STOP PRESS: NCOP members reject 24-hour notice for TLGFA comments

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Members of the National Council of Provinces will meet on Wednesday to demand a new deadline for submissions on the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill.

Parliament issued a call for submissions on the Bill (TLGFAB) in the Sunday Times of 15 October, but said they had to be in on Monday, giving communities just 24 hours to meet, get mandates and send their comments to the legislature. (Our earlier report)

The call for comment was not posted on Parliament’s website, which routinely promotes calls for submissions on legislation. The Parliamentary Monitoring Group also did not pick up any call for submissions on the TLGFA amendment.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has promoted the Bill as an insignificant technical measure to buy time until the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill is enacted into law.

Communities, civil society organisations and opposition parties have rejected this view, saying the Bill would legitimise decisions taken by many illegitimate traditional authorities in the 13 years since the TLGFA set the conditions for recognition of Traditional Councils and their actions. (LARC Submission)

Democratic Alliance members Mergan Chetty and Bronwynn Engelbrecht said Tuesday’s routine meeting of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was dominated by discussion about the impossible deadline.

Chetty said members agreed to demand that every province have properly planned and advertised public participation hearings on the Bill before the NCOP considers it in detail. He said provinces would be asked to ensure that anyone who made a submission in response to Sunday’s advertisement was invited to follow up at hearings in their home provinces.

Engelbrecht said they agreed also to convene on Wednesday to press for a new deadline of at least two weeks for public comment. The Bill had significant implications for rural communities and could not be dismissed as a technicality.

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