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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICES
1 November 2006
CARRIAGE BY AIR AMENDMENT BILL [B18-2006]: BRIEFING BY DEPARTMENT
Chairperson: Mr R Tau (ANC – Northern Cape)
Documents handed out:
Carriage by Air Amendment Bill [B18-2006]
Carriage by Air Act No 17 of 1946
Department of Transport Powerpoint Presentation
The Department of Transport requested the Committee to approve the Carriage by Air Amendment Bill. Certain changes had been made in line with the Committee’s suggestions. The purpose of the Bill was to align domestic legislation with the International Convention for the Unification of Rules for international Carriage by Air, to apply certain words contained in the Convention, to extend the Minister’s power to make regulations and to replace the original Schedule which still referred to a prior convention. Most of the changes were of a technical nature. Members noted that there had been an omission since the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs had not been noted as one of the consulted stakeholders, although they had indeed been consulted. The clauses were described. Members formally adopted the Bill. The Committee report on the Bill was signed. It was confirmed that the numbering of the Bill was correct.
Further discussions were held on committee business. It was agreed that the strategic planning session would be held during this term. The 2007 plans would have to focus on the outcomes of the People’s Assembly. The question of section 76 legislation had been raised with provincial Chairpersons, and it was decided that the introduction of section 76 legislation would not focus on the NCOP legislative cycle. The Chairperson informed the Committee of the invitation extended by the Department of Public Works to attend a Lekgotla on 10 and 11 November.
Briefing by Department of Transport on Carriage by Air Amendment Bill
Ms Nonkululeko. Msomi, Deputy Director-General: Transport Regulation and Public Entity Oversight, Department of Transport (DoT) commented that the Director General, Ms Mpumi Mpofu, had discussed all issues and recommendations raised by the Committee on the Bill. She emphasised that the Department regarded the inputs of the Committee very seriously.
Mr Adam Masombuka, Director of Legislation in the Chief Directorate Legislation, DoT, drew the Committee’s attention to the clauses of the Bill.
Clause I (b) included the definition of “Convention” that would align the legislation to the obligations of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for Carriage by Air convention that was signed in Montreal.
Clause 1 (b) also included reference to the regulations made under Clause 8 of the Bill.
Clause 2 had been repealed.
Clause 3 replaced the words “High Contracting” with the word “States”. This brought the legislation in line with the norms and standards of the international state system.
Clause 3(c) substituted the phrase “paragraph 1 of Article 17” to the original “Article Seventeen”
Clause 5 included the word “President” and had replaced the word “Republic”. The President was therefore responsible to act on behalf of the Republic in terms of adherence to amendments of the Convention.
Clause 5 (b) included the provision that “a proclamation under subsection (1) may not be made by the President unless the amendments of or additions to the Convention have been approved by resolution of Parliament”
Clause 6 substituted High Contracting with the word “state”.
Mr Masombuka explained to the Committee that the proposed amendments to the Carriage by Air Act would facilitate the implementation of the Montreal Convention.
Clause 7 would be substituted for Section 8 of the principal Act to extend the powers of the Minister of Transport to make regulations.
Clause 8 proposed to replace the reference to the Warsaw Convention with a new reference to the Montreal Convention schedule.
The Chairperson noted that the Department had provided an extensive briefing on the particular amendments on a previous occasion. A lengthy briefing and consideration were not necessary.
Ms H Matlanyane (ANC, Limpopo Province) requested that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs be noted as one of the consulted stakeholders
Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) asked whether this omission implied that this Department had not been involved in the drafting of the amendments.
Ms Msomi responded that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development had indeed been consulted. She apologised for the oversight and assured the Committee that this Department’s name would be inserted immediately. She thanked the Members for their observations.
Mr F Adams (ANC, Western Cape) said that since there had been wide consultation, and since both houses of parliament had approved the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, and since the National Council of Provinces had made a statement, the Committee could approve the Bill.
Mr Watson asked, and received confirmation from Mr Masombuka, that the Convention referred to in the Schedule was the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air.
Rev P Moatshe (ANC, North West Province) commented that the Bill was straightforward and could thus be approved.
The Chairperson suggested that, since Members were already familiar with and had agreed to the alterations to the Bill, it was not necessary to go through the Bill clause by clause.
Members unanimously voted in favour of the Bill.
The Chairperson read out the motion of desirability and the Bill was formally adopted.
He also tabled and signed the Committee report on the amendments to the Bill.
Mr Watson queried the numbering of the Bill. He said that the Bill, having already been approved by the Portfolio Committee, should be tagged as an A-Bill.
Mr D Viljoen, Deputy Director: Parliamentary Services and Stakeholder Management, Ministry of Transport explained that since the National Assembly had passed the Bill without any amendments the Bill did not need to be renumbered.
A member said that the Bill had to be corrected before it was debated or introduced in the National Council of Provinces.
Mr Watson said that the Department had to notify Parliament about the changes in the Bill.
The Chairperson explained that changes had to be made before next week, as it would be adopted in the House.
The Chairperson requested members to either volunteer themselves or nominate a member to make a statement regarding the adoption of the Bill to the NCOP sitting. It was agreed that the Chairperson should delegate this task to a member in due course.
Rev Moatshe informed members that the Committee could hold its strategic planning workshop jointly with that of the Select Committee of Environmental Affairs during the last week of the current parliamentary session.
Ms Motlanyane stressed the importance of the Committee’s strategic planning session. She suggested that the Committee should plan its programme at the start of the new year.
Mr Watson said that the beginning of the year was not ideal. Members should rather meet in the last week of the year.
Ms M Oliphant (ANC, KwaZulu Natal) expressed the view that the Committee should hold its strategic meeting before the end of the current parliamentary session. Since parliamentarians would have to return to Cape Town to finalise and pass outstanding legislation, such as the Civil Union Bill, the Committee could find time at that stage to meet. Members had to identify priorities and plan for the following session before the end of this year. When Parliament resumed any new priorities could be easily incorporated.
The Chairperson expressed his agreement that the strategic meeting should be held during the current session of Parliament.
The Chairperson said that Members had to focus on the issues raised during the People’s Assembly. This would include practical matters such as ensuring that provincial governments as well as MECs acted properly. This was also discussed at a meeting of the Programming Committee.
Mr Watson agreed that a proactive oversight was needed to ensure that delivery on practical levels was taking place.
Mr Watson raised a question regarding section 76 legislation. He said that the National Council of Provinces needed sufficient time to consult with provinces.
Ms Oliphant replied that this was raised with provincial Chairpersons as well as programming Whips. It was decided that the introduction of section 76 legislation would not focus on the NCOP legislative cycle. The legislation would be reintroduced for provinces to conduct public hearings. The Executive had to introduce section 76 legislation six months before it was considered by the NCOP.
The Chairperson informed the Committee of the invitation extended by the Department of Public Works to attend the pending Public Works Lekgotla in Johannesburg on 10 and 11 November.
The meeting was adjourned.
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