Hon Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Chief Whip of the NCOP, hon members, I hereby on behalf of the
Select Committee on Economic and Business Development table the Report on the National Land Transport Amendment Bill
The purpose of this Bill seeks to amend the National Land Transport Act
5 of 2009 to insert certain definitions and amend others; to provide for non-motorised and accessible transport; to bring the Act up to date with developments since the implementation of the Act; to provide for certain powers of provinces to conclude contracts for public transport services; to expand the powers of the Minister to make regulations and introduce safety measures.
Further, the Bill seeks to prescribe criteria and requirements for municipalities to enter into contracts for public transport services; to amend other transport related legislation to bring it into line with the Act.
Furthermore, the Bill seeks to clarify or simplify various provisions or solve problems that have arisen since the implementation of the Act; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The process that was followed by the committee is as follows: the Bill was referred to the Select Committee on Economic and Business
Development on 24 April 2018. The Department of Transport was invited to brief the committee on 05 June 2018.
The committee advertised the Bill for two weeks inviting all interested stakeholders to submit written submissions. The advert indicated that the stakeholders could make written as well as oral submissions. Permanent delegates also briefed their provinces on the Bill.
The committee facilitated public participation, and received eleven submissions, including a submission from the South African Local Government Association, SALGA, prior to the closing date. One submission was received after the closing date. All of the submissions were considered. Further, all submitters were invited to make oral submissions. Only nine submitters availed themselves to make oral presentation and three submitters declined. On 9 October 2018, Department of Transport responded on the submissions received, and 12 and 19 February 2019, the committee deliberated on the content of the Bill.
Submission from Salga contented that some clauses in the Bill are unconstitutional. I am highlighting the Salga submission because it's unique place in the functioning of the NCOP.
The committee requested advice from parliamentary legal services and a parliamentary legal advisor made a presentation of the legal opinion to the committee. Salga expressed its disagreement with the advice given by the parliamentary legal advisor in the committee.
The committee then directed the parliamentary legal advisor, state law advisor, the department and the legal representative from Salga to further observe and reflect on the constitutionality of the Bill. The parliamentary legal advisor and state law advisor, except the Salga's legal representative gave a feedback further attesting that the proposed amendments in the Bill are consistent with the Constitution, in that;
a) The Minister is empowered to initiate legislation on a Schedule 4(b) matter that is the Municipal Public Transport, but may not implement the legislation as the implementation is the competence of the local sphere of government;
b) The Minister is empowered to develop norms and standards pertaining to the implementation of the legislation by the local sphere of government.
c) The prescribed criteria and requirements referred to in the Amendment Bill form part of the broader framework developed by the Minister that must be met and followed by municipalities in order to enter into new contracts for public transport and are not unconstitutional.
d) The Minister should guard against intruding on the powers of the local sphere of government in the implementation of the legislation. The power to implement the legislation vests with the local sphere of government.
e) The Bill is aimed at developing a broader framework for municipal public transport without interfering with the powers of the local sphere of government.
f) Therefore the Bill is constitutional.
g) The Minister will publish regulations and it is critical that the local sphere of government is vigilant and ensure that these regulations give the local sphere of government sufficient space to implement this legislation.
The committee applied its mind on the issues raised by
Salga; however felt the legal opinion obtained from the parliamentary legal services stand. Salga remains our strategic partner. Therefore, any issues raised by it, which pose a risk to cooperative governance and congenial relations between the spheres of government need to be treated with sensitivity.
The Committee further reports that all the issues raised during public hearings were considered including the negotiating mandate from the provinces.
With regard to the final mandates, seven final mandates were received and only the Western Cape Province that mandated its delegation not to support the envisaged Act. The final mandates from the Free State and North West Provinces could not reach the committee on time, but we understand that later they were submitted to the office of the Chairperson and that both provinces support the Bill. We therefore, on behalf of the committee recommend that the Bill be adopted. I thank you.
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