Sectional Title Amendment Bill: DALRRD response to submissions

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

02 August 2022
Chairperson: Ms T Modise (ANC, North West)
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Meeting Summary


The Select Committee convened in a virtual meeting to receive an update on the dates of the provincial public hearings on the Sectional Title Amendment Bill, as well as the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development's (DALRRD's) response to the submissions made by the Western Cape Government on the Bill. The Committee was provided with an update on the schedule of public hearings on the Bill in the various provinces.

In its response to submissions made by the Western Cape Government on the Bill, the Department told the Committee that most of the Western Cape's comments were based on language and drafting errors, and commented that the Bill had been edited, certified and found to be in order by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor.

A Member of the Committee proposed that when moving toward negotiating mandates, each province's suggested amendments should be sent to all the other provinces so they could mention whether they supported or opposed each other's proposed amendments, as this would make the process more seamless and efficient.

Another Member said laws and amendments to laws ought to speak to the cultural outlook of the people of the country, as they were embedded in culture, and they should not contradict the cultural outlook. The fundamental rule to ensuring this did not happen was that the writing of the amendments should be in indigenous languages, because there were commonalities amongst them, and thereafter they could be translated into English.

The Committee also received an update on the programme for its oversight visit to the Northern Cape in the week of 15 August.

Meeting report

Sectional Title Amendment Bill [B31B-2020] provincial public hearing dates

Mr Asgar Bawa, Committee Secretary, read out the dates for the public hearings for each of the nine provinces. These were:
Eastern Cape -- 23 to 26 August.
Free State -- 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18 August.
Gauteng -- 16 and 23 August.
Limpopo -- 15 and 29 August.
Mpumalanga -- 2, 3 and 16 August.

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) hosted its public hearings on 30 June and 2, 9, 12,13, 15 and 16 July.

The Northern Cape and North West provinces had not determined the dates for their public hearings.

The Western Cape Province had held its public hearings, and on 10 June had called for public comments, which had closed on 4 July.

Ms W Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) said Gauteng had a scheduled plan for public hearings on the Sectional Title Amendment Bill. Using a virtual platform, the first hearing would take place on 16 August, from 10h00 to 14h00. The second hearing would be on 23 August 2022 from 10h00 to 14h00 at the Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein. The national Department of Agriculture had confirmed that it would be present in both public hearings.

Mr Kobus Jooste, Committee Content Advisor, read through the introduction of the Sectional Title Amendment Bill to explain the proposed amendments and who would be affected by the Bill.

Department's response to Western Cape submissions on Sectional Title Amendment Bill

Mr Mooketsa Ramasodi, Director-General, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), said the Department had drafted responses in line with the inputs that had been made to the Sectional Title Amendment Bill. He asked Mr T Ayres to present the Department's responses to inputs and proposals the Western Cape Government made to the Committee.

Mr Ayres said most of the comments made by the Western Cape government were based on language and drafting errors, and commented that the Bill had been edited, certified and found to be in order by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor.

The Western Cape Government had also recommended the amendment of section 4(3)(b) of the Act to ensure that meetings with lessees were announced timeously and at a reasonable location. It had also recommended that lessees be trained on their roles, responsibilities and position in relation to the bodies corporate before signing contracts.

The DALRRD did not support the recommendations, and noted that matters pertaining to timeframes and locations of meetings had been addressed in section 4(3)(a) of the Act. DALRRD also said the roles, responsibilities and positions of owners of units in relation to the body corporate were aspects that fell under the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011, which was administered by the Department of Human Settlements.

The Western Cape Government had also commented that the purpose of the meeting must be explained clearly in layman's terms and be made available in writing, and that owing to possible language differences within an area, this would cause a communication barrier in meetings.

The DALRRD said the purpose of the meeting matter was dealt with in section (4)(3)(a) of the Act, and noted that the developer must address language matters by answering questions as contemplated in section 4(3)(b) of the Act.


Ms Suraya Williams, Principal State Law Adviser, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, said they had certified the Bill before it was introduced in Parliament and that the use of the word 'hereby' was usually used in official statements or proclamations. The word 'hereby' was not used as part of the principal Act when introducing new amendments.

Mr C Smit (DA, Limpopo) proposed that when moving toward negotiating mandates, each province's suggested amendments should be sent to all the other provinces so they could mention whether they supported or opposed each other's proposed amendments. This would make the process more seamless and efficient, because provinces tended to either abstain or not support other provinces' mandates without considering them because they did not know or read their mandates.

The Chairperson said although she understood Mr Smit's proposal, she did not think the process would change because it would lead to certain issues. She said this could be discussed soon.

Mr Z Mkiva (ANC, Eastern Cape) said laws and amendments to laws ought to speak to the cultural outlook of the people of the country as they were embedded in culture, and they should not contradict the cultural outlook. The fundamental rule to ensuring that this did not happen was that the writing of the amendments should be in indigenous languages, because there were commonalities amongst them. Thereafter they could be translated into English. He asked whether the amendments were a translation from an indigenous perspective, and if they were written in English, whether they would be later translated to indigenous languages. He also wanted to know if the presentation made by DALRRD in the meeting was available in any of the nine indigenous languages to enable people to compare and contrast it with what had been written.

Mr Daniel Pienaar, Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCDHS), thanked DALRRD for taking the time to consider their comments and suggestions.

Mr Smit said he noted the Chairperson's response to his suggestion, and asked that it be referred to the next meeting and, if necessary, request an input from the advisors.

The Chairperson agreed.

Ms Pamela Masiko-Kambala, Director: Policy and Research, WCDHS, asked for clarity on the use of the word 'lessees' in the presentation, as she understood that the correct word that should have been used was 'lessors' if it was referring to the owners.

