Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill Programme; Committee Programme 2006

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

07 November 2005
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
8 November 2005
CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITY LAWS REPEAL BILL PROGRAMME; COMMITTEE PROGRAMME 2006


Chairperson: Mr L Tsenoli (ANC)

Documents handed out
Items for inclusion in First Session Committee Programmes 2006 (Appendix 1)
Programme for Fourth Session 2005 and First Session 2006 (Appendix 2)
Programme of Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill (Appendix 3)

SUMMARY
The precise timeframe for the passing of the Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill was not certain, and clarity was needed on the impact of the Constitutional Twelfth Amendment Bill. The provisional date for passing of the Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill was 14 December 2005, but the Committee would be informed of the actual date very soon. The Committee considered its provisional programme for 2006, and added certain issues to the agenda.

MINUTES
Programme of Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill
The Chair referred Members to the document that reflected the proposed passage of the Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill.

Mr P Smith (IFP) asked whether those were the final dates, or whether the impact of the passing of the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Bill had not yet been factored into the processing of the Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill. If that was the case, the Committee needed to be briefed on the revised time frame for the passage of the Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill.


The Chair stated that he did not have that information at hand, but he had been informed that it would be a very short rescheduling period.

Mr Smith asked whether the Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill would still be finalised in Parliament on 14 December 2005, as originally planned.

The Chair replied that he was under the impression that the outer date of 14 December would be retained, and worked towards. The revised date might be provided by the end of the day.

Items to be included in First Term 2006 Programme
The Chair went through the agenda list and noted that the Department had requested an opportunity to brief the Committee on the provision of free basic services to communities, as a follow-up to its previous input. This item had to be placed on the agenda for 2006. The second was a request from the Rand Water Board to brief the Committee, but the Committee was advised that that briefing should instead take place as part of the new Water Strategy that would be deliberated on by the Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry. Disaster management was a very important issue, especially in view of the recent disasters that have happened in the Eastern Cape for example. He proposed that the Committee be allowed sufficient flexibility to interact with municipalities and provinces on disaster management issues.

Mr Smith noted that points 5 and 7 in the document were new additions to the manner in which the Committee reported, as it had never before been asked to report on its processes.

Mr L Brown, Committee Secretary, informed Members that that was a new requirement by Parliament.

The Chair stated that he was of the view that the work done by the Committee was biased in favour of the local government sphere, and proposed that the Committee’s work in 2006 focus on intergovernmental relations, or oversight over the functions of the provincial governments. This must be done to give effect to the mandate and name of this Committee.

Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) reminded Members that that was one of the resolutions adopted by the Committee in its 2004 Annual Report. The Committee had to discuss its failure to embark on regular oversight visits, both internationally and domestically. It was an important tool of the Committee’s oversight function, and had to be addressed.

Mr M Likotsi (PAC) proposed that the issue of service delivery must also be included in the 2006 Programme, because it appeared that all the problems that occurred at local government level were blamed on lack of capacity.

Mr Mshudulu informed Members that the Department had referred it to a document that studied that very issue. He proposed that the Committee meet with the Department in 2006 to take it through that document.

Mr Smith proposed that the Committee meet with the Portfolio Committee on Minerals and Energy on the Regional Electricity Distributor (RED) legislation, as the process was currently going awry. The second was the need to meet with the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration to discuss government’s programme of a single public service, as the Committee needed to be brought back into that loop. Thirdly, the Committee needed to meet with the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation to discuss the local government infrastructural needs in preparation for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. Fourthly, there was a need for interaction with the Finance Portfolio Committee to consider matters such as the abolition of Regional Services Council (RSC) levies.


Mr Mshudulu reminded Members that the Committee had met with the relevant government department institutions on those matters, and the Committee had produced reports. Those reports must be borne in mind when the Committee mapped out the way forward.

The Chair agreed that those reports would be followed up on.

Mr Likotsi proposed that the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) also be brought before the Committee, so that it could monitor some of its activities. A common concern recently on the matter of the Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill, was that people complained that the MDB had not consulted properly with the affected communities before making its decisions.

The Chair agreed and proposed that the issue of public participation be considered in a much more broader manner, and not simply in terms of the MDB.

Mr Smith stated that the Committee had proposed a few sessions previously that it embark on a comprehensive review of the Municipal Structures Act and the Municipal Systems Act in order to improve its operation. The amendments would however come directly from the parties within the Committee. He proposed that this process be taken up again in 2006, because it was often the case that problems in local government were linked to inadequacies in its overarching legislation.

The Chair agreed. The ushering in of the new local government dispensation in December 2005 would provide the perfect juncture for such a review. He proposed that the entire gamut of local government legislation be reviewed.

