Infrastructure Development Bill [B49B-2013]: Negotiating Mandates

NCOP Economic and Business Development

17 March 2014
Chairperson: Mr F Adams (ANC, Western Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee met to consider the negotiating mandates from the provinces on the Infrastructure Development Bill.  However, most of the proceedings were spent arguing over the method for addressing the mandates from each province.   In the end, all the provinces – with the exception of the Western Cape – voted in favour of the Bill.   The main area of contention was whether the Bill should be read clause-by-clause, because the mandates were structured that way.   This method prevented people from claiming unfairness.   However, Members complained that they had not had sufficient time to read over the Bill.  There was concern that environmental issues were not being addressed in the Bill, regardless of what the Minister had said.  

The minutes of February 25 and March 4, 2104, were approved.

The Legacy Report would be adopted by the Committee the following Tuesday.
 

Meeting report

Infrastructure Development Bill: Negotiating Mandates
The Chairperson asked the Eastern Cape to open proceedings.

Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature
Ms E van Lingen (DA, Eastern Cape) said that the Eastern Cape was in favour of the Bill, but that there were amendments which needed to be considered.

Free State Provincial Legislature
Mr B Mnguni (ANC, Free State) read the Free State's mandate, and said the Free State was in favour of the Bill.

The Chairperson said that this meeting was purely for recommendations, and that there could be no regress.  The Economic Development Department (EDD) would be given time to respond to the mandates.

Kwa-Zulu Natal Provincial Legislature
Mr D Gamede (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) thanked the Director-General (DG) for attending his province's briefing on the Bill, and said that his province was in favour.

Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson said that the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries favoured the Bill. He then read an official letter from Mpumalanga, which said that it supported the Bill.

North West Provincial Legislature
Ms K Kekesi (ANC, North West) said that her province supported the Bill.

Western Cape Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson said that the Western Cape did not support the Bill, and had proposed certain amendments. He would like the meeting to go clause by clause, instead of addressing concerns with amendments. He then handed over to the DG

Ms Jenny Schreiner, Director-General, Department of Economic Development, said that she agreed with the Free State's mandate – that infrastructure maintenance, such as roads, was mentioned in the Bill within the strategic integrated projects (SIPs).   The rural concerns were addressed via the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).  Issues such as dams were not particularly the essence of the Bill.

The Chairperson said that the issues of the Portfolio Committee (PC) on Economic Development had already been addressed. He wanted the DG to deal with the clauses.

Ms van Lingen addressed her concerns over the lack of sustainable development and the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). She did not want these issues brushed over, which she accused the Chairperson of doing.

The Chairperson referred to a meeting in the Western Cape which had discussed Ms Van Lingen's issues, but which she had not participated in.  He would not entertain her for political reasons, but would for provincial ones.

Ms Schreiner said that she would go clause by clause.

Mr Gamede asked what the purpose was for entertaining the clause issues.

The Chairperson said it would be more time-efficient to go clause-by-clause, rather than saying the Eastern Cape did not support this, and KZN did not support that. He asked Mr Gamede if that was acceptable.

Mr Gamede nodded affirmatively.

Ms Van Lingen said that other NCOP committees considered proposals for amendments and concerns, but that this one did not.

The Chairperson said that the Mandated Procedure Act required meetings to go clause-by-clause, and that was what the Committee would be dong.

Mr Mnguni said that the proposed amendments were clause-by-clause, and there was no point in entertaining the amendments if the Western Cape did not support the Bill.

Mr Gamede said that the proposals should be put forward and dealt with.

The Chairperson asked the legal team if Mr Gamede was right, and that the meeting should be conducted clause-by-clause.

Mr Gary Rhoda, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, said that the Committee should see if there were proposed amendments, or just suggestions.

Ms Van Lingen read an excerpt from the Act.

The Chairperson -- all the while being interrupted by Ms Van Lingen's attempted interjections -- said that clause-by-clause considerations would allow for mandate negotiations.   After the issues had been raised, the DG would provide an explanation and there would then be a vote to determine if the Members agreed.

