PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE MEETINGS
SUMMARY OF MEETING
Consideration of submissions on the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill [B 7– 2020]
The Committee Secretary said that over 6 900 submissions on the Bill had been received, mostly from members of the general public but also more detailed submissions from organisations or representatives.
Mr Mangcu asked where the opportunity for public comment on the Bill had been advertised. The number looked big but relative to the driving population who would be affected by the Bill it was actually very small. Had community radio stations been used?
Mr Sithole asked if the submission period could be extended. The taxi industry would be deeply affected by the Bill but there was no submission from them.
The Committee Secretary explained that Parliament contracted the placement of adverts to an external company. In this case, the Bill had been advertised in Rapport and the Sunday Times as well as some regional newspapers. It was also published on Twitter and Facebook. The responsibility for radio adverts resided with Parliamentary Communication Services (PCS), and she was unsure of the criteria for radio advertisement of Bills. As the matter had come up repeatedly, she would raise the matter with her manager.
Mr Mangcu said that the advertising of the Bill was not sufficient. How many people read hard copy newspapers? It should be possible to advertise it through South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) radio at the very least in as many languages as possible. He had heard other Bills advertised on radio. For a Parliament that wanted to call itself an activist Parliament, the level of advertising was unacceptably low. Even if the submission period was extended, where were people going to find out about the Bill?
Mr McDonald added that the majority of people did not read the Sunday Times or Rapport. It should be advertised through SABC and community radio in all official languages. The Committee should have the power to decide on how the Bill was advertised.
Mr Sithole agreed that the Bill should be more widely advertised.
Ms M Ramadwa (ANC) also agreed. Information needed to reach both urban and rural areas, and public participation should not be done just for the sake of compliance. She asked for a list of the names of all the people who had made submissions on the Bill.
Ms Nolutshungu suggested that the submission period be extended and the Bill be advertised on radio. She also asked for a list of names of submitters.
The Committee Secretary explained that it would take a long time to compile a list of all the names. The decision on advertising through radio was the prerogative of PCS, and her manager had written to PCS to enquire about it. She would relay the response to the committee.
Mr Mangcu asked if the response could include the cost of advertising through various media channels.
SUMMARY OF BILL
The Bill seeks, among other things (as well as matters connected thereto), to:
- amend the National Road Traffic Act, 1996, so as to insert new and amend other definitions
- provide for the suspension and cancellation of the registration of an examiner for driving licenses or an examiner of vehicles, if such person has been convicted of an offence listed in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977), or has a direct or indirect conflict of interest
- provide for the registration and grading of training centres
- further provide for the registration of parties listed hereafter as well as the appointment of inspectorates of manufacturers, builders, body builders, importers and manufacturers of number plates; to, along with registration and an inspectorate of the following parties, also extend the right to appeal to manufacturers of blank number plates as well as reflective sheeting for number plates, suppliers of blank number plates, suppliers of reflective sheeting for number plates, embossers of number plates, weighbridge facilities, manufacturers of microdots, suppliers of microdots and microdot fitment centres
- require the relevant provincial Department or local authority responsible for transport to register a driving licence testing centre before operating as a driving licence testing centre
- provide for the surrender of a driving licence by a holder thereof and the re-issuing of a different category of a licence on request to the chief executive officer
- prohibit the willful or negligent issuing of a learner’s licence or authorising the issue of a learner’s licence, endorsing or failure to endorse a learner’s licence, or to produce, print or manufacture any document similar to a learner’s licence, contrary to Chapter IV of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996
- prohibit the use of unauthorised aid during a test for a learner’s licence or a driving licence test, and the disqualification therefor
- provide for the registration and grading of driving school instructors as well as driving schools; and
- further prohibit and reduce the limit of alcohol in a specimen of blood taken from any part of the body.
IN THE MEDIA
- Business Insider – SA will have a zero-alcohol driving limit by December, Mbalula pledges