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JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
21 October 2005
CONSTITUTION TWELFTH AMENDMENT BILL: DEPARTMENT RESPONSE TO SUBMISSIONS
Document handed out
Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill [B33–2005]
Limpopo Legislature Resolution on the Bill
Summary of Responses to Public Comments
Letter from Minister of Justice about submissions on Bill (see Appendix)
The Department provided a summary of the public comments received on the Bill. It was noted that most of them highlighted the impracticalities involved in relocating municipalities from one province to another, as residents would have to travel to different social, welfare, educational, justice and health services in the new province at personal financial cost. As the Bill was governed by Section 74(8) of the Constitution, the provincial legislatures had the final say in approving or rejecting the Bill. The Committee could thus not incorporated public comments into the Bill as it would normally do with any other piece of legislation. All the concerns raised by the public would thus ultimately be decided upon by the provinces themselves. The National Parliament would address letters to the relevant provincial legislatures to inform them of this.
Introduction by Chairperson
The Chair informed Members that the document reflected a summary of the submissions received on the Bill, and was prepared by Mr J Labuschagne, Department Legal Drafter. She encouraged Members to remain mindful of the following two issues when going through the Bill. The first was that the document dealt with the constitutional amendments, and not with the Cross.Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal Bill. Secondly, the constitutional amendments had to follow a particular process which required the National Assembly to pass the Bill and it would then be referred to each province for approval. The Bill would then be referred back to Committee to consider any amendments proposed by the provinces. Thus all the concerns raised by the public regarding their dissatisfaction at being placed under the government of another province were ultimately decided on by the provinces themselves. The Committee could thus not incorporated such public comments into the Bill as it would normally do with any other piece of legislation presented to it.
The process would then be to simply go through the issues raised by the municipalities in the document provided by Mr Labuschagne, in order to familiarise Members with the issues raised.
Briefing by Department
Mr Labuschagne explained that the document being circulated was not an official Department document, but instead one which he drafted to assist the Committee clerks to summarise the issues. Secondly, the document did not reflect any recommendations made by either the Department or the Department of Provincial and Local Government, but merely reflected the issues raised by the submissions received.
He indicated that two sets of submissions were received on the Bill. The first set was received after the Bill was published in the Government Gazette and submitted to the provincial legislature for comment. The second set was received in response to the press statement issued by the Chairperson on the Bill, and only one submission was received there. He proceeded to take Members through the summary of submissions received.
Mr Labuschagne noted that the Gauteng Legislature supported the Bill, but stated that it would consider further the financial and social implications of the Bill on the province, when it formally considered the Bill. He stated that it was thus clear that that legislature had not really applied its mind to the Bill.
Eastern Cape Legislature
The legislature supported the Bill, without making any comments on it.
Mr Labuschagne highlighted the Matatiele Municipality objections were primarily that they were not properly consulted by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) on the proposed changes, that Sections 24 and 25 of the Municipal Demarcation Act were not abided by and that the majority of residents of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality wanted to be part of the Kwazulu-Natal province. The submission also proposed municipal demarcations that differed from the demarcation proposed in the Bill.
Cedarville & District Farmer’s Association
The submission proposed that if the Matatiele District Municipality were moved to the Eastern Cape then the distance to the provincial capital, which would then be Bishu, would disadvantage them with regard to government administration. They contended furthermore that the Kwazulu-Natal province had well-established education and sports structures as well as infrastructure, and it would have financial implications on the families that would now have to travel to the activities in the Eastern Cape centres. The proposed that Griqualand West not be relocated to the Eastern Cape.
Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents
Mr Labuschagne reminded Members that this submission contained the petition with the long list of signatures. The concerns were based on the impracticality of moving the Westonaria Local Municipality to the North West province as school sports, travel and urban development would be negatively impacted. The submission contended that the relocation would have financial implications on the families, and was of the view that the unilateral decision to relocate the municipality infringed on its constitutional rights. Mr Labuschagne stated that he did not understand which rights the submission was referring to..
Greater Westonaria Taxi Services
The submission disagreed with the relocation of the Westonaria Local Municipality to the North West province because the taxi drivers would have to apply for new licences and commuters would suffer as they would be compelled to travel to Potchefstroom or Mafikeng for social, welfare, educational, justice and health services. Mr Labuschagne pointed out to the Committee that most of the objections that to the relocations that were raised by these submissions were based on the impracticality involved.
Western Gauteng Taxi Council
Mr Labuschagne informed Members that this submission put forward the same arguments as the previous submission.
Ipeleng Primary School
The submission contended that the transfer of school personnel from the Gauteng province would be problematic.
Mr Labuschagne stated that the submission indicated that 90% of the Matatiele Municipality wanted to remain part of Kwazulu-Natal as many of them worked there and had relatives there.
The submission proposed the inclusion of the Ekangala Township into the Kungwini Local Municipality in Gauteng. Mr Labuschagne stated that he had contacted the MDB to gain clarity on this matter, and was informed that Ekangala consisted of a township and an industrial area. The concern raised by the submission was that the township was not part of the Kungwini Local Municipality because its residents retained strong links with Gauteng’s East Rand and were employed in Gauteng itself.
The submission proposed the increase in size of the Alfred Mzo District Municipality, and proposed that several other local municipalities be included in it.
