Programme and Process of Dealing with Immigration Bill

Home Affairs

17 March 2002
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Meeting report

HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
18 March 2002
PROGRAMME AND PROCESS OF DEALING WITH IMMIGRATION BILL

Chairperson: Mr A Mokoena (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Programme adopted by the Portfolio Committee (see Annexure)

Relevant documents:
Immigration Bill [B79-2001]
Detailed draft programme

SUMMARY
The Committee met to adopt a programme for the future processing of the Immigration Bill. Members from the Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement suggested that the proposals in the draft programme were too long and cumbersome, and would not leave sufficient time for Members to deliberate the Bill on a clause by clause basis. More time was needed to discuss the Bill with the State Law Advisors in the event of amendments and other changes which would have to be made. The Inkatha Freedom Party stated that the programme would not receive their support. The programme was adopted, subject to minor changes.

MINUTES
The purpose of the meeting was to fine tune the draft programme submitted by the Chairperson to the National Assembly Rules Committee on 31 March 2002. The programme has taken account of the time constraints faced by the Committee. The Chair said he wants it to be a workable programme.

Mr Chauke (ANC), introduced as the newly appointed Whip, presented the ANC's programme, which was based on the draft programme developed and presented to the Rules Committee.

Mr Waters (DP) asked if there were any Members representing the cluster groups at the meeting. Ms Jacobs was present and explained that, because the study group meets on Monday, the NCOP has only one Member present.

Mr Chauke said that they have been mandated to complete the Bill by a certain date but in terms of this programme, they would finish much earlier. This will allow the Committee to hold further discussions on the Bill. He said that it is a varied and progressive proposal, and that he hoped the other political parties would support it.

Mr Waters said that the DP has given its proposal, which was attached to the report of the Rules Committee. They believed that the ANC proposal was too extensive and cumbersome, and contained duplications and consequently many of the suggestions can be cut off. There has already been an extensive process of consultation on the Bill, therefore the DP believed that one could cut down on the inputs on the Bill. In terms of the ANC programme, there would be a briefing by the Minister on 19 March and a briefing by the Deputy Minister on 15 April. Could clarity be given on why these briefings would be held, as the views of the Minister should be the same as that of the Department?

Given the severe time constraints on the Committee there is no need for the Deputy Minister to come before the Committee, because the Deputy Minister does not deal with the Bill. He referred to point 13.3 in the programme and said that it is one and the same thing when the Minister and the Department briefs the committee. The Minister's views on the Bill should be the same as the Departments'.

Mr Waters said that he did not see the point of SARS and SALGA briefing the Committee as they have no connection with the Immigration Bill.

The Chairperson explained that there is a portion in the Bill which proposes that certain functions of Home Affairs be diverted, for example, to Local Government (the issuing of identity documents).

At this point Mr Chauke intervened and said that the Chair should not educate Mr Waters about the contents of the Bill but rather focus on the programme.

Mr Waters proceeded to mention some of the DP's proposal. Clause 13.9: the briefing by Portfolio Committee Chairpersons is unprecedented and should be left out. In 13.13: the input by the Committee on SADC study tour means that the Committee is giving input to itself-and that should be left out. He said that there was insufficient time to deliberate the Bill as there are only two days set aside for deliberations. Mr Waters said that firstly the DP feels that the Committee is cutting itself short, as it believed that this Committee should go through the Bill clause by clause, with State Law Advisors present, for clarity and suggestions, such as change of wording. The DP felt secondly that the relevant persons from the Department of Home Affairs should also be present to clarify issues that may arise during these deliberations.

The Chairperson referred Mr Waters to Clause 55, line 44 of the Immigration Bill which deals with divesting of powers, and referred to the need for members from various Departments to brief the Committee on the effects of this Bill on these Departments. He said that letters have been addressed to the Department Heads to brief the Committee on any laws in conflict with the Bill.

Mr Kalako (ANC) suggested that the Committee move forward with discussing the programme.

