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LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE
26 May 2000
NATIONAL HOUSE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS AMENDMENT BILL; REMUNERATION OF PUBLIC OFFICE BEARERS SECOND AMENDMENT BILL: NEGOTIATING MANDATES
Documents handed out:
Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Bill [B 23 - 2000]
National House of Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill [B 15B - 2000]
Here follows the official minutes of the Select Committee on Local Government and Administration as provided by the committee secretary, Mr E. De Koker with additions by PMG.
Chairperson: Mr M Bhabha
The Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Second Amendment Bill was supported without amendment by the written mandates of Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, and Northern Province.
The National House of Traditional Leaders Bill was supported by the above provinces. The Northern Cape made its approval subject to consideration of the following: the long title of the bill was verbose; the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the House to be ascertained as the only persons whom the President can grant full-time membership. These proposals were evaluated by the Department.
Mr P Bouwer represented the Department of Provincial Affairs and Local Government.
1. Workshop with the Development Bank of South Africa
This workshop is planned for 9 June 2000. Members will be informed of further developments in this regard.
2. Debate on Budget Vote 22 (Department of Provincial and Local Government)
The plenary for the debate is set for 13 June 2000. Letters have been written to MEC's for local government to attend and participate in the debate. The time allocation will be finalised later.
The chairperson urged members to encourage their respective MEC's to participate in the debate to highlight provincial experiences so that the Minister and department who will be at the debate may take cognizance thereof.
3. Local Government: Municipal Systems Bill [B 27 2000]
The recent public hearings were a great success. The draft report of the hearings is attached. Free State proposed that a special plenary be held to apprise permanent delegates on the contents of the bill. The chairperson undertook to peruse the possibility of having such a plenary.
4. Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Second Amendment Bill [B 23-2000] (sec 76)
The written mandates received from Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, and Northern Province agreed that the Bill be passed without amendments.
5. National House of Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill [B 15B-2000] (sec 76)
Northern Cape proposed that the long title should be shortened, as it is too long and verbose. Dr Bouwer responded that the long title is a very important aid to the interpretation of the bill as it is a summary of the contents of the bill. Also, the long title has to accurately reflect what the bill aims to achieve. If it does not do so it will lead to ambiguities that will hinder effective interpretation.
Northern Cape also proposed that the words "certain members" in Clause 2 be substituted by "Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson". Dr Bouwer explained that it was a Cabinet decision that there ought to be full time members of the National House of Traditional Leaders. While the department appreciates the concerns raised, it was stated that by limiting the full time membership to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, it would remove a built in flexibility that allows the President to appoint full time members.
Members must be mindful of the fact that the President can only act after consultation with the National House of Traditional Leaders which would make an appropriate recommendation.
Northern Cape stated that the long title of the Bill is "too long and verbose" suggesting that it be paraphrases as follows:
"To amend the National House of Traditional Leaders Act 1997, so as to provide for the person presiding at a meeting of the National House of Traditional Leaders to have a deliberative vote as well as a casting vote, to provide for the removal from office of the Chairperson of the said National House; to empower the President to determine that certain members of the National House be full-time members; to effect certain textual amendments; and provide for matters incidental thereto."
Mr Bouwer said the purpose of summarising the Act is to make the summary an interpretation aid, thus it has to cover what is carried in the Act. If it does not correctly reflect the contents of the Act it creates ambiguity.
The mandate stated that the phrase "certain members" in clause 2(2) be substituted with the words "the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson" so as to be more precise.
Mr Bouwer said it was the decision of Cabinet at one stage that the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson be made full time members. However, it was decided that since it is not known how the functions of the House would evolve; the Bill should allow the President discretion to grant full time membership to certain persons according to the requirements of office of the House. Otherwise there would be required to amend the Bill every time the office requirements of the House increased and additional officials were required. Mr Bouwer said the clause should be read together with "after consultation" since in the light of the White Paper discussion has to take place.
The Northern Cape's mandate supports the Bill subject to the said amendments.
Eastern Cape's written mandate stated that despite DP's opposition to the amendment of clause 13 of the principal Act, the Committee supports the proposed amendments in clause 2(2) without amendment.
The mandate further proposed that clause 1(b) of the Bill should provide that the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the National House may be removed from office by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of a majority of the members or the National House.
Mr Bouwer said the suggestion by Eastern Cape in fact summarises what is contained in the Bill.
Kwazulu Natal, Free State, and Northern Province written mandates support the Bill without amendments.
The Chairperson said the date for final mandates is 5 June 2000, adding that 13 June 2000 is the latest they can pass the Bills. The committee agreed that it does not want to debate the bills. The meeting was adjourned.