Documents outstanding: Preliminary Report: Public Submissions
The Committee convened virtually to receive a preliminary report by the Committee Staff on the submissions that were received on the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill and the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill.
On the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, the Committee was informed that 76 written submissions were received from three organisations and 73 individuals; these were sent via email on a cut and paste template. Most of the submissions do not support the bill and do not provide substantive reasons why.
On the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill, Members were informed that submissions were also mainly received from organisations that are part of the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum and that the submissions were similar/duplicated.
On the processing of the two amendment bills, Members were told that the Bills are not related and proposed that the Committee deals with the legislations separately, starting with the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill.
The Committee also supported the proposal to have public hearings and conclude the adoption process of the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill during the third term and then commence with the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should invite the Department and the relevant entities to provide further briefings on the issues of exports and auctions as part of processing the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill.
Opening Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson officially opened the virtual meeting and said that the meeting is a preparatory meeting for the facilitation of the public participation on the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill and the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill. The Chairperson said that youth month should recognise and commemorate the youth of 1976, especially from Morris Isaacson High School and Naledi High School, who played a role in ushering a new dawn in South Africa by defying the apartheid regime. The killing of Hector Pieterson had the entire country and the world fighting side-by-side against the apartheid campaign. The current youth should also be aware of the youth in Palestine who continue to live under a brutal regime and that the Zionist Apartheid Regime of Israel has killed 66 children in Palestine. The Chairperson named the 66 children who were killed by this regime and called on the youth of South Africa to use this youth month to call on the President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, to shut down the South African embassy in Tel Aviv and to expel the ambassador in South Africa. With this said, the Committee Chairperson asked for the presentation on the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill to be made.
Briefing by the Committee Support Staff
Dr Tshililo Manenzhe, Content Advisor, Portfolio Committee Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development, said that focus was on the two pieces of legislation: the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill and the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill, which were received. The purpose of the presentation is not to engage in the process of the bills but to present the preliminary report on the submissions that were received. These submissions will help the Committee to make decisions on how to proceed with the bill engagements. He said that the stakeholders should be given an opportunity to appear before the Committee to make oral submissions so that the Committee can engage with the stakeholders. The actual submissions have been forwarded to the Committee Members for any future engagements.
On the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, he said that 76 written submissions were received from three organisations and 73 individuals; these were sent via email on a cut and paste template. Most of the submissions do not support the bill and do not provide substantive reasons why. The only substantive ones were those from the organisations, namely the Law Society of South Africa, the Western Cape Provincial Minister of Human Settlements and the Legal Resource Centre. The Sectional Titles amendments are mostly technical and mainly affect people in sectional title schemes, unit owners and developers. The sectional titles do not affect people in communal areas, which would explain why there was not much interest from many South Africans. He said that the proposal is that in the next stage of engagements the Committee must apply its mind in the way forward, which could include extending invitations to organisations that provided substantive issues to engage with the Committee.
On the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill, he said that submissions were also mainly received from organisations that are part of the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum and that the submissions were similar/duplicated. The majority of the inputs were in relation to the relevance of the Bill to the export industry when the principle Act was developed. He said that the Bill is being questioned by stakeholders on why they are disregarded and why their submissions were not considered. The Committee must engage with these stakeholders so that they can make their submissions orally. On the way forward, he said that briefings should be held by the Committee with experts in the fresh produce industry to brief the Committee on the current state of affairs and the status on the legislation, because the Committee needs to be aware of the shortfalls and weaknesses of the legislation. He said that there were some organisations that displayed interest in making oral submissions to the Committee while others were invited because of the substantive reasoning in their submissions. On the processing of the two amendment bills, he said that the Bills are not related and proposed that the Committee deals with the legislations separately, starting with the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill. He proposed this because the Sectional Title submissions were received early and that the next term of Parliament is in August, which is not short, so the processing of the bills might not be completed.
Ms Phumla Nyamza, Committee Secretary, Committee, proposed that the Committee dedicates the three weeks in August 2020 to the Sectional Title Amendment Bill and that there are five-six meetings to deal with the Bill. The first two meetings will be on the briefing by the Department; the third meeting will be on the public participation where Members will receive the inputs from the organisations that submitted submissions. After the hearings, the Content Advisor, Researchers and Legal Services will give Members their opinion and analysis on the submissions. The deliberations by the Committee will then take place in the fourth meetings and adoptions will take place. On the last day of adopting the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, the programme to deal with the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment bill and the Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) will commence.
The Chairperson asked for the Committee’s inputs on the proposal that was made to have the public participation process during the three weeks of the third term of Parliament.
Ms M Tlhape (ANC) appreciated the presentation and agreed with the proposal that the two amendment bills be dealt with separately because the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill is less complicated for the Committee to deal with. She also supported the proposal that interest groups and organisations that have made submissions should be targeted to make submissions on the Sectional Titles because it would not benefit the Committee if the whole country has to be encouraged to participate in something that is not of interest. She also supported the suggestion to deal with the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill at a later stage because more information is required by the Committee, especially on the export issues and auctions. The three weeks are enough to deal with the Sectional Titles Amendment because the Committee still has other issues it has to deal with.
