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SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
2 May 2006
AMENDMENTS TO THE OLDER PERSONS BILL [B68-2003]: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING
Documents handed out:
Presentation on the Older Persons Bill
Older Persons Bill [B68D-2003]
Amendments proposed to the Older Persons Bill [B68B-2003] part 1
Amendments proposed to the Older Persons Bill [B68B-2003]: part 2
Motivation for the changes to the Older Persons Bill
A delegation from the Department of Social Development briefed the Committee on amendments that were proposed to the Older Persons Bill that had been passed by the National Council of Provinces in mid-2005. The Department indicated that the proposed amendments would not materially affect the substance of the Bill.
The Committee was concerned that the proposed amendments could have implications for the costing of the Bill. The Committee also felt that it should consider revisiting the list of organisations that had previously made presentations during public hearings to ensure that they represented the interests of older persons.
Department of Social Development (DSD) briefing on Older Persons Bill
Ms N Kela, Chief Director provided brief background to the Bill indicating that it had been passed by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on 23 June 2005. The Portfolio Committee had held public hearings in August 2005 which were attended by 28 organisations. She highlighted the following as some of the critical concerns raised during those public hearings:
-The Bill still emphasised residential care rather than community based care.
-Frail care services both in the community and in institutions were not adequately addressed.
-Protection of older persons in the community was not adequately addressed.
-Conditions of transfer of purchased goods by government to other subsidised organisations had to be stipulated.
-Section 9 of the Bill did not take into consideration the right to self-determination regarding admission to residential facilities.
In response to the above, the DSD had developed a new framework to accommodate the issues raised during public hearings. The new framework was presented to the Portfolio Committee in October 2005. The framework was accepted and comprised 6 chapters. The Bill was then amended to incorporate critical issues raised.
Chapter 1 of the new framework consisted of Objects, implementation, application and general principles of the Bill. The new heading of Chapter 2 now read: Creating an enabling and supportive environment for Older Persons. (See presentation for the changes proposed).
Ms Kela indicated that it was critical for the Committee to note that the proposed changes would not have any serious implications for the costing of the Bill.
Mr B Tolo (ANC, Mpumalanga) asked whether or not the amendments changed the content of the Bill.
Mr P du Preez, State Law Advisor responded that the content of the Bill had not changed fundamentally even with the insertion of a new Chapter 1.
Mr T Setona (ANC, Free Sate) commented that it was the responsibility of the Committee to go back to their constituencies to explain how and what impact the amendments would have. He further requested the Department to be consistent in the manner in which it used concepts such as the "Director General" and "Head Of Department" to avoid confusion in the implementation of the Bill.
Ms H Lamoela (DA, Western Cape) posed a question regarding Clause 27 of Chapter 5 which called for the removal of an alleged offender from where the older person resided as well as the offender refraining from entering such place or home or having contact with the older person until the Court hearing. She asked if the clause would apply if the alleged offender owned the home in which the older person resided.
Mr G Hoon, Principal State Law Advisor replied that that would depend on circumstances as long as the ruling was in favour of the older person’s interests. The Court would need to weigh options and choose one that best protected the rights of the older person.
Ms Kela added that Clause 27 needed to be looked at in conjunction with other clauses and remedies, as it did not operate on its own.
Ms Mazibuko (ANC, Gauteng) asked what implications the amendments would have for the costing of the Bill. She was concerned that the Department might have overlooked the possibilities of population increases and a higher inflation rate which would mean higher costs than originally calculated.
Mr Du Preez responded that the original costing of the Bill catered for the amendments and as such no financial changes were expected. He added that the Committee should re-visit the original costing of the Bill to which it had agreed.
Mr Tolo raised a concern that it was possible that the Department had misled the Committee in its presentation of the original costing of the Bill in 2005.
Ms T Mahlangu, Director responded that the Committee had not been misled. The original costing of the Bill took into consideration community programmes the Bill would cover. The new amended Bill only unpacked the programmes and did not suggest that they were new ones.
After a long discussion about the cost implications of the proposed amendments, the Committee agreed with the Department that there would be no additional costs incurred.
The meeting was adjourned.
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