The Committee continued with deliberations on the proposed amendments by the NCOP. The Chair pointed out that discussions with the NCOP Committee on the amendments were still ongoing. Parties were nevertheless asked to table their comments on the proposed NCOP amendments before the Committee. There were no major disagreements between the parties but there was a common feeling that certain issues required broader debate
The Chairperson stated that discussions with the NCOP Committee on the amendments were still ongoing and most probably would be complete by the end of the week. The aim was for the Committee to vote on the NCOP proposed amendments in the next meeting.
The Chair asked political parties for their stance on the proposed amendments.
Mr P Smith (IFP) stated that the Inkatha Freedom Party had no problem with the amendments to Clause 2. However, it felt that Clause 6 proposal should be excised. The amendments to Clause 9 were also found to be acceptable. He referred to Clause 10, specifically the provision relating to “close family member”, and said that the feeling was that there should be alignment with other legislation. The proposed amendment to Clause 11 was rejected. The issues contained in Clause 13 required broader discussion. Mr Smith said that the IFP did not accept the further role given to the NCOP as set out in the proposed amendments to Clause 17.
Mr W Doman (DA) referred to a document setting out the Democratic Alliance’s position on the amendments. The DA proposed the scrapping of “ in exceptional cases” in Clause 2(c) of the proposed amendments.
The DA made three inputs on the Clause 6 proposed amendments. It rejected the whole of Clause 6(2) as proposed by the NCOP. It suggested a change to the proposal in Clause 6(6). The DA proposal for Clause 6(6) read: On page 4, in line 20,after “ (C) ” to insert the following: “based on the national framework and criteria determined by the Minister in terms of paragraph (e)”
The DA proposed a change to Clause 6(7). It read: “On page 4, in line 27, to insert the following:
(e) The Minister must determine by notice in the Gazette a national framework and criteria and the MEC in a province must monitor the policy, criteria and calculation of the out of pocket expense referred to in paragraph (b).”
The DA rejected the proposed NCOP new clause in its totality. In other words section 75 of Act 117 of 1998 was not amended. The DA proposed the rejection of Clause 17(1) of the NCOP proposed amendments. They rejected Clause 17(2). However if Clause 17(1) was not rejected they propose a change of “and” to “or” in Clause 17(2).
The Chair reiterated earlier comments that discussions with the NCOP on the amendments were still ongoing.
Mr Sonto (ANC) added that there were never stark differences between the various political parties on most of the issues. He referred to the matter of ward committee chairpersons and said that it was still early days in its discussions. He noted that the whole package needed to be overhauled.
The Chair mentioned the ANC’s stance on certain issues. He referred to the role of the MEC on the Demarcation Board and said that there were fiscal concerns. The ANC was in agreement with SALGA on the term of office. It was also in agreement with SALGA that a six-month overlap period for Municipal Managers was insufficient and that a one-year period was more acceptable. The Chair referred to the NCOP’s proposed amendments to Clause 17. The amendments made specific mention of the NCOP. The NCOP had proposed the amendments because it was experiencing operational difficulties and consequently was not receiving reports. This
issue was currently being discussed with the NCOP.
The Chair referred to the provision in Clause 6 providing for the determination of a framework and criteria and said that the ANC supported the suggestion by SALGA that the Minister on a national basis determine the framework and criteria.
Mr Tsenoli agreed that the issue about “close family member” in Clause 10 needed alignment with other legislation. There was agreement with the suggestion by SALGA that it be left with the regulations of the Public Finance Management Bill.
The Chair however felt that the issue in Clause 13 relating to staff members and elections required a broader debate.
Mr Tsenoli said that ideally the Committee and the NCOP Select Committee should have had a joint meeting when considering the legislation. He noted that amendments to the legislation should not be made without canvassing the people for whom it would affect.
Mr Smith stated that the issue of dual employment was important especially as it related to teachers who were acting in a part-time capacity as councillors. He felt that the issue needed broader discussion.
The Chair agreed that broader discussion on the issue was needed.
Mr Tsenoli said that the Committee would finalise the proposed amendments the following week. Voting on the proposed amendments would take place on the 2 June 2008.
The meeting was adjourned.
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