Mr Ayres said they were referring to the tenants as the 'lessees,' because they could also form part of a body corporate if they were on a long-term lease.

Mr Mkiva said he had not received a response to his questions.

Mr Ayres said the Bill had been drafted in English and that the presentation made by DALRRD was not available in any other language other than English. It was not impossible to have it translated into indigenous languages, and the Department could facilitate a translation if there was a need to do so.

The Chairperson said the Committee had requested that all Bills must be translated into languages that community members would be able to read and comprehend. She would plead with Parliament to ensure that the Bill was translated into different languages before the public hearings. She asked if Mr Mkiva was satisfied with the response that the DALRRD had given.

Mr Mkiva said he was not satisfied with the response.

Ms Carlize Knoesen, Chief Registrar: Deeds, DALRRD, said she understood that if an Act was already drafted in a specific language, the Amendment Bill must be written in the same language.

The Chairperson said she did not understand the problem with amending a Bill in other languages.

Mr Ramasodi said he understood Mr Mkiva's question, and that it was a challenge raised in the past to the drafters of the bills -- to find a way to accommodate all South African languages in drafting bills and amendment bills.

The Chairperson thanked the delegations from the DALRRD and the WCDHS for availing themselves and engaging in the meeting, and allowed them to exit the meeting.

Adoption of minutes

The Committee considered and adopted the minutes from the Committee's previous meeting with no amendments.

Committee oversight visit to Northern Cape

Mr Bawa said the application for the oversight visit to the Northern Cape had been politically approved and was currently going through the funding processes. The Committee Members would travel from their respective provinces to Gauteng and from there, they would take a flight to Kathu in the Northern Cape.

The Committee would hold a meeting with the Municipal Manager of Kathu on Tuesday, 15 August, and they would drive to Upington in the afternoon. On Wednesday morning, the Committee would drive to Garies and, in the afternoon, drive back to Upington, where they would be staying. The Committee would have meetings with the local government departments in Upington on Thursday.

He said they had not received any communication from the Dawid Kruiper Municipality in Upington because they had not responded to their emails and said he would try them again after the meeting. The Committee would leave Upington on Friday, and the Members would return to their respective provinces.

Mr Jooste said the focus areas of the Northern Cape oversight included where the Committee had not been able to do most of its oversight in the last few years. The focus of individual visits was also away from the normal challenges that the Committee had recently focused on. The Committee had focused on the social and labour plans of mines, agri-parks and agricultural power support and land reform. Although these topics were important, the design of the upcoming oversight would look at other themes on which the Committee was also focused in its strategic plan.

Day one of the oversight visit in Kathu would focus on public engagement related to mining-affected communities, small-scale miners, interest in small-scale mining from the communities, and the general perception of the benefit of mining for the local communities.

In the past, the Committee had been briefed by the Department on how they could incorporate local businesses and local communities in mining activities and the opportunities that were created, but the Committee had received limited input from the public on how they perceived the position held by the Department. The design of this engagement was more community-focused, and less departmentally focused.

Although land claims related, the focus of day three was not entirely focused on rural development and the land reforms portfolio. The history of the Riemvasmaak community claim dated to 1994, when the restitution of land claims by the community had been approved. A large portion of the land claimed back then was part of the Augrabies National Park and due to the laws pertaining to National Parks, de-proclamation was allowed only if Parliament approved. The de-proclamation had been approved in 2004, with the condition that the land remained used for conservation or eco-tourism purposes, and that Parliament would periodically oversee it. The interest of this oversight was to determine the extent to which government could assist the community to reach the goals it had approved, as well as the conditions that Parliament had stipulated for the de-proclamation process to happen.

The community would be asked for their input on the progress of their community conservation efforts and the assistance received from government on their developments and plans. The Department of Environment and the DALRRD would also be asked to provide input, but the focus of the oversight would be to examine the extent that the trust benefited from the land, and if government support was provided to the recipients of the land if they were not focused on agriculture or housing development.

He said the Committee was scheduled to meet with the local government of the Dawid Kruiper Municipality on Day Four of the oversight visit, and the key points of interest would be waste management and the supply of electricity to rural communities. The municipality was big and reached up to the border of Namibia and Botswana, and the communities were small and scattered throughout the municipality. This caused the supply of waste management and the creation of local recycling opportunities and funding to be challenging.

The focus of the oversight was to see if there was any movement on the initial plan to support local rural communities with off-grid electricity solutions as proposed by the government at the beginning phases of Integrated Resource Planned Development (IRPD).

Ms Ngwenya requested that the programme be sent to the Members of the Committee.

Ms L Bebee (ANC, KZN) said they had received communication from the Chief Whip that all the Members who would be on oversight visits on 18 August must reserve 14h00 to attend the question and answer (Q & A) session with the Deputy President. She wanted to know how the Committee would be able to navigate around that.

The Chairperson said she had requested Mr Bawa to move the Committee's meeting with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to 17h00 that day.

She said the Chairpersons and Whips of parliamentary committees had been requested to ask the Members of their committees to state in advance if they would not attend the oversight vists - if they did not provide advance notice of not participating , they would have to pay all the expenses incurred as a result.  

Ms M Mokause (EFF, Northern Cape) said some Members needed the oversight visit information before they could make the trips, because of the requirements of their respective political parties. She requested that oversight information should be communicated formally so that their political parties' Chief Whips could allow them to attend the oversights.

The Chairperson said the information would be sent to every Committee Member.

Ms Ngwenya reported to the Committee that she would leave the oversight visit on 18 August to attend another commitment.

The Chairperson thanked the Members and the Committee Secretariat for participating in the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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