The Committee received a total of seven Final Mandates from provinces on the National Land Transport Amendment Bill. Six of the seven provinces voted in favour of the Bill. The Western Cape Province was the only province to have voted against the Bill. Final mandates from the Free State and North West Provinces at the time of the meeting had not been received. The Bill was thus adopted as amended and the Committee Report reflected so. The Committee Report would reflect that the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) had concerns about the constitutionality of the Bill. The amended Bill being a section 76 Bill would have to be referred back to the sixth parliament’s National Assembly (NA) for consideration.
The Committee felt it prudent to make recommendations in its Legacy Report that would be useful to its successor in the sixth parliament. Some of the recommendations suggested by members to parliament included removing obstacles that prevented committees from going on study tours and that members of National Council of Provinces (NCOP) committees should participate in study groups that their counterparts in the NA had with departments. Other recommendations included the induction for members of parliament on rules, practices, and systems of committees as well as on law making processes as the training currently did not suffice. Members also had to know procedures around section 74, 75 and 76 bills. Members questioned whether Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and Annual Reports (AR) were dealt with properly by committees given the numbers of departments and entitities that it was required to do oversight over. Members even went so far as to recommend that there was a need for a total overhaul of the NCOP. Even the oversight model used by the NCOP had to be overhauled.The Chairperson encouraged members in the meantime to submit further recommendations on the Legacy Report which would be considered on 26 March 2019. The Committee was expected to finalise the Legacy Report on said day.
The Committee Report on its Oversight Visit to Limpopo Province was adopted as amended and the Committee Report on its Oversight Report to KwaZulu-Natal Province was adopted unamended.
Consideration of Provincial Final Mandates on the National Land Transport Amendment Bill
The Chairperson stated that the North West Province would provide its Final Mandate on the Bill the next day 20 March 2019. The Free State Province would only furnish its Final Mandate on 22 March 2019.
Eastern Cape Province
Mr L Magwebu (DA, Eastern Cape) stated that the Eastern Provincial Legislature had voted in favour of the Bill.
Mr E Makue (ANC, Gauteng) said that the Gauteng Provincial Legislature had voted in favour of the Bill.
Mr J Mthethwa (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) stated that the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature had voted in favour of the Bill.
Ms M Dikgale (ANC, Limpopo) said that the Limpopo Provincial Legislature had voted in favour of the Bill.
In the absence of a delegate from the Province, Mr B Nthebe (ANC, North West) read out the Final Mandate which said that the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature had voted in favour of the Bill.
Northern Cape Province
Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) stated that the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature had voted in favour of the Bill.
Western Cape Province
Mr O Terblanche (DA, Western Cape) stated the Western Cape Provincial Legislature did not support the Bill. The Province had in its Negotiating Mandate supported the Bill but due to the constitutionality concerns raised by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Province had decided not to support the Bill.
The Chairperson pointed out that seven final mandates had been received from provinces. Six of the Final Mandates were in favour of the Bill whilst one was against. The Free State and North West Provinces’ Final Mandates were still awaited. Given that the majority of provinces had voted in favour of the Bill the Bill was adopted.
Mr Faber asked whether members would be allowed to deliberate on the Bill.
The Chairperson responded that members would not be allowed to deliberate on the Bill as it was a section 76 Bill. He noted that when the Bill went to the House, provinces would be able to make declarations on the Bill. The Committee would however at present go through the Bill clause by clause.
Mr Faber asked what the point of going through the Bill clause by clause was if members could not make inputs on it.
The Chairperson asked the Parliamentary Legal Advisers Office to speak on the process that the Committee was engaged in.
Ms Noluthando Mpikashe, Parliamentary Constitutional and Legal Services Office, responded that there was nothing in legislation which spoke to the process. The Committee had to deal with the Bill as it deemed fit in terms of current practice.
Mr Makue observed that there were National Council of Provinces (NCOP) rules in place. In terms of Rule 171(2) there was a process in place that guided the Committee. Going through the clauses was purely to refresh members’ memory on the amendments that had been effected on the Bill. If members felt that there was no need to go through the Bill clause by clause then the Chairperson could give a directive in this regard. He suggested that Rule 171(2) be followed.
Mr Faber suggested that the Chairperson only read out provisions where amendments were made to the Bill.
