Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill; Climate Change in the Western Cape & Integrated Water Response Plan; tabling Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill

Premier & Constitutional Matters (WCPP)

26 May 2023
Chairperson: Mr C Fry (DA)
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Meeting Summary


Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill

The Committee met virtually to be briefed on the amendments to the Provincial Constitution, which involved changing terms to align with the national Constitution, and the repeal of sections 71 to 77.

The Western Cape government aimed to create awareness about the Climate Change Bill, implement it and respond to it with support from municipalities. The 15-year integrated water response plan had been approved by the Head of Department and the Premier, and an overview of deliverables and a training workshop had been held in April for the government employees.

The Committee was happy with the presentations and congratulated the Department on doing a good job. The only concern expressed was that inadequate funds had been allocated for the maintenance of the infrastructure, which had serious implications for the state of the infrastructure in the future.

Meeting report

Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill: Technical Amendments  

Ms Anita Vosloo, State Law Advisor, Department of the Premier, said that the purpose of the bill was to amend the provincial Constitution to align it with the amendments that had been effected to the national Constitution, and to repeal the provisions relating to the Commissioner for the Environment.

She listed the areas of the amendments to align with the amendments made to the national Constitution to avoid inconsistencies and difficulties with interpretation. These included:

  • Aligning the provincial Constitution with the expressions used in the national Constitution;
  • Membership of the provincial Parliament;
  • Calling dates for elections;
  • Money Bills;
  • Intervention in local government;
  • Taxes and loans

See attached

Constitution of Western Cape First Amendment Bill: Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Briefing

Mr Ayub Mohamed, Chief Director: Environmental Governance, Policy Coordination and Enforcement, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP), said that national and provincial legislation already provide adequately for the protection of the environment. The filling of the vacancy was not desirable, because it would involve an overlap and duplication of roles and functions provided for in national and provincial legislation. It would not address any governance gaps, and it would consume scarce state resources from a fiscal policy perspective. Issues raised during consultations were not issues the Commissioner for the Environment would have the power to deal with, and they would not have any power to investigate any complaints against the national government and private entities. The funding required for the effective functioning of the office of the Commissioner for the Environment amounted to R13 018 834 for year one, R10 398 430 for year two, and R10 921 564 for year three.

See attached

Climate change in the Western Cape

Mr Goosain Isaacs, Director: Climate Change, DEADP, said climate change had affected the country in different ways in the past few years, resulting in floods, fire danger weather, and droughts. It was expected that temperatures would rise, and more droughts would be experienced as time went by. Data availability and quality remained a challenge, and some gaps in the picture could be filled by using remote sensing, artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and satellite data. The Department aimed to be net zero by 2050, and have energy security based on renewable electricity generation, socio-environmental resilience, and a climate-adapted infrastructure.

Western Cape’s (WC's) policy response

Mr Isaacs said the province's response would involve:

  • WC climate change response strategy (CCRS) and implementation plan;
  • Smart agri review and update;
  • 2050 emissions mitigation pathway;
  • Under2 Coalition's net zero by 2050 commitment;
  • WC Integrated Drought and Water Response Plan (IDWRP) -- a15-year water plan;
  • Growth for Jobs (G4J) – Energy security and net zero, exploring green hydrogen, low-carbon exports;
  • WC infrastructure strategy;
  • Municipal support.

The implementation plan response programmes included the adaptation plan, disaster management, community resilience, and resilient built environment, transport and waste sectors. The 2050 emissions pathways had three phases -- the vision development, the development of a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions profile and inventory for the Western Cape, and the identification of mitigation measures and a modelling exercise. They were willing to work towards achieving their targets, facilitating access to international climate finance, and creating climate governance.

15-year Western Cape integrated water response plan

Mr James Harvey-Ewusi III, Control Technologist, Western Cape Department of Local Government (DLG), said that due to climate change, water had become scarce in the province. As the local government, they had responded by developing an integrated water approach. A water balance tool was developed for each town consisting of a water balance, a water resource reconciliation graph, a water infrastructure capacity assessment, infrastructure, and water resource interventions. They had to go through the stages of handover -- preparation, noting, refinement, and implementation -- for the plan to be fully functional. The medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) allocations received towards the plan amounted to R45 521 000 for 2023/24, R53 126 000 for 2024/25 and R54 250 000 for 2025/26.

See attached


Ms D Baartman (DA) acknowledged the presentations and congratulated the Department for achieving second place in the ‘Creating Acceptable Infrastructure’ at the Zutari impact awards, and wished them luck for the engineering award. She asked if they were satisfied with the maintenance and repairs percentage of funding that municipalities put aside for infrastructure, as some infrastructure did not last as long as it should because of low maintenance.


Mr Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, acknowledged that water was going to be a crisis because of climate change, but he was excited at the implementation of the water plan, as it would solve the crisis. He said they did not get enough budget behind the lack of investment in infrastructure, and it took convincing the municipalities that there were consequences for not maintaining the current infrastructure. Two officials in the municipalities needed to be trained to be able to explain the water plan to the council and administration of the municipalities.

Mr Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, said that the urgency about water matters should be taken seriously to avoid challenges in the communities, and the next critical thing was the investment in infrastructure. There was a lot of work to be done, and they were doing everything in their power to cover the situation before things got out of hand.

Committee matters

The Committee meeting minutes of 12 April were adopted.

The 2022/23 Committee annual activity report was adopted, with the adjustment of removing Ms L Maseko (DA) as a permanent Member of the Committee.

The Committee's quarterly reports for October-December 2022 and January- March 2023 were adopted by Members.

Resolutions and actions

Ms Baartman said that the Committee should congratulate the Department of Local Government for its achievements, and note that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning had presented policies that cover the same mandate as the current Environmental Commission and Constitution.

The Chairperson said that according to Section 23 of the Constitution of the Western Cape 1997 and Chapter 7, Rule170 of the standing rules of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament dated March 2021, he would like to table a draft Western Cape Provincial Powers Bill for consideration by the Committee. The bill aimed:

  • to promote the provincial powers of the Western Cape;
  • to establish the Western Cape provincial powers committee;
  • to require the Western Cape government to report to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament on the assertion and assumption of the provincial powers;
  • to provide for the introduction of provincial and national legislation;
  • to set the Western Cape’s provincial powers; and
  • to provide for matters connected therewith.

He said he would forward the bill to the procedural officer for distribution to Members of the Committee so that the bill could be deliberated at the next meeting.

Mr Johan Vermeulen, Senior Procedural Officer, said that it was not the right time to forward the bill to the Speaker’s Office because Committee Members should discuss it before it was introduced to them. The bill should have been introduced in accordance with section 170 after the Committee agreed collectively.

The Chairperson said he would ensure the deliberation was on the next agenda.

He adjourned the meeting.


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