National Parks Amendment Bill: briefing & finalisation

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Meeting report

ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

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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. 

land and environmental affairs select committee
7 November 2001
NATIONAL PARKS AMENDMENT BILL: BRIEFING & FINALISATION

Chairperson: 
Mr P. Moatshe

Documents handed out:
National Parks Amendment Bill [B38-2001]
Memorandum on the National Parks Amendment Bill (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism)

SUMMARY
The Committee was briefed on the National Parks Amendment Bill in what was likely to be their last meeting of the term.  After a brief discussion, the Committee agreed to the Bill without amendments.  They then discussed who in the Committee would attend the Land Tenure Conference and how that would be financed.

MINUTES
The Chairperson welcomed the members and the representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism who presented the briefing on the National Parks Amendment Bill.

Presentation on the National Parks Amendment Bill
Ms T. Mkhwanazi, legal advisor to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, thanked the Chairperson.  She agreed that the briefing would be quick but said she would like to raise some issues that were considered by the National Assembly.  She passed out a memorandum on the Bill that had no legal effect but could assist them in understanding the Bill.  She told the Committee that the Bill had been unanimously accepted by the National Assembly.  She stated that South Africa National Parks (SANPARKS) was registered as an enterprise, so it was required to pay value added tax (VAT) on goods and services rendered including sponsorships and donations.  The Department was requesting the amendments to the principle Act in order to redefine SANPARKS as an association not for gain.  Currently, SANPARKS was granted informal status as an association not for gain by the Commissioner of Inland Revenues so that it would not have to pay VAT, but this informal status was granted on the condition that the Act would be amended to legally change the status of the organisation.  SANPARKS had actually been de facto exempt from paying VAT for several years, but this would have to be changed under law.  She stated the conditions that would have to be met, according to Section 1(b) of VAT in order for SANPARKS to qualify as an association not for gain, and these conditions had been met for some time according to the requirements of the South Africa National Parks Act of 1976.  She added that no state revenue would be lost since VAT was currently not being paid by SANPARKS.

Discussion
Mr K. Durr (ACDP) said that, as far as he knew, tax was not paid on donations received.  He believed that the memorandum had been wrongly written.  He also stated that the South African Revenue Service was not in a position to exempt taxpayers from paying taxes on donations rendered.

Mr V. Windvoel (ANC) said that he had a problem with amendments on the memorandum that had not been considered by the National Assembly.  He also asked what financial implications there would be for the government since page 4 of the Bill referred to financial implications.  He added that he had no problem with the concepts of the Bill, but he needed answers on these points.

Another representative from the Department replied that, according to current legislation, SANPARKS was required to pay taxes on donations accepted.  He said that there would be no financial implications on the state, but SANPARKS would be required to pay VAT retrospectively if this legislation were not passed thereby fulfilling the conditions of the exemption. 

Ms Mkhwanazi responded to Mr Durr that Section 1.3 of the memorandum was actually marked out, so there was no reference to the South African Revenue Service exempting tax payment on donations rendered.  She said that the Bill itself was correct, and this was not an amendment but a correction of a misprint. 

With no more questions, the Chairperson read the Motion of Desirability, and the Bill was agreed to without amendments.  The Committee then briefly discussed attending the Land Tenure Conference in Durban.  The Chairperson was waiting to hear back on the possibility of funding members' accommodation and travel expenses.  Some members agreed to provide their own travel.  The meeting was adjourned.  

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