The Department of Water Affairs briefed the Committee on the Water Research Amendment Bill. This legislation dealt mainly with the structure of the Water Research Commission, the founding legislation for which dated back to 1971. The Department was cautioned to bring the Bill into line with other legislation and to take heed of the time pressure in order for the Bill to be approved during the current term of Parliament. Members were satisfied with the current content of the Bill. While appreciating that the Presidential Review had not yet been concluded, Members wished to see the recommendations made on this matter.
Discussion on the South African Weather Service Amendment Bill revolved around points made by the Committee during previous meetings. Members had been satisfied with the earlier version of the Bill, but this had been withdrawn by the Department of Environmental Affairs. It now seemed that certain of the amendments requested by the Committee had been removed.
Members were concerned over the lack of provision for the removal of the Chief Executive Officer from office. The provisions of the Labour Relations Act could not apply to senior management levels. Members felt that government should play more of a role in the issuing of severe weather warnings so that all role players would be alerted. Prosecution for making false or hoax warnings would only happen where this was done deliberately, and decisions to prosecute would be taken at a high level. They could be referred to different levels of court depending on the gravity of the accusation. Members saw the need for agencies, especially in the case of the Weather Service, but felt that policy should come from government and that while operational independence was needed, there needed to be some power of oversight and intervention. The Department did not want to be prescriptive on provisions about air quality, especially in the light of the various authorities concerned, but wished to create enabling provisions.
The Committee resumed an earlier interaction with the Department of Environmental Affairs on the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Amendment Bill. The Department summarised the comments made by various bodies and individuals, and their response. There were some changes due to grammatical and typographic errors, and some changes were requested for clarity. A proposal that the validity of coastal use permits be limited to twenty years was accepted. Members proposed that the length of dumping permits be increased to a maximum of five years. Members were satisfied generally with the R5 million fine for illegal dumping. However, they requested a change to make it possible for the most serious cases of dumping toxic substances to be tried in the High Court with unlimited penalties. A more centralised approach would be taken for the awarding of coastal use permits. Members debated whether the proposals under clause 51, regarding illegal structures, favoured the poor, as intended, or would in fact favour the rich. The question of pollution and cleansing was discussed, but it was felt that it was too broad a topic to be included as an amendment. The Department was instructed to draft a resolution on this matter.
The Chairperson opened the meeting. He briefed Members on the current state of legislation before the Committee. The Bill on waste had still not been received and might not be dealt with in the current term of Parliament. Submissions had been requested on the other Bills. He discussed the programme for the Committee, which was being disrupted by changes to the programme of Parliament.
The Chairperson noted an apology from the Director-General (DG), who was still en route to Cape Town. The review on research had not been finalised by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), and he hoped that this would be completed before the Committee finally dealt with the Water Research Amendment Bill.
Water Research Amendment Bill: briefing by Department of Water Affairs
Mr Manil Singh, Head: Legal Services, DWA, spoke to some critical issues addressed by the Water Research Amendment Bill. A strategic review of the institution was needed. The objective was reforming and strengthening the water research landscape, guided by the priorities of government. There were global guidelines as well. Knowledge and skills were needed to understand the environment properly. The Bill was looking to take the water research institution to a higher trajectory in order to play a role in poverty alleviation.
Mr Singh said that the Act dated back to 1971. This was so old that it had been retyped due to the lack of a computerised version. The Water Research Commission (WRC) was being changed into a Board. It could not remain as a commission. There was a Presidential Review on state-owned enterprises (SOE). There were issues related to the PFMA and other legislation including the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). The future WRC would deal with other institutions both locally and internationally.
Mr Singh said that the opportunity would be given for the WRC to work with a wider range of organisations. The functions of the Board would be brought within current good governance practices.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had strong views on boards. Policy should come from the Executive. He trusted that the Bill had been worded accordingly.