Mr W Doman (DA) suggested that the Committee interact with the MECs for Local Government to gain an idea of the state of affairs in their provinces. He was aware that that might encroach on the jurisdiction of the NCOP, but it was a matter that should be considered as the insight would be very useful for the Committee.


Secondly, he was concerned that the Committee was not engaging in sufficient oversight visits to municipalities which hampered its ability to properly exercise its oversight function.

The Chair stated that the Committee’s relationship with the NCOP was very important, but the scope of the powers of Portfolio Committees was very explicit and it could request any institution to appear before it. That would not encroach on the NCOP.


The meeting was adjourned

Appendix 1: Items to be included in First term Programmes for 2006

ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED IN FIRST TERM PROGRAMMES FOR 2006

Il is recommended by the House Chairperson: Committees that the following items be included in 1st term programmes for 2006:

1. Priority must be given to any legislation before the committee. (NCOP would like to have S75 legislation by 1 March and the Division of Revenue Bill 2-3 days after introduction). JR-159 referrals must also be included in the programme.
2. The committee should consider how President's State of the Nation Address affects it and the Dept which it oversees.
3. Hearings on the Budget Vote of the Dept. which the committee oversees.
4. Consideration of the Strategic Plan of the Department (if available).
5. Adoption of a report on the Budget Vote process.
6. Adoption of the Annual Report of the Committee (if outstanding).
7. Adoption of the Report on the process of considering the Annual Reports of Departments and entities for 2005 (if outstanding).
8. Adoption of any outstanding reports on oversight visits and study tours.
9. Consideration of any instruments referred to the committee for consideration and report.

When submitting the programme, the following additional information should also he submitted:
1. Legislation before the committee.
2. List of all instruments referred to the committee for consideration and report, tlie status thereof and when the committee intends to finalise them.
3. List of all outstanding reports on trips and when the committee intends to adopt them.
4. Whether the committee has already adopted a report on the process of the consideration of the Annual Reports of the Dept. and entities for 2005.
5. Whether the committee has adopted its Annual Report for 2005.
6. Broad objectives must be indicated for trips/tours.
7. Co-ordination of visits with NCOP, Provinces and Local Govt. This must happen at. the programming phase.
S. Joint Committees need to co-ordinate their programmes with the NCOP.
9. The programme must be signed by the Chairperson.
10. Committees must indicate progress made will) their business planning process.
1 1. The Committee period must he utilized in full. Reasons for not meeting on day during tins period must be provided.

Where committees have difficulty in meeting any of the above, written explanation can he submitted for consideration.

Appendix 2: Programme for Fourth Term 2005 and First Term 2006

PARLIAMENTARY PROGRAMME FRAMEWORK
First Term 2006
(As agreed to by Joint Programme Committee on 12 October 2005)

FIRST TERM 2006
30 January – 31 March 2006 (6 weeks)

Leave Period: 2 – 6 January
Constituency Period: 9 – 27 January
Committees: 30 January – 2 February
President’s State of the Nation Address: 3 February
Debate on President’s State of the Nation Address: 7 – 9 February (Provisional)
Budget Speech and Introduction of Division of Revenue Bill: 19 February

Constituency Period: 31 March – 28 April

Note: Division of revenue Bill to be considered by both Houses by 31 March


Appendix 3: Programme of Cross-Boundary Municipality Laws Repeal Bill

PROGRAMMING OF CROSS-BOUNDARY BILLS

Arising from yesterday's political meeting, officials from various stakeholders met this morning (3/11) to discuss possible programming of the Constitution Amendment Bill and the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal Bill.

It should be emphasised that the resulting discussion was based on the assumption that the Municipal Demarcation Board would have finalised their processes on all the political proposals (Notice of 19 August read with first Schedule of notice of 31 October) and have published "demarcation maps" by no later than 5 -6 December 2005.

Proposed scheduling for Constitution Bill:

Debate in the National Assembly: 8 November 2005
Briefing to Select Committee: 9 November 2005
Briefings in affected provinces: 10-11 November 2005
Bill passed by affected provinces: 2 December 2005
Consideration of Bill by Select Committee: 6-8 December 2005
Debate in NCOP: 14 December 2005

Proposed scheduling for Cross-boundary Bill:

Consideration by Portfolio Committee
(conferring with Select Committee)
of proposed amendments other than
Schedules and maps: 15-16 November 2005
Consideration of finalised Bill by
Portfolio Committee (conferring
with Select Committee: 6-9 December 2005
Debate in National Assembly: 13 December 2005
Adoption of Bill by Select Committee: morning of 14 December 2005
Debate in NCOP: 14 December 2005

These dates will have to be finalised by a Joint Planning Committee of Parliament, but we can work on it for planning purposes.

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