Convention on International Civil Aviation Amendments; Road Traffic Regulations Amendment

NCOP Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure

15 June 2022
Chairperson: Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

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Proposed Amendment to National Road Traffic Regulations

In a virtual meeting, the Select Committee met to consider the Convention on International Civil Aviation Amendments, and an amendment to the National Road Traffic Act regulations.

The Department of Transport requested the Committee’s support for ratifying protocols relating to the amendment of Articles 50(a) and 56 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). It said that ratifying these protocols would benefit the country and Africa at large, considering that South Africa’s aspirations of moving from Part II to Part I would be possible once the protocols were ratified by the required number of contracting states, and had come into operation.

Members expressed their concern over the fact that it had taken six years to process the ratification, and that it had also taken six years to get 70 countries to ratify the protocols. They asked how much longer it would take the 58 countries to ratify. They wanted to know the difference between Part II and Part I, and how this would satisfy South Africa’s aspirations once the protocols were ratified.

The report was adopted, with seven Members voting in support.

The report on draft Regulation 116A in section 75(6) of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996, dated 15 June 2022, was presented to the meeting by the Committee Secretary, and was adopted.

Meeting report

Convention on International Civil Aviation Amendments
Ms Elizabeth Mpye, Chief Director: Aviation Unit and Regulation, Department of Transport (DoT), said that the purpose of the presentation was to request the Select Committee’s support on the ratification of protocols relating to the amendment of Articles 50(a) and 56 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).

Proposed amendments involved amending Article 50 (a) of the Convention to increase the size of the Council, from 36 to 40 members, and amending Article 56 to increase the membership of the Air Navigation Commission, from 19 to 21 members.

Ms Mpye said the amendments were necessary due to:
The large increase in the membership of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the expansion of international air transport for the national economies in many countries.
The current membership of the Council of the ICAO needed to strike a better balance due to the increased representation of contracting states.
Expertise and experience from diverse operational skills and knowledge could be drawn from new contracting states.
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The ratification of these protocols would benefit South Africa and Africa at large, considering that the country's aspirations of moving from Part II to Part I would be possible once the protocols were ratified by the required number of contracting states and had come into operation. Other African states would be accommodated in the ICAO Council, and, therefore, involved in developing the African air space. These protocols would come into force upon ratification by 128 states. To date, 70 ICAO contracting states have ratified the protocols.

Departments/stakeholders consulted included the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development;
the Department of International Relations and Cooperation; the Presidency; the economic sector, the Employment and Infrastructure Development (ESEID) and International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) clusters; Cabinet; and the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCOT).

It was recommended that the Select Committee consider and support the referral of these two protocols for consideration and approval by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Discussion
Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked why the Committee was receiving the presentation only now if the protocol had been adopted in 2016. The presentation had indicated that this was urgent. Would it be automatic for other African states to be accommodated in the ICAO Council should the membership be increased due to the ratification?

Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng) asked whether the blocs were represented in Africa equally, or if it was the five just drawn from Africa.

Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) said that having gone through the documents carefully and having consulted with colleagues in the Portfolio Committee that had ratified this, the DA supported the request from the Department of Transport.

The Chairperson asked what the difference was between Part II and Part I, as the presentation indicated that South Africa’s aspirations of moving from Part II to Part I would be possible once the protocols were ratified.

Responses
Ms Mpye responded that when the Department went to the ICAO Assembly held in 2016, the head of the delegation then had unfortunately been the Deputy Minister -- the Minister had not been there to ratify the convention. The Department had had to return home to start with the ratification process and had gone to various departments and stakeholders, which took a bit of time. This was why the Department had come to the Select Committee now.

There was no guarantee that other African states would be accommodated in the ICAO Council should the membership be increased. However, the view of the Department was that there was a better chance if all African states supported each other through the African Civil Aviation Commission, and vote for each other at the ICAO Assembly once the protocols were adopted.

