The Committee met to deliberate on negotiating mandates from all the provinces on the 2016 Division of Revenue Adjustment (DoRA) Bill.
The Committee heard that the Limpopo and the Eastern Cape (EC) provinces had indicated electronically that they could not formulate a mandate for the DoRA Bill due to lack of time to conduct the necessary hearings and meetings. It also heard that some provinces had held briefings and hearings on 16 November 2016, whereas others had been deliberating negotiating mandates on the morning of 24 November 2016.
The DA raised a concern with the constitutionality and procedural processing of the 2016 DoRA at certain provinces. To that intent, it was of the view that only four of those mandates were valid from the seven that were deliberated on, on the 24 November 2016.
The Chairperson welcomed and greeted all present acknowledging the attendance of National Treasury (NT) officials. He reminded the Committee that the meeting was a continuing process of the 2016 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), especially the deliberations that had followed on the 2016 Division of Revenue Amendment (DoRA) Bill. There had been joint briefings and hearings on the DoRA to the Select and Standing Committees on Finance and Appropriations. There had also been provincial legislature briefings by permanent Delegates of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to the respective legislatures.
The following step was consideration of final mandates by the Committee which would be followed by a decision on the 2016 DoRA Bill. Members would be supplied with a draft report by the end of business that day so that they could give inputs and the following meeting could then therefore decide on the DoRA Bill.
The Committee secretary indicated that the Limpopo and the Eastern Cape (EC) provinces had indicated electronically that they could not formulate a mandate for the DoRA Bill due to lack of time to conduct the necessary hearings and meetings. Therefore there were mandates from only seven provinces.
Division of Revenue Amendment Bill: Negotiating Mandates
Mr F Essack (DA: Mpumalanga) asked the Chairperson to give guidance on what would happen procedurally in terms of the EC and Limpopo.
The Chairperson asked Adv. Tau to advice as to whether the outstanding two mandates had any impact on the proceedings.
Adv. Tau said procedurally the outstanding mandates could still be submitted as the Committee was still negotiating the mandates.
Mr Essack said if there was no legal implication for the current outstanding mandates when they were late; assuming the situation was similar for eight provinces instead of the two and this was not a major issue in regard to constitutional compliance.
The Chairperson said if eight provinces had not considered and concluded mandates the assumption by Mr Essack would not hold as that would have a material impact on proceedings because other provinces had indicated that they were negotiating mandates. He said he had attended the Free State legislature briefings by NT where discussions had also taken place. Though everything had been done accordingly there were a couple of issues the Free State province had raised which the NT had accounted for, as evidenced in the report from that province which was in the possession of members. NT had also accounted for the difficulty of changing allocations in particular areas as recommended in the Free State report. However; the Free State province was in favour of the 2016 DoRA Bill.
Free State Legislature
Mr Essack noted that the Free State report said the 2016 DoRA Bill briefing had taken place on the 16 November 2016; therefore he needed advice as to whether it was constitutionally procedural that the Free State could have mandates by the 24 November, considering the delays the 2016 DoRA Bill had experienced.
Adv Tau said the briefing had not been a decision because provinces had been advised that briefings could continue but provinces could not decide on negotiating mandates until the Bill was formally referred. There had been a Bill version that had already been tabled which the provinces could negotiate around, only after the Bill had been referred would mandates be allowed.
Mr Essack asked whether the Chairperson was satisfied that the constitutional requirements and procedures followed by the Free State were proper.
The Chairperson replied in the affirmative. He then invited the Gauteng province to give inputs on its mandates.
Mr E Makue (ANC; Gauteng) said as documented in the report of Gauteng it had negotiated mandates the essence of which was that the Gauteng legislature was in support the principle and detail of the 2016 DoRA Bill.
Mr Essack noted that public hearings on Gauteng’s Negotiating mandates report were to be held on the day the Committee met, 24 November 2016. He required some clarity on the procedural impact of that.
Mr Makue said the advertisement for public hearings had occurred late but on the morning of the 24 November 2016 the meeting of the appropriations Committee in Gauteng had taken place and a decision had been made on the mandates which had delayed Gauteng’s mandates in arriving at Parliament.
The Chairperson said it had been confirmed that the meeting had indeed taken place that morning in Gauteng where a decision had been made.
Mr Essack asked whether that was available on record.
The Chairperson answered in the affirmative. He then invited the Northern Cape to give input to its report.
Northern Cape Legislature
Mr C De Beer (ANC; Northern Cape) said that the Northern Cape (NC) had held briefings and it would have hearings that afternoon as well, it was in support of the 2016 DoRA Bill. In terms of the recommendations from the NC report, he had forwarded to NT the document on drought relief and proposals from his province regarding the implementation of that relief at grassroots level. He was tabling the document to the Committee and the reasons for the proposals he said; was the vastness of the NC province secondly a similar exercise had been undertaken in the 2013/14 financial year where a winning formula had been developed to give the farmers what they were supposed to receive in a short space of time.