Committee Report on the Bill
The Chairperson responded that the Committee had already dealt with the amendments to the Bill in the C-list of amendments. The Bill was comprehensive and he would no longer read out its clauses as there was no need to. He proceeded to read out the Report of the Committee on the Bill and Committee agreed to the Bill with amendments.
Mr Faber, on the amendments to the Bill, said that SALGA was of the opinion that the Bill should have gone back to the National Assembly as there was no need to rush the Bill. He wished for it to be placed on record that members of the DA did not agree with the Report of the Committee.
Mr Makue said that there were two things that the Committee had accepted. The first was the Report of the Committee and second was the amendment to the Bill. He suggested that in the Report of the Committee the concerns of SALGA be recorded and that it also reflect that the NCOP had received twelve submissions on the Bill.
Mr Faber said that if the Committee Report reflected the concerns of the SALGA then the DA agreed to the Report of the Committee. If the Report did not reflect the concerns of SALGA then the DA disagreed with the Report. He accepted that on the Bill itself the DA could not comment on it.
The Chairperson reiterated that the Bill was a section 76 Bill and that the DA could make a declaration in the House on the Bill. The Committee Report could not state that the DA disagreed on the Bill. If however the Bill was a section 75 Bill then a minority report would be allowed.
The Committee agreed to its Report as amended inclusive of the suggestions made by Mr Makue.
Councillor Bheke Stofile, SALGA National Executive Committee (NEC) Member, observed that the Committee Report was not explicit on the concerns of local government but was nevertheless satisfied with the suggestion by Mr Makue. SALGA had felt the Bill to be unconstitutional and this was not reflected in the Report. This view should be reflected in the Report.
The Chairperson responded that the concern of the SALGA was reflected in the Committee Report and that issues raised were reflected in the C-list of amendments.
Mr Faber reiterated that if the concern of the SALGA was reflected in the Committee Report then the DA had no problem with the Report.
Mr Makue said that the Bill being a section 76 Bill and having been amended needed to go back to the National Assembly(NA).
Mr Faber asked since the Bill was amended whether it would go back to the National Assembly.
The Chairperson confirmed that the Bill would go back to the National Assembly. The Bill would be tabled in the House on 28 March 2019 and thereafter go back to the National Assembly in the sixth parliament.
Committee Report on Oversight Visit to Limpopo Province
The Chairperson took the Committee through the Report page by page.
The Committee effected spelling and grammatical changes to the Report.
The Committee adopted the Report as amended.
Mr Makue asked why it had taken so long for the Committee to consider the Report considering that the oversight visit had taken place around mid 2018.
Ms Grace Dinizulu, Committee Secretary, responded that ten days after the oversight visit had been concluded a draft report had been forwarded to members for comment . To date no comment had been received from members and hence this was the reason for the delay.
Committee Report on Oversight Visit to KwaZulu-Natal Province
The Chairperson also proceeded to take the Committee through the Report page by page.
Mr Makue was pleased that the Chairperson had followed up on projects that the Committee had visited.
The Committee adopted the Report unamended.
Legacy Report of the Committee on its activities undertaken during the fifth parliament (May 2014 – March 2019)
The Committee agreed that the Report was quite comprehensive and it would be a laborious task to go through it page by page.
Mr Makue suggested that the Committee focus on the recommendations made in the Report as lessons to be learnt.
The Committee agreed.
The Chairperson said that after the Legacy Report was adopted it would be submitted to the Sixth Parliament’s Select Committee. He said that perhaps it was a good idea for Committee Staff to draft a legacy report in terms of each of the departments that the Committee did oversight over. This would be helpful for the Committee’s successor.
The Committee proceeded to deal with recommendations.
Mr Makue said that the NCOP had less members than the NA and it would almost seem as though NA issues were imposed on the NCOP. He suggested that at least one member of the Committee participate in at least one study group of the NA in relation to a particular department. This would allow the member to better understand the dynamics of that department. He added that a way needed to be found to improve communications between the NCOP and the NA on the work of departments. He had sat in on a study group with the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Mr Faber agreed that it was a good suggestion. He remarked that if the Portfolio Committee on Transport had worked with the SALGA on the issues that it had a problem with then the Committee would not have been in a position that it was at present. The NCOP had not been the rubberstamp of the NA. Better communication was needed.
Mr Nthebe pointed out that study groups were party political platforms. The functionalities of study groups were important. He said that his political party would decide which study groups he should attend.
