Housing Amendment Bill: negotiating mandates

NCOP Public Services

18 March 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE

PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
19 March 2001
HOUSING AMENDMENT BILL: NEGOTIATING MANDATES

Relevant document:
Housing Amendment Bill [B 7 - 2001]

Chairperson: Ms PCP Majodina (ANC)

SUMMARY
All provinces support the Bill. The following provinces support it without amendments: Northern Province, Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape. The following provinces support the Bill with amendments: Kwa Zulu-Natal, the Free State, the Western Cape, the North West Province and Mpumalanga. The Northern Cape's mandate was not ready at the time of the meeting.

MINUTES
Each province went over its negotiating mandate with the Committee:

Kwa Zulu-Natal supports the Bill but suggests the word "shall", throughout the Bill, be replaced with the word "must" and that the word "such" be replaced by either "that" or "the".

Northern Province supports the Bill without amendments.

Gauteng supports the Bill without amendments.

Free State supports the Bill but suggests clause 4 read "The Minister must" rather than "may". The Free State also suggests "Section 217 of the Constitution does not provide for the procedure for the appointment of members of the panel. Section 5(3)(b) of the principle act should be retained with necessary changes." In addition, the Free State proposes "that meetings of the panel be regulated".

Eastern Cape supports the Bill without amendments.

Western Cape supports the Bill but suggests a definition for "Provincial Government" be inserted in clause 1. It also suggests clause 4 limit the number of persons serving on the panel to ten. It suggests clause 7 "make provision so that the Provincial Government can use Local Authorities on an agency basis when a person wishes to sell her or his property". Finally, it suggests clause 13 be omitted altogether.

North West Province suggests, as does the Free State, that the Minister's discretion in clause 4 be removed so that a panel must be established. In addition, a minimum number of panelists should be set and the panelists should be resident in the particular province they represent.

Northern Cape's mandate was not ready at the time of the meeting.

Mpumalanga did not have a written mandate, but its representative Mr BJ Mkhaliphi (ANC), said they support the Bill in principle, but suggest clause 4 set out a term of office for members of the panel. Mpumalanga also wanted to know if the restrictions clause 7 puts on the sale of state-subsidised housing presents any legal inconsistencies.

Discussion
The provinces agreed that "may" should be replaced with "must" throughout the Bill.

All agreed that the proposed panel should not have more than ten members.

The Committee debated the Western Cape's suggestion that municipalities should have the first option to buy a property before the provincial housing department when subsidised property is sold. The Western Cape very much wants municipalities included in the process. Gauteng commented this would amount to a very substantial change, and the Free State said the provinces cannot be passed over in favour of municipalities. The Chairperson asked the provinces to put their positions in their final mandates.

Concerning the omission of clause 13, the Committee felt strongly that it could not determine the effects of this without a legal advisor. All members agreed a legal advisor should have been present at the meeting and resolved to take action to ensure a legal advisor would be present at all subsequent negotiating mandate meetings.

The Committee was also concerned that the "fast-tracking" of this important Bill had not left the members with sufficient time to consider the Bill properly.

The meeting was adjourned.

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