Electricity Regulation A/B & Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill: Final Mandates & Finalisation; AFRA Agreement; with DALRRD Minister

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

14 May 2024
Chairperson: Ms T Modise (ANC, North West)
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Meeting Summary

Video

The Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources & Energy met on a virtual platform to consider the Revised African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development, and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA). The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) took the Committee through the international agreement, advocating for its approval and highlighting the risks of non-participation.

Following this, the Committee recommended and adopted the AFRA Agreement.

The Committee then considered final provincial mandates on the Electricity Regulation A/B & Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill. Both Bills were adopted.

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development was present and thanked the Committee for finalising the Plant Health Bill. The DMRE also expressed appreciation for the work of the Committee on the Electricity Bill.

The Chairperson urged that legislation be introduced well in time so that it was not rushed.

Meeting report

The Committee Secretariat reported that the quorum had not been formed, and suggested allowing the presentations to proceed as they did not require a quorum.

Following this, the Chairperson, in addressing the meeting, called for the adoption of the agenda, comprising a briefing by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on the Revised African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA) Agreement, tabled in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution, 1996, and the Explanatory Memorandum to The Revised African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology Agreement (AFRA); final mandates on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23B-2023] s76; final mandates on the Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill [B14B-2021] S76; and the consideration and adoption of minutes and reports.

Members proposed the adoption, prompting the Chairperson to inquire about any apologies.

Apologies

Mr Jacob Mbele, Director-General, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), greeted the Chairperson and informed Members that the Deputy Minister, initially scheduled to join the meeting at 10:00, had a conflicting appointment beginning at 11:00, rendering her unable to attend. Consequently, Mr Mbele would lead the delegation, as the Minister had delegated authority to the Deputy Minister due to prior engagements elsewhere.

The Chairperson thanked the Director-General for the apology, acknowledging that the Deputy Minister had spoken to her earlier in the morning. She explained that the Deputy Minister could have attended if the meeting had been scheduled for 10:00, but due to a prior engagement at 11:00, she was unable to participate. The Chairperson then noted their agreement that the presence of principals was unnecessary for that day's proceedings, as the Department would suffice. Reflecting on the past negotiation process, she appreciated the DG’s leadership of the delegation. Without further delay, she handed over the platform to the Director-General to elaborate on the international agreement.

Acceptance of the Amended African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (“AFRA Agreement”).

Mr Zizamele Mbambo, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Nuclear Energy, DMRE, began by expressing gratitude to the Chairperson and the Members. He outlined the purpose of the presentation, which was to seek approval from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for the acceptance of the amended AFRA agreement in Parliament, as outlined in Section 231(2) of the Constitution.

Providing background information, Mr Mbambo explained that AFRA is an intergovernmental agreement established in February 1990 to promote cooperation among countries in the African region and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology. The mission of AFRA is to be the leading regional organisation in Africa for the effective promotion and coordination of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology for socioeconomic development.

Detailing the amendments made to the agreement, Mr Mbambo highlighted changes to the duration of enforcement and withdrawal procedures. He emphasised the strategic importance of AFRA's objectives in maximising the utilisation of available infrastructure and expertise in Africa, contributing to national and regional development objectives.

Regarding the status of acceptance, Mr Mbambo noted that the agreement would enter into force upon receipt of notifications from three Member States of the African region. 34 countries had accepted the agreement in 2024.

Discussing risks and mitigations, Mr Mbambo stressed the importance of South Africa, as a founding member of advanced nuclear programmes, continuing to participate in AFRA to avoid limitations in opportunities and maintain leadership in nuclear applications on the continent.

Mr Mbambo recommended that the National Council of Provinces approve the acceptance of the amended AFRA agreement, in line with the Constitution.

(see attached)

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked the Director-General and the delegated team. She then directed the attention to the international agreement on the table, inviting any clarifications or remarks from the Members. Using a visual cue, she indicated that raising hands would signal a desire to speak, noting the absence of any raised hands as an indication to proceed.

Report of the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy on the Ratification of the Revised African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA) Agreement as well as the Explanatory Memorandum attached thereto

Before moving forward, the Committee Secretariat requested permission to read the report. The report was presented.

The report outlined the Committee's consideration of the request for Parliament's approval to ratify the revised AFRA agreement. After deliberation, the Committee recommended the approval of the agreement in accordance with Section 231(2) of the Constitution.

Concluding the presentation of the report, the Chairperson called for a proposal and a seconder from the Members.

Mr Z Mkiva (ANC, Eastern Cape) motioned to adopt the report, expressing his endorsement due to the progressive nature of the international agreement.

Following his statement, Mr J Nyambi (ANC, Mpumalanga) voiced his support, agreeing with Mr Mkiva's assessment of the report.

https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/5844/

The Chairperson conveyed appreciation to Members. She then announced adopting the international agreement and acknowledged Mr Mkiva's contribution. Reflecting on the journey of the past five years, she remarked on the completion of legislative matters and international agreements.

This prompted a transition to the next agenda item in order to allow the Department to be released.

Final Provincial Mandates on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23B-2023] s76

Ms Jeanie le Roux, Committee Researcher, presented the final mandates on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23B-2023], Section 76.

Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 9 May 2024
  • Vote: In favour of the Bill

Gauteng Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 9 May 2024
  • Vote: In favour of the Bill

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 14 May 2024
  • Vote: Mandated NCOP permanent delegate to support the Bill

Limpopo Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 7 May 2024
  • Vote: In favour of the Bill

Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 10 May 2024
  • Vote: In favour of the Bill

Northern Cape Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 10 May 2024
  • Vote: Supported the Bill

North West Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 14 May 2024
  • Vote: In favour of the Bill

Western Cape Provincial Legislature:

  • Date of Deliberation: 13 May 2024
  • Vote: Conferring authority to delegation in NCOP not to support the Bill

Voted in favour: Seven provinces.

Voted against: One.

Did not submit: One

Report of the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23B - 2023] (National Assembly – Section 76)

The Committee Secretariat asked to read the report, summarising that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy briefed the Committee on 26 March 2024 regarding the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23B- 2023]. The Bill was referred to the Committee on 14 March 2024.

During the period from 18 March to 29 April, the Committee solicited written comments on the Bill and held public hearings facilitated by provincial legislatures. Subsequently, on 30 April 2024, negotiating mandate meetings were conducted jointly with the legislatures.

The Select Committee on Land Reform, Mineral Resources and Energy received support for the Bill from Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West, and Northern Cape, while Western Cape did not support it, and Free State did not submit a mandate.

Following deliberations on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill [B23B-2023], section 76, the Committee concluded that it agrees to the Bill without amendments.

Ms W Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) moved to adopt the report.

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

The report was duly adopted. https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/5845/

Final Mandates by Provinces on the Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill [B14B-2021] S76

Eastern Cape did not submit its final mandate, nor was the negotiation mandate submitted.

Free State did submit the negotiation mandate but did not submit its final mandate.

Gauteng Provincial Legislature

  • Date of Deliberation: 09 May 2024
  • Voted in favour of the Bill.

Limpopo Provincial Legislature

  • Date of Deliberation: 09 May 2024
  • Voted in favour of the Bill

Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature

  • Date of Deliberation: 14 May 2024
  • Voted in favour of the Bill

Northern Cape Provincial Legislature

  • Date of Deliberation: 10 May 2024
  • Voted in favour of the Bill

North West Provincial Legislature

  • Date of Deliberation: 14 May 2024
  • Voted in favour of the Bill (provided there were no amendments made)

KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape did not submit their final mandates as well.

Report of the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy on the Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill [B14B-2021] (National Assembly – Section 76)

The Committee Secretariat then read the report, summarising that they received five mandates in support.

Mr Nyambi moved to adopt the report.

Ms Ngwenya seconded the motion.

The report was duly adopted. https://pmg.org.za/tabled-committee-report/5846/

Closing remarks by Minister

Ms Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, expressed her gratitude, albeit with network connectivity issues, as she was in the North West province for the formal opening of an agricultural facility. She thanked the Chairperson and the Committee for allowing her to participate remotely, highlighting the importance of the Plant Health legislation.

Minister Didiza emphasised the critical nature of this legislation, which addresses concerns regarding plant health, ensuring the safety of both farmers and consumers. She noted that the legislation facilitates the regulation of the industry, thereby enhancing the quality of exports. She extended her appreciation to the Members and the provinces for their collaborative efforts in crafting the legislation and expressed hope for its final approval.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister and moved on to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Mr Mbele conveyed thanks from the Department to the Chairperson and Members of the Select Committee for their ongoing engagement and guidance. He expressed appreciation for the constructive dialogue and learning opportunities provided by the Committee's inquiries. Specifically addressing the two pieces of legislation discussed, Mr Mbele highlighted the significance of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for ensuring energy security both nationally and continentally.

He emphasised the Department's commitment to collaborating with other countries in the region to achieve energy security not only for South Africa but also for the broader African continent. Regarding the Electricity Bill, Mr Mbele expressed confidence that it would contribute to organising the sector and mitigating challenges such as electricity shortages.

He thanked the Chairperson and Members of the Select Committee for their support and collaboration.

The Chairperson expressed appreciation to the Director-General, urging for timely preparation of legislation in the future to allow for thorough interrogation, meetings, and public hearings, ensuring community understanding and input. She advised against rushing legislation at the last moment, highlighting the importance of ongoing public engagement.

Mr Nyambi echoed the sentiments, extending gratitude to the Minister, Department leadership, and colleagues for their commitment and collaboration throughout the legislative process. He acknowledged the learning opportunities and the dedication of all involved, emphasising the importance of the legacy report for future administrations. Mr Nyambi commended the Minister for her on-the-ground engagement in the North West province and expressed gratitude to all Members and staff for their support and dedication.

The Chairperson asked for the Committee to move to the next item on the agenda: consideration and adoption of minutes.

Minister Didiza expressed gratitude towards the Chairperson and Members of the Committee, acknowledging their five years of collaboration and the robust engagement on matters of regulation and policy. She conveyed appreciation for the enriching experience and hoped that all involved had benefited from their time together as they approached the end of their term.

Committee Minutes

Minutes dated 07 May 2024

Ms Ngwenya moved for adoption of the minutes.

Ms Beebee said the minutes were a true reflection of what was discussed and moved for the adoption.

The Chairperson thanked the Members and swiftly proposed scheduling another meeting for the following Tuesday to address the legacy report. She emphasised that this would be their final meeting, urging Members to engage with their constituencies rather than remaining in the house.

The meeting was adjourned.

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