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HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 October 2006
TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL HEARINGS: PLANNING
Chairperson: Mr L Ngculu (ANC)
Documents handed out
Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill [B24-2006]
South African Red Cross Society and Legal Protection of Certain Emblems Bill [B25-2006]
The Committee met to finalise plans for the public hearings on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill which commence from 31 October. The Committee aimed to finalise the Bill during that same week. The Committee had not received any public submissions on the Red Cross Bill and could therefore process the Bill during the week of 23 October.
Advertisement for Hearings
The Chairperson expressed his dissatisfaction with the incorrect information contained in the invitation for public submissions for these Bills, in leadings newspapers. According to the advertisement, the Committee would hold simultaneous hearings of these different Bills over a four-day period, from the 23-27 October 2006. The Committee Section administrative staff did not have any authority to decide this matter and should have notified the Committee of such information. He warned that this should never be repeated.
Ms Matsemela suggested that an announcement containing correct information should be re-advertised this week. She acknowledged the short notification, given that the public hearings would commence 31 October 2006.
The Chairperson said that opportunity should also be given to members of the public who wished to make oral submissions. He stressed that the public hearings had to be thorough.
Ms Matsemela suggested that the advertisement should also state this opportunity for oral submissions.
South African Red Cross Society and Legal Protection of Certain Emblems Bill
The Chairperson proposed that Red Cross Bill be processed and finalised during the week of 23 October as no submissions had been received on it. He anticipated an non-problematic finalisation of this piece of legislation, as the Bill was fairly uncontroversial.
Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill
Public hearings could commence on the 31 October and the Committee would finalise the Bill during the same week.
The Chairperson requested a complete list of submissions received from the tobacco industry and other interested parties. This was needed in order to adequately plan for the public hearings. He also requested that Members be supplied with copies of all submissions as soon as possible. Mr G Morgan (DA) agreed and asked that these copies be delivered within this week.
Both Bills should be finalised by the end of this session on 17 November 2006.
Department Annual Reports hearings
The Chairperson said that the Committee had to develop a strategy for the interrogation of Annual Reports. These were very important accounting documents and would be presented shortly. The Committee had to ensure that the Department of Health, the Medical Research Council and other public entities were held accountable for all their activities and deficiencies within their programmes and projects.
Mr Morgan asked when the Committee would start considering the Annual Reports.
The Chairperson answered that these hearings on the Annual Reports should commence in the first week of November, shortly after the finalisation of the Red Cross Bill and the public hearings of the Tobacco Control Amendment Bill, during the weeks of 24 October and 31 October respectively. The Tobacco Bill would also be finalised during this period.
Mr Morgan expressed his concern that the public hearings on the Tobacco Controls Amendment Bill could take longer than anticipated. He suggested that the Committee postpone finalisation of the Bill to 2007, if need be.
The Chairperson agreed that the Committee could consider this. However, a delay should only be considered if unavoidable.
The Chairperson reiterated that members had to be supplied with a complete list of the written submissions as well as an indication of how many requests for oral submissions were received. He stressed that members had to receive copies of all written submissions in order to familiarise themselves with and evaluate submissions.
The meeting was adjourned.
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