Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill: deliberations; Umvoti Municipality Update: briefing

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

04 April 2005
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
5 April 2005
INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS FRAMEWORK BILL: DELIBERATIONS; UMVOTI MUNICIPALITY UPDATE: BRIEFING

Chairperson: Ms N Ntshulana-Bhengu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department correspondence
Nel and Stevens correspondence
Indigent Relief Policy
Umvoti municipality credit control policy
Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill [B3-2005]

SUMMARY
Members had a follow-up meeting on the Mhkize housing case and heard input from the Department regarding credit control and the attachment of immovable property within local government. Representatives of the Sheriff’s Board were also present to provide detail on the role of sheriffs in the recovery of debt. Members noted the importance of the Mhkize case and expressed their desire to encourage integrity and service provision at the local level. The Committee agreed to summons relevant parties that had failed to respond to invitations to a future meeting.

Deliberations were continued on the proposed Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill, involving representatives of the Department. Questions raised included the status of current intergovernmental bodies, the ethos behind the proposed legislation, the legal status of protocols, dispute resolution mechanisms and the elucidation of proposed principles to municipalities in an accessible manner.

MINUTES
The Chairperson indicated that the meeting was a follow-up to the meeting of 8 February 2005 and was an opportunity for the Department to interact with Members regarding the Mhkize housing case. KPMG had recently completed an investigatory report that Members could access to assist in the oversight role. The Committee had identified other relevant individuals involved in the sale of the house including Ms Khan, S Chetty and N Chetty who had declined invitations to attend the Committee meeting. Mr Mhkize’s house had been auctioned at a supermarket by a Sheriff’s Office representative. The Committee sought clarity from the Sheriff’s Board on the procedures followed and normal practice. The Chief Financial Officer of the Umvoti Municipality had also been invited to explain the current credit control and debt collection policy but declined. The Committee had evidence that various properties were being purchased by officials of municipalities and their family members and the extent of this corruption had to be ascertained.

Members had to apply their minds to the issues under discussion and determine the relevance of the existing ordinances and their impact on the general public. Mechanisms in use to educate citizens on local government regulations had to be evaluated. The Chairperson relayed the various correspondence received from the parties in question to the Members and invited discussion.

Mr S Mashudulu (ANC) stated that the importance of the case had been explained to the Umvoti Municipality at the previous meeting and Members had to ascertain whether the reasons provided for lack of attendance were satisfactory. The Mhkize case highlighted an increasing problem within the country and Members were obligated to deal with the issues as a matter of priority. The integrity of Parliament as an institution and the status of the local government system were at stake. The case had received extensive media coverage. The Committee had to re-iterate the seriousness of the situation to all concerned and ensure co-operation from the affected parties. Procedures were in place to facilitate the involvement of all parties. Invitations had been extended in good faith and recipients should be present to assist Members in creating solutions. Parliamentary rules were in place to summon crucial individuals to assist in oversight and these should be invoked to avoid the undermining of Parliament. The Umvoti case was a general indicator of prevailing conditions where certain regulations were being applied in an arbitrary manner. He proposed that certain individuals be summoned to appear before the Committee.

Mr W Doman (DA) asked for clarity on who would be re-invited and who would be summoned. Members were unable to determine at this stage whether reasons provided were adequate or indicative of malicious intent. Obstructionist individuals should be identified and consideration be given in a rational manner to the option of summons. However, others should receive another invitation.

The Chairperson referred to the correspondence received and concurred that the reasons provided appeared inadequate and implied a lack of respect towards Parliament.

Mr P Smith (IFP) agreed with the summons route if obstructionist behaviour could be confirmed. He sought clarity on whether invited individuals received financial assistance from Parliament to attend meetings.

The Chairperson responded that each case would be treated on its merits and assistance could be provided where necessary. A sense of undermining Parliament had been detected at the local government level and the Committee had to play a role in addressing this.

Mr M Lekgoro (ANC) stated that the apologies received from Ms Khan and the Chettys seemed inadequate and doubt was created as to the intentions requiring a summons. Members should not delay in this regard. The CFO of the Municipality had tended an unreasonable response and should also be summoned.

Mr Smith reminded Members of the distinction between summons and invitations and stated that the summons option should only be utilised where inappropriate or obstructionist reasons had been provided. Members should be clear that this was the case. The statement by the CFO that he was awaiting the completion of an audit report seemed reasonable. Adequate reasons should not be treated with a summons as this could create an unsavoury precedence.

