National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill: Final Mandates

NCOP Public Services

16 October 2006
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Meeting report

PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE

PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
17 October 2006
NATIONAL LAND TRANSPORT TRANSITION AMENDMENT BILL: FINAL MANDATES

Acting Chairperson:
Ms H Matlanyane (ANC)

Documents handed out:
National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill [B38C-2005] – as amended by NA
National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill [B38D-2005] – as amended by NCOP
9 Provincial Final Mandates on National Assembly amendments to National Land Transport Transitional Amendment Bill [B 38D-2005] – Part 1 and Part 2

SUMMARY
The committee met for consideration of amendments from the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Transport on the Land Transport Transitional Amendment Bill [B 38-2005] and to get mandates from the provinces. The bill was a Section 76 Bill that was introduced in the NCOP, referred to the Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly, which had suggested some amendments, and now was being referred back to the NCOP for consideration of the amended version.  The responsibility of the provinces was to agree or disagree with the amendments proposed by the National Assembly. The mandates from the provinces were read out. The Free State had proposed a further amendment and there was extensive discussion on whether this should be allowed. The mandate of North West indicated that there were certain problems, but did not specify whether there was approval or disapproval. Advice was taken from the Department’s law advisors as to the correct course of action. It was decided that since seven provinces had voted in favour of the amendments, the amended Bill would be approved by the Select Committee. The two provinces’ mandates that were not clear could still be clarified before the vote in the House.

Other Committee business included consideration of invitations and oversight visits.

MINUTES
As Mr Tau was not available; Ms Matlanyane was elected to chair the meeting.

She indicated that the committee had met for consideration of amendments suggested by the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Transport to the Land Transport Transitional Amendment Bill and to get mandates from the provinces.

She explained that the bill was a Section 76 Bill that was introduced in the NCOP, and the committee had followed the process and referred it to the National Assembly. The Portfolio Committee effected amendments that were now referred back to the select committee. The responsibility of the provinces was to agree or disagree with the amendments.

Mr F Adams (ANC, Western Cape) read the mandate from the Eastern Cape, which was in agreement to the changes to the bill.

Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumulanga) read the report from the Free State, which proposed a further amendment to the National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill (Mr Watson felt that was irregular in entertaining an amendment to the bill). This amendment read:
‘Clause 5: to delete “Metropolitan” before “the Municipality”. The motivation was that reference to metropolitan excluded and discriminated against other municipalities, such as local and district municipal authorities, that may enter into subsidised service contracts with a public transport operator. The assumption created was that only a metropolitan municipality could enter into a subsidised service contract to the exclusion of any other municipality.

It was suggested that the committee recommend that authority be conferred on the Free State delegation to vote for the adoption of the bill, but taking into account this amendment.

Mr Watson did not think that could be accepted because the terms of reference were only to accept or reject. He suggested that the report be put aside and before voting in the House the chairperson could confirm.

The Acting Chairperson explained that all provinces were aware that if the NCOP passed a bill as the first House, and it went to the second House (the National Assembly), then when it then came back to the NCOP no amendments were entertained because provinces were allowed to hold public hearings and amendments could have been allowed at that stage, when the bill was being introduced. She proposed to go with the resolution of the Free State without entertaining any amendments.

Mr Watson disagreed; and believed the committee did not have a mandate to do that. Mr van Rooyen was well aware of the process and he suggested the Department could look at the technical points.

The Acting Chairperson proposed that she check with the Department and get legal advice on the procedure. 

Members agreed to go through the mandates from all the provinces after which the Department could respond individually.

Mr A Mzizi (IFP, Gauteng) read the mandate for Gauteng, which was in favour of the bill.

Mr A Singh (Chairperson, KwaZulu-Natal Legislature) read the mandate from Kwazulu-Natal, which supported the amendment bill.

The Acting Chairperson read the mandate from Limpopo, which was in favour of the bill.

Mr Watson read the mandate from Mpumalanga, which was also in favour of the bill.

Mr F Adams read the mandate from Northern Cape, which was also in support of the bill.

Rev P Moatse (ANC) read the mandate from North West, which indicated that the Province had a problem with different terms used. North West did not reject or support, the Committee would need to go back to them and would need to hear from the delegate to North West before the plenary today.

Mr Watson felt North West was rejecting. Members felt it was not clear.

The Acting Chairperson was not sure the time available would allow consultation with the delegate from North West before plenary.

