DA petitions Zuma on five bills

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has been petitioned to not sign five bills into law, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.

“The DA has petitioned President Jacob Zuma - under section 79 of the Constitution - on five unconstitutional pieces of legislation that the ANC had rushed through Parliament’s legislative process,” DA MP Wilmot James said.

The contested bills include the Infrastructure Development Bill, which is aimed at speeding up strategic projects.

The legislation will give statutory powers to a presidential infrastructure co-ordination commission, which includes the president, Cabinet ministers, and premiers designated by him.

“The broad and largely unfettered discretionary powers afforded to the minister in section 21 create much uncertainty,” James said.

“The bill also contains problematic clauses that removes the powers of all organs of state responsible for planning in their area 1/8municipal or provincial authorities 3/8 and ignores the constitutionally mandated functions of provinces and local authorities.”

The DA believes the bill will pave the way for another Nkandla scandal.

The party petitioned Zuma to stop the enactment of a bill that will see the land restitution process being re-opened. The Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill sets a new deadline for land claims to December 31, 2018.

The DA said the bill was at odds with the Constitution.

“Section 25 of the Constitution protects the right to property, but also makes allowances and sets guidelines for the restitution of land to those who were dispossessed by discriminatory laws,” James said.

The Public Administration Management Bill is also being opposed by the DA on the grounds that its passage through the National Assembly was “procedurally flawed” as no second reading debate took place before it was adopted.

The DA views the Property Valuation Bill as unconstitutional as it did not go to the National Council of Provinces for approval.

“This bill should have been tagged as a S76 (4) bill, as it may affect the financial interests of provinces,” James said.

The DA views the processes leading up to the passing of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill as flawed.

The bill seeks, among other things, to allow the state a 20 percent free stake in all new energy projects, as well as allowing it to buy an unspecified additional share at an “agreed price”.

“This bill will have disastrous consequences for job creation in South Africa and we have opposed it from its inception,” James said.

“The National Council of Provinces did not engage in proper public consultation.”

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