National Water Bill: deliberations

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Meeting report

AGRICULTURE, WATER AFFAIRS & FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 May 1998
NATIONAL WATER BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Clauses 1-82 of the National Water Bill were reviewed. Some of the areas the committee had previously noted would be returned to were dealt with. In some of the areas it was decided to return at a later meeting for further debate.

One of the key principles agreed to was that the Minister would be assigned responsibilities, which he could then delegate to the Director-General. The Bill therefore did not need to decide which responsibilities should be the ministers, and which the Director-General. The department undertook to draw up a list of all the areas in the Bill which would need to be amended to accommodate this principle.

Some of the other key issues that arose in the meeting were:
The NP expressed concern over the cost implications of subclauses (a) and (b) in clause 41.

On clauses 50 and 51, the Deputy Director-General explained that water use licenses that have been granted to a predecessor should be served the same way by their successors. Mr. Cronje suggested changing the word ‘invited’ to ‘requested’ in clause 51.

Mr. Cronje suggested that the proposed change of the word ‘licence’ to ‘entitlement’ should be accompanied by a definition of the word ‘entitlement’.

Mr. Van Zyl suggested that the government should be the body giving water subsidies to people so that this is done in complete fairness.

Mr. Arendse noted that the Minister may hold too much power in regard to the policy himself.

Mr. Sekgoto stated that the pricing of water would be done taking into account how much water is going to be used, and what it would be used for.

The Department would return to the pricing and subsidy issue.

The NP suggested an amendment to clause 57, which would provide each catchment area with an individual water account.

Mr. Nel queried clause 64.2, suggesting it should be removed because it is unnecessary as the activities are covered within the portfolio of the Director-General.

The Department's amendment to clause 68 was accepted.

The committee agreed that all clauses that required consultation on activities should be returned to.

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