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ENVIROMENTAL AFFAIRS & TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 August 1999
WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION BILL: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out:
South African World Heritage Nominations Brochure
Subcommittees set up to look at the various submissions on the World Heritage Convention Bill continued to make presentations. Mr V Tereblanche, a legal advisor to the Department on the Bill commented on each presentation made. The committee was to meet again on the 14 September, and the sub committees that had not yet reported back would do so at the meeting.
Chairperson Ms G Mahlangu asked the subcommittees set up to look at various submissions that had not yet made their presentations to do so.
Ms S Van der Merwe (ANC) informed the Committee members that the subcommittees, which made presentations at the last meeting, dealt with most of the items that her subcommittee had to deal with. Ms M Olckers (NNP) of this subcommittee said she is not clear about Section 20 of the Bill. Mr Tereblanche a legal advisor to the Department said that Section 20 Ms Olckers referred to is clarified by Section 24 where an elaborate picture on consultation is depicted.
Ms L Mbuyazi (IFP) and Mr B Holomisa (UDM) made the presentation on behalf of this subcommittee. Ms Mbuyazi informed the Committee members that her group dealt with submissions from the Local Government and from the NGO's. She said the main point raised in the submissions was a need of clarification on what is meant by "authority" in the Bill. Clarity on interdepartmental relationship was also raised. Another concern was what would happen to the mineral rights in a property to be made a World Heritage Site. The organisations submitted that since a government has a right to establish authority, it should also be able to terminate it.
Ms Mbuyazi explained that the Department of Agriculture supports the Bill. She announced that that Department volunteered to suggest possible World Heritage Sites to the Committee especially natural World Heritage Sites.
In addition, Mr B Holomisa said the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) raised concerns about the seemingly excessive powers of the authorities. DWAF argued that it is not in the nature of parastatals to delegate its powers on Government bodies. Further, DWAF argued whether is there really a need to make this legislation since Acts like the Natural Conservation Act are already in existence. Mr Holomisa said his subcommittee supports this view.
Mr S Swart (ACDP) preferred to make a presentation at that stage, as it would be similar to that made by subcommittee 4. He advised that the submissions studied by his group highlighted a feeling of encroachment of provincial powers. This feeling came particularly from the Western Cape. The Western Cape is of the view that Chapters 2, 3 and 4 should be redrafted.
Gauteng province felt the Bill should concentrate mainly on environmental conservation rather than promotes development only.
Replying, Mr Tereblanche said that nothing in the Bill encroaches on any rights and in that case, there is no need to specifically state in the Bill that rights are protected. He said that in Section 12 disestablishment of authorities is provided for. He then explained that the Convention recognises both conservation and developmental aspect of sites. On the question of insufficient co-operative Government provision, he said this point cannot be legislated. On the difficulty of distinguishing between duties and rights, he clarified that Section 13(1) contains powers and Section 13(2) deals with duties.
Mr M Makgolo from the Department ensured the members that consultation with the stakeholders has been taking place through out.
Ms J Semple (DP) pointed out the dilemma faced by the portfolio because it promotes conservation whereas tourism is not environmental friendly. She suggested that at one stage the Committee members should have a debate amongst themselves with some supporting conservation and others supporting development. The chairperson supported the idea of a debate.
Chairperson said she supports the hearing of as many submissions as possible by her Committee. She said the Committee would have to decide when to stop submissions. She however raised a serious concern that "â€¦in 9 out of 10 cases you never get the majority of the poor people come and make their submissionsâ€¦" She said perhaps her Committee should start giving these disadvantaged communities a chance to speak for themselves on these issues.
Ms S Van der Merwe (ANC) complained about the manner in which the definition tourism in the Bill is written. She said it is defined as a "provisionâ€¦" and not as an "activity..." Mr C Frolick (UDM) concurred. Mr M Mfundisi (ACDP) echoed the same sentiments of dissatisfaction with the definition.
Mr Tereblanche replied and said that the definition of tourism can be improved but if it is still not satisfactory, it can be done away with rather than have an improper definition. Chairperson suggested that the present definition be retained until a satisfactory one is decided upon.
Chairperson Ms Mahlangu informed the Committee members that the whips wanted the Bill to be with the National Assembly by the 21 September but the Minister felt that it was too soon. The members felt the same way.
Ms S Nqodi (ANC) apologised for being unable to present a report, as she was the only available member of her group. She said she could only mention that the submissions were general from the provinces dealing with issues like the clarification of the Section on separation of powers.
Ms C Ramotsamai (ANC) apologised for her state of inability to present citing her absence last week as the cause. She commented briefly and said the submissions were from SAPOA and the Chamber of Mines. She asked that her group be given another occasion to meet so that by the next Committee meeting she would be in a position to make a presentation. Chairperson granted the request.
Chairperson said that the two groups that have not made their presentations should do so on Tuesday when the Committee next meets.
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