Disestablishment of Local Council; Municipal Structures Act Amendment

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

09 November 1999
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS & LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE: JOINT MEETING
10 November 1999
MUNICIPAL STRUCTURES AMENDMENT BILL [B 60-99]; DISESTABLISHMENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COUNCIL BILL [B 54-99]: DISCUSSION & VOTING

Documents handed out
Amendment to Municipal Structures Amendment Bill - amendment to clause 1 on section 4(2) of the Act (See Appendix 1)

SUMMARY
The Municipal Structures Amendment Bill was passed with one amendment. The amendment states that the Demarcation Board will determine that an area must have a Category A (Metro) municipality only after consultation with the Minister, the MEC for local government and SALGA. The Bill will be voted on by the National Assembly on the 15 November and the NCOP by the 18 November.

The Disestablishment of the Local Government Affairs Council Bill was passed without amendment.

MINUTES
Municipal Structures Amendment Bill
Mr Y Carrim (ANC, portfolio committee chairperson) explained that the committee must be formally briefed on the Bill before it could vote. On the amendment proposed yesterday by the Department - to bring section 93 of the original Act in to line with the amendment to section 24 - he explained that it was to be dropped as it had been found unnecessary. Following yesterday's discussions on clause 1 of the Bill (on section 4(2) of the Act) the tabled Bill will be amended so that the Demarcation Board must explicitly consult with the MEC for local government and SALGA before determining Metros. Mr Carrim said that the amendment addressed the problems raised by the committee and had effectively been agreed to yesterday. Further he felt that there should be agreement on the entire Bill as it had proved unproblematic and was based firmly on the Constitutional Court judgement.

Mr Fanie Louw of the Legal Section of the Department for Local Government, quickly briefed the committee on the Bill which aims to address the sections of the Municipal Structures Act found unconstitutional by the Court, namely sections 4, 5, 6(2), 13 and 24(1).

· Section 4 - The Demarcation Board, and not the Minister, will now determine whether an area will have a Metro municipality or both district and local municipalities. The Demarcation Board, and not the Minister, will determine that an area should have a Metro municipality after consultation with the Minister, the MEC for local government and SALGA.
· Section 5 - To be deleted as it is now unnecessary.
· Sections 6(2) - The Demarcation Board, and not the Minister, will determine that an area should be a district management area.
· Section 13 - To be deleted as it is unconstitutional for the Minister to even issue guidelines to assist MECs in determining the type of municipality appropriate for an area.
· Section 24(1) - The term of municipal councils must be determined by Parliament, and not the Minister, and will be fixed as five years.

On section 13 Mr Carrim accepted that the committee had no choice but to delete it. However he proposed that a multi-party discussion, involving provincial representatives, would be a useful way to investigate where different types of municipalities would be appropriate. This was supported by the Committee.

Mr Carrim moved to a formal motion on the Bill. The motion of desirability was proposed by Mr C Mulder (FF) and seconded by Mr D Olifant (ANC). Clause 1, as amended, and clauses 2 through to 6 were accepted. The Bill was formally passed by the portfolio committee with the amendment.

Mr Carrim stated that the Bill will be discussed in the National Assembly on 15 November and stressed that whatever opinions were held on the local government transformation process, it was now going ahead and its smooth implementation should be supported.

Mr M Bhabha (ANC, select committee chairperson) explained to select committee members that as this was a section 75 Bill it would go to the provinces but there would be no provincial vote. Following the vote in the National Assembly the Bill be debated and voted on by the NCOP on the 18 November.

Disestablishment of the Local Government Affairs Council Bill
Mr Carrim felt that as this Bill had been agreed to yesterday the committee should move to a formal motion. The motion of desirability was proposed by Mr J Selfe (DP) and seconded by Mr B Solo (ANC). All four clauses were accepted and the Bill was passed by the portfolio committee without amendment.

Mr Bhabha again explained that as this was a section 75 Bill there would be no provincial vote and the NCOP would vote on the Bill once it had been voted on by the National Assembly.

Mr Carrim said that the portfolio committee would be briefed by the IEC on municipal elections on either 16 or 17 November. A meeting with Dr M Sutcliffe, chairperson of the Demarcation Board, to discuss local municipal boundaries is also planned. Finally it seems unlikely that the Municipal Systems Bill will reach the committee this year as it will only be discussed by cabinet today.

Appendix 1:
Amendments agreed to Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill [B 60-99]

1. On page 2, from line 13, to omit subsection (2) and to substitute:

"(2) The [Minister] Demarcation Board may determine that an area must have a category A municipality only after consultation with the Minister, the MEC for local government in the province concerned [the Demarcation Board] and SALGA. [and organised local government in the province]".

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