Legislative Programme of Department for 2003

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Justice and Correctional Services

02 February 2003
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Meeting report

JUSTICE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

JUSTICE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 February 2003
LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME OF DEPARTMENT FOR 2003

Chairperson:
Adv J de Lange (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Position of Acts overseen by the Justice Department as at 29 January 2003
Extended Legislative Programme of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (Appendix)
Department progress report on Committee resolutions: 1999-2002

SUMMARY
The Department of Justice briefed the Committee on its legislative programme for the year. The Department addressed mainly the status of implementation of legislation and the planned revisiting of laws dating from 1910 to 1994 to ensure their constitutionality by the Law Commission

MINUTES
The Department of Justice briefed the Committee on its legislative programme for the year. The Chair, Adv de Lange, slammed the attitude of the Western Cape bench, in particular, towards new legislation. He added that judicial officers liked to blame legislators and he wanted the public to know that laws are being undermined because officers did not like new laws.

Adv de Lange also criticised the prosecuting authority. He stated that Mr Khan should start to implement legislation. He mentioned the example of rape cases being sent to the regional courts; they would probably end up in the High Court anyway because of the possibility of a life sentence. Therefore the women who have been raped and abused have to suffer and repeat the whole process. He added that it takes up to eighteen months for a trial to reach the High Court after it started in the regional court.

The Chair stressed his anger with judges and judicial officers who are dabbling in politics instead if implementing legislation.

Afternoon session
The Department of Justice briefed the Committee on the progress of implementation of legislation overseen by their Department. The following were highlighted.

The Chairperson said that he would not defend the Law Commission on the amount of time it is taking with Sexual Offences bill. The Law Commission should prioritise their work better and it is unacceptable that the Interpretation Act still heeds from the Apartheid era.

Implementation of legislation
Criminal Procedure Amendment Act, 1996 (Act 86 of 1996)
The Chairman said he accepts that there is no money to implement this Act. There is, however, no mechanism to enforce discipline in the courts if the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act is not implemented.

Magistrates' Courts Amendment Act, (Act 67 of 1998)
The Chairman noted that the pilot projects mentioned should also include some smaller towns. In many rural areas and small towns the poorest citizens experience much difficulty in accessing the justice system. He recommended that the court make an effort, on certain specified days, to bring the court system to these communities.

Maintenance Act, 1998 (Act 99 of 1998)
Ms I Botha (Department) said that R 5 million has been set aside for the appointment of maintenance investigators, who will be appointed for a six month contract period.
The Chairman requested a full report on this matter, as the Director General had previously said that R 20 million from a discretionary fund had been set aside for the appointments. The Chairman noted that commitments made to the Committee should be honoured.

Witness Protection Act, 1998 (Act 112 of 1998)
The Chairman said that the police should be fulfilling this basic police function. Instead the Department has to create a whole new structure and are crying for more money. It appears the department wants to create an institution like the US Marshall but what happens in the interim?

Judicial Matters Second Amendment Act 1998 (Act 122 of 1998)
The Chairman asked for a full report on the matter specifically addressing the response to the Constitutional Court Judgement and a time frame for implementation.

Cross Border Insolvency Act, 2000 (Act 42 of 2000)
The Chairman asked why it was necessary to negotiate with other countries on this matter.

A Member explained that there were matters of reciprocity to be resolved.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix:
EXTENDED LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT AS AT 21 JANUARY 2003

A: BILLS FINALISED DURING 2002:

1. Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002

2. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Amendment Act, 2002

3. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Second Amendment Act, 2002

4. Loss or Retention of Membership of National and Provincial Legislatures Act,

2002

5. Insolvency Amendment Act 33 of 2002

6. Reinstatement of Enrolment of Certain Legal Practitioners Act 32 of 2002

7. Institution of Legal Proceedings against Organs of State Bill, 2002

B. Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication Related Information Act, 2002 (Act 70 of 2002)

9. Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Amendment Act,

2002 (Act 52 of 2002)

10. Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Act, 2002 (Act 54 of 2002)

11. Promotion of Administrative Justice Amendment Bill, 2002

12. Insolvency Second Amendment Act, 2002 (Act 69 of 2002)

13. Judicial Matters Amendment Act, 2002 (Act 55 of 2002)

14. Administration of Estates Amendment Bill (Moseneke judgment), 2002

B: BILLS BEFORE PARLIAMENT AT END OF 2002 SESSION OF PARLIAMENT TO

BE DEALT WITH DURING THE 2003 SESSION OF PARLIAMENT:

1. Judicial Officers (Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2001 (Emanates from Judicial Officers Bill, 2001)

2. Judicial Conduct Tribunals Bill, 2002 (Emanates from Judicial Officers Bill, 2001)

3. Judicial Service Commission Amendment Bill, 2002 (Emanates from Judicial Officers Bill, 2001)

4. Magistrates Amendment Bill, 2002 (Emanates from Judicial Officers Bill, 2001)

5. Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2002

6. Child Justice Bill, 2002

7. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Third Amendment Bill, 2002 (Limpopo and financial crises in municipalities)

8. Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill (Steyn judgment), 2002

9. Judicial Matters Second Amendment Bill, 2002

10. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Fourth Amendment Bill (crossing)

C: BILLS IDENTIFIED FOR SUBMISSION TO CABINET AND PARLIAMENT

DURING THE 2003 SESSION OF PARLIAMENT WITH THE VIEW TO THE

FINALISATION THEREOF AS SOON AS CIRCUMSTANCES PERMIT:

1. Public Protector Amendment Bill

2. Superior Courts Bill

3. Legal Practice Bill

4. Compulsory HIV Testing of Sexual Offenders Bill

5. Insolvency and Business Recovery Bill (Review of Insolvency Act)

6. International Arbitration Bill

7. Sexual Offences Bill

8. Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill (Appeals on questions of fact)

9. Judicial Matters Amendment Bill (inter alia amendment of provisions dealing with bail)

D: EXTENDED LIST OF BILLS TO BE SUBMITTED TO PARLIAMENT WHEN

THEY ARE READY FOR INTRODUCTION WITH THE VIEW TO THE FINALISATION

THEREOF WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES PERMIT:

1. Magistrates' Courts Amendment Bill (Administration orders) Law Commission

2. Interpretation Bill (Review of existing Act) Law Commission

3. Sharing of Pension Benefits Bill

4. Traditional Courts Bill

5. Application of Customary Law Bill

6. Domestic Arbitration Bill

7. Control of Unreasonable or Oppressive Stipulations in Contracts Bill

8. Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Amendment Bill

9. Access to Minor Children Bill

10. Public interest and Class Actions Bill

11. Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill

12. Extradition Amendment Bill

13. Rules Board for Courts of Law Amendment Bill

14. Publication of Divorce Proceedings Bill

15. (Possible) Prevention of Organised Crime Amendment Bill

16. Customary Law of Succession Amendment Bill

1 7. Out of Court Settlements in Criminal Matters Bill Law Commission

18. Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill (More inquisitorial approach) Law Commission

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