Pre-election scramble sees ‘sloppy’ Bills rammed through KZN parliament

Radley Keys, MPP

Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature

The unseemly haste at which a range of sloppily put together Bills are being rammed through KZN’s ANC-dominated parliament, before the 7 May election, is of extreme concern to the DA.

Today the provincial parliament has been forced to convene again to look at a number of these Bills.  It is also likely to have to meet again in April in order to get through the substantial workload.

The effect of this mad scramble is that KZN stands to adopt legislation riddled with flaws.

Elections seem to be the only spur to the ANC to “get the job done”.

A look at the total number of Acts passed by the National Parliament during the past five year term bears this out.

–          The number of Bills passed in the National Assembly during the 6 months leading up to the 2014 elections – and which still require significant provincial input – currently stands at 67.

–          Yet the average number of Bills passed in the National Assembly per year in the 4 years between 2010 and 2013 is just 29.

–          The same trend was evident in the 6 months leading up to the April 2009 election when a total of 61 Bills were pushed through.

The figures indicate clearly that the work of parliament is not motivated by the needs of citizens but rather by the power-mongering of the ruling party.

The amount of time allocated to each phase before the introduction of a Bill – including public consultation, portfolio committee input and final mandates – is critical.

It is the contrast between administration headaches, implementation nightmares and litigation on one hand and an effective execution of legislation on the other.

It is imperative that the opinion of KZN’s citizens is not only heard but given serious consideration – something denied the public in this rush to push bills through.

It is essential that there is adequate time for portfolio committees to apply their minds to input from the public and make amendments.

Instead, what we are witnessing is a concertina of events with everything squashed into a matter of weeks as time starts to run out.

This leaves KZN in a position where Bills may have to be re-worked from scratch – more time and taxpayers’ money wasted.

Many of these Bills will impact on KZN citizens.  As such they must be treated with the seriousness they deserve.

The manner in which this process is currently being carried out in KZN and all other provinces is simply inviting challenges that will prove this process the farce that it is.