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FINANCE SELECT COMMITTEE
11 March 2005
DIVISION OF REVENUE BILL: FINAL MANDATES
Documents handed out:
Division of Revenue Bill [B8B-2005]
Final mandate: KwaZulu-Natal
Final mandate: Gauteng
Final mandate: Western Cape
Final mandate: Eastern Cape
Final mandate: Northern Cape
Final mandate: North West
Final mandate: Mpumalanga
Final mandate: Limpopo
Final mandate: Free State
[A summary of these final mandates is awaited]
All the provinces mandated their delegates to support the Bill, but the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State suggested some amendments. The Western Cape complained that the fast-tracking of the Bill had left them without a response from National Treasury about their concerns raised by their negotiating mandate. It was decided to override the concerns of the Western Cape and the Committee voted to support the Bill without further amendments.
Advocate J Ferreira (Director of Legal Services) and Mr Thembikile Plaatjie (Parliamentary Liaison Officer) represented the National Treasury.
The provinces were asked to present their final mandates.
Mr M Robertson (ANC, Eastern Cape) said the Eastern Cape supported the Bill.
The Chairperson, on behalf of the Free State, supported the Bill with amendments.
Mr E Sogoni (ANC, Gauteng) said Gauteng supported the Bill.
Mr J Aulsbrook (KwaZulu-Natal legislature) said KwaZulu-Natal supported the Bill with amendments.
Mr D Botha (ANC, Limpopo) said Limpopo supported the Bill.
Mpumulanga supported the Bill without any further amendments. They had had some concerns but were satisfied with the feedback they had received.
Mr M Goeieman (ANC, Northern Cape) said that the Northern Cape accepted the Bill as it stood.
The Chairperson read out the North West’s mandate to support the Bill. The Chairperson noted that Mr Z Kolweni (ANC, North West) had apologised for his absence due to his wife’s illness.
Ms D Robinson (DA, Western Cape) said that the Western Cape supported the Bill with amendments. She complained that the fast-tracking of the Bill had left too little time for consultation. While the Legislature did want to support the Bill, the National Treasury did not want to budge on anything. Some discussion ensued.
Mr Goeieman (ANC, Northern Cape) said he was perplexed by the Western Cape’s response and that they should not make claims of fast-tracking as an excuse for not going through the Bill properly, especially considering their proximity to Parliament and their legislature.
Mr Botha (ANC, Limpopo) said that the Western Cape was the only province that seemed to have a problem with the fast-tracking. He motioned for the committee to support the Bill as it was. He asked that the mandates be concluded and amendments suggested in the Committee Report. Also, why was the Western Cape mandate not signed or on an official letterhead?
Regarding negotiating mandates, the Chairperson said that all concerns should be placed in writing. If the Western Cape had presented all their concerns they could have gone through them systematically. Ms Robinson responded to Mr Goeieman that the Western Cape had held their meeting immediately but had not had a response from National Treasury, and therefore could not change their point of view. She added that perhaps the other provinces had not raised so many issues.
The Chairperson noted that when the Committee had adjourned previously, it was on the understanding that the deadline for responses from Treasury was one o’clock .
Mr Goeieman (ANC, Northern Cape) added that this was in fact the case and asked why members should still be coming up with concerns. The Western Cape had had two documents that they had gone through. The government delegate was supposed to get back to the province so it could come to the meeting with a final mandate; yet the Western Cape always brought their responses piecemeal. He proposed not to discuss the Western Cape concerns; instead they should attend to business.
Mr Botha (ANC, Limpopo) said the Western Cape’s reasons were beyond the committee’s concerns: they had a mandate to support the Bill. The committee should accept their mandate as is.
Ms Robinson (DA, Western Cape) noted that the Western Cape had attached the same concerns as previously.
The Chairperson asked if they were dissatisfied with the level of response from Treasury. He had thought them very full and complex.
Ms Robinson said that when they had expressed concerns, they had not had a response. She had subsequently read the National Treasury’s response and understood it. She was in the Chairperson’s hands, and that clearly the Western Cape was outvoted.
Regarding fast-tracking of the Bill, the Chairperson wanted the provinces to be honest in their reflections. If programmes were congested it was not because of this Bill. He would pursue the matter of the provinces’ honesty in their reports. He thanked the Western Cape for their support.
Voting on the Bill
The Chairperson read a Motion of Desirability for the Bill, which was agreed to.
Mr Sogoni agreed but noted that the Bill had involved many complications and that it placed many obligations on the Committee. They should gear themselves for their commitments and also seek greater clarity from Treasury regarding the Housing Act
The Chairperson stressed the importance of public hearings and the interaction of colleagues. He suggested that one week after the report on expenditure the committee should convene publicly. There should also be workshops on formulae so that all could understand them, and not simply the Committee. The communities should understand the formulae. He noted that some MECs had not reported back to their standing committees, and therefore some provinces had been ‘kept in the dark’.
Adv. J Ferreira thanked the Committee for their support.
Ms Robinson (DA, Western Cape) wanted it noted that her concerns had been overridden.
The Chairperson said that the Bill would be debated on 17 March, and noted that Ms Robinson, Mr Aulsbrook, and Mr Sogoni would speak at the plenary debate.
The meeting was adjourned.
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