Window on Parliament    

April 18, 2022

……  article dated 2 April 2022…….

Legislation in the pipeline…..

(This is not an exhaustive list of all Bills before Parliament but those considered by the editor to be of major interest to business.  It is a compilation of notes.  For all legislation tabled before Parliament, refer pages 20 – 26 of the report)

 

Back to work

With the draft Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill having now been tabled in Parliament, this important piece of legislation will mean the establishment of  a Transmission System Operator for the new Eskom structure and the recognition of the framework for the electricity supply industry with NERSA as custodian and enforcer.  No discussions have yet taken place, but one imagines that the Minister of Energy will be introducing the Bill very shortly with the standard briefing.

The National Health Insurance Bill will now be ‘parked’ for some time it is anticipated, the many weeks of public hearings under the aegis of the health committee now over.  From time to time, heard will be statements from the governing party on the necessity for NHI since universal state health insurance remains high on their “to do” list. The pot will be kept boiling.

Recommendations so far to the Minister are that it is far too expensive for the moment to consider; that the country is too thinly stretched when it comes to health professionals and a re-gearing of health assets and equipment necessary on all fronts will have undertaken.  All of this will be a costing that that has no hope of consideration at this time.

After endless meetings on a clause-by-clause re-construction of the Copyright Amendment Bill, the Bill has been again published for comment now that hearings around the provinces have been completed.  The International Federation of Library Associations has responded to the call (one of many it is understood) and have “highlighted the need to reject proposals that will have a chilling effect on the work of libraries, and deepen divisions in terms of access to education, knowledge and culture.”

The Publishers’ Association of South Africa complains of “the persistent lack of a proper socio-economic impact assessment”, also stating in its conclusion, “In short, the current amendment process, which boils down to a tinkering exercise, needs to be suspended and independent legal copyright experts need to provide a new draft of the Bill.”  It has been the hope of the Trade and Industry Committee, who have been dealing with the matter for some four years, to get a final draft back to the President for signature by July of this year

Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy has now presented her views on the Climate Change Bill, her briefing to MPs being the subject of an article in this ParlyReport.

Public submissions are now to hand on the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill from the maritime sector, PRASA, the rail sector generally and the aviation and freight logistics sectors.  Submissions were received from a total of 13 stakeholders, including government entities and private companies and associations.  Final debate is to follow, the Bill then moving on for consideration by the provinces as a Section 76 Bill.

The National Land Transport Amendment Bill was returned by the President unsigned, as reported last month, since he had expressed his reservations with the observation that the Bill usurps the powers of municipalities.  The committee approved the removal the offending clauses.  The DA warned the governing party that this was the case before voting against the Bill six months ago, advising that the courts will act against national government moves to denude provincial powers.  The ANC were after powers for bus transport structures nationally, we understand, but Cape Town City successfully convinced President Ramaphosa that an interdict could be on the way if signed as it was.

The Gas Amendment Bill has recently been subject to public hearings in the last two of the nine provinces.

Parliament awaits the arrival of this contentious Bill introduced by Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe to shore up the contribution to the energy mix with development of gas inputs in the interregnum whilst  coal sourced energy diminishes, and renewables are introduced on a national scale.  Most major energy groups either producing energy in various forms or consuming energy on a large scale, have made submissions.

 

Finalised now and sent for signature into the statute book are the Financial Sector Laws Amendment Bills, creating a fund under the watch of the Minister of Finance to pay depositors their funds if a bank fails.  The Bill has now gone to the NCOP to receive its concurrence, which should be a mere formality.

 

The introduction by Treasury of the final  Bill of the twin peaks overhaul of financial legislation, the Financial Sector and Deposit Insurance Bills, one as framework document and the other covering the admin aspect, is awaited.

 

There still is no movement we understand on the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill although it was referred to the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders who had sixty days to refer to Parliament with comment.    Minister Gwede Mantashe sees it as the re-birth of PetroSA as the SA National Petroleum Company, a new SOE which will accept the mineral rights of gas extraction discoveries and development in SA waters plus any fracking. There seems to be a hold on meetings of the mineral resources and energy portfolio in general with the Minister permanently absent from “the precinct”.

 

Now introduced to Parliament finally is the Expropriation Bill currently being debated clause by clause by legal experts with MPs, the proposals embodying the inter-party wording for the acquisition of land for land reform under certain defined circumstances by the state and under similar circumstances for nil compensation cases.  Parliamentary legal advisers have requested to come back with a formal opinion after providing earlier commentary.  The Expropriation Bill comes in tandem with the Land Court Bill, on which there is an article in this edition of ParlyReport.

Being virtual meetings, the issue of expropriation has become a less histrionic issue with sensible debate. Further reports will be forthcoming in ParlyReport.

The Housing Consumer Protection Bill has been tabled in Parliament, but no meetings have yet taken place.  The Bill deals with changes for a person who uses his own labour to build a home and builds for his own occupation, providing the home is part of an approved project – an exemption beforehand being contained in the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act.

The Bill places an obligation on the NHBRC to establish and maintain a register of homebuilders and developers. This means that each person or entity who wants to build a home will have to apply to the NHBRC to be registered as a homebuilder and pay the prescribed annual fee.

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