Mr Singh said that the current Act provided for the DG to be a member of the Board, but was also the accounting officer of DWA. This created a conflict of interest. The recommendation was to remove the DG from the Board. Other clauses dealt with the functions of the Board. There were a number of tools to ensure best practices.
Mr Singh said that there would be alignment with the Water Act. The Minister would ensure that the Board members were nominated and approved by Cabinet. An audit committee was essential to enhance corporate governance.
Mr Singh said that clause 10 would deal with the Chief Executive and staff, even though the current Act referred to an Executive Director. The appointment should be for five years with a possible second term. It made provision for the dismissal of the Chief Executive.
Mr Singh said that prices would be determined in accordance with the National Water Act. The risks of poor or insufficient billing would be addressed. The DWA could compensate for under-recovery in order to ensure that the WRC received its budget. Structural arrangements would be needed.
Mr Singh said that clause 13 dealt with the funding. Not more than 10% could be from sources outside the country. The allocation should be primarily to address development needs.
Mr Singh continued that clause 14 dealt with reporting and audit requirements, which would bring the WRC into line with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
The Chairperson asked if the Presidential Review had been adopted by Cabinet.
Mr Singh replied that this had not been adopted yet.
The Chairperson said that this was still only the opinion of some people. Alignment was needed. He asked for DWA to provide the relevant sections to the Committee.
Mr Singh said that there were 37 recommendations. The most pertinent related to the appointment of the Chief Executive.
The Chairperson felt that the Bill addressed institutional arrangements. He hoped that DWA was better at this the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The most important thing was that the Board operated within the policies set by the Minister. There should be operational independence rather than institutional autonomy. Government never seemed to get this right. DWA must remember the strict time frames in order for the Bill to be passed. He noted the satisfaction of Members. The Bill could not be fully processed before the institutional review arrangements were clarified. He advised DWA to look at the latest drafts of the South African Weather Services (SAWS) Bill for guidance, even though that was not yet perfect.
South African Weather Services Amendment Bill briefing
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had addressed the original South African Weather Service (SAWS) Amendment Bill (introduced in September 2011), but this had subsequently been withdrawn. Some of the amendments put forward by Members had not been included in the current version. The section relating to the removal of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had not been included. Other areas amended were the offences under the Bill and the authority of who should issue severe weather warnings. Such warnings should come from government rather than an agency. While SAWS could still issue the warning, the Minister should be informed in order to ensure that the warning was conveyed to all role players. There had been lengthy court cases over the removal of CEOs where the procedures were not specified. The fourth issue was on the extent of research. Policy should be contextualised. The fifth issue was the lack of full clarity on the extent of air pollution. He was battling to find a copy of the original version of the Bill. Another problem had been the removal of the need for the Minister of Finance to grant approval. Only one submission had been received. Agri-SA had made a written submission but did not wish to make an oral presentation.
Mr Ishaam Abader, DEA Deputy Director-General: Corporate Affairs, said that the Chairperson had captured all the issues raised. There had been a call for written submissions, some of which overlapped with the matters raised by the Chairperson. He listed all the requests made by the Committee previously on this Bill. These submissions had been provided to the Members.
Ms Judy Beaumont, Deputy DG: Air Quality Management, DEA, said that there had been a slight shift in emphasis. Ambient air quality would be considered in terms of emissions. In the current discussions between SAWS and DEA, there had been some thinking on having an enabling clause on the types of emission and greenhouse gas in the Bill rather than being prescriptive. This would have a small effect in terms of the definitions and the amendment of sections 3 and 4 of the Act. The emissions and greenhouse gas data would be removed from section 3 and 4, and an enabling clause, possibly subject to the approval of the Minister, would be inserted.
The Chairperson said that Dr Lotter had raised this issue. He asked if there was anything in the submissions on this point, and the delegation indicated that there were none. SAWS would thus have a role to collect data on air quality. The thinking was now a bit wider. All the requirements on air quality issues were now captured. The original wording had been described as being too wide. Members nodded their assent to the proposal put forward.
