Product Standards Amendment Bill & Animal Improvement Bill: discussion & voting

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Meeting report

AGRICULTURE, WATER AFFAIRS & FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
5 August 1998
PRODUCT STANDARDS AMENDMENT BILL & ANIMAL IMPROVEMENT BILL: DISCUSSION & VOTING


Documents handed out:
South African Veterinary Council's comments on Animal Improvement Bill
National Department of Agriculture's comments on Animal Improvement Bill
Product Standards Amendment Bill [B24-98]
Animal Improvement Bill [B28-98]
These Bills can be accessed from http://www.polity.org.za/govdocs/1998

SUMMARY
Voting took place on the Product Standards Amendment Bill and the Animal Improvement Bills. The Bills were unanimously agreed to; with amendments to the Animal Improvement Bill.

DETAILED MINUTES
The Product Standards Amendment Bill had already been thoroughly discussed in the previous meetings but clarification as to the involvement of KWV was needed before it could be moved forward to the National Assembly. Clarification was given by both advocates Adu Naidoo and Hendrik Rademeyer from the Department of Agriculture. Once this had been done satisfactorily a party vote was conducted and the Bill was unanimously agreed to.

Before the discussion of the next bill two other matters were brought up by the Chairperson, namely the Winter grain levy and a request from the University of Cape Town. It was the decision to move the Winter grain levy to the next meeting since some members of parliament had not received information on it yet. The request from the University of Cape Town to make a presentation to the committee on the use of pesticides was also scheduled for the next meeting which is to take place on August 12.

Animal Improvement Bill, which is basically a bill concerned with the breeding of genetically superior animals, was discussed clause by clause. The Bill had 30 clauses in all and although most of the bill was agreed upon by all parties present, a few sections in certain clauses had to be amended. These are listed below.

Clause 1: This clause provides various definitions. The main problem was in the vague relevance to the Minister who would be in charge of certain issues pertaining to the Bill. A more specific definition was requested. It was decided that the final decisions would be in the hands of the Minister.

Clause 2: Mr Van Wyk (ANC) raised the concern that this clause does not require the Minister to seek consultation before declaring a certain status to an animal. Advocate Rademeyer stated that this was not done because of the difficulty in specifying which parties should be listed for consultation purposes and that provisions have been made to ensure that the registrar would intervene if a conflict of interest arises. Mr Van Wyk still insisted that a provision for some kind of consultation should be made. This was eventually agreed to and amended.

Clause 7: Ms Ngwenya (ANC) wanted to know how fees would be decided. This was answered by Mr Keith Ramsey, who is the Registrar and from the Department of Agriculture. He explained that the fees would be worked out based on the cost of handling the application for a person to be registered as a breeder. This would then be handed to the treasurer for approval.

Clause10: Mr Duna (ANC) wanted to know if one could appeal against termination of a permit to which Mr Ramsey replied yes.

Clause13: Mr Nel (NP) wanted to know why the South African Veterinary Society could not apply as a group? Mr Rademeyer replied that even though the handling of embryos was dealt with in the veterinary schools, most had no experience. Since experience is required for registration the whole society could not be registered.

Clause17: Mr Mentz (NP) wanted to know if this Bill could prevent the undercutting of South African goods. In other words, most of the stock is bought from here by one country and sold to others for greater profits thereby robbing South Africa. Mr Ramsey said that that was a difficult issue in that you cannot patent animals but you can patent names and by doing this they hope to curb this problem.

Clause28: Mr Nel was concerned with diseases that can be contained in genetic material. Mr Ramsey said that stringent tests will be performed on any genetic material that is to enter South Africa and only upon passing these tests would the material be allowed entry.

This brought the review of the clauses to an end. The schedule, memorandum, objectives and institutions consulted were also reviewed. Mr Ligege (ANC) wanted to know if all the institutions consulted agreed to the Bill. He was assured that they did by Advocate Rademeyer.

Mr Van Wyk wanted to know if the list before them was a full list of institutions that participated and if it was not, then the list should be upgraded. It was not the full list and Advocate Rademeyer agreed to have it updated.

The last issue was the word "experience" which some Members of Parliament felt discriminated against underprivileged South Africans and that the word "skills" should be used instead. This was eventually agreed to after short debate and the appropriate amendments were made.

A party vote was conducted and the Bill was unanimously agreed to. The bills will be presented to the National Assembly on August 17.

The meeting was then closed.

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