Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill: finalisation

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Employment and Labour

31 August 2003
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

 

LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
1 September 2003
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BILL: FINALISATION

Acting Chairperson: Mr D Olifant (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Unemployment Insurance Fund Amendment Bill [B35-2003]
NEDLAC Report on the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill
NEDLAC Report on the Skills Development Amendment Bill

SUMMARY
The Committee adopted the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill without amendments. A Commissioner from NEDLAC was present to clarify the intention of the NEDLAC report. It was decided that issues raised by Black Sash and COSATU would be dealt with at a later date.

MINUTES
Unemployment Insurance Bill
The Chair referred to Section 3 clause 2(c) and the NEDLAC report concerning UIF as the issues to be dealt with before the official finalisation of the Bill. He invited comment from Mr S Mkhonto, NEDLAC Commissioner, to address the Committee.

Mr Mkhonto said that the report provided an insight into NEDLAC process as it was part of the legislative process of government. The intentions of the amendments were clear in that they were meant to be dealt with urgently. He explained that domestic workers could not fully access their rights because of limitations in the law. The other issue concerned public servants for which they were given a mandate to resolve at the meeting in August 2003. Another issue concerned complaints by members of the public who could not have their appeals resolved because of the lengthy processes involved. These were technical and not fundamental amendments to the law. It was agreed that when the law was tabled in 2000 for the first time, that a much broader review of the legislation was necessary.

Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) said engagements should be separated if there were specific areas of focus with regard to the different presentations. The Department should respond to all areas of the submissions made so that the Committee could engage in what was expected of them as Members.

The Chair explained that issues brought forward by, in particular Black Sash and COSATU, were dealt with by NEDLAC. He stressed that the amendments were purely technical and would be discussed at a panel provided by NEDLAC to resolve those issues.

Mr Mkhonto said the discussions at NEDLAC were summarised in the document where it was agreed that a new legislation was piloted to address the challenging issues at the time. A comprehensive actuary review was conducted to look at all aspects of the legislation. He emphasised that only parties in NEDLAC raised issues. The Bill dealt with technical issues and that the process should not be used in the wider discussion, and so allow the amendment to go through. A process would then be set up to review and investigate whether the fund should be autonomous of part of the Department, and also deal with issues outside the extent of the Bill. He had been informed that the parties raising the issues were the same that signed the agreements.

The Chair said that there had not been enough time to research the amendments brought forward.

Mr S Pillay (NNP) said that issues brought forward be dealt with at another time and that the Committee should focus on the current Bill.

Mr Mshudulu said that the Committee should prepare a report reflecting that the Committee was sensitive to the issues raised. He asked when NEDLAC would be dealing with the issues aforementioned.

The Chair explained that the Committee communicated their own sentiments to the Minister regarding Black Sash, COSATU and Commission on Gender Equality, but that it was difficult to say when NEDLAC would deal with the issues.

He said that research should be conducted to assess the impacts of the amendments. He said that there were no additional amendments and that the Bill would be adopted as is.

Mr Pillay asked if a copy of the agreement could be made available for his own clarity.

Mr Mkhonto said that the agreement could be accessed in the records of Parliament.

The Chair passed a Motion of Desirability and amended the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001 as well as matters connected therewith. The Committee agreed to adopt the Bill as is and the Department would then deal with the other two concerns mentioned earlier.

Mr Mshudulu said that the areas of concern should be identified so that they were part of the report. These issues should be considered within NEDLAC. It should reflect that the Committee had noted issues raised.

Mr R Moropa (ANC) said he expected the Committee to deal with what was contained in the Bill.

The Chair then officially adopted the Committee Report on the Bill.

The meeting was adjourned.

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