The Chairperson invited the Western Cape (WC) province to table its negotiating mandates report on the 2016 DoRA Bill.
Western Cape Legislature
Mr O Terblanche (DA; Western Cape) said the budget Committee of the WC legislature had met on 23 November and the NCOP permanent delegates supported the 2016 DoRA Bill.
Mr L Nzimande (ANC; KwaZulu-Natal) said KwaZulu Natal (KZN) was concerned with the delays in terms of statutory procedures as regulated. The portfolio Committee of the KZN provincial legislature was particularly concerned with the costs of convening a meeting which had budgetary implications for the province as members were from far corners of KZN. To that extent the province had written to the Speaker of Parliament raising that concern. Indeed, the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Appropriations had apologised to the KZN legislature for the delays in the 2016 DoRA Bill though they were not of his making, which was not and welcomed. It had to be noted as had been done in the report that it was becoming an anomaly and an indictment on the select Committee particularly for not amending the timeframes: that matter had to be tabled and kept active until commitments that in the work of the Committee it would amend timeframes that were allowed in the legislation that regulated the process of the DoRA Bill. However; because technicalities could be resolved going forward KZN was in support of the 2016 DoRA Bill.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had programmed in the first quarter of 2017 a review of the Money Bills legislation so that by the end of 2018 that work would be completed together with all the Committees affected including Select and Standing Committee on Finance and Appropriations.
Mr Essack noted a technical error in terms of the tagging of the Bill and some contradictions with KZN’s negotiating mandates report and wanted clarity in terms of the process as the report said the final mandates would be considered on the 25 November 2016.
Mr Nzimande concurred with Adv. Tau’s earlier statements regarding differentiation between a briefing and a decision in processing negotiating mandates reports. However; on 16 November 2016 stakeholders had been invited and actually had been at the KZN legislature for public consultation. Negotiations had followed with an understanding that the meeting was informal but the finance Committee of the KZN legislature had actually sat on the 23 November 2016 and the negotiating mandates would be ready for the NCOP by the 24 November so that by the 25 November the final mandates could be conferred and submitted by the 29 November.
The Chairperson invited Mpumalanga to table its report.
Mr Essack confirmed that negotiating mandates in Mpumalanga were in order and that public hearings had been taking place. The province had been briefed satisfactorily on the 23 November 2016.
North West Legislature
Mr T Motlashuping (ANC; North West) said the North West legislature had been briefed on the 16 November where the four districts also held public hearings on the 2016 DoRA Bill. That province was in support of the 2016 DoRA Bill.
Mr Essack reiterated his question on whether it was constitutionally sound to hold both the briefing and public hearings on the DoRA Bill on the same day.
The Chairperson replied in the affirmative noting that the date of deliberation was the 24 November 2016. Although the constitution required five provinces to negotiate mandates seven provinces had negotiated in favour of the 2016 DoRA Bill. Could there be a formal motion on the business by the Committee?
Mr Motlashuping moved for the adoption of the 2016 DoRA Bill.
Mr Nzimande seconded the adoption.
The 2016 DoRA Bill was adopted without amendments.
Mr Essack said that in his personal view, only four of the mandates that had been read were valid.
Mr Motlashuping cautioned that Parliament was a legal entity guided by the law and could not work on personal views and emotions and therefore he did not see the need to note Mr Essack’s personal view.
Mr De Beer said that except for the EC and Limpopo, briefings had been held and mandates submitted before the meeting of negotiating mandates accordingly in terms of the legal framework.
The Chairperson congratulated Members for finding time to brief their provincial legislatures and said that the Committee was satisfied that the mandate received was after the DoRA Bill had been referred to the NCOP by the National Assembly (NA). He asked whether NT would like to add anything.
NT said that it appreciated the opportunity to have accompanied permanent delegate to their respective provincial legislatures to do the briefings, as they enriched the work of NT. Of the recommendations given to NT from the North West, there had been one related to sports and recreation which NT would pass along to Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). In terms of allocations for agriculture in the NC, NT had been in touch with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) which was engaging its provincial DAFFs in finalising how the procurement for Drought Relief Support and Distribution could be managed to the satisfaction of all provinces. There had been a request from the NC and the Free State that the indirect grant to become a direct grant. In four of the provinces including the Free State, funds were already being spent from that allocation by the DAFF nationally. All of the procurement done on that R212 million programme (Drought Relief Support and Distribution) was being done through suppliers that were already on the Central Supplier Database (CSD).
The Chairperson said the decisions of that meeting would be communicated to all provincial legislatures so they could take Parliament to the next stage of the final mandates.
The meeting was adjourned.
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