Minister accepts business concernsDate posted: 04.02.2014 | Author: Harry Bovensmann
The minister for Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, responded to submissions received on the Infrastructure Development Bill. He reported back to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Economic Development on 28 January 2014.
Objectives of the Bill
According to the Department of Economic Development (EDD), the Bill pursues the following aims:
- Empower the state to deliver to the needs of citizens
- Strengthen coordination and alignment across the state
- Avoid unnecessary grounds for litigation and legal review
- Speed up delivery
Concerns raised by business community
Business organisations addressed the following concerns at the public hearing:
- the scope of the bill;
- the bill deals with approvals and authorisations which is already catered for in other pieces of legislation;
- the institutional arrangements; and
- the potential for duplication of requirements
Response by Minister
In his presentation the minister announced to tackle the following issues raised by business:
- To address concerns that private-sector infrastructure may, inappropriately, be included within the Bill and the SIPs, it is proposed that projects that are not public infrastructure should fall under SIPs only with the consent of the owner;
- To add a definition of “public infrastructure” to include (a) infrastructure owned by the state(b) Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and (c) concessioned infrastructure;
- To address concerns regarding the implementation of the provisions on expropriation of land for infrastructure; and
- To support relying on the 1975 Act, as several submissions proposed, with appropriate modification.
He made clear that the bill recognises the importance of EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessment) and the framework of NEMA (environmental legislation) and provides for a time frame within which the necessary environmental considerations need to be completed.
Furthermore, the Minister
- categorised the constitutional concerns well-founded and offered changes;
- stated to improve language to make provisions clearer to the ordinary reader; and
- announced to address ambiguity or lack of clarity which would contribute to grounds for disputes, legal action or project uncertainty.
Please find the complete reply here: EDD Presentation on Infrastructure Development Bill