Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Bill [B7-2009]: deliberations

Sports, Arts and Culture

13 October 2009
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Sports and Recreation South Africa together with the advisor from the South African police Services responded to specific comments raised by various committee members at initial briefing sessions and public hearings held in the past few weeks on the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Bill. They explained and pointed out where amendments were made in line with what members had previously suggested. Special reference was made to Clause 21 of the original Bill which was amended to Clause 20 of the revised Bill. Consequential amendments were then highlighted. Changes made to the definition section were also outlined.

Members debated why age requirements were not included where appropriate in the Bill, such as in the definition of event organizer. It was argued that this was unconstitutional because the legal age of a majority was reduced to 18. It was decided that further research be done on the topic before reaching a final decision. The age requirement along with the definition of ‘event’ in relation to the number of people it covered,  were among the important issues which needed further attention. Further deliberations on the Bill were to be held the following week.

Meeting report

The Chairperson requested the legal advisors to highlight and explain the changes that were incorporated in the revised Bill.

CHAPTER 3 Spectator and vehicle access control
Clause 20

Mr Gideon Bozhoff, Senior Legal Advisor, SRSA, recalled that the Joint Portfolio Committee on Police & Sport and Recreation had proposed that the issue regarding search and seizure by security officers designated as access control officers in terms of the Bill be dealt with sensitively.

In response to this appeal, it was decided that Clause 21 of the Bill would be amended in line with the provisions of the 2010 Special Measures Act 11 of 2006 in as far as spectator and vehicle searchers were concerned. Only peace officers would be entitled to conduct physical searchers.

The Bill had been amended in that regard and Clause 21 of the original draft version became Clause 20 of the revised draft.

The original draft of the Bill merely mentioned that a security officer could be appointed as an access control officer. The revised draft stated that a security officer should specifically deal with the access of persons and vehicles, while a peace officer should be in charge of searches and seizures. They proposed that the searches and seizures be done by the peace officers and the access control of persons and vehicles be done by security officers in terms of the Private Security Relations Act.

The Chairperson clarified that the revised Bill was not the final version and was subject to change if matters arose during the public hearings in East London and Port Elizabeth.

Mr Bozhoff added that because Clause 21 of the original draft had been shifted to Clause 20 of the revised draft, there were certain consequential amendments which flowed from that which needed to be addressed in the rest of Clause 20.

Clause 20 (2)
Mr Bozhoff said that they had included as subsection 2 the fact that a peace officer may conduct search and seizures. This was done to specify the different functions of the various officers.
Clause 20 (3)
Mr Bozhoff explained that in subsection 3 an access control officer was amended to a peace officer in order for it to harmonise with what was amended in Clause 20 (1).

Clause 20 (4)
Here again an access control officer was amended to a peace officer as that reflected on the search and seizure part of the function. The same was done in Clause 20 (4) (b) which was amended to ‘submit to being searched by a peace officer of the same gender’.

Clause 20 (5) (revised draft)
Mr Bozhoff indicated that they had included ‘or peace officer’ in order for that particular clause to have a dual impact.

The Chairperson asked Mr Bozhoff to further explain Clause 20 (5).

Mr Bozhoff said that there were many role players involved with safety and security at an event. They must all be accredited to ensure that they did not act in a manner that suggested that they were above the law.

Mr J van der Walt, Legal Services: SAPS, explained that the idea behind Clause 18 and Clause 20 (5) was to ensure that certain of the peace officers only be allowed in certain portions of the stadium as they would have been given different functions to perform. If for example they were given the function of guarding the VVIP section of the stadium, they would only be allowed in that particular section. The accreditation card would specify that.

Ms D Shafer (DA) asked for clarification as to what the actual roles were of the different officers. She wanted to know whether an access control officer was a security officer.

Mr Bozhoff said that the security officer who was an access control officer would have certain functions. If that security officer was also a peace officer he would be allowed to perform the functions of a peace officer as well. It would not necessarily be a police officer but rather a security officer who had the additional qualifications.

