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NCOP Briefed on the Airports Company Amendment Bill

September 3, 2020

Parliament

The national council of provinces (NCOP) has been briefed on the Airports Company Amendment Bill.

The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in March 2020.

The bill was tabled in parliament in March 2018.

It lapsed in May 2019 but was revived by the national assembly at the end of October 2019.

The bill aims to amend the Airports Company Act, 1993, so as to:


• insert and amend certain definitions;
• substitute certain expressions;
• provide for the appointment and disqualification of members of the Committee;
• provide for the vacation of office of members of the Committee;
• provide for meetings of the Committee;
• amend the period for the issuing of a permission;
• provide for decisions of the Committee;
• provide for the establishment of the Appeal Committee;
• provide for appeals against the decisions of the Committee;
• provide for the appointment and disqualification of members of the Appeal Committee;
• provide for the vacation of office of members of the Appeal Committee;
• provide for offences; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the transport department, the bill was drawn up to strengthen the current economic regulatory framework.

During deliberations on the bill, the portfolio committee on transport realized that other provisions of the principal act, not included in the bill, needed to be amended.

The new amendments proposed a new clause, amending section 2 of the principal act, that seeks to legislate the operational effects of the Companies Act of 2008 on the classification of the Airports Company as a state-owned company. The amendments further seek to align the act to the current provisions in the Public Service Act of 1994 with regard to persons excluded from service as non-executive directors of the Company.

In the briefing, the department highlighted that challenges to be addressed by the proposed legislation include that the current legislation does not provide for appeals mechanisms and the transport minister is not empowered to make regulations regarding any matter related to economic regulation.

The department also briefed the select committee on transport, public service and administration, public works and infrastructure on the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company Amendment Bill.

The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in March 2020.

The bill was tabled in April 2018.

It also lapsed in May 2019 but was revived by the NA at the end of October 2019.

The bill aims to amend the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company Act, 1993, so as to:


• insert new definitions;
• provide for a subsidiary to perform functions inside and outside of the Republic;
• provide for appeals against the decisions of the Committee;
• provide for offences and penalties;
• substitute certain expressions, citations and words; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the bill’s memorandum, the purpose of the bill is to give legal status to the Approach Document, which is a document in which the Regulating Committee provides guidelines to be followed by the ATNS and the Airports Company in submitting permission applications, sets out the procedure for meetings and decisions of the Regulating Committee and provides for effective appeals mechanisms against decisions of the Regulating Committee.

The proposed legislation will also empower the transport minister to make regulations “regarding any matters related to economic regulation and procedures to be followed by the Regulating Committee on non-compliance by the Company.”

The portfolio committee on transport introduced an amendment to the bill stipulating that the company is classified as a state-owned company from the date of commencement of the Companies Act.

Key features of the bill highlighted by the department during the briefing include giving legal status to the Approach Document that provides guidelines to be followed by Companies when applying for Permissions; aligning the act with the Companies Act, 2008 and the PFMA; providing for an effective appeals mechanism and empowering the minister to make regulations regarding any matters related to economic regulation and procedures to be followed by the Regulating Committee on non-compliance by the Company.