Minority Front Party Debate: Regulations Oversight

Posted in: on 22/11/2018 | Categorised as

  1. Hon. Speaker and Members, indeed freedom is not free therefore every generation needs to earn its own freedom.
  2. As HON. Legislators, we must strive to be good leaders and serve our nation. in the recent past, too many bad leaders are making our nation serve them.
  3. The diagnostic report of the National Planning Commission (2015) outlined 9 challenges South Africa faces, some are:
    • Too few people work,
    • Corruption levels are high, and
    • South Africa remains a divided society.
      Hon. Members we have missed the 2015 MDG, we cannot miss the 2030 SDG and our NDP 2030.
  4. The Business Environment Specialists (SBP) (2012) reported on the current state of Legislation in South Africa that the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, chided members for approving poor quality legislation, returned for correction, as courts ruled these unconstitutional. Instead of correcting this, Hon. Members attacked the courts and judiciary, stating over- reaching their role into our governance system. The report noted the following:
    • A well-ordered and productive economy needs regulation,
    • Regulation without intention is meaningless
    • The SME growth index found that 19% of respondents regarded the regulatory burden the key obstacle to business expansion,
    • It estimated enormous regulatory costs incurred
  5. Carelessly drafted legislation HON. Speaker is often unconstitutional when badly phrased and ignorant of evidence of impact.
  6. Hon. Members, the true measure of a policy is not the intention of its framers but the quality of its outcomes. Yes, South Africa is in a paradoxical position of being both overregulated and under governed.
  7. Do we as government recognise these dangers, e.g. the Companies Act of 2008, amendments to the Labour Relations Act and Basic Condition of Employment Act, as well as, the draft Business Registration Bill. The regulations costs are enormous making up 6.5% of GDP annually, costing some 285000 jobs because little commitment exists to undertaking regulatory reform.
  8. In 2007, the then cabinet accepted the principle of subjecting legislation to Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA).The controversial labour bills were partially subjected but the influence was unimpressive.
  9. On policy, the business sector is generally viewed suspiciously where liberalization calls are seen as dodging social responsibility.
  10. HON. members, each one of us are policy-makers. The public managers we employ have to be interested in “public value”. With looming elections and declining levels of satisfaction and declining voter turnout; what are the alternative ways of engaging our citizens? We need to embark on deliberative governance and increase our level of impact by informing, consulting, involving, collaborating and empowering. E.g., use the legislature website and fact sheets more; introduce citizen’s panels on KZN TV; create juries, establish citizen’s advisory committees and engage in participatory strategic planning. These examples would assist our public managers to develop an “outside-in” frame of reference, which would hopefully reduce, petitions and protests, when there is collective influences on rules, regulations, laws and policies.
  11. Hon. Members, government’s role is to correct market failures but we must not fail. It is our duty as legislators to work like a physician and oversee regulation by regularly calling for Regulatory Impact Assessment reports flowing from various pieces of legislation and policies before selecting regulation that offers the greatest net benefit. We must acknowledge that there are regulations that are good and bad, but professionals who craft regulations i.e. lawyers and economists, have blind-spots. Our duty HON. Members is to remove blind spots. Regulations are “rules or orders” coupled with an “or else”, a sanction for non- compliance. Regulations are usually “top-down”, imposed regardless of assent. This debate is aimed at removing the monolith because government does over-regulate some areas, under- regulate others and many times mis-regulates by imposing rules that do not really fit the problems they are ostensibly aimed at correcting. Surely we can do better.
  12. To name a few regulatory dilemma’s currently;
    • Street re-naming: which is a lengthy process yet not for some politicians there is no process, irrespective of cost.
    • CSG for many children is unsustainable- we should limit to 2,
    • Eskom vs NERSA where Tariffs are out of control; due to agency disconnect
    • Termination of Pregnancy Bill Amendments: pre and Post counselling debacle by lobby groups
    • So many social issues arise out of bad regulations e.g. the burial industry
    • Affirmative Action which must be scrapped due to its unconstitutionality
    • I am reminded of the eight principles of Batho Pele; consultation, service Standards, access, courtesy, information, openness and transparency, redress and value for money.
  13. Hon. Members, Regulation Development- requires extensive research, brainstorming and mind-mapping:
  14. What are S.A’s visible attempts to develop appropriate regulatory policy instruments to guide governmental activities? Many policies seem faultless on paper but have not translated into deliverables or met identified policy goals e.g. CSG, Social housing, and job creation. Do these pass the SMART test in your opinion? i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
