Children`s Amendment Bill: Negotiating Mandates

NCOP Health and Social Services

01 November 2022
Chairperson: Ms M Gillion (ANC, Western Cape)
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Meeting Summary


The Select Committee convened a virtual meeting with the Department of Social Development and Members of Provincial Legislatures to consider provincial negotiating mandates on the Children’s Amendment Bill. The amendment emanated from a High Court judgment that required the legislature to amend the Children’s Act to include more substantive content on foster care parenting.

All provinces unanimously supported the negotiating mandate on the Children’s Amendment Act.

The Select Committee was informed by both the Parliamentary and State Law Advisors that the Portfolio Committee on Social Development had decided that to meet the deadline that the court had set, the amendments that had been presented would include only those inputs that were relevant to foster care parenting. Other inputs related to children’s issues would be included and tabled in another separate Committee bill.

The Select Committee would vote on the final mandates of the bill on 8 November.

Meeting report

The Chairperson greeted Members in attendance and asked Members of the Select Committee, officials from the Department of Social Development and Members of the Provincial Legislatures to make their introductions.

The Committee received and accepted the apologies of the Minister, who was attending a summit on gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) with the President, and the Deputy Minister who was still booked off sick.

Provinces' negotiating mandates

The Chairperson asked Members to read out the negotiating mandates of their respective provinces on the Children’s Amendment Bill.

Eastern Cape

Ms N Ndongeni (ANC, Eastern Cape) voted in favour of the bill, with proposed amendments.

Free State

Mr I Ntsube (ANC, Free State) voted in favour of the bill.


Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) voted in favour of the bill, with proposed amendments.


Ms G Swartbooi-Ntombela (ANC, KZN provincial legislature) voted in favour of the bill with proposed amendments.


Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC, Limpopo) voted in favour of the bill, with proposed amendments.


Ms E Nkosi (ANC, Mpumalanga) voted in favour of the bill.

Northern Cape

Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) voted in favour of the bill.

North West

The province voted in favour of the bill.

Western Cape

The Chairperson indicated that the Western Cape voted in favour of the bill, with amendments.

Stakeholders’ submissions on Children’s Amendment Bill

Mr Luyanda Mtshotshisa, Specialist: Legislative Drafting and Review, Department of Social Development (DSD), took the Committee through the submissions that had been made by stakeholders on the Children’s Amendment Bill.

(The details of the submissions may be referred to in the attached file).

The Parliamentary Legal Advisor affirmed that the Department of Social Development was working closely with both his office and the office of the State Law Advisor on the amendments to this bill.

The next step would be for the parliamentary legal team to develop a list of Committee amendments, which would be the C version of the bill. That list would be informed by the mandate of the Select Committee, with inputs from members of the public as well as the Department of Social Development, the Principal Act, and input made by the National Assembly to the Select Committee.

After the Select Committee deliberated on all those inputs, the team would compile all the inputs, including those mentioned above and those of the Select Committee, which would then be the D version of the bill. The D version would be the final version, which would first be published for public comments and then referred to the House for consideration.

The Amendment Bill emanated from the Gauteng High Court judgment, which had instructed that the Children’s Act be amended to include substantive foster care parenting. In areas where the views of the public contradicted the view of the Department, it did not mean that the issues raised by the public were not of importance but rather because they fell out of the scope, because the bill aimed to respond to the High Court’s judgment.

However, the information not incorporated into the Amendment bill would be collated into a document. The Portfolio Committee on Social Development had decided that those inputs would form part of a separate Committee bill to be tabled.

Adv Lisa Naidoo, State Law Advisor, emphasised that the Portfolio Committee had introduced a Committee bill that covered a wider area. Due to the time constraint to meet the deadline of the court order, the only inputs that would be incorporated were those that were related to the comprehensive foster care system. The Committee had decided that all the other inputs would be incorporated into a Committee bill following due process.

The Offices of the Parliamentary Legal Advisor and the State Law Advisor were to ensure that the bills being presented were constitutionally sound and consistent with current drafting practices. The Department’s responsibility was to push the policy on the foster care system.

The Chairperson explained the process that would take place after this meeting. She indicated that the meeting minutes would be forwarded to all the legislatures as soon as possible for them to be ready to present each province’s final mandates on 8 November.

Ms Nkosi applauded the Department for having conducted an excellent public comment process. It was evident that all provinces had been covered by this process, which was why they had all been able to come to the Committee with their mandates.

She agreed with the proposal that any comments from the public that fell outside of the bill should be kept on record and considered in the Committee bill process.

Mr Bara supported his colleague’s view. He wanted to know how much time was left before the court deadline.

The Parliamentary Legal Advisor responded that the period ended at the end of November.

The Chairperson thanked the legal advisors and Members, and expressed her appreciation for the good working relationship between the Department and the Committee. She highlighted the urgency to pass this bill, as the children in South Africa really needed this bill.

The meeting was adjourned.


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