Prince Zulu (IFP) said that they are going along with the DP proposals. The IFP had thought of condensing the programme even further, the DP's presentation took into account the view of the IFP. There is an overlap with certain inputs, and as over sixty organizations have been consulted, some of the presentations will be repetitive. To have the Deputy Minister come before the Committee as a way of Protocol, looks as if the Committee is dealing with generalities, rather than specifics of the matter.

Mr Pretorius (NNP) said that the Bill contains certain controversial issues, and therefore the Bill cannot be finalised without hearing the different organisations which may be affected by the new Bill. He referred to clause 13. 13 (input by PC on Home Affairs on SADC tour) and 13.14 (Consolidations of inputs) and suggested that instead of hearing these two submissions the Committee should be given more time to deliberate on the Bill.

The Chair replied that the SADC trip has been cut down significantly, as certain provinces have not been visited. In terms of this programme, it has been shortened by four days. He suggested that the Committee works late into the evenings. He referred to clause 13.15 (input by parties) and the time allocated until 16h00, and suggested that the Committee work till 20h00.

Mr Kalako said that he does not think there is the need to work until 20h00 because with the experience gained by the Committee, in terms of clauses 13.13 and 13.14, there should not be the need to hold discussions amongst the Committee Members.

Ms Van Wyk (UDM) said that whilst commenting on the programme there is the need to be honest with one another. Apart from the date and time change, this was the same programme which was put forward before the Committee at the previous meeting, but now as the ANC programme. None of the opposition parties' input on the programme has been included, and no effort has been made to accommodate the opposition parties' views. She felt that there should be a combination of the Minister and the Department's inputs, as she could not see why they should have differing views on the Bill.

Ms Van Wyk said that it is not necessary for SARS and SALGA to make representations. Could someone from NEDLAC brief the Committee?

With regards to briefing by the Chairpersons, the letters of invitation should contain the specific clauses of the Bill which will impact on them. She referred to clauses 13.10 (NGOs) and 13.11 (Academia) and asked who is going to be invited as Professor Schlemmers has already given input on the Bill.

The UDM shared the concern of the DP and the IFP that there is insufficient time to discuss the Bill as a Committee. It is going to be very time consuming to go through the Bill clause by clause. There will be the need for legal opinions if changes are to be made to the Bill. Also the fact that this is a lengthy Bill needs to be considered. If the Bill will have to be re-printed this too will be time consuming.

The Chair replied the NEDLAC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Dexter, could brief the Committee. They should not compromise the consultative process as it could only enrich the process.

Mr Chauke said that the ANC has made its proposals, and that it is clear that the other parties have made other suggestions. He asked that the programme be adopted as a working programme. Not every person invited would make input so the times could still change. He therefore moved for the adoption of the programme.

The Chair asked if the ACDP and UCDP were represented at the meeting. No representatives were present.

Mr Waters said that three opposition parties submitted proposals which were not considered.

Mr Chauke said that they were consulted when developing this programme.

A Member suggested that the programme be adopted as is and thereafter work can be done on it.

Prince Zulu said that the ANC programme would not get the support of the IFP.

Ms Jacobus said that if at the end of a specific day the Committee feels that it needs another day, that is not an issue at all. The Committee could work late as it has done in the past.

Mr Grobler (DP) said that the issue is not so much the dates, but that insufficient time has been allocated for the discussion of the Bill on a clause by clause basis with State Law Advisors being present.

Mr Chauke intervened and said that this topic was already discussed before Mr Grobler joined the meeting.

The Chair said the issue of interaction with the State Law Advisors has been left hanging and this needs to be worked into the time-frame. He suggested that the Committee adopt the programme.

Mr Waters said he has a counter proposal: when inviting members of civil society it is true that not all may accept the invitation to brief the Committee. He suggested that as early as the next day letters should be sent out so that replies can be received as soon as possible. From that one could glean the amount of time to set aside for their submissions. The time allocated for submissions should be curtailed, and this will give the Committee more time to deliberate the Bill on a clause by clause basis.

