National Land Transport Bill: Responses of Department to negotiating mandates & deliberations

NCOP Public Services

11 November 2008
Chairperson: Rev P Moatshe (ANC, North-West)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee noted that it had previously discussed the National Land Transport Bill, and there was some debate as to whether a submission by Mr Munton was to be regarded as part of the negotiating mandate for the Western Cape, as it had been submitted as a separate document and not incorporated into the formal negotiating mandate. Members held a caucus during which it was apparently decided that the negotiating mandate would not be regarded as incorporating those comments. The Western Cape, as a result of the uncertainty, had submitted no final mandate by 12 November.

The Department of Transport then took the Committee through the document it had prepared with the responses to the proposals made in the Negotiating Mandates. The Committee agreed in broad principle with the comments. The Committee passed the Motion of Desirability but would continue with another meeting in the following week to finalise the Bill once a document incorporating the agreed changes was received.

Meeting report

Election of Acting Chairperson
The secretary announced that the chairperson, Mr R Tau (ANC), could not be present, and asked the committee to elect an acting chair. Reverend P Moatshe (ANC, North-West) was duly elected.

National Land Transport Bill (the Bill): Responses by Department of Transport to negotiating mandates of provinces
The Acting Chairperson requested that this Committee proceed to consider the National Land Transport Bill (the Bill).

Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) objected that the meeting could not be a final mandate meeting.

Rev Moatshe replied that the Provinces had submitted their negotiating mandates. He thought it would be in order that the Department of Transport take the Committee through its responses to the comments made in the negotiating mandates.

Mr Watson stated that the meeting held in Queenstown, which had been considering this matter, had been abruptly adjourned. There was a list of responses from the Department, but submissions were still required from the Western Cape.

The Committee Secretary responded that the State Law Adviser had brought amendments to the meeting, which had to be gone through clause by clause.

Mr V Windvoel (ANC, Mpumalanga) remarked that it would be beneficial if the minutes of the Queenstown meeting could be obtained.

The Committee Secretary insisted that there were cross-referenced amendments, and that Members could go through these.

The Acting Chairperson drew the attention of the Committee to a letter from the Western Cape to the Chairperson, to the effect that it could not produce a final mandate by 12 November, which had been set as the deadline for a final mandate.

Mr Windvoel pointed out that eight provinces had submitted mandates. He did, however, understand the Western Province predicament. The question was whether any extension of the deadline was possible.

Mr F Adams (ANC, Western Cape) noted that the letter was drafted as the result of a proposal by Ms Oliphant the previous week, that the Western Cape should write a letter dealing with the fact that a submission by Mr Munton formed part of the negotiating mandates.

Ms B Dlulane (ANC, Eastern Cape) stated that she had a final mandate from her province.

Ms D Tsotetsi (ANC, Gauteng) felt that Mr Munton’s submission should be dealt with in the mandate of the Western Cape.

The Chairperson remarked that since the negotiating mandate was not concluded, no “package” could be sent to the provinces. That was not able to be concluded during previous discussions, and therefore had to be done during this meeting. 

Mr Windvoel insisted that the issue concerning the Mr Munton submission constituted a procedural flaw. The negotiating mandate had to come from the provincial legislature.

The Acting Chairperson found it unacceptable for the Western Cape to draft a letter stating that Mr Munton’s submission was part of the package. This amounted to two submissions from the Western Cape, and he felt that they should be properly integrated.

Mr Watson remarked that the provinces had been confused. Negotiating mandates had been tabled and read, even before Emalahleni, but the response from the Department at that time was never concluded.

Mr Jits Patel, Acting Chief Director: Integrated Transport Planning
, DOT, noted that responses to the matters raised by the provincial legislatures had been submitted to the Secretariat during the previous week, and the Committee had been taken through those. There were written submissions by the provinces and the Department. This included a response to Mr Munton’s submission. He asked if these were sent from the secretariat to the provinces.

Mr Adams suggested that he be given leave to phone the Chairperson of the Standing Committee and the Chief Whip. He had explained that Mr Munton’s submission formed part of the Western Cape submission. In his opinion, Mr Tau had not quite used the correct wording in saying that the Western Cape could not give a final mandate.

Mr Patel stated that the Department had no problem with the Munton submission as part of the package.

