Disaster Management Bill: deliberations

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

27 September 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
28 September 2001
DISASTER MANAGEMENT BILL: DELIBERATION

Chairperson:
Mr Y I Carrim (ANC)
Co-chairperson: Mr B M Solo (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Disaster Management Bill [B58 - 2001]
Summary of Concerns with respect to the Disaster Management Bill

SUMMARY
The committee considered Clauses 28 to Clause 40 of the Disaster Management Bill.

MINUTES
Researchers present were Dr Petra Bouwer and Mr Louis Buys from the Department; Dr. Ailson Holloway, adviser from the Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihood Programme at UCT; Ms Debi Hewe of the ANC and Mr Chris Sibanyoni (Parliament).

Discussion
Mr Carrim began the discussion of the Bill at Chapter 4 on Provincial Disaster Management. No comment was raised on Cl28 of the Bill.

Mr Solo brought up Clause 29 of the Bill and felt that the clause should be flagged because he did not think it would change. Clause 30, the Duties and Powers clause, was raised. The Chair was unsure how the committee should deal with the section. He felt that there was a difference the General Duties listed in s15 and the Duties and Powers listed in s30 and so the committee should look at the section line by line. Section 30(1)(a) was raised for which there was no comment.

Mr Carrim enquired why subsection (1)(b) read "integrated co-ordinated approach". He felt that it should be "integrated and co-ordinated".

Dr Bouwer supported the insertion of the word "and".

Mr Carrim questioned why the words "in the province" were included in the provision as he felt they were unnecessary.

Dr Bouwer replied that it was there to clarify any uncertainty between the different organs of state.

Mr Solo raised Subclause ( c) and (d) for question.

Mr Carrim commented that the Committee did not like the use of terms such as "statutory functionaries" as people in the real world would ask to speak to an official rather than a statutory functionary, but did not suggest that the term be changed.

Mr Solo moved on to Clause 30(f).

Mr Carrim noted that the Committee had decided to change the word "for" at the beginning of Clause 30(f)(ii) to "on".

Mr Solo moving onto Subclause (f)(iii) noted Sharpe's comment in the Summary that the wording of the provision should be changed to "in the event of a provincial disaster, on whether a provincial state of disaster should be declared…"

Mr Buys suggested that the word "must" should be used.

Dr Bouwer replied that "may" would be more appropriate.

Mr Solo moved onto s30(1)(g).
Rev A D Goosen (ANC) remarked that the section used the word "utilisation" which should not have been there.

Mr Carrim agreed but said that they would have to come back to that since they had not agreed what to do about it.

Mr Solo then brought up Clauses (h), (i) and (j) for which there was no comment and then Clause 30(2).

Mr Carrim commented that the committee had already discussed Sharpe's suggestion that "Subject to subsection (3)" should be inserted at the beginning but that it had been decided to reject the suggestion because the wording was not satisfactory.

Mr Solo raised Clause 30(3)(a) for comment.

Mr Carrim noted that the words "policy framework" would have to be changed in the future.

Mr Solo referred to Clause 30(3)(b), (c) and (d) for comment.

Mr Carrim pointed out that all Sharpe's suggestions regarding these provisions had been rejected by the committee.

Mr Solo raised Clause 31(1)(a) and (b) for comment and then Clause 32(1).

Mr Buys asked how "assistance" and "delegation" could be linked.

Dr Bouwer replied that delegation transferred responsibility whereas assistance excluded delegation and did not include transference of liability.

Mr Solo raised Clause 32(1)(a) and said that there was a suggestion from Sharpe for the insertion of a new subparagraph.

A member replied that the suggested sub-paragraph was detailed but not necessary because the issues it addressed where already covered in the clause.

Mr Solo then raised Clause 32(1)(b) and (c) for discussion.

Dr Bouwer commented that the subject of the clause was assistance to the national centre.

Mr Solo then moved on to Clause 32(2)(a).

Dr Bouwer proposed a rewording of the clause so that it would be in line with Clause 18.

Mr Carrim agreed but said that Clause 32(2)(b) would be deleted.

Rev Goosen enquired whether "in the province" would be left in".

Mr Carrim responded that in that situation it was fine.

Mr Solo raised Clause 33(a),(b), (c) and (d) and stated that they were the same as Clauses 20(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) and moved on to Clause 33(2). On Mr Buys' comment that the committee had already discussed that provision, Mr Solo moved on to Clause 34, which he stated was the same as Cl21, and moved on to Cl35 and then Cl36 on the Annual Reports.

Dr Bouwer suggested that a reference to Cl24 should be put in.

Mr Solo moved on to Cl36(2) and stated that it appeared straightforward.

Dr Holloway suggested that in the context of Annual Reports, the monitoring of risk factors, such as tracking changes and risk, should be included as one of the components of the report.

Mr Carrim replied that if one looked at Subclauses (c) and (d), the effect was simply that the centres had to report on what has happened in the department.

Dr Holloway replied that the report should include, as part of the monitoring of risk, factors such as changes in weather conditions or increased urbanisation in areas prone to flooding.

