Bible Society of South Africa Repeal Bill: adoption of NCOP proposed amendments

Arts and Culture

27 January 2009
Chairperson: Ms T Tshivhase (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee approved the NCOP proposed amendments to the Bible Society of South Africa Repeal Bill. The Committee then adopted its Annual Report with amendments.

Meeting report

Bible Society of South Africa Repeal Bill
Mr Pierre Gerber (ANC) who initiated the legislation to repeal the Bible Society of South Africa Act by way of a Private Member’s proposal, introduced the guests from the Bible Society as Rev Gerrit Kritzinger, CEO of the Bible Society and currently also the President of all the Bible Societies of the world, which was an honour for South Africa; and also the Bible Society’s legal representative, Adv Christof Pauw. He also introduced Ms Refilwe Mathabathe (Parliamentary Legal Advisor), who had been piloting all the Church bills.

The Chairperson noted that this Bill had previously been before this Committee and the NCOP had adopted the National Assembly amendments as contained in B70B-2008.

Adv Pauw explained the background to the amendments that had been proposed by the NCOP, referring Members to his Memorandum. It was necessary for transitional arrangements to be put in place to ensure the continuation of the work of the Bible Society without interruption, to facilitate the Bible Society’s transfer to the new Section 21 company at minimal legal costs to the Bible Society; to avoid onerous taxes and levies becoming payable by the Bible Society by reason of the transfer; and ensure that donations and bequests intended for the statutory Bible Society would in future benefit the new Section 21 company instead. The result was the proposed amendments contained in the NCOP’s Select Committee on Education and Recreation Report on the Bill.

Regarding their request for tax exemptions as enjoyed by the Bible Society under the statutory Bill, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) had explained that technically tax measures could not be included in this Bill because that would constitute a money bill. SARS pointed out that they did not really need that, as the Transfer Duty Act already had certain exemptions which would cater for the transfer of immovable property. The Bible Society accepted the comments of SARS and amended their proposals accordingly.

All stakeholders – SARS, the Bible Society, Parliamentary Legal Advisors and the NCOP – were in agreement with the Select Committee Report dated 12 November 2009. The Bible Society was now happy with the outcome and no further submissions were to be made.

The Chairperson thanked Adv Pauw for elaborating on the events leading up to this meeting.


Prince B Zulu (ANC) noted Adv Pauw’s statement that the Legal Advisors were in agreement and requested that Ms Mathabathe be asked to confirm that.

Mr M Bhengu (IFP) asked for clarification on the avoidance of taxes and levies in 2.2.2 of the Bible Society’s Memorandum. What were the reasons and whether it was legal?

Ms Mathabathe confirmed that the proposed amendments, as reflected in the Select Committee Report, were agreed upon between the Legal Advisors and the Select Committee.

Adv Pauw responded that tax exemptions were legal if encompassed by an Act of Parliament, as in the previous Bible Society Act. In view of the comments by SARS that that would entail a money bill they would not pursue that. They were satisfied that could be dealt with through the Transfer Duty Act.

Ms Mathabathe reminded members that what was for consideration was proposed amendments in the Select Committee Report. The memorandum distributed was just to help with the background to the amendments proposed by the Select Committee. The Committee was considering the proposed NCOP amendments as entailed in the Select Committee Report.

Mr S Opperman (DA) asked for clarity as to how the Bible Society would deal with the liabilities.

Adv Pauw referred to 2.1 of the Bible Society’s Memorandum that dealt with the transfer of business including all the assets and liabilities.

Mr Opperman proposed adoption of the amendments, seconded by Mr Lekgetho (ANC).

The Chairperson said it now had to be signed by the President and was no longer in the hands of the Committee.

The Chairperson read the motion of desirability, which was adopted with the proposed amendments.

Adoption of Committee Minutes
Minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2008 were adopted with amendments. The Committee was still awaiting clarification on the amount of R16 million under item 2.1 (National Heritage Council).

Annual Committee Report
The Committee deliberated on the Report at length.

Prince Zulu deplored the waste of time in correcting so many grammatical errors and proposed that that should be done outside of the meeting.

As this was the last meeting of the Committee before elections, it was agreed that this report be corrected but in future these errors should be corrected before submission for committee approval. The Report was adopted with amendments.

Farewell speeches
Mr H Maluleka (ANC), on behalf of the Chairperson, thanked all members for their valuable contribution to the work of this Committee and their support given to the Chairperson and wished members a healthy and prosperous 2009, and to those who aspired to come back success as they continued the work. He also thanked the support staff.

Mr Opperman, on behalf of his party, thanked the Chairperson for her leadership and guidance.

Ms M Mdlalose (NADECO) thanked members for their support and cooperation and hoped they would meet again in the new Parliament in 2009.

The meeting was adjourned.


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