In this virtual meeting, the Select Committee on Health and Social Services (the Committee) met to discuss the provincial negotiating mandates on the Social Services Amendment Bill (the Bill).
The Committee received all 9 mandates, all of which were in support of the Bill – with proposed amendments from the Free State and Western Cape.
The Committee noted the importance of the bill and that it can make a difference in the lives of the ordinary people of South Africa.
The Committee was informed that it is in its fifth week of the six-week cycle for processing the Bill. The next and final process would be for members of the legislature to go back and produce a final mandate based on the outcome of the meeting. In the final meeting – scheduled for next week - the Committee would then report on the Bill and send it off to the President for assent.
The Chairperson opened the meeting and asked Members to observe a moment of silence as they had lost the Committee Assistant, over the past weekend. She read through the agenda for the meeting and welcomed everybody to the meeting. The Committee had come a long way with the amendments to the Social Assistance Amendment Bill. It was a privilege and honour to get to the stage where the Committee could get the mandates from all provinces so that they could finish the business of this very important Bill and make a difference in the lives of the ordinary people of South Africa. She asked that the agenda be adopted.
Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga) moved for the adoption of the agenda.
Ms S Luthuli (EFF, KwaZulu-Natal) seconded the adoption of the agenda.
The Chairperson asked if there were any apologies.
Ms Marcelle Williams, Committee Secretary, indicate that she had not received any apologies and all Members were present.
The Chairperson added that apologies had been received from both the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Social Development.
She read the message that she had received from the Minister. The Minister would unfortunately not be able to attend the Select Committee meeting on 7 October 2020 as she would be attending the extended cabinet lekgothla. The Minister noted the importance of the Bill, which sought to assist and provide a comprehensive legal solution to the foster care crisis in the county in combination with the Children’s Amendment Bill. The Minister wished the meeting well as the provinces finalised their provincial mandates. She asked that the Committee accept the apology and well wishes of the Minister.
The Chairperson noted that all provinces were supposed to give their mandate this morning and asked Ms Williams to provide an update in this regard.
Ms Williams noted that mandates had been received from all of the provinces. The Committee was still waiting for Ms S Lehihi (EFF, North West) to connect and the province of KwaZulu-Natal was still struggling to send through their signed mandate.
The Chairperson asked Members to read to the Committee the mandates that they had received from their different provinces.
Social Assistance Amendment Bill: Negotiating Mandates
Ms N Kontsiwe (ANC), Chairperson: Social Development, Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature Committee, said that the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature had held a hearing on the mandate. The mandate was that the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature supported the Bill and mandated the Eastern Cape delegate to negotiate in favour of the adoption of the Bill.
Mr I Ntsube (ANC, Free State) indicated that the Portfolio Committee on Education, Health and Social Services, as designated by the Free State Provincial Legislature, voted in favour of the Bill with the following amendments: Section 18 of the Bill was to be amended to make provision for members of the Tribunal to have the necessary expertise, of which one was to be the gender-related issue in South Africa.
Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) mentioned that the Gauteng Provincial Legislature had held meetings on the bill. In both meetings it came to the fore that the Gauteng Provincial Legislature supported the principles and details of the Bill and therefore voted in favour thereof.
Ms Maleka said that in Mpumalanga their Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development supported the Bill. The consensus was that the Bill was to be voted in favour of without any proposed amendments.
Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC, Limpopo) said that the Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development, having considered the Bill and taking into consideration the inputs and views of stakeholders, hereby conferred the negotiating mandate to their National Council of Provinces (NCOP) permanent delegate to negotiate in favour of the Bill. Thus, Limpopo was in favour of the Bill.
Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) mentioned that the Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development of the Northern Cape had deliberated on the Bill and discussed it in detail. The Portfolio Committee agreed to accept the amendments to the Bill.
North West discussion
Ms Luthuli indicated that Ms Lehihi was on her way to the doctor and could possibly not hear the Committee but was connected.
The Chairperson asked if there was anyone from the North West Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development connected, if Ms S Lehihi (EFF, North West) could not hear the Committee.
Mr Nchabeleng thought that somebody from the North West Provincial Legislature could present on behalf of Ms Lehihi.
The Chairperson noted that this was possible but had wondered if there was no one from the North West Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development present. If Ms Lehihi was having difficulty with her signal, another Member could also read the mandate from the North West because it was sent to everybody. She asked if Ms Luthuli could get the mandate from the North West ready and read it to the Committee.
Ms Luthuli said that she had the KwaZulu-Natal mandate but had not received the other provinces’ mandates.
The Chairperson stated that KwaZulu-Natal’s mandate was not signed. She asked Ms Luthuli to check with Ms Williams so that she could read Ms Lehihi’s mandate from the North West and then continued onto the Western Cape’s mandate.
