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The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs has decided to summon the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Minister Edna Molewa, to appear before it on Tuesday, 11 September 2018, after having been disappointed by the Minister's letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly to request for the postponement of the second reading of the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment (NEMLA) Bill scheduled for debate this afternoon.

The committee was unanimous in its condemnation of the unfortunate actions of the Minister to withdraw the Bill on the eleventh hour before its consideration by the National Assembly this afternoon especially in view of the fact that the Bill was adopted by the Committee more than two months ago, on the 19th of June 2018. The Minister had all the time to raise her reservation with the Committee instead of waiting for the last minutes.

The committee found the Minister's late intervention not to be in accordance with the decorum of Parliament, especially as the letter of her request to postpone the debate on the NEMLA Bill was brought to the attention of the Chairperson only yesterday, with many members of Parliament having to spend their entire weekend preparing for the debate today!

The committee was further frustrated by yet another letter addressed to the Committee by the Minister requesting for postponement of a scheduled meeting agenda for today on Briefing by the Department of Environmental Affairs on the understanding of the rhino horn demand management and preparations for CITESrdquo;. The Chairperson of the committee felt that the issues she cited as the reasons for postponement were not the initial reasons, but rather that the responsible Deputy Director-General would be out of the country. It was only when the Committee requested for the presentation to go ahead, as the DDG works with a team that the Minister chose to advance other reasons, mainly that it is too early to present on the CITES preparation, among others. Besides, the Committee felt that the Minister could still have presented her reasons during the parliamentary briefing on the matter, rather than electing to account to the Committee through letters, which is totally unacceptable.

Based on all the above frustrations, the committee unanimously resolved to summon the Minister to appear before it to clarify the above issues.

Source: Republic of South Africa: The Parliament

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