Marine Living Resources Bill


12 March 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

13 March 1998

Mr. Le Roux (National Party) apologised for the absence of Mr. Williams. He stated that the National Party thought the current process of going through the Bill clause by clause using the two documents and making verbal amendments was unsatisfactory. The National Party suggested that they can discuss the issues, but would like a new document to see what they were voting for. The National Party would also suggest that the Bill go to the house on the 23 March to give the committee time to go back to the stakeholders.

The Chair stated they had agreed on many of the issues, and the Portfolio Committee will go through the others that they agree on. The Portfolio Committee is trying to get the Bill presented to the house on the 23rd. The committee will go back and report to the stakeholders, but not to receive more submissions.

Mr. Smith stated the Inkatha Freedom Party was not worried about when, as there was only one issue that they had concern with and were sure it would be dealt with.

Mr. Le Roux (National Party) said their legal desk had advised them that the amendments were making radical changes to the Bill, and the National Party would really need to see them all in one document before they can finalise the Bill.

Ms. Van der Merwe requested that they go through all the clauses where there is agreement, to get those out the way.

The rest of the meeting was taken up by going through the bill to find where there was agreement. The clauses where there was disagreement would be returned to. These were clause 7, 14, proposed 17, 22, 24, 27 and 40.

The rest were agreed to, with minor amendments in places.

The committee then returned to the remaining clauses.

On Clause seven the chair stated that there had been extensive debate on the issue of mandatory maritime provincial representation on the Advisory Forum. She therefore would not allow a long debate, but would give each party two opportunities to speak.

Mr. Richards (African National Congress) stated that making any appointment to the Forum mandatory would limit the Minister in what was a difficult position. The ideal was a small council in which expertise and talents were required, the appointment of which should be left to the minister.

Mr. Smith (Inkatha Freedom Party) stated that if cost was an issue, the provinces should pay for their representatives costs.

Mr. Le Roux stated that the National Party supported the view presented by the delegation from the E Cape last week that the maritime provinces need mandatory representation, one from each of the four provinces.

Mr. Mfayela (Inkatha Freedom Party) stated that as a partial compromise the provinces should submit a list of names from which the minister must choose one.

Mr. De Wet (National Party) agreed, stating that the Provinces must have a representative.

Ms. Van der Merwe (African National Congress) stated that many of the concerns were covered by the Bill. The Forum was at least five, more could be added. The minister was obliged to make the Forum broadly representative. The appointments to the Forum were for a period determined by him. Therefore, if there was an issue that needed provincial input in the Forum, the minister could appoint someone to the Forum for the duration of that issue. Further, the constitution makes no provision for maritime provinces, and the term could not be used. Therefore if provincial representation was required, it would have to be for all nine provinces, which was out of the question. The Portfolio Committee could act as public watchdog, and ensure the proper composition of the Forum, and mandatory representation was out.

The departmental law advisor stated that a reference to only certain provinces was not possible. Mr. Fredericks from the department stated that the department had originally wanted maritime representation, as per the White paper, but had left it out of the Bill due to this legal issue.

Mr. Smith (Inkatha Freedom Party) asks whether if it was constitutional, would the African National Congress change its position.

Rev. Goosen (African National Congress) said no, as it was not in the interests of restructuring to limit the minister.

Mr. September (African National Congress) stated that it did not make sense to exclude other inland provinces, as many large fishing industries were run from central inland areas.

Mr. Mfayela stated that the Inkatha Freedom Party would accept all provinces must have mandatory representation.

The chair closed debate on the clause, and put it to a Vote. The clause was passed with the African National Congress voting for the clause as amended, with no mandatory provincial representation, with the National Party voting against, and the Inkatha Freedom Party abstaining.

Clause 14, and 22 were opened for debate. The departmental law advisor stated that on the committees request he had collapsed the clauses into one clause. The African National Congress agreed with the clause.

Mr. Le Roux (National Party) stated that the Forum had been set up to advise the minister. And yet he was not required to consult on the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), which was one of the most crucial issues. Further, with the new clause having just been presented to the meeting, the National Party would need to take the clause to their legal desk, and asked the issue to be delayed until tomorrow.

The Chair stated that the Portfolio Committee either must debate the rest of the Bill now, and finish it, or adjourn the meeting and allow the National Party to take the documents back to the legal team.

Mr. Le Roux stated that he would like agreement to be reached now that the Forum must be consulted, but would still need to take the clause back to the legal desk.

Mr. Smith (Inkatha Freedom Party) queried whether the mandatory consultation was not covered in section six. The legal advisor said no.

