Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill & Traditional Health Practitioners Bill: deliberations

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Health

22 October 2007
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMITTEE
23 October 2007
CHOICE ON TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY AMENDMENT BILL & TRADITIONAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Acting Chairperson: Ms N Mathibela (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Health(DoH) briefing presentation on Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill
DoH briefing presentation on Traditional Health Practitioners Bill
Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B 20-2007]
Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill [B 21-2007]
Chief State Law Advisors legal opinion on the matter of public hearings

Audio recording of meeting[Part1] [Part2]

SUMMARY
The Parliamentary and State Law Advisors presented their legal opinions on the question whether the Committee needed to hold new public hearings on the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill and the Traditional Health Practitioners Bills. It was stressed that the order of invalidity by the Constitutional Court in relation to the previous Acts on the issues had been given as a result of procedural flaws, not flaws in the content. Both Bills now contained the same as the original Acts. However, it was stressed that both were new pieces of legislation, that there had been three years since the previous submissions had been made, and that the old procedures (which were deemed sufficient in the NA) were irrelevant to the procedure of the current pieces of legislation. The Parliamentary Legal Adviser summarised in detail the findings of the Constitution Court, including its statements on what would constitute sufficient public involvement, and pointed out that both were Bills that generated much public interest and had a high impact. He was of the opinion that public hearings were needed. After extensive discussion, the Committee decided to proceed with a public hearing process and call for submissions. Not every written submission would need to be examined again by way of oral submission.

Some of the clauses of the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill were discussed, in relation to the composition of the Council, but no finality was reached. Further discussions would resume at a later meeting.

MINUTES
Necessity for public hearings: discussion
The Chairperson referred to the briefing from the Department of Health the previous week with regard to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill (CTOP) and noted that the Committee must discuss the issue with the National Department Of Health (NDOH).

Mr M Waters (DA) stated that the Committee had agreed that at this meeting it would decide whether to hold public hearings on the CTOP.

The Chairperson replied that this was under discussion. When the Bill was initially put forward, the National Assembly had followed the correct procedure but the National Council of Provinces had not. It was for this reason that the Bill was successfully challenged in the Constitutional Court. Therefore this led to the Bill being re-introduced, as a new Bill, into the NCOP and the NA as well.

Mr A Madella (ANC) stated that the point of departure should be that if any changes had occurred in the Bill at the NCOP, then these should be referred to public hearings. The other issues to look at were those raised by the Constitutional Court – in other words the procedural flaws. No new issues were forthcoming and introduced into this Bill.

Mr Waters stated that the Bill would usually be gone through clause by clause, and if any questions were raised they would be dealt with. There was an understanding that the CTOP Bill had been tabled before. However, the Constitutional Court had made a ruling that a new Bill was needed, and the question was how many present Committee members had served on the Portfolio Committee on Health when the first CTOP Bill was tabled. He suggested that the Committee must go clause by clause through the Bill so that questions could be raised.

Mr B Mashile (ANC) stated that clarification was needed on certain issues, but not on the content of the Bill. The other issue raised was whether to this Bill must be regarded as a totally new Bill, and, if so, what procedural steps needed to be followed.

The Chairperson asked what the issues were that needed clarification.

Mr Mashile stated that more clarity was needed on the word ‘members’ in the Traditional Health Practitioners Amendment Bill) and on issues raised on some of the provisions.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee was only currently considering the CTOP Bill.

Ms M Manana (ANC) suggested that the Bill be gone through clause by clause.

Ms S Kalyan (DA) requested clarity, saying that the judgment of the Constitutional Court had stated that the CTOP Bill must be treated as a new Bill in the NCOP. She asked therefore what status it would have in the NA.

The Chairperson clarified that the Bill was being dealt with as a new Bill, without amendments, referred to the NA from the NCOP.

Ms Kalyan stated that further clarity was needed, as the NCOP had dealt with the CTOP as a new Bill and had held public hearings on it. If the NA was dealing with the CTOP as it had come from the NCOP, she asked whether the NA would need also to follow the same procedure with public hearings. The understanding was that there was no problem with the content of the original Bill, which was reproduced in this Bill, but only with the process at the NCOP. The question was why the Committee should go through the Bill clause by clause when the problem had lain with the processes and not with the content.