Mr Pretorius said that he supported this proposal. He has difficulties with the programme but it can be adapted as the Committee goes along. Right now the Committee was bickering over matter which would not take it forward.

The Committee adopted the programme.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix:
From: Chairperson of Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, Aubrey Mokoena (ANC)
To: Chairperson of Committees, MJ Mahlangu (MP)

18 March 2002

Re: Processing of the Immigration Bill

Dear Honourable Mahlangu

I am pleased to submit to you a programme for the processing of the Immigration Bill. This is a sequel to the Draft Programme, which was submitted to the National Assembly Rules Committee on 13 March 2002.

Hereunder is a programme adopted by the Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs at its meeting on 18/03/02 at v475


Briefing by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. MG Buthelezi, and by the Special Advisor to the Minister, Dr. M Oriani-Ambrosini:
Date: 19 March 2002
Time: 14h00 - 16h00
Venue:

Briefing by the Deputy Minister, Mr. C Nqakula:

Date: 15 April 2002
Time: 11h00 - 13h00
Venue

Briefing by the Department:

Date: 15 April 2002
Time: 14h00 - 16h00
SARS (South African Revenue Services) on Customs and Excise at border posts

Date: 16 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 13h00
Venue:

SALGA (South African Local Government Association)

Date: 16 April 2002
Time: 14h00 - 15h30
Venue:

Nedlac (National Economic Development and Labour
Council)

Date: 16 April 2002
Time: 16h00 - 18h00
Venue:

Business
Business South Africa
CDE (The Centre for Development and Enterprise)
British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa
American Chamber of Commerce
Nafcoc
Fabcos

Date: 17 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 16h00
Venue:

Trade Unions:
Cosatu
Fedusa
Nactu

Date: 18 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 16h00
Venue:

Briefing by Portfolio Committee Chairpersons on relevant sections of Immigration Bill:

Chairperson of PC on Safety and Security
Chairperson of the PC on Defence
Chairperson of PC on Justice
Chairperson of PC on Finance (budgetary implications of Bill)
Chairperson of the PC on Trade and Industry
Chairperson of the PC on Foreign Affairs
Chairperson of the PC on Education
Chairperson of the PC on Labour
Chairperson of the PC on Public Service & Administration
Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (overview)

Date: 22 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 16h00
Venue:

Non- Governmental Organisations: Approach Sangoco (South African NGO Coalition)

Date: 23 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 13h00
Venue:

Academia
Date: 23 April 2002
Time: 14h00 - 16h00
Venue:

South African Human Rights Commission

Date: 23 April 2002
Time: 16h00 - 18h00
Venue:

Input by PC on Home Affairs on experiences and insight
gained on the SADC study tour

Date: 24 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 13h00
Venue:

Consolidations of inputs (By Chairperson and Committee
Secretary

Date: 24 April 2002 - 26 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 16h00
Venue:

Inputs by parties: Direct involvement of PC on Home Affairs

Date: 29 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 16h00
Venue:

Finalisation and Vote on the Bill by the PC on Home Affairs

Date: 30 April 2002
Time: 10h00 - 16h00
Venue:

Debate and Vote in the National Assembly

Caucus: 10h00 - 12h00

Date: 02 May 2002
Time: 14h00 - 18h00

Finalisation and Vote by NCOP Select Committee
Date: 03 May 2002

Presidential Assent

Gazetting


I hope that you find this Programme in order.

Yours faithfully
___________________________
Aubrey Mokoena
Chairperson: PC on Home Affairs


cc: The Speaker of the NA Dr. F Ginwala
The Deputy Speaker of the NA Ms. Mbete
Minister of Home Affairs: Dr. MG Buthelezi
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs: Mr. C Nqakula
Director General of Home Affairs: Mr. BL Masetlha
Chief Whips of All Political Parties
Members of the PC on Home Affairs


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