Air Services Licensing Amendment Bill [B25-2008] and Legal Succession To the South African Transport Services Amendment Bill [B43-2008]: Department of Transport briefings

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Transport

09 June 2008
Chairperson: Mr J Cronin (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

A delegation from the Department of Transport briefed the Committee on the Air Services Licensing Amendment Bill. The Bill was intended to amend Section 6, Section 4(b) and (c) of the principal Act. The amendment of Section 6 would replace the word “employee” with “officer” The Section 4 amendments would allow that the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Air Services Council would be drawn from the Department, with the remainder of the Council being drawn from public stakeholders, who should not be public servants. The Council would remain as an advisory body, to be regulated by the Minister, who would thus be able to have wider input.

The Department then briefed the Committee on the Legal Succession to the South African Transport Services Amendment Bill. It was indicated that Section 23 of the principal Act would be substituted, and that there would be addition of a new Section 25A. The Minister of Transport, in consultation with the Minister of Public Enterprises, must identify and transfer assets owned by Shosholoza Meyl (Transnet) to the new Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

Members were concerned whether the change of names signified more, and whether there would be change of functions; there seemed to be emphasis on rail and not on commuter rail services. It seemed that Shosholoza Meyl’s assets largely consisted of rolling stock, and questions were asked around the market value of the assets, whether there had been assessment of the value, and who was to do so. The Department clarified that Asset Agreements, not the Bill, would deal with this. Members also noted that the challenges were what should be included in the Bill, how it would be enforced and how the transfer would be enabled. Members also asked about labour issues relating to the employees who were to be transferred to the new entity. The Committee had been advised to exercise some caution and needed a general overview of the transfer, the assets and plans. The delegates were asked to return to provide this as well as further answers to the questions, on 11 June.

Meeting report

A delegation from the Department of Transport briefed the Committee on the Air Services Licensing Amendment Bill. The Bill was intended to amend Section 6, Section 4(b) and (c) of the principal Act. The amendment of Section 6 would replace the word “employee” with “officer” The Section 4 amendments would allow that the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Air Services Council would be drawn from the Department, with the remainder of the Council being drawn from public stakeholders, who should not be public servants. The Council would remain as an advisory body, to be regulated by the Minister, who would thus be able to have wider input.

The Department then briefed the Committee on the Legal Succession to the South African Transport Services Amendment Bill. It was indicated that Section 23 of the principal Act would be substituted, and that there would be addition of a new Section 25A. The Minister of Transport, in consultation with the Minister of Public Enterprises, must identify and transfer assets owned by Shosholoza Meyl (Transnet) to the new Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

Members were concerned whether the change of names signified more, and whether there would be change of functions; there seemed to be emphasis on rail and not on commuter rail services. It seemed that Shosholoza Meyl’s assets largely consisted of rolling stock, and questions were asked around the market value of the assets, whether there had been assessment of the value, and who was to do so. The Department clarified that Asset Agreements, not the Bill, would deal with this. Members also noted that the challenges were what should be included in the Bill, how it would be enforced and how the transfer would be enabled. Members also asked about labour issues relating to the employees who were to be transferred to the new entity. The Committee had been advised to exercise some caution and needed a general overview of the transfer, the assets and plans. The delegates were asked to return to provide this as well as further answers to the questions, on 11 June.

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