National Environment Management: Air Quality Amendment Bill & National Environment Management: Integrated Coastal Management Bill: Negotiating Mandates

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

17 February 2014
Chairperson: Ms A Qikani (Eastern Cape, ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The provincial legislatures read their negotiating mandates in respect of the National Environment Management: Air Quality Amendment Bill [B27B-2013] and Integrated Coastal Management Bill [B8B-2013], respectively.

The Air Quality Amendment Bill received the support of the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, without proposing amendments, whereas other provinces supported the Bill provided that their respective amendments were taken into consideration.  All of these amendments, after clarification, were rejected by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs. Only the definition of ‘commissioning’ was accepted to be inserted in the Act after a consultation with the Department legal team.

The Integrated Coastal Management Bill was supported by Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, and North West, which voted in favour of the Bill without any amendments, while the Western Cape, KZN and Eastern Cape were in favour of the Bill provided that their respective proposed amendments were taken into consideration. These amendments were considered but, after further clarification, were rejected by the Department.

The Chairperson asked the Department to explain their objections to the proposed amendments in writing, and to respond to each province on their respective amendments.  The Committee should be given a copy of each response.
 

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Department of Water and Environment Affairs delegates. She proceeded by, firstly, introducing herself and, secondly, requesting all individuals who were present to introduce themselves. The Members of the Committee introduced themselves, followed by others who were present

Negotiating Mandates: National Environment Management: Air Quality Amendment Bill [B27B-2013]
Eastern Cape Legislature
The Chairperson read the Eastern Cape mandate and stated that the province voted in favour of the Bill.

Free State Legislature
As Mr D Worth (Free State, DA) arrived late, the Chairperson read the Free State mandate and stated that the province voted in favour of the Bill, subject to amendments. She requested the Department to provide its views on the proposed amendment.

Mr Sibusiso Shabalala, Director: Law Reform, Department of Environment Affairs (DEA), explained that the centralisation of functions to the national department would lead to sidelining of functions in the provinces and local authorities, but it would avoid a conflict of interest. With reference to building capacity in the provinces and local authorities, Shabalala indicated that Equality Management Services would provide support to both provincial and local authorities. National offices would also work hand in hand with provincial authorities to improve skills.

The proposed amendment was rejected.

The Committee supported the Department’s position.

Gauteng Legislature
Ms B Mabe (ANC, Gauteng) read the Gauteng mandate, and said that the province supported the Bill. 

Northern Cape Legislature
Mr G Mokgoro (ANC, Northern Cape) read the Northern Cape mandate and said that the province supported the Bill, subject to amendments. This included insertion in sub-section 5, under section 39 AQA of 2004, a phrase stating that ‘applicants to apply to the Minister or MEC to make a decision when a licencing authority fails to do so’.  The Bill was not clear in terms of the applicability of the administrative fine at residential areas, and there was a loophole on aspects related to industry reporting.

Mr Shabalala rejected these issues, and explained in detail why the amendments proposed were unnecessary.

Kwazulu-Natal Legislature
Mr Omie Singh, Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Conservation and Environmental Affairs Portfolio Committee, read the KZN negotiating mandate and saidd that the province supported the Bill, provided that the comments and proposed amendments were considered and consolidated in the Bill. He needed clarification on why section 36(3) had been deleted; on section 19(1)(b), which provides time period for the submission of a priority area air quality management plan to the Minister for approval; on the insertion of section 22A, together with the amendment of section 53; on amendment of section 29; insertion of section 41(3); and on amendment of section 51(1)(a).

With reference to the deletion of section 36(3), Mr Shabalala explained that that section had been deleted due to insertion of section 5, which provides for the Minister to issue licences. As regards section 19(1)(b), he explained that the Minister may be requested to extend the timeframe of the air quality management plan (AQMP) to more that a six-month period. This would be done on request. An application should be lodged requesting extension of the period, and the applicant ought to indicate the time frame in which the AQMP would be achieved. However, the Minister could decide on an appropriate time to achieve such a plan.

Mr Singh disagreed with the Department and said that given the fact that there was no maximum timeframe appearing in the Bill, a time frame could be extended to ten years. On this issue, the Committee voted in favour of the Department.

