Submissions Toolkit: National Forests Amendment Bill & National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill
HAVE YOUR SAY!
So, you’re ready to be an active citizen! With this toolkit, we will walk you through the steps of making a formal submission on the National Forests Amendment Bill and the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature, and you can use these same practices for making more submissions in the future.
This toolkit will take you through the basics of what a submission is, and how to make them. If you’re already familiar with the basics, scroll down to download the templates of suggested comments that we have put together for you to submit on the National Forests Amendments Bill and the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill.
So first off, what is a submission?
A submission entails presenting the views or opinions of the public on a matter or a piece of legislation under consideration by a legislature. As such, submissions are an important way for the public to provide input directly into the work of the Committees – and ultimately, of the whole of the legislature concerned.
Making submissions creates an opportunity for a member of the public to make their voices heard, i.e. propose changes or suggest possible actions to ensure that the laws passed by the legislature or any other matter being considered by them serve the interests of the person or group making the submission.
They can be presented in any official language of South Africa, and be in writing or oral form (upon invitation by a committee).
Who can make submissions?
Any interested person or institution may present a submission or representation to the National Assembly, National Council of Provinces and the Provincial Legislatures. This means, both natural and juristic persons such as associations or companies.
What can submissions be about?
You can make written submissions on any matter, either of your own initiative or upon invitation by a Committee. The submissions are referred to the relevant Committee, which decides whether oral evidence should be heard. If so, you may be invited to make an oral submission (or ‘representation’) to that Committee.
How can I prepare my submission?
There is no set format for a submission to a committee. Submissions in writing should be well thought-out and easy to read. If you wish to make an oral submission, you should clearly indicate it in your request. It may be presented in your language of choice. Your submission should contain the following:
Heading: Indicate the name of the Committee to which the submission is addressed. Preferably, try to find out the name of the Chairperson.
Author: Clearly state who is making the submission, by giving your name or the name of the entity (organisation, company, school, etc.) you represent as well as the contact details (address, phone number, email). If you are writing on behalf of an organisation, give a brief overview of its mission, work and membership.
Subject: Indicate the topic of the submission in clear wording. If your submission concerns a specific bill, it should be referenced accordingly.
Background: Provide a summary of the key issues that you would like to bring to the attention of the legislature, and their relevance in relation to the matter or bill at hand.
Substantiate your submission: After laying out the issues, you need to explain your concerns in more detail, provide evidence of facts that support your views (if any). If applicable, you may also include concurrent legal considerations. Include a proposal or suggestion for a way forward to deal with the issues you are raising. Try to keep your suggestions realistic, keeping in mind the mandate and power of the Committee or legislature you are addressing.
Oral submission: If you or somebody else from the entity making the submission wish to make an oral presentation before the Committee, state it in your request. Be specific about the name and role of the person who would be making the oral submission.
Keep it Relevant, Accurate, Concise: Your submission should focus on the matter at hand, and be evidence-based, simple and direct. Committee members are more likely to consider submissions that are to the point and offer clear argumentation and propositions.
Lodge your submission: Usually, submissions can be posted, delivered by hand, or submitted online. For general matters, legislatures often require the submission to be addressed to the Secretary of the legislature. For submissions invited on specific matters, the contact details will usually be provided in the invitation/ advertisement.
You can learn more about public participation with the South African Legislatures here.
Make your submission:
The Conservation and Environmental Affairs Portfolio Committee of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature invites all relevant stakeholders to submit written submissions on the National Forests Amendment Bill [B11B-2016] and National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill [B14D-2017].
Written submissions must be submitted no later than 28 August 2020 and can be sent via email to Mr. Sipho Hlatshwako, KwaZulu-Natal Legislature at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download both of the below suggested comments on some of the key amendments made, edit as you see fit, and have your say! Let’s be active citizens.
Disclaimer: This web page and its contents was created with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Action 24 implementing organisations and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.