The Acting Chairperson pointed out that it was not the Committee’s duty to integrate the package. The question remained if the mandate being dealt with was to be regarded as a negotiating or as a final mandate. Mr Tau had referred to “negotiating mandates sent to the provinces”. Those had gone from Emalahleni to the provinces, and back to the Committee. A final mandate was possible.

Mr Windvoel noted that six provinces had sent final mandates. He asked if it was necessary to wait for those who had yet to confer final mandates.

Mr Watson said that he also had a final mandate from Mpumalanga, and this province’s Committee had supported the Bill with amendments. However, he did not see his way open to continue, seeing that this did not conform to due process.

The Acting Chairperson expressed concern about confusing the provinces, saying that he had already considered that this was happening in Emalahleni. Without a concluded negotiating mandate having been received, he reiterated that there was no package to send to the provinces.

Mr Windvoel moved that there be a brief adjournment, during which minutes and records could be obtained. There was also a need to consult with procedural staff of the NCOP.

Mr Watson agreed with Mr Windvoel. He referred to a document received the previous day by e-mail, and asked what had informed this document, and what informed the final mandate about the amendments to the Bill.

Ms Dlulane remarked that the problem had started with the Western Cape response. A mandate must be seen as a response by a Province, not a response from an individual. It had been said that responses were sent to all provinces. Mr Munton’s submission had to be incorporated into the provincial response. She expressed the view that the Committee had become stuck on the issue because of the actions of one province.

Rev Moatshe responded that the Committee could not be held hostage by one province. When there was a mandate received from each province, then this would constitute a package to send off to all the provinces for final mandates.

 Ms M Oliphant (ANC, Kwazulu-Natal) noted that when the Committee had met in Queenstown, the responses of the Department had been sent to the provinces, and that was done before the meeting at Emalahleni. She believed that there must be a final mandate. She commented that the other document had been wrongly tabled.

Mr C van Rooyen (ANC, Free State) pointed out that the Committee had not previously come to an agreement on submissions by the provinces. He asked where the document before the committee, had emanated

Mr Windvoel reiterated his call for copies of the minutes. He noted that there had been meetings of the provinces before the Emalahleni meeting. The document before the Committee had not gone to the provinces, as it had been received only the day before. 

The Secretary said that she had asked the State Law Adviser to prepare amendments, and to go through clause by clause. This had not been sent to the provinces.

Mr Madoda Titus, Senior State Law Adviser, Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, explained that he had prepared a document the day before, as a working document, to assist the Committee in its clause by clause deliberations. Any amendment that the Committee was not prepared to accept, would simply be removed. 

The Acting Chairperson remarked that the person who had sent the package to the provinces had made a mistake. The procedural error had misled the provinces. He asked that the brief adjournment, which Mr Windvoel had requested, now be taken. He wanted the Secretariat to check whether a package had been forwarded to the provinces as this should appear from the minutes of previous meetings.

After the brief adjournment, The Acting Chairperson said that it was possible to correct the procedural mistakes. He asked the Department of Transport (DOT) to take the Committee through the document that had been given to Members. He said that a package could then be  sent to the provinces to ask for their final mandate.

National Land Transport Bill: Responses by Department of Transport to Negotiating Mandates
Mr Patel pointed out that what was before Members today was the same document that was tabled at the meeting of the previous week.

Eastern Cape submissions
He then went through the submissions of the Eastern Cape. He pointed out that, with one exception (Clause 60), the submissions and responses were not directly clause-related and therefore were beyond the scope of the Bill, so that the comments could not be incorporated in the Bill or supported in this context. He detailed all the comments (see attached document). An especially relevant submission was that of various taxi associations, who saw the Bill as a tool to implement Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which they felt would force them out of business. The Departmental response was that the Bill provided for the implementation of Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks (IRPTNs), which might or might not involve BRT.

Members were happy with this response.

Gauteng submissions
in respect of the submissions made by Gauteng, Mr Patel noted comments by Gauteng, and gave responses, in relation to Clauses 39 and 40, 54, 56, 59, 67, 79(3) and 79(4) and 82(3). He explained the strategy that would be applied to Clause 54. He noted that an objection had been made in relation to Clauses 47 and 52, and a submission that Operating Licences (OLs) should be awarded on an indefinite basis, considering that the OL was the actual business of the taxi operator. The Departmental response was that indefinite permits frustrated efforts to rationalise the minibus taxi industry, and could not be supported.

