Children’s Second Amendment Bill [B14B-2015] & Children’s Amendment Bill [B13B-2015]: Department of Social Development briefing

NCOP Social Services

20 September 2016
Chairperson: Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Social Development briefed the Select Committee on Social Development on proposed amendments to the Children’s Amendment Bill B13-2015 and the Children’s Second Amendment Bill B14-2015. The proposed amendments were the result of over six years of work, inclusive of guidance given from the courts regarding the interpretations and misinterpretations of the clauses. There were a total of seven clauses with proposed amendments to the Children’s Amendment Bill, and a total of five clauses with proposed amendments to the Children’s Second Amendment Bill.

A major change to the Children’s Amendment Bill was a deeming provision that would mark a person’s suitability to work with children. Once someone was found guilty of an offence against children, that person would automatically be deemed as unsuitable to work with children, and such a person’s name would be included on a register. The register was retrospective, in that if such an offence had been committed against a child within the five years preceding the enactment of the amendment, the offender’s name would still be recorded. This was done without a separate application to review the suitability to work with children once the accused was found guilty of an offence against a child, as was currently done. However, the Constitutional Court had advised the Department of Social Development (DSD) that it was unconstitutional to penalise children in the same manner as adults. Hence, if the person who had committed the offence against a child had been a minor him/herself at the time of the offence, he/she could apply for the removal of his/her name from the register of offenders against children.

A major change to the Children’s Second Amendment Bill was the empowering of the head of social development to allow persons in foster or adoptive care to remain in such care beyond the age of 18, up until 21 years, should the person still be in the schooling or training system, whichever came first. Members of the Select Committee queried the relevance of the age limitation to those of poorer backgrounds, because destitute persons were unlikely to have begun school at a young age, and so may need to remain in foster care for a while longer, even if it was in alternative care. Another change concerned the removal of a child without a court order (section 152). The amendment introduces strict timeframes for bringing these cases to court. Clause 1 of the Second Amendment Bill introduces a new function for state social workers. They will be allowed to provide adoption services if they have a specialty in adoptions.

An emphasized concern was the unprecedented workload for state social workers and their preparedness, and even more so, the shortage of social workers nationally. The National Contractor Development Programme (NCDP) had mandated 57 000 social workers for South Africa, but nationally there were approximately only 13000 to 14000 who were employed. The DSD was asked by the Committee how it would resolve the shortage, and which measures would be taken to recruit graduates of social work studies who had been sponsored with bursaries by the DSD. The Committee suggested that the awarding of new bursaries should cease for a period of time, and that those allocated funds should be used for the recruitment of those sponsored graduates so that employment could be guaranteed, since there were currently no funds specifically allocated for the absorption of those trained. Only after this period was over should the DSD continue awarding new bursaries, as it was senseless to perpetuate training with no strategy to employ the recipients when they graduated. 

Meeting report

Mr Thokozani Magwaza, Acting Director General: Department of Social Development (DSD), said the proposed amendments were the result of over six years of work, inclusive of guidance from the courts, dealing with the interpretation and misinterpretation of the Acts’ clauses. 

Mr Siyabonga Shozi, Director: Legal Services, DSD, said that both Bills would be dealt with in one presentation -- first the Children’s Amendment Bill [B13B-2015] and then the Children’s Second Amendment Bill [B14B-2015].

Children’s Amendment Bill B13B-2015

Amendment of section 1 of Act 38 of 2005, as amended by section 3 of Act 41 of 2007.

Clause 1 sought to amend section 1 by:

a) Amendment shall be the insertion of the definition “Constitution” which was previously omitted when the Bill was promulgated. It should now read: “’Constitution’ means the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996;” and

b) The insertion of the definition of the “Sexual offence” as it appears in the Sexual Offences Act, thereby aligning the Children’s Act to the Sexual Offences Act. It should now read: “’sexual offence’ means sexual offence as defined in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007), and any offence of a sexual nature in any other law.” Hence all recognised sexual offences should be covered in the Children’s Act.

