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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
11 February 2004
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT SECOND AMENDMENT BILL; RIEMVASMAAK COMMUNITY MELKBOSRAND DEPROCLAMATION: VOTING
Chairperson Ms G Mahlangu ANC
Documents handed out
National Environment Management Second Amendment Bill
The Committee unanimously approved both the National Environment Management Second Amendment Bill and the Riemvasmaak Community Melkbosrand Deproclamation. The Chairperson explained that the suspension of two National Assembly Rules would now allow the Committee to continue with incomplete legislation after the election (similar to the process after any recess).
Ms Mahlangu said the Committee was scheduled to consider the Riemvasmaak Community in Melkbosrand Land deproclamation. She explained that the Committee had already considered all the relevant issues and simply had to vote on the matter. However a procedural error had delayed the voting process. The Riemvasmaak Deproclamation request had been sent to the previous Parliament for consideration but they had failed to finalise the issue. It had to be resubmitted to enable the current parliament to consider the deproclamation request. The Committee had only to approve and then send their report to the National Assembly, as there were no amendments to be considered.
The Committee had unfortunately not reached a quorum at that stage of the meeting and was compelled to await the arrival of more members to complete the voting process. Ms Mahlangu added that the NEMA Second Amendment Bill also needed only Committee approval, as the Committee was unanimous that no further discussion would be required.
She was very pleased to announce that 2.9.8. and 3.1.6 of the National Assembly Rules had been suspended that would now allow the Committee to continue with incomplete legislation after the election (similar to the process after any recess). She felt compelled to consider the considerable amendments proposed to the Air Quality Bill, as various stakeholders and the Committee had worked industriously on these amendments. Consequently, an amended version of the Air Quality Bill would be sent to all stakeholders for their consideration.
The envisaged study tours into areas discussed in the Public Hearing and others affected by Air Pollution could also now be considered pending the Committee's discretion.
The Committee took a ten-minute break while waiting for more members to achieve a quorum.
National Environment Management Second Amendment Bill: Department briefing
Mr W Fourie, Director of Environmental Impact Management, said that he was preparing an updated presentation on the Second Amendment Bill and apologised for its incomplete state as he had not anticipated this request. The new issues in the Bill included the expansion of definitions on 'competent authorities' and 'environmental authorisation'. Regulations pertaining to the request for financial security and application fees were also included in the Bill. (For further details, see presentation attached.)
Mr J Le Roux (DA) said he would prefer to consult his Party Caucus concerning the suspension of the above mentioned National Assembly rules. Mr E Moorcroft (DA) added that they were in the dark on the suspension of the NA rules, although it did seem a sensible course of action. He said they would be sticking their necks out if they agreed to continue without the consent of their party caucus. He agreed in principle with the suspension of these rules.
Ms Mahlangu said all parties had consented to the suspension of these rules and requested a copy of the ATC to ease the concerns of the two members. A number of changes to the Committee schedule would now occur: the meeting scheduled for the 13 February would fall away but the planned Summit on Nuclear Energy would go ahead as planned. She had previously requested research be conducted on nuclear energy and the disposal of nuclear waste. The Summit would take place on the 16 and 17 February 2004 and would conclude with a Declaration by the participants. Scientists both for and against nuclear energy would be in attendance. The function would probably not take place in Parliament, as this would incur additional overtime costs for support staff.
Ms Mahlangu said the meeting scheduled for the 20th February 2004 was cancelled because the Committee would deal with the Deproclamation of the Riemvasmaak community during the meeting at hand. The last Committee meetings would be on 16 and 17 February on the Nuclear Energy Summit.
Ms Mahlangu read the relevant section of the ATC to the Committee to assure the DA members that their party had consented to the suspension of the aforementioned rules.
Mr Moorcroft proposed that one of their party members be called in to complete the Committee quorum. Ms Mahlangu agreed
Ms Z Adhikari (Parliamentary Officer DEAT) objected in private to the Chairperson, saying the DA had only two votes on the Committee and both were present at the meeting - another party's member was required to achieve a quorum.
Mr Moorcroft said in the olden days when they required more sailors for a voyage, a group of men would go to the pubs and kidnap drunken patrons, who would then wake up on board a sailing vessel already at sea the next morning. He jokingly suggested perhaps Parliament should adopt this approach to achieve a quorum!
An additional member of Parliament joined the meeting and the Committee immediately started the voting process:
The Committee unanimously approved the Nema Second Amendment Bill without amendments .
The Committee unanimously approved the Melkbosrand Riemvasmaak Deproclamation without amendments
Mr Moorcroft took the opportunity to bid farewell to the Committee as he would not return after the elections. He expressed his deep appreciation on behalf of the opposition, for the manner in which Ms Mahlangu had conducted Committee affairs. He said she had been an exemplary chairperson who kept party politics at bay, while the Committee produced legislation that everyone could be proud of.
Mr R September (ANC) said he could only echo Mr Moorcroft's sentiments and that he would also be sad to leave the Committee after the forthcoming elections.
The meeting was adjourned
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