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CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
2 September 1998
BRIEFING AND DELIBERATIONS ON B 68 - 98, B 84 2- 98, B 85 - 98 AND B 54 - 98,
Documents handed out:
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Amendment Bill [B84-98]: Proposed Amendments.
Discussion document: Extension of the Transitional Arrangements Contained in Item 26 of Schedule 6 to the Constitution.
Three bills were discussed, namely the Council of Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill [B54-98], the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Amendment Bill [B84-98] and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Second Amendment Bill [B85-98]. The meeting served as a brief final discussion on these bills before proceeding to vote on them on Monday. Officials of the Department of Constitutional Affairs who facilitated the meeting were Mr Z Titus, Mr C Olver and Mr D Powell as well as two law advisors.
M J Hlengwa (IFP) outlined the purpose of his private member's bill, the Council of Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill [B54-98]. In essence, the Bill intends to change the name of the Council of Traditional Leaders to the National House of Traditional Leaders to avoid confusion that the current name may cause in some of the provinces. This is because each traditional leader is advised by a council, therefore the current name of the Council of Traditional Leaders may confuse some people. The Bill is about terminology, and does not affect substantive matters. Members from all parties were sympathetic.
Secondly, the Amendment Bills were discussed [B84-98 and B85-98]. The proposed amendments, as indicated in the document handed out were debated (refer to document listed above).
A Watson (NP) stated that one important issue was the separation of voters in cross-boundary municipalities in the case of provincial elections. There was a need to ensure that residents' addresses or approximate addresses were available to ensure that they voted in the province they resided in.
The Chairperson responded that as far as was applicable and feasible, addresses should indeed be provided. The committee agrees on this basic concern that residents of province A should not be allowed to vote in province B.
C W Eglin (DP) asked that since people already register in wards, and these wards may not cross boundaries of provinces, why was this an issue?
The Chairperson noted that there was suspicion on behalf of certain parties, and the committee was "bending over backwards" to address these concerns.
Z Titus proceeded to read out the discussion document (refer to documentation listed above). The main issue was that if transitional arrangements were not extended, then there was potential for legal uncertainty due to gaps in legislation.
The Chairperson concluded that there was concern that a 2/3 majority may not come about. Despite selected areas of controversy, members should remember that the national interest is at stake. An agreement between all parties would be preferred. Should this not be possible, the committee would proceed to vote on Monday. He suggested that the committee meet during the course of the day to tie things up.
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