Mr van der Walt said that the discussion around the specific functions which various officers were appointed was previously discussed at the 2006 deliberations on the Fifa Special Measures Act. The idea was not to allow any person to search and seize but rather to grant specific powers to certain qualified officers to search and seize.

The Chairperson asked whether the roles of the different officers were clearly defined under the Definitions section of the particular Bill.

Mr Bozhoff said that the Bill included three definitions. It included a definition of an access control officer which was the generic description. Stemming from that the access control officer could either be a peace officer or a security officer. For the purpose of the Act a definition had been included of a security officer as well as a definition of a peace officer in terms of the Criminal Justice Procedure Act.

The Chairperson noted that during the deliberations on the 2010 Special Measures Act, the police who had requested that they not be given the same responsibility as that of the security officers. They requested that their capacity and their knowledge compared to that of security officers be benchmarked.

Ms Schafer asked whether peace officers and security officers could both be classified as access control officers.

Mr van der Walt replied that a certain amount of security officers could be appointed as access control officers and of that group, certain of them may be peace officers appointed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. Police officers and traffic officers could also be deployed to search and seize.

Mr Bozhoff said that he had covered all the amendments in Clause 20 in relation to access control officers and their functions.

CHAPTER ONE Definitions and Application of Act (revised draft)
Mr Bozhoff said that the next recommendation referred to the Definitions section of the Bill. Many felt that this section did not entail adequate descriptions and needed to be more specific.

Clause 1 Definitions
Access control officer, Accreditation and Authorised member
Mr Bozhoff pointed out that changes were made to the definition of the following terms- “access control officer”, “accreditation” and “authorised member”. The amendments brought more clarity.

Authority
Mr Bozhoff indicated that a completely new definition was inserted for this term. (See document).

The Chairperson asked whether ‘authority’ was a cross reference to the one which
the Southern Education and Research Alliance (SERA) defined as ‘authority’.

Mr Bozhoff confirmed that it was.

Controlling body 
Mr Bozhoff explained that within the definition of controlling body, reference to the provincial federation was inserted (see document). It was noted that SASCOC was excluded in the original draft. In the revised draft, SASCOC was covered by the reference to ‘other body’ (see document).

The Chairperson agreed with this insertion. SASCOC could not be excluded as it was the controlling body of sport in the country.

The Chairperson then referred to the word ‘federation’ included in the definition. He was concerned by the fact that clubs were not covered in the definition which would produce future problems.

In addition, he noted that in the Sports and Recreational Act, it stated that any foreign person, who wanted to participate in sport in the country, must obtain approval of both the Minister of Sport and Recreation and the Minister of Home Affairs. It would therefore be better for sports bodies to check whether there were people with the required capacity and skills within South Africa first before looking outside of the country. If there were no such people in South Africa who suited the description only then should sporting bodies be allowed to look outside of the country. It would then be useful to include into the definition all forms of sporting bodies including that of a club.

Mr Bozhoff agreed that there were technical problems with regards to the definition of a controlling body and whether it included a club. The Sports and Recreational Act unfortunately did not clarify this point and it needed to be amended. Reference must be made to a club in the revised draft of the Bill in order to harmonise it with the Sports and Recreational Act that would be amended in 2010. At the moment, national federations had a responsibility to comply with the Act but clubs were not required to submit their foreign recruitment visas to the Ministry. It must be made clear to clubs that it was their responsibility to forward this information to their respective federation. The national federation must then ensure that the information was then forwarded to their Ministry.

In anticipation of the amendment to the Sport and Recreational Act in 2010, the Chairperson agreed that reference should be made to clubs in the definition of ‘controlling body’ in the revised Bill.


Disaster management
Mr Bozhoff explained that the recommendation made by the disaster management was incorporated in this definition (see document).

The Chairperson said that the request of the disaster management was a fair one because if a disaster struck, they would be called upon to be part of the entire process of calming the situation.

