The Committee finalised the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill considering the proposals put forth by the NCOP and the Portfolio Committee itself and other interested parties. They were unable to vote on the Bill as there was not a quorum.
The Chairperson drew attention to the proposed amendments made by the NCOP.
Ms Z Adhikarie (Senior Legal Advisor: Parliament) compared the Portfolio Committee’s proposals with those of the NCOP. Ms Adhikarie stated that when comparing the two:
- Clause 2 remained the same;
- Clause 6 was changed;
- New Clause the NCOP proposed amendment would be kept;
- Clause 9 there was agreement to change the period;
- Clause 10 the NCOP proposed amendment would be deleted;
- Clause 11 the NCOP proposed amendment would be deleted;
- Clause 13 the NCOP proposed amendment would be kept;
- Clause 17 did not appear on the Portfolio Committee’s proposals, but was referred to in the Select Committee’s proposals. The Committee was urged to reconsider their position on this as she did not feel that the Portfolio Committee amendment document reflected the latest position of the Committee.
- Clause 19 the NCOP proposed amendment would be kept;
- Clause 21 the NCOP proposed amendment would be kept.
The Chairperson asked for the Committee’s response.
Mr W Doman (DA) suggested that they completely put away the NCOP document and deal with the Committee’s own amendments and the original Bill document. He added that the Democratic Alliance had no problem with Clause 2, but did with Clause 6 in respect to Point 6 and 7 of the Portfolio Committee Proposed Amendments document. He stated that Point 6 dealing with the MEC stated “on a provincial framework” and Point 7 referred to the Minister. He stated that both needed to reflect a national framework.
The Chairperson said that SALGA also approved the concept of a national framework, which the Committee agreed upon.
Mr Myron Peter (Chief Director: Institutional and Administrative Systems, Department of Provincial and Local Government) said that the content of Clause 6 was fine, but from a technical perspective, the language needed cleaning up. By way of example, he asked whether they called the national instrument put in place by the Minister a ‘framework’, and that provincially by the MEC a ‘framework’ or ‘criteria’.
The Chairperson agreed that technicalities such as this needed attention.
Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) said that national frameworks dealt with policy issues uniformly and that the provincial sphere dealt with the administration thereof.
The Chairperson added that the issue bordered on constitutionality. They could not have national and provincial spheres infringing upon what was a local government decision. He requested that the legal section deal with the details.
Mr Doman noted that the DA’s request for monitoring to be done by the MEC was not reflected.
Looking at the Point 2 of the Portfolio Committee Proposed Amendments, Mr Peter stated that they should rather keep “A metro or local council”, in Clause 6, line 19, as it aided in audit purposes. He added his suggestion that in Point 6: On page 4, line 20, after “(c)” to insert “based on a provincial framework determined by the MEC subject to paragraph (e). Finally in Point 7, it should read “provincial” rather than “national”.
Mr Doman stated that there were now provincial and national frameworks being necessitated and that these amendments leaned away from the SALGA proposals, and asked why they did so.
Mr Peter replied that this was based on an avoidance of a “one size fits all” approach, as this allowed for a bit of flexibility. He added that provincial frameworks would be influenced by the national framework but would be more suited to specific conditions.
The Chairperson added that this meant that they anticipated municipalities to elaborate upon national and provincial frameworks.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee more or less had a sense of things now. He noted that they only had seven committee members present and they needed eight to cast a vote of finalisation.
Mr Doman suggested that the ANC go and find another committee member.
The Chairperson assented and suggested they field more questions in the interim.
Looking at the Portfolio Committee Proposed Amendments, Mr Doman stated that the proposed amendments to Clause 10 and 11 were deleted so that “close family member” in Clause 10 was not included and “one year” changed to “six months” in Clause 11 was not included. He noted that an amendment to Clause 17 was also not included. He pointed out that the state law advisor had said that they needed clarity on this clause and asked for the Committee’s position on it. Mr Doman further requested clarity on Clause 19.
The Chairperson said that there was already legislation dealing with the issues raised by Mr Doman and that the addition to this Bill would cause unnecessary duplication of processes. He added that if it was not in the Bill, then the NCOP had proposed it.
Mr Doman requested that the DPLG refresh the Committee on Clause 10.
Mr Peter replied that the motivation was in order to bring things in line with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and Supply Chain Management, the impetus being alignment.
The Chairperson asked what contradiction would exist without the insertion.
Mr Peter replied that the MFMA superseded everything and that both departments felt the need for it to be stated.
The Committee was unable to find another member to achieve a quorum for voting.
The Chairperson said that this was not acceptable.
It was decided that they would meet on the 17 June to vote and the meeting was adjourned.
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