Dr R Rabinowitz (IFP) stated that the problem with the public participation had occurred in the Provincial process. If the CTOP Bill had done the rounds properly through the Provincial legislatures and had come back with no amendments, then it would have been passed. She wondered if it was necessary to proceed with public hearings again on the same issues.

Mr Waters stated that this CTOP Bill was a new Bill and that if an old committee had had public hearings on the old CTOP Bill (which was ruled invalid) this was irrelevant to the procedure with the current Bill’s circumstances and discussion. The issue of hearings was raised in the previous meeting. He believed that public hearings were needed, as the current CTOP Bill contained serious issues.

Ms Kalyan stated that the State Law Advisor had been asked to give an opinion on this issue, and asked whether this was now ready.

The Chairperson stated that the State Law Advisors were now on their way to the meeting.

Dr Rabinowitz asked if an opinion from the Constitutional Court could be obtained as to whether this CTOP Bill was to be treated as a new Bill or not.

Dr Ronnie Green-Thompson, Special Advisor to the Minister of Health, stated that no flaws were picked up by the Constitutional Court in regard to the National Assembly process. The flaws related to the procedure followed by the NCOP, and that that flaw of procedure had now been corrected. The general understanding was that this Bill contained no new issues, and no amendments were made by the NCOP. He thought the Bill needed to be adopted and sent forward to the President.

The Chairperson stated that this was the view of the ANC with regard to this Bill.

Mr Waters stated that he would prefer to wait for the State Law Advisers to advise on this issue.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) agreed that it was very important to wait for the State Law Adviser, particularly since the present CTOP Bill was a controversial one.

Mr Mashile stated that the Committee needed to be clear about not engaging in unnecessary activities, and should not hold public hearings if it would simply mean repeating the same things that had been done before.

Ms Dudley stated that the second challenge would be that the NCOP had held the hearings, but this Committee had not actually looked at the content of those hearings. It would be unwise to proceed before doing so. She would be anxious to avoid another challenge.

The Committee discussed whether at this point to proceed to discuss the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill.

Dr Rabinowitz suggested that the Committee should discuss the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill (THP Bill) in relation to the regulation of complementary health, and that the general status of the report on regulating medical devices and alternative health medicines must be discussed.

The Chairperson stated that the National Department of Health had taken the committee through both the Bills the previous week.

Dr Rabinowitz stated that she had received a full report, but the issues that she had brought up were not discussed at that meeting.

Ms Dudley stated that the same legal issues would apply with regard in regard to the procedural matters in the THP Amendment Bill.

Mr Waters asked for clarity whether amendments were made by the NCOP; if so, did this mean that the NA must hold public hearings.

The Chairperson stated that there were amendments to the THP Bill and was unsure as to whether public hearings must occur in the NA.

Dr Rabinowitz suggested that the amendments be looked at, and if they were of an administrative rather than substantive nature, then the Committee would apply their own minds. If they were substantive then public hearings must be held.

Ms Carin Booyse, Office of the Chief State Law Advisor, arrived at this point. She stated that the Portfolio Committee was in charge of its own processes and could therefore decide, independent of the Standing Committee in the NCOP, whether to entertain further amendments or whether to proceed further with public hearings. The Constitutional Court had not had a problem with the processes that were followed in the National Assembly.

The Chairperson stated that the main concern was that the Bills were introduced as new Bills in the NCOP.

Ms Booyse stated that if a Bill was introduced under Section 76, the first task would be for the Select Committee to either adopt the Bill without amendments, to reject the Bill or to make amendments to it. The Bill had gone through the Select Committee without amendments. Therefore the Portfolio Committee must now consider the Bill, and if it wanted to adopt the Bill or make amendments it could do so. If it wished to reject the Bill, Section 80 of the Constitution would apply, and a mediation committee would be set up.

Adv Mukesh Vassen, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, gave his opinion on the matter. He pointed out that in the Doctors for Life case the Constitutional Court had stated that Section 59(1)a of the Constitution stipulated that parliament should facilitate public involvement in the legislative process. The two aspects of the duty to facilitate were, firstly, that there must be meaningful opportunities for public participation in the law making process, and that secondly, parliament had a duty to take whatever measures were necessary to ensure that the public could indeed take advantage of the opportunities for participation.