The Chairperson noted that nothing had been said on policy. The wrong wording of 'directives in policy' was still in the Bill. What was needed was a clause saying that the policy framework under which SAWS operated would be provided by the Minister. The Bill was saying that the agency would have operational independence when operating within the Minister's framework. He was not happy with the current wording and again asked for clarity on what DEA wanted. Either the Department did not agree with the wishes of the Committee, or were unable to express themselves.
Mr F Rodgers (DA) felt that this had been raised in the last interaction with the Bill. He felt that there was a contradiction in clause 4. The Minister should be compelled to issue norms and standards to eliminate any grey areas.
The Chairperson felt that if the overhead policy was in place, then the current wording of 'may' relating to norms and standards could be retained. If one looked at the Constitution, it was clear that policy formulation fell under the Executive, and legislation under the Legislature. One law he had seen made provision for the Chief Justice to issue regulations, but this could not be constitutional. It was clear that the Executive should be making policy. Most agencies in government fulfilled government functions. Years ago these functions were exercised directly by government. There were some good reason for delegating some of these powers to agencies. He quoted the example of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), where forming an agency allowed for higher salaries than available in government in order to attract skilled staff. There were other cases where agencies were needed, but this served to create greater levels of complexity. SAWS was a good case for an agency, but the policies under which it operated should be made by the Executive. The first clause in any enabling legislation should make provision for policy being made by the Minister, after which operational independence could be stipulated. The Minister should have the power to intervene where policy was not being followed.
Mr Abader was clear on this. There had been an attempt to get SAWS to comply with policy, but this should be explicit. The legislation for the Space Agency was an example that could be followed.
Ms Beaumont found this advice helpful. On air quality data management issues it was a new concept and some refinement was needed on the agency's responsibilities. Air quality was complicated as it was a concurrent authority with licensing authorities at a local level.
The Chairperson re-iterated the need for an overall policy framework. The areas in which the Minister could intervene should also be specified. The next issue was of who would issue a warning. The DEA had rejected all the suggestions put forward by the Committee. This was in clause 3B (5). This was about ambient air quality warnings. The DEA was clinging to this clause “for dear life”. There should at least be provision for the Minister to be warned, with all the necessary reasons, before such a warning was issued. The Minister should also be given the opportunity to consult with all affected parties.
Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, DEA Director General, said that this request would be accommodated.
The Chairperson said that the fourth big area was that of offences. The wording had been changed. No person could now disseminate any warning of severe weather if this was false or misleading. Hoax warnings would also be declared an offence. The wording of 'and' had to change to 'or'.
Mr Abader would change this accordingly. There was still a lot of public comment on this clause. There was a feeling that this measure was draconian.
The Chairperson said that there would be no problem if people did not lie. To avoid trivial prosecutions, the decision to prosecute should be taken by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This had not been reflected in the Bill.
Ms Ngcaba said that there was a provision that the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) would consider laying charges.
The Chairperson said that this was not in the version presented to the Committee.
Mr Abader said that the provincial branch of the NDPP would decide on prosecution.
The Chairperson asked why this had been removed.
Mr Abader said that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD) had the final say.
The Chairperson rejected this argument. He had been part of numerous pieces of legislation in which such a provision was made. DEA was laughing at the Committee. He was battling to understand the attitude of DEA.
Ms Ngcaba said that there might have been a technical area.
The Chairperson person said that the clause had been removed deliberately. If Mr Abader did not like the suggestions put forward then he ignored them. The public had complained about the impact on freedom of speech. He understood this, but there should be a limitation imposed on cases where people were lying. He quoted cases where prosecutions would not be warranted. The only way to deal with this was to create a guideline for the prosecuting authority. This should be done at the highest level in the province. DEA had not thought on this at all, and the debates in the Committee had been ignored. He would now have to reread the Bill again to ensure that nothing else had been removed. This was creating extra work.
