DA questions legality of Eastern Cape legislature support for Division of Revenue Amendment Bill

By Bobby Stevenson (MPL), Chief Whip:

The DA is determined to ensure that our constitutional values not trampled on by incorrect procedures in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.  The DA will not turn a blind eye to the blatant flouting of rules and procedures.  If things like this fall through the cracks, the cracks will become an abyss that eventually swallows up our constitutional democracy.

The leader of the DA in the National Council of Provinces, Elza van Lingen MP, is challenging the legality of the passing of the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill.

No proper negotiating mandate or final mandate was obtained from the Eastern Cape.  This is in contravention of the Mandating Procures of Provinces Act and our rules.

In terms of the Act and our rules and negotiating mandate and a final mandate, should be done through the relevant portfolio committee.  This simply did not happen.  The Speaker signed off a negotiating mandate on 17 November 2015, the day before the Bill was even passed in the National Assembly.

No one can claim that they did not know, as I cautioned the House after the second adjustments budget was tabled by the MEC for Finance last Wednesday (subs:  17 Nov) that his Bill depended on funds from a national Bill that had not yet been passed.

I wrote to the Speaker on 20 November 2015 requesting that the correct procedures be followed.  I am still awaiting a response notwithstanding the fact that this Bill has now been passed in the NCOP.  I will also be raising this matter during the debates in the House next week.

Ironically a finance portfolio meeting that was scheduled for 12:00 today to approve a final mandate was cancelled, as the Bill had already been passed in the National Parliament.    This is a clear admission that we should have followed this procedure.