Children’s Amendment Bill; Health Professions Amendment Bill: final mandates

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Meeting report

Select Committee on Social Services

SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
22 May 2007
CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BILL; HEALTH PROFESSIONS AMENDMENT BILL: FINAL MANDATES

Chairperson: Ms J Masilo (ANC, North West)

Documents handed out
Nine provincial mandates: Children’s Amendment Bill
Nine provincial mandates: Health Professions Amendment Bill
Children’s Amendment Bill [B19-2006]
Children’s Amendment Bill [B19B-2006]
Health Professions Bill [B10B-2006]
Department's response to questions raised by Members of Parliament
Proposed Amendments to the Health Professions Amendment Bill

SUMMARY
The provinces mandated its provincial delegates to vote in favour of the Children’s Amendment Bill and the Health Professions Amendment Bill. The Chairperson confirmed that the quorum requirement of six provincial mandates had been met. The Chairperson further confirmed that the work of the Committee in terms of the Children’s Amendment Bill was complete, and that the focus would now be shifted to overseeing implementation in the provinces.

The State Law Advisors asked for extra time in order to incorporate the amendments into the Health Professions Amendment Bill and this would be voted on by the Committee on 23 May 2007.

MINUTES
Children’s Amendment Bill: final mandates
The Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces voted in favour of the amendments. Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga provinces did not submit mandates.

Mr M Sullaiman (ANC; Committee Whip) said that the Limpopo Province had not made any submissions in terms of mandates. He added that both the North West Province and Mpumalanga had not yet met to discuss the amendments. The North West Province was still considering the report of the Public Hearing, and would be discussing the mandate on 23 May 2007. Mpumalanga Province would submit their final mandate after the next sitting of its legislature.

The Chairperson referred to the Bill and informed members that the sections marked with solid lines indicated new formulations that would be inserted into the Children's Bill passed in December 2005.

The Chairperson referred to Chapter 14 of the Bill and asked who had to assume responsibility for the funding of shelters and drop-in centres.

Dr Maria Mabetoa, Chief Director: Children, Youth & Families, Department of Social Development) said that the provinces were responsible for this funding.

The Chairperson asked why the original Children's Bill was referred to as a 2005 Bill, when it would only be passed into law in 2007, and asked the State Law Advisor to provide clarity on the matter.

Mr Pierre du Preez (State Law Advisor, Department of Social Development) said that while it was true that the contents of the Bill only became law when it was approved and signed by the President of the Republic, the drafting of the Bill had been finalised in 2005, and therefore bore the 2005 date. He added that the current amendments would take the form of an Amendment Bill, and would most likely carry the 2007 date.

Mr du Preez explained that the current version of the Children's Amendment Bill was a “B” Bill [with all the NCOP amendments incorporated] and not an “A” Bill [showing only the NCOP amendments].

The Chairperson said that there was a measure of uncertainty regarding this issue. He said that the Bill had been introduced as B19-2006. It had then been sent to the provinces, who had come back with proposed amendments. The Department had then drawn up a new Bill, instead of simply adding the insertions. He asked what this implied in terms of the current status of the Bill. Was it a Bill introduced by the NCOP, a Bill amended by the NCOP, or a Bill submitted by the Department? The Chairperson requested that the State Law Advisor and the Department synchronise their views, and report back to the Committee.

Voting on Children’s Amendment Bill
The Chairperson put forward a Motion of Desirability in terms of the following amendments: partial care, early childhood development, prevention and early intervention, alternative care, foster care, care centres, shelters
and drop-in centres. All present agreed to the Motion of Desirability.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had completed its work with regard to the Children’s Amendment Bill. He added that the final date for the plenary NCOP debate has not yet been set. A provisional date of 29 May 2007 had been given, but it was uncertain whether the debate will take place before the term ends, as the Budget Votes were currently taking up a great deal of time.

Health Professions Amendment Bill
The Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces voted in favour of the amendments. No votes were received from the Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga provinces.

The Chairperson asked for clarity as to whether the Bill was a “C” Bill or a “D” Bill.

Ms H Sangoni (State Law Advisor, Department of Justice) said that it was definitely not a “C” Bill, and that it would only become a “C” Bill after the present discussion.

The Chairperson said that the amendments under discussion have already been agreed upon, and were consequently sent to the provinces. He added that the Bill under discussion should therefore be a “C” Bill, with the “D” Bill following immediately thereafter.

Ms Sangoni emphasised that one could not call it a “C” Bill at present. The Chairperson repeated that these were amendments that had already been discussed.

Ms Sangoni asked why members were not accepting the amendments, seeing that these amendments had already been discussed and agreed upon.

The Chairperson said that no-one was rejecting the amendments, and that the point being made is that the amendments should already have been incorporated into a “C” Bill.

Ms Sangoni said that there was something wrong with the whole procedure.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had been informed that the State Law Advisors, who were responsible for drafting the Bill, had not incorporated the amendments.

Ms Sangoni apologised for the misunderstanding and asked for one hour to complete the task.

The Chairperson indicated that the State Law Advisors could present their submissions on the matter at the Committee Meeting to be held on the following day.

The meeting was adjourned.

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