Mr Lekgoro proposed that the Chairperson liaise with the parties in question to determine prevailing attitudes and decide on the appropriate steps to follow.

The Chairperson responded that awaiting a forensic report did not appear to be a satisfactory response on the part of the municipality. The invitation had clearly stated the intention of the meeting to follow-up on previous discussions and to establish the extent of the current credit control policy.

Mr Smith stated that the parties could have generated a particular view of the present meeting as an investigation of certain improprieties on the part of the parties involved thus resulting in a motivation to not attend.

The Chairperson reiterated that the invitation was clear requesting the CFO to provide detail on the credit control policy and was not connected to the forensic report.

Mr Mashudulu proposed that a summons be issued to all parties to provide evidence to the Committee on the case in question.

Ms M Gumede (ANC) stated that the invitees had the responsibility to determine the exact purpose of the meeting from the relevant official if doubt existed. The silence indicated a desire to avoid Parliament that was problematic. The tactics employed appeared to be delaying in nature.

Mr Smith responded that he would not support a decision to summons all parties concerned and reasonable responses should be treated with respect.

Mr Mashudulu responded that the motion had been seconded and no additional statements should be entertained.

Mr Doman replied that discussion around the motion should take place amongst Members and clarity was sought from the Chair in this regard.

The Chairperson stated that discussion would be allowed and a decision should be taken on who to invite and who to summons.

Mr Smith proposed that the municipality receive re-invitations while the attorneys representing Ms Khan receive summons. He suggested that certain parties would have been wary of attending following the aggressive nature of the previous meeting. The issuing of a summons for lack of attendance could create an undesired precedence.

The Chairperson replied that no complaints had been received from parties regarding the previous meeting. The previous meeting had been characterised by stonewalling which had raised the emotional level and undermined Parliament’s role. Members should remain focused on monitoring the application of laws and identifying irrelevant laws in the public interest. References to the previous meeting had been heard at subsequent political rallies, which was irresponsible. Members were faced with two proposals, namely, to summons all parties involved or only summons Ms Khan and the Chettys while re-inviting the others.

Mr Doman stated that he would vote against both as unreasonableness or malicious intent could not be assumed. No evidence to support the assumption was before the Committee and re-invitations could be issued as the case should be resolved by 24 May 2005 allowing for further meetings.

Mr M Nonkonyana (ANC) stated that summons should be issued to ensure attendance at the next meeting to expedite the process and assist the Committee in oversight. Postponement of meetings was a costly exercise that Members should avoid and summons should be implemented to facilitate efficacy.

Mr Lekgoro requested that a vote on the issue be conducted.

The Chairperson stated that all parties would be summonsed following a vote. Seven were in favour and Mr Doman and Mr Smith voted against. Therefore, summons would be issued to the Umvoti municipality, the CFO, attorneys Nel and Stevens, Ms Khan and the Chettys.

Department briefing
Mr P Flusk (Deputy Director-General) expressed the Department’s concern with the case in question and the intention to resolve the issue in accordance with Constitutional principles. Developmental local government remained a priority of the government and the promotion of decent, vibrant communities was the goal. Incidents of corruption and nepotism had to be dealt with as they arose to avoid a general malaise.

Ms S Makhotoko stated that the Department had been considering the impact of national policy at the local level with particular relevance to the lives of citizens. The Department had ascertained that the Umvoti case was not isolated and many municipalities were attaching properties to effect repayment of monies owed. A follow-up meeting with the Umvoti management had occurred and certain proposals for new legislation had flowed out of these discussions. Consistent application of current legislation at the national level had to occur and an in-depth study of pending legislation would take place to facilitate this. Key issues included the definition of indigence with regard to credit control policy and the prevalence of delegation of important tasks to junior officials thereby increasing the chance of deviation from acceptable policy. The disadvantaging of community members had to be avoided. Acceptable standards had to be applied in a consistent manner. The crux of the matter was the process that municipalities used to recover outstanding amounts, in particular the attachment of immovable property.

