Local Government Laws Amendment Bill: deliberations

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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill. The Department of Provincial and Local Government also made clarifications on certain clauses in the Bill that had seemed ambiguous to the Committee. The Committee was not very satisfied with the answers from the Department, was concerned that there had not been full consultation, and decided to invite other role players for further consultation on the Bill. Due to this, the finalisation on the Bill was postponed to a future date, with the Department and Municipal Demarcation Board and National Treasury representatives being asked to prepare themselves for further questions.

Meeting report

 

The Department and the Parliamentary legal adviser were asked to make brief clarifications on certain clauses in the Bill that had been raised in the previous meeting. In relation to the clause amending Section 84 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998, the Department stated that the new provision dealt with the queries around the commencement date of the municipal financial year.

In relation to clauses 9 and 17, Ms Zuraya Adhikarie, Senior Parliamentary Legal Adviser, felt that there were constitutional concerns raised. She stated that she did not see any justification for the inclusion of clause 9, while clause 17 had previously given rise to the Committee’s concern about eroding the powers of MECs.

Discussion
The Chairperson asked why the MECs were no longer playing a role.

Mr N Mack (ANC, Western Cape) asked what the justification was behind the Municipal Demarcation Board and the Minister of Finance allocating to themselves six months in clause 9 of the Bill.

Mr Z Ntuli (ANC, Kwazulu Natal) noted that, as NCOP members, the Committee was expected to put forward the interests of their various provinces above any other interests.

The Department responded that the six months period in clause 9 was to ensure organisation and uniformity in the budgeting and financial process.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee may have to engage on the Bill with other role players like the Committees on Finance. He admonished the Department to always take the views and contributions of other stakeholders seriously. He further stated that since there was more consultation to be done, the Committee could not finalise the Bill at that meeting.

Kgoshi M Mokoena (ANC, Limpopo ) suggested that the Department be given a time frame within which to consult with other relevant bodies and return to the Committee before the Bill could be finalised.

Mr J Le Roux (DA, Eastern Cape) agreed that more time was needed for consultations.

The Chairperson agreed that the Department, the Municipal Demarcation Board and National Treasury should go back and consult with the relevant stakeholders and return by the following week to brief the Committee on the outstanding issues, so that the Bill could be finalised.

The meeting was adjourned.

Present

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