Finalisation and Voting on National Water Bill

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AGRICULTURE, WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
2 June, 1998
FINALISATION AND VOTE ON NATIONAL WATER BILL


The Chairperson, Ms Love, started by noting that as of 19h00 the night before, when the committee ended its meeting, there were still four issues that needed finalising. These were agreed to.

The Minister, Mr Hanekom, requested a chance to speak before the Bill was voted on. He thanked the committee for its hard work, noting that in his contact with many Portfolio Committee’s, none had worked as hard and in such detail as this committee. He continued by saying that the Department, throughout the deliberations, had tried to make the Bill a workable one, to make it implimentable. He noted that the implementation of the Bill would take time, and needed to be a consultative process involving all parties. The Bill contained no suprises, people would not suddenly have there rights removed. The Minister said that the Bill would require hard work and lots of time. He invited all parties to actively engage and participate in the implementation of the Bill.

A motion of desirability was read.

Mr. Menz (IFP) opposed the desirability of the Bill. He stated that the Minister had promised roll over licenses, which he did not believe were in the final version of the Bill.

Mr. Nel (NP) opposed the desirability of the Bill. He stated that he believed that certain clauses were unconstitutional. His party and himself had sworn to uphold the constitution, and could not therefore support the Bill.

Mr. Grobbler (FF) opposed the desirability of the Bill. He believed too much power was in the hands of the Minister. His party was not against redistribution, just not in this way and not at present.

Mr. Arendse (ANC) stated that the deliberations on the Bill had gone on for many days and many amendments had been proposed. He noted that none of the parties had got from the Bill what was wanted, including the African National Congress. But the African National Congress none the less supported desirability of the Bill.

The vote on desirability was 6 against (Inkhata Freedom Party 1, National Party 4, Freedom Front 1), with 12 for (African National Congress). The motion was carried.

Mr. Menz (IFP), Mr. Grobbler (FF) and two of the National Party walked out. An African National Congress member noted the walk out. Mr. Nel, in response to the statement, stated that they were not negative about the Bill, but could not vote if they saw it to be unconstitutional.

The Chairperson commented that the behaviour of the people who had walked out was very strange. She noted that there were 13 African National Congress members present, which was a committee quorum, so the vote would go ahead even if only African National Congress members remained. She added that the other members could stay in the committee and not vote, as there were other issues. She viewed the walking out as staggering.

Mr. Nel stated that the National Party was not trying to walk out and make a statement, and the action of the group that had left was not an orchestrated walk out. The Bill was voted on, with the African National Congress in favour, and the others parties negative vote noted.

The committee moved on to two briefings. The first dealt with the Agricultural Products Standards Amendment Bill. The Bill had been passed by the National Council of Provinces, with amendments. The Bill would not be completed in this session.

The second briefing was informal, as the Animal Improvement Bill had not been finalised and passed on by the National Council of Provinces. The briefing was given, however, so that members would have an understanding of the issues later.

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