The Chairperson stated that Standing Committee on Social Development, having considered the subject of the Bill, referred to the Committee, in accordance with the Standing Rule 217, conferred on the Western Cape’s delegation in the NCOP, the authority to support the Bill with amendments. The Standing Committee proposed amendments, which meant that the mandate of the Western Cape was also in support of the Bill. She believed that the legal department had received all of the reports, so she was not going to read through the report.
Ms Luthuli said that the North West met on 23 September 2020 and voted in favour of the Bill.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had received 8 out of 9 mandates, which provided it with a quorum. In terms of KwaZulu-Natal, she knew that Ms Luthuli was disappointed. KwaZulu-Natal had met and supported the Bill but because their mandate was not signed it could not be accepted as it would then be an illegal mandate. Ms Williams and herself had struggled with KwaZulu-Natal that morning in order to get them to send the Committee their signed mandate. However, up until now, the Committee had not received this. This meant that the Bill was supported by 8 out of 9 provinces and the Committee could then progress to the next level of approving the Bill.
Ms G Swartbooi-Ntombela (ANC), Chairperson: Social Development, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature Committee, said that she had just sent the signed KZN negotiating mandate. She did not know why it had not yet reached the Committee but her coordinator had told her that it had since been sorted.
The Chairperson checked with Ms Williams and asked if she had received KwaZulu-Natal’s signed mandate.
Ms Williams said that she had received nothing and that the coordinator also said that they had received nothing as yet.
The Chairperson asked the legal team to take the Committee forward, as perhaps the signed mandate was still on its way.
Mr Nathi Mjenxane, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, had no additions to the process as had been handled. There were no legal concerns as the legal team was quite satisfied that processes were in order and in line with the rules.
The Chairperson said that anybody who wanted to add anything was free to do so. She thanked the different Members deployed to their provinces and representing such provinces in the Committee for the sterling job done. She also thanked the chairpersons of all provinces.
Ms Williams added that the mandate for KwaZulu-Natal had just been received. She asked if she could send it to Ms Luthuli.
The Chairperson said that Ms Williams could do so. She had played for a lot of time this morning so that the Committee could have all of the mandates. While the Committee waited, she continued with the word of thanks, thanking the members of the different portfolio committees in the different provinces for their sterling job under the difficult circumstances of Covid-19 still being faced. The amendments to the Bill were of such importance to all Members and it would make life so much easier for the poorest of the poor families in the country, as it would assist Members in assisting the poor families in foster care and other areas. It was a difficult process and long journey, but today it could be that the Committee had made it. She thanked the staff members of the different provinces and NCOP staff who worked on the process, as well as Ms Swartbooi-Ntombela for all of her efforts that morning.
Ms Luthuli said that KwaZulu-Natal had met on 6 October 2020 and agreed in support of the Bill.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had 9 out of 9 mandates, and that all mandates were in support of the Bill.
The Chairperson asked for any responses from the chairperson of any province.
Ms Kontsiwe stated that the Bill had been supported by all provinces. The Eastern Cape believed and hoped that this would change the lives of the poor for the best.
Mr G Bosman (DA), Chairperson: Social Development, Western Cape Provincial Legislature, said that the Western Cape also supported the Bill and had made some amendments. He asked that it be clarified what the process would be going forward in terms of the amendments. He thanked the Chairperson personally for the work she had done, as well as for her time and leadership, specifically for the time taken out to brief the Western Cape and making sure that members of the community understood the impact of the Bill.
Ms Swartbooi-Ntombela said that it had been difficult for her to send the negotiating mandate. She apologised for any inconvenience and added that KwaZulu-Natal fully supported the Bill. There was also a report sent to the Chairperson which accompanied the negotiating mandate and asked that the NCOP look at this report as there were some policy issues, although not exactly touching on the Bill.
The Chairperson confirmed that the report would be looked into.
Mr Nchabeleng added that the same would apply for all of the other provinces where there were comments, as some things would be covered in regulations and others covered elsewhere as the Act is implemented. All of the comments would be considered when the rules and regulations are made.
The Chairperson asked Ms Williams to explain to all Members what the process was that would now be followed.
Ms Williams said that the Committee was now in its fifth week of the six-week cycle of processing the Bill. The final process would be for members of the legislature to go back and produce a final mandate based on the outcome of this meeting. In the final meeting the Committee would then report on the Bill and the Bill would be sent off to the President for assent. It was envisaged that the Committee have its final meeting the following week on 14 October 2020 at the same time and same place.
The Chairperson hoped that Ms Williams’ response answered Mr Bosman and the other chairpersons of other provinces. She thanked everyone for their input and hard work.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Social Assistance Amendment Bill [B8B-2018]
- Gauteng Province Negotiating Mandate
- Eastern Cape Negotiating Mandate
- Free State Negotiating mandate
- KZN Negotiating Mandate
- Limpopo Negotiating mandate
- Mpumalanga Negotiating mandate
- Northern Cape Negotiating mandate
- North West Negotiating mandate
- Western Cape Negotiating mandate
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