The Committee discussed the Cross Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal Bill and the Constitution Sixteenth Amendment Bill in the light of the previous day’s consideration of submissions and the announcement by the President of the 22 April 2008 for the General Election which had an impact upon the Cross Boundaries Bill. In view of the impending General Election it was felt necessary to have an additional clause providing for the immediate complete transfer of the Merafong Voters’ Roll from North West to Gauteng province. The legal advisors were requested to draft such a clause. As the legal advisors indicated that they required some time to consult other legislation when drafting the exact wording of the additional clause, it was decided to adjourn until the afternoon of 12 February for adoption of the Bills with the relevant amendment.
The Chairperson announced that at the previous meeting it had been decided to consider the Bill in the light of the proposals and discussions and then proceed to consider each clause by clause.
Mr W Doman (DA) asked whether this was for the Cross Boundary bill or both bills together.
Mr J Jeffrey (ANC) advised that the Bills were to be dealt with separately by their respective Committees but in one venue.
The Chairperson went through each clause of the Bill, in turn, and no member spoke against each clause and the Committee accepted the Bill with no amendments.
Mr Jeffrey pointed out that the previous day the President had announced the date of the General Election and sought clarification on the implications for this Bill.
Mr Fanie Louw, Chief Director: Legal Services, Department of Provincial and Local Government, noted that the General Election had been announced but not proclaimed. The date of the proclamation closed the voters rolls and in terms of Section 24 of the Electoral Act, the election might have to proceed without this legislation having been completed, which would leave Merafong in the North West province. The NCOP might not have completed this Bill within the Electoral Act deadline.
Mr Jeffrey (ANC) said that there was no attempt by this Committee to pre-empt the NCOP.
Mr Mzizi (IFP) asked what effect the court application by the Freedom Front Plus might have on the election date.
The Chairperson said that only the IEC could provide an answer.
Mr Jeffrey stated that until the date of proclamation and the closing of the voters roll, the legislative process could proceed.
The Chairperson asked whether something similar to 1994, when the IFP had had their logo and name placed on the voting papers at the last minute, could prevail again.
Mr Doman said that he and his party were extremely concerned that due process should be followed and achieved and that also meant due process in the NCOP
The Chairperson asked the state law advisors to draft an additional clause for the Bill to allow the total exchange or transfer of Merafong into Gauteng province.
Mr Louw replied that this would take time as not only did they have to consult other legislation to determined the impact of this Bill but they would have to consult the Department of Home Affairs, which they believed could be done telephonically and would need time to consider the wording of the new clause.
The Chairperson stated that he wanted due process and meaningful due process.
Mr Jeffrey agreed with such expression and asked for a consideration of the impact of the proposed clause on other parties.
Mr Doman advised that he had to report to a very demanding caucus on the morning of the 12 February and he would appreciate being in possession of the additional clause by then.
The Chairperson undertook to have the amendment made available as soon as it had been drafted.
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