Members indicated their satisfaction with the responses of the Department.

Kwazulu-Natal submissions
Mr Patel said that the Department had noted the submission that a Zulu version of the Bill be circulated for effective consultation.

The Province had pointed out an incorrect cross-referencing under Clause 6(6), which the Department agreed to correct. It also supported the changes suggested for Clause 49(2)(b), and agreed that in respect of Clause 84(4), the detail of the clause could be deleted, although the general power to impose conditions must be retained.

Other comments had been made to clauses 8(1); 11(2); 13; 13(d); 23(2); 53(1); and 81(1). The Department set out in full its responses to these clauses and reasons why it did not support the proposed changes.

Members indicated their satisfaction with this response.

Limpopo
Mr Patel noted that no submissions had been made at this stage.
 
Mpumalanga submissions
Mr Patel noted that, similar to Gauteng, the maximum validity period for Operating Licences had been questioned. The same responses applied as he had already given. A further submission that government officials working on transport tenders should declare their interests was covered by other legislation. Other submissions made (see attached document) were either beyond the scope of the Bill or were already provided for in other legislation. The final submission that the Bill should provide for automatic transfer of OLs to the spouse or immediate family member, where the first holder of the OL had died, was not supported, as there had in all cases to be evaluation of the transferee as a fit and proper person. Provision was already made for these transfers.

Northern Cape submission
Mr Patel noted that there had been a submission that lift clubs must be regulated by local traffic officers for roadworthiness of vehicles, and also that Clause 53(c) should be removed. Both these issues were regulated already by the National Road Traffic Act. Other submissions related to issues that could not be covered in legislation, or were not appropriate for this Bill, or were already dealt with elsewhere in the Bill (see attached document for details). He noted, however, that a suggestion had been made for changes to the Long Title of the Bill, which the Department did support. Furthermore an incorrect cross-referencing in Clause 77 would be corrected, and the memoranda on the Bill, which this Province indicated did not seem to have been updated, would be corrected accordingly.

North West submission
Mr Patel noted that the North West had said that the Bill was silent about the interest of law enforcement in the taxi business, and that law enforcement officials and their immediate families should not own taxis. He pointed out that this was already covered by Clause 13. The province had also commented that this Bill did not deal with the formation of associations and their legal status, but he pointed out that this had been dealt with in the National Land Transport Strategy, and that provinces could still provide for standard constitutions in provincial legislation.

North West had also seen lift clubs as a recipe for conflict as workers (commuters) were carried for reward under the pretext of lift clubs. There had to be a clear distinction between private use and those operating for reward. The Department said that there was a need to retain the concept of lift clubs to accommodate workers who could not afford their own vehicles and did not have ready access to public transport. Law enforcement would have to see to it that there were not abuses.

This province had also made comments on the validity period of the OLs and the comments as set out earlier applied equally here.

Other comments related to clauses 6; 13; 53; and 49. The full responses of the Department, together with the reasons why it did not support the proposals, were set out. Some of the comments were dealt with in other legislation while others could not be included here.

Western Cape submission
Mr Patel noted that the Western Cape submission had made reference to Clause 20, where it suggested the insertion of the phrase “or other appropriate persons selected by the Minister, which conflicted with the National Land Transport Strategy Document which specified officials in the Department, and in respect of Clause 23, where the same response applied.

Other submissions
Mr Patel noted that the document tabled also set out the responses to other submissions by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, and Mr D Munton. However, during the caucus earlier it had been decided that these should not be regarded as incorporated with the Western Cape submissions.

Discussion
Mr van Rooyen pointed out that page 2 of the document, referring to the Free State, was missing.

The Committee Secretary replied that it was a photocopying error.

Mr Windvoel said that the Committee owed the Department an apology. It was not intended that the Departmental response would go directly to the provinces.

Mr Watson asked what would be sent to the provinces.

The Acting Chairperson replied that it would be the same document. The provinces would like to hear what the Department had commented in relation to the proposals made in the negotiating mandate.

Mr Watson pointed out that that had been done already.

Mr Watson proposed that since the final mandates had already been presented to the Committee, these be regarded as accepted.

Members agreed to the Motion of Desirability.

It was agreed that the Committee would meet again in the following week to go through the final version of the Bill that would incorporate the amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.

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