Labour Relations Amendment Bill [B16-2012] and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill [B15-2012]: adoption of Committee report on the submissions received during the public hearings

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Labour

20 August 2012
Chairperson: Mr M Nchabaleng (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Members of the Committee did not have adequate time to study the draft Committee report on the submissions received during the public hearings on the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill. Members were unable to provide input and the consideration and adoption of the report was postponed to the following day.

Members suggested that the Committee considered the issue of accepting submissions from organisations representing foreign-owned companies.  The question was raised that a precedent could be set whereby another country was given the opportunity to influence South African Legislation.

Members suggested that the Minister of Labour be invited to brief the Committee on the Marikana incident, with particular reference to the action taken by Government and the need for legislative changes to prevent similar incidents from occurring. Members suggested that the Committee met with representatives of the Lonmin mine and the two unions involved in accordance with its oversight responsibilities.

Meeting report

Consideration and adoption of Committee report on the submissions received during the public hearings on the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill
The Chairperson advised that the draft report dated 14 August 2012 included a summary of the submissions received during the public hearings held on 24, 25 and 31 July 2012. The Committee would consider the report on a page-by-page basis.

Mr A Van der Westhuizen (DA) suggested that the introduction on page 1 of the report be amended to indicate that engagement with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) had taken place in 2010 and 2011.

The Chairperson accepted the suggestion. There were no comments from Members on pages 2 to 42 of the report.

Mr Van der Westhuizen advised that he had only received the report on the morning of the meeting and had not had the opportunity to study the report in detail. A quick perusal of the document did not reveal major problems. The lack of comment from Members indicated tacit approval of the report.

Mr D Kganare (COPE) was in a similar position.

Ms L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) enquired why the report was not e-mailed to Members. The hard copy of the report appeared to have been delivered to Members after they had left Parliament at the end of the previous week.

Mr Ben Kali, Committee Secretary advised that he had e-mailed the report to Members the day after he had received it from the Researcher.
Mr Van der Westhuizen suggested that the Secretary check the e-mail addresses of Members of the Committee.

Mr L Manamela (ANC) suggested that delibrations on the report continue. Members appeared to agree that the report reflected the public hearings.  He suggested that the Committee noted that the report was received late.

The Chairperson postponed the discussion and adoption of the report to the following day.

Mr Van der Westhuizen observed that the Committee did not receive submissions from the mining sector and from academia on the Bills. The recent tragic events in Marikana highlighted the importance of the mining sector and the potential weaknesses in the labour legislation. The Committee had heard conflicting views on the issue of recognition of minority unions and majoritarianism.

The Chairperson pointed out that invitations to interested parties to submit comment on the Bill were published in the Media. The Committee did receive submissions from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and Solidarity, which included the position of unions operating in the mining sector. The submission from Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) represented the view of its members, including the Chamber of Mines.

Mr Manamela remarked that the Committee did indicate that further submissions would be welcomed by the Committee. Late submissions would not be included in the Committee report but would be considered. The Committee was not precluded from inviting interested parties to provide input on the Bills. He suggested that the Minister of Labour was invited to present a briefing to the Committee on the Marikana incident. The briefing should include the action taken by Government and what legislative interventions were necessary to ensure that similar events did not recur.

Mr Kganare suggested that the Committee discuss the implications of allowing organisations such as the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) to make submissions. This could be interpreted as an attempt by foreign-owned companies (and by extension foreign governments) to influence South African legislation. He pointed out that the Committee had oversight responsibilities and suggested that meetings be arranged with the Lonmin mine and the two unions involved.

Mr Manamela agreed that the Committee should receive input from all the stakeholders. He suggested that the meetings be arranged as soon as possible.

Mr E Nyekemba (ANC) agreed with the suggestions concerning the meetings to discuss the Marikana incident. The Committee needed to consider whether the AmCham submission had set a precedent that allowed other countries to influence South African legislation.  Members did not have sufficient time to study the draft Committee report and ensure that the contents were complete and accurate.

The Chairperson agreed that the report should be duly considered by Members before it was adopted.  He suggested that the meeting was adjourned and reconvened an hour later but Members were not supportive of that alternative.  The consideration and adoption of the report would be included in the agenda of the meeting to be held on 22 August 2012.

The meeting was adjourned.

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