Mr Carrim asked where Dr Holloway would insert that requirement.

Dr Holloway replied that she would put it in under (e); "in dealing with these disasters and risks"

Mr Carrim responded that he did not have a problem with the suggestion but a better way should be found of incorporating it in the Bill.

Dr Bouwer felt that Dr Holloway's suggestion was outside the context of Cl 36. The Clause provided for reports on what had been done by the centres in the course of the previous year and also information on strategic and budget plans in order to plan a strategy. He was in agreement with Dr Holloway's suggestion but did not feel that this was the right place to make provision for it.

Mr Carrim felt that Dr Holloway had a strong argument and questioned whether a compromise could be reached on it.

Dr Bouwer responded that in a report the centres are evaluated on what they have done and do not entail what they are going to do. He felt uncomfortable putting in strategic issues when reporting on performance.

Dr Holloway agreed but felt that the centres could also report back on risk-related issues.

Mr Carrim felt that the matter could be addressed under Subclause (f) in terms of "recommendations". He decided to defer the matter for the moment.

Rev Goosen enquired if it were possible to make provision for strategies in Cl 36(g) as well as as Cl 24(g).

Dr Bouwer said that it could be done and should be included there.

Mr Mushudulu asked if Cl 36(1) could be qualified by submitting a report on a "common standard".

Dr Bouwer replied that standards are built in and the one would only have to look at Cl 30 as a guiding light.

Mr Solo enquired what the consensus was regarding the risk issue.

Dr Bouwer outlined a proposal to address the matter by introducing a new paragraph on preventative and mitigation initiatives.

Mr Solo said that it should also take cognisance of Cl 24. With respect to Clause 36(3) Mr Solo enquired why it did not have a timeframe like Subclause (2) and if it also applied to Clause 24.

Mr Buys thought that it might have been an oversight but that the section must be looked at with Clause 24; dealing with when the national centre would submit a report, as this ties everything up.

Mr Solo moved on to Clause 37 on the Duties and provincial government and Preparation of disaster management plans without any comment and then Clause 38 on Disaster management plans for provinces.

Mr Sibanyoni enquired what "regularly" meant in Cl 38(1)(c).

With respect to Cl 38 (2)(c), on identifying the communities at risk, Mr S Mushudulu (ANC) asked how far the provision would apply where there was no flood water drainage or severage pipes, i.e. a technical failure. In terms of the lifespan of the infrastructure, he was trying to sensitise the department to the failures of the past.

Mr D A A Olifant (ANC) asked if it was possible for the communities to identify themselves because who else would.

Dr Bouwer said that the committee had already decided that community participation should be included wherever possible.

Mr Solo thought that answered Mr Mushudulu's question as well.

Mr Buys stated that in terms of framework a generic code would be supplied to the municipalities with regard to guidelines on risk management.

Dr Holloway suggested "communities at risk" should read "areas with communities at risk" because, e.g. on the coastline, oil spill caused damage to the natural environment and infrastructure. Her colleagues were concerned that the term "natural environment" did not occur once in the Bill and "areas" would be a compromise that would take into account the natural environment.

Mr Buys pointed out that the definition included the environment.

Mr Solo raised Clause 38(2)(d) for comment.

Dr Holloway asked for clarification on the word "provide" as it seemed a little loose and was also enabling in effect. She would have preferred a stronger word like "facilitate".

Mrs G M Borman (DP) did not mind "provide" but suggested "include" as a strong word.

Dr Bouwer replied that the committee should decide on "provide" or "include" but "facilitate" which implied that somebody else would do it. "Provide" placed an obligation on the province to do it.

Mr Solo moved on to Clause 38(3) and Peter Smiths's comment that the clause was restrictive.

Dr Bouwer suggested that changing "must" to "may" would solve the problem.

Mr Solo raised Clause 39(1) for comment and referred to the alteration suggested by Dr Holloway that the words "co-ordination and" should be omitted.

Dr Bouwer replied that the suggestion had been rejected.

Rev Goosen suggested that "executive of province" should be changed to "provincial executive".

Dr Bouwer answered that the intent was to distinguish between the nine provinces.

Mr Solo moved on to Clause 39(3) and Sharpe's suggestion that "to deal with" should be changed to "in dealing with".

Dr Bouwer responded that the passive voice, which this would require, was no longer used in drafting statutes.

Mr Solo asked if there were any comments on Clause 40 on the Declaration of provincial state of disaster.

Dr Bouwer asked if the committee would like the department to get Clause 40 in line with Clause 27 and was answered in the affirmative.

Dr Holloway stated that the protection of property also related to protection against losses to the natural environment.

Mr Buys said that it must be considered whether the aim of the Bill was to protect the environment and that one must be careful of the concept of ownership.

Mr Solo raised the provisions of Clause 40 for which there was no comment.

Rev Goosen added that many of Dr Holloway's recommendations could have been covered in the Environmental Management Act and that was why it was not covered in the Bill.

Ms Borman asked if the committee had agreed to keeping the centres in each province.

Mr Carrim replied that the issue had been flagged and would be dealt with at a later meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.

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