The scheduled meeting of the Committee to continue deliberations on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill was poorly attended. The Member representing the Democratic Alliance had submitted suggested changes to the Bill for consideration by the Committee but the matter was postponed as there was no quorum. The suggested changes would be forwarded to the Minister of State Security for comment.
The term of office of the Committee expired on 28 March 2013. It was unlikely that the Committee would finalise the Bill, despite its urgency. The Chairperson undertook to apply for the extension of the term of the Committee. The Committee would consider scheduling additional and/or late meetings in order to finalise the Bill as soon as possible.
The Chairperson noted the apologies of Mr J Maake (ANC), Mr A Maziya (ANC) and Ms H Mgabadeli (ANC). The Committee extended condolences to Mr Maake on the death of his mother. The meeting was attended by Mr D Maynier (DA), Mr D Stubbe (DA) and Mr N Fihla (ANC). The Chairperson expressed concern over the poor attendance of Members of the Committee, given the urgency of the Bill.
During the Committee meeting held on 5 March 2013, Mr Maynier was requested to draft suggested amendments that would address the concerns that had been raised during previous deliberations on the Bill. Advocate Hermann Smuts, State Law Adviser assisted Mr Maynier in the drafting of the suggested amendments. Copies of the document were circulated to the Members of the Committee.
The Chairperson understood that Members representing the African National Congress had decided to document the position of the party on the Bill, as requested by Mr Maynier during the previous meeting.
The Chairperson pointed out that the term of office of the Committee expired on 28 March 2013. It was unlikely that the Committee would be able to finalise the processing of the Bill before that date. The Chairperson would request an extension of the term of office from Parliament. The Committee did not have a quorum to pass a resolution to request the extension.
Mr Maynier thanked Advocate Smuts for his assistance in the drafting of the suggested amendments. The Minister had indicated a number of reasons why the Bill needed to be finalised as a matter of urgency. He suggested that the Committee considered scheduling additional meetings or met after hours to continue with the processing of the Bill as an alternative to requesting an extension of term. The Members representing the Democratic Alliance were willing to attend additional or late meetings.
Mr Fihla remarked that the Committee needed to obtain permission to meet after hours and that scheduling additional or late meetings would be dependent on the availability of Members.
The Chairperson pointed out that the request to extend the term of office needed to be submitted to Parliament without delay as there was little time available for the matter to be dealt with before the Easter recess.
The Chairperson suggested that the suggested amendments to the Bill from the DA were forwarded to the Minister of State Security for comment. He asked the representatives of the Ministry to inform the Committee if the Minister wished to comment either verbally or in writing on the suggested changes. The request to comment did not place the Minister under any obligation to respond but there might be operational or practical issues that could be affected by the proposed changes.
Mr Maynier welcomed comment from the Minister.
The Chairperson advised that minutes of previous meetings of the Committee had been circulated to Members. The following meeting of the Committee would be held on Friday, 15 March 2013.
The meeting was adjourned.
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