Dr P Bouwer referred to Chapter 9 of the Municipal Systems Act that outlined procedures to be followed in the application of credit control policy. Municipalities could collect monies owing to them but in accordance with prescribed debt collection policy. Provision should be made for indigent citizens. Each municipality had to create relevant by-laws governing the collection of monies owed. Municipal councils had the authority to monitor the implementation of the policy and the municipal manager had the responsibility to implement and enforce the credit control policy. The ordinance in question under which the action in question was undertaken was an assigned law to the Kwazulu-Natal province and therefore only applicable to the province. The Act provided guidelines on the procedure to be followed in debt control and notice had to be issued. After a particular period of time a court could issue an order to recover a set amount through the sale of assets at public auction. A recent Constitutional Court decision found a problem with the sale of immovable property and this had to be considered by Members. The onus lay with the KZN Provincial Government to reconsider the status of the by-law regarding attachment of immovable property. The significance for national legislation would also have to be considered in due course. However, problems could arise in terms of implementation notwithstanding the relevance or otherwise of national legislation. Municipalities had to consider the implementation of a reserve price to ensure that the property was not sold at a price less than that owing to the municipality.

Mr Flusk reiterated the relevance of the Constitution regarding the collection of debt and municipalities were expected to behave in accordance with such principles. Discussions with the KZN Provincial Government indicated that the Umvoti municipality had contravened existing provincial legislation. The Department wanted, in collaboration with the Committee, to ensure that municipalities were implementing laws correctly. The Department was investigating the level of corruption and mismanagement across the board in a systematic manner and Members would be informed of progress in due course.

Discussion
Mr Mashudulu asked what measures were in place to address what appeared to be widespread problems in an effective manner.

Ms Makhotoko replied that national legislation was being considered as a long-term solution but the regulation of the application of credit control policies was a priority in the medium-term. Municipalities should be allowed to recover rates owed and this right should not be infringed upon but conducted in a standardised manner. The Mhkize case provided valuable insight into the issues at hand but further research was needed to direct the realignment of national legislation.

Mr Smith stated that the definition of indigence was important as Mr Mkhize could not be regarded as indigent as he owned a number of properties and businesses. The distinction between the indigent and rates defaulters had to be maintained. He requested further detail on the extent of the problem within the local government sphere from the Department. Further background on the relevant legal framework was required in writing to assist Members in understanding the pertinent issues.

Mr Mashudulu stated that the Department and the Committee should focus on the general situation rather than concentrating on particular cases. Widespread communication was necessary with local government in general as numerous cases were occurring. Possible amendment of legislation was a lengthy process that required extensive research and consultation.

Mr Mthalane (SANCO) stated that numerous complaints were being received from all parts of the country and the situation had to be controlled urgently to avoid a general deterioration. The Department had to establish lines of communication with roleplayers to address the problems.

Ms Gumede stated that the collection of money owing and the attachment of property was happening in an arbitrary manner and asked what criteria were in place to govern this activity.

Dr Bouwer stated that consideration should be given to why immovable property was being attached without adequate consideration to movable assets. The attachment of movable and immovable property could only occur following the default of a court order with movable property initially considered. The practice of selling immovable property without a reserve price also had to be reconsidered. The decision to sell property without reserve lay with the respective Councils who needed to be approached to correct the imbalance in implementation.

Mr Lekgoro asked why property was not sold at the market value in these cases.

Mr Flusk stated that property could not be sold in an arbitrary manner and administrative justice should prevail. The fair value of properties should be obtained in accordance with democratic principles. Urgent research was needed to determine the extent of the problem and formulate appropriate responses and municipalities were responding in this regard.

The Chairperson reminded Members that the purpose of the meeting was to assess the impact of relevant legislation and encourage the co-ordinated application of laws. The definition of indigence had to be reformulated to assist in this regard. The actions of individuals following a court order to repay were important in determining a commitment to repay. The auctioning of property following an initial payment was problematic, as was the tendency for overpayment due to inefficient administration. The Department had to intervene in cases where individual’s rights were infringed upon and institute a system of checks and balances to monitor implementation of regulations. Credit control policies had to be implemented in accordance with the Constitution and to prevent opportunities for corruption.

Ms Makhotoko acknowledged that the Department was aware of such incidents and wanted to incorporate willingness to pay into current legislation.