Mr Labuschagne noted the submission’s concerns regarding lack of consultation.
Democratic Alliance: Westonaria
The submission opposed the relocation of the Westonaria Local Municipality to the North West province as it would have negative effect on the schooling, health services and hospitals, welfare, safety and financial interests of residents. It was argued that Westonaria was not a cross-boundary municipality and there was thus no reason why it should be relocated to the north West.
Submissions by Mr Sikhode, Mr Maseko and Mrs Sibanyoni
Mr Labuschagne noted that these submissions made similar proposals, which was that entire Metweding District Municipality be incorporated into the Gauteng province. This however reflected the very proposal in the Bill. It also proposed the relocation of the Ekangala Township within the Kungwini Local Municipality, and to move that Local Municipality into Gauteng.
Mr Labuschagne indicated that the submission supported the Bill.
Department of Land Affairs
Mr Labuschagne indicated that this was the only submission received in response to the Chairperson’s press statement, and expressed that the Bill did not appear to have any material implications on that Department.
Mr Labuschagne informed Members that the submission had just been received, and was in response to the Chairperson’s press statement. It proposed that Section 25 of the Constitution, which dealt with land matters, be amended. He stated that he did not include the submission in the document because it did not relate to the contents of the Bill and was therefore not applicable.
He concluded by indicating that all the submissions received on the Bill essentially raised concerns with the practicality of the proposed demarcations.
The Chair stated that it was difficult for this House to deal decisively with issues that properly pertained to the local government sphere, because the Committee did not have the necessary expertise nor did it have sufficient time to adequately engage those matters. Those provincial legislatures that made submissions in any event indicated that they would be engaging in rigorous consultation processes with the municipalities. She believed that that was the forum at which these issues could best be dealt with.
She reminded Members that the procedure that would be adopted for the passing of this Bill would ultimately give the legislatures the ultimate say with regard to the boundaries. Each of the submissions that have been received by the Committee must be referred to the relevant provincial legislatures and, where necessary, to the DMB as well. A relationship would have to be established between the NCOP Committee and the Portfolio Committee of Provincial and Local Government and the relevant Committees within the provincial legislatures, ensure synergy in the process within the different spheres of government.
She stated that she would, together with Mr L Tsenoli (ANC) [Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government], Ms S Shiceka (ANC) [Chairperson: Select Committee on Local Government and Administration] and Mr Labuschagne, draft letters to the relevant provincial legislatures and provide them with the submissions, so that they could further deal with the matter. The letters would explain that the Portfolio Committee had not called for detailed submissions because it was of the view that the provinces were best placed to deal with the consultative process.
Mr Tsenoli stated that the role of the MDB was critical in determining the final demarcation boundaries, and they must be consulted to ascertain the extent to which they have taken on board the submissions they have received. He agreed with the process proposed by the Chairperson.
He stated that it was important for all to remember that this constituted a work in progress, and it was not a final document. It appeared that that had not been properly communicated to the public, as evidenced by the submissions. The process was still underway and nothing had yet been cast in stone. Members would have to find a way to communicate the process to their constituencies..
Ms S Mshudulu (ANC) [Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government], stated that confusion was created in the public eye when the DMB made public its amended proposed demarcations, consequent to receiving submissions from the public. It appeared that the public was under the impression that those proposed amendments were to be carried forward, which was in fact not the case. As Mr Tsenoli stated, that needed to be clarified.
Secondly, as stated by the Chairperson, the provincial legislatures must conduct thorough consultation process within municipalities. He repeated the Chairperson’s earlier sentiment that the provincial legislatures were best placed to facilitate that process.
Dr P Bouwer, Department of Provincial and Local Government Manager: Legal Services, stated that, on a lighter note, there were several interesting boundaries in some of the cross-boundary municipalities (CBMs). There was a portion of a CBM in Ekhuruleni Municipality in which the boundary ran literally through the bathroom of a house. In another example, the provincial boundary between the North West and Northern Cape provinces ran through the bar counter at an hotel.
The meeting was adjourned.
Appendix: Letter from Minister of Justice about submissions on Bill
30 October 2005
MINISTRY: JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
To : Ms B Mbete :Speaker of the National Assembly
From: MRS B S MABANDLA MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
SUBMISSION OF CONSTITUTION TWELFTH AMENDMENT BILL OF 2005 FOR INTRODUCTION AND OF WRITTEN COMMENTS ON THAT BILL IN TERMS OF SECTION 74(6)(a) OF THE CONSTITUTION
I hereby submit the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill of 2005, a copy of which is attached, to you for the purposes of tabling and introduction in the National Assembly.
In accordance with section 74(6)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, copies (as listed below) of the written comments received on the above Bill are hereby submitted to you for tabling in the National Assembly. (The Bill was published in Gazette No. 27962 of 26 August 2005 in accordance with section 74(5)(a) of the Constitution.)
1. Gauteng Legislature
2. Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature
3. Matatiele Municipality
4. Cedarville & District Farmer's Association
5. Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents
6. Mr A Khoali
7. Mr J B Sibanyoni
8. Mr L Mapholoba
9. Mr E Mazibuko
10. Democratic Alliance: Westonaria
11. Mr G A Sikhonde
12. Mr M J Maseko
13. Mrs T A Sibanyoni
MRS B S MABANDLA: MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT