The Human Settlements Portfolio Committee met to discuss the re-introduced Rental Housing Amendment Bill. The bill was first introduced in 2011. This Committee made many amendments to it . However, it was withdrawn in mid 2012 by former Human Settlements Minister, Tokyo Sexwale, just before the National Assembly could vote on it.
Sexwale was concerned about changes made by MPs, especially to section 2 of the bill, and believed it was impossible to implement. He said “The bill seeks to introduce an appeal mechanism which will contribute to … disinvestment into the rental housing market, as parties to a rental housing dispute will be expected to undergo a protracted dispute resolution mechanism, thereby defeating the main purpose of the Rental Housing Act, which is to provide a simple and speedy resolution process.”
On Tuesday, 28 January, when the Human Settlements Department presented their bill to the committee, members expressed concern that the section 2 that the Committee had drafted was missing from the bill. Section 2 spoke about ensuring access to justice, redress and monitoring of the Act's implementation.
The Department blamed the legal advisers who had raised concerns about the section saying it was vague and that it created confusion for the implementers of the legislation. They also believed that the MPs had duplicated the section in the Act that introduced housing tribunals for each province.
After discussion, it was agreed that the clause was too important to be scrapped completely, and the state law advisers to redraft the clause to give effect to what the MPs wanted in the bill.
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