Mr Watson stated that only two of the mandates did not indicated clear cut approval. Only five were required so it was quite acceptable for the two delegates to get clarity, but the committee already had approval from seven of the nine provinces.

The Acting Chairperson agreed that there would be no negotiating at this stage.

Mr Adams read the mandate from the Western Cape, which supported the bill.

The Acting Chairperson reported that she had requested assistance and asked the Department comment..

A delegate from the Department clarified that in the case of disputes then the two Committees, Select and Portfolio Committees on Transport,  would have to negotiate and even go to mediation, possibly arbitration. The Department was out of the process.

Because two provinces were not clear but seven indicated their favour out of nine, clarity still needed to be obtained from the two provinces.

The Acting Chairperson thought the Free State resolution was very clear, and only the North West was not. The problem was that the majority of the provinces agreed to the amendment, so the Select Committee had the full mandate of the provinces to vote in favour of the amendment from the National Assembly.

Rev Moatse asked if he could ask his assistant to check with the North West whether they supported or not.

The Acting Chairperson agreed, and stated that that would be for the afternoon’s voting.

Mr Mzizi asked why the chairperson thought the Free State mandate was clear, because it read ‘authority be conferred to the Free State delegation to vote for the adoption of the bill with the amendment referring to clause 5” They were proposing an amendment. The requirement was for five provinces to agree, so it was not necessary to pursue the matter further. The clear mandate was to vote for or against the amendments.

Mr N Wiseman (Alt. Kwazulu-Natal Legislature) supported Rev Moatse in getting a clear mandate because the paper before the committee was incomplete and there was nothing about the direction of the mandate.

Mr Watson stated that the Constitution, in terms of Section 76, was very clear. If the bill came back from the National Assembly, after first coming to the committee, and had been approved by the National Assembly, then the provinces could only vote in favour of or against it. There was no provision for any amendments or negotiations whatsoever. If the NCOP, by a vote of five out of the nine, rejected the bill, then it would go to mediation committee and that committee could make three decisions: either to accept this bill, or the one the Select Committee had passed, or to pass a totally new bill. There was no scope for talking to the Portfolio Committee. The Select Committee’s terms of reference were to consider the mandates. There were seven clear mandates, and two were unclear. The committee could check with the provinces before voting.

The Acting Chairperson stated that the only concern of the committee was that the North West and Free State had to declare themselves clearly for voting in plenary. The Free State had proposed amendments past the date of acceptance.

Mr R Radebe (Chairperson, Gauteng Legislature) clarified that for the purpose of the meeting the records must show that seven provinces voted in favour. For the purpose of voting in the House provinces could sort out issues, but for now there were seven provinces voted in favour.

Mr Adams submitted there were two things provinces could do; they could either abstain from voting in the House or they could record their voting as nil. The committee should allow these two provinces to do that in the House. The committee must record seven provinces in favour and the other two unclear.

Mr G Hoon (State Law Adviser) agreed that was the route to take.

The Acting Chairperson concluded that the report would state that seven provinces voted in favour of the amendments. Two provinces’ mandates were not clear, so as a select committee members had a clear majority on what to vote for in the House.

Mr Watson motivated that the committee still needed to decide whether to have a debate again or just a statement.

The chairperson agreed that a statement would be made.

The Acting Chairperson thanked the team from the Department.

Further matters
The Acting Chairperson informed the committee that there was correspondence from the National Departments of Housing, and Local government. Traditional Affairs, Eastern Cape, had invited the Committee to attend an Indaba. The committee had an oversight visit the following week.

Ms Matlanyane then asked for comments on the Eastern Cape invitation.

Mr Watson reminded the committee that the ruling was unless the oversight visit was paid for by the NCOP, delegates would have to pay their own transport and accommodation. It was decided that the invitation be declined.

Mr Adams proposed the Committee secretariat should find out from the delegate from the Eastern Cape whether she could talk to the province and see if there could be any accommodation. He proposed the committee should engage the Secretary to make a proposal and arrange with the secretary of the Eastern Cape.

Mr Watson asked for details with regard to the oversight trip scheduled for the next week.

The Committee Secretary clarified that the application for the provinces oversight was approved. A draft programme had been circulated to members for 25and 27 October to visit the Housing Department, Northern Cape. The Department of Transport and Roads had not responded. The Department of Housing were definitely going and could meet on Thursday and Friday.

Mr Watson asked whether departure and accommodation had been finalised, and the Committee Secretary responded that this had not been done yet.

The meeting adjourned.

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