Ms Ngcaba said there was a provision in the proposed section 30A.
The Chairperson said that the State Law Adviser (SLA) would only offer advice on technical and constitutional issues, not on policy. It was clear that DEA had removed the content. The legislation should guard against unintended consequences. The decision to prosecute should be made by the provincial DPP. There should be a clear clause on the matter of the CEO. A clause had been developed to a point. Where the relationship between the Minister and the CEO had broken down completely, which had happened with some agencies, a procedure needed to be in place. The clause had been drafted, including remuneration and an annual performance agreement with the CEO. This clause had disappeared and this matter had been left open. More detail was needed on the procedure to fill a vacant post. There had been a whole procedure for removal of the CEO. This had all been removed.
Mr Abader attempted to explain. The DEA had made a submission that labour legislation provided the required framework. Section 9 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) dealt with dispute mechanisms, and there was a section dealing with dismissals.
The Chairperson rejected this explanation. The LRA dealt with lower categories of employment. Special procedures needed to be legislated for matters pertaining to senior management. DEA had been ill-advised on this issue.
Mr Abader said that there were precedents in other legislation.
The Chairperson did not see such legislature before him. For two years this issue had not been dealt with to the satisfaction of the Committee.
Ms Ngcaba said that the Minister had acted on this advice, but the Bill should be aligned with other legislature regarding the appointment of a CEO. Some of these provisions were not in the current legislation for SAWS. The Minister did not want to see a separate provision for the CEO in other legislation.
The Chairperson said that the other legislation did not have such a procedure. He did not want to be difficult, but experience both in South Africa and the rest of the world showed that relationships between senior management did break down. A clear procedure needed to be set. If this was the way DEA wanted it, he would pass the Bill as it was but would not take further responsibility. He urged the DG to review this clause. If it took a year for the DEA to act when a breakdown occurred, it would be unacceptable if the court was the only recourse in the event of a dispute. The specifics of a removal of a CEO were not in the LRA. There were many entities involved. A procedure was needed in the legislation, supplemented by regulations. He noted general support from the Committee on his opinions.
The Chairperson looked for the reference to National Treasury in the original Act.
Mr Abader said that section 18 referred to the transfer of staff.
The Chairperson noted that the Board would now be the accounting authority. He asked why the Minister of Finance had been removed. He was glad that at least one of the Committee's requests had been followed, even it seemed unintended.
Ms Ngcaba said that a Human Resources (HR) plan was needed for all the public entities, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance. This system worked.
The Chairperson said that the concurrence of the Minister on salaries had been removed. He asked if the DEA would be bound by the HR plan. As he read it, the Board determined the staff complement. Treasury should approve this. This clause might be problematic.
Ms Ngcaba agreed that the clause should be expanded.
The Chairperson said that this might be covered elsewhere, but as he read it the Board could determine salaries irrespective of the approved budget.
The Chairperson said that that the Board would be the accounting authority. The CEO would be accountable to the Board. He knew the practice existed, but did not like it due to the non-permanence of the Boards. He asked what Agri-SA had said in their submission on offences.
Mr Abader said that Agri-SA had commented on clause 10, the criminal sanctions. Some of the definitions had been challenged. There had been comments on advisory powers, the Minister's supervisory powers, the composition of the Board, the limitation of liability clause and the offences and penalties. There had been an input from amateur radio operators. There had been comment on clause 11.
the Chairperson asked if any of these comments had been substantive.
Mr Abader said that there would be a response to each comment, and the Committee would be given a copy.
The Chairperson felt that the comments raised by Agri-SA were not substantive. The Minister had been given the power to amend Schedules. The ability of a Minister to amend legislation in the form of Schedules had been tested in court and found to be unconstitutional. This had now been deleted.
Mr Sibusiso Shabalala, Director: Law Reform, DEA, said that the date of commencement had been challenged.
