It was noted that the Bible Society of South Africa Repeal Bill had been initiated through a Private Member’s legislative proposal, and was linked also to other pieces of legislation which essentially repealed the old Church legislation, which was considered now to be anachronistic and unnecessary. The matter had been discussed briefly by the Committee previously, but there remained the question of the transfer of assets and liabilities from the statutory Bible Society to that which would be registered as a Not for Profit organisation. The Bible Society had submitted some proposals for changes, and now reported back that their proposals had been further discussed with the Receiver of Revenue and the Parliamentary Legal Advisers. All legal advisers were in agreement that that Clause 2(3) should remain as stated, but that those portions of the proposed Clause 2(4) that dealt with the tax treatment of the transfer of assets and liabilities should be deleted, to avoid turning this Bill into a money Bill, and only the second half of that clause should remain. The new proposals were tabled.
Members asked questions of clarity on the wording relating to the Deeds Office endorsement mentioned in Clause 2(3) but were otherwise satisfied that there were no problems with the proposals. They therefore adopted the Committee’s Report and the Bill, as amended.
Bible Society of
The Chairperson noted the presence of Mr Pierre Gerber, MP, who initiated the legislation to repeal the Bible Society of South Africa Act by way of a Private Member’s proposal, together with representatives of the Bible Society. He noted that Mr Gerber had briefed the Committee on the contents of the Bill at the meeting in Lady Frere, but the Committee had not finalised the process at that time.
Mr Gerber explained that at the meeting in Lady Frere the Committee had dealt with the linked Bills, but this one required transitional measures and it was decided to have the legal representatives of the Bible Society and Parliament present to brief the Committee further
Mr Christof Pauw, Attorney with Jan S de Villiers, representing the Bible Society, noted that the memorandum distributed reflected the position up to the time of the last discussions. He and the Parliamentary Legal Advisers had since held further discussions and were in agreement with the outcome.
He noted that Mrs van Zyl, an official of South African Revenue Service (SARS), had conveyed to him that the proposed amendments did not affect the application of the Bible Society to be registered as a public benefit organisation in terms of Section 30 of the Income Tax Act, nor the transfer of the concession granted to them formerly as a Section 21 company on 12 September 2008. In terms of other taxation issues Mr Pauw had contacted Mr Milner at the SARS Head Office, and was then informed by Mr de la Rey, another official at SARS, that there seemed to be no problem with the proposed new clauses, but referred to the principles applicable to capital gains tax.
However, SARS had pointed out that the inclusion of tax measures in this Bill would result in it being a ‘money bill’ so that SARS did not support that this Bill should attempt to regulate the treatment of tax relating to the transfer of assets and liabilities.
For this reason, the Bible Society had now amended its proposals on the Bill. It suggested that Clause 2(3) should remain, but that those portions of Clause 2(4) that dealt with the tax treatment of the transfer of assets and liabilities should be deleted, and only the second half of that clause should remain. The new proposals were contained in Annexure ‘H’ of the Memorandum. The only benefit of Clause 2(4) would thus be to limit fees and legal costs in respect of transfer of assets and liabilities, which was precisely what the Bible Society wanted.
Mr Pauw then turned to Annexure H, which he stated that he had discussed with the Parliamentary Legal Adviser, and the two of them had made amendments. In principle they were in total agreement and all issues were resolved.
Ms Refilwe Mathabathe (Parliamentary Legal Adviser) confirmed that she and Mr Pauw had discussed the two proposals and she explained why she had made the changes. She then read out the amended sub-clauses, which were to be worded as follows:
”2 (3) Any immovable property to be vested in the Bible Society of South Africa (Association incorporated under Section 21) Registration number 2008/007505/08 must be transferred by an endorsement on the title deed thereof or on the registered deed of lease thereof.
2(4) Any bond transferred to the Bible Society of South Africa (Association incorporated under Section 21) Registration number 2008/007505/08 must be transferred by an endorsement on the bond.
2(5) Any right or obligation accruing in terms of an unregistered document is transferred by operation of law without the need for a written cession or delegation.
2(6) Any expectance of the receipt by the Bible Society of donations or bequests in terms of a written instrument is transferred to the Bible Society of South Africa (Association incorporated under Section 21) Registration number 2008/007505/08.”
Mr M Thetjeng (DA,
Mr Pauw responded that the endorsement was just a technicality of the Deeds Office, and had nothing to do with tax. It saved the Bible Society considerable costs. Instead of doing a full-blown transfer, as would apply with two completely separate entities, the Bible Society would only need to make a short application and the Registrar of Deeds would stamp the endorsement reflecting the change of the formal status on the Title Deed.
Mr T Setona (ANC,
Ms J Masilo (ANC,
The Acting Chairperson reminded her that the Committee had not yet agreed to the amendments.
Ms K Kgaribe (UCDP) confirmed that her party was satisfied with the amendments.
Members proposed and seconded the adoption of the amendments.
After accepting the Motion of Desirability, the Committee proceeded to go through the Bill clause by clause.
The Bill, as amended, and the Report, were adopted by the Committee.
The Acting Chairperson noted that the Bill would be referred to the plenary session of the NCOP in the following week.
Mr Gerrit Kritzinger, Chief Executive, Bible Society, thanked this Committee for their attitude towards the Bible Society.
The Acting Chairperson responded that it had been interesting to deal with members of this Society, who were not limited to Christian members.
Ms Mazibuko thanked Mr Gerber for having brought to the attention of Parliament that there was no need for churches to be regulated by Acts of Parliament.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Correspondence from Jan S de Villiers Attorneys
- Bible Society of South Africa Act
- Bible Society of South Africa Act Repeal Bill
- Memorandum: Representations by Bible Society of South Africa to National Council of Provinces’ Select Committees on Education & Recreation, Arts & Culture, Science & Technology
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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