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Six provinces have supported the National Land Transport Amendment Bill, and will be forwarded to the House for debate on the 28th of March. The Western Cape raised an objection, the North West will forward its final mandate tomorrow whilst the Free State will seat on the 22nd of March this year.

The report about the Bill will then be published, and go to the House. Since the National Assembly has arisen, the sixth parliament will revise the bill and finalise it.

The committee also deliberated on its legacy report where a number of issues had been underscored for the incoming committee. Among the issues the committee raised for future consideration, were unburdening the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) staff from looking after too many portfolios.

Committee member, Mr Eddie Makue, said it was critical that the committee reflects on obstacles that hamper the committee’s ability to undertake its work.

Over and above overworked staff, members raised issues with study tours internationally and the oversight model that Parliament uses.

“Study tours are critical as evidenced during the Singapore trip, if the committee is to be effective on performing its oversight responsibilities as mandated by the Constitution. Members and staff need not be frustrated during international travels,” said Mr Makue.

The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Mandla Rayi, concurred and said it was ideal that when the future committee undertakes study tours, it must share our own experiences with the world.

“The committee should not only go abroad to learn, but also share how we do things in our country. We should be able to say this is the situation in our country and compare experiences and learn best practices,” Mr Rayi said.

Committee member, Mr Boingotlo Nthebe, said the oversight model needs to be re-examined.

“How do we change the oversight model, departments just come in and report on APPs (annual performance plans). There used to be breakaway sessions, how does one revive those and make them work for the work the committee is supposed to be doing?” Mr Nthebe asked.

He said there needed to be ways of improving the oversight model and that the one-day training for members was not sufficient.

“Legislation is becoming an issue. We are running through it due to the time pressures and often it is sent back for corrections and reconsideration,” he said.

Mr Rayi said a broader discussion and impact on the functioning of the NCOP was needed.

“We should perhaps suggest time frames between the time we had oversight, adoption of the reports, and the referral of the reports to the House. We need to have time frames.”

He said it was also critical that the NCOP thinks about how it could make such programmes as the MinMecs (Minister and MECs’ meetings), work for the NCOP programmes.

“This is not an institutionalised arrangement, maybe this should be institutionalised and should be taken up with the leader of government business.”

By Sibongile Maputi
19 March 2019