Dr Bouwer stated that the Constitutional Court was aware of the need to prevent the attachment of immovable property as a solution to the repayment of monies owed. Movable property should first be considered as a viable option. The Sheriff’s office should first establish the extent of movable property as meeting the size of the debt but judicial oversight should occur in the sale of immovable property. The sale of immovable property could only occur after a court had considered all relevant circumstances including a willingness to pay. He recommended that a letter be sent to all municipalities outlining the correct procedure to be followed, and highlighting the initial recourse to movable property, and that immovable property could only be attached following the intervention of the court. However, a mortgage scenario could not be viewed in the same light as immovable property had been offered as surety. The legal framework could only be altered following further research.

Ms L Mashiane (ANC) asked for clarity on a case where a house was sold in error that had no connection to the debtor.

Mr Smith asked when the recent Constitutional Court decision would take effect and whether municipalities should be instructed to comply. The imposition of a reserve price served the interests of the municipalities and he asked about the protection of debtors regarding the fair value.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the process involved in determining which properties would be sold where a debtor had a number of properties. The role of Sheriffs in the process of attaching properties had to be discussed.

Ms V Baduza (SA Board for Sheriffs) stated that the incident regarding the Umvoti municipality was serious and the Board would investigate the case.

The Chairperson responded that the Sheriff involved in the case should have reported to the Board as soon as signs of irregularity had been detected.

Mr Smith asked why the attached motor vehicle had not been sold prior to the sale of the immovable property to offset debts.

Dr Bouwer stated that debt collection policies were determined within municipal councils in accordance with specific requirements. The municipality in question would have to indicate at some stage why certain steps were taken and the reasons for administrative errors that occurred.

The Chairperson calculated that Mr Mkhize had overpaid on the debt and the lawyers in question would have to explain the error.

Mr Flusk stated that municipalities had to be responsive to willingness to pay and extensive education campaigns were needed to correct misunderstandings and anomalies. Project Consolidate dealt with a number of relevant issues such as indigence, community participation, bidding systems etc. Processes of monitoring and evaluation would also be enhanced to promote efficacy.

Ms Baduza responded that sales in execution of immovable property occurred after instruction by attorneys and Sheriffs would operate in line with this requirement. She noted that Ms Khan had informed investigators that she did not benefit from the sale and that should be considered by Members. The purchase of property at a public auction by Ms Khan was not contrary to procedural requirements and conditions of employment.

Mr Lekgoro claimed that the Department had to reconsider the role of officials in the sale of property as irregularities were taking place. The danger was that the public could perceive that officials were receiving properties at reduced value thereby profiting from their office.

The Chairperson referred to the current code of conduct for employees and asked whether Ms Khan had disclosed her interests.

Mr Mashudulu claimed that it was unethical for Ms Khan to have behaved in the alleged manner and she should have recused herself from proceedings due to her sensitive position as a council official. Municipal managers should display greater sensitivity towards the financial circumstances of citizens and provide advice and guidance in certain situations and not be seen to exploit those in dire straits. Ms Khan’s case was an outright transgression of policy and Members should focus on defending policy.

The Chairperson stated that Mr Mhkize had approached the Mayor to explain his financial situation and the case had been delegated to Ms Khan who had signed the final sale agreement on behalf of her brother. Ms Khan acted as both referee and player and municipal management should have realised this.

Mr Smith noted that notice had been served on Mr Mhkize in an indirect manner by means of a tenant and asked for clarity on this procedure.

Ms Baduza responded that warrants of execution had to be obtained for movable and immovable property and the intention to pay had to be considered but the Umvoti municipality might have doubted whether Mr Mhkize would continue payments. Therefore, the sale would have continued to avoid the need to acquire another warrant.

Mr Doman raised the issue of delegation with regard to sale in execution with junior officials making crucial decisions on behalf of individuals. Legislation should consider correcting this practice. The outsourcing of municipal business to skilled parties such as lawyers was problematic in distancing officials from issues directly affecting the community and thereby eroding the status of officials amongst the citizens.

Mr M Nonkonyana (ANC) asserted that the KPMG authors of the forensic report should be present in future to assist in the process to resolve the issue.

The Chairperson agreed with the proposal and KPMG and the Deputy-Sheriff would be added to the list for the next meeting. The Committee was engaged in an exercise to create standards to govern future local government activity and correct anomalies. Irrelevant by-laws and ordinances should be identified and amended. The Department should provide assistance to municipalities to ensure a co-ordinated approach and ameliorate uneven development. A popular education campaign was necessary to enable municipal officials to understand responsibilities and treat citizens with integrity. The presence of profiteering in the Mhkize case was a disgrace and the Committee should ensure that similar events did not occur in future.

Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill
Mr D Powell (Acting Deputy Director-General: Governance, Policy and Research) read through Clauses 27 to 31, emphasising the required standard rules for forums and the status of intergovernmental structures.

Clause 30: Internal Procedures of Intergovernmental Structures
Mr Smith asked whether all intergovernmental bodies would be regulated by the proposed regulations including hybrid structures and non-political entities. He asked whether internal regulation would occur within the framework of Chapter 4 regarding the settlement of disputes.

Mr Powell replied that forums would adopt dispute resolution measures to suit particular sectors within the framework of Chapter 4 and a general set of principles would apply for all intergovernmental bodies.

Mr Smith asked whether the principal acts governing particular sectors, e.g. the Education Act, should be consulted first to determine the dispute procedures before the proposed legislation could be applied.

Mr Powell responded that the intention of the proposed legislation was not to over-regulate intergovernmental activity.

Mr Mashudulu asked why subclause (3) was necessary as it could be assumed that individuals participating within structures should abide by the internal rules.

Mr Powell replied that an ever-increasing practical problem was the delegation of decision making to junior levels of officialdom which hindered the operation of particular sectors. The intention was also to ensure an adequate level of consistency within the internal arrangements of structures and maintain a commitment to the ethos of intergovernmental bodies.

Mr Doman asked whether the Department had the right to legislate as indicated by subclause (4) for all intergovernmental entities.

Mr Powell responded that the Department did have the right and the intention was to codify the operation of all informal bodies. The proposed legislation could have been more directive in nature and Cabinet had been involved in the drafting of the Bill. The purpose was to incorporate informal entities within a standard framework of regulation. The Bill had been certified by the State Law Advisors.

Mr Smith asked whether the Bill would make all non-statutory bodies statutory in effect or would informal bodies remain.

Mr Powell replied that not all intergovernmental bodies were being covered as a myriad of such entities existed. The Bill focused on national bodies and a certain threshold was in place to distinguish between various entities. The Bill sought to define the central nervous system of intergovernmental activity.

Mr Lekgoro asked whether some confusion reigned regarding the scope of the Bill and which bodies would be affected by its promulgation.

Mr Powell replied that the Department could reconsider the scope of subclause (4) if some confusion existed.

Mr Mashudulu stated that the Department should pursue the matter to impose norms and standards upon all intergovernmental bodies in the interests of effective government.

Mr Lekgoro asked for clarity on the impact of the Bill on informal structures.

Mr Powell responded that the intention of the Bill was to internally regulate important bodies in the interests of effective utilisation of resources and meaningful decision-making. The use of the word "body" in subclause (4) might cause confusion as to the scope of the legislation.

Mr Smith stated that the Bill defined the structure and form of intergovernmental bodies but was insufficient in terms of noting the distinction between formal and informal.

Mr Powell replied that intergovernmental forums were formally constituted and would occur on a regular basis. Decisions reached would affect the overall activity of government.

Dr Bouwer stated that the lack of definition of intergovernmental bodies was intentional and subclause (4) remained a transitional arrangement. Clause 2 established the list of bodies affected by the Bill, and excluded certain institutions within the government system.

Mr Smith asked whether subclause (4) applied to any intergovernmental body read within the parameters of the whole Bill.

Dr Bouwer responded that this was the correct interpretation.

Clause 31: Standard internal rules
Mr Doman asked whether all forums would have to adopt specific rules within the standard outlines as determined by the Bill and the purpose of the rules determined by the Minister.

Mr Powell stated that the obligation to adopt internal rules was self-standing in terms of the Bill. The rules of the Minister could be adopted if so desired but the intention of the legislation was to encourage bodies to determine own rules in accordance with the parameters of the Bill.

Dr Bouwer stated that the spirit of the Bill was to promote the internal self-creation of rules and the Minister could impose rules in the case of a crisis.

Mr Lekgoro stated that the role of the Minister in determining internal rules was not clear.

Mr Powell stated that the purpose of the Bill was to influence internal behaviour by means of a standardised model.

