At a previous meeting it had been brought to the attention of the Committee that the pieces of legislation that Mr Gerber’s proposal sought to repeal were not the founding Acts on which the church schools were based. Mr Gerber had therefore gone to the Speaker’s Office and to the NA Table and reported that he wished to correct his proposal. Having done so, he re-tabled before the Speaker and the NA Table. He had obtained permission from the Office of the Speaker to proceed with the amended proposal. It was noted that the schools were not averse in principle to the repeal of the legislation, having become aware of the reasons why this was being done, but had requested an extension of ninety days to submit their arguments in writing. The Chairperson explained that this was not necessary, since this Committee was only the first stage of the proceeding. Should this Committee vote on the desirability of the proposal, then this would open up the second phase for the actual repeal, in which the schools would participate and be invited again to Parliament by another Committee. Members voted in favour of the proposal.
Gerber’s legislative proposal to repeal Church school legislation
The Chairperson noted that she had read the minutes of the meetings that took place during her absence. It was brought to the attention of the Committee that in two cases Mr Gerber had referred to the amending legislation, not to the principal Acts, and so she had asked the Committee Secretary to call Mr Gerber to inform him of this, and ask him to find the principal Acts and do what was required. According to the minutes copies of the principal Acts were supposed to have been forwarded to the affected schools. Subsequently Mr Gerber reported that he had found the principal Acts. He had been to the Speaker’s Office and to the NA Table and reported that he wished to correct his proposal, and then re-tabled the amended proposal, which now did make reference to the principal Acts. He had a letter from the Speaker’s Office that allowed him to proceed with the proposal of the amendments. She asked for a copy of that letter and for a report by Mr Gerber.
Mr Gerber reported that when the Committee met on 13 June the schools had noted that they were not averse to recalling the whole of the Principal Acts but could not find them. His amended proposal now noted the correct principal Acts in respect of both the Diocesan College and the Natal Ecclesiastical Properties and Trusts, and sought also to amend those Acts. The Speaker’s stamp was on the bundle.
The Chairperson noted that all the schools, as indicated in the minutes, had agreed with the proposer that those Acts must be removed from the statute books. They had some concerns and recommendations and were asking for a ninety-day extension to submit their arguments in writing. She had indicated that this was not necessary as they had already agreed in principle, and she had explained that if this Committee found the proposal desirable then this would simply be opening up a second phase for the actual repeal, in which they would participate and they would be invited again to Parliament by another Committee.
Adv Swart (DA) proposed that the three legislative proposals proceed, and this was seconded and agreed to by the Committee.
The Chairperson congratulated Mr Gerber. She noted that his previous proposals in relation to the repeal of other churches’ legislation had been gazetted. She noted that she would like other members also to propose some legislation if they saw the need.
The meeting was adjourned.
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