After consideration of the final mandates submitted by the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West, the Select Committee on Finance adopted the 2009/10 Division of Revenue Bill without amendments.
The permanent delegates of the Western Cape and Limpopo reported that although the final mandates of their provinces had not yet been finalised, they had been conferred with the authority to vote in favour of the Bill. A matter noted for consideration by the North West mandate was the Constitutional Sixteenth Amendment Bill and its implications on North West’s equitable share for the financial year 2009/10, regarding Merafong.
The Members considered the Draft Committee Report dated 13 June 2008 and highlighted the need to keep this issue on the agenda of the incoming Committee. The Committee agreed to raise the matter with the Chief Whip of the National Council of Provinces, with the advice that this be handled between now and elections. They also agreed to write to the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) concerned with a recommended deadline of 15 April 2009 at which time they would need feedback from the MEC.
Members highlighted the fact that the Committee would be able to function until the eve of the swearing in of the National Assembly and must stay on the alert for matters requiring their attention.
Eastern Cape mandate
The Chairperson read the Eastern Cape final mandate on behalf of Mr M Robertson. The Eastern Cape supported the Bill without amendments.
Free State mandate
As permanent delegate of that province, the Chair read the final mandate of the Free State. The Free State mandate supported the Bill without amendments.
Mr E Sogoni (ANC; Gauteng) reported that he was still awaiting the final mandate of Gauteng. Their mandate was acknowledged later.
Northern Cape mandate
Mr M Sulliman (ANC; Northern Cape) stated that he was standing in for Mr Goeieman and reported that the final mandate of the Northern Cape supported the Bill without amendments.
North West mandate
Mr Z Kolweni (ANC; North West) noted that the matter of the Merafong district municipality had arisen in the public hearings. There was a need for clarification on the Constitutional Sixteenth Amendment Bill and its implications on North West’s equitable share for the financial year 2009/10. The National Treasury would have to advise on the proper legal framework and mechanism to be followed on how the North West and Gauteng would share funding commitments in Merafong. The North West further proposed that the National Treasury make funding available to smooth the transition of Merafong from the North West to Gauteng – with the understanding that the full financial impact on the North West would be deferred to 1 April 2010.
Having noted these considerations, North West voted in favour of the Bill without amendments.
The Chairperson read the final mandate of Mpumalanga. This province voted in favour of the Bill without amendments.
Ms A Mchunu (IFP; Kwazulu-Natal) stated that Kwazulu-Natal had voted in favour of the Bill. She noted that the mandate was somewhat problematic as it had been signed by the Chairperson of the Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Committee. Procedure usually dictated that it should be signed by the Speaker.
Western Cape mandate
Ms D Robinson (DA; Western Cape) reported that although the Western Cape final mandate was not yet available, there were no last minute changes and she had been conferred with the authority to vote in favour of the Bill without amendments.
Mr D Botha (ANC; Limpopo) reported that Limpopo had sent a report instead of an official final mandate. He commented that the province had not done their work.
The Chairperson responded that this was understandable and “not a train smash”. The Committee did have a quorum and could proceed with passing the Bill.
Mr Sogoni asked what the technical implications would be if they adopted the Bill without the outstanding final mandates.
Mr Sulliman responded that they had enough provinces to adopt the Bill.
Mr Botha moved for adoption of the Bill and in the absence of dissent, the Bill was adopted without amendments.
Consideration of draft Committee report dated 13 June 2008
Mr Sogoni referred to the Draft Committee Report dated 13 June 2008, distributed to the Members. He stated that this report was important and queried the possibility of keeping this issue on the agenda of the incoming committee.
The Chairperson responded that he would speak to the Chief Whip of the NCOP, as this matter was critical. It would be problematic if the MEC responsible was allowed to”get away with murder” and become Premier of the Eastern Cape.
He proposed writing a letter to the Chief Whip with the advice that this be handled between now and elections. The service providers should be paid what was due to them. He added that it was immoral to kill entrepreneurship as this led to people losing money in service to the community. These communities needed their livelihoods.
Mr Kolweni replied that they should not “close the window” on the Committee. The Committee would exist until the eve of the swearing in of the National Assembly. The Committee must stay on the alert.
The Chairperson suggested that he would also write to the MEC and recommended a deadline of 15 April 2009 at which time they would need feedback from the MEC.
Mr Botha replied that the president of the ANC had made a strong statement on the matter, specifically, that it was not acceptable that the service providers who had not been paid would go out of business because of the actions of officials.
Ms Mchunu reiterated that this was not the last time the Committee would meet, as they also needed to orientate the new Select Committee on Finance.
Mr Sogoni stated that he felt very strongly about the fact that the service providers needed to be paid. The MEC was inaccessible and had not been helpful.
The meeting was adjourned.
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