The Committee noted that in respect of the South African National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency Ltd Bill many people had now indicated their interest in addressing the Committee and making inputs on the Bill. These interventions were, however, not of such a nature that they should be addressed through public hearings. It was important that all views be heard and it was accordingly recommended that the Committee should report to the National Assembly that the Committee should not exclude anybody from having a say in the matter, and ask that the Bill be referred back to the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, as the Committee wanted to deliberate on the Bill further after its engagement with various stakeholders.
Members noted that certain organisations had also requested permission to make further inputs into water quality, and they resolved that the Water Quality and Water Challenges Report not be adopted yet, and that time should be set aside the following year to receive more submissions.
The Report of the Ukhahlamba Oversight Visit was adopted. The Committee Programme was also adopted, subject to changes. The Committee Secretary was asked to investigate why some Members had not received notification of the meetings until so late, and to rectify this in future.
Opening remarks: Notification of meetings
Mr M Sibuyana (IFP) noted that not many Members were present at the meeting, and he expressed concern that the Committee could not achieve what it had wanted to. Some Members had only received their invitation to the meeting the previous day. He suggested that the Members be sent their invitations to meetings well in advance so that they could adjust their schedules and attend the meetings.
Another Member commented that some Members had received their invitation the week before.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee needed to establish who had not been informed of the meeting. She asked the Committee Secretary to investigate the matter, and resolve the miscommunication issues after the meeting.
South African National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency Ltd Bill (the Bill)) [B36-2008]
The Chairperson stated that there were many people who were interested in still addressing the Committee and making inputs on the Bill; therefore, it was not feasible to attempt to deal with it on the following day. She stated that the various parties should be allowed to deliberate on matters more so that the end product showed that the Bill was sufficiently canvassed by everyone involved.
The Committee had been asked for further intervention on the Bill. She added that the interventions were not of such a nature that these could take place through public hearings. The Chairperson then recommended that Parliament should not close discussions on the Bill, as Parliament was concerned with receiving different views on pieces of legislation and making sure that everyone’s voice could be heard.
The Chairperson stated that, despite this, there was a certain amount of time that the Committee had been allocated to deal with the Bill. She recommended that the Committee should find a way to deal with the new submissions. Although the Committee could, according to a legal opinion, decide what to do with the legislation, she was mindful of the fact that the Committee could not exclude anybody from having their say in the matter. This was an important Bill and therefore the Committee could not just go through the motions. The Committee could put together a report to give to the National Assembly (NA) to the effect that the Committee should not exclude anybody from having a say in the matter and that organisations had to be afforded the opportunity to submit their proposals.
A Member noted that the submissions could be important but agreed that they could not be dealt with in a normal public hearing. If the Committee agreed on a course of action they would have to forward a report to Parliament. He suggested that the Committee acceed to the Chairperson’s proposal, as they were running out of time. The Committee should also report to Parliament that the various parties’ needed further deliberation on the Bill.
The Chairperson stated that since there were no Members that opposed the suggestion, the Committee would put forward a report to Parliament and ask that the Bill be referred back to the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, as the Committee wanted to deliberate on the Bill further after its engagement with various stakeholders.
Adoption of the Water Quality and Water Challenges Report
The Chairperson reminded the Committee that they had just finished the public hearings on water quality. There were certain organisations that had requested permission to make inputs into the water quality matter. These inputs would make an impact on Water Quality and Water Challenges Report.
She also suggested that the Committee not adopt the Report yet, as there were some Members who had only just received it.
The Committee agreed that they would not deal with the Report, and that time would be made in June the following year to receive submissions from the different organisations.
Adoption of Ukhahlamba Oversight Report
A Member noted that the Chairperson, together with the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government, Mr S Tsenoli, had drawn up the Report. The Committee itself had not been at Ukhahlamba, and the Member thought that therefore the Committee could not add anything to that Report. He moved for the Report’s adoption.
The report was adopted.
Adoption of Committee Programme
A Member stated that the programme was in order. He thought that the programme had to be flexible and suggested that the Committee adopt the programme with room for changes.
The Chairperson stated that the programme would be adopted subject to changes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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