Transport Agencies General Laws Amendment Bill: briefing by Department of Transport

NCOP Public Services

16 October 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

SC PUBLIC SERVICES (NCOP)

PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
17 October 2007
TRANSPORT AGENCIES GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL: BRIEFING BY DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT.

Chairperson:
Mr R Tau (ANC, Northern Cape)

Documents handed out:
Transport Agencies General Laws Amendment Bill [B27B-2007]
Department of Transport Presentation

Audio recording of meeting

SUMMARY
The Committee was briefed by the Department of Transport  on the Transport Agencies General Laws Amendment Bill, which aimed to streamline the current process of appointment of board members and Chief Executive Officers to statutory transport entities.

The Committee stated that the presentation left many questions unanswered, as it was very rushed. The Committee felt that the Bill was a not simple nor straight forward, and some Members were not impressed with the brevity of the presentation. After initial uncertainty as to whether the Committee needed to adopt the Bill on the day, it was agreed that further consideration would take place on 24 November 2007.
 
MINUTES         
Briefing by Department of Transport
Mr A Mngadi, Department of Transport: Governance, informed the Committee that the main objective of the amendments was to improve and streamline the cumbersome process of appointment of board members, by the Minister of Transport, to the various statutory entities that fell under the Department, such as Cross Border Road Transport Agency, the South African Maritime Authority and the Transport Appeal Tribunal. It streamlined the process of appointment of CEOs as well. The Bill also proposed the reduction of the term of office of these board members from a five year to three year period, and sought to delete certain obsolete provisions from the statutes that governed those various transport entities. The Department took the Committee through each clause of the Bill and explained the specific amendments in each.
 
Discussion
Members were of the view that the Department’s presentation was problematic as it was rushed through without much explanation.

Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) sought clarity on whether the appointment of the Chief Executive officer was “after consultation” or “with consultation”, as the two statements mean different things.

Mr Mngadi replied that the powers of appointment of the CEO rested with the Minister, and it should thus mean “after consideration of recommendation of the Board”. Both Houses of Parliament were informed, in writing, of the appointment of the CEO.

Mr M Mzizi (IFP, Gauteng) stated from the onset that the presentation was a “marathon” and too speedy for Members to gather any information of substance. In addition it was not user friendly at all as it made reference to documents that could not be easily located. His main concern was the South African Aviation Authority and why it never appeared before the Committee. The reason for this concern was that transformation has been near non-existent in that field and he wanted to find out the number of black female pilots currently in operation. He also sought clarity on who the CEO mentioned in Section 24 of Act 5 of 1995 is accountable to.

Mr L Van Rooyen (ANC, Free State) enquired as to which House of Parliament was going to be notified in writing.

Ms H Matlanyane (ANC, Limpopo) suggested that more should be done to include rural people in the process. Publishing in the Government Gazette excluded many people because it was not readily accessible, and many South Africans were not literate. In her view more should be done, such as the use of other media forms.

Mr Mngadi responded to the questions generally by stating that the Bill aimed to do away with the Government Gazette because of the financial costs involved. In his view its publication was a waste as the majority of persons who were expected to view it did not have access to it. The
Road Traffic Management Corporation Act 20 of 1999 aimed to do away with sending shortlists to Parliamentary Committees as they were time consuming. Furthermore, Parliament was often in recess.

The last statement by the Department raised uproar as Members stated that the Departments reasoning was flawed. Even though Parliament was on recess, its work still continued.

The Chair was greatly concerned with the reduction of the term of office of board members from 5 years to 3 years. In his view the move was counter productive as an individuals in their first year as board members were still acclimatizing to their new situation, and by the time they found their feet their term would over. He strongly felt that the boards should not be down played or equated to “youth clubs” as they have a mandate to push a transformation agenda.

Members were of the view that because it was a Section 75 Bill Members still needed to consult further on the Bill and have an opportunity to research the matter before taking the process further. The Committee would not merely be rubber stamping a process it knew nothing of. Members were of the view that they must be allowed sight of the final shortlist if they were to investigate the matter properly.

The Chair confirmed that the Committee would have a further opportunity to consider the Bill further, and proposed that the meeting take place on 24 November 2007.

The meeting was adjourned.


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