With reference to the amendment of section 29, Mr Shabalala said that it was no problem for the Bill to require a person to prepare and submit a declaration to the Minister or MEC.  Mr Singh indicated that ‘may,’ contained in subsection 1(b) or (2), should be replaced by ‘must,’ but Mr Shabalala rejected this proposal.

The Chairperson said that the Department should consider the comments on the proposed amendments, and substantiate its rejection of the amendments in writing.  Although the original document would be addressed to KZN legislature, the Committee should receive a copy.

Limpopo Legislature
Mr M Makhubela (COPE, Limpopo) read the Limpopo negotiating mandate and said that the province voted in favour of the Bill, taking into consideration the proposed amendments.  Mr Shabalala gave an explanation related to an issue raised in the Limpopo report concerning proposed amendments to clauses 4, 41 and 22. With respect to clause 22, , dealing with the issue of whether the penalty should consider the dumping size and net profit of the organisation, Mr Shabalala replied that this issue was well addressed under the National Environment Management: Air Quality Act.  Mr Makhubela accepted the explanation. 

Mpumalanga Legislature
The Chairperson read the Mpumalanga negotiating mandate, and said that the province voted in favour of the Bill.

North West Legislature
The Chairperson read the North West negotiating mandate and said that neither an amendment nor a proposal had been made. This meant that it was in favour of the Bill, without any further amendments.

Western Cape Legislature
The Chairperson read the Western Cape negotiating mandate. The province supported the Bill, provided that amendments were taken into consideration. It proposed that the definition of ‘commissioning’ be amended to mean ‘the initiation of the testing and operation of listed activity’. Further amendments, in relation with sections 36 and 41, were suggested.   Mr Shabalala objected to such amendments, and argued that the definition and sections should remain as they were. With reference to the amendment of section 36, the delegates of the Eastern Cape, KZN, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, and North West supported the Department, while a delegate of the Free State abstained.

With respect to the amendment of section 1 (definition), Mr Shabalala accepted the proposed amendment, subject to consultation.

With respect to the amendment of section 41, Mr Shabalala objected to the proposed amendment and said that the provision in the amendment did not specify a time frame. The period normally specified in the Act was one yea,r and it should therefore be maintained.  The Committee agreed with Mr Shabalala.

National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Amendment Bill [B8B-2013]
The Chairperson provided five minute to peruse the document.

Eastern Cape Legislature
Mr Z Mlenzana (COPE, Eastern Cape) read the Eastern Cape negotiating mandate and said that the province supported the Bill subject to clarification on the definition of commissioning.

Dr Thuli Mdluli, Chief Director: Air Quality Management, DEA, replied that the issue of the definition of “commissioning” had been discussed and resolved.

Free State Legislature
Mr Worth read the Free State negotiating mandate, and said that the province voted in favour of the Bill without any amendment.

Gauteng Legislature
Ms Mabe read the Gauteng negotiating mandate, and said that the province was in favour of the Bill.

Kwazulu-Natal Legislature
Ms N Magadla (ANC, KZN) read the KZN negotiating mandate and said that the Bill was supported, subject to the consideration of amendments. All the proposed amendments were rejected by the Department, which KZN accepted.  The Chairperson indicated that the rejections had to be in writing and that the copy ought to be forwarded to the Committee.

Limpopo Legislature
Mr Makhubela read the Limpopo negotiating mandate, and stated that the province was in favour of the Bill.

Mpumalanga Legislature
The Chairperson read the Mpumalanga negotiating mandate, and indicated that Mpumalanga negotiated in favour of the Bill.

Northern Cape Legislature
Mr Mogkoro read Northern Cape mandate and said that his province negotiated in favour of the Bill.

North-West Legislature
The Chairperson read the North West mandate, and stated that this province negotiated in favour of the Bill.

Western Cape Legislature
The Chairperson read the Western Cape mandate and said it was in favour, with minor amendments. These amendments were rejected by the Department, which was supported by the Committee. The Department said that the issues raised in 7B had been addressed somewhere else. The Chairperson requested the Department to provide its explanation in writing and to provide a copy to the Committee.

Consideration and Adoption of the minutes
The minutes of 19 and 20 November 2013 were adopted without amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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