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JOINT MEETING OF HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE & SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
22 February 1999
TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL: RECONSIDERATION
Documents handed out:
Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill [B117F-98]
ANC Amendments to B117F-98
Memorandum of Parliamentary Law Advisor
Amendments to the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill were meant to be discussed, but as the opposition parties had produced no documentation, this proved difficult and contentious. The ANC amendments were briefly discussed, but it was decided to set-up a sub-committee which would meet to attempt to reach a consensus on the amendments of all parties (who had to produce their proposed amendments that day) before the next day, 23 March 1999, when any items on which no joint approval had been reached could be discussed.
The meeting opened with the New National Party and Democratic Party requesting further public submissions. The Chairperson, Dr Nkomo, was adamant that this would not be happening and referred the meeting to Procedure 2150 which laid down that the committee alone should consider and confine itself to the issues raised by the President.
The Chairperson went on to state that there were only two issues, namely:
1) The definition of organised activity
2) Ministerial power to limit ambit of Bill
The DP, NNP and IFP members were not happy with this as they maintained there were many more issues that need to be re-visited.
Against the wishes of the opposition parties, the ANC insisted that as they had produced their amendments, these should be discussed.
The ANC spokesperson said the first amendment "organised activity" should be defined as any activity or event in which members of the public participate. The opposition members were not happy with this suggestion. Mr Ellis (DP) felt that the ANC's amendment was no improvement on the original Bill. Dr Rabinowitz (IFP) agreed and felt it did not deal with the problems. Dr Gouws (NNP) enquired whether whatever was decided on would first go to the constitutional experts. He also reminded the meeting that under the Rules of Joint Standing Committees, in addition to consulting Parliamentary Law Advisors, independent legal advice may be sought. ANC members responded that it was obvious the opposition parties were trying to drag out the whole process.
After the Chairperson restored order, the ANC spokesperson then proceeded to define "private residence" as domicile of persons, e.g. houses, flats, informal dwellings, etc. Notwithstanding subsection 2(k)(2) if private residence is used for any form of child care, school activities, etc. it shall not be permissible to smoke on these premises.
This raised all sorts of questions, for example, "If my wife is babysitting friends' children, she will not be able to smoke!"
Mr Ellis agreed with the basic sentiments expressed, especially regarding children, but said it would be essential that these are spelt out plainly and legally.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 10h45 and said he hoped, after the subcommittee had ironed out all the problems, the committee would be able to reach consensus on any items on which no joint approval was reached.
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