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LOCAL AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 October 2000
MUNICIPAL STRUCTURES AMENDMENT BILL; RE-DETERMINATION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES DRAFT BILL: DISCUSSION
Acting chairperson: Mr Solo
Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill [B51B-2000]
Re-Determination of the Boundaries of Cross-Boundary Municipalities Draft Bill
The Committee agreed to two technical amendments to the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill that had been overlooked in the process of working on the Bill. The first allows for the imposition and claiming of a regional services levy by municipalities and the second will allow for a more detailed approach to staff, assets and liabilities of municipalities. An ANC Member commented that these "eleventh hour" amendments did not reflect well on the Committee.
The Committee also had a presentation from Mr Willemse of the Municipal Demarcation Board, outlining the most recent adjustments in demarcation. The overriding concern is not to split areas of traditional authority.
The meeting opened with a question from Mr Beukman (NNP) about when the date for the local elections would be. The Chair responded that they were looking at that but he had no answer at this time.
Municipal Structures Amendment Bill
Adv Fanie Louw, a lawyer from the Department, explained that there were two new amendments. The first amendment deals with clause 11 of the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill and amends s 93 of the Municipal Structures Act. It will authorise a district or metropolitan municipality to impose and claim a regional services levy. Section 84(1)(b) of the Municipal Structures Act says the power to collect levies must be assigned. This amendment, therefore, is the national legislation that authorises municipalities to claim levies.
The second amendment is at clause 15 of the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill. The original clause 15 is deleted and replaced with a new clause that will allow for a more detailed approach to staff, assets and liabilities of municipalities.
Both amendments had been originally part of the Bill but had been overlooked in the pressure of getting the final draft of the Bill ready. As this was an unintentional omission - they are only technical amendments.
Mr Ntshangase (ANC) asked if the Department will be on time with its proclamation of Section 12 notices.
Mr Louw responded that eight of the nine provinces have published; the one that has not is due to a problem with the printing process.
Mr Grobler (DP) asked if councils would be graded, for example, according to their size?
Mr Louw said there is now no legal requirement that councils be graded but that it is currently done solely for councillor allowances and salaries. This is currently the only purpose to grading.
Ms Lobe (ANC) made a general comment that, although she understands why these two amendments are necessary, it does not look good that the Committee is continuing to make amendments to the Bill. She said it gave a message of disorganisation.
The Chair agreed that they must take responsibility and try to work together. He thanked Mr Louw and commented that the NCOP (is not just "rubber-stamping" legislation but has all the diverse interests of South African citizens in mind.
Re-Determination of the Boundaries of Cross-Boundary Municipalities Draft Bill
Mr Robert Willemse, Special Advisor to the Municipal Demarcation Board, was present to brief the Committee. He informed the Committee that the demarcation of all boundaries must be authorised by Parliament. Most changes are technical ones due to changes in demarcation of boundaries. In addition, the Act will never be fully updated due to the structure of the Constitution.
He explained some of the specific demarcations:
CBLC 2: The boundary of this municipality was brought into line with the provincial boundary.
CBDC 3: Ragae and Matlala villages are now incorporated.
CBLC 5: Established the boundary between Mpumalanga and the Northern Province.
CBLC 7: All of Jan Kempdorp is incorporated.
CBDC 1: There is a new boundary for Ganap village.
CBDC 8: Protea Glen Extension 11 & 12 are incorporated into the Johannesburg metropolitan area.
DC 9: Additional portions of Jan Kempdorp are incorporated into CBLC 7.
East Rand: An amendment allows a jointly owned petrol station and farm to be all in one municipality.
The Chair noted that the Committee's biggest concern was not to split areas of traditional authority. Mr Willemse agreed there were fewer instances of these splits now than there had been in the past.
Mr Ntshangase (ANC) noted there seemed to be much confusion on the ground and asked if there was a process for amending maps. He wondered how similar changes would be dealt with in the future.
Mr Willemse said they would split as few voting districts as possible and were trying to get voters in the newly amended areas onto the voters' roll as soon as possible. He added that the people on the ground were working to accommodate everybody's concerns.
The Chair said that there had not been effective and open communication and asked Mr Willemse if he really interacted with locals and if he was aware of what the situation was like at a local level.
Mr Willemse suggested the Committee invite the IEC to a meeting since these are the people who work on voter registration. The Municipal Demarcation Board's work was restricted to demarcation only.
Mr Grobler (DP) said the boundaries would not be cast in stone forever and that new and subsequent changes would affect the municipalities.
Mr Willemse agreed theirs had been a huge task which had to be done quickly; therefore, certain adjustments would undoubtedly be needed. The legislation is open to re-demarcation. He commented that the process to get an amendment through Parliament is long and tedious and that they would like to see it made easier. For example, it is a six month process even when there are no voters involved. They would like some changes to be able to be made overnight.
The Chair thanked Mr Louw, Mr Willemse and the Members.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT: MUNICIPAL STRUCTURES AMENDMENT BILL [B 51-2000]
That on page 12, after line 15, to add the following subsection:
(6) A district municipality or a metropolitan municipality may levy and claim a regional services levy and a regional establishment levy referred to in section 12(1)(a) of the Regional Services Councils Act, 1985, or section 16(1)(a) of the KwaZulu and Natal Joint Services Act, 1990.".
4. That the clause be rejected.
I. That the following be a new clause to follow clause 14;
Transitional application of section 14 of Act 117 of 1998
15. For purposes of the transition-
(a) section 14(2)(b) of the Structures Act must be regarded as permitting the regulation of any of the legal, practical and other Consequences of the disestablishment of an existing municipality, to be effected by way of an amendment to the Section 12 notice disestablishing the existing municipality, provided the notice is amended before the date on which the disestablishment of the existing municipality takes effect; and
(b) Section 14 (5) of the Structures Act must be regarded to read as follows:
"(5) (a) The MEC for local government in a province by notice in the Provincial Gazette, may make provision for transitional measures to facilitate the disestablishment of an existing municipality and the establishment of a new municipality.
(b) The measures contemplated in paragraph (a) may include measures-
(i) establishing a committee to advise the MEC on any matter affecting the transition; or in relation to the existing municipality, restricting or regulating the-
(aa) alterations to the staff establishment
(bb) appointment of staff or the filling of vacancies;
(cc) upgrading of posts or promotions;
(dd) increases in salaries or wages;
(ee) disposal or acquisition of assets;
(ff) conclusion of contracts with a duration longer than one year or the renewal of such contracts; or
(gg) use of reserve capital.
(c) The MEC must consult the existing municipality before publishing the notice contemplated in paragraph (a).".
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