The Committee discussed Mr J Smalle (DA)'s legislative proposal regarding challenges with the National Lotteries Board and distribution channels. A Member felt that the sponsor of any legislative proposal should not be part of the deliberations. The Chairperson explained that the sponsor of the motion could be excluded only when the Committee was about to vote. However, the Committee could not, as stipulated by the Parliamentary Rules, process any legislation that was also before the Executive at the same time. This therefore led to delays in processing proposed legislation. Some Members felt that it was not the role of the Committee to amend rules. The rules were ambiguous in aspects such as the length of time before a piece of legislation could be processed by the Committee when it pre-empted legislation that was before the Executive. The Chairperson of the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee gave her perspective on the matter and said that her Committee would reflect all concerns that were raised.
The Committee considered its 2011 Annual Report and suggested corrections.
Hon. J Smalle (DA) Legislative Proposal to amend the Lotteries Act (No. 57 of 1997): deliberations
Ms M Kubayi (ANC) mentioned that the Department of Trade and Industry had set a date in August 2012 as a deadline for the draft National Lotteries Amendment Bill. September 2012 was the date set for tabling the Bill to Parliament. She then suggested that the Committee should not, as stipulated by the rules of Parliament, proceed with the Bill while the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry was still busy with it.
Mr G Hill-Lewis (DA) said that he was representing Mr J Smalle (DA) who had sponsored the motion.
Ms Kibayi interjected saying that the rules and procedures stipulated that the sponsor of the proposed motion was not supposed to be part of the deliberations. The Committee report would state that the Committee had been monitoring the proceedings of the Trade and Industry Committee.
The Chairperson explained that the sponsor of the motion could only be excluded when the Committee was about to vote. The Member concerned only represented himself as a Committee Member not as a political party. Mr Hill-Lewis had a right to participate in that meeting.
Mr Hill-Lewis thanked the Chairperson for his clarification of the rules. He then disagreed with Ms Kubayi saying the that the Bill has missed its original deadline, because it had been before the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee since September 2011. The issues before the National Lotteries Board were of such importance that they needed to be fixed. He suggested that both Committees – Trade and Industry and Private Members could work on the amendments concurrently.
Ms J Killian (COPE) said that there was a history of departments' claiming that they were busy with bills and the Committee would wait for them and not process such legislation. The unfortunate part was that the problem had become a trend that was delaying the processing of legislative proposals that were before the Committee. The Department of Trade and industry could take on board some of the recommendations emanating from the legislative proposal and amalgamate them within the Bill. She suggested that the Committee should go on and process the legislative proposal irrespective of the undertaking of the Department.
Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) after thanking the Chairperson for his consistency mentioned that it was more than a year since Mr Smalle had submitted his legislative proposal on the restructuring of the Lotteries Board. The Committee should deal with issues in a timely way; he warned that if the Committee continued to deal with issues in such in a slow manner it would lead to backlogs. Instead of postponing the processing of proposed legislation and waiting for the Department of Trade and Industry to deal with the legislation, the Democratic Alliance (DA) supported the suggestion of concurrent processing of the legislative proposal.
The Chairperson mentioned it was not appropriate to delay the proceedings on the legislative proposals; all the Members of the Committee should shoulder the blame. When the Executive was sitting with a piece of legislation, the Committee could only monitor the process but not tamper with it.
Ms Kubayi said that the statement left an impression that the Committee was deliberately avoiding other Members' proposals and that was not the case; the Committee report could bear testimony to that. The rules stipulated that a piece of legislation that was in the hands of the Executive could not be processed. She said that it was not the responsibility of the Committee to amend the rules of Parliament. He urged Members not to shift the responsibility of the Committee, and said that Members should rather deal with the issue at hand instead of being “creative” and amending rules when it suited certain individuals. The Joint Rules Committee would deal with rules review at some other time.
