Municipal Structures Bill: discussion

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

19 October 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

19 October 1998

Documents handed out:
Municipal Structures Bill as amended by the Portfolio Committee

The Portfolio Committee reviewed Clauses 2 to 56 of the Bill. The Committee decided to flag clauses 4(2) and 6(1) for further discussion. The Committee plans to vote on the Bill on the afternoon of 21/10/98. The chairperson, Mr Y Carrim, cautioned the Committee members not to raise new arguments concerning the amendments. Mr Carrim urged the members to use the vote as a means of expressing disagreement about any aspect of the Bill.

Mr. Smith stated that the ANC had ignored the amendments to the Bill suggested by the IFP before the parliamentary recess. Mr. Smith was referring to suggestions regarding a two-tier system. Mr. Watty Watson agreed with Mr. Smith. Professor Du Toit of the ANC responded by saying that the ANC did consider all of the suggestions proffered by the opposition. Mr Carrim ended the discussion by adding that, contrary to Mr. Smith’s comments, the input of the opposition was, in fact, very influential.

The committee amended clause 2, subsection (b) by deleting "national" from the subsection. This amendment was made with no debate and seemed to have no practical effect on the Bill.

Clause 6(2) generated a small debate. Clause 6(2) of the Bill deals with parts of category C areas in which category B municipalities are not viable. Mr. Smith(IFP) argued that this clause gave the Demarcation Board too much authority over the municipalities. Professor Du Toit (ANC) responded by saying that the Demarcation Board does not have unfettered authority because the Demarcation Board is bound by criteria outlined in section 24 of the Bill.

Clause 20 (1)(a) also generated some debate. According to clause 20 (1)(a), the number of councillors of a municipal council will be based on the number of voters registered on that municipality’s segment of the national common voters roll. Mr. Smith argued that the number of councillors should be based on the population of a municipality rather than the number of registered voters. He asserted that a municipality with a large population, but a small number of registered voters would be penalized with a small number of councillors. Mr. Watty Watson echoed Mr. Smith’s concerns. Professor Du Toit responded by saying that the existing clause should go unchanged because it provided an incentive for members of a municipality to register.

Discussion on Clauses 24 to 56 was not monitored.


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