The Committee met briefly to consider the final mandates on the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill [B50B-2013]. All the provinces, apart from the Free State and Kwa-Zulu Natal, had submitted mandates, but the mandate of the North West province was declared invalid because the date on the Final Mandate pre-dated the meeting during which the Committee had dealt with the negotiated mandates, when other issues were raised. The Western Cape noted that it opposed the Bill. The Democratic Alliance (DA) Member from Free State asked that the objection of the DA to the Bill be formally noted. The other provinces indicated that they were in favour of the Bill. However, Mpumalanga asked for its observations and recommendations to be noted. It had been concerned that in the previous meeting (as reflected in the minutes forwarded to it), the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (the Department) was apparently allowed to oppose amendments to the Bill without an opportunity being given to the delegates or the provincial legislatures to counter their views. The view was expressed that the Department should not have been allowed to explicitly reject the proposed amendments. Further observations were that delegates did not represent the views of the province and the draft minutes did not reflect any other input after the Department's comment. The reason given for the rejection of the proposed amendments was not within context. It was suggested that there was a need for the NCOP to review the role of the Department at each phase of the law making process.
The comments were noted. The Committee noted that, five provinces having approved the Bill, it was regarded as adopted and would be tabled on the following day.
The Committee then briefly discussed the Legacy Report, which, amongst others, reflected the achievements of the Committee, which had enabled the Department also to fulfil its mandate. One Member expressed his concern that the Committee needed to be afforded more time when dealing with legislation, and this was agreed to by other Members. The Legacy Report was adopted.
Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill: Final Mandates
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Lulu Xingwana. She introduced the sequence in which the provinces would present their mandates and noted that Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Free State did not send through their final mandates. The final mandate of the North West province was invalid, because the date on that Final Mandate pre-dated the negotiated mandate deliberations.
She asked the delegates from the provinces to present the provincial mandates.
Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature
Ms A Qikani (ANC, Eastern Cape) read the Final Mandate and informed the Committee that the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature voted in favour of the Bill, as amended. The mandate was signed by the Speaker.
Gauteng Provincial Legislature
The Chairperson read the Final Mandate and informed the Committee that the Gauteng Provincial Legislature voted in support of the Bill. The mandate was signed by the Speaker.
Limpopo Provincial Legislature
Mr T Makunyane (ANC, Limpopo) read the Final Mandate and informed the Committee that the Limpopo Provincial Legislature voted in favour of the Bill. The mandate was signed by the Speaker.
Northern Cape Provincial Legislature
Mr G Mokgoro (ANC, Northern Cape) read the Final Mandate and informed the Committee that the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature voted in support of the Bill. The mandate was signed by the Deputy Speaker.
Western Cape Provincial Legislature
Mr M De Villiers (DA; Western Cape) read the Final Mandate and informed the Committee that the Western Cape Provincial Legislature voted against the Bill. He noted that the mandate was signed by the Speaker.
Mr De Villiers asked for a clarification on why the mandate of the North West province was invalid.
Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature
Ms M Themba (ANC, Mpumalanga) read observations from the Final Mandate and said that concern had been expressed about the process in the previous meeting. It seemed that the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) e Department was allowed to oppose amendments to the Bill without the people being given opportunity to counter their views, and the Department had seemingly been allowed to explicitly reject the proposed amendments. It was pointed out that the delegates did not represent the views of the province, and the draft minutes provided to this legislature did not reflect any substantial input from the Members after the Department advised against the views expressed by the legislature, which were essentially the views of the people. The Department was given unwarranted authority to influence the rejection of proposed amendments and the reason given for the rejection of proposed amendments was not within context.
It was also suggested that the role of the NCOP legal advisors superceded their limited mandate, and they were not supposed to “fiddle” with law making at this phase. There was a need for the NCOP to review the role of the Department at each phase of the law making process.
The typing errors were also raised as an issue of concern.
She summarised that the Mpumalanga Legislature “reluctantly voted in support of the Bill”. The Speaker signed the mandate.
The Chairperson said there was no such thing as ‘reluctantly’ voting.
Ms Themba confirmed that Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature had expressed observations and recommendations. It had voted in support of the Bill, but wished its observations to be noted.
The Chairperson said there had been confirmation from the Department that the errors had been corrected.
She summarised that five provinces voted in favour of the Bill.
The Chairperson then asked the Committee Secretary to explain the issue with the Final Mandate of the North West province.
Ms Mahdiyah Solomons, Committee Secretary, said the date of deliberations on the North West Provincial Legislature’s Final Mandate was 13 March 2014. The Committee’s meeting for the presentation of negotiated Mandates meeting took place on 18 March 2014, and it meant that the North West deliberation predated the negotiated mandates, so that the Province would not have been able to look at the proposed amendments that came out of the negotiated mandates meeting. The NCOP procedural staff and Parliamentary Legal Advisor had advised that this could not be overlooked and the Committee would have to consider the North West Provincial Legislature’s Final Mandate as invalid.
Mr D Worth (DA) said he wanted it noted that the DA did not support this Bill.
The Chairperson said this meeting represented provinces and not political parties and the DA could raise its objection to this Bill in another forum.
Mr Worth said the party could lodge a minority report.
The Chairperson noted this point. She reiterated that there were five provinces that voted in favour of the Billl, and that meant that the Bill was adopted.
She confirmed that the Committee therefore also adopted the mandates as tabled, and the adoption of the Bill would be tabled as a statement the following day in the sitting of the NCOP.
The Chairperson thanked the Department and the Minister.
Select Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities Legacy Report: Adoption
The Chairperson said the Committee had come a long way and thanked the Committee members for their attendance and support, especially the Committee Whip, Mr Mokgoro. She thanked the administrative staff for their contributions and support.
Mr M de Villiers (DA, Western Cape) said there was nothing amiss in the Report, and explained that he had been unable to attend all the Committee meetings due to other commitments. He suggested that for the next administration, legislation should not be dealt with in a short space of time, so that it could be handled properly.
Mr Mokgoro said the report captured the successes and challenges of the Committee, and the success of the Department was in part due to the support of the Committee. He thanked the Chairperson for her commitment.
Mr Makunyane said that many people had opposed the establishment of the Department in the beginning because the view was held that every department should have a gender focal point. The establishment of the Ministry showed that there was also a need for the Department and this Committee. The progress was evident from the Legacy Report.
The Chairperson said there were no rules that prohibited the National Assembly (NA) from sending legislation to the NCOP at specific times, but there was merit in the proposal that enough time should be afforded to properly deal with legislation. The running of the NA had sometimes negatively impacted the NCOP. For this reason, she would be in favour of advising the respective administration that specific timeframes should be given for dealing with legislation, and the NCOP’s focus should be strictly on oversight.
Mr Makunyane said legislation was linked to policies and implementation of the Act depended on the policies. The broader issues surrounding the legislation should be addressed, to have a better understanding of legislation.
The Chairperson agreed and said more time should be afforded to the Committee to address legislation.
The Committee adopted the Legacy Report.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.