The Portfolio Committee on Energy (the Committee) met to agree on the adoption of the Committee Report on Energy on the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill. The Bill was recommitted to the Committee by National Assembly (the House). No reasons and/or explanations for the delay were forwarded to the Committee. However, the Committee was committed to follow this up with the Chief Whips Office. The Members re-considered the ISMO Bill and it was approved for the National Council of Provinces. Concern was raised around whether the NCOP would be able to consider the Bill in time for the fourth Parliament. One of the recommendations made by the Committee was that the Minister of Energy, acting in consultation with the Ministers of Public Enterprises, Finance and Cooperative Governance, conduct a due diligence study to determine the feasibility and the implications of the transfer assets and to then submit a final report to the National Assembly by 30 November 2013. The Committee suggested that the date for the due diligence study be changed from 30 November 2013 to 30 May 2014.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson said after the House recommitted the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill back to the Committee, it was now in a position to address it. Given that the Committee had done all its work on the Bill and made resolutions, he proposed that that the resolutions and recommendations be re-confirmed. The Committee report on the Bill would have to be read out again for approval.
Mr J Smalle (DA) asked whether the Committee was given an explanation why the Bill was stuck wherever it was stuck. What were the reasons; where there any Constitutional amendments which were needed?
The Chairperson said he would follow that up with the Chief Whips Office. The directive to bring the Bill back to the Committee came from the Chief Whips Office. Because of time, he asked that the Bill be formally endorsed now so that it could move to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Time was a crucial factor because the Bill was a Section 76 Bill.
Mr L Greyling (ID) said the process of the NCOP could be a long one. What assurance was there that the Bill would get through to the NCOP in time for the fourth Parliament? If not, what would be the implications? Would this mean the ISMO Bill would have to be introduced as a new Bill in the fifth Parliament?
The Chairperson said he was 100% committed in making sure that the Bill made it to the NCOP in time. The Committee had done its best with the Bill and this would eliminate slow efforts from the NCOP. At NCOP level, it would not be slowed down. The Committee was also very keen to make sure that the Bill was passed because the Independent Power Producers (IPP) had started to generate electricity. The ISMO Bill was therefore the only legislation which facilitated the entry of IPP’s into electricity generation and distribution.
A Members of Parliament pointed out that delays could be expected because the Bill was a Section 76 Bill. He asked whether the process with National Treasury had started.
Mr S Radebe (ANC) said that it needed to be expected that the NCOP had its own programme it needed to operate according go. He commended the Chairperson for all the work and coordination with the NCOP and updating the latter on the ISMO Bill.
The Chairperson reminded Members that the Committee had recommended that the Minister of Energy, acting in consultation with the Ministers of Public Enterprises, Finance and Cooperative Governance, conduct a due diligence study to determine the feasibility and the implications of the transfer assets and to then submit a final report to the National Assembly by 30 November 2013.
Mr Greyling said that timeline would be problematic, keeping in mind the mandate of the fifth Parliament. Would the new energy committee still be able to hold the NCOP into account?
Mr Smalle suggested that the date be revised.
Mr Greyling said initially the Committee had taken about six months for the Bill to be passed. He asked that a six month period from November be looked at.
The Chairperson suggested that the new deadline be the 30 May 2014.
Mr Smalle said if the Bill was done by April 2014 it was still fine.
The Chairperson agreed with the 30 May 2014 deadline.
Committee Report on the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill: adoption
The Committee Report on the ISMO Bill was read out to Members. (See document)
Mr Radebe moved for the adoption of the Report.
Mr Greyling supported the adoption.
The Committee Report was adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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