Cape Town – The last-minute frenzy of lawmaking continued on Wednesday as the National Assembly dispatched 14 pieces of legislation either to the NCOP for concurrence or to the president for signature.
The bills included the revenge of the ANC on the SABC, which they believe has betrayed them by being too kind to other parties – and in particular recently the Congress of the People.
The bill allows Parliament to fire the entire board or any individual member of it. However, one of the more offensive clauses has been dropped which would have involved the speaker of the National Assembly in the process of appointing new directors.
Other bills which went through included the Companies Bill, which is of major importance to business, creating new kinds of company registration and imposing more draconian penalties on errant directors.
The Tobacco Products Amendment Bill will also impose heavier penalties for breaches of the rules on advertising tobacco products.
The Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill abolishes the Medicines Control Council, which had so annoyed Manto Tshabalala-Msimang when she was health minister. It establishes a regulatory authority instead, with a chief executive who is answerable to the minister.
The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill tries to coordinate the fight against drug addiction, and also sets up a central drug authority with powers to oversee, then implement the national anti-drug master plan.
The Child Justice Bill, also finally passed. It has been a long time in getting on to the statute book.
Two education bills and an environment bill which had been amended by the NCOP also passed, as did the bill amending the regulation of the interception of communications, and communication related information.
The Assembly also found the time to endorse the appointment of Pregs Govender – a former, and much admired if rather turbulent MP – to fill a vacancy on the Human Rights Commission.
Meanwhile a few hundred metres away the National Council of Provinces also joined the law-making frenzy. The provincial house passed nine bills including the key Scorpions bills and in a no-less noisy debate also endorsed the anti-floor-crossing legislation.