The Court had said that the situation would vary from case to case but the legislature would ultimately have to act reasonably in regard to its duty to facilitate public involvement in the process. Reasonableness was an objective standard, which would be sensitive to the facts and circumstances of the particular case. The context was important and whether the legislature had acted reasonably would depend on a number of factors. These included the nature and importance of the legislation; the intensity of its impact on the public;
the amount of public interest shown in the Bill; whether or not the Bill contained controversial provisions; and whether there had been a request for public hearings by interest groups or members of the public.

The CTOP and THP Bills were two in which the NCOP had not adequately facilitated public involvement. The Court had already stated that because they were controversial there was a heightened need for public participation relating to them.

Adv Vassen said that it did not necessarily follow that because the NCOP had facilitated public involvement, NA would not need to do the same. In the Doctors for Life case, the Court accepted that the NA did facilitate public involvement, but it drew a distinction between the role of the NA and the role of the NCOP. It looked at Sections 42(3) and Section 42(4) of the Constitution, noting that the sections differed in that the NA must facilitate public participation of the people, and the NCOP must ensure that provincial interests were taken into account. Because the NA and the NCOP represented different interests in the legal process, if either of these democratic institutions failed to fulfil its constitutional obligations, then parliament as a whole would be deemed to have failed in its obligation. Therefore, he had no doubt that this Committee should facilitate public involvement in the Bills.

Mr Mashile and Ms Manana commented that the two legal advisors had now given contradictory opinions, and suggested that they should discuss the issue.

Dr Rabinowitz believed that the obligation had been fulfilled, and suggested that the Committee ask the Constitutional Court what it should do.

Mr Waters stated that these were new Bills and that it was irrelevant what had occurred in the past. The whole process must be taken in exactly the same way as for any other new Bill, and he believed that hearings were necessary to fulfil the obligations of the Committee.

Ms Booyse clarified that the question she had been asked to address was whether it was necessary for the committee to hold public hearings. The Constitutional Court had ruled that there was an error in the process of the NCOP. When the Bill was referred to the NA, this Committee could determine its own processes. If the Committee felt that public participation was necessary, then it could do so. She had been trying to explain that the Constitutional Court, in ruling on the processes followed in regard to the old Bill, had not had a problem with what the NA had done at the time.

Ms Mashigo suggested rather calling for written submissions.

Mr Mashile agreed that the legal advisors should integrate their approach.

Mr Waters was shocked that there had been suggestions that there should be no consultation simply because the same issues would be raised again and the same conclusions drawn. This implied that Members had already made up their minds.

Ms Kalyan suggested that the legal advice must proceed from the premise that these were two completely new Bills. The Portfolio Committee had a duty to exercise oversight.

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that the order suspending the invalidity and allowing for the introduction of new legislation gave a deadline date of 18 February 2008, so a decision had to be made now if hearings were going to take place.

Ms Kalyan clarified that the one Bill’s suspension would expire in January 2008 and the other in February 2008.

Dr Rabinowitz asked if it would be possible for the process to be achieved in the approved time frames.

Adv Vassen stated that the Constitutional Court would not give an adjudication on something that was not presently before them.

Dr Rabinowitz asked about the time process with regard to the Bills if they were to be passed before the end of January.

Ms Kalyan stated that parliament was sitting until 23 November and that there would be ample time to follow the process through.

Mr Madella that this was a complex issue and that his understanding was that lawyers would always have differing opinions. He suggested the need for caution. He asked if calling for written submissions would be adequate, as the Committee could be called back from recess to deal with written submissions. .

Adv Vassen stated that there was a sliding scale as to the degree of public involvement required. The more controversial the legislation, the more consultation would be needed. He suggested that the Committee call for written representations, and from these it could be determined whether there were recommendations that warranted having oral hearings. These Bills had generated a lot of controversy and did have a great impact. This was what the Court suggested that the Committee should do.

Ms Booyse stated that as indicated earlier, it was up to the Committee to determine its own processes, as also indicated by the Parliamentary State Law Advisor. This would include discretion whether to call for written submissions or for oral public hearings. It was up to the Committee itself to determine the extent of public involvement in the process, and to decide how best to facilitate the public involvement. The Constitutional Court had held that parliament must determine its own processes.

Adv Vassen quoted from the judgement . The Court had said: “However great the leeway given to the legislature the courts will in appropriate cases determine whether the degree of public involvement that has been required by the constitution has been fulfilled”.

Mr Mashile stated that he agreed that caution was needed.

Ms Tshwete (ANC) stated that there was a proposal made that the legal advisors be given time to confer on the issue.

