Civil Union Bill: adoption

Home Affairs

09 November 2006
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

9 November 2006

Chairperson: Mr H Chauke (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Civil Union Bill (Final Version)
Civil Union Bill [B26-2006]
Civil Union Bill [B26B-2006] as voted on by this Portfolio Committee
Memorandum on the Objects of the Civil Union Bill, 2006
Civil Union Bill National Assembly debate, 14 November 2006
Civil Union Bill National Council of Provinces Debate, 28 November 2006
(See appendix A on how Parliament voted on the Bill)

After some deliberation the Chairperson ruled that no further debate around the proposed civil union legislation would be allowed. Members would debate the Bill in the National Assembly on 14 November. Allaying Democratic Alliance fears, the parliamentary legal advisors confirmed that the Committee had followed the appropriate procedures in finalising the Bill. The Civil Union Bill was adopted with unanimous support from the African National Congress. The Inkatha Freedom Party and the African Christian Democratic Party opposed it while the Democratic Alliance, allowing their members a free vote, abstained from voting.


The Chairperson gave members an opportunity to go through the final version of the Bill, which incorporated all the amendments that had been agreed to the day before. He pointed out that the Committee had done everything it was supposed to do in processing this Bill. Members had heard from the Department, as well as the public, and had deliberated on the legislation. He noted that the day before, the Committee had agreed to the complete removal of some clauses.

Motion of desirability
Ms S Kalyan (DA) placed on record that the Democratic Alliance (DA) reserved the right to declare itself on the Bill and that the party would allow a free vote.

Dr J Delport (DA) supported the DA's decision for a free vote from a legal and constitutional point of view. The party had serious problems with the Bill and its members held different views on it. The Constitutional Court had on more than one occasion ruled that adequate consultation should take place especially when it came to sensitive topics. It had clearly stated that different avenues could be pursued in achieving equal status for same sex partners - the civil union route was but one of the options.

Dr Delport thanked the Committee for the extensive public consultations, during which different sensitivities had come to the fore. He said that many people were not so much against the concept of the civil union but were opposed to calling this union a marriage. He felt that the legislation before the Committee that day failed to address any of these sensitivities. People would still be able to argue that there remained a separate piece of legislation, the Marriage Act, to which same sex partners would not have any access. These unions would be treated as separate from and thus not equal to marriages.

Mr F Beukman (ANC) objected on a point of order. He enquired after the procedure that was being followed in allowing Dr Delport to speak. The Motion of Desirability had been read, Ms Kalyan had raised her party’s stance and now there appeared to be yet another discussion on the merits of the Bill. That had already taken place the day before. He wondered whether this meant that the Committee would again debate the matter.

The Chairperson was not sure whether the merits of the Bill could be discussed again, once the Motion of Desirability had been read. After conferring with the parliamentary legal advisor he reminded members that the Committee had agreed to adopt certain amendments and were now considering the final product. If further engagement was required that would be done but the Committee would be guided by the rules of Parliament.

Kgoshi K Morwamoche (ANC) felt that it was inappropriate to return to the debate after the Motion of Desirability had been read. The Committee should now go through the final version clause by clause. Everyone had already had an opportunity to make a point.

The Chairperson confirmed that the Committee had done everything that the procedures required it to and thus would not return to debating the matter.

Mr M Swart (DA) felt that in going through the proposed legislation clause by clause, the opportunity would be there for anyone to raise any concerns they might have.

The Chairperson ruled that there would be no further debate on the matter. Any further debate could take place in the National Assembly on 14 November. The parliamentary legal advisors had confirmed that since the matter had already been thoroughly debated, the Committee now needed to adopt he Bill. Members would have 90 minutes in which to debate the matter in the National Assembly.

Mr S Swart (ACDP) asked if the Chairperson could give members the assurance that all political parties would be given sufficient time in which to state their case.

The Chairperson said that there would be a time allocation. Some members had approached him to find out whether it would be possible to approach the party whips to request that time allocations be extended due to the varied views on and interest in the matter. The matter would be raised with the whippery. He added that time allocations were dependent on the number of votes parties got and that if parties wanted more time, they should work harder to get more votes.

Kgoshi Morwamoche pointed out that the rules of procedure as far as allocation of time was concerned made no mention of gentleman’s agreements.

The Chairperson reiterated that parties could approach the whippery and added that everyone had to be accommodated.

Dr Delport said that the Chairperson’s ruling against debate implied that the Motion of Desirability, which was a motion to state that the Bill in its current form would be dealt with clause by clause, was not open for debate.

The Chairperson was adamant that the Committee would stick to his ruling.

The ANC supported the Motion of Desirability while the IFP and ACDP opposed it.

The ANC unanimously supported the Bill, the IFP and ACDP opposed it while the DA abstained from voting as it would allow for a free vote by each of its members in the plenary session.

Dr Delport explained that the DA’s abstention was not due to the fact that it had no view. They felt that they were not allowed to, in the Motion of Desirability air their views as far as the form in which the Bill would go before Parliament. He felt that procedures had not been adhered to.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had agreed to the proposed legislation and the DA had chosen to abstain. The Civil Union Bill would now be sent to the National Assembly for debate.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix A

Second Reading debate—Civil Union Bill [B 26B—2006] (National Assembly—sec 75).

