Hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Masondo, hon members in this plenary session, as we glide towards a full cycle of our programme, to our recess, amid the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic, we acknowledge with great enthusiasm our collective efforts to examine and propose the passing of the two legislations applicable in the local government sphere that we are considering today.
The first one, the local government Municipal Structures Amendment Bill is vital and central to the government's efforts to bring about a new paradigm shift in our service delivery and development value chain.
This Bill is a necessary intervention to improve and enhance local governance resilience and sustainability in the delivery of services, to complement the work of a developmental state. The envisaged amendments to the Structures Act indeed resonates with the challenge
towards the smooth implementation of the district development model.
If these are successfully and correctly implemented, they will collectively improve integrated planning for Co- operative governance towards a new integrated district- based service delivery approach, aimed at fast- tracking service delivery, ensuring that all our municipalities are adequately supported and resourced to carry out their mandates.
The current development ethos indeed further requires a structural review of local government legislation and regulatory framework, to sharpen the ability of the state through the third sphere of government to maximise a fundamental shift towards accelerated service delivery. Once passed into law, this Municipal Structures Bill will ensure the following:
Firstly, it will provide for a minimum of 10 councillors per municipality; it will provide for the prohibition of a councillor who is found guilty of the breach of the code of conduct for councillors for a period of two
years; it will provide additional functions for the Speaker, in order to improve maintenance of order and adherence to the code of conduct of councillors.
In addition, the new amendments will provide for a Whip of a council; clarify a formula for the composition of an executive committee, remove all references to district management areas; and remove all references to the plenary executive system as a type of municipality.
Other than that, the new legislation will clarify the date of assumption of office by a councillor; allow for an extension on the declaration of results of an election; and requires the municipal manager to inform the MEC for Local Government in the province, in addition to the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, of vacancies in the wards.
It is vital to support this legislation because it will provide for the MEC of Local Government in the province to call and set the date for by- elections; and allow the MEC to designate a person to call and chair a meeting of a municipal council when a Speaker, an acting Speaker or
municipal manger refuses to call a meeting. This is a widespread problem that needs attention.
The proposed amendments also provide for the establishment of municipal public accounts committees in order to strengthen oversight and accountability, especially with regard to financial and performance management.
Lastly, the proposed amendments to the Municipal Structures Act will provide for a resolution of a situation where the excessive seats may arise from the seat allocation in local municipalities; amend the timeframe for the municipal manager to inform the Chief Electoral Officer of vacancies when they arise; empower the MEC for Local Government in the province to inform the Chief Electoral Officer of the IEC of vacancies, if the municipal manager fails to do so.
Equally important, the amendments will qualify the supplementation of party lists for local municipalities; provide for the resolution of multiple seats, which will arise where a candidate qualifies for elections to more
than one seat; clarify the supplementation of party lists for district municipalities and provide for the transitional arrangements in respect of municipalities' plenary executive system.
The public participation processes in all provinces have been followed on the Municipal Structure Amendment Bill in conformity with the systems, procedures and timelines, including extension, where necessary, to enable receipt of all negotiating mandates from the nine provinces.
As such, all provinces submitted details of their respective public participation processes to this Bill. This includes the submission of lists of the individual, number of public hearings, names of organisations as well as stakeholders consulted across our provinces.
The national Department of Co-operative Governance was instrumental in all the briefing arrangement across provinces, including the responses to negotiate mandates and amendments to the Bill. This Bill was duly adopted by the select committee to the extent of confirmation of final mandates.
Therefore, this Bill is in terms of section 76 of the Constitution, classified as a 76 Bill, as it affects provincial interests.
Finally, on behalf of the select committee, I move for the adoption and approval of the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill by the NCOP and it eventual passage into law. Thank you very much.
Question put: That the Bill be adopted.
IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Bill accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.