Mr Herman Smuts, Principal State Law Adviser, said that he agreed with the Chairperson's approach.

The Chairperson asked the Committee Members what should be done.

Ms D Rantho (ANC, Eastern Cape) said that the proposed amendments rewrote the whole Bill.   The right way would be to conduct the Committee in the way they had in the past, and to not compare it to others.

Ms Kekesi said that she did not want to go clause-by-clause.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had to go clause-by-clause, because the mandates were structured that way.   This method prevented people from claiming unfairness.

Ms Rantho asked if the unfair accusations would be from the DA, or the Western Cape.

The Chairperson said that it would be from the DA, because the DA controlled the Western Cape. He then said that clause-by-clause would be the method used, and tried to start the discussion by addressing the title page.

Ms Van Lingen said she was upset because she had not had time to look over the Bill, as she had received it just before the meeting began.

Ms Rantho agreed that the Committee had not been given adequate time to read through it, and that the meeting should be conducted clause-by-clause.

Mr Mnguni said that the “back and forth” issues the Committee was facing were the reason he did not want to go clause-by-clause.

The Chairperson said that the Committee should allow the DG to go through the clauses and that the Members should take notes while she presented.   Then the Members could address their issues.

The DG said that she also had not seen the documents until the beginning of the meeting.  She indicated that the Department had made the change from “approval” to “decision-making,” and that sustainable development was not contradicted in the Bill, nor were the environmental issues, as they were referenced within the Bill through a clause dedicated to NEMA.  Good law would not include every single detail.

Ms Kekesi asked if the issues could be debated, so the Committee did not go on and on.

Ms Rantho agreed with Ms Kekesi.

The Chairperson asked who was in favour of this.  He then said that those who supported a clause should indicate their support.

Ms Rantho said that she agreed with all that the DG had said up to that point.

Ms Van Lingen said that the environmental issues were not being addressed in the Bill, regardless of what the Minister had said. She feared that if they were not addressed, they would not be included.

Mr Gamede and Ms Kekesi disagreed with Ms Van Lingen.

The DG explained clause two.

Ms Rantho agreed with the DG.

Ms Van Lingen said that there was no power for the Eastern Cape to vote.  This was a negotiating meeting, but  issues were being bulldozed.

The Chairperson said that Ms Van Lingen was accusing the Committee of all sorts of things that morning. He did not appreciate the “bulldozed” comment.

Ms Rantho said that the mandate from the Eastern Cape said they approved of the Bill, with no issues.  The mandate said that a delegate from the Eastern Cape must vote for the Bill.

The Chairperson said that he could allow no further leniency.   The parameters were that the majority of the Committee chose the outcome.  The Committee had read the Bill and it had gone through the mandates. He wanted the DG to give the Committee all the answers to the mandates.  The Western Cape had said that they were voting against the Bill unless the whole Bill was changed.   All the provinces except the Western Cape had voted for the Bill.  He suggested that the DG should address all the issues, so the Members could take them back to their provinces.

Ms Van Lingen asked if the Committee was going to go through the Western Cape's mandate.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had tried, but as a representative of the Western Cape, should he have to negotiate with everyone when the rest of the provinces accepted the Bill as it was?

Ms Van Lingen said that she was confused.

Mr Gamede said that those who were coming back to the Committee must have the staff help it understand what happened in the National Assembly and portfolio committee, so that issues that had already been dealt with would not resurface in the NCOP.

The Chairperson said that he would go on to the next province. He read an official letter from Limpopo, which said that it was in favour of the Bill.

DG said that there would not be a need to define the Integrated Development Plan (IDP), as it was not referred to in the Bill.   Placing the IDP within Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) would not make sense, because the intent of doing so was addressed in clause eight.  She also said that nowhere in the Bill were funding models addressed.  Funding would come from a department or government allocation.  Everything went through the standard process, via the budget.

Ms Kekesi said that 100 million Euros had been given, and the Committee should ask how it would deal with such funding.

The Chairperson said that the money went through the Treasury, which managed the money.  In this instance, it would be dealt with by a steering committee, and this did not change any structure -- votes were still taken for what was funded, and what was not.