Mr Faber understood what Mr Nthebe was saying. He did believe that there was a need for apolitical study groups where members could apply their minds. There should be study groups where NA and NCOP members could interact on a particular portfolio.
Mr Makue said if it was done correctly then the functioning of parliament could improve.
Mr Nthebe said that members needed to remember that the NA and the NCOP were independent of each other. He felt that study groups were party political and should be left as such.
Mr Makue also raised concerns over study tours in parliament as something was wrong. Committees were hardly given opportunity to go on study tours. The Committee itself always faced obstacles when it came to study tours. For instance when the Committee was supposed to undertake a study tour to Norway arrangements were not done even though the Norwegians expected the Committee. In the five year term of the Committee there had only been one study tour. He proposed that efforts be made to remove the obstacles that hampered study tours from taking place.
The Chairperson, adding to the recommendation by Mr Makue on study tours, said that members should be able to compare experiences and specific issues when they went abroad. For instance, if there was an issue around harbours then members should compare harbours abroad with those in SA. He encouraged members to add recommendations to the Report when the Committee next met on 26 March 2019.
Councillor Stofile asked since the inception of the Fifth Parliament what the Committee had achieved locally and internationally. Study tours were intended to exchange views and experiences. In terms of the Committee’s legacy he asked what the Committee had done to assist local government. The NCOP was supposed to assist local government in terms of its constitutional directive.
The Chairperson responded that Councillor Stofile raised important points but noted that there were challenges. He said that the tendency was for the Committee to leave local government issues in the hands of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance. He was aware that when the Committee for instance looked at transport it needed to consider municipal transport. In addition the Economic Development Department needed to take local economic development into consideration. He suggested that Mr Stofile or SALGA, as the custodian of local government, should bring up issues in meetings and with departments. He reiterated that members should think about recommendations that could be added to the Report. What ideas did members have around follow up on oversight visits? He said that issues identified by members in the Annual Performance Plans (APPs) of departments should be brought up during oversight visits. Issues should be raised with people on the ground. Members should check whether departments dealt with issues. On legislation the sixth parliament should provide induction for members of the Committee on rules, practices, and systems of the Committee as well as on law making processes. There should be clarity over these issues. Members should know procedures around section 74, section 75 and section 76 bills. He also asked whether Committees were dealing with Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and Annual Reports properly. There were so many departments and entities to deal with. For the Committee there were six departments and 31 entities. What could be done differently? He asked members to come up with recommendations by 26 March 2019.
Mr Nthebe asked whether the Committee would have sufficient time to deal with the Report. He suggested that there needed to be a total overhaul of the NCOP. The processing time of Committee Reports also needed to be looked at. There also needed to be a total overhaul of the oversight model used by the NCOP. He noted that dealing with APPs seemed to be more of an academic exercise. He pointed out that the one days training for members was not sufficient. Committee staff could also make inputs on improving the oversight model.
The Chairperson agreed that there needed to be a broader discussion on the functioning of the NCOP as a whole. There should be timeframes on when oversight took place to when the reports were adopted and presented to the House. At present things were too open ended. No timeframes were set. He noted that sometimes chairpersons of committees were invited to Ministerial Members of Executive Committees (MinMECS) meetings. He felt that it ought to be a recommendation to the NCOP to institutionalise this arrangement. Chairpersons should interact with leaders of government business.
Mr Makue, with the SALGA being present in the meeting, said that on many occasions when members were on oversight councillors did not make themselves available. The Committee should perhaps request the manager of the Committee to table the recommendations that members made to the chairperson of the new select committee, so that the foundation that the Committee provided could be built on.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee should recommend that a workshop on the oversight model was needed. Another area that should be looked at was around how staff or rather research staff was allocated to committees. Often researchers had to go beyond their areas of expertise
when matters cropped up. They were expected to advise the Committee on many things.
Mr Nthebe pointed out that there might be limitations on what the staff complement was allowed to be. He noted that the NCOP also had a high turnover of members. How would Parliament be able to afford additional staff?
The meeting was adjourned.
- Joint oversight Report to Limpopo Province, Mopani District
- Joint oversight Report to KwaZulu-Natal, Ethekwini Metropolitan
- Committee Report on National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7D-2016]
- National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7A-2016]
- National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7B-2016]
- Western Cape Final Mandate
- Eastern Cape Final Mandate
- Mpumalanga Final Mandate
- Kawzulu Natal Final Mandate
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