Ms A Steyn (DA) supported the proposal to engage with the interested groups and organisations and asked whether Perishable Produce Export Control Board (PPECB) could come and speak to the Committee on the questions of exports in the fresh produce markets. She said that a virtual platform for the submissions should be done; if not, then a few offices in the surrounding communities could be made available for the submissions to be made. She raised concerns that there is more legislation for the Committee, which is not being discussed, and said that all the legislations concerning the Committee must have set programmes so that they can be dealt with.
Ms N Mahlo (ANC) welcomed the presentation and supported the suggestions that were mentioned that Ms Tlhape and for the public participation to take place in the following term.
Ms T Mbabama (DA) supported the proposal that was made to start with Sectional Titles Amendment Bill and said that more attention needs to be focused on the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill. She suggested a full oversight on the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill and full public participation because of emerging farmers.
Mr N Capa (ANC) supported the proposal for the amendment bills to be dealt with separately and said that people may be directly affected by a legislation but do not show interest. He asked for the relation between the interested people and the affected people. On the similar/duplicated inputs, he asked for clarity on who the main influencer is. Is it the mother body or the lower organisations influencing the mother body? He also asked for clarity on the input that was made by the Minister in the Western Cape and the capacity that the input was made.
Mr N Masipa (DA) supported the proposals that were made and said that it is important to have an oversight visit at the fresh produce markets. There is a need to engage with the fresh produce farmers from a food security perspective. He also supported that the amendment bills are dealt with separately and oversight on the different zones in the Foot and Mouth Disease, which has affected people. Biosecurity has to be one of the focus areas of the Committee during oversight.
The Chairperson said that the presentation suggested that the Committee should invite the Department and the relevant entities to provide further briefings on the issues of exports and auctions as part of processing the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill. The suggestion will be considered by the Committee.
Dr Manenzhe said that some suggestions will have to be included into the programme on the other legislations that the Committee has to deal with. On the issues of biosecurity and Foot and Mouth Disease, he said that time can be set aside to include the issue in the programme.
On the capacity of the provincial Minister’s input, he said that a submission was submitted with the letterhead of the provincial Department so it is in the capacity of the provincial minister.
On the relation between affected and interested people, he said that that it is a tricky relation because an individual may be affected by a piece of legislation but not know about it; so, it may not interest that individual. Some people are affected but do not have the means to engage, while some are not affected but are interested.
On the entity with influence, he said that it is difficult to respond to the question because when a decision is taken and a similar approach is followed, it is difficult to determine who influenced who.
On the public participation approach in the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill, he said that additional briefings should be held with the Department and experts in the field.
On the relation between affected and interested people, Ms Nontobeko Qwabe, Parliamentary Researcher, said that there is increased regulation on the fresh produce agents, exports and livestock auctioneers, and with an increased regulation, there is an increased cost attached. Most stakeholders felt that the agents would have to pass on the cost to producers/farmers or consumers. She said that the interested parties are the agents but the affected parties are the farmers and the consumers.
On the entities influencing decisions, she said that organisations cannot be spoken for but there is cohesion.
On the relation between affected and interested, Ms Tembisa Pepeteka, Parliamentary Researcher, said that part of the submissions was from the Legal Resource Centre, which was on behalf of the people that are affected by the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill.
On the entities influencing each other, Ms Nokuzola Mgxashe, Content Advisor, Committee, said that it is not about the organisations affecting each other but rather a matter of association of the organisations. She highlighted that in the fruit industry, there might be similarities on basic issues but the citrus industry might have additional issues than the rest of the forum. Similar presentations are normal but the Committee can engage with those stakeholders. The Bill is not about fresh produce only but the principle act was meant for fresh produce agents, although the Amendment Bill is adding export and livestock agents.
The Chairperson asked the Committee secretariat about the way forward and the programme for the three weeks in the third term.
Ms Nyamza said that the Committee will have public hearings followed by an analysis from the Content Advisors, Researchers and Legal Services. Deliberations will be done clause by clause on the issues presented by the content advisors.
The Chairperson said that an updated calendar for the third term will be expected from the secretariat so that the Committee can prepare ahead of time and information is expected from Ms Govender on the public participation.
Ms Nyamza asked whether the public hearings will be done virtually or in Parliament.
The Chairperson said that the increasing numbers of COVID-19 and the shift from lockdown level one to level two means that there needs to be adjustments but the situation will be monitored until August 2021. There is flexibility to travel but if there is a hard lockdown then virtual public hearings will have to be held. The Committee will be notified on any changes concerning the public hearings.
The minutes of the 26th of May 2021 were considered and adopted.
Mr Capa said that there was a lot of emphasis by the Committee on the farmers expecting to be funded forever and that the farmers should be self-sustainable. He said that there was a misunderstanding on stopping programme and terminating the contract.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to include the issue raised by Mr Capa in the deliberations.
Ms Nyamza said bullet 2.4.2 under section five clearly includes the deliberation on the matter raised by Mr Capa.
The Chairperson said that the issue was on the termination of funding to farmers and that a relocation will be done.
Mr Masipa said that it should be clearly stated that the financial support to farmers is not forever and said that this would be outlined in the service level agreement.
Dr Manenzhe said that the point on the funding was captured under sustainability in the minutes and on the abrupt stopping of funding is on page two, bullet two.
The meeting was adjourned.
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