Municipal Systems Amendment Bill: deliberations

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

02 September 2003
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Meeting report

LOCAL & PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 September 2003
MUNICIPAL SYSTEMS AMENDMENT BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Documents handed out
Local Government: Municipal Systems Amendment Bill [B49-2003]
Final amendments to the Bill
Committee Report on Municipal Systems Amendment Bill

SUMMARY
The Committee passed amendments to the Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act No. 32 of 2000). Amendments to the Act have been dogged by controversy prompting the Finance Portfolio Committee to hold joint sessions with its Provincial and Local counterpart to facilitate finalisation of the Bill. Indeed in its report to Parliament, the Committee calls for a need for greater co-ordination between ministers and departments before a Bill is introduced in Parliament to avoid contradictions between clauses.

MINUTES
The Municipal Systems Amendment Bill was unanimously passed after Mr Solo (ANC) proposed the vote and was seconded by Mr Mbongeni (ANC). The Chair then read the Committee's report to Parliament and the same was duly adopted. In the Report the Committee underscores the need for greater co-ordination between Ministers and departments before a Bill is introduced to parliament in order to forestall instances of contradictions between clauses.

Reflecting on its experience where it was forced to hold joint meetings with the Finance Portfolio Committee, the Committee in its report questions the extent to which a Portfolio Committee can amend legislation processed by another Portfolio Committee through the attachment of a schedule to the Bill.

The Committee also underscored the urgent need to address the governance aspects of municipal entities in a comprehensive manner noting that the current provisions of the law envisage municipal entities, in all its various forms, to be created to provide municipal services.

The Committee noted that there is a need for more information on, and a better understanding of, the number and range of municipal entities that currently exist in order to empower members to play their oversight role more effectively.

The Committee pointed out that it was aware of SALGA's concerns and that in response to this it has moved to strengthen provisions that would ensure that municipalities are accountable to councils without having to serve as directors. It called on the departments of Local and Provincial Governments and the National Treasury to supply municipalities with standardised formats in terms of which to report to them.

The Committee drew the attention of Parliament to the thorny issue of remuneration for municipal managers and called for investigation to establish whether indeed it was constitutionally possible for the Minister to issue regulations in this regard. In the same vein the Committee urged municipalities that have not finalised employment and performance contracts with municipal managers to do so as soon as possible. The Committee called on the Department of Provincial and Local Government to submit to it the report commissioned by the Minister on municipal managers' remuneration within eight weeks.

The Committee in particular reported on the difficulties it encountered in processing the Bill due mainly to time constraints and other considerations. The Committee however acknowledged and expressed appreciation to the Finance Portfolio Committee to the extent it was able to co-operate with it.

The meeting was adjourned.

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