The National Assembly yesterday passed the Transport Agencies General Laws Amendment Bill, which standardises the way various different bodies which operate under the department of transport are organised.

Each of the bodies involved were established by a separate act of Parliament, and as a result the processes to appoint boards and chief executives are cumbersome and have often made it difficult for members to be appointed in good time.

The bill was supported by all parties. It provides for the appointment to various boards by the minister, and streamlines the process.

It lays down how chief executives should be appointed by the minister on the recommendation of the boards. It also provides for filling of casual vacancies, and lays down that there should be performance agreements between the minister and the entities where none at present exists.

It also enables the department to keep a certain amount of direction and control over them by the inclusion on the boards of an official in an ex officio capacity.

While welcoming the bill, Stuart Farrow of the Democratic Alliance told the house that some of the bodies have been inflicted with poor management, poor financial control, bad governance, the lack of specific skills and conflicts of interest.

“To exacerbate the problem many of the board members serve on numerous other boards and directorships,” he said, “which makes one wonder whether the incumbents can do justice to the roles they play in the contributions they make in their respective board meetings.”