitute "subsection" for "subsections".

7.         On page 4, after line 24, to add the following subsection:

"(6)  The provisions of subsection (5) will not affect any powers of the Auditor-General under section 188 of the Constitution of the Republic of South-Africa Act, 1996 (Act No.108 of 1996)."

 

CLAUSE 6

8.         On page 4, in line 28, after "22." to insert “(1)”.

9.         On page 4, after line 34, to add the following subsection:

"(2)       Before the Minister impose a prohibition contemplated  in subsection (1), the Council shall-

(a)        publish a notice setting out particulars of the prohibition and an explanation in connection therewith in the Gazette and such magazines and newspapers as may be sufficient in order to bring the request to the attention of directly affected groups, and inviting such directly affected groups to lodge any objections or representations relating to the request within a specified time;

(b)        if necessary, appoint a committee in terms of section 7, which shall consider such objections or representations and advise the Council;

(c)        consider the options and representations from, and level of support among, directly affected groups, and the advice of the committee, if applicable; and

(d)        report on its findings and make a recommendation to the Minister within 60 days or such longer period as may be approved by the Minister.".

 

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