Public Service Amendment Bill: deliberations

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

7 November 2007

Acting Chairperson: Mr S Shiceka (ANC, Gauteng)

Public Service Amendment Bill [B31B-2006]
Eastern Cape Negotiating mandate .of the Public Service Amendment Bill
Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng ,Nothern Cape, Limpompo, Free State Negotiating mandate

Not Recorded

The Committee considered the mandates from Provinces in relation to the Public Service Amendment Bill. Northern Cape was not represented at the meeting. Kwazulu Natal would be considering the Bill and would get back to the Committee with a final answer. The other provinces indicated their broad support for the Bill, although a final decision would only be taken at a later meeting. The Eastern Cape had raised some queries, and stated that it, like Limpopo, would like it to be made quite clear that employees should not occupy public office. Members agreed that this Bill should be aligned with local government legislation, and abide by the philosophy that an appointee should only receive one salary or remuneration, and had to make a choice between options offered.

Public Service Amendment Bill: Voting

The Chairperson reminded Members that three provinces were required to be present to take a vote, and that number had been exceeded.

Mr D Worth (DA, Free State) raised the question of an inspection visit to the Province of KwaZulu Natal, which was apparently now to be scheduled again.

Mr J Le Roux (DA, Eastern Cape) noted that a DA Member would be required to attend, but that he was committed to his party’s Annual Congress during the forthcoming weekend, which coincided with the inspection visit.

It was agreed that this was a problem for the Whips to sort out.

The Chairperson reminded Members that there had been three previous briefings on the Bill, which had then been referred to the Provincial Legislatures for consideration before the final version. He added that there was currently no administrative support for this Committee and he was required to perform the functions of Chairperson and Committee Secretary. He cautioned that time constraint required that this Bill be completed by 14 November 2007 in time for the three-working day rule if it was to have any chance of being adopted this parliamentary session.

Mr Z Ntuli (ANC, Kwazulu Natal) pointed out that KZN was only meeting on 15 November in order to decide upon its mandate and asked whether this would provide sufficient time.

Mr M Mzizi (IFP, Gauteng) was of the opinion that as not all Provinces were required to approve the Bill this would still be sufficient.

Kgoshi L Mokoena (ANC, North West) expressed the opinion that this would be insufficient time.

There was considerable further discussion regarding the completion of this Bill prior to the end of this parliamentary session.

Eventually the Chairperson suggested looking at the Bill from an administrative point of view and taking a final decision later.

Ms Tunyiswa (ANC Member of Eastern Cape Legislature) then addressed the meeting, stating that the Bill had been discussed by the Eastern Cape legislature and she was mandated to raise questions. The Legislature asked the difference between consulting the Premier in, or after, meetings, the inter-operation of Clause 8(3) and the question in Clause 7 of binding agreements in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA). She asked what head of department was being envisaged in Clause 9. Clause 18 required amplification, as did Clauses 25 and 26

Mr Ntuli noted that KwaZulu Natal had sent a special delegation, which was on its way.

Mr Worth assured Members that the Free State had considered the Bill and mandated him to speak. His province supported the Bill. .

Mr Mzizi said the Gauteng province had canvassed this Bill widely, taking special care to obtain the views of the trade unions COSATU and IMATU, and the Gauteng Public Service Commission.

Mr Ntuli reported back that he had telephoned the KZN Chief Whip and been informed that the KZN legislature was considering the gambling Bill and would thereafter devote attention to this Bill and provide a mandate in due course.

Mr Mokoena said that the Limpopo had considered the Bill, was in agreement with its proposals, save that it had a small query about the last bullet point. Limpopo had stated that “The bill should clearly state that employees should not occupy public office”

Ms F Nyanda (ANC, Mpumulanga) said that Mpumalanga had reviewed the bill and had no questions.

The Northern Cape was not represented and it was noted that Mr Fielding was apparently traveling to Cape Town at the moment.

Mr A Moseki (ANC) said that the North West province had not provided him with a written mandate but everything had been handled as required, and the provincial legislature was in favour of the Bill.

Mr N Mack (ANC, Western Cape) said the Province of the Western Cape (WC) supported the Bill without amendments, and in fact the WC had discussed those issues which caused concern to Limpopo.

Mr Ntuli asked whether the Committee could continue without a Legal Advisor.

A Parliamentary legal advisor present at the meeting said that he was not privy to the policy approach, but would assist the Committee with regard to technical issues only if so required.

Ms Tunyiswa put forward her province’s reservations.

Mr Ntuli queried whether the Eastern Cape was now adopting a federalist approach to legislation.

Mr le Roux (DA) believed that all issues must be examined.

Mr Mzizi suggested that the Eastern Cape mandate should perhaps be reworded.

Ms Tunyiswa said that she felt that the principles in the LRA and PAJA legislation should be applied. That was what her Province required.

Mr Mzizi noted that in Gauteng the Director General would be consulted before any appointments or decisions about incumbents were made.

Mr Moseki (ANC) said that what seemed to be required was a proper job description and supporting regulations.

The Chairperson added that the job descriptions could not be described in minute detail and cover everything. A degree of common sense and initiative as required from the appointees.

Mr Mokoena said that COSATU felt very strongly that Senior State Employees were not to be regarded as on duty for 24 hours a day, nor should they, as State employees, be at the beck and call of political heads.

Mr Mack said he felt that this aspect should be left.

After further discussion, it was agreed that this Bill should be aligned with the local government legislation, and abide by the same philosophy – namely, that an appointee should receive only one salary or remuneration, and had to make a choice between options offered.

Members indicated that in terms of the Local Government legislation, a Councillor, once elected, was deemed to have resigned from any other government employment on taking the oath of office. That principle should be recognised and entrenched in this Bill, especially with regard to teachers, for it was felt that otherwise the progress or learning of the children would suffer.

It was resolved to put these reservations to the legal advisors to see how this could be incorporated. All provinces indicated that apart from these reservations they were in support of the principles and objectives behind the Bill.

The meeting was adjourned.


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