The Chairperson said that the Committee did not like this approach. Some Bills might lie with the President for up to ten years, and then be returned for amendment. The new approach was that the relevant Department should indicate which clauses could not be immediately implemented. There needed to be some form of finality. Parliament was undermined in this way.
Ms Ngcaba said that the language used in the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment (NEMLA) legislation would be used. Comments had been received indicating more confusion within the public. The public understood that the President placed a notice in the Gazette, but this was longer the case.
The Chairperson said that the process must be linked to Section 81 of the Constitution. All the clauses in this Bill should be immediately implementable. He assumed that the Schedules were fine in the absence of any comment.
Mr Shabalala said that there had been a few comments on the Schedules. The free provision of information would not be affected.
Ms Beaumont said that there would still be consequential amendments related to the inclusions of matters relating to emissions.
Mr Rodgers said that regarding section 30A (6), he was not sure that the jurisdiction of courts had been clear.
The Chairperson said that a decision to prosecute would be made at a senior level. The case would then be assigned to a court at a particular level. Exceptions could be made, particularly in the interests of saving costs for the parties involved. However, a hoax might have significant consequences and a higher court might be more appropriate.
Mr Rodgers commented on an issue raised by Agri-SA. An employee of SAWS might not act in good faith, and he asked what the consequences could be.
The Chairperson said that if one was acting in good faith, an error could be accepted. This was not the case if one made an intentional misleading statement. The legislation would apply equally to SAWS members as to the general public. Agri-SA might have misinterpreted this clause, and their opinion might be based on the wording of the first version of the Bill.
The Chairperson said that many instructions had been given, and he was not sure if all would be complied with. There were issues to be sorted out regarding policy, air quality, salaries, the Minister's right to amend a schedule and some other issues. The only difference which might remain was the issues surrounding the CEO. Mr Abader had been acting in good faith, but logic should tell him that the basic rules of employment applied to low-grade workers. Every other department had legislation for the removal of CEOs and board members. Principles might be applicable, but not the procedures. No court would allow the person who was part of a process to make up the rules as he went along.
Ms Ngcaba said that she understood the concerns better now.
The Chairperson said that the issues had to be dealt with immediately.
NEMA: Integrated Coastal Management Amendment Bill: Department response to submissions
The Chairperson said that the 21 August discussion on the NEMA: Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Amendment Bill had taken Members to a point where further discussion was needed.
Ms Radia Razack, Director: Law Reform and Appeals, DEA, said that the discussion had reached Chapter 5 of the Bill. The Committee had been unhappy over the lack of oversight. The primary concern was the issue of getting all organs of state together in one room to function as a committee. With no structure the committee could not be held to account.
The Chairperson assumed from this that there was answer on this issue.
Ms Razack said that the National Coastal Committee had representation from all the role players. DEA agreed to the retention of this committee.
The Chairperson was not at odds with this, but felt it could be done in a better way.
Ms Razack said that the next point would be the amendment to section 59 in clause 25 of the Bill. This section dealt with protection and access notices
The Chairperson was struggling to understand what was going on given the different versions of the document in circulation.
Ms Razack said that the Western Cape Provincial Government had said that there had been inconsistent use of the phrase “Minister or Member of the Executive Committee (MEC)”. The DEA agreed and would amend this. Dr P Whittington had suggested numbering changes, but DEA disagreed based on legislative drafting conventions. The original Bill only talked to activities that happened after the inception of the Act, and did not apply to derelict buildings or activities before that date. Delegations were dealt with in a different place. It was not necessary to address the issue in this clause, and an error in the original text had been corrected.
Ms Razack said that clause 28 would amend section 63. The Western Cape government had proposed that section 63(1)(f) should not be deleted. DEA disagreed. Cumulative effects were not being removed from the Act. While this section was being deleted, there was a requirement under NEMA to look at cumulative effects.
The Chairperson felt that there would be more value if this provision remained as part of the Act.
