No quorum in National Assembly for vote on crucial finance bill
The Financial Matters Amendment Bill was one vote short after most of the Democratic Alliance was absent from the National Assembly
The National Assembly was not able to adopt the Financial Matters Amendment Bill, an omnibus bill amending several pieces of legislation on Tuesday night because it was one vote short of a quorum.
Only 200 of the total 201 votes required for a bill to be adopted were recorded including that of presiding officer Thoko Didiza. Most members of the Democratic Alliance which opposed one of the bill’s provisions to allow for the establishment of state-owned banks were intentionally absent from the National Assembly when the vote was taken.
Voting on the bill was deferred to a later date but time is running out as the National Assembly ends its work for the current parliament on March 20.
The bill includes amendments to the Insolvency Act to provide security for counterparties in over-the-counter derivative transactions in the event of liquidations and ensures that SA complies with internationally accepted requirements.
The adoption of the measure was urged by Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago and the Banking Association SA.
The bill also includes amendments to the Banks Act to allow for the establishment of state-owned banks by state-owned enterprises on certain conditions.
The finance minister, in agreement with the minister of public enterprises, must approve the application for a banking licence. The assets of the state-owned enterprise and those of its holding company must also exceed its liabilities. They will also have to comply with the conditions of a banking licence applicable to all other banks.
State-owned banks will not be permitted at this stage at provincial and municipal level.
Finance committee chairman Yunus Carrim emphasised that an amendment to the Banks Act was necessary to facilitate the licensing of the Post Bank.
Other proposed amendments related to military pensions and the Government Employees Pension Fund but the amendments to the Auditing Profession Act aimed at strengthening the governance and powers of the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors have not been included.