In a virtual meeting, the Parliamentary Legal Adviser presented the amendment to Clause 10(4)(b) of the Climate Change Bill, as requested by the Committee in its previous meeting.
Clause 10(4)(b) now reads “A serving member of Parliament, including a member of a provincial legislature and a member of a municipal council, except a member of a municipal council who has been nominated by the South African Local Government Association, may not be appointed as a commissioner of the Presidential Climate Commission”.
The Parliamentary Legal Adviser confirmed that the amendments as contained in the A-list were final and that there were no issues or contradictions. The amendments were in accordance with the rules of Parliament.
The Committee also adopted the motion of desirability on the Climate Change Bill.
The Chairperson welcomed all Members in attendance. He noted the apologies of Deputy Minister Sotyu and Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala, Director-General of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.
Briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Advisor on further amendments to the A-list of the Climate Change Bill
Ms Thiloshini Gangen, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, Constitutional and Legal Services Office, said that she would present Clause 10(4)(b) which has been crafted according to the Committee’s instructions. She asked that the amended A-list be flighted on the screen.
She referred to Clause 10(4)(b). She read, “A serving member of Parliament, including a member of a provincial legislature and a member of a municipal council, except a member of a municipal council who has been nominated by the South African Local Government Association, may not be appointed as a commissioner of the Presidential Climate Commission”.
She said that the legal team was satisfied that Clause 10(4)(b), as crafted, dealt with the concerns raised by the Committee in its previous meeting.
The Chairperson asked if Members were satisfied with how Clause 10(4)(b) had been amended.
Mr D Bryant (DA) said that the clause was spot on.
Ms T Mchunu (ANC) said that she was satisfied with how the clause was crafted.
The Chairperson said that in terms of National Assembly (NA) Rule 286, the Committee must be guided to ensure that any changes to the Bill do not alter its core purpose and objective and that it does not change the classification of the Bill. The Committee must adhere to the proper legislative procedures. He asked for legal confirmation that the Committee was compliant with NA Rule 286 and the constitutional principles.
Ms Gangen replied that the amendments to Clause 10(4)(b) did not change the nature and scope of the Bill. The legal team was satisfied that the amendments as contained in the A-list were final and that there were no issues or contradictions. It was in line with the rules of Parliament.
Mr Shaun van Breda, Senior State Law Adviser, Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, concurred with Ms Gangen. He said that the amendments were in accordance with the rules of Parliament.
Consideration of motion of desirability on Climate Change Bill
The Chairperson said that the Committee ought to consider a motion of desirability on the Climate Change Bill [B9-2022], which has been classified as a section 76 Bill.
He read through the motion, which states that the Climate Change Bill was referred to the Committee on 18 February 2022 for consideration and adoption. The primary objectives of the Bill are to facilitate the creation of an effective response to climate change and a long-term equitable transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy and society in South Africa, within the context of sustainable development. The Bill also addresses related matters.
The Committee published an advert on 20 April 2022 calling for written submissions with the deadline set for 27 May 2022. A total of 13 135 written submissions were received by the closing date. Thereafter, the Committee held 27 public hearings in all nine provinces of South Africa. Within each province, three district municipalities were visited. The public hearings were held from 3 February 2023 to 16 July 2023. Additional written submissions were received during or after each public hearing, which were more explanatory and did not differ significantly from oral submissions. Consideration of public input and deliberations on the Bill started on 2 August 2023.
NA Rule 286(4) requires that after due deliberation, the Committee must consider a motion on whether the Bill is desirable. If the motion is rejected, the Bill and its report must be tabled immediately. If the motion is adopted, the Committee must deliberate on the details of the legislation.
The Chairperson asked if there was a mover for the adoption of the motion.
Ms Mchunu moved for the adoption of the motion; Ms N Gantsho (ANC) seconded this.
The Chairperson asked if there were any objections. There were none.
He said that the Committee would table the Bill after the finalisation of the A-list and the B-list.
Ms Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, expressed thanks on behalf of the Department for the incredible hard work that the Committee has put into processing the Climate Change Bill.
She was certain that the Committee was guided by the importance of having an adequate response to build climate resilience in the country.
She said that the Committee went the extra mile and travelled extensively during recess.
The Chairperson expressed gratitude to the Department for presenting the Climate Change Bill to the Committee.
Mr Bryant said that the public hearings and consideration of public submissions have been a long process. He believed that the Committee had factored in the feedback and information received from the public. He thanked the Chairperson for his guidance and pragmatism in dealing with the Bill.
The Chairperson thanked the administrative staff, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, State Law Advisor, and the people of South Africa who took a keen interest in formulating the Climate Change Bill. He said that this Committee would be remembered for many centuries, as this has never been done before.
The meeting was adjourned.
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