Ms Razack replied that the matter was addressed sufficiently in the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). A technical amendment to section 63(1)(h) had also been proposed due to a grammatical error, and DEA agreed.
Ms Razack said that clause 31 would amend section 65, dealing with coastal use permits. DEA agreed on some wording changes proposed by the Western Cape government. DEA disagreed with the proposal to amend section 65(3), as it was obvious that section 66 applied.
The Chairperson saw the point made by the Western Cape. He suggested a change of wording to bring clarity.
Ms Razack said that clause 32 would amend section 66 (Terms of coastal use permits). The Western Cape government and others had suggested that a twenty year limit should be set for coastal permits. DEA agreed on this.
The Chairperson noted that section 69 dealt with the discharge of effluent into the sea. He noted that there was no enforcement of this provision.
Ms Razack said that there had been comment on clause 36. This would amend section 71 regarding dumping permits. Transnet had commented that the two year period for dumping permits should be extended to five years. DEA agreed with this. Consultation with an expert, Dr Peterson.
Dr Y Peterson, Director: Coastal Pollution Management, DEA, said that Transnet had requested a longer period, specifically regarding dredging permits in ports. This was mainly for routine permits not requiring significant amounts of disposed material. At present the permits were only valid for one year, and there was uncertainty. Increasing the validity of the permit would also decrease the administrative burden on port authorities.
The Chairperson asked how often new applications should be made.
Dr Peterson replied that regarding dredging, the quality of material might vary over a three year period. Five years would be enough to understand the quality of the port sediment, and this would guide the authorities in assessing the quality. At present permits could be granted for up to five years.
The Chairperson said a period of up to five years was acceptable, but then there must be no provision for renewal.
Ms Ngcaba agreed with the suggestion made by the Chairperson.
The Chairperson said that the licence could specify that there must be no change in the material used. He proposed, with the agreement of Members, that the period be extended to five years.
Ms Razack said that there were no comments on clauses 37 to 46. Some errors had been detected and corrected. There was no offence specified for preventing access to the coasts despite a number of procedures being put in place.
The Chairperson noted that a number of submissions had been made but were not reflected in the document presented to Members.
Ms Razack said that clause 39 would amend section 80, providing for penalties.
The Chairperson was satisfied with the R5 million penalty for dumping effluent., as contained in section 80 Some of the substances contemplated could be very poisonous. In extreme cases, even this penalty might not be enough. He did not think the fine could be increased, but perhaps the jurisdiction of the court could be changed in the most serious cases. If a person was convicted in a High Court, then the limits in the legislation could be set aside and the court could set its own sentence. Even ten years' imprisonment might be insufficient. He suggested that the clause be reworded accordingly.
Ms Razack said that clause 47 would amend section 92, providing for urgent action by the Minister. The KwaZulu-Natal government had suggested 'stay' be replaced by 'stop' in subsection (1).
The Chairperson said that 'stay' had a particular legal meaning. While DEA disagreed with the proposal, he differed and persuaded DEA to make the proposed amendment.
Ms Razack said that there had been no comments on the proposed amendments to clause 48, which would amend section 93. It would be better if there was an obligation to report on all national responsibilities and not just pipelines.
The Chairperson said that the discharge of effluent was close to his heart. He suggested that the wording of this clause be broadened.
Ms Razack noted a technical amendment to clause 49, which would amend section 94A. This provided for exemptions.
Ms Razack said that clause 50 would amend section 95, providing for existing leases on or rights to coastal public property. The Eastern Cape government had requested that the role of MECs be clarified as some responsibilities of the Sea Shore Act still fell under provinces. This had been clarified in discussion with the Committee, and the proposal had been withdrawn. There needed to be an inventory taken of all existing agreements. The provinces were administering leases. DEA found this system applied inconsistently across the provinces, and wished to replace this with a system of coastal permits. DEA wanted to create a centralised approach.
