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AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 May 2005
Sectional Titles Amendment Bill: HEARINGS; Committee Programme: ADOPTION
Chairperson: Mr N Masithela (ANC)
Documents handed out:
AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Committee Programme for second Parliament session 2005
Sectional Titles Amendment Bill 2005 [B10-2005]
Department proposed amendments to Sectional Titles Amendment Bill
The Chairperson informed the Committee that a number of stakeholders had responded to the invitation for comment on the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill. These submissions were to be considered by the Committee first before they were submitted to the Department of Land Affairs for integration into the Bill if necessary.
Mr Masithela notified Members of an imminent conference to be hosted by the South African Parliament for the purpose of looking at agricultural development and funding mechanisms in Africa. Members would be able to attend the conference.
The Committee Programme was then adopted by the Members, subject to possible change and with recommendations from various Members. Particular reference was made to allow for further investigation into the current affairs of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
The Chairperson said that approximately 24 stakeholders had been contacted about the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill. They had received eight submissions. These had been circulated among Members, but would not be discussed at this meeting. He proposed that Members go through the submissions and then decide how the Department of Land Affairs should integrate them into the Bill. It seemed that most submissions expressed agreement with the proposed amendments apart from two of them.
Mr J Bici (UDM) and others agreed that Members needed more time to familiarise themselves with the submissions.
Mr Masithela said he had attended a meeting of the Secretariat of NEPAD, as a representative of the Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss preparations for a Conference attended by all African Parliaments, NEPAD and other stakeholders, to look at agricultural development and funding mechanisms. The details of this meeting would be circulated among Members in the coming week. It was recommended that Budget Committees be invited to the Conference as well, as they were broadly locked into policy processes and their funding support was imperative. Members of the Committee would have access to the Conference, which would take place over a period of five days. This had been included in the Programme and Members would have to plan for it accordingly. Their role was to interact with Members of other African Parliaments and stakeholders. The South African Parliament had been asked to host the Conference, although this did not necessarily mean that they would be covering the costs of it. Mr Masithela said he would be making suggestions to the Speaker in this regard. He would then come back to the Committee and a resolution would be made with the Secretariat of NEPAD. The Conference would probably occur in the Western Cape.
Mr Masithela said certain visits could be rescheduled according to Members’ plans and the Programme was open to amendments. The Government Steering Committee would be finalising the public hearings on AgriBEE. The Minister would be forwarding the AgriBEE agreement to the Committee before the stakeholders’ forum. It was then up to the Committee to call the public hearings, whereby they would be able to present their view on AgriBEE at any stakeholders’ forum. Mr Masithela reminded Members of the Land Summit that would take place from 5 to 7 July.
Dr E Schoeman (ANC) asked whether the Programme had been approved by the ‘powers that be’, as with the previous Programme several scheduled visits had not been approved.
Mr Masithela said the Members would possibly recall that the budget allocation had been re-evaluated and that funding would be taken from elsewhere if necessary for the implementation of the Programme. The Committee had to adopt the Programme in order to make it official, although it remained flexible and subject to change.
Dr A van Niekerk (DA) suggested the Committee make more visits to restitution projects, especially in the Western Cape. He said the Committee should be informed about the current status of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), as there had been rumours and reports in the newspapers, which needed clarification. He suggested that the Minister be asked to attend a meeting in this regard and explain the matter to the Committee.
Mr Masithela said the programme allowed for such additions, as Wednesdays and Fridays were open for visits and meetings.
A Member supported the suggestions by Dr van Niekerk as the crises in the ARC was of a particularly sensitive nature and the Committee had to be informed in order to be able to defend the position of the Department.
Mr Masithela said the matter could be addressed once the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill had been finalised.
Dr van Niekerk said the board of the ARC was at loggerheads with the executive and accusations of malpractice had been levelled. The matter was of great concern because it involved a national asset, which the country could ill afford to lose.
Mr Masithela said it was sound advice for the Committee to discover for themselves exactly what was going on, as the media did not accurately reflect this.
Dr Schoeman proposed that the Programme be approved. Mr D Dlali (ANC) agreed.
Mr Bici referred to item 28 on the Programme and suggested that more days be allocated for the intended visits to the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State. Six days might be too short.
Mr Masithela said that the Committee would be split into groups, which would enable them to cover greater ground.
The meeting was adjourned.
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