Mr. Williams (African National Congress) stated that there may well be people in the Forum who have an interest in what size the TAC will be, and is it right that they are consulted.

The Chair asked for members feelings on how to proceed.

The committee said the issue should be put to a vote.

The National Party stated that they have requested to take the clause back to their legal team, and that the vote should not occur. If the Forum did not advise on the TAC, who would?

Dr. Mayekiso from the department explained that the research institute on Sea Fisheries presents proposals from their scientists to the Sea Fisheries Advisory council, where scientists from industry debate with the departmental scientists.

The Chair asked the members to please address her on the National Party request to take the issue back to their legal team.

Mr. Lekgoro (African National Congress) said the issue must be moved on, and voted.

The Chair put the clause to a vote. The African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party voted for, the National Party abstained.

The Chair opened debate on new clause 14.

Ms. Van der Merwe (African National Congress) stated that the African National Congress would agree to the compromise proposed by the NP to make the time period 15 years in the spirit of reconciliation, and that the words "in order to promote stability within the commercial fishing industry" be removed from subsection 5.

Mr. Le Roux (National Party) stated there should be a clause that would guarantee that if a company meets all the requirements such as affirmative action, etc., that the company would get its rights renewed.

The department said the principle was covered in section 6

Mr Le Roux stated that the National Party wanted the time period to be 20 years. He stated that a trawlers life span was 20 years, and no company would invest in a trawler if they only had a short period of 15 years.

The Chair asked for clarity as the National Party had proposed the 15 years.

The department reminded the Portfolio Committee that the Bill was to cover all fishing activities, not just trawling.

Mr. Mfayela (Inkatha Freedom Party) asked whether the deletion of the words "in order to promote stability within the commercial fishing industry" be from subsection 5 would affect the obligation on the minister to perform a balancing act between the industry and new entrants.

The department stated that the Minister was obliged to operate in all things with section 2 in mind.

Chair stated that agreement was not reached, and put the clause to a vote, with amendments. The African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party agreed, the National Party abstained.

The new clause 24 was opened for debate. The African National Congress moved the clause, with amending it by replacing all reference to sold with leased, and adding "allocation" as an area around which the Minster may prescribe methods for.

The Inkatha Freedom Party queried whether the ministers ability to prescribe methods of allocation had not been covered elsewhere.

The departmental law advisor said no.

The National Party asked to take the clause back to its legal desk, and could not vote until the new clause with amendments was in writing.

The chair stated that the clause had been with the parties all week, and put the issue to a vote. The Inkatha Freedom Party and National Party voted for, the National Party abstained.

Clause 27 with amendments was voted on, with the African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party voting for, and the National Party abstaining.

On clause 40, the National Party expressed concern that the clause did not cover the management of harbours. The department official stated that provision was made for the charging of fees, and that management would be covered in the regulations.

The Chair stated that according to the rules of parliament the clauses had been gone through individually, and the Bill needed to be finally gone through without discussion and put to a vote. The Chair asked when a completed document could be ready.

The departmental law advisor was confused, as it was his belief the bill had been voted on by the Portfolio Committee, and did not need any further voting.

The Chair disagreed, saying the Bill needed to be voted on.

Mr. Le Roux stated that the National Party could not vote on the Bill until it could see in one written document what was being voted on.

Mr. Lekgoro (African National Congress) said that that was not needed, as voting had already taken place.

Mr. Le Roux (National Party) objected to the procedure, stating that they want the document in writing, as it was a very important Bill, and needed to look at each completed clause.

The Chair stated that in terms of Parliamentary law debate on the Bill in the Portfolio Committee had closed, and that any further debate could occur in the house. The chair would therefore put the bill clause by clause to the committee now to be voted on without debate.

The National Party requested the chairs permission to leave, as it objected to the decision and were not prepared to continue. The National Party left, and the objection was noted by the Chair.

Mr. Smith (Inkatha Freedom Party) asked whether it was possible to have a short meeting on Monday, with no discussion and a final document, to vote on the bill. The purpose of waiting would be to see in writing what was being voted on.

The chair stated that it was wrong of the National Party to state that they had not had a chance to see the clauses, and ask for legal advice. But if the request was as Mr. Smith requested, merely to have in one document, it may be possible.

The departmental law advisor stated that normally according to what the Portfolio Committee had done no further voting was needed.

The Chair disagreed, stating that the Bill needed to go to a vote without discussion, clause by clause.

The Chair put the bill clause by clause to the vote. The African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party voted for all clauses, except with Inkatha Freedom Party voting no on clause 7.



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