Summary of Committee work in 2022 & 2023 activities: Committee Staff briefing

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

29 November 2022
Chairperson: Ms W Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary


The Select Committee held its final meeting for the year. The Committee Researcher briefed the Committee on the work it did in 2022, key oversight outcomes as well as key actions and challenges for 2023.

Members noted that out of the 19 meetings held in 2022, 13 focused on Budget, APP (annual performance plan), and legislation and only six meetings covered oversight themes of the Committee.

Noting that it had seven Bills to process and there is likely to be more legislation tabled, Members advised that the Committee should not allow the National Assembly Portfolio Committees, which had now been sitting on these legislations for years, to dump them on this Committee at the last minute and cause it to do a bad job. The Committee needed to give the process the necessary time to do proper public participation.


Meeting report

The Acting Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming everyone in attendance. She then introduced the agenda. It was for the Committee to receive an update and report from the Content Advisor and Committee Secretary, on the work done by the Committee to date, pending legislation and International Agreements as well as oversight and briefing sessions to be completed. The next agenda item would be the consideration and adoption of minutes and reports. Lastly, there would be a closing and farewell by the Chairperson and Members.

She asked the Members to maintain decorum for the adoption of the minutes and reports. They should also be advised that this notice served as an invitation to all legislatures wishing to attend the session. If a Member was appointed as an Alternative Member to the Committee, they should discuss their possible participation in the meeting with their party or Chief Whip’s party. She then asked if the agenda could be adopted.

Mr I Ntsube (ANC, Free State) welcomed the agenda, and moved for its adoption.

Mr J Nyambi (ANC, Mpumalanga) seconded the motion.

The Acting Chairperson (henceforth ‘Chairperson) asked if there were any apologies received.

The Content Advisor said that there was an apology from Mr Arnolds and Ms Mamorobela.

The Acting Chairperson acknowledged the apologies, and asked if the Members accepted them.

Mr Ntsube said that he accepted the apologies.

The Acting Chairperson then asked the Content Advisor to take the Committee through the briefing.

The Content Advisor said another staff member, Mr Jooste, would present the document.

Committee Wrap-Up Session for 2022 and Summary of 2023 Planning
Mr J Jooste, Committee Researcher, briefed the Committee:

- A total of 19 meetings were held in 2022, of which 13 focused on Budget, APP (annual performance plan) and legislation. Only six meetings covered oversight themes of the Committee;
- Briefing by the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform (DARDLR): settlement of small-scale farmers in poultry, livestock, fruit and vegetables on State Land;
- Report back by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD): operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA);
- Report back by the DALRRD: the Committee’s oversight visit to Limpopo;
- Briefing by DARDLR: cost of RECAP to the department, the success rate of the programme and its total cost to the land reform programme;
- Briefing by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: small scale commercial fishery sector and small scale aquaculture development in South Africa;
- Briefing by DALRRD: second round of claims;

Key Oversight Outcomes
Northern Cape: The benefits from mining activity in the Northern Cape does not reach municipalities and communities. Social and Labour plans have minimal impact, and the equitable share received by local municipalities is not supplemented with any form of mining income. The DALRRD appears to have never informed claimants from the second round of claims about the impact of the Constitutional Court ruling. The DALRRD is inaccessible to the community due to the lack of outreach from regional offices to these communities. Equitable share as a funding model for large rural municipalities simply does not provide the required funds. Departments cannot recruit and employ the required human capital to operate specialised portfolios.

Jagersfontein: Legislative shortcomings of the One Environmental System (OES), as well as the DMRE’s total lack of response to fix the challenge since 2007. The OES cuts too many role-players out of the regulatory sphere, and leaves a section of the mineral exploitation industry almost unregulated. The DMRE claims that the court ruling only applies to the Free State, but it is unlikely. The DMRE further absolves its responsibility to manage tailing dams. The role is that of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). Tailing dams are a high-risk area of mining activity. This matter needs further investigation as the DWS has few inspectors.

