The Portfolio Committee on the Office of the Premier on 10 August 2023 concluded the two-day public hearings on the Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council Bill. The Portfolio Committee on the Office of the Premier held public hearings on Tuesday, 08 August 2023 and Thursday, 10 August 2023 covering six district municipalities and two metropolitan municipalities.
The sites of these hearings on Tuesday, were in Gqeberha at the City Hall for stakeholders and interested persons in the Nelson Mandela Metro and Sarah Baartman District, and Mthatha at the OR Tambo Hall for stakeholders and interested persons in the Alfred Nzo District and OR Tambo District.
On Thursday the hearings were in East London at the Cambridge Hall for stakeholders and interested persons in the Buffalo City Metro and Amathole District, and Komani at the Chris Hani District Chamber for stakeholders and interested person in the Chris Hani District and Joe Gqabi District.
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee Honourable Mzoleli Mrara chaired the Mthatha and Komani hearings respectively while Whip of the Committee Honourable Kesava Anilkumar chaired the Gqeberha and East London hearings. ECSECC CEO Luvuyo Mosana represented the organisation at the Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo District public hearings and again at the Chris Hani District and Joe Gqabi District.
ECSECC Board Member from the Business constituency Phumzile Ndedela and a member of the ECSECC Audit, Risk and ICT Committee Baliswa Mbana-Gantsho attended the Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo District public hearings.
Deputy Chairperson of the ECSECC Board Zolile Tini and Board Member Khulile Jacobs from the NGO coalition constituency attended the Chris Hani District and Joe Gqabi District public hearing. Head of Secretariat of the Eastern Cape Aids Council Vuyisa Dayile also attended the Chris Hani District and Joe Gqabi District public hearing.
ECSECC's Chief Financial Officer Khayakazi Gwazela and the Head of the Khawuleza Portfolio Management Office Baphelele Mhlaba represented the organisation at the Nelson Mandela Metro and Sarah Baartman District public hearings. A Board member who was present there was Dr. Nangamso Nombekela-Madiba from the provincial government constituency who also attended the Buffalo City Metro and Amathole District public hearing. Another ECSECC Board Member present here was Daluthando Xotyeni from the NGO coalition constituency.
The public hearings were attended by mayors, municipal managers, officials, ward committee members and residents.
ECSECC Bill, 2022
The purpose of the Bill is to provide a legislative framework that will formalise the functioning and operations of ECSECC. The Bill sets out functions that are to be performed by ECSECC in line with the provincial development agenda. The Bill also seeks to respond to the continued need for a shared engagement platform, to rebuild public trust and creating new approaches to social compacting. Furthermore, the Bill seeks to support the delivery of core national and provincial priorities as the ECSECC mandate, objectives and functions have a strong alignment to the National Development Plan and Provincial Development Plan.
You can read the ECSECC Bill here
The Bill was widely supported during the hearings by stakeholders who attended. Stakeholders supported the Bill because ECSECC is an Entity which seeks to support government to achieve an integrated developmental strategy for the province. Other stakeholders said ECSECC should be legislated so that it could be more effective in its work. There was also consensus during the public hearings that the province of the Eastern Cape should use all funds allocated to it by national treasury instead of returning it at the end of financial year amidst all the developmental needs of the province.
Participants in the hearings also said ECSECC should remain a multi-stakeholder council long after the Bill has been passed and that it should not assume a "government posture”. ECSECC CEO Luvuyo Mosana allayed these fears saying ECSECC would remain a multi-stakeholder council of councils as this was also enshrined in the Bill. The Executive Mayor of Joe Gqabi District Municipality Nomvuyo Mposelwa acknowledged and appreciated the support given by ECSECC to municipalities.
Speaking on the turnout of the public to the hearings Honourable Anilkumar said: "Ours is a constitutional democracy, whatever we do, is for the public. It is important that when we make Bills we consult the public, it is also important that the public comes and give comments on the Bills."
"If we want democratic principles to be applied, it is important that the public be consulted, and this is why we are having these public hearings. The consultation process sometimes has its own challenges, many stakeholders may not turn up but that does not mean that we should avoid the process," Anilkumar said.
While the public hearings on the ECSECC Bill have come to an end, all interested persons and stakeholders are still requested to submit written inputs to Committee Coordinator Buang Mzaca via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him on 040 608 0268 / 082 779 9027. Due date for written submission is Thursday, 31 August 2023.