NAMC Levy Application; Planning Professions Bill: briefing

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The aim of this report is to summarise the main events at the meeting and identify the key role players. This report is not a verbatim transcript of proceedings.


agriculture and land affairs portfolio committee

6 November 2001
NAMC LEVY APPLICATION AND PLANNING PROFESSIONS BILL: BRIEFING

Chairperson:
Adv S. Holomisa

Documents handed out:
Application of Statutory Measure in the Wine Industry in Terms of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, 1996 (NAMC)
Marketing of Agriculture Products Amendment Bill [B26-2001]
Select Committee Amendments to Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill
Planning Professions Bill, 2001 [B76-2001]

SUMMARY

The Committee was briefed for the final time on the NAMC levy application and approved it. National Council of Province amendments, of a technical nature, to the Land Affairs General Amendment Bill and the Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill were briefly considered and approved by the Committee. The bulk of the meeting consisted of a presentation by a representative from the Department of Land Affairs on the Planning Professions Bill and members had an opportunity to ask questions for clarity.

MINUTES
The Chairperson welcomed the Committee members and stated that they would begin with the NAMC levy application and would then proceed to Planning Professions Bill. He then welcomed the representatives from the NAMC to present.

NAMC Levy Application

Mr G. Rathogwa, Chairperson of the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), thanked the Committee and proceeded to explain the purpose of the intended levy. In terms of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act of 1996, a statutory levy could only be introduced with the consultation of the Parliamentary Committees. He stated that this levy on the wine industry would be used to generate funds for training, research and development within that industry. Levies would be placed on grapes and grape juice concentrate used in wine production as well as packaged drinking wine and wine spirits. The levy would support the objectives of the Act by promoting marketing efficiency in the industry and earning in foreign currency and by assisting and improving market accessibility. By improving and promoting research and information dissemination, the funds from this levy could assist the South African wine industry in entering into foreign markets and exchange. He argued that the benefits would trickle down to average farm workers in the industry, and support within the industry itself was sufficient. Additionally, no levy in this case would exceed 5%. At least 80% of the funds from the levy would be used for research and development, training, and promotion. 10% would be used for administrative purposes, and the final 10% would be applied towards promoting previously disadvantaged people. He also explained the Wine Industry Forum that was already in existence and could lend itself to the implementation of the levy. In conclusion, he stated that the levy would be valuable for the promotion of the wine industry.

The Chairperson asked the NAMC representative if the suggestions that the Committee had offered before had been considered and adopted.

Mr Rathogwa said that the suggestions had been adopted.

Mr S. Farrow (DP) asked why the NAMC had decided on the percentages closer to 4% than the suggested 5%.

Mr Rathogwa responded that the 5% recommendation was a maximum. The percentages chosen were based on consideration of the previous prices and the extent to which they would be affected compared to the funds they would likely raise. This was done with focus on a maximum of 5%.

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that this was the last time they could consider this levy application. When there were no more questions, and the Committee gave approval, he read the report of approval for the application of this levy.

Land Affairs General Amendment Bill

The Chairperson told the Committee that they had just received two bills that had been approved by the NCOP, and he asked if there were any objections to reviewing the NCOP amendments as they were generally simple and technical in nature. With no objections, he suggested that they begin with the Land Affairs General Amendment Bill.

Mr E. Greeve of the Department of Land Affairs explained that, on line 4 in the Amendment Bill, the word "not" was missing after "may." In this section of the principle Act, "not" appeared after "may," but the Amendment Bill simply had a typographical error.

The Chairperson asked if anyone disagreed with the amendment. The Committee agreed to it, and the Chairperson stated that they should proceed to the amendments to the Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill.

Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill
The State Law Advisor for the Department told the Committee that there were three amendments consisting of technical improvements on the Amendment Bill. The first replaced "request" with "proposed prohibition" on page 5, line 14, because that was the terminology used earlier, so it was simply a matter of consistency. The second amendment omitted "options" and substituted "objections" on page 5, line 19, because this was the correct word. The third amendment, on page 5, line 23, inserted "of the publication of the notice contemplated in paragraph (a)" before "report." This was simply a matter of clarification.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions. The Committee agreed to the amendments. The Chairperson then read the reports accepting the Land Affairs General Amendment Bill and the Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill as amended. The reports were passed with no objections.

