Housing Development Agency Bill: final mandates

NCOP Public Services

17 June 2008
Chairperson: Mr. R.Tau (ANC, Northern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Housing Development Agency Bill was approved by the seven provinces present. Although this was a final mandate meeting, the meeting had to be halted briefly while the ANC caucused on what had been approved and what had not in some clauses. The one matter referred to whether they wanted to remove the obligation on the Minister to consult with the Housing Development Agency and Parliament before making the relevant regulations. There was also a concern about the meaning of ‘communal land’.

Meeting report

The Chairperson allowed all the delegates to read their final mandates on whether they supported the principles and details of the Housing Development Agency Bill.

The delegate said that Gauteng’s Housing Portfolio Committee supported the principles and details of the Housing Development Agency Bill.

Kwa Zulu Natal
Mr K Panday (IFP) said that KZN also supported the Bill. However, he raised his concern about the fact that the final mandate was incomplete as it was missing the requisite signature. According to his past experience, government had rejected mandates handed in without a signature. So he wanted clarity on this matter.

The Chairperson emphasized that this was not the first time that such an omission had taken place. He criticized the Western Cape and KZN as their mandates had been late and on top of that, the KZN mandate was incomplete. He suggested that they should seek a solution to ensure that it did not happen again and the relevant provincial delegates agreed.

The Chairperson suggested that the questions posed by Mr Panday should not be considered then but be dealt with later in the meeting as the reading of the mandates was still in progress.

The Committee agreed and they proceeded with the mandates.

Ms H Matlanyane (ANC) read out that Limpopo supported the Bill.

According to Mr A Watson (DA), Mpumalanga supported the Bill.

Northern Cape
The province supported the Bill.

North West
The province supported the Bill.

Eastern Cape
The province supported the Bill.

Mr Panday wanted clarity why in Clause 32(2) of the Housing Development Agency Bill the wording was to be omitted from line 28. He did not think that was correct. He added that even the KwaZulu Natal province disagreed with that.

He noted the substitution of Clause 32(2) into Clause 32(1) [Clause 32(2)(a) and (b) would become Clause 32(1)(n) and (o)] in the Summary of Proceedings and he wanted clarity on that.

The State Law Advisor replied that the substitution was simply from a drafting point of view. The proposed amendment originally had been that in Clause 32(2), the word ‘may’ should be changed to ‘must’. The members had come to the conclusion that they should then combine Clause 32(1) and Clause 32(2). Therefore, the provision should be read as follows: “The Minister may, after consultation with the Agency and Parliament, make regulations” on items (a) to (o).

Mr T Jeebodh (ANC, KZN) also disagreed that Clause 32(2) should be omitted. He did not understand why it should be omitted because in the previous meeting it was agreed that it should not be omitted.

Mr Watson said that such a question was bringing them back to square one. The matter was resolved in the negotiating mandate meeting. This was the final mandate meeting and so they could not debate it again. It was discussed and agreed upon and there were provincial representatives and state law advisors in that negotiating mandate meeting.

The Chairperson added that the state law advisors had attended the negotiating mandate meeting and agreed that the clause was correct as it was their responsibility to ensure that the Committee complied with the law.

Mr Jeebodh made a point of correction that it was never agreed that the Minister ‘must’, after consultation with the Agency and Parliament, make regulations on those items. He referred to the Summary of Proceedings and the proposed amendments and said that nowhere in these documents could one find a stipulation of that nature.

Ms Mahlanyana wanted to know the difference between “may” and “must” in terms of the law.

The State Law Advisor explained to her that with “may” the Minister could use his discretion to make regulations without consulting the Agency and Parliament, that meant he could just make regulation as he deemed fit whereas with “must” he was compelled to consult with the Agency and Parliament before making the regulations. Hence they wanted to remove the option to make it an obligation to consult these two bodies before making any regulations.

The ANC decided to caucus on the matter. The other committee members and the public were asked to leave the venue. After a short time, the meeting resumed.
The Chairperson criticized the manner in which the members had behaved. He made the point clear that the ANC would not tolerate that kind of attitude and they would resolve it.

Another issue that was raised by Mr Panday was that in the Summary of Proceedings, it stated
that the main objective of the Agency was to address the issue of scarcity of well-located land. Traditional land did not fall under scarce land. He said that they had debated and agreed on that. It was agreed that communal land was to be included. He wanted a legal advisor to provide clarity on the legal meaning of the term ‘communal land’. His understanding of traditional land was that it was the land that fell under the Ingonyama Trust in KZN. He pointed out that in the previous meeting there was a clear distinction between traditional land and communal land.

The Chairperson suggest that, instead of saying traditional land and communal land it should be read as traditional /communal land.

Mr Jeebodh said that he agreed with the Chairperson’s point of view that both traditional and communal land would not fall under scarce land. Traditional leaders could not say, “No you can’t touch my land” if it was required by the Agency. Therefore it could be acquired or expropriated.

Ms Mahlanyane suggested that since this issue had been raised and discussed in the previous meeting and agreed upon, the decision should be based on that because the KZN final mandate did support the Bill.

The Committee voted and all provinces agreed to the Housing Development Agency Bill.

The meeting adjourned.



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