Planning Profession Bill: deliberations

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Meeting report

AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
26 February 2002
PLANNING PROFESSION BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Chairperson: Adv P.S. Holomisa

Documents Handed Out:
Planning Profession Bill
Planning Profession Bill Amendments [available on 4 March]

SUMMARY
The Department drafters continued from Clause 5 of the Planning Profession Bill presenting the proposed amendments to certain clauses. The day-long deliberations ended at Clause 18.

A new clause, Clause 10, that is deemed controversial is, "The Minister may suspend or revoke a decision of the Council if it is in public interest to do so and there exists good grounds therefore". However as the aim of the Bill is to transform the profession, it was explained that the Minister needs some leeway to override Council decisions and recommendations.

MINUTES
Planning Profession Bill
Dr Makgalemele of the Department took the Committee through Clauses 5 to 17, pointing out where certain amendments had been proposed:

Clause 5 Disqualification as member of Council, and vacation of office
The Chairperson asked if the Committee is satisfied with the stated grounds for disqualification. Should people convicted of racism be allowed to be members of the South African Council of Planners? The Committee agreed to this:
- Mr Farrow (DP) felt that such people should not be allowed to be members of the Committee.
- Mr Baloyi (IFP) suggested the need for a time frame as a person should not be condemned forever if the offence happened five or ten years ago.
- Mr Radebe (ANC) said that they have to build a united nation. Such a clause would signal that if person makes racist remarks, the person would be out.
- The Chairperson stated that the issue of transformation should be emphasised. Now that people have seen that things have changed after 1994, they have to stop making racist remarks.
- Mr Farrow (DP) noted that this is post-1994 and such a clause should be applied. If one is convicted of racism, it shows that the person not going to change. Anyone convicted of this should be disqualified.

The Chairperson asked the Committee if they wanted to include permanent residents as members of the Council or keep it to citizens of South Africa.

Mr Maluleke (DP) agreed to include permanent residents as anyone who wants permanent residence, would want to contribute to the country. Mr Radebe (ANC) agreed that permanent residents who are educated and skilled could contribute to the development of the country.

Clause 6: Committees of Council / Clause 7: Functions of Council
Dr Makgalemele pointed out that Clause 6(2) had been rephrased (see Amendments document).

Mr Radebe (ANC) commented that he believed that the planning profession is 97 to 98% white. He wondered if something could be done to make it in line with the demographics of the country.

Mr Maphalala (ANC) asked why 6(4)(a) did not provide for more committees.

Mr Maluleke (DP) said that they need to make quite sure that there is a committee stipulated to deal with issues of education. This is non-negotiable.

The Chair suggested that they could add a clause to explain what the purpose of the committees would be.

Mr Mogoba (PAC) He said that there is no need to overstate it. The committee has to enhance the standard of education and make sure that the status quo is even.

In answer to Dr. Baloyi (IFP) asking whether it is important to stipulate education in the planning profession, the Chair said that education is important in this profession.

Mr Maphalala (ANC) believed that there should be good reasons to specify other committees. The clause does not say what purpose the committees have. The Bill is centered on the enhancement of the profession and what is material is the purpose of the committee: why does one want to have the committee?

Mr Farrow (DP) agreed. The advancement of the profession is about education, but does that include training matters?

The Chairperson felt that education and training matters should be included in Clause 7

It was suggested that 'Function of Council' should be replaced by 'Objectives of Council'. The drafters however argued that the word should be left as is as this is the usual way for it to be headed. There might be complications of interpretation later. They suggested that they should rather define these two terms in the definitions clause.

Clause 8: Powers and duties of Council
The typographical error in Clause 8(6)(i)(ii) "debt" instead of "death" was noted by Mr Gerber (ANC). Mr Radebe (ANC) noted the typographical error in Clause 8(4)(b) where "the faculty of learning" was omitted after "has".

There was some discussion about insurance in Clause 8(6)(i) and whether it should stipulate that the insurance be provided by registered/reputable insurance companies.

The drafters suggested that the Minister should have some control over the Council's financial management. It was suggested that 'may' should replace 'must' where relevant. The Council is going to derive income from its own revenue and from selling its publications. The Council can also loan money. If the Council makes the debt payable within twelve months, it would not need the Minister's consent.

Clause 9: Meetings of Council
The drafters noted the insertion of new subclauses 9(8) and 9(9) which stipulates that minutes of Council meetings should be given to the Minister within thirty days. The clause would be read with Clause 8.

Clause 10: Decisions of Council
Dr. Magalemele noted that the department has inserted a new clause which is open for discussion, as it is controversial: "The Minister may suspend or revoke a decision of the Council if it is in public interest to do so and there exists good grounds therefore"

Mr Schoeman (NNP) said that they should be careful as the Council then does not have much power.

Mr Radebe (ANC) said that the clause is meant for transformation. The Minister must have power to interfere when necessary. The Chairperson agreed as they are meant to ensure transformation.

Dr. Makgalemele noted that the Minister would be required to state that there are good grounds to intervene.

Mr Baloyi (IFP) asked what would be the function of the Council, if the Minister has to interfere.

The Chairperson said that the Council is an independent body. But because it does some work that is connected to government, there should be some link with government. The Minister should act in the public interest.

Mr Ditshetelo (UCDP) said that the powers of the Minister should take precedence over the Council.

Clause 11: Remuneration of members of the Council and Committees
In answer to Mr Farrow asking about travelling costs, the department responded that those costs would be borne by the state. If there is a provision for the Council to pay, it would pay. If not, the department would pay.

Clause 12: Funds of Council and keeping and auditing of accounts
The Committee decided to leave the clause as is.

Clause 13: Registration of persons
Dr. Makgalemele pointed out the amendments.

Mr Farrow (DP) asked whether those agencies that are a product of apartheid are going to be subjected to the Bill.

Dr. Schoeman (NP) said that the Committee cannot say that such persons or agencies cannot practice. The Constitution guarantees everyone the right to practice as a planner.

Mr Radebe (ANC) said that the Constitution is against racism, and if one still use racist remarks, such a person has to know that he/she is not welcome to live in South Africa.

The Chairperson said that the amendment would remain as it is.

Mr Gerber (ANC) noted that the Bill specifies three categories of planners. There is no recognition of planners who are studying or working for municipalities or state. What is the reason for not giving recognition for people who are planners in training?

Dr. Makgalemele said that such a person can work for any institution stated in the Bill. It cannot state that they can reserve the work for a person still studying.

Mr Radebe (ANC) said that 'candidate planner' should be explained more. There are students in technicons and universities who might be de-motivated if not recognized.

The department official said that they should try to distinguish between a student planner and a person who has already passed the planning exams.

Clause 14: Cancellation of registration
Mr Gerber (ANC) noted that the language of 14(4) is clumsy. The chairperson agreed that 14(4) needs to be unpacked and simplified. The department said that they would restructure it

Clause 15: Return of registration certificates
The Committee agreed to leave the clause as is.

Clause 16: Identification of planning profession work
Mr Farrow (DP) commented that the word 'reserved' has an apartheid connotation. He suggested it should be omitted or that it rather come in the definition clause.

Clause 17: Recognition of voluntary associations.
The changes to 17(1) were accepted by the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned until the 1 March when the Department will present further changes.


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