Mpumalanga: There is a need to determine if district and local municipalities are adequately funded to perform their mandated role as implementers of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation plans. There appears to be a conflict between the Constitutional mandate of the DFFE (biodiversity management, management of RAMSAR agreement) and the current legislation pertaining to the management of aquatic resources (DWS, Water Act). The Just Energy Transition plans of the DMRE may be under severe pressure as a result of a court ruling that has led to the DFFE removing permission for ESKOM to operate old order power plants outside of stricter air quality standards until their decommission towards 2035.

Key Actions for 2023:
- To complete reports with conclusions and recommendations on oversight priority themes for tabling with NCOP as well as for the generation of a committee five-year report/legacy report to be completed at the end of the term;
- To use the opportunity created by the appointment of a researcher to speed up resolution tracking with departments to ensure that a complete five-year report of committee meetings and recommendations are delivered;

Key Challenges for 2023:
- The final year of a parliamentary term is usually characterised by a rush of legislation as departments attempt to complete targeted legislation.

The Acting Chairperson thanked Mr Jooste for the presentation. She did not know whether the Committee should adopt the Committee update report after seeing the presentation.

The Content Advisor said that the presentation was merely feedback, and a discussion can happen should any Member wants to raise something.

Ms C Labuschagne (DA, Western Cape) thanked the Chairperson and greeted everyone. She apologised as she had problems with her Wi-Fi earlier, but it was sorted out. She was thankful for the report. She agreed with Mr Jooste on the way the Committee wrote the report. She also supported the idea of having a legacy or planned report not only on a five-year basis, but on a yearly basis. She noticed the Committee had a lot of legislation that still had to be processed next year. She was concerned at the fact that, out of all its meetings, it only had six meetings for oversight. Another concern was that it actually focused a lot on one of the departments this year. She did not blame anyone. When the Committee did the strategic planning, it decided on these things. She would have liked for the Committee to focus on the waste bureau and waste management within the Department, next year. If she had to hold off on that until the strategic planning, that would be understandable. She had been through an experience where she was informed about a study tour, three or five days before Members had to depart. She did not want to be in that position again.

The Acting Chairperson thanked the Member. She thought what Ms Labuschagne said was a comment on what it needed to do for next year. She asked if other Members wanted to participate in this report.

The Content Advisor put forth the legislation that was coming to the Committee. The National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill [B24 - 2021 (s75)] was currently with the Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. It aimed to finish the Bill on 02 December 2022. The Climate Change Bill [B9-22 (s76)] was another one that the Portfolio Committee was still busy with and was far from completion.

The Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill [B13-21 (s76)] was currently with the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy. It was still busy with submissions.

The Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill [B8-21 (s76)] was currently with the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and it still had to schedule. The Animals Protection Bill [B1-21 (s76)] was also currently with this Portfolio Committee, which it also still had to schedule. It also had the Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill [B14-21 (s76)] was also with it, and it still needed to schedule. Lastly, it still needed to schedule the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill [B28-22 (prop s75)].

The international agreements presented a bit of a predicament because those two international agreements were tabled by the Minister, on 11 June 2021 and 07 October 2021. Normally, when the Minister tabled these things, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) would refer this to the relevant committee. It did not refer this to the Committee. So, this was stumbled upon, and it meant that the Committee would have to process these two international agreements as well. In short, it had seven Bills, five of which were s76, two s75’s and two international agreements.

The Acting Chairperson thanked the Content Advisor and acknowledged Mr C Smit (DA, Limpopo), who had his hand up.

Mr Smit thanked the Chairperson. He said that it was very important for Members to agree on certain timelines around what it could accept to process, going into the last part of its term. Out of experience, a lot of legislation, in particular s76 legislation, took a lot of time to process because they had to go to the provinces and so forth. With previous court judgements, sufficient time was needed for proper public participation. It should not allow the National Assembly Portfolio Committees, which had now been sitting on these legislations for years, to dump them on this Committee at the last minute and cause it to do a bad job and where the courts were going to rule against it. It needed to be very clear and firm on that. There also had to be communication between this Committee and the Portfolio Committees to say that, if the legislation did not reach it by a certain time, it would not deal with the legislation in this term.

The Content Advisor said that the next step would be the adoption of the minutes and the report.

