Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill: adoption: Committee Report postponed

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08 November 2018
Chairperson: Ms D Magadzi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee deliberated on the working draft of the Bill clause by clause and approved all the clauses. The Department had been tasked with proposing new clauses that would address the future social security comprehensive legislation and the transition from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to RABS. Clause 71(3) and (4) were drafted to that effect:
Clause 71(3): “Once the Road Accident Fund is extinguished, the RAF Act of 1996 will be repealed”.
Clause 71(4): “The Minister may, in consultation with the executive take steps to integrate social security and social assistance delivery mechanisms in the broader social security system”.

The Committee accepted the proposed clauses and the Bill was adopted. However, it did not adopt the circulated Committee Report on the Bill as it contained the Democratic Alliance minority report in it.

The majority of the Committee agreed that the Democratic Alliance minority report could not form part of the Committee Report. Members said that the DA Report was a thesis and was a cut and paste of lawyers' submissions. It outlined matters that had already been thoroughly canvassed in the Committee but the DA presented those matters as though they had never been discussed. The Committee Report would be considered at the next meeting once it had been re-crafted.

Meeting report

Clause 71 Transitional provisions proposals
Mr Johannes Makgatho, Senior Legal Advisor: Department of Transport, presented the drafting of proposed amendments to Clause 71 as proposed the day before by the Committee. The newly proposed clause 71(3) read: “Once the RAF is extinguished, the RAF Act of 1996 will be repealed”. Clause 71(4) was drafted to read: “The Minister may, in consultation with the executive take steps to integrate social security and social assistance delivery mechanisms in the broader social security system”.

Mr T Mpanza (ANC) asked if the drafting adequately responded to Mr Ramatlakane’s concerns raised in the previous meeting.

The Chairperson confirmed that those were the two amendments proposed yesterday and they adequately address his concerns.

Mr C Hunsinger (DA) asked for an example or operational detail of “social assistance delivery mechanisms”. What would that mean in terms of the needs and benefits?

Mr Makgatho replied that the concern was raised that the Department needed to come up with an all-encompassing provision that addresses the socio-economic impact of the social assistance programmes. This means coming up with legislation that covers all social security measures including the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) and other compensation. The proposed clause was making provisions for that in the future.

Mr Hunsinger said that the request was far more specific in yesterday’s discussion. He was uncertain if the proposed clause answered the specific question. He said the question was what would be the specifics in terms of practicality and the need for including social assistance delivery mechanisms. What would those mechanisms be and why would it be necessary to have social security delivery mechanisms?

Mr Makgatho indicated that Mr Ramatlakane had raised that the Bill did not have a clause that covered future comprehensive social security legislation under Social Development. However the Department had said that this goes into the area of policy determination. We are not yet at that policy point but as and when that happens, South Africa would have all social security programmes under one umbrella. The social assistance delivery mechanisms would be determined by policy and then incorporated into legislation.

Mr Mpanza said the explanation was now clear. The concern had been that there should be a transitional arrangement but that it was not necessary to go into detail in the clause.

The Chairperson suggested that the Members focus on the two proposed provisions.

The Committee approved the proposed clauses.

Clause by clause consideration of the Road Accident Benefit Scheme
The Chairperson read out the clauses of the B version of the Bill with the Committee’s proposed amendments incorporated. The only clauses that were changed were clause 71(3) and (4) above.

The Committee accepted the clauses and adopted the Bill.

Committee Report and Minority Report
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) shunned the presented Committee Report and submitted that it needed to be re-written in order to be considered by Members. He argued that the Committee Report as it stands would only be two pages and the rest of the Committee Report would be populated by the DA minority report. If the DA was eager to put this document forward it should have done so during the public hearings, because it qualified as a submission instead of a Minority View. He suggested that the DA minority report be rejected because the Committee should inclusively reflect on the view of the Minority. The minority report takes the entire process backwards. Therefore, it must be rejected at this stage. He had never seen such a report before. If this were permitted, then the ANC and any other party would have to provide their own reports which would not constitute a committee report. The minority views are normally reflected in one paragraph in the Committee Report.

