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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 PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
19 February 2002
FINALISATION OF THE ANIMAL HEALTH BILL AND FORMAL CONSIDERATION OF PLANNING PROFESSIONS BILL
Chairperson: Adv. S.P. Holomisa
Documents handed out:
Animal Health Bill [B64-01]
Planning Profession Bill [B76-2001]
Opinion on the Animal Health Bill (Department)
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The Department of Agriculture read the amendments to the Animal Health Bill and the Committee agreed to the amendments and the Bill was passed. The Department went on to explain the Planning Profession Bill clause by clause to allow the Committee to ask questions of clarity.
Animal Health Bill
The Department of Agriculture proposed an Amendment in response to last week's nearly passed Animal Health Bill. The Amendment was agreed to, and the Bill was passed.
Mr. Niekerk (FA) requested adequate provision in the Bill to assure expedited disaster relief to farmers in the event of an emergency.
The Deputy Minister of Land and Agriculture Mr Du Toit said he acknowledged the seriousness of the question. He responded that the funding would come through Parliament, which would have to convene before funding is granted. He would check with the Finance Minister to confirm this.
Mr. McIntosh (DP) expressed his concerns that the bill would permit land searches and seizures, although the proper officials must have warrants. He believes the Animal Health Bill to be radical. There was no response to this argument.
Mr A. Van Niekerk (FA) said he wrote a letter to the Minister of Finance and asked how the Department could expedite the appropriation of funds for emergency as contemplated in section 6(5) of the Bill.
Mr G. Mclntosh (DP) argued that the Bill had arbitrary powers on officials of the Department and the Committee needed to be aware of that.
The Chairperson acknowledged that the committee also did raise those concerns in their previous meeting.
Mr Van Niekerk raised his concern about the fact that the Bill has to go back to the National Council of Provinces; he said that would cause unnecessary delay.
The Chairperson said there would be a mechanism to ensure that there was no undue delay. He added that he would not see any reason of delay because the amendments were clear and straightforward.
Planning Profession Bill
Mr Mclntosh wanted clarity on the financial implications for the provisions of the Bill. The Department responded that whenever a Bill is introduced there could be financial implications.
Mr G. Mclntosh questioned how the provisions of the Bill were expected to be implemented if there was no increase of expenditure on land.
Dr Makgalemele from the Department said their department was involved in land reform, which addressed issues of equity (among others), and there was a budget for that. So she said there was no need for such expenditure to be included in the Bill.
Mr P. Gerber (ANC) commented that the powers of the Minister on the Council should be clearly defined. He added that the Minister should be given overriding powers. He said the department should ensure that he/she performs his/her oversight role in the Council.
Mr Gerber asked what made the committee propose the constitution of those members of the council. He said section 4(1)(d) was very restrictive.
Dr Makgalemele said they have seriously considered how the Council should be constituted. She agreed that section 4(1)(d) was restrictive and added that at the municipal level, there is still too much presentation needed. She said the department would try to make section 4(1)(d) flexible to accommodate other structures.
Ms B. Ntuli (ANC) wanted to know what would happen if nominations had to be made in areas that were ruled by traditional leaders. She argued that there was no indication that traditional leaders were included in the process.
An official from the Department said the interests of traditional leaders would be addressed in the land-use management level, not necessarily in the Council.
The Deputy Minister agreed that traditional leaders should be represented in the Council and noted that the Department of Land Affairs and Agriculture was a traditional leader-friendly department.
Dr Makgalemele said she thought this issue had already been addressed in Section 4(1)(d), where they agreed that the clause was restrictive and that other structures still needed to be accommodated.
The Deputy Minister suggested that clause 4(1)(d) should be omitted. He further suggested that in clause 4(2)(b) the following wording should be included, "and any institution recognized by the government". He said this would ensure that traditional leaders were accommodated.
Mr S. Abram (UDM) suggested that in clause 4(3) the word "race" should be replaced by another term. He proposed "community representatives".
Mr M. Maphalala objected to the notion of "community representatives". He argued that sometimes communities could not be representative of the different racial groupings found in a particular area. He made an example of Cape Town, where different racial groupings are found.
Mr Abrams said since this is not a finalization of the Bill; the department should look at that.
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