Planning Professions Bill, 2001

The Chairperson told the Committee that the last issue to deal with was the Planning Professions Bill. The Bill would only be presented today as they would not have time to sufficiently discuss it, and they would likely not have an opportunity to finalise it this term, but it would be beneficial to get to know what it was about.

Ms N. Soldati of the Department of Land Affairs thanked the Chairperson and the Committee for the opportunity to present the Bill. She said that the Bill concerned regulation of the planning profession though the Town and Regional Planners Act of 1984 already did this. Its objectives were to regulate access to the profession through registration, protect the public from exploitation, and maintain high standards for planning education and practice. The Act established a Council for Town and Regional Planners that regulated registration of different categories of professionals, reservation of work for registered people, and development and enforcement of a code of conduct. It also provided for an Education Advisory Committee and made provisions for accrediting educational institutions. Ms Soldati then turned to the question of why they were reviewing the Act. She argued that there was a need to engage the profession in view of the changes in the broader legislation of the new government. The 1984 Act also created a limited Council that lacked representivity, and there were limitations in the Council’s functions. Additionally, the Act provided no proposals for uplifting the previously disadvantaged.

She then discussed the strategic objectives for the new legislation. It was aimed at transforming the profession, establishing mechanisms for quality control through mandatory registration and work reservation, broadening access to the profession, and tightening ethical standards for the profession. One shift from the old legislation was that the profession would no longer be referred to as "town and regional planners" but would now be only "planners." The statutory body would no longer be the South African Council of Town And Regional Planners; it would now be the South African Council for Planners. In order to create a more representative body, the new Council would consist of members from the private, government, and public spheres, rather than only registered members in the private sector. Other differences involved registration and the categories of professionals. Ms Soldati explained that, in the 1984 Act, registration had not been mandatory, and criteria used in registration included Town and Regional Planning (TRP) qualification, training, and professional development. The categories were TRP in training, TRP, and TRP technician. The Bill would provide for mandatory registration using criteria of planning qualification, training, and competency. Qualification would still be required, but this qualification would not necessarily be TRP qualification. The categories under the Bill would include associate planner, candidate planner, and professional planner. An associate planner would be someone actively involved in the planning profession whether or not that person had qualification, a candidate planner would have a recognised qualification, and a professional planner would have had two years training. Concerning reservation of work, under the 1984 Act, the Minister reserved work by request of the Council. However, in the proposed Bill, the Council would reserve work, and the Minister would prescribe what bodies needed to be consulted. Ms Soldati then stated that the code of conduct in the Act was not sufficient, so the Bill would allow the profession to set a new code to be administered by the Council. The final point of difference that she brought up was the appeals process. In the Act, appeals were sent through the court of law, but the Bill proposed the creation of an appeals body.

Ms Soldati then briefed the Committee on the Bill, clause by clause. Clause 1 consisted of definitions, and Clause 2 provided for planning profession principles to guide interpretation, administration, and implementation of the Bill. Clauses 3 through 12 explained matters of how the Council would be appointed, who would qualify for the Council, and how meetings would be conducted. Clauses 13 through 16 gave provisions for registration in the profession, cancellation of registration, and the return of registration certificates. This also covered procedures for reservation of work. Guidelines for recognition of voluntary associations were covered in Clause 17. Clauses 18 through 23 discussed provisions for professional conduct and investigation of misconduct. Clauses 24 through 28 dealt with appeals and set up the appeal board. The remaining clauses gave provisions for regulations and rules, liability of the Council, delegation of powers, prescription of offenses, and transitional arrangements between the old Act and the new legislation. Ms Soldati then gave a brief overview of the review process involved in creating the Bill, and this began in 1997 with a Transition Committee consisting of 50% government representatives and 50% representatives from the Council of Town and Regional Planners. The Draft Bill had been completed in May 2000 and the Bill in June 2001. Upon completion of her presentation, Ms Soldati thanked the Committee.