The ICAO Council had three parts. Part one consisted of states of chief importance in air transport, while part two consisted of states with facilities for international civil air navigation. South Africa believed that it had exceeded its contribution in terms of civil aviation and should no longer be considered under part two, just based on its air navigation facilities. Therefore, South Africa regarded itself as a state with chief importance in air transport-related matters.

Mr Rayi expressed his concerns over the fact that it took six years to process the ratification and that it had also taken six years to get 70 countries to ratify. How long would it take the 58 countries to ratify, and how often did the Assembly meet?

Mr Zakhele Thwala, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Civil Aviation, DoT, replied that it was the hope of the Department that at the next Council meeting, there would be more countries ratifying as no one could control what the countries did. Indeed, it was acknowledged that it had taken a long time to process the ratification, and the Department accepted that it should not have taken this long.
Report of the Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure on the Protocols relating to the Amendments to Articles 50(a) and 56 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The Chairperson then put the matter to a vote by Members present in the meeting.

The report was adopted, with the following Members voting in support: Mr Rayi, Mr Dangor, Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State), Mr Brauteseth, Mr J Londt (DA, Western Cape), Ms S Boshoff (DA, Mpumalanga) and the Chairperson.

Road Traffic Regulations Amendment
The Chairperson said that the Committee had had a presentation from the Department on the draft Regulation 116A in section 75(6) of the National Road Traffic Act, and had also invited the legal advisor to assist in giving guidance.
Report of the Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure on Draft Regulation 116A in terms of section 75(6) of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996)
Mr Hlupheka Mtileni, Committee Secretary, took the Committee through its report on the draft regulation, which stated that having considered the subject, it had not agreed to the draft regulation.

He described the process followed by the Committee.

In terms of section 75(6) of the National Road Traffic Act, before the Minister made any regulation, the Minister may, if he or she deems it expedient, cause a draft of the proposed regulation to be published in the Gazette, together with a notice calling upon all interested persons to lodge in writing, and within a period specified in the notice, but not less than four weeks as from the date of publication of the notice, any objections or representations which they would like to raise or make, with the Director-General for submission to the Minister: Provided that, if the Minister thereafter decides to alter the draft regulation as a result of any objections or representations submitted thereafter, it shall not be necessary to publish such alterations before making the regulation.

Draft Regulation 116A was referred to the Committee on 22 April 2021.

The Department of Transport had briefed the Committee on 10 November 2021, and the
Committee had agreed that:
Members should take the draft regulation to their respective party caucuses for guidance.
The draft regulation should be sent back to the Department to incorporate issues raised by the Committee, and the Department should conduct further extensive consultations.
Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Services Office should be requested to provide a legal opinion on the constitutionality of section 32(3)(a) of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996), and whether the draft regulation was in line or in conflict with related Southern African Development Community (SADC) treaties.

On 23 April 2022, the Committee received and deliberated on the legal opinion from Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Services Office.

The Committee had welcomed the legal opinion and resolved that the Department of Transport withdraw the draft regulation and allow the parliamentary processes to amend the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996) to be completed. This would also cover the areas the draft regulation sought to address through the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill [B 7 – 2020], which was currently being processed by the Portfolio Committee on Transport in the National Assembly.

The Committee did not agree to the draft Regulation 116A referred to it.

Select Committee recommendation
The Select Committee on Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public
Works and Infrastructure recommended that the Council adopt this report on the draft Regulation
116A.

Discussion
Mr Brauteseth said that the report reflected what the Committee's deliberations had been, and he was glad to see that the report was currently being served before the Portfolio Committee, as it had never gone to the Portfolio Committee but had come straight to the Select Committee.

In the context of the recent warnings received yesterday, that the All Truck Drivers Forum (ATDF) were planning to close down major routes around the country, it should be noted that such acts were purely criminal. The fact that the Committee was taking a firm stance on this was good to see, and the DA supported the report.

Mr Rayi said he also supported the report.

The Chairperson put the matter to a vote.

The report was adopted, with the following Members voting in support: Mr Rayi, Mr Dangor, Ms Moshodi, Mr Brauteseth, Mr Londt, Ms Boshoff and the Chairperson.
Adoption of minutes
Outstanding minutes were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.

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