Mr Hunsinger respected the position of the previous speaker, but the justification for the Minority Report was based on the Rules of the National Assembly. He read Rule 166(4)(b): “If a report is not a unanimous report, it must — (i) specify in which respects there was not consensus, and (ii) in addition to the views representative of the majority in the committee, express any views of a minority in the committee”. He argued that the report was in accordance with the Rules because it outlines aspects where there was no consensus. It expresses the views of the minority within the Committee.

Mr M De Freitas (DA) quoted Rule 288(3)(2)(f): “in addition to the views representative of the majority of the Committee convey any views of a minority”. He was uncertain what the problem was. Throughout the process, the DA submitted its objections and the objections were not new. A “minority view” did not refer to the format of the report but was the view from a minority regardless of how the document is formatted.

Mr Sithole asked the Chairperson to postpone the Report for consideration next week. He said that the rest of the minority parties did not necessarily agree with the presented minority report.

Mr Sibande agreed with Mr Ramatlakane and said that the DA minority report was a copy and paste, and there were procedures that had to be followed when a Bill came to the Committee. The objections of the DA are actually a cut and paste of the submissions made by various stakeholders during public hearings. The Minority Report was not representative of other minority parties and that must be clearly stated. Some of the objections reflected in the DA Report were the very same things as raised by the lawyers during the public hearings. He echoed the suggestion to reject the DA Report.

Ms S Xego (ANC) said she was against the inclusion of the minority report. All the items raised in the public hearings were the same as those in the DA report. Members should move on and focus on the Committee Report. The circulated Committee Report with the minority report in it did not adequately capture the views of the Committee; therefore, it must also be rejected.

The Committee Report was rejected by some Members of the Committee due to the fact that it did not capture the views of the Committee.

The Chairperson suggested that they need to look at the Rules before any resolution can be reached by the Committee on the minority report submitted by the Democratic Alliance. The matters outlined in the minority report were discussed thoroughly during previous committee meetings, and every time these issues were raised the Department was requested to investigate and come back with satisfactory answers. As raised in the minority report, the tagging of a Bill is the prerogative of the Speaker of the House. Therefore, it was not in the purview of the Committee. She asked the DA to reflect if the matters raised were canvassed and responded to. The minority report as it stands is re-echoing matters that came up during previous meetings in the Committee.

Mr Ramatlakane said that it was not the responsibility of the Democratic Alliance to write the Committee Report and the Committee needs to discuss how it would like its report to look like. The motion of desirability was never accepted by the DA to begin with. The points raised in the minority report were never originally the DA’s but issues that came up during deliberations. The document is not the DA’s position – these issues came up in meetings and were canvassed thoroughly, of which some were agreed to and others disagreed on. The Committee Report would include those dissenting views.

Mr Hunsinger said that none of the elements incorporated in the minority report were handled during the process up until now. The minority report addresses constitutionality, and none of those matters mentioned about constitutionality were ever addressed. Section B of the Report addresses the principle originating from the 6 June where a motion of desirability was accepted by the Committee. At that stage the DA tried to exclude the removal of the common law and the no-fault system. When the removal of those two elements was accepted, the DA made it clear that it would not accept the motion of desirability. In terms of process it was also quite clear the concerns from public participation. He repeatedly offered numbers about the public participation, well aware that every word was recorded in the ten public hearing sessions. The final point minority report addresses is the financial implications of the Bill, particularly on annual average income. On that basis, he requested the minority report be included as part of the Committee Report.

Mr De Freitas said that the DA was not seeking agreement on or attempting to convince Members of the minority view. The DA tabled a minority report as per the Rules of the House.

Ms Xego said that the Committee was expecting a Committee Report and she did not think that the inclusion of the Minority Report would be wise. It sounded more like a submission and she would not be party to a Committee Report that included such a submission.

The Chairperson agreed that the circulated report was indeed more a DA report and appeared not to be a Committee Report.

