World Heritage Convention Bill: discussion

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


26 October 1999

Documents Distributed
Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs Committee's negotiating mandate on World Heritage Convention Bill (Section 76 Bill) (attached to the end of minutes)
Proposed Amendments, World Heritage Convention Bill [B42C-99]

Proposed amendments from Gauteng Province
Ms Shelia Wynberg, from the Gauteng Legislature, presented the proposed amendments for her province (see Appendix 1).

Ms Coetzee (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) responded to the proposed amendments from Gauteng. She explained that the Department did not propose new amendments to sections 8 and 9 because the Minister felt that local authorities are already covered in the legislation. They are covered under the use of "organ of state".

The Department proposed to delete section 16(2). Ms Wynberg said she would have been satisfied if the Advisory Board could not delegate policy functions; she felt that deleting the Clause would stop them from delegating any function. Mr Surty (Chief Whip of the NCOP) asked the Department if they were removing the delegating functions and replacing them by having functions regulated. Ms Coetzee confirmed that regulation functions had been set up in 16(1). The Committee agreed to these changes.

Ms Coetzee told the Committee that it was not possible to delete Section 17(5) since it allowed for regulation but they could delete clause 19 sub-clause (a), (b), and (c). The Department thought that this was the best solution to Gauteng's concerns. The Committee agreed to the changes.

Ms Coetzee explained that the Department of Finance also had problems with Section 34 and the clause was amended while focusing on their concerns.

The Department addressed Gauteng's final concern by explaining that the Bill has enough provisions to cover the concerns of private property owners. There is nothing in the Bill that undermines private property rights in the Constitution.

Some of the members requested that the Department give them specifics so that they can go back to their provinces and show exactly how the Bill protects their property rights.

The Gauteng Province was satisfied with the way their concerns were handled and accepted the changes of the Department.

Mr Surty was concerned that this Bill might be giving more rights to property holders than that are in the Constitution. The Department agreed that was a valid point and would have the legal drafters look into the matter.

KwaZulu Natal
The representative from KwaZulu-Natal Legislature told the Committee that KwaZulu-Natal were holding meetings that day and that they were going to bring up a negotiating mandate after this meeting.

There were no amendments proposed by the Northern Cape or Mpumalanga.

Northern Province
The Northern Province held public hearing on 22 October 1999 and they had no major concerns but they did want to address some minor concerns. Firstly, they were concerned that in Section 8 of the Bill the Department was not being consulted. Secondly, they wondered why in Section (7)(1) NGO's were not being included in the process. Finally, they wanted clarity on Section 13 regarding Powers and duties of Authority.

Ms Coetzee explained to the representative from the Northern Province Legislature that the type of land determines what department would be consulted. She pointed to Section 7 which deals with cultural land and there the responsibility rests with the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science, and Technology. In Chapter 5, where it deals with State owned land, the responsibility rests with the Department of Public Works.

Regarding the inclusion of NGO's, Ms Coetzee referred to Section 7(3)(c) which includes "…similar public interest bodies…". She explained that NGO's would fall under this category. The Department decided to use a broad term because they did not want to make a list and risk leaving someone out.

Finally, she told the Committee that Section 13(1) just sets up a lot of different options, not all of the powers need to be given. Different options can be used depending on the circumstances.

Department's proposed amendments to Bill
There were no questions or concerns raised in clauses 1, 16, 19, 26, and 30.

Mr Surty was concerned that they were opening themselves up for abuse in Section 32(h). He thought that it could exploit the sites. Ms Coetzee explained that in Section 33 where it says "Without derogating from the objectives of this Act,…" it protects the sites and promotes conservation, however development will be allowed where it is possible and beneficial. In addition, in Section 33 the words, "…with the consent of the Cabinet and, if applicable, the relevant MEC." are another good assurance that the sites will not be exploited. The Department made sure that there were the appropriate checks and balances put in place.

The Committee agreed to Clauses 32 and 34 of the proposed amendments. The Department told the Committee that they could have the proposed rewording by the next day.

Programme for the weeks ahead
The Chairperson informed the Committee of their upcoming meetings. There will be a debate on the Abolition of Certain Titles Bill on November 9 and a debate on the World Heritage Convention Bill on November 11. Finally, there will be a briefing on proposed amendments to the Water Act on November 8.

These Minutes were supplied by Contact.

Appendix 1


(Section 76 Bill)

22 October 1999
The Speaker referred the World Heritage Convention Bill [B42-99] to the Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs Committee on 5 October 1999. On 14 October 1999 the Committee considered the Bill for the first time and heard a briefing on it from an NCOP Permanent Delegate, Ms R A Ndzanga.

The following were the comments made by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs:
• Sections 15-19 are unnecessarily detailed. The Bill is too detailed and most of the things that are addressed in this Bill should form part of the regulations;
• The drafting is confusing and more work needs to be done so as to avoid ambiguity in this legislation;
• The Bill does not address adequately the situation of privately owned sites, as is the case in Gauteng for the proposed World Heritage sites;
• Other legislation should not be forgotten when this Bill is discussed, e.g. the National Environmental Management Act, the South African Cultural Heritage Act, etc.
• Integrated Management Plans need to be looked into;
• The Bill should enable the public sector to manage and account on the proceeds thereof.

The Bill will have the following implications for the Province and Local Government:
• The Authority has the power to liaise with relevant cultural and nature conservation bodies at local, provincial and national level and, with the consent of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, at international level.
• Subject to it being so empowered by the Minister, an Authority may conserve, manage, promote, facilitate and monitor cultural development and nature conservation and related tourism activities at the World Heritage Sites under its control. If appropriate, an Authority may be of assistance to a province, regional council or local government in the discharge of duties related to the Convention of a World Heritage Site.
• At the request of a province, a regional council or a local government and with the consent of the Minister, an Authority may perform functions on contractually agreed terms. An Authority may also enter into contracts with a province, regional council or local government regarding any matter that concerns the Convention or a World Heritage Site.
• In preparing an integrated management plan an Authority must have due regards for, and seek to integrate and harmonise that integrated management plan with, applicable provincial, regional and local planning and development plans.

The Gauteng Province supports the principles of the Bill and proposed amendments to Sections 8 and 9 which will:
- allow a local government to be the authority;
- allow the existing staff components of local government to be the staff of the authority;
- allow the Minister after consultation with the MEC to establish an Advisory Board.

The sections on the Advisory Board would then have to be redrafted to allow for the staff to be appointed by a body other than the Advisory Board.

The Committee proposed that Section 16(2) should be redrafted so as to ensure that policy functions are not delegated to the Advisory Board.

The Committee proposes that Section 17(5) should be deleted and be incorporated in the regulations.

The Committee proposes that the Bill should ensure that private property rights are respected and protected.

The Committee supports the principle of the Bill.


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