Ms T Modise (ANC, North West) wanted to check with the Content Advisor whether its sister committee had finalised the document for the study tour, because up to now the Committee was waiting for it to bring the document so that it could submit it. Last time she spoke to the sister committee, it said that it would bring the document. She was not sure how far it was on that.

The Content Advisor said that he would send the document for the Chairpersons’ signatures, and would then submit it to the relevant House Chairperson’s office. The Chairpersons just needed to sign the document, and then the processing would continue.

The Acting Chairperson thanked him, and said that the Committee should continue with its agenda on the consideration and adoption of the minutes and report.

Consideration and Adoption of Minutes: 08 November 2022
The Content Advisor flighted the minutes of 08 November 2022.

A Member of the Committee moved for the adoption of the minutes.

Ms L Bebee (ANC, KZN) seconded the motion.

The Acting Chairperson declared the minutes as adopted.

Consideration and Adoption of Minutes: 22 November 2022
The Acting Chairperson showed the minutes and the Members that were present that day. She hoped members went through it.

Ms Bebee said that they did go through it. She moved for the adoption of the minutes.

Mr Z Mkiva (ANC, Eastern Cape) seconded the adoption of the minutes.

The Acting Chairperson thanked the Members. She said that there were only two sets of minutes that were set to be adopted.

The Content Advisor told the Acting Chairperson that the Committee still had to do the Mpumalanga oversight report.

The Chairperson said that she only had the minutes from 08 November 2022 and 22 November 2022. She asked if he could show the said report on the screen.

Consideration and Adoption of Report
Members made no suggestions for any material changes to the report.

Ms Bebee moved for the adoption of the report.

Mr Mkiva seconded the motion.

The Content Advisor said that Mr Mkiva was not present during the oversight, and thus could not second the motion to adopt the report.

The Chairperson seconded the adoption of the report.

Closing Remarks
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Members and invited the Committee Chairperson, Ms Modise, although she was not well. She said that the Chairperson could slowly give her closing remarks.

The Acting Chairperson asked Mr Nyambi to give the closing remarks. Before him, there would be remarks from Mr M De Bruyn (FF+, Free State), Ms M Mokause (EFF, Northern Cape), Ms Labuschagne.

Mr De Bruyn thanked everyone from the Committee, for the spirit in which they could handle the Committee meetings and the oversight visits. He thought that the Committee did it all in good spirits, and should continue this way next year. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas and thanked them for the spirit in which they handled meetings.

Ms Labuschagne thanked the Chairperson. She thanked the professional staff for all the arrangements throughout the year, for each and every meeting and for oversights, and everything that went into that. The Members knew and realised that they were not always that easy to deal with, even in terms of booking their flights and other admin. The support staff were the people that had to cope with that. She gave a special thanks to two staff members for what they were doing. If they were not there, she did not think the Committee could function.

To the Chairperson and all the other colleagues, she thanked them for the spirit in which they conducted their committees. She had not been in the Committee that much this year, because she was also serving on the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. She thanked the Committee for not turning issues into political ones when it was driving certain matters. She hoped that it could continue in that spirit. She hoped the Chairperson would have a speedy recovery. To the rest of the Committee, she hoped that they would find time to recuperate and rest, because next year would be a difficult year, with all the legislation to be dealt with. It would also be the last year before the end of the sixth Parliament. She wished the Members a blessed holiday season.

Mr Nyambi, on behalf of the entire Committee, echoed the sentiments of wishing the Chairperson a speedy recovery. He thanked all the Members for their contributions and tireless efforts. Committees were regarded as the engine of Parliament. Without them, there would be nothing. He thanked the Chairperson. Under her leadership, they were more than fine. Everyone in the Committee had been a family working together, moving the length and breadth of their respective provinces and representing the NCOP. It was a journey they had travelled thus far and they enjoyed working with each other. They understood each other’s weaknesses and had wished each other a happy birthday and speedy recovery when necessary. They had been a family.

He wished that everyone kept safe and returned in 2023 re-energised. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2023. He wished the Chairperson a speedy recovery, and commented that Members did not like the voice they were hearing from her; they liked her when she was in good spirits.

The Acting Chairperson thanked everyone for attending and contributing to the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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