Children’s Amendment Bill: adoption of proposed amendments

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Meeting Summary


Tabled Committee Reports

The Select Committee on Health and Social Services met on a virtual platform for the consideration and adoption of the Children’s Amendment Bill’s C-list. The Committee was joined by legal representatives from Parliament, the Department of Social Development, and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. 
The amendments were minor and impacted clauses 9 and 14 of the Bill.

Members were informed that most of those comments received were not relevant to this specific bill but another that would be dealt with later. All the comments that were relevant to this specific bill were considered and reflected in the amendments that were presented in this meeting.
The Committee adopted the C-list as presented.

Meeting report

The Chairperson apologised for her video being off. She said it was due to a poor internet connection brought about by load shedding.

The Chairperson read the agenda for the meeting. The agenda included the consideration and adoption of the C-list of the Children’s Amendment Bill and the adoption of Committee meeting minutes.
She asked if someone would move to adopt the agenda for the meeting. Ms E Nkosi (ANC, Mpumalanga) moved to adopt the agenda and Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC, Limpopo) seconded the adoption of the agenda.
The agenda was duly adopted.
Mr Nchabeleng asked the Chairperson to bear with those who were still on the buses in the event their reception became poor.
This was noted by the Chairperson.
The Chairperson welcomed all those who were in attendance, this included the Parliamentary legal advisor, the legal advisor from the Department of Social Development (DSD), and Adv Lisa Naidoo, a legal representative from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD). 
The Chairperson thanked the Committee for allowing the meeting to be held as this would ensure the matter would be referred to the provinces and the Committee would conclude their business by Tuesday.
Moving on to the consideration of the bill she asked the legal representative from the Department of Social Development to lead the presentation of the C-list and the small amendments that were made to it. 

Children’s Amendment Bill – C list amendments
Adv Luyanda Mtshotshisa, Specialist: Legislative Drafting and Review, DSD, said as he understood it, it was the parliamentary legal advisor’s task to present the C-list to the Committee. The legal adviser from Parliament had arranged with an official in his office to make the presentation. They were present to make a contribution as a department.
The Chairperson asked Ms Jaqueline Mello, Legal Advisor, Parliament Constitutional and Legal Services Office, to present the C-list. 
After some technical difficulties, Ms Mello read out the proposed Amendments Children’s Amendment Bill {B18C-2020)

Clause 9

On page 6, in line 7 after “age” omit “or less” and substitute “or less”.

Clause 14

On page 7, in line 5, omit “provision” and substitute “provisions”.
On page 7, in line 5, after “(1)” insert”,”.

(See Annexure)

Ms Mello said these were the amendments to the C-list and the Committee could proceed from there.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Mello and asked if the legal representatives from DSD or the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development had further additions.
Adv Mtshotshisa said the presented C-list was drafted after consultation with drafters from different arms of Government. He said consideration was given to comments and most comments were in support of the B-list which was the bill the Committee consulted on. The drafters did not need to make additions as indicated by comments that were in support of what already existed. Those comments had no impact on the drafting and some of these clauses were meant for the bill the Committee would be considering in the future. The issues that needed work in this particular bill were reflected in the presentation. 
He said they were not dismissive of the fact that some comments were made but they were simply saying that the majority of those belonged to the other bill that still needed to be dealt with. He hoped that Advocate Naidoo would comment on this.
The Chairperson thanked Adv Mtshotshisa for his comments and asked Adv Naidoo to make additions.
Adv Naidoo experienced technical difficulties and was unable to comment on the presentation. 
The Chairperson said as agreed between the legal advisors in Parliament, the DSD, and the DoJ&CD, the Committee should proceed. She asked for someone to move for the adoption of the C-list and someone to second the motion for adoption. 

Adoption of C-List
Ms N Ndongeni (ANC, Eastern Cape) moved for the adoption of the C-list and Ms Nkosi seconded the adoption.
The C-list as presented was duly adopted.
The Chairperson asked the parliamentary legal advisor to provide information on the D-list of the bill for information purposes.

Ms Mello was having technical problems.
Adv Mtshotshisa said there was no D-list to share. He said the adopted C-list meant that it could be used to create the D-list. Ordinarily, the D-list was incorporative of comments affected on the C-list. The adoption of the C-list meant that the compilation of the D-list could commence. Advocate Mtshotishisa said the D-list would not be different from the C-list because of the absence of comments therein. 
The Chairperson said the Committee had reached the end of its engagement with the legal representatives. The Chairperson said to Ms D Chrisitian (DA, Northern Cape) that the adoption of Committee minutes needed to be attended before the official closure of the meeting. 
Ms Christian asked the legal teams to provide clarification on the amendments related to the foster care crisis and the clauses that were proposed by the provinces. She asked if these amendments were related to either the foster care crises, the clauses within this particular bill, or a part of the bill that was not being dealt with currently. 
The Chairperson responded to Ms Christian's question. She referred back to a previous meeting where the legal team had said most of the comments were in favour of the bill but there were other comments made during the public participation process that would be considered when the Committee bill will take its course. The Chairperson said she was unsure if her response was correct and asked Adv Mtshotshisa to clarify. 
Adv Mtshotshisa said the Chairperson was correct. The drafting team said the majority of the clauses although in support of the bill, some of them belonged to the other bill which would be a Committee bill. He said the clauses did not necessarily fall under foster care but the ones that did were in support of the bill as consulted by the Committee. They had no impact on the bill in terms of the redrafting of clauses in the bill but reiterate the position that they already had in the bill. He said some of the comments were on the implementation side and did not need the drafting team to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.
The Chairperson thanked the three legal teams and wished them well with their work and excused them from the meeting.  
The Chairperson noted after the meeting the documents would be sent to the legislatures to formulate their finals mandate to be discussed on 15 November 2022 during the Taking of Parliament to the People event in KwaZulu-Natal. This would be a physical meeting for the Committee.

Adoption of Committee Meeting Minutes 
Committee Minutes 1 November
The Chairperson moved on to the adoption of Committee meeting minutes. She said the Committee would have received the minutes from the 1st of November 2022 and asked if there were any corrections. 
There were no corrections made. 
Ms Ndongeni moved for the adoption of the minutes and Ms Nkosi seconded the motion. The minutes were adopted.
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretariat if there were other minutes that required adoption.
The Committee Secretariat said yes but because members of the Committee were facing network issues she suggested the adoption of the minutes be rolled over to the next meeting.
The Chairperson agreed with this suggestion. She thanked the Committee and colleagues from their provinces for their keen interest in the bill so that it could be finalised. She also thanked the support staff members.
Ms Ndongeni asked for an update on the study tour but due to her poor connection, the Committee Secretariat suggested that an update be provided in the Committee’s group chat. 
The Chairperson said the update would be given in the Committee meeting on Tuesday.
The meeting was adjourned.


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