Amendment of section 120 of Act 38 of 2005

Clause 2 sought to amend section 120 by:

a) Inserting a new subsection (1A) in order to preclude forums in law from making findings of unsuitability against children. Public consultation and deliberations had highlighted the concern that sometimes there was no adequate legal representation in the forums for children, resulting in the likelihood of children being prejudiced against, especially if the forums were empowered to make a suitability decision against children if they were found to be in conflict with the law by having committed offences against other children. It should now read: “(1A) The provisions of subsection (1)(c) are not applicable to a person who was a child at the time of the commission of the alleged offence.”

b) Substitution for subsection (4) of a new section, thereby creating a deeming provision, which deems persons who are convicted of certain offences against children unsuitable to work with children. This amendment also seeks to make the process of including offenders who are committing certain offences against children easier and quicker. In other words, courts were involved in a two-point process; the first was to find the accused guilty of the offence, and secondly a separate enquiry would be opened to deem the accused suitable or unsuitable to work with children. This new deeming process ensured that once one was found guilty of certain offences against children, one would automatically be deemed unsuitable to work with children.

c) Inserting a new section (4A), which provides a separate procedure for finding persons who committed certain offences against children while they were minors themselves, unsuitable to work with children, since the Constitutional Court had explained that it was unconstitutional to deal with children in the same way adults were dealt with. Thus, even though the deeming provision exists, child offenders would still be dealt with differently, because an enquiry would still need to be opened and this would grant the child offender an opportunity to represent why his/her name should not be included in the register.  

d) By the substitution for subsection (5) of a new subsection to:

  1. Create a deeming provision against any person who had been convicted of an offence contemplated in subsection (4)(a), whether committed in or outside the Republic during the five years preceding the commencement of this Chapter; and
  2. Create an exception to the deeming provision in favour of persons who were children when such offences were committed against children.

In other words, it dealt with historical offences and it would be introducing the same human provisions that sub-section four had, such as the same exception of (4)(a) of child offenders in sub-section (5). It would be substituted by: “(5) Any person who has been convicted of an offence contemplated in sub-section (4)(a), whether committed in or outside the Republic during five years preceding the commencement of this Chapter, is deemed to be unsuitable to work with children unless such person was a child at the time of the commission of the offence.”

Amendment of section 122 of Act 38 of 2005
Clause 3 sought to amend section 122 by inserting a new section (1A) which placed an obligation on the Commissioner of the South African Police Service to forward to the Director-General particulars of persons convicted of offences against children contemplated in section 120 (4). Since there was currently no obligation, it had limited the source of required information for the DSD.

Amendment of section 128 of Act 38 of 2005
Clause 4 seeks to amend section 128, thereby giving persons whose particulars were part of the register and who were under the age of 18 years when the offence in respect of which a finding had been made, an opportunity to apply to the court for the removal of their particulars from the Register, as this was also the result of another Constitutional Court judgment.  

Amendment of section 150 of Act 38 of 2005
Clause 5 sought to amend section 150 by substituting the phrase “without visible means of support” with the following phrase: “does not have the ability to support himself or herself and such inability is readily apparent’’. This was also informed by a decision of the Constitutional Court, in order to make a decision if such a child was still in need of support and protection and could further be included in the foster care system.

Insertion of section 152A in Act 38 of 2005
Clause 5 sought to insert a new section 152A that provided guidance for the presiding officers when reviewing an order issued in terms of section 152 (2)(c). The clause outlined different orders which presiding officers may issue when reviewing an order to remove a child.

Amendment of section 230 of Act 38 of 2005
Clause 9 sought to amend section 230 by: adding two categories of adoptive children that were previously omitted in 2005. It would now include: “(f) the child is the stepchild of the person intending to adopt; or (g) the child’s parent or guardian has consented to the adoption unless consent is not required.” 

Amendment of section 242 of 38 of 2005
Clause 10 sought to amend section 242 by adding paragraph (e), which was aimed at correcting an unintended consequence of a divorce order. In the past, a divorce order would terminate the legal rights of a biological parent, should the life-partner or new spouse of the other biological parent to whom was granted custody, be warranted rights of adoption. It should now read: “(e) does not automatically terminate all parental responsibilities and rights of the parent of a child, when an adoption order is granted in favour of the spouse or permanent domestic life-partner of that parent.”

Children’s Second Amendment Bill B14B-2015

Amendment of section 1

Clause 1 sought to amend section 1 by:

(a) Extending the definition of “adoption social worker” so as to include social workers in the employ of the State. The aim was to expand the definition, so that the State would also be able to provide adoption services, as it currently was not allowed to.

(b) Inserting the definitions of (i) “college”, (ii) “grade 12” and (iii)“higher education”.

Amendment of section 151 of Act 38 of 2005

Clause 2 sought to amend section 151 by:

(a) The substitution for sub-section 2 of a new sub-section, to clarify that an order issued under this section 151 was an interim order.