Mr Gamede proposed that the Committee should not accept Limpopo's amendments.

Mr Mnguni agreed.

The Chairperson asked for the Eastern Cape's representative’s input.

Ms Van Lingen said that the Eastern Cape was in favour of the Bill.

Mr Mnguni followed and said that the Free State was in favour of the Bill.

Mr Gamede also said that KwaZulu-Natal was in favour of the Bill.

The Chairperson said that Mpumalanga was in favour, but the Western Cape was not.

Ms Kekesi said that North West was in favour.

The Chairperson said that the official letter from Gauteng was not signed. He said that Limpopo was in favour. He then said that meant seven provinces were in favour.

Ms Van Lingen asked if the Chairperson had received a copy of the Gauteng letter.

The Chairperson said that he had, but that it was not signed.

Ms Van Lingen asked for a copy.

The Chairperson said that she would get one.

Ms Van Lingen said that if a mandate deadline was made, and the documentation had not been received, the Committee and legal team had enough time to apply the submissions given. She was not referring to the Eastern Cape mandates, but the Limpopo one.  She wished that the deadline had been the night before, so everyone could have looked over the documents the previous evening.

The Chairperson said that each province had a delegate who came and gave their decision. He told Ms Van Lingen that he did not want to discuss this issue any longer.  Members should deal with their provinces.  If she did not want them to send a mandate on the day of the meeting, she should have them do it earlier.

Ms Van Lingen said that the Committee had other mandates from other provinces, but the Committee had not discussed them.  The purpose of the negotiating meeting was to discuss the mandates. She asked the legal team if she was wrong.

The Chairperson said Ms Van Lingen was undermining the purpose of the Committee.  Negotiating mandates were given to each province, and that that was where the decisions for supporting the Bill, or not, happened.

The whole legal team – Dr Barbara Loots, Mr Rhoda and Mr Smuts agreed with the Chairperson.

The Chairperson said that Ms Van Lingen had nothing to argue.

Mr Gamede said that not all the provinces were next to Parliament, like the Western Cape was.

The Chairperson gave the Members suggestions on how to do their jobs and how they should engage with their provinces.  Members should ask their provinces not to make mandates during the meeting, or just before the meeting.

Ms Kekesi pointed out that some provinces operated in rural areas which had regular power outages. She said that this could cause a delay.

The Chairperson said that the Committee must do what the provinces wanted.

Ms Van Lingen agreed with the Chairperson that the rules must be followed. The Chairperson tried to interrupt her but she continued to say that she was sympathetic to the provinces, and the load of work they each had.

The Chairperson said that she had answered her own question and concerns.

The DG said that the constitution did not need to be built into the Bill regarding clause 5.2.  She addressed other minor issues with the Bill, which she quickly dismissed.

Mr Smuts added that in 8.1, “may” replaced with “must” was not needed.

Dr Loots agreed with him.

The Chairperson jokingly said that he could not believe all of the legal team agreed unanimously.

Ms van Lingen said she was concerned about the Mineral and Petroleum Bill.

The Chairperson said that the staff was addressing her via email, and that that meeting was not about that Bill.

Ms Van Lingen said that her political party required her to ask about it during the meeting.

The Chairperson said that he was waiting for the final mandates. On 20 March, the Committee would discuss that Bill. He reminded everyone that that meeting was not about party issues, but provincial ones.   Final mandates for the Bill were on 25 March.  He then moved on to the adoption of the minutes.

Adoption of Minutes
Minutes for 25 February 2014
Ms Kekesi said that page one had her surname spelled incorrectly.

The Chairperson said that the lines were skewed so the names did not line up with the province. He had some other minor grammatical corrections.

The minutes were adopted.

Minutes for 4 March 2014
The Chairperson said that his asking the ANC members to stay after the meeting occurred after the meeting had been adjourned.

Mr Gamede had a minor grammatical correction.

Ms Kekesi had a minor comment.

The minutes were adopted.

Legacy Report
The Chairperson said that the Legacy Report would be adopted the following Tuesday.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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