National Environmental Management Laws Second Amendment Bill [B13-2013]: Negotiating Mandates

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

09 September 2013
Chairperson: Ms A Qikani (ANC; Eastern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs recently gave consideration to negotiating mandate submissions from six provinces regarding the National Environmental Management Laws Second Amendment Bill. These provinces were Free State, North West, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga. It was noted that the Eastern Cape and Limpopo had asked for an extension, which was not granted, and the Western Cape would submit its mandate during the meeting.

All 6 provinces supported the Bill. However, Gauteng had expressed a concern and KZN had proposed that clause 5 (b) be removed from the Bill.  Alternatively, it should be amended as follows:

“(e) activities contemplated in paragraphs (a) and (b) that, based on an environmental management instrument adopted in the prescribed manner by the Minister or an MEC, with the concurrence of the Minister, may [be excluded] not be permitted  from the requirement to obtain environmental authorization from the competent authority.”

The Committee expressed support for the bill.
 

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had received negotiating mandates from 6 provinces. These provinces were Free State, North West, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga. The Eastern Cape and Limpopo had asked for an extension while the Western Cape had an incorrect Bill number, and promised to bring the amended mandate during the course of the session.

The Chairperson pointed out that according to the quorum, if five provinces had sent mandates, then the session could proceed. She therefore advised the Committee to give consideration to the submissions of the six provinces.

The Committee agreed to this suggestion.

Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson noted that the Portfolio Committees on Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration; Economic Development, Environment and Tourism supported the National Environmental Management Laws Second Amendment Bill [B13-2013]. The Committee conferred on the permanent delegate representing Mpumalanga in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) the mandate to vote in favour of the Bill in its current form. No amendments were proposed.

Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson noted that the Portfolio Committees on Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation supported the Bill. The Committee had adopted this negotiating mandate and recommended to the House to mandate the permanent delegates to participate in deliberations at the negotiating stage and to support the Bill, taking note of the recommendations it had raised.

The Portfolio Committees on Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation recommended that the implementation of the Bill must be in conjunction with the existing laws, as well as municipal bylaws; the strengthening of mechanisms for compliance, by increasing penalties in respect of environmental rehabilitation; and that the uncontrolled release of a hazardous substance must include movable and immovable transport.

North West Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson noted that Portfolio Committees on Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism concurred with the amendment of the Bill. The Committee hoped that the Bill would encourage all sectors of society to take responsible steps towards preserving the environment and reversing the effects of global warming and climate change.

The Committee further recommended that the Department of Environmental Affairs, together with the Department of Health, should launch an investigation into how clinics and hospitals around the province disposed of medical waste, to avoid a hazardous and unhealthy situation in communities. It further recommended that the Department of Environmental Affairs should have stringent measures to ensure adherence to environmental management and that penalties should be enforced upon those whot did not adhere to the provisions of the Act.

Gauteng Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson noted that the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, together with the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, supported the principle and the detail of the Bill -- with the proposed amendments -- and therefore voted in favour of the Bill.

Adv Phumelele Ngewa, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, noted that Gauteng did not have amendments, but only concerns. She was not sure whether the amendments were that of the province, or whether they had been formulated before the Bill they were referring to, had been finalised.

Mr Gideon Hoon, Principal State Law Advisor, Office of the Chief State Law Advisor, said that he saw no objection, because the Gauteng Province had supported the Bill and voted in favour of it.

Free State Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson noted that the Portfolio Committees on Public Works, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, as designated by the Free State Legislature, voted in favour of the Bill.

KwaZulu-Natal Ptovincial Legislature
The Chairperson noted that the Portfolio Committees on Conservation and Environmental Affairs proposed the following comments and amendments:

The Committee proposed that clause 5 (b) be removed from the Bill.  Alternatively, the Committee proposed that clause 5 (b) must be amended as follows:

“(e) activities contemplated in paragraphs (a) and (b) that, based on an environmental management instrument adopted in the prescribed manner by the Minister or an MEC, with the concurrence of the Minister, may [be excluded] not be permitted  from the requirement to obtain environmental authorization from the competent authority.”

Mr Hoon said he did not understand the intention behind the amendment, and the province should give a reason. He also pointed out grammatical concerns that made it difficult for him to understand the amendment.

Ms Linda Enslin, Chief Director: Law Reprimand and Appeal, Department of Environmental Affairs, pointed out that the wording “may not be permitted” was not making any sense in that context, and should be revised. She suggested that “be excluded” be taken out, and objected to the removal of clause 5 (b) from the Bill.

Ms Magadla seconded the Department.

On the other hand, Adv Ngewa stated that the decision to change things rested with the Committee. What was initially in the Bill should be retained, because this was a policy decision. She disagreed with the KwaZulu-Natal amendment.

Discussion
The Chairperson indicated that there would be no waiting for the Western Cape mandate, as the Committee session was nearing an end. She said receiving six submissions was enough to move things forward.

Ms B Mabe (ANC, Gauteng) agreed that the meeting was procedural and had a quorum.

Mr G Mokgoro (ANC, Limpopo) seconded Ms Mabe.

Ms Enslin, said she had concerns about 5 (b) of the Bill.  She suggested that “not commence without” should be retained and “be excluded from the requirement to obtain an environmental” should be deleted.  She further pointed out another concern on page 9, line 6, where the word “special” should be revised.

Mr Hoon agreed with the Department, saying that errors should be corrected.

Adv Ngewa maintained she was unclear of what should stay in or out on page 5, 5 (b).

Ms Mabe objected to the last minute concerns of the Department, because this was complicating the whole matter.  It seemed to be changing the whole context, but if the concerns did not involve changing the context, she would then support the Bill.

Ms Enslin assured her the concerns did not in any way change the context.

Ms N Magadla (ANC, KZN) suggested that in future the Department should forward its concerns before the sitting of the session.

Ms Mabe proposed acceptance of the Bill.

Mr De Beer (COPE, Western Cape) seconded her.

The Committee requested PMG and other outsiders to leave the meeting so it could proceed with internal matters such as the consideration of outstanding minutes.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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