Cape Times - The employment Tax Incentive Bill, effectively introducing a youth wage subsidy, and the Protection of State Information Bill, are set to make the early November parliamentary deadline – but a question mark hangs over other key draft legislation.
The Employment Tax Incentive Bill, despite opposition from Cosatu and several of its affiliates, is scheduled for adoption in the National Assembly on October 31. The National Treasury wants the scheme to start on January 1.
The ad hoc committee on the Protection of State Information Bill has until November 7 to remedy procedural hiccups in how it adopted the technical changes to Section 42 and 45 before its report goes to the National Assembly, where it is widely expected to be adopted on the back of the ANC’s numerical strength, and then sent to the president to be signed into law.
But MPs, who go on a five-week constituency period from November 8 and then annual leave, are running against time for at least five draft laws central to President Jacob Zuma’s administration.
When MPs return at the end of January, there are three to four weeks for legislative work, raising a question mark over whether these bills would make it on to the statute books before the elections, widely expected in May next year.
These key laws include:
- The Public Administration Management Bill, aimed at cleaning up the public sector by, for example, introducing a ban on civil servants doing business with the state.
- The Gender Equality Bill, which aims to promote women empowerment byequal representation in decision-making structures in the private and public sectors.
- The Infrastructure Bill, which would institutionalise the presidential infrastructure co-ordinating commission established two years ago, as the driver to roll out government’s R800-billion development programme.
- The Draft Property Valuation Bill, which establishes the office of a valuer-general, key to evaluating property earmarked for expropriation and for land reform purposes.
- The Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, which aims to boost South Africa’s attractiveness for investment.
Following cabinet approval, the Bills are published for a 30-day public comment period, whereafter the relevant departments may incorporate inputs and revise the draft laws.
Then the bills are tabled in Parliament. However, all five bills would arrive in the national legislature when MPs are in their constituencies.
This would effectively just leave the three to for weeks amid February’s focus on the State of the Nation address and the Budget.
Processing legislation includes public hearings and possible amendments to the draft legislation before tabling in the National Assembly for adoption. Then the bills must go to the National Council of Provinces for adoption, before they are sent to the president to be signed into law.
If bills are not passed before the current term of Parliament ends in the 2014 elections, the draft laws fall away when the new crop of MPs take up their seats.
However, parliamentary rules allow the national legislature to endorse previous work and pick it up from there, although commitees may have completely new members.
However, parliamentary rules allow the national legislature to endorse previous work and pick it up from there, although committees may have completely new members. - The Argus