Mr Ramatlakane said that all the issues raised in the DA minority report were canvassed and deliberated on. These issues were not new. On the common law right, there is a Constitutional Court judgment and that was settled. On the financial aspects, there was no consensus even amongst the actuaries that came before the committee to present on the costs. For the DA to come at the tail end of the process and submit this document would not be accepted. This attempt to nullify the process the Committee had embarked on was not fair. This is a collection of views that came from submissions from various stakeholders and Members can see through this. Therefore, he formally submitted that the document was rejected. It is not the responsibility of the DA to write its view of the Bill and for it to be the dominant view in the Committee report. The very rule that was quoted by the DA does not give the DA the responsibility to write anything but the Committee has to reflect on the views of the minority, not the thesis that was presented to the Members. The Committee was aware of the DA position, and it should reflect it accordingly. The Rules must be read in context.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would not have a DA report. Secondly, the DA report was never deliberated on. In terms of the Rules, the Portfolio Committee agree on what issues there was no consensus and that would be outlined in the Committee Report. The Committee would seek legal advice on this matter and it would then proceed.

Mr De Freitas said that the DA simply stated its view and he would like that view to be reflected as presented. The DA is not imposing its report as the Committee report. The DA is not nullifying the process at all, and he did not know how it was stalling the process.

The Chairperson advised that the Committee will seek legal advice on the minority report based on the Rules and a formal decision would be taken by the Committee at its next meeting.

Committee Report
The Committee Report was not considered by Members. The Secretariat was requested to re-craft the report because Members felt that the two pages did not adequately capture the views of the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.


National Assembly Rules
166. Reporting
(1) A committee must report to the Assembly on a matter referred to the committee —
(a) when the Assembly is to decide the matter in terms of these rules, the Joint Rules, a resolution of the Assembly or legislation;
(b) if the committee has taken a decision on the matter, whether or not the Assembly is to decide the matter as contemplated in Paragraph (a); or
(c) if the committee is unable to decide a matter referred to it for report.
(2) A committee must report to the Assembly on —
(a) all other decisions taken by it, except those decisions concerning its internal business; and
(b) its activities at least once per year.
(3) A report of a committee —
(a) must be formally adopted by the committee;
(b) must be submitted to the Assembly by the chairperson or another member of the committee designated by the committee; and
(c) may request that the chairperson or another member of the committee designated by the committee introduces or explains the report in the Assembly.
(4) (a) A committee may not submit a minority report.
(b) If a report is not a unanimous report, it must —
(i) specify in which respects there was not consensus, and
(ii) in addition to the views representative of the majority in the committee, express any views of a minority in the committee.

(5) If a committee reports on a matter other than a matter mentioned in Subrule (1)(a) and is of the view that its report, or a specific matter mentioned in the report, should be considered by the Assembly, it may make a request to that effect in the report.

288 Committee’s report
(1) The Assembly committee to which a Bill is referred must table in the Assembly —
(a) its report;
(b) the Bill that has been agreed on by it, in its final amended or redrafted form as adopted by the committee where applicable, or, if it has not agreed on a Bill, the Bill as referred to it;
(c) the supporting memorandum which was introduced with the Bill or, if the memorandum has been amended by the committee, the amended memorandum; and
(d) if the Bill was introduced by a member in his or her individual capacity, the views, if any, expressed on the Bill by the relevant department in the national executive authority or executive organ of state in the national sphere of government.
(2) The committee may report to the Assembly only after the JTM has classified the Bill and has made its findings on the Bill.
(3) In its report the committee —
(a) must state the JTM’s classification of and findings on the Bill;
(b) must state whether it recommends approval of the Bill with or without amendments, a redraft of the Bill, or rejection of the Bill;
(c) in the case of a Bill introduced by a member in his or her individual capacity, must state the views on the Bill submitted by the relevant executive authority;
(d) must specify each amendment if an amended Bill (other than a redraft of the Bill) was agreed on by it, and each amendment that was considered and, for a reason other than its being out of order, was rejected by it;
(e) must specify each amendment rejected by the committee if a redrafted Bill was agreed on by it;
(f) must, if it is not a unanimous report—
(i) specify in which respects and why there was not consensus, and
(ii) in addition to the views representative of the majority in the committee, convey any views of a minority in the committee in order to facilitate debate when the report comes before the House;
(g) may specify such details or information about its inquiry and any representations or evidence received or taken by it as it may consider necessary for the purposes of the debate on the Bill;
(h) may report on any matter arising from its deliberations on the Bill but which is not necessarily related to the Bill; and
(i) may recommend to the Assembly that any matter contained in the report be placed on the Order Paper for separate consideration either before or after the Assembly considers the Bill.

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