Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill: discussion

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


6 October 1998

Documents handed out
Select Committee [Proposed] Amendments to Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill [B117A - 98]

The committee discussed the amendments to the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill which had been discussed, but not agreed on, at a previous committee meeting. Agreement was reached on the amendments and the members were instructed to obtain a mandate from their respective provinces in time for the debate on the Bill scheduled for tomorrow (7 October 1998).

Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill [B117A – 98]

The Chairperson, Mr Cwele (KwaZulu Natal, ANC) started the meeting by pointing out that the document which had been given to all the members and titled Select Committee Amendments to Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill [B117A - 98] was incorrectly titled. He said it implied that the amendments contained had been agreed on by the committee when in fact some had not, and the purpose of the informal meeting was to reach agreement on those remaining amendments (to clauses 2, 3 and 9 of the Bill).

Mr Cwele also asked the members to, once the amendments had been agreed, obtain mandates from their respective provinces in time for the committee to put the recommended amendments before Parliament the following day. Mr Ackerman (W Cape, NP) said that his province would want to debate the amendments so it would be difficult for him to obtain a mandate in 24 hours. Mr Cwele replied that it would need to be done in order to put the committee's recommendations before Parliament.

Mr Cwele then progressed to discussing the amendments. He began with one which was not on the handout. The Department of Health had suggested that in the preamble to the Bill, in the paragraph which reads
'Realizing that the association of smoking with social success, business advancement and sporting prowess through the use of advertising and
promotion has the particularly harmful effect of encouraging children and
young people to take up smoking.'
the word 'has' should be changed to 'may have' to avoid overstating the results of scientific research.

The committee agreed to the proposed amendments in clause 2 which are technical. They are:
On page 4, line 19 after "South Africa" insert ", 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996)".
On page 4, line 34 to omit "1983 (Act No. 3 of 1983)" and to substitute "1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997)".
On page 4, line 53 to omit "inspector".
On page 4, line 60 to delete "and".

The proposed amendment to clause 3, on page 6 to replace paragraph (a) with
"by the substitution for subsection (1) of the following subsection:
(1) The Minister may by notice in the Gazette-
(a) prohibit the smoking of tobacco products in any public place;
(b) declare specified public places as places where smoking of tobacco products is permissible, subject to any conditions that may be specified in such notice."
was agreed to. This amendment seeks to clarify clause 3, which in its current form is difficult to understand.

Mr Cwele then asked the committee if they thought that clause 4(5)(a) should be amended by replacing "such product is in a package" with "such product is in a sealed package" to provide that prescribed tobacco products may only be sold or imported if they are in a sealed package. Ms Direko (Free State, ANC) said that in the Townships loose cigarettes are commonly sold. Mr Ackerman added that he wondered why the members who represent townships would want to deprive the people in the townships from being able to buy cigarettes in this inexpensive way. Mr Grove (Mpumalanga, ANC) said that he had a big problem with a requirement that packets be sealed. However Ms Lubidla (N Cape, ANC) stated that she wanted the requirement of a sealed package because selling cigarettes loose makes them more accessible to children. The representative from the Department of Health pointed out that selling loose cigarettes is currently illegal because of the requirement that tobacco products for sale must display a health warning, and loose cigarettes do not have such a warning on them. Mr Cwele suggested that in view of this clause 4 (5) (a) did not need amending. The committee agreed.

Mr Ackerman said that Clause 4 (6) provides that the Minister must make regulations phasing out contracts of sponsorship and that he would like the Bill to be amended to oblige the Minister to consult with 'stakeholders' in relation to the making of those regulations. His concern was that the Minister would set unreasonable time limits for the ending of contracts. Mr Cwele said the Minister would consult with affected parties anyway however Mr Ackerman disputed that. The adviser from the Department of Health pointed out that when the Minister makes regulations the public have an opportunity to make submissions. Mr Makoela also pointed out that the Bill says that the Minister must 'provide for' the phasing out of sponsorship and that this may not be the same as the Minister dictating when and how the sponsorship will come to an end; it may mean that the Minister is able to allow the parties to contracts of sponsorship to phase out the sponsorship themselves within a reasonable time. The committee agreed that the current wording is capable of the latter meaning and therefore did not need changing. The committee also agreed that the provision which gives the Minister power to make regulations to provide for phasing out should begin with "Notwithstanding the prohibition on sponsorship" (the exact wording will be left to the legal advisers) to make it clear that a phasing out period is allowed under the legislation.

The committee agreed to the following amendments to clause 9:
On page 10, line 12, replace "fine of R200" with "fine of up to R200 or such imprisonment as may be determined".
On page 10, line 15 after "fine" omit "of R10 000" and substitute "of not less that R10 000 or such imprisonment as may be determined".
On page 10, line 18 after "fine" omit "of R20 000" and substitute "of not less than R20 000 or such imprisonment as may be determined".

The meeting was then adjourned.


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