Mr Powell discussed clauses 32 to 35 highlighting the intention to influence conduct and the type of protocols adopted. The combination of government activity was a growing practice and the legislation was designed to reflect this in promoting agreements to improve delivery. Activities were occurring in specific geographical locations that necessitated co-ordinated responses.

Ms Mashiane asked for clarity on the position of metros within the envisaged framework.

Mr Lekgoro responded that the metros would sit within the provincial structure in accordance with provincial legislation.

Clause 32: Implementation protocols
Mr Mashudulu asked whether the clause would be regarded as a prescriptive piece of legislation.

Mr Smith stated that the intention of the clause was understandable but it did appear to be prescriptive as existing agreements between government agencies could be impacted upon. He asked whether an existing agreement that did not comply with subclause (3) could be deemed illegal. He asked whether an existing protocol would become obsolete if one of the requirements was lacking.

Mr Powell responded that the list was not a closed list and requirements could be added.

Mr Smith asked whether capacity constraints at local government level could impact on adherence to requirements of the Bill.

Mr Powell stated that municipalities would retain existing powers but the Bill would address capacity constraints by co-ordinating responses to needs. An agreement between agencies would increase the opportunities to achieve success and promote a practical response to service delivery.

Mr Lekgoro asked what the consequences would be for lack of implementation of protocol agreements.

Mr Mashudulu highlighted the lack of capacity at the local government level that could adversely impact on the implementation of protocol agreements.

Mr Powell acknowledged that a risk remained within the system as regards the lack of implementation. The Bill was drafted in a responsible manner and the enforcement of agreements was a debatable point. The Bill reflected a changing culture within government of promoting co-operation. The formalising of protocols facilitated mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation and fostered predictability within executive levels.

Mr Smith asked about the legal status of protocols in enforcing compliance.

Mr Powell replied that protocols would not acquire a contractual status.

Dr Bouwer stated that some correlation existed as regards contractual obligations in that protocols established consensual understandings. Protocols remained legal agreements with accompanying responsibilities.

Clause 33: Provincial policies and legislation affecting local government
Mr Smith asked whether the requirement that provincial governments consider national priorities could be regarded as unconstitutional. Chapter 3 prevented the encroachment of entities into other geographic spheres.

Mr Powell replied that the legislation intended to render provincial premiers more accommodating as regards intergovernmental activity. The requirement was not regarded as unconstitutional as most national and provincial priorities were concurrent and the aim was to promote co-operation and service delivery. The intention to encourage agreements could not be perceived as over-prescriptive as existing agency agreements would not be adversely impacted upon. The metros had an important leadership role to play in assisting neighbouring local authorities with capacity building and other services. Metros would remain within the local government framework.

Dr Bouwer stated that local government was no longer a part of provincial government competence and therefore national legislation could impact on provincial intergovernmental bodies.

Mr Powell discussed clauses 36 to 45 emphasising the proposed methods to settle disputes and the consequences of declaring disputes.

Clause 37: Duty to avoid intergovernmental disputes
Mr Smith asked whether existing intergovernmental bodies would have to add dispute settlement mechanisms if such arrangements did not exist.

Mr Powell responded that the intention of the Bill was to promote settlement of disputes within organs of state rather than allowing court involvement.

The Chairperson asked which component of an existing intergovernmental body would be given the responsibility to resolve a dispute.

Mr Mashudulu added that the legislation would be utilised in a political environment with accompanying difference of interpretation of principles. The identification of a suitable dispute resolution individual was problematic. An education campaign was needed to instruct municipalities on the intricacies of the Bill in a simplified way.

Mr Powell stated that the Bill wanted to promote maximum public interaction and establish relationships between the government and communities. The Bill would apply in the case of disputes between provincial governments and service providers. Members should understand the difference between formal and informal disputes. The intention was to allow organs of state to settle disputes in an effective manner.

Clause 43: Reports to Parliament
Mr Doman asked whether the Minister should be required to submit reports on an annual basis rather than from time to time.

Mr Powell responded that a regular report would be too onerous on the Minister in question and a mutual incentive existed to provide reports.

Clause 44: Regulations and guidelines
Mr Doman asked whether the Minister should also engage in a consultative process with organs of state before publishing regulations.

Mr Powell responded that the Minister would consult on the near final product as the Bill intended to encourage discussion. Government wanted to promote self-regulation of disputes within intergovernmental bodies in accordance with the legislative framework.

The meeting was adjourned.

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