Disaster Management Bill: negotiating mandates

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Meeting report

PORTOFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH

LOCAL GOVERNMENT & ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE
30 October 2002
DISASTER MANAGEMENT BILL: NEGOTIATING MANDATES

Chairperson: Mr. B. J. Mkhaliphi (ANC)

Documents Handed Out
Gauteng Legislature Negotiating Mandate
Western Cape Negotiating Mandate
North West Negotiating Mandate
Northern Province Negotiating Mandate
Northern Cape Negotiating Mandate
Freestate Negotiating Mandate
Eastern Cape Negotiating Mandate
Mpumalanga Negotiating Mandate

Please contact
info@pmg.org.za for all negotiating mandates

SUMMARY
The Committee received negotiating mandates from the nine provinces and decided to postpone all the proposed amendments to the final mandates stage to allow the Department ample time to respond to the suggested amendments.

MINUTES

Mpumalanga Province
Mr. Mkhaliphi (ANC) informed the Committee that the NCOP briefed various stakeholders on the Bill. Locall Councils were mostly concerned about the financial and personnel implications of the Bill but that these concerns had since been addressed in the present Bill. After considering Telkom's concerns, the Committee felt that they were cast in general terms and invited Telkom to make specific presentations to the Committee. He said that at its subsequent meeting the Committee after Telkom's representation decided that it had failed to adhere to the request of the Committee and that therefore its concerns could not be accommodated in any manner. He noted that after considering the Bill clause by clause, the Committee supported the Bill without any amendments.

Mr. Ralane (ANC) noted that Telkom had made similar submissions to the Free State and that the impression the Committee formed was that these submissions were based on the old Bill which had since been amended substantially.

Mr. Kilian (from the Department) explained that the Bill provided for an integrated disaster management system and that a number of organisations would be represented in a stakeholders' forum that would meet to thrash out any outstanding issues. He said that most of Telkom's concerns had been adequately addressed in the amended Bill.

Free State Province
Mr. Ralane (ANC) informed the Committee that the NCOP held public hearings on the Bill but that only Telkom and Lejweleputsw District Municipality submitted in-puts. He said that the Committee considered amendments to the Bill and further effected some basically technical amendments that do not affect the substance of the Bill. He pointed out that apart from these minor amendments the Committee recommends that authority be conferred to the Free State Delegation, to vote for the adoption of the Bill.

Mr. Maloyi (ANC) protested that some of the technical amendments the Free State proposals would alter the substance of the Bill. He referred to the suggestion to convert the term 'may' to 'must', which he said would convey a whole new meaning.

Mr. Ackermann (NNP) said that it would be to the benefit of the Department to be given ample opportunity to scrutinise the suggested amendments before they can respond accordingly.

Mr. Ralane said that he would be content to withdraw the suggested amendments if the department were to satisfactorily explain to him why they had elected to use the word 'may' instead of 'must'.

Mr. Kilian (from the Department) said that the use of the word 'may' was deliberate since the intention here was not to be prescriptive in view of the different tiers of government to which one must be sensitive about.

Mr. Sulliman (ANC) noted that some usage of the term 'must' was appropriate in certain areas of the Bill.

The Chair said that he would give the Department ample time to scrutinise the proposed technical amendments and guide the house accordingly.

Mr. Ralane said that he would have to go back and give feedback on the comments made by the Committee before he would be in a position to commit himself to any suggestion.

Northern Cape Province
Ms Lubidla (ANC) said the Northern Cape was concerned that no provision was made for District Municipalities to be provided with equipment and that the equipment was expensive. She pointed out that some Municipalities lack the necessary resources to prevent disasters and yet no provision was made to avail funds in case of an emergency in these areas. She proposed that the Bill provide a cut off date for the submission of the annual report. She continued that provision must be made for the remuneration of volunteers during a disaster period or some form of an incentive in view of the poverty in the region. Apart from these concerns, she said that the Northern Cape supported the Bill in its present form.

Mr. Ralane pointed out that volunteer work could not be altered in the Bill to mean something else other than voluntary work.

Mr. Maloyi said that there was a start-off funds and a threshold which adequately covered the Northern Cape's concerns.

Mr. Kilian agreed with Mr. Maloyi that start-off grants would be provided for in the disaster management framework. He said that the Minister concerned with disaster management would naturally demand a report as soon as possible so as to tender the same to Parliament and that there was no need to make a specific provision for this in the Bill. He agreed with Mr. Ralane that volunteer work should remain just that - volunteer service. He cautioned that incentives were introduced it would send the wrong message that this was remunerative work, which might complicate matters. He said that there was no need for expensive equipment since the NDM was developing a simple but comprehensive information system that would be made available to all provinces.

Ms Lubidla said that she had noted down the Committee's response and would take it to the province for further instructions.

Western Cape Province
Mr. Ackermann (NNP) informed the Committee that the Western Cape Delegates supported the Bill without amendments.

Northern Province
Mr.Mokoena (ANC) informed the Committee that the Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Housing met to consider the Bill and resolved to engage members of the public and other stakeholders to solicit their inputs thereon. He continued that having supported the principle of the Bill, the Committee had mandated the NCOP Delegates to support the Bill as amended by the National Assembly's Portfolio Committee on Local Government.

North West Province
Mr. Maloyi (ANC) informed the Committee that after having deliberated on the Bill, the North West Committee proposed that clause 23 sub-clause 2(b) should be retained. He also proposed that clause 29 sub-clause 2 should read thus " Disaster management centre to fall under the Premier's office of a department designated by the Premier". He also proposed that clause 58 sub-clause 5 be retained and that clause 43 sub-clause 2(b) should read thus "May operate such centre in partnership with a local municipality or municipalities within the district municipality". He further proposed that clause 17, 'SANDF to be excluded because of its hierarchical command structures and that legislation should only reflect SANDF's contact details. Finally he proposed that clause 21 be retained whilst clause 23 sub-clause 2(b) be omitted and that subject to these proposals the Northwest supports the Bill in its entirety.

Mr. Ralane noted that the issues raised by the North West did not materially alter the substance of the Bill.

Mr. Mokoena pointed out that once a disaster has been declared the Premier would automatically designate the MEC that would take charge of the entire operations.

Mr. Kilian explained that the Premier under section 21(2) has the power to designate the prerogative of disaster management to himself.

Mr. Maloyi clarified that he had referred to centres of disaster management, which must be made part of the Premiers' office.

Mr. Kilian pointed out that where the disaster management was placed under the Premier's office it had the effect of giving a high profile to and thereby elevating these operations and it would definitely be the best way to go. The sequence started with the President who designated a Minister and that it would be appropriate for the sequence to flow through the Premier's office.

The Chair directed that proposals tendered by the North-West would be flagged until the final mandate to accord the Department ample time to scrutinise them.

Kwazulu-Natal Province
Mr. Mathee (NNP) informed the Committee that the KZN NCOP had mandated the Delegates to support the Disaster Management Bill as tabled in the Select Committee on Local Government. He added that Delegates were also mandated to support any other amendments providing that such amendments did not alter the essence of the Bill and that the KZN delegates consented any such amendments. An attempt by Mr. Mathee to table a document from Telkom was regarded as unprocedural in view of the fact that it was not part of the negotiating mandate.

The Chair suggested that the meeting adjourn until the the final mandate when the Gauteng and the Eastern Cape's negotiating Mandates would be tabled and debated.

The meeting was adjourned.

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