Special Petition; Fund for Victims of Crime Bill; Transfer of Convicted Persons Bill

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

20 September 2000

Documents handed out:
Correspondence relating to Special Petition by B D Brown
Letter from Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development relating to Fund for the Victims of Crime Bill
Letter from Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development relating to Transfer of Convicted Prisoners Draft Bill

Chairperson: Mr P A C Hendrikse

Mr James Selfe presented a special petition to the committee on behalf of Mr B D Brown. The committee agreed to first receive feedback from the Department of Defence before deciding on the issue. The Chair read out a letter that the Department of Correctional Services and Justice had sent to him informing the committee of issues that they felt have not been dealt with in the Fund for Victims of Crime Bill. In the letter Minister Maduna had recommended that the committee delay dealing with the Bill until the South African Law Commission had completed their research on it. The committee only touched on the Transfer of Convicted Persons Draft Bill because the Chair first wanted the Minister of Foreign Affairs to address them before discussing it.

Special Petition by Mr B D Brown
The Chair, Mr Hendrikse, stated that the presentation would be made by Mr James Selfe on behalf of Mr Brown. Mr Selfe informed the committee that Mr Brown had been injured in a motor car accident whilst he was in the employ of the military. He stated that Mr Brown was in a coma for a very long time. Mr Selfe emphasised that Mr Brown was paralysed for life as a result of the accident. He added that not only is he disabled but that he suffers from residual problems such as headaches and mood swings. Due to the extent of Mr Brown's injuries and medical problems, it is impossible for him to be employed. Mr Brown's wife is a diabetic and she only works on a part-time basis. Presently she is the only breadwinner in the family and the financial burden on the Browns' family is unbearable, as the Military Pension Act does not allow for increases in pensions. He said the only way to increase the pension is to petition Parliament, which is why he is before the committee at present.

The Chair suggested that the committee refer the matter to the Department of Defence in order to get feedback from them. The committee agreed.

Fund For Victims Of Crime Bill
The Chair read out certain portions of a letter that the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development had written to him. In the letter the Minister Maduna states that the committee did not realise the full extent of the financial implications of implementing the Bill. The Minister states that the South African Law Commision is conducting research and found that the estimate of the cost of establishing the Fund at R500 000 is well below the figure that they had come up with. Dr Maduna further states that the Bill does not deal with crucial issues relating to the administration of the fund, eligibility requirements for rewards, procedure for claims, the basis for payment of awards, limitations to payments, and the administrative costs. The Minister does not want these provisions to be included under the regulations as is recommended. The Minister suggests that the Bill should not be introduced until the Commission has completed their research.

Mr Bekker (IFP) asked whether a criminal should not be sequestrated so as to force him to contribute to the fund. Why should the state pay? He believes that the criminal must bear the full cost, only if the criminal is unable to pay should the state step in.
The Chair stated that the criminal would be required to contribute.

Mr Swart (ACDP) stated that the criminal must pay restitution to the victim himself, provision should be made for this.

The Chair stated that the main concern seems to be the practicality of the Bill's implementation. The committee agreed.

Transfer of Convicted Persons Draft Bill
The Chair mentioned in passing that he had received a letter from the Ministry of Correctional Services but did not go through its contents. He stated that he had invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs to address the committee on this Bill and stated that they would delay discussing it until she had addressed them.

The Chair adjourned the meeting.


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