Issue No. 39
Major Achievements this Year
9 June 1998
This year has so far seen a number of Bills enacted, with a further 10 passed by the National Assembly currently before the NCOP. This Bulletin will highlight some of the most significant and transformatory Bills and other achievements. The Bills passed in the first semester of this year further entrench our democracy and the ongoing process of transformation.
Significant Bills Enacted in 1998
The Marine Living Resources Bill
Communities that are dependent on fishing for their livelihood were almost ruined by poor management under the NP Government. They are now mostly plagued by poverty and unemployment. Large companies exploited the wealth of fishing resources and caused irreparable degradation.
This Bill will protect these resources, replenish our natural marine resources and protect fishing communities against exploitation by big business and foreign fishing interests. The Bill expresses the ANC Government’s commitment to:
- improving access to natural resources for disadvantaged South Africans
- the sustainability of our natural resources and to sound environmental management
- balance the needs of the disadvantaged with the interests of established commercial interests
- an efficient, viable and competitive industry that provides maximum benefits to everyone.
The Prevention of Unlawful Occupation of Land Bill
South Africa has a tragic history of scorn for the rights of the landless. This legislation will create the legal framework for the protection of these rights as laid down by the Constitution. The Bill will outlaw the unlawful evictions that had become a common sight in our country. And it will:
- create a fair and transparent process for disputes regarding the occupation of land
- recognise the rights of landowners to prevent people from occupying their land
- create a balance between just and equitable action which will protect the rights of both the landowner and the occupant
- protect the poor and landless from cruel and arbitrary action by landowners, while providing landowners with a fair procedure for preventing illegal occupation of their land.
The Land Bank Bill
The main purpose of the Bill is to provide for the restructuring of a governance structure for the Land Bank which is in line with other statutory organisations and which will simplify the smooth operation of the Land Bank. The Land Bank will now be able to extend loans:
- to intermediaries for on-lending to small and upcoming farmers
- directly to small and upcoming farmers
- to cooperative societies as well as other institutions involved in agriculture-related activities
Significant Bills Passed by the National Assembly
The Provision of Certain Land for Settlement Amendment Bill
This Bill will amend the Provision of Certain Land for Settlement Act of 1993 by:
- amending the provisions related to the subdivision of agricultural land and the establishment of townships
- extending the financial assistance which may be rendered for the acquisition, development and improvement of land
- empowering the Minister to expropriate land for the purposes of the Act, and
- extending the Act throughout the whole of South Africa, including the former homelands.
The National Research Foundation Bill
This Bill provides for the promotion of research, both basic and applied, and the extension and transfer of knowledge in the various fields of science, technology and indigenous technology. For these purposes provision is made for the establishment of a National Research Foundation.
The National Water Bill
The NP Government enacted water policies that were very dictatorial, giving Ministers too much power over natural resources. Ministers used the water laws to discriminate against black water consumers.
This Bill will ensure that the needs of all our citizens are met. It will ensure that our resources are sustainable, that there is equal access for everyone and that our resources become an attraction to foreign investors.
Other Significant Government Documents
Supporting the People’s Housing Process was released by the Minister of Housing. It aims to mobilise, encourage and provide support to communities so that they can fulfil their own housing needs. It will assist people to gain access to land, secure tenure, services and technical assistance. The process will lead to empowerment and a transfer of skills to persons and communities.
With this policy the ANC aims to tackle the legacy of the NP’s Apartheid housing policies. Policies that included not building low-cost houses to the country’s poor and deprived citizens. The ANC is committed to alleviating both homelessness and poverty, which resulted from these policies.
The Defence Review, which was published by the Defence Ministry, initiates a policy framework that marks a clear shift away from the old, Apartheid style Defence policy. For the first time in our country’s history we now have a Defence policy that:
- is the result of an extensive consultation process with government structures, NGOs, church leaders, academics, labour, business and community leaders
- believes that the defence debate can be strengthened by sources outside the Department
- insists that defence cannot remain the closed-shop agreement it was under the NP Government
- is based on a peace-time force model
The ANC will continue to initiate, promote and enact legislation that will bring about transformation as speedily as possible. It is committed to change. It is committed to a better life for all. It is committed to the new South Africa, democracy and giving effect to the rights enshrined in the new Constitution.