Agricultural Research Amendment Bill; Marketing of Agricultural Products Amd Bill: deliberations

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Meeting report

AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
7 June 2001
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AMENDMENT BILL; MARKETING OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AMENDMENT BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Chairperson: Adv SP Holomisa

Documents handed out:
Agricultural Research Amendment Bill [B25-2001]
Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill [B26-2001]

SUMMARY
The Committee considered the amendments formulated by the Department's Legal Advisor and the State Law Advisor on the Agricultural Research Amendment Bill. The Committee discussed each proposed amendment thoroughly. Some amendments were adopted and others were not.

The Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill was deferred until the next Committee meeting. This was due to the fact that recent submissions have been made to the Committee regarding the bill.

MINUTES
Adv Holomisa reminded the Committee that they had previously agreed on certain amendments. Consequently, the legal drafters had been requested to draft the amendments so that the Committee could vote on the amendments in today's meeting. The Chairperson added that a document relating to the Agricultural Research Amendment Bill and the Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill would be distributed but that the latter Bill would not be dealt with in the current meeting.

Agricultural Research Amendment Bill
Ms R van Zyl, the Department's legal advisor, presented the suggested amendments to the Committee.

Clause 1 (line 10)
The Chairperson asked if any member had a problem with the formulation of "Gazette and other appropriate media" . The Committee agreed to the new formulation.

Ms van Zyl referred to the phrase "a person may not be appointed" and said that this had been changed to read "a person may not be nominated or appointed" . The term "nominated" was inserted. The Committee agreed to this formulation.

The Committee discussed whether or not to include the suggested clause (f) in Clause 1. The suggested sub-paragraph (f) reads "has contravened or failed to comply with the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000." In effect a person would not be appointed as a member of the council if the prospective member failed this requirement.

Mr S Farro (DP) said that if the clause was included in the Bill, many other Acts would also have to be included in the Bill. Further, she said that according to their legal advisers, the clause should not be included.

The Chairperson asked whether including this amendment widened or restricted the scope of disqualifying persons from becoming a member of the Council.

Mr Farro insisted that including the amendment restricted the scope in which a person could be disqualified from appointment. He argued that many other Acts would also have to be listed.

The Chairperson said the Prevention of Discrimination Act talks about people who have been convicted or sentenced for an offense committed after 27 April 1994 to a period of imprisonment without an option of a fine. He said there could be people who have violated the equality act and in terms of the provisions of the act they may not necessarily be sentenced for a period without an option of a fine.

The Chairperson insisted that he was not certain that the insertion of the Amendment would cover all circumstances where individuals have been convicted of an offense in terms of the Equality Act.

Mr A Botha (DP) said he could not understand why this specific Act should receive special mention here.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) pointed out that if racism was an issue it should be included in (d) as follows : "has been convicted of an offense involving an element of dishonesty, racism or has been sentenced …"

Mr Farro stressed that he was not trying to avoid the issue of racism by suggesting that the proposed amendment not be included.

Mr Maphalala (ANC) highlighted that if a person is convicted of racism it must be proved that racism is the reason for the conviction. By including a shopping list she argued that the Committee was creating more grounds for disqualification that it may not be able to prove.

The Chairperson asked Mr Maphalala whether he was suggesting that they amend (d).

Mr Maphalala replied that clause (f) should stand on its own.

Mr BA Radebe (ANC) supported Mr Maphalala's view. Ms Dudley added that the clause would be clear if racism was inserted in clause (d).

Mr Farro said he would support the motivation that includes (d) as he thought it would be all inclusive. Mr A Botha agreed.

Dr EA Schoeman (ANC) asked racism was classed separately from dishonesty.

The Chairperson asked Ms Dudley for her suggested formulation of clause 1(d). Clause 1(d) would read as follows :
"(d) has been convicted of an offense involving an element of dishonesty or racism or has been sentenced for any other offense committed on or after 27 April 1994 to a period of imprisonment without the option of a fine."

He observed that reference to the equality court had been omitted.

Ms Dudley responded that inclusion of the equality court could complicate matters but she said that it could be included.

Ms van Zyl observed that using the term "convicted" implies court involvement.

Mr Maphalala insisted that the racist issue be dealt with separately. He said that if members wished to acknowledge racism there was nothing wrong with it standing on its own.

Dr Baloyi (ANC) said he favoured the formula for clause 1(f).

Mr J Bruwer (the State Law Adviser) said the act does not make provision for someone to be convicted for any offense. The Act makes provision for a person to complain about certain discriminations or aspects of hate speech. A person can complain to a court that has been duly designated, such as the equality court. Following the complaint, there is an investigation. If it is determined that the allegations are true, then the court can make a civil order. A person cannot be convicted of such an offense and hence he said it would be improper to include the reference to "conviction" in clause 1(d).

Bishop MS Mogoba (PAC) suggested that it was better to include the reference to racism in clause 1(f) rather than 1(d). Dr Schoeman agreed with Bishop Mogoba.

The Chairperson added that since the Committee was informed the reference to racism could be made separately.

Clause 2
Ms van Zyl explained that the following amendment referred to the different grounds for suspending or discharging a person from office. She said that the Committee had requested the insertion of a paragraph that would include a contravention of Act 4 of 2000 as a ground for dismissal.

Ms van Zyl pointed out that this suggested amendment was included in clause 2 on page 3 line 25. The current clause will become (b) while the new amendment will become (a).

She said that a member had requested a possible amendment to subsection 2(f) concerning political office bearers (page 2). She said that the Committee would need to discuss this suggestion. In essence, the request that not all persons involved with politics should be excluded from appointment. Reference to "Traditional Leaders" was changed to the "National House of Traditional Leaders" and reference to the Volkstat Council was removed. The state law advisors drafted a suggested amendment that is clearer and does not exclude all persons involved in politics.

Dr AI van Niekerk (FA) explained that the suggestion was made to amend the clause because as it stood a qualified person may have been excluded.

The Chairperson deferred consideration of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill to the next meeting because new submissions had been sent to the Committee. The state law advisor needed to give feedback to the Committee on these suggested amendments. Finally he added that the Committee should ask as many organizations, companies and institutions for submissions relating to the proposed amendment bills.

The meeting then adjourned.

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