Dr Rabinowitz stated that the Committee must do its job in committee, not as individuals. If some members were not present, then this did not mean that the Committee had not done its job. She believed that the process that had been followed previously was not incorrect.

Mr Waters proposed that the Committee meet again later in the day, so as to give the two legal advisors time to flesh out the issue. He would be glad if this parliament was shown to be open and transparent and that public participation was welcomed. The principle remained that these were new Bills, and it was irrelevant what had taken place before in the previous Health Committee.

Ms Mashigo stated that she thought the Bills would be referred back to the provinces and if there were any amendments then the committee could vote on those.

Ms Dudley stated that the Bills themselves were controversial and had generated much interest. The issues were whether they should be dealt with as new Bills, and if the Committee should conduct hearings bearing in mind the cost and time. She believed that public involvement was vital, that any hearings must look at the content and not just be held for the sake of the process.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the statements.

Ms Dudley stated that she had meant to stress that the Committee must be seriously applying its mind to what was said.

The Chairperson invited the National Department of Health to speak.

Prof Green-Thompson stated that there was confusion in two areas, and believed that the two legal advisors should be allowed to debate the issue as suggested, and that perhaps a constitutional legal expert should be called in also to amplify the legal opinions. The second issue was that the Bill contained amendments to what was already legislated for in the principle Act. The amendments were fairly clear and uncontroversial, although the basis of the CTOP Act was not. It should be very clear that public hearings should confine themselves to the Amendment Bill. He suggested that the legal advisors and the Department should discuss the issues, together with another constitutional law expert, and furnish a deliberated opinion.

The Chairperson stated that the approach to the Constitutional Court had been ruled out by Adv Vassen.

Adv Vassen stated that Professor Green-Thomson had suggested that constitutional experts be consulted, and not the Constitutional Court.

The Chairperson asked what time-frames were needed for this consultation.

Ms Dudley stated that she would prefer the lawyers to keep in mind that the Amendment Bill increased the access and facilities available for CTOP, but did not provide for protection of the health practitioners (nurses) and the women themselves. They were very closely linked, and there were other issues that did not relate to the principle Act but to the Amendment Bill.
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The meeting adjourned for a while.

On resumption, Ms Booyse reiterated that this Bill had already been through the process, but was found to be invalid due to certain unconstitutional processes around consultation in the provinces. She gave a background to what had occurred, and how the provincial legislatures had failed to comply with their constitutional obligations to facilitate public involvement as required by sections 72(1) and 118 (1)(a) of the Constitution. She indicated that direct participation could take many forms. The legislature had discretion on how best to achieve this relationship. The public must have reasonable opportunity to know about the issues and to have an adequate say in them. At its most basic, this would mean that the public must be given adequate notice of meetings and discussions on legislation, to enable members of the public to consider whether or not to make representations to the legislature concerned or to parliament. She agreed that the reasonableness of Parliament’s decision whether or not to hold public hearings went to the heart of the matter. The court identified factors that must be considered when determining the meaning of public involvement, and these had been outlined by Adv Vassen. The Committee had the discretion as to how these processes are put into practise. The current Bills were identical to the Acts that were declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, but it must be remembered that the ruling of invalidity was based on the processes, and not on the content of the legislation. The subject matter had not changed at all, and no amendments were made when the Bills were introduced to the Select Committee (NCOP). In all respects these Bills were identical to the Acts that were passed and then declared invalid. Should the Committee decide on a cautionary approach, she would like to point out that the Bills that were introduced in 2004 had undergone extensive public hearings where interested parties made oral representations to the Committee, as well as to the relevant Departments.

She indicated that the introducer of the Bills had changed and therefore sufficient public involvement would, in her opinion, be met if the Committee were to reconsider the submissions received in respect of the 2004 Bills, to invite persons to address the committee on the issues raised previously, should the Committee decide that this was necessary, and adhere to the constitutional provision that meetings would be open to the public.

Adv Vassen stated that he had discussed the matter with the National Health Department, and that on 14 and 16 June the NA and NCOP had held that the above mentioned statues be re-enacted, in compliance with the Court order, and re-introduced into parliament..

Section 59 of the Constitution stated that the NA must facilitate public involvement in the legislative process. These were new Bills. The Committee had not considered them before, even though the content was the same. If public hearings were not held this would imply that the Committee had made up its mind before hearing any submissions on the Bills. This would be unconstitutional, in terms of Section 59 of the Constitution. The circumstances relating to the making of submissions could also have changed in the interim.

