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CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
4 September 1998
LOCAL GOVERNMENT: MUNICIPAL STRUCTURES BILL [B68-98]: DISCUSSION
Municipal elections: systems of elections
The meeting was only one hour in length due to Fidel Castro's address to parliament. Mr Carrim repeated that this was a briefing and not a policy discussion.
Dr. Olver continued his clause by clause explanation of the amendments.
Clause 15: Peter Smith of the IFP raised concerns with this clause as he believed it was unconstitutional - in effect it gave the municipalities a veto right over the provinces. Dr Olver agreed that the term 'concurrence' might be a problem. There was also some concern with the issue of 'full-time or part-time' in the clause.
Clause 17:Dr Olver explained that this dealt with the meetings of the municipal council. The proposed amendment was that the word 'regularly' be changed with the specification of a time period within which the council must meet ('quarterly'). Smith stated his concern that outer boundaries are needed to govern the appointment of the councillors. An NP MP also raised concerns about the number of wards. Mr Carrim agreed that many questions need to be answered here, so they would return to this clause at a later stage. An ANC MP asked why 'quarterly' was chosen as the time period, and not monthly for example. Dr Olver believed this would be too often, and would over-burden the council.
Clause 18: This clause adjusted the number of members, and there was general agreement here. This had been discussed before. The number of wards was now 11000.
Clause 22: Some discussion as to whether the term 'Chief Executive Officer' should be changed. 'Chief Executive Officer' was decided on.
Clause 25: This concerned the by-elections. An ANC MP asked if a vacancy in a ward position occurred, why it could not be replaced before an election. Dr Olver believed this would contradict the purpose of an election. Concern was raised that if there was to be a substantial change to the number of wards, would this affect proportional representation. Dr Olver explained that this was the reason for the two-ballot system.
Clause 25: This had been debated before, and it had been concluded that their hands were tied by the constitution. The reason for this was that they would actually like to go further than the minimum requirements that were included here, but the constitution would not allow this. An NP MP believed it was too rigid already. Mr Smith pointed out that this was one of the rare occasions where he believed that the department was constitutionally correct. Ms Verwoerd (ANC) stated that it might be more useful to use the phrase 'unless provincial ministers provide otherwise'. Some agreement here.
Clause 26: This clause deals with the requirement of the CEOs to call a meeting of the council. Ms Verwoerd pointed out that the requirement that the first meeting of the newly elected Council must be held within fourteen days, was in the constitutional amendment, B84-98 (s159(2)), and not in the Bill. Mr Carrim concurred that this was a helpful comment.
Clause 29: This had the function of tidying up the old clause.
Clause 38: This was reworded to be consistent with the constitution.
Clause 43: This provided for the splitting of functions in a large municipality. Mr Smith asked what the term was to be; full or the balance? Mr Olver believed that it should be in line with what was required at provincial and national government.
Clause 56: This was included to check the upper limit of the municipality.
Clause 70: Mr Olver conceded that this clause was a mistake.
Clause 77: This clause dealt with traditional leaders. Mr Olver was asked if it was applicable generally, and he agreed that this was difficult. Ms Verwoed expressed concern as to what items of the code of conduct applied to the traditional leaders.
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