National House of Traditional Leaders Bill; Traditional Leadership & Governance Framework Amendment Bill: continuation of negotiating mandates

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Meeting Summary

The Committee engaged in discussion on the process for provincial negotiating and final mandates on the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill and the National House of Traditional Leaders Bill. Three provinces (Limpopo, KZN and the Western Cape) had in a previous meeting requested and had later been granted extensions in submitting their negotiating mandates. Members felt it correct that those provinces be allowed to present their negotiation mandates to the Committee. All three provinces supported both Bills provided that their comments and proposed amendments were taken into consideration.

The Department was given until the 16 October 2009 to furnish committee members with a working document on the negotiating mandates comments by all provinces.  The Committee agreed to meet on the 23 October 2009 to consider the negotiating mandates. Members were in agreement that final mandates would only be considered on 27 October 2009. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Royal Bafokeng delegation to the meeting. The delegation was sitting in on the meeting to observe the workings of Parliament. 

Committee discussion on the process for negotiating and final mandates
The Chairperson said that the present meeting would not conclude the issue of mandates. Final mandates would be dealt with only on the 27 October 2009.

Mr A Matila (ANC, Gauteng) asked how the Committee was to deal with the process ahead.

The Chairperson said that almost all the provinces had finalised their mandates. There were the three provinces that were yet to present their negotiating mandates to the Committee. Time was needed to ensure procedural compliance.

Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) said that the Committee had a problem with procedure. Three provinces had requested extensions and this had been granted. The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs had yet to dissect these negotiating mandates. He conceded that the negotiating mandate for Mpumalanga submitted by him had not proposed any substantial amendments. However other negotiating mandates had contained substantive inputs. The point he was making was that the Committee had not ‘negotiated’ on the mandates. He suggested that the Committee deal with the negotiating mandates of all the provinces first before proceeding onto the final mandates. The final mandates could be discussed on the 27 October 2009.

The Chairperson asked the Department to comment.

A Departmental representative said that the Department had been asked to respond to those negotiating mandates that had been received so far. The Department had drafted responses and these were available to the Committee.

Mr Fanie Louw (
Chief Director: Legal Services, Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs) said that the Department needed to know what the Committee’s decision was in order to draft a final Bill. The Department needed to know what was accepted and what was not. He supported the suggestion made by Mr Watson.

Mr T Chaane (ANC, North West) noted that some of the negotiating mandates received from the provinces had not been specific whereas others had. The Department had done its part in trying to identify what the comments made by the provinces spoke to on each of the Bills. The response by the Department would guide the Committee on what needed to be done. Three provinces had requested extensions. If the three provinces were able to report what their negotiating mandates were, they should be given the opportunity to present them as the other provinces had done, before engaging on final mandates.

Mr J Gunda (IFP, NC) said that he understood the point that Mr Watson was trying to make. He conceded that his provincial negotiating mandates had not mentioned that public hearings had been held. It was a concern as public hearings was a requirement of the process. He was trying his level best to contact members of the provincial legislature in order to obtain copies of the minutes of public hearings that had been held. 

Mr Matila said that part of the reason in convening the present meeting was to hear whether extensions had been awarded to the three provinces. Seeing that extensions had been granted, the three provinces should be given the opportunity to present their negotiating mandates. Following this route would give guidance to the Committee on the process. He said that the difficulty was that the rest of the provinces had pushed their provinces to complete final mandates on the Bills. The provinces were thus entitled to a report back on what was decided on in the present meeting.

Mr D Bloem (COPE, Free State) agreed with Mr Matila about dealing with the negotiating mandates first. Members should set aside thoughts of dealing with final mandates now.

National House of Traditional Leaders Bill; Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill: Negotiating Mandates
The Chairperson asked the three provinces that had asked for extensions, to present their negotiating mandates.

Western Cape Negotiating Mandates
Mr J Bekker (DA, WC) presented the mandates. He noted that there was a small amendment proposed on each of the Bills. On the National House of Traditional Leaders Bill the following amendment was proposed:
‘On page 7, line 20 after “certain” to insert “or all”.’

On the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill the following amendment was proposed: ‘On page 6, line 32 after “may” to insert “within the Province”.’

Both the Bills were supported with amendments.

The Chairperson asked the Department to note the proposed amendments.

The Department noted these.

Limpopo Province Negotiating Mandates
Mr M Makhubela (COPE, Limpopo) presented the mandates on both of the Bills.

