By Joe McGluwa (MPL), DA Provincial Leader:
The Democratic Alliance welcomes the withdrawal of the recommendations of the Portfolio Committee on Premier, Treasury and Enterprise Development that the North West Provincial Legislature approve the passing of the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill [B27 – 2015] and to mandate the North West Permanent Delegate in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to vote in support of the Bill as tabled by the Minister of Finance.
This comes after the DA threatened to seek legal advice on the matter and rejected attempts by the ANC to steamroll the Bill through while undermining constitutional provisions.
The ANC attempted to pass the Bill ignoring the principles of accountability, transparency and openness.
The Bill was to be passed without extensive consultation, a constitutional obligation of the legislature.
The constitutional sections governing the national and provincial legislatures provide explicitly for public access and involvement. The Portfolio Committees are supposed to provide a point of entry for the public thereby ensuring a more participatory model of democracy.
These Committees should constitute a key site for public participation.
The Bill was also to be passed in contravention of Section 76(1) of the Constitution. Section 76(1) states that when National Assembly passes a Bill referred to in subsection (3), (4) or (5) of the Constitution, the Bill must be referred to the National Council of Provinces and dealt with in accordance with the procedure outlined under Section 76(1). This was not done as the National Assembly was only scheduled to consider the Bill for the second time on Wednesday 18 November 2015.
A referral to the NCOP could only have been possible after this consideration. On 12 November 2015 the NCOP and Provincial Legislatures where already engaged in the processes of negotiating mandates on the DORA Bill without referral of the Bill to the NCOP by the National Assembly.
The DA will continue to defend the supremacy of the South African Constitution and the rule of law, from clear violation and disregard by the governing party.