Discussion

The Chairperson asked if there were any organisations that might have objected to the provisions in the Bill because the Committee needed to know whether or not public hearings on the Bill should be conducted.

Ms Soldati stated that objections generally discouraged the reservation of work, and these objections came from other professions that additionally wanted to take on planning work. She said that these concerns were addressed to an extent, but the recommendation was generally to group the planning profession under another profession, and this was strongly opposed by members of the planning profession.

One member said that he was trying to understand the concern with reservation of work. He asked if it was just meant to keep jobs within the profession. He also wanted to know what role Parliament had in this issue. He asked if Parliament would be expected to monitor or oversee.

Ms Soldati replied that, regarding reservation of work, the planning profession was a broad field, so members of other professions were often qualified to engage in planning work. The Council was meant to protect the planning profession, and it aimed to reserve work for registered planning professionals only. The intention was not to monopolise but to guard its profession. Concerning Parliament’s involvement, this would only likely be an issue if the Council ran out of funds and requested some from the Department, in which case Parliament’s usual oversight duty for finances would be engaged.

Mr D. Maluleke (DP) questioned the necessity of changing the name of the profession to "planner."

Ms M. Dludla from the Department of Land Affairs replied that the title of "town and regional planner" denoted specific training for town and regional planning (TRP), but "planner" alone broadened the profession.

Mr S. Farrow (DP) responded that these professions should be qualified, and people who use these professions should get qualified professionals if they were registered. He wanted to know why this regulation could not happen on a voluntary basis without government involvement. He also stated that they should rather amend the current legislation and change the current statutory body rather than create something new.

Ms Soldati replied that the current Council was not representative.

Mr Farrow said that they should make the Council representative rather than make a new one, and he believed this did not need to be done by law. If done by law, however, it should consist of amending the current legislation.

The Chairperson argued that the Council was set up by law already with particular criteria that did not provide for representivity.

Ms Dludla told the Committee that there were many changes to be made, so it was easier to start over. She also stated that many professions were governed by similar statutory bodies created through legislation, and Parliament was not given an active role as most interaction was with the Minister.

Another member argued that the reference to reservation of work was uncomfortable, so she suggested that other wording be used. Furthermore, she believed that the change in the name was positive since town and regional planning ultimately left out rural planning, and many rural areas were not planned, so this would provide for the opportunity to address this issue.

Ms Soldati said that there was nothing sinister about the use of the word "reserve," but they would consider changing the wording.

Mr B. Radebe (ANC) asked if requiring members of other professions to register if they wanted to partake in planning work caused them to double their membership fees. He also wanted to know how they planned to check qualifications of all who wanted to be involved in this work.

Ms Soldati replied that accreditation was not addressed in detail in the Bill but would largely be up to the Minister and the Council. The necessity of registering members of other professions for planning professions work was to protect those who were only planning professionals, as protecting members of the profession was the purpose of the Bill.

Mr S. Abram (UDM) questioned the level of consultation that had gone into the creation of the Bill. He was interested in the level of acceptance the Bill enjoyed.

Ms Soldati stated that the Department had workshops in the provinces, and people were invited to give comments. Following consideration of these comments, the Draft Bill was redrafted. The new draft was approved by the Minister and Cabinet, and more public comment was then allowed. Nothing substantial changed following the new input, so the draft was submitted to the State Law Advisors and then Parliament.

Mr G. Bhengu asked about qualifications for being on the Council.

The Chairperson said that he believed that was provided for in the Bill. He then stated that they were not meant to discuss desirability of the Bill at that stage, so he thanked the officials from the Department for the presentation. He reminded the members that they were invited by KWV to go to Paarl, and they had accepted. Additionally, thirteen members of the Committee had indicated their desire to attend the Land Tenure Conference. The Chairperson then informed the Committee that the provincial visits would not happen until next year as they had not received enough responses already and would not be able to fit them in at this late date. He thanked the Committee and presenters, and the meeting was adjourned.

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