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PRIVATE MEMBERS LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL AND SPECIAL PETITIONS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
18 February 2004
LEON’S PARDON INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE BILL; SEMPLE’S PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL EVICTION AND UNLAWFUL OCCUPATION OF LAND AMENDMENT BILL; ANDREW’S ELECTORAL SYSTEMS BILL; PRETORIUS'S ELECTORAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL; COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT
Chairperson: Mr PAC Hendrikse (ANC)
Committee Annual Report 2003
Letter from Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Director-General
The Power to Pardon - research by Department of Justice
Mr Tony Leon's Pardon Investigation Procedure Bill
Letter from Minister of Justice Commenting on the Pardon Investigation Procedure Bill
Letter from Director-General of Housing
Andrew's Electoral Systems Bill
Semple’s memorandum to amend the Prevention of Illegal Eviction & Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill
The Committee decided to reject the proposed Pardon Investigation Procedure Bill by Mr Leon. The Committee unanimously rejected the proposed Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill by Ms Semple as the Department of Housing was close the tabling a bill on this matter. The Committee rejected both the proposed Electoral Systems Bill by Mr Andrew and the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill by Mr Pretorius. The Committee adopted its Annual Report for 2003.
Pardon Investigation Procedure Bill by Mr Leon
The Chair gave a background to this proposal, noting that it had been received from Mr T Leon (DA). This Bill was to prescribe a process by which the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, when requested to do so by the President, was to make recommendations on pardons in terms of Section 84(2)(j) of Constitution. He noted that the Committee had received a negative response from the Minister to this proposal and Mr Leon had been given an opportunity to respond. He called upon members to make a decision on what should be done with the proposal.
Mr A Ainslie (ANC) asked if it would be constitutionally correct for the President to ignore the recommendations made to him by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in the circumstances.
Adv J Labuschagne (Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs: Legal Advisor) said that the State President had prerogative powers granted by the Constitution and as such was not obliged to follow any recommendations made by the Department.
Mr Ainslie motioned that the proposed Bill be struck down. The majority supported the motion while the Democratic Alliance voted against it.
Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill by Ms Semple
The Chair explained that this proposal was received from Ms J Semple (DA). It proposed the amendment of the definition of "unlawful occupier" in the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation Land Act. It was argued that this amendment would thus provide protection to the rights of landlords and bond grantors. Based on the input received from the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, the Committee had decided to invite all relevant departments to make submissions on this. Consequently, a letter from the Department of Housing had informed the Committee that the Department had prepared a draft Bill on this matter, which was submitted to Cabinet for approval and thereafter would be tabled in the House. He said that Ms Semple had been informed about these new developments.
Mr S Phohlela (ANC), noting that the matter is being dealt with by the Department, said that it would be unnecessary for the Committee to continue with it and thus proposed that it be struck from the agenda.
The Committee unanimously supported the motion.
Electoral Systems Bill by Mr Andrew
The Chair gave a background to this proposal noting that it was received from Mr K Andrew (DA) whereupon a request for the introduction of a new bill was proposed. It was argued that this Bill would outline the multi-member constituency electoral system and show how it differed from the existing electoral system of proportional representation, as well as the single-member constituency system. He therefore called upon the members to make a decision in this regard based on the feedback received by the Committee from the Independent Electoral Commission.
Mr S Mshudulu (ANC), while acknowledging the importance of the proposal, felt that it would be unnecessary to deal with it, since the country was already two months away from next election. He therefore motioned that it be struck from the Committee’s agenda.
The majority supported the motion while the DA voted against it.
Electoral Laws Amendment Bill by Mr Pretorius
Mr I Pretorius (DA) noted that his proposal was based on the document issued by the Independent Electoral Commission of the 5 February 2004. In terms of that document the IEC seemed to interpret the provisions of Clause 2 of the Electoral Law Second Amendment Bill (B 73-2003) as precluding people who were overseas on work permits from voting. He proposed that all people who were overseas on work permits, whether temporarily or permanently, should be given a special vote.
Adv S Mogotsi (Department of Home Affairs: Director of Legal Affairs) noted that, as his department had not yet received this document, he was unable to comment on what the IEC position seemed to be. He could only comment on the position outlined by the Bill. He said that it was clear in terms of the Bill that all those who were temporarily absent from the Republic for the purposes of holidays, business trips, attendance of tertiary institutions, educational visits or participation in international events would be allowed to vote if they notified the Commission in accordance with due processes.
The Chair said that the problem, rather than being material, seemed to be one of interpretation and, as such, he believed that it should be dealt with by the relevant Parliamentary Committee. He called on members to make a decision on the matter.
Mr Pretorius' proposal that the Committee proceed with the amendment was supported by Adv H Schmidt (DA). However Ms F Hajaij (ANC) proposed the alternative.
The majority supported the motion that the proposal be struck from the agenda while the DA voted against the motion.
Annual Committee Report 2003
The Chair went through the Committee’s Annual Report 2003 and raised some concerns with regard to the financial statement.
The Committee, noting the concerns raised by the Chair, then requested a revised financial statement to be provided by the Committee Section in the next Committee meeting, as the present one was not at all satisfactory.
Noting the concern around the financial statement, the Committee unanimously adopted the Report with a few technical amendments.
The Chair, anticipating that this might be the last meeting of the Committee, thanked all the Committee members for a job well done, the Committee Section for its hard work and the parliamentary monitors for ensuring that members were always on their toes. He wished all those involved in the elections all the best. The meeting was adjourned.
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