Ainslie, A R; Anthony, T G; Arendse, J D; Asmal, A K; Balfour, B M N; Baloyi, M R; Benjamin, J; Beukman, F; Bhamjee, Y S; Bhengu, F; Bloem, D V; Bogopane-Zulu, H I; Bonhomme, T J; Booi, M S; Burgess, C V; Cachalia, I M; Camerer, S M; Carrim, Y I; Cele, M A; Chalmers, J; Chauke, H P; Chohan-Khota, F I; Coetzee, R; Combrinck, J J; Cronin, J P; Cwele, S C; Davidson, I O; De Lange, J H; Diale, L N; Didiza, A T; Dikgacwi, M M; Direko, I W; Dithebe, S L; Dlali, D M; Doidge, G QM; Dreyer,AM; Du Toit, D C; Ellis,MJ; Erwin, A; Farrow, S B; Fihla, N B; Fraser-Moleketi, G J; Frolick, C T; Fubbs, J L; Gabanakgosi, P S; Gaum, A H; George, M E; Gerber, P A; Gigaba, K M N; Gololo, C L; Gumede, DM; Gumede,MM; Hendricks, L B; Hendrickse, PAC; Hogan, BA; Huang, S; Jacobus, L; Jeffery, J H; Johnson, C B; Johnson, M; Jordan, Z P; Kalako,MU; Kalyan, S V; Kasienyane, O R; Kasrils, R; Kekana, C D; Khoarai, L P; Kholwane, S E; Khumalo, K K; Kohler-Barnard, D; Komphela, B M; Koornhof, G W; Kotwal, Z; Landers, L T; Lekgetho, G; Lekota, M G P; Leon, A J; Lishivha, T E; Loe, S J; Louw, J T; Louw, S K; Lowe, C M; Ludwabe, C I; Maake, J J; Mabandla, B S; Mabena, D C; Maduma, L D; Madumise, M M; Magubane, N E; Magwanishe, G B; Mahlaba, T L; Mahlangu-Nkabinde, G L; Mahote, S; Maja, S J; Makasi, X C; Makgate, M W; Maloney, L; Maloyi, P D N; Maluleka, H P; Maluleke, D K; Manana, M N S; Manuel, T A; Mapisa-Nqakula, N N; Mashangoane, P R; Mashiane, LM; Mashigo, R J; Mashile, B L; Masutha, T M; Mathebe, P M; Matlala, M H; Matsemela, M L; Matsepe-Casaburri, I F; Matsomela, M J J; Mayatula, SM; Maziya,AM; Mbili,ME; Mbombo, N D; Mentor, M P; Mgabadeli, H C; Mkhize, Z S; Mlangeni, A; Mnguni, B A; Mnyandu, B J; Modisenyane, L J; Mofokeng, T R; Mogale, O M; Mogase, I D; Mohamed, I J; Mohlaloga, M R; Mokoena, A D; Montsitsi, S D; Moonsamy, K; Morgan, G R; Morobi, D M; Morutoa, M R; Morwamoche, K W; Mosala, B G; Moss, L N; Moss, M I; Motubatse- Hounkpatin, S D; Mpahlwa, M B; Mshudulu, S A; Mthembu, B; Mtshali, E; Mufamadi, F S; Mzondeki, M J G; Nawa, Z N; Ndzanga, RA; Nel,AC; Nene, M J; Nene, N M; Newhoudt-Druchen, W S; Ngaleka, E; Ngcengwane, N D; Ngcobo, E N N; Ngculu, L V J; Ngele, N J; Ngwenya, W; Njikelana, S J; Njobe, M AA; Nkem-Abonta, E; Nkuna, C; Nogumla, R Z; Ntombela, S H; Ntuli, M; Ntuli, M M; Ntuli, R S; Nwamitwa-Shilubana, T L P; Nxumalo, M D; Nxumalo, S N; Nyambi,AJ; Nzimande, L P M; Olifant, D A A; Oliphant, G G; Oosthuizen, G C; Pieterse, R D; Rabie, P J; Ramakaba-Lesiea, M M; Ramgobin, M; Ramodibe, D M; Ramotsamai, C P M; Rasmeni, S M; Reid, L R R; Saloojee, E; Schippers, J; Schmidt, H C; Schneemann, G D; Schoeman, E A; Seadimo, M D; Sefularo, M; Sekgobela, P S; Selfe, J; September, C C; Shabangu, S; Sibande, M P; Sibanyoni, J B; Siboza, S; Sikakane, M R; Sisulu, L N; Sithole, D J; Skhosana, W M; Skweyiya, Z S T; Smith, V G; Smuts, M; Solo, B M; Solomon, G; Sonto, M R; Sosibo, J E; Sotyu, M M; Stephens, J J M; Steyn, A C; Surty, M E; Swart, P S; Thomson, B; Tinto, B; Tlake, M F; Tolo, L J; Trent, E W; Tsenoli, S L; Tshwete, P; Van den Heever, R P Z; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Wyk, A; Vundisa, S S; Wang, Y; Waters, M; Xolo, E T; Yengeni, L E; Zita, L.

Bhengu,MJ; Blanché, J P I; Cupido, H B; Doman,WP; Godi, N T; Gore, V C; Green, LM; Greyling, LW; Groenewald, P J; Harding, A; Jankielsohn, R; King, R J; Labuschagne, L B; Mars, I; Masango, S J; Meshoe, K R J; Minnie, K J; Mncwango, MA; Mpontshane,AM; Mulder, C P; Mulder, P W A; Nel, A H; Nkabinde, N C; Opperman, S E; Pheko, S E M; Pule, B E; Rabinowitz, R; Roopnarain, U; Sayedali-Shah, M R; Seaton, SA; Sibuyana, MW; Sigcau , S N; Simmons, S; Smith, P F; Spies, WD; Swart, M; Swart, S N; Van der Merwe, J H; Van Dyk, S M; Zikalala, C N Z; Zulu, N E.

Phungula, J P; Seremane, W J.



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