Expropriation Bill [B4D-2015]: final mandates, with Deputy Minister

NCOP Economic and Business Development

11 May 2016
Chairperson: Mr B Nthebe (ANC, North West)
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Meeting Summary

The final mandates on the Expropriation Bill [B4D-2015] were submitted by all provinces except for the Free State.

The Democratic Alliance complained that the Bill should have lapsed as only three mandates were submitted before the deadline. Six provinces had not voted on their final mandate in their respective Provincial Legislatures and the approval of the House was needed or they were fundamentally flawed.

An ANC member commented that delays may be caused in attaining democracy but that democracy was more important than process.

The Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West all voted in favour of the Expropriation Bill. The Western Cape did not agree with the Bill because its suggested amendments were not included. The Free State legislature was scheduled to vote only later.

As there were seven provinces in favour, the Bill was adopted with amendments.
The Democratic Alliance requested that their minority report be included.
The Chairperson indicated that the mandate comes from the provinces for section 76 Bills. In the NCOP Chamber, the party was at liberty to express its own views on the Bill as each party was allocated time to raise matters in the debate. 

Meeting report

Expropriation Bill [B4D-2015]: final mandates
The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister and other members who joined the Committee for the meeting. The Committee is required to look at the final mandates of the Expropriation Bill. The State Law Advisor was thanked for being present in case the Committee needed assistance. Ms van Lingen was asked to read the first mandate from the Eastern Cape.

Ms E van Lingen (DA, Eastern Cape) said she wanted to hand a letter to the Chairperson as well as a Democratic Alliance minority report. In addition to this, she noted that the deadline for the final mandates was 10am on the morning of 10 May. Only three mandates were submitted from the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and the Northern Cape within deadline. These three mandates were approved in their respective legislatures according to the Mandating Procedures for Provinces Act. In terms of that, no matter how the Chairperson tries to deliberately delay deliberations on the final mandate, six provincial mandates were outstanding and had not been deliberated on or finalised by the portfolio committees in those provinces. In terms of the deadline, the Bill lapsed the previous morning at 10am due to insufficient support for the Bill. She said she was prepared to take further action to show the deliberate actions, reflecting incompetence and illegal processes, in the Committee.

Mr E Makue (ANC, Gauteng) made a declaration to the effect that democracy for the ANC was very important and that often the processes of democracy are arduous. However, democracy was respected. The ANC would not process anything that has not gone through the constitutional processes and conformed to the basic principles of democracy. This meant that before anything comes to the Committee, it should go through the provincial legislature because it is a section 76 piece of legislation. If this means that will cause some delay in the process, democracy is more important than processes. The DA did not want the Expropriation Bill to go through because they wanted to retain land in white hands and the ANC is committed to ensure that expropriation happens.  

Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) said that it was not nice to hear the allegations levelled by Mr Makue. The DA did not have a problem with expropriation. This institution, the Parliament of South Africa, had certain procedures to follow with certain timeframes. The Committee had to obey these.

Ms M Dikgale (ANC, Limpopo) raised a point of order against Ms van Lingen for saying that "we are not Zumas". She asked that Ms van Lingen withdraw her comment.

The Chairperson said that Ms van Lingen’s utterances were casting aspersions on someone who was not part of the meeting. It was requested that she withdraw what she said.

Ms van Lingen said that she would withdraw if Mr Makue withdrew his statement saying that the DA was not in favour of expropriation and land reform because that was not the truth. The process was the issue and not what Mr Makue had raised - that he was not in front of the television camera and he must do what must be done in the Committee.

The Chairperson said that there was a difficulty between what Ms van Lingen was saying and what the reality was. Mr Makue was speaking on behalf of a party that was represented in the meeting while Ms van Lingen was speaking on behalf of a person who is not in the meeting to speak on his behalf. Ms van Lingen was asked whether she would withdraw.

Ms van Lingen said that she would withdraw but that the Chairperson had to take into account the fact that the Constitutional Court had ruled against the President.

The Chairperson asked Ms van Lingen if she would withdraw what she had said.

Ms van Lingen asked what she needed to withdraw.

The Chairperson asked Ms van Lingen to remove the issue that she said from the table.

Ms van Lingen said that she removed the issue from the table.

Mr Faber stated that he knew the Chairperson and that although he was quite new, he hoped that the Chairperson would be in that position for a while although one does not know what might happen with elections. Parliament is about procedure and when meetings are held in Parliament, processes must be followed. This should be taken to the State Law Advisor for input on the matter as this could become a legal battle and he wanted the Committee to do the right thing.

Mr S Mthimunye (ANC, Mpumalanga) said that perhaps the State Law Advisor should be allowed to make an input.

The Chairperson said that the State Law Advisor was being put into territory that was not his. The issue is that the Committee took a decision that the matter stand until this meeting. One is asking the State Law Advisor to pursue a matter not in their territory. Members are at liberty to raise issues but the State Law Advisor should not be put into a corner.

Ms Z Ncitha (ANC, Eastern Cape) requested that the Chairperson allow members to continue with the business of the day.

The Chairperson asked if members could proceed and asked if Ms van Lingen could read the mandate from the Eastern Cape.

Eastern Cape final mandate
Ms van Lingen said that the mandate from Eastern Cape votes in favour of Bill and is dated 9 May, which was not correct. She asked that faxed documents are made available to her from the Secretary.

The Chairperson asked if this was a point of order and if members could proceed. As members had copies of the mandates they knew what the Eastern Cape had said.

Mr Mthimunye stated that Ms van Lingen was not on record as her microphone was off. She was making a qualification about a mandate not signed by her but signed by the Eastern Cape legislature. She is required to present it as it is.