  15. Regulations restrict mixed-bag behaviour hence they will always, involve trade-offs, however these must create as much social welfare as possible. Hence, as legislators, as we assess Regulatory Impact Assessment, our goals should be to minimize the sum of error and decision costs which is more than a simple cost-benefit analysis exercise.
  16. Regulations, Hon. Speaker are defined as governmental directives aimed at correcting private ordering defects that diminish total social welfare.
  17. This HON. House should workshop HON. members annually on strengthening regulations, taking into account command and control measures, the Pigouvian approach, agency costs, market- power and information asymmetry.
  18. Similarly, our views on cognitive limitations and behaviour control; either through commands or bans means, we have to ask the questions whether we should intervene to protect people from irrational decisions or somehow exploit there irrationalities to achieve ‘good” outcomes. Hon. Members. let us desist from biases, bounded self-control, non-standard preferences.
  19. Beyond, 2019, as legislators we must focus on being regulators, by identifying peoples “true preferences” in our constituencies and assess the net effect of conflicting quirks. Each of these situations debated warrant a “regulatory fix” that will reduce defects. Regulation, ultimately Hon. Members are a set of centralized decisions about resource allocation.
  20. We need to have a regulatory plan from a framework that is used by legislators, to resolve the knowledge problem besetting official regulators and academics, whom we employ. The oversight role we play on the regulatory process means, how do we reform regulatory institutions, is the task at hand, henceforth.
  21. For example, If we don’t have a proper foreign policy then at least regulate to control our porous borders in the light of our high crime rate or if we want to alleviate poverty then regulate birth control to control our burgeoning population, like our BRICS partner China did.
  22. Sound policy frameworks are required, aligned to enhance effective intergovernmental-relations mechanisms. In terms of communicating new regulations or amendments the government gazette is used. How many citizens have access to these? Information-sharing is the role of government communications department for accountability in our democracy and methods must change. Therefore, regulatory process- shaping should be treated as departmental projects with in- house capacity and portfolio committee members should be trained or capacitated in this regard. The linkage Hon. Members as to why Legislators should be workshopped on regulatory processes is to foster a culture of good governance and decision-making which responds also to M&E findings.
  23. I chose to debate this motion as a concerned woman, a widow, gender and cultural activist, academic, lawmaker for 20years and a politician to make a difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans.
  24. The Bill of Rights in Chapter two of our glorious Constitution, means that M&E must be rights-based, development- orientated, undertaken ethically, with integrity and methodologically sound, and finally M& E should be operatively effective. Again Hon. Members, our role requires a lot of effort intervention in the planning stages.
  25. The Government- Wide Monitoring and Evaluations System, now 14 years later has to be reviewed, as to where do we as legislators intervene in the regulatory process, so that M& E improves governance based on the principles of transparency, accountability, participation and inclusion.
  26. Furthermore, every regulation should be designed on the basis of an effective and or efficient indicator for better outcomes and easier M& E to realistically implement performance budgeting. Therefore, I recommend that:
  27. This Legislature needs an M& E report bi- annually HON. Speaker on various regulations and affected policies.
  28. In SA, we use an integrated model of public policy- making, so where do legislators fit in our committees on regulations, for all ideas to be captured and alternatives to be considered and not criticised.
  29. Hon. Premier, Treasury must establish an in house regulatory team to work with a policy team from social development and the Premiers M&E directorate.
    Portfolio committees must review gazetted regulations.
  30. It is worth noting that, sources of regulations like policies comes from: Party political consultations
    Public managers or generational officials or M&E specialists or,
    Initiated by interest groups who lobby for change- usually of bad policies and regulations because these harm people? E.g.: (TAC) Treatment Action Campaign and provision of anti- retroviral for HIV/AIDS infected persons and our improving stats speaks for themselves. Now we have oncology groups on the rise.
  31. Finally, the whole fora of policy- makers, i.e. legislators, regulators, judges, voters, media lawyers, teachers, students, basically every citizen, swamps official policy- makers who set the formal rules. Hence, the way forward now is for us to reform policy-makers and regulators, if we want to achieve regulatory reform. This debate focused on substance more than process, Hon. Speaker
  32. As we approach the 17 SGD’s, we must consider favouring equitable outcomes and being willing to sacrifice some wealth to attain them. Is there a better way to ensure equity than through regulation is a burning question, hence regulators should recognise these trade-offs too, and decide to what extent efficiency can be sacrificed to create as much welfare as possible (Lambert,2012)


Debated by: Hon. Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi

Minority Front Leader (KZN Legislature)

Date: Tuesday 20 November 2018

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