Madam Chair, the DA believes that the NCOP took a final vote on the highly controversial Legal Practice Bill with amendments without the requisite number of properly mandated provinces. My hon chairperson will recall that, on Tuesday, I raised in the committee possible procedural problems with the NCOP vote, in respect of KwaZulu-Natal.
We are now objecting on the basis of procedure in respect of Gauteng. In my understanding, the votes of five provinces are required in the case of a Bill like the Legal Practice Bill because it was tagged as a section 76 Bill. I have seen records reflecting five provinces. I hear the hon Landers referring to six, but I think we better inspect that.
Our advice is that Gauteng - one of the five provinces that supported the Bill - did not have a valid and properly conferred final or voting mandate. We have a problem here. We object to this Bill. We object to the committee report, but you have a problem also.
Under the Mandating Procedures of Provinces Act, the full provisional legislature - and not a committee - must confer authority on its provisional delegate to the NCOP to cast a vote when the relevant NCOP Select Committee considers a section 76 Bill prior to voting thereon in an NCOP plenary. Now, our DA colleagues in Gauteng in the legislature advised that the Gauteng legislature conferred no such mandate.
By the way, it is also the case with the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, it did not meet to give a mandate and no formal abstention should therefore have been recorded.
Your problem is, in the number of provinces that have voted for this Bill in the NCOP, Gauteng was not properly mandated. Were the other provinces properly mandated? I think that should be inspected.
As far as we are concerned the Legal Practice Bill has consequently not been properly passed by the NCOP. The amendments adopted so-called by the NCOP and sent back to the National Assembly therefore have no status. We do not see how the National Assembly can accept them today, nor do we see how the Bill could then be sent to President for assent. I think that some investigation needs to take place here. [Applause.]