The Chairperson clarified that Ms van Lingen was reading a mandate sent to her by a House properly constituted to take a decision. He asked that she refrain from confusing the matter. If she wanted to challenge the authenticity of the mandate, she was within her rights.

Ms van Lingen said that she had said that the Eastern Cape Province had voted in favour of the Bill.

Gauteng final mandate
Mr Makue stated that the date of deliberation was 5 May and the vote of the legislature read that the Gauteng provincial legislature supports the principle and detail of the Bill and therefore voted in favour of the Expropriation Bill.

KwaZulu-Natal final mandate
Mr Mthimunye said that the mandate from KwaZulu-Natal dated 5 May 2016 was in support of the Expropriation Bill B4D-2015.

Mpumalanga final mandate
The Chairperson asked that Mr Mthimunye read out the mandate of Mpumalanga.

Mr Mthimunye said that the mandate of Mpumalanga stated that the Expropriation Bill B4D-2015] dated 9 May 2016 was supported by the Mpumalanga legislature.

Limpopo final mandate
Ms Dikgale said that the final mandate from the Limpopo legislature requested the permanent delegate to vote in favour of the Bill.

Northern Cape final mandate
Mr Faber stated that the mandate from the Office of the Speaker Northern Cape legislature indicated that  date of deliberation on the the Expropriation Bill [B4D-2015] was 6 May 2016 and the legislature voted in favour of the Bill.

North West final mandate
Ms Ncitha stated that the North West voted in favour of the Bill.

Western Cape final mandate
Mr J Londt (DA, Western Cape) said that in terms of the negotiating mandate, the committee minutes incorrectly reflected its position. The Bill is supported with certain conditions. Those conditions were not then agreed to. Based on that, the Western Cape held deliberations on 6 May 2016 and the Western Cape voted against the Bill.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had a total of eight mandates before it – seven were read in favour of the Bill and the Western Cape did not agree to the Bill because its suggested amendments were not considered.

Mr Makue stated that the one mandate had not been received which is that of the Free State Province. Its Portfolio Committee had not met and this should be put on record.

The Chairperson confirmed that the Committee had a report from the Free State legislature stating that the provincial legislature was scheduled to meet later.

Committee Report on the Expropriation Bill [B4D of 2015]
The Chairperson read out the Committee Report on the Expropriation Bill [B4D of 2015] (section 76 Bill) dated 11 May 2016, noting that the Committee has agreed to the Bill with amendments as reflected in the C version of the Bill. He asked if the Committee agreed.

Ms Ncitha moved to agree and Ms Dikgale seconded this.

Ms van Lingen requested that it be noted that the three DA members voted against the Bill.

The Chairperson said that Ms van Lingen was unable to vote for other members.

Mr Makue asked for guidance – whether members were voting as provinces, individuals or as members of parties.

Mr Londt requested clarity on that matter. After submitting the mandates from the provinces, members should be able to speak as Members of Parliament.

The Chairperson said that according to the NCOP Rules, a majority of six provinces was required as the Bill was a section 76 Bill. Seven provinces supported the Bill. As a result, members were at liberty to present whatever view they wished to express. The Bill had been agreed to.

Ms van Lingen said that when the Committee Report is read in the House, the Committee Chairperson usually says the ‘The Committee agreed to.’ If members do not officially lodge their position against the Bill as members of this Committee, it is taken for granted that all members supported the Bill and legally, this cannot be done. The DA wants to take legal action and want to lodge a complaint against that.

Mr Makue agreed with Ms van Lingen and said that when Committee members are required to vote as members of the Committee and if there are minority opinions, these must be presented to the House as opinions of the members of the Committee. But as the Chairperson correctly indicated, the mandate comes from the provinces for section 76 Bills. There was one DA member, Mr Faber, who is not against the Bill.

The Chairperson said that what he did not agree with about what Ms van Lingen had expressed was that in the House, Ms van Lingen is at liberty to express her own views on the Bill as each party has allocated time to raise matters in the debate.  There is a threshold of six provinces and as six provinces approve the Bill, the Bill is assented to.

Mr Faber said that listening is a skill and some people do not always do so. He disagreed with the process that had taken place and he cannot agree to the Bill.

Mr Londt said that he wanted to put something on the table. When the Department briefed the Committee, there were certain contentious parts of the Bill and the Department stated that they would not be unhappy if these parts were excluded. Members around the table must remember that it would be helpful to not simply accept what is presented. The NCOP is able to apply its mind. The majority of members took what was presented and the perception is that they did not listen to the input of the Department. This Bill could have gone through the Committee without contestation if people were willing to take one step towards one another. It is a word of caution going forward as well. When the Committee faces future Bills, the Committee should approach this differently. This could have been dealt with differently, in a much smoother way.

The Chairperson replied that that had been done as amendments were accepted. He asked whether he could close the meeting.

Ms van Lingen said that the Chairperson was taking away the individual vote of members to support or reject the Bill. The Chairperson cannot say ‘in the Committee’ and ‘it was agreed by the Committee’ – she wanted to officially lodge an objection to the Bill and it should be recorded.

Ms Dikgale stated that even if views were raised individually, majority rules.

The Chairperson said that he had asked who supported what he read. Ms Ncitha supported it, seconded by Ms Dikgale. He said that Ms van Lingen was objecting on behalf of all other members and that was not permissible as she could not speak for members who were absent. He asked if he could close the meeting which was met by nod of approval. Members and the State Law Advisor were thanked.

Meeting adjourned.


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