Dr W James (DA) said that his party had discussed the issue and he had discussed with the Chairperson of the National Lotteries Board, Mr Jordan Lewis, and agreed that there were salient areas that needed to be reformed, so that it worked along the principles of good governance. He mentioned that he shared his concerns with Minister Dr Rob Davies and his team. Mr Lewis, Chairperson of the Board, mentioned that he did not like to be on the firing line and answer for all the questions posed to the Board. Dr James acknowledged that Parliament had rules to be adhered to, but Parliament was not a “Post Office”. He quoted the problematic rule. The rules did not clearly define the word “soon”; he then asked a rhetorical question on how one anticipated what soon was - was it three months, a fortnight or a year?. He emphasised that his Party was not doing an exercise in opposition but was trying to maximise every effort to make reforms to the Lotteries Board. The objective was to amend legislation and that could be done simultaneously with the Department of Trade and Industry work on the amendment.
Ms J Fubbs (ANC), Portfolio Committee on Trade & Industry, said that Mr Smalle had joined the Committee after the Department of Trade and industry had already dealt with the National Lotteries Board. He was unaware of the processes, which the Committee had dealt with on the gambling process. She said that everyone would eventually have a chance to voice his or her comments. The Members of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee agreed that radical reform to the National Lotteries Board was needed, but the priority at that time was the Board. The Minister's response was that legislation would be forthcoming very soon. When the Trade and Industry Committee asked what the Minister meant when he said “very soon”, he replied that it would be in 2011. Ms Fubbs said that she had called the Department and enquired about the legislation; the Department replied that that legislation had been processed. The Department also referred to some of the DA inputs such as that the DA needed more checks and balances in that piece of legislation. The DA never wanted to be an opposition that would lead to Members of the Board leaving and suddenly there would be no Lotteries Board. The DA also wanted the Board to reflect the Distribution Agencies. She said that her Committee had serious challenges with the distribution agencies. The Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee would raise all those issues in the new legislation that would be before the Cabinet in the following two weeks. Ms Fubbs mentioned that she was not aware of the actual time what the legislation would come up, until she heard the response on the morning of May 9 2012. She said that her wish was that her multi-party Committee would reflect all concerns that were raised.
The Chairperson urged Members to close up the issue and thanked Ms Fubbs.
Ms Kubayi concurred with the Chairperson.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should respect the ongoing process within the Ministry.
Ms M Mdaka (ANC) seconded the motion.
Mr Hill-Lewis said that his party would take the matter with the Joint Rules Committee and was hoping that all Members would support resolving the little technicality that hindered the concurrent processing of legislation by the Private Members Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions Portfolio Committee and any other Portfolio Committee.
The Chairperson explained that the Committee had identified that from time to time the rules would sometimes hinder progress. He then urged Members to familiarize themselves with the rules so as to identify any bottlenecks.
Mr Van der Westhuizen urged the Committee Secretary to make sure that the minutes reflected the input of the Ms Fubbs and he thanked the Ms Fubbs for her informative input on the matter.
Committee's 2011/12 Annual Report
The Chairperson mentioned that Mr Van der Westhuisen had already submitted a list of amendments.
Ms Killian said that she also had a list of minor typographical amendments that would be forwarded to the Committee Secretary. She then suggested that the report could be adopted the following week.
The Chairperson explained that typographical and minor grammatical errors were not a problem; he suggested that the Committee could adopt the report and the minor errors could be corrected later that day and the final version would be availed to Members.
Mr Van der Westhuizen suggested that the Parliamentary Language Services should proofread documents such as the annual reports.
Ms Killian asked when the Report would be included in the Announcements, Tablings, and Committee Reports (ATC).
The Chairperson replied that publication date depended on when the Report was submitted.
Ms Kubayi said that it was important that Members could go through the report thoroughly and then it could be adopted next Wednesday.
The Committee adopted its minutes of 02 May 2012 with corrections.
The meeting was adjourned
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