In regard to the question whether to have written submissions only or to also hold public oral hearings, Adv Vassen pointed out that the more impact and more controversy generated by a Bill, the greater the public participation must be. These Bills were deemed by the Constitutional Court to have a great impact on society and were highly controversial; therefore a higher degree of public participation was necessary. In this case he believed it would be proper to ask for written and oral submissions. Not all those that had given written submissions would be entitled to an oral hearing and this would be at the discretion of the Committee.

Ms Mashigo stated that clarity was needed on Section 59 of the constitution.

Mr Madella asked if the resolutions made on the 14 and 16 June would alter the recommendations made to the Committee.

Adv Vassen stated that in Section 59(1)(a) of the Constitution said that the NA must facilitate public involvement in the legislative process. This legislative process began not in 2004, but on 20June when they were introduced into the NCOP. The submissions were made more than three years ago and different voters and members of the public would now exist who may wish to make submissions although they had not done so before..

Ms Tshwete (ANC) asked whether there was sufficient time for public hearings to occur.

Adv Vassen stated that it would be possible to hold public hearings in the time allocated, and if there were amendments then it could go back to the NCOP. If the deadline was not met then an extension could be applied for. In terms of the resolution passed by the House, the original Acts were used as the basis for the new Bills because of the amount of work that had been done on the wording. Parliament could amend them again they so wished. He reminded Members that the Bills were declared invalid not because of their provisions but because of the process.

Mr Madella stated that whether the resolution was correct or not, the order of invalidity specifically instructed parliament to do certain things. He asked whether this had been the correct approach, and whether the introduction of new Bills would correct the Act declared invalid.

The Chairperson stated that this was a procedural process.

Adv Vassen referred to the Doctors for Life case and stressed that the provinces did not adequately fulfil their public participation role. Even though the content was the same, the NA was deemed to have fulfilled its obligation at the time. However this process was singular, and went from the NCOP to the NA. If anything went wrong in this process then the whole process would be deemed to be flawed. Parliament would have to facilitate public involvement again. The NA still needed to facilitate public involvement in the process. The 2004 Act was declared unconstitutional and the matter had to be corrected before February.

Ms Booyse reiterated that the Constitutional Court’s decision had only related to the process and not to the content of the Bill.

Mr Vassen (PLA) stated that in his view the proper way forward would be for the NA to hold public hearings, as these Bills were new Bills.

The Chairperson stated that public hearings would be held.

Traditional Health Practitioners Bill: discussion of issues
Clause 1

The Chairperson referred to the definition of a member, which would mean ‘a member of the Council and included a member of a Committee of the Council’.

The Chairperson clarified that in Clause 1 (b) ’”Minister” meant the Minister responsible for the NDOH.

Mr Madella stated that if the definition were consistent with the National Health Act, then it would be supported.

The Chairperson pointed out that this was stated in Clause 1 (d) on line 39.

Mr Madella stated that the ANC would support the amendment in view of the changes to the Nursing Amendment Act.

The Chairperson stated that all were in agreement on this issue.

Clause 4 (2)
Mr Madella stated that there was no clear procedure set out for the first meeting of the Council after the Act had been passed.

Mr Moeketsi Motsapi Director, NDOH, stated that this clause should read, “The registrar must convene the first meeting of the Council.” After the commencement of the Act, certain processes had to be followed in relation to the registrar, and publication of the regulations within three months for public comment. The three months would be a problem, as it was not adequate for all the processes required.

Ms Kalyan stated that the amendment proposed had stated that the process for appointment of the register needed to be considered. She asked the NDOH to expand on this issue.

Mr Motsapi stated that this referred to the advertising of the post itself, and the process of interviews and the appointment. None of this could be done until the Act had been passed.

Mr Waters raised a concern regarding the time limits imposed and suggested that a time frame in this regard should still be considered.

Ms Rose Mdalose, Director, NDOH, stated that three months would not be an adequate time period to fulfil the obligations with regard to the registrar. It was proposed that six months after commencement of the Act should be inserted as the time frame for first convening the Council of Traditional Health Practitioners (the Council)
.
Mr Mashile stated that although a time frame was needed, this might still be difficult. If the power was given to the Minister, that might be more appropriate.

The Chairperson stated that there were now two options: either to set six months, or to appropriate the power to the Minister of Health.