The Chairperson agreed with this. The Eastern Cape might not have articulated their opinions correctly. The provinces might not be able to determine what was happening at a higher level.
Ms Razack responded that the Minister's list would be published. This had to be read in conjunction with sections 95 and 65. The lease would lapse if the activity did not fall within the list provided, and this could be clarified further.
The Chairperson said that the lease would lapse immediately if 95(2)(a) or (b) applied.
Ms Razack said that the Minister would have applied the list by that time. There was a cross-reference to section 65(2), which listed the activities.
The Chairperson felt that there was still some lack of clarity. The procedure would be improved, but some certainty was still needed. A process needed to be created in order to end a lease.
Ms Razack said that clause 51, amending section 96 (unlawful structures on coastal public property) contained an error which would be corrected. The Western Cape government noted that there was no requirement for a person who had unlawfully constructed a building on such property to notify the authorities. DEA disagreed. It was unlikely that such a person would volunteer such information. The process of eviction was more cumbersome that in the normal course of events. The SLA had advised that this provision should be inserted to ensure constitutionality. In terms of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land (PIE) Act, certain people such as single mothers had more protection.
The Chairperson said that in effect the rich were being protected and not the poor.
Ms Razack said that PIE Act did not apply to tenants without lawful leases. The PIE Act did not apply to rich tenants.
She said that the further comment from the Western Cape was that there should be notification. The person responsible for such an unlawful building should either apply for a coastal use permit or demolish the structure.
The Chairperson agreed that the application should be in terms of (a). if in terms of (b) the matter would hang in the air. He asked if DEA could take action.
Ms Razack replied that DEA could enforce the destruction of such a structure and the rehabilitation of the site.
The Chairperson asked if there should be a provision for the allocation of costs. It might not be sufficient to only include this in the notice.
Ms Razack said that a notice should first be served in terms of the rule of law.
The Chairperson said that the notice was not necessary if the action contravened a law made in Parliament. There must be some consequence if the twelve month notice was not observed. The person concerned should then be held liable for all rehabilitation costs. He wanted an explanation on the applicability of the PIE Act. Rich people should not be given a loophole to exploit the Act.
The Chairperson said that the discussion on this issue would resume the following week. There would be public hearings on air quality and protected areas. There had been no comments regarding mining, except those applicable to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). Some time would be found the following week to continue the discussion.
Ms Ngcaba said that the control of pollution should be under Chapter 8. This also involved the Department of Transport (DoT). DEA worked with DoT, being involved in the combating of oil spills. The norms and standards should be strengthened, and the best state after the clean-up following an oil spillage.
Ms Razack said that some pollutions aspects were dealt with in the Bill. There had been a notice assigning some responsibility to DEA, which was now physically responsible for cleaning oil spills from ships. The current legislation was wholly inadequate. There was no proper legal framework at present.
The Chairperson asked what was needed.
Ms Ngcaba felt that this should be contained in this Act.
The Chairperson felt that this would was too big a thing to bring in without going through Cabinet. Writing a whole new Chapter was beyond the scope of the Committee. He suggested that DEA put forward a resolution proposing that action be taken. He instructed DEA to do this.
Ms Razack raised another issue, that of excising marine areas from the authority of National Parks. DEA would be meeting with them and would revert to the Committee.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would consider any technical amendments resulting from this discussion. There was much work to be done. All the comments, except the general comments, had now been reviewed.
The Chairperson welcomed a delegation from the Parliament of Mozambique. He explained the history of the Old Assembly Chamber, and the purpose of the current meeting.
The delegation responded that water and the environment were areas of common concern in Mozambique. The visit was to share good parliamentary practices. Some important issues were discussed in this room.
The Chairperson said that he would be happy to link up with the relevant committees of the Mozambique parliament to discuss common issues of concern. There was already engagement on the question of rhino poaching. He wished the delegation well for the remainder of their visit.
The Chairperson congratulated Mr Rodgers on his birthday.
The meeting was adjourned.
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