Comments on the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill:
- Kingship and Queenship should be done with regard to customs and consultation with Traditional Leadership to avoid unnecessary tension within traditional leadership.
- There was acknowledgement of the appointment of the Commission to deal with disputes and other matters on traditional leadership. It asked that the Commission should deal with outstanding matters concerning traditional leadership on an urgent basis.
- The Bill authorises the Council to be in office for a period of five years which was commensurate with the term of office for members of the House of Traditional Leaders.
- Traditional Leadership should encourage gender equity in positions of leadership.
- The Bill should empower traditional leaders to fully participate in governance in order to speed up the process of service delivery including at municipal level.
The Bill was supported with these comments.

Comments on the National House of Traditional Leaders Bill:
- The word Senior Traditional Leader was ambiguous; it should be replaced with Kgoshi or Inkosi for instance which were African words.
- The appointment of women to positions of royal highness should be in terms of African practice.
- All traditional leaders should be treated as office bearers.
- The words “Traditional Leader” and “Council” as used in the Bill should be replaced by “Royal Leader” and “Royal Council”.
- Supported the fact that the National House of Traditional Leadership would be required to submit its books for auditing as was in line with the Public Finance Management Act.
- Suggested that the term of meetings be reduced from bi-annually to quarterly.
-Traditional Leadership should consider legislation that were meant to encourage gender equality.
 The Bill was supported with these comments.

Kwazulu-Natal Negotiating Mandates
Ms Swartbooi, a member of the Province’s Portfolio Committee on Local Government in the Province, presented the negotiating mandate.

Comments and amendments proposed on the National House of Traditional Leaders Bill:
- For Clause 4(3):
“(3) The election proceedings must be conducted by [the Premier or a person] an independent electoral commission designated by the Premier of the Province concerned, observed by officials of the House and the provincial department responsible for traditional affairs.” 
- A legal opinion had been requested on the constitutionality of Clause 5(1)(a).
The province supported the Bill provided that these comments were taken into consideration.

Comments on the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill:
- A legal opinion was requested on the constitutionality of Clause 13A (14)(f) – (g) of the Bill.
The province supported the Bill.

The Chairperson gave the Department until Friday 16 October 2009 to respond to the three negotiating mandates. The Committee agreed to consider the responses the week thereafter. The final mandates would be considered on 27 October 2009.

Mr Matila said that committee members needed to leave the meeting with a sense of what had been agreed upon as their provinces needed to be briefed.

The Chairperson thought that it was technically correct to request the Department to respond to the negotiating mandates that had been presented by the three provinces.

Mr Matila understood the Chairperson’s point but said that a date would then have to be set aside before the 27 October 2009 to consider the negotiating mandates.

Mr Watson stressed that if due process was not followed, the Bills would be rejected. The Department had to dissect the inputs made by the provinces in order for the Committee to be able to negotiate on them. The Committee needed to work through the inputs from the provinces. It had to either agree or disagree with the inputs made. Thereafter members would have to report back to the provinces to report on what had been agreed upon by the Committee.

Mr L Nzimande (ANC, KZN) suggested 21 October 2009 as a possible date to discuss the negotiating mandates.

Mr Louw requested the Committee to provide the Department with an opportunity to dissect and analyse the negotiating mandates in order to couple comments made by the provinces with specific clauses of the Bills. If the request was agreed to by the Committee, the Department would by the following week have a proper working document for members.

The Chair asked the Committee if the 21 October 2009 was suitable for the consideration of the negotiating mandates and whether the 27 October 2009 was suitable for the consideration of the final mandates.

Mr Matila said that whilst the Department was compiling a working document, the parliamentary legal advisers should come up with something similar in order to guide members.

Mr Watson asked the Department to forward the working document to members prior to the 21 October 2009 in order for members to peruse it properly.

Mr Louw agreed to have the document ready for members by Friday 16 October 2009.

The Chairperson considered the Committee’s programme and felt it better to schedule a meeting on the 23 October 2009 rather than on the 21 October 2009.

The Committee agreed to the change and agreed to meet on the 23 October 2009 to consider the provinces’ negotiating mandates.

The Committee Secretary stated that the Committee Programme would be finalised on the 23 October 2009.

The Chair thanked the Royal Bafokeng delegation for attending the meeting and the meeting was adjourned.

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