Ms P Tshwete (ANC) agreed that a time frame should be set in the Act, and she agreed with six months.

Mr Madella stated that the key issue was the constitution of the Council. The Department of Health would be responsible for the operation of the Act. It would find the six-month period difficult to adhere to, as no doubt the processes leading up to constituting the Council would be lengthy. Only when all the Council members had legally been appointed could the first meeting of the Council be decided upon. For this reason he proposed that the Minister of Health should confer with the registrar and set a date.

The Chairperson asked the State Law Adviser to assist with the present issues at hand.

Ms Booyse stated that she needed time to confer with the Committee Secretary and the Department of Health on certain issues.

Dr Rabinowitz suggested that if the six month period was deemed to be too short, then it could possibly be stretched to a twelve months. She believed a limit must be set out in the Bill.

Mr Waters agreed that there should be a time frame given, but said that the Department of Health would not have given a time frame that could not meet. He suggested that the time frame should be kept at six months so as not to prolong the holding of the Council’s first meeting..

Mr Mashile expressed doubts that this would be possible. If the first meeting of the Council were to be held it a stated number of months after establishment of the Council, as opposed to after commencement date of the Act, then this would be achievable, as the issues would be limited to co-ordination. This process of appointing the Registrar and selecting the Council would require advertisements, interviews and nominations and other groundwork.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should await a response from the legal advisor before deciding finally on the wording.

Clause 12 (1) “A quorum for any meeting of the Council is 12 persons”.
Mr Madella (ANC) stated that ‘persons’ should be altered to ‘members’ as persons could mean any person.

This was agreed.

Clause 12 (5) “Only members of the Council have voting rights”
Ms Kalyan stated that clarity was needed on this clause. If members were chosen according to their provinces and if a designated member could not attend the Council meeting, she asked if there was provision made for an alternate member to attend and what process that would entail.

Ms Mdalose stated that, as was previously explained, the membership of the Council was 22 people and that the absence of one member of one province would not make much of a difference.

Ms Kalyan stated that she was not asking if it would make a difference if a member were not to be present. She wanted to know if there was a process for an alternative member to represent the province.

Ms Manana referred to the constitution of the Council, which was stated as a maximum of 22 members. Nowhere in dealing with the constitution of the Council were alternates mentioned as necessary. Only members could be represented and no alternates could be on the Council,

Mr Mashile stated that alternative members tended to lead to lack of continuity, and he believed it would benefit the structure if there were no alternates. If there was a vacancy or a problem with a member, then that member would need to be replaced and a committed person chosen, so that discontinuity would not occur.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) referred to Clause 11 (2), relating to twice-yearly meetings of the Council.

Dr Rabinowitz stated that if continuity was wanted that a provision should be made for the provinces to be represented, more especially if there were only two meetings in the year and if the provincial representative was ill or unavailable. It would be more important for the province be represented than to have continuity, in her opinion.

Mr Waters agreed that this would seem to make sense. The province would be affected if not represented. Absence from a meeting would not necessarily mean lack of commitment, as it could be due to illness or any number of other difficulties. He proposed that the constitution of the Council should be amended to read “maximum of 22 members or dedicated provincial alternates”, as this would give flexibility.

The Chairperson enquired as to what would form a quorum of the Council.

Ms Mdalose stated that twelve members would form a quorum. This was one of the only Councils to insist on one member from each province. In other Councils, there was more representation from Gauteng, as most of the meetings were held in that province. No alternates were allowed in other Councils, as the intention was to try to streamline and not add to Councils. Two meetings in the year was a minimum requirement, and most Councils would meet once every quarter. This new Council should be in line with the existing Councils, and should be as efficient as possible in terms of management and establishment.

Ms Manana asked if the alternates would be able to sit on the Council even if not acting as alternate for that meeting.

Mr Waters believed that having an alternate member would not bloat the Council. If the regular member could not attend, then the alternate would simply step in. He pointed out that the Council had been increased from 14 members to 22 members, and this was a two-thirds increase in the number of members in the Council.

Ms Manana stated that all the other Councils had a certain number of members, and that this rule needed to be followed. Any member that was not present would get the minutes of the meeting.

Mr Mashile stated that more clarity was needed on the nature of the Council, whether it was one that was representing the provinces, or one that was intended for all Traditional Healers. If it were a national body, then the question of representation of provinces would fall away, as all decisions would be taken at national level.

The meeting was adjourned.

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