Emergency services
Mr Bozhoff said that the original definition was expanded on. The revised definition then included ‘religious, cultural, exhibitional, organisational or similar event’ (see document).

Essential services
Mr Bozhoff said that the phrase ‘including any functionary, institution or out-sourced entity performing the above or related public functions’ had been included (see document). This was done because in the many rural areas, the local authority did supply the electricity. In order to capture and address that problem they had amended the definition in order for it to be easier for bodies to perform essential services.

Event
Mr Bozhoff explained that the revised definition was more specific than the original definition. Not only did they include religious, cultural, exhibitional and organisational activities but also inserted in the definition was the phrase ‘where at least 2000 persons are in attendance’ (see document). In the original definition that factor was not clear. It now became very clear and nobody could contest it.

The Chairperson said that he was made aware of the fact that certain societies organised events where the attendance was much more than was originally planned. Even if members of societies consciously abided by the Act which provided for 2000 persons, they did not necessarily have the control over the number of people who would attend the event. The Chairperson recalled that there was a previous response to that but wanted to be reminded of this.

Mr G Mackenzie (COPE) suggested that they use the word ‘potential’ in the definition to cover the problem mentioned by the Chairperson.

Mr Bozhoff replied that it was an unforeseeable situation and that the provisions of the Bill and safety certificates of the stadium owner contained strict indicators which should be adhered to. If for example there was accumulation at the event which went beyond seating safety, the Act consisted of regulatory provisions where the police would intervene to see to safety and security measures.

Ms Schafer said that many people at the initial hearings said that the definition did not help them or did not apply to them. They also spoke about public liabilities which only came into play when there was 2000 and above people. What about the smaller organisations who were not covered? If for example there were to be 1500 people at an event, they would not be covered by public liability. She asked how they would deal with that.

The Chairperson advised the Department to ensure that those people complied with the law without making the event ugly.
 
Ms Schafer repeated her specific worry that there was no public liability in an event for less than 2000 people.

The Chairperson agreed and said that this should be covered in the definition.

The Chairperson proposed firstly that Mr Bozhoff look into what protection could be provided in an event where an unforeseen circumstance occurred- whether liability existed and insurance for such event organisers. Secondly Mr Bozhoff should look into solutions for an event where there was spontaneous attendance and the threshold was exceeded.

Mr Bozhoff noted these inputs.

Event organiser
The definition of event organiser in the revised Bill was the same as it was in the original draft.
The Chairperson however asked whether an age restriction should not to be included in the definition.

Mr Bozhoff said that in the specific sections of the Bill dealing with an event, there was actually a prohibition section. A person could not organise an event unless he was 21 years of age. The age requirement there however was erased.

Ms Schafer asked whether that was constitutional given the fact that the age of a major had been reduced to 18.

Mr Bozhoff replied that it was constitutional as they were saying that a person needed to be 18 years of age coupled with experience which could not specifically be added into the Bill because not all 18 year olds and older had experience.

Ms Schafer then said that the fact that a certain level of experience was such an important factor in relation to the Bill, it should specifically be inserted as a requirement as a 21 year old did not necessarily have more experience than an 18 year old.

Mr Bozhoff disagreed and felt they must abide by the 21 year requirement. The wording was suitable from an age perspective as they were referring to experience, knowledge and resources. All of those requirements needed to be met in order to fall prey to a particular prohibition.

The Chairperson however agreed with Ms Schafer. It was not necessarily an issue of 21 years old as a figure but rather a question of maturity which he believed needed to be incorporated into the definition. What they were trying to prevent was the organising of events irresponsibly which turned out to be uncontrollable.

Event safety and security planning committee
Mr Bozhoff said that the definition of event safety and security planning committee had been revamped (see document). That was done in response to the Chairperson’s request to be more prominent in the definition.

The Chairperson said that the age issue needed further attention. He pointed out that in the follow-up meeting they would begin deliberations on page 10.
The meeting was adjourned. 

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