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The National Assembly adopts three crucial bills

24 April 2018

In its first plenary session for the second quarter of Parliament for 2018, the National Assembly today adopted three important Bills, namely, the National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7 - 2016], the National Health Laboratory Service Amendment Bill [B15 - 2017], and the Marine Spatial Planning Bill [B9D - 2017].

National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7 - 2016]

The National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7 - 2016] seeks to accommodate the provision of electronic hailing for metered taxi's (e.g. Uber & Taxify) through the use of technological innovation to determine hiring and pricing of taxi fares; modify the transport industry to be in line with international best practices; enable government to regulate and monitor hired vehicles, making bookings easier and more convenient with a predictable pricing. The Amendment Bill also provides MEC's with regulatory powers in the provision of coding and branding of vehicles and provides for the Minister to make regulations for public transport with powers to oversee all processes thus the authority to implement these decisions resides with the Minister to ensure uniformity. The Bill also amends the integrated public transport network so as to accommodate the rapid transport network and bus rapid transport in order to reinforce transport efficiency and contribute to economic development.

A safe and more reliable transport system remains the backbone of economic stimulation and development as it connects people and goods to markets. The adoption of this Amendment Bill makes significant inroads in creating a conducive environment for the modernisation of the land transport system and improving service delivery.

National Health Laboratory Service Amendment Bill [B15 - 2017]

The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Amendment Bill seeks to strengthen governance, accountability and the funding mechanism of the NHLS. Historically, the NHLS received its funds through fees levied on provinces for laboratory services. Thus, leading to the NHLS facing several challenges in the recent past as a result of the billing systems used, unnecessary laboratory test requests, and financing training of health professionals through laboratory test tariffs.

The Amendment Bill proposes a substitution of the Principal Act, in order for the Minister of Health, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, to prescribe a financing mechanism for the Service in order to ensure that the Service is adequately and sustainably funded and thereby enabling the Service to achieve its objectives. Another crucial amendment is the inclusion of a representative from organised labour on the Board to ensure that the interests of workers are met. This Amendment Bill also makes the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, 2000, applicable to the NHLS thereby strengthening accountability of the NHLS.

The adoption of this Bill will enable the NHLS to provide diagnostic health laboratory services in a more cost-effective manner and with greater efficiency, thereby increasing the quality of clinical care provided to patients through timely and judicious clinical management.

Marine Spatial Planning Bill [B9D - 2017]

The Marine Spatial Planning Bill seeks to provide a framework for marine spatial planning in South Africa and the development of marine spatial plans. This Bill provides for institutional arrangements for the implementation of marine spatial plans and governance of the use of the ocean by multiple sectors. The adoption of this Bill will lead to the migration from single-sector planning and permitting; to an integrated and coordinated planning and permitting system; thus aligning planning in South Africa's ocean space for the optimization of sustainable economic growth.

As Section 76 Bills, all three Bills will be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, Hon. Jackson Mthembu.
Nonceba Mhlauli

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