(b) The insertion after subsection 2 of a new subsection 2A, introducing a new safeguard and process, which was the referral of the matter of the child’s removal to a designated social worker who must:

  1. Ensure that an order in terms of 151 (2) is review before the expiry of the next court day; and

(ii)         That the parent, guardian or caregiver of the child concerned is present in court during the review.

These were informed by judgments made by the Constitutional Court as well.

Amendment of section 152 of Act 38 of 2005

Clause 3 sought to amend section 152 by:

(a) The substitution for paragraph (c) by a new paragraph to stipulate the timeframe within which removal of the child must be reported by the social worker to the Head of Social Development (HoSD) and also to enjoin the social worker to disclose to the HoSD the place to which the child has been removed;

(b) Addition of a new paragraph (d) which placed an obligation on the social worker to ensure that:

(i) The removal of the child is judicially reviewed before the expiry of the next court day following the referral;

(ii) The parent, guardian or caregiver attends court for the review.

(iii) The investigation contemplated in section 155(2) is conducted.

The difference between 151 and 152 was that 151 entailed the removal of the child with a court order and had warranted the parties to represent themselves at court, but 152 permitted the removal of the child without a court order, because there had been urgent situations in the past that had required immediate intervention.

Amendment of section 171 of Act 38 of 2005

Clause 4 seeks to amend section 171 by inserting a new subsection 1A to empower the provincial Head of Department (HOD) to be able to transfer in writing a person referred to in section 176(2) from one form of alternative care to another form of alternative care.

Amendment of section 176 of Act 38 of 2005

Clause 5 sought to amend section 176 by:

  1. Empowering the HOD to allow a person placed in alternative care while a child, to remain in alternative care beyond the age of 18 years in order to complete grade 12, college education, higher education, internship or learnership.
  2. Setting out the procedure to be followed when applying for permission to remain in alternative care. 

Mr Shozi concluded that the proposed amendments to section 150, 151 and 152 emanated from court judgments which were already in force and being implemented. Thus, the DSD would not require additional funding for their implementation. The other proposed amendments were of a technical nature. The DSD would utilise the existing budget allocations and personnel for implementation of the new amendments.

Regarding adoption, the DSD was currently rolling out training to government social workers to ensure that they would be capacitated and prepared to provide national and inter-country adoption services, once the amendments were promulgated. It was recommended that the Select Committee took note of, and would provide concurrence to, the Children’s Amendment Bill and the Children’s Second Amendment Bill.

Discussion
Ms L Zwane (ANC, Kwazulu-Natal) queried if clause 5 to amend section 176 of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill, was not too open-ended. What if such a child had still not completed his/her studies, but was 30 years of age?

Mr M Khawula (IFP, Kwazulu-Natal) queried the practicality of clause 2 of section 120 of the Children’s Amendment Bill in relation to sexual harassment encountered in the school environment.

Ms T Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) queried why the term ‘temporary safe care’ was no longer technically used, but replaced by the term ‘alternative care’ instead in clause 4 of section 171 for the Children’s Second Amendment Bill. The substitution for the sub-section would now read as the following, with the words in bold to be deleted and the words underlined to be added: “(1) The provincial head of social development in the relevant province may, subject to subsection (5), [by order] transfer in writing [transfer] a child in alternative care [from the child and youth care centre or person in whose care or temporary safe care that child has been placed to any other child and youth care centre or person] from one form of alternative care to another.” Why had the word ‘safe’ been omitted, and why was the term ‘alternative care’ not elaborated on?

Mr Khawula expanded further on his question, saying that the amendment had seemed to focus on social workers who worked with children, but had not included the possibility of sexual offences at educational institutions.

A Member questioned what was meant by historical offences, as cited with the amendment of section 120 of the Children’s Amendment Bill. Also, clause 2 of section 151 of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill referred to an ‘interim’ order, which meant it would not be permanent, so what was expected next?

The Chairperson wanted confirmation if the relevant departments, other than the DSD, would do the implementation of the amendments -- for instance, the Department of Justice. Even though it had been indicated that no budget implications would occur, it should be noted that government social workers operated at the provincial level, so it would be inevitable that provincial budgets would be affected. Were there currently sufficient government social workers, and would they cope with the additional workload, considering clause 1 of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill? Another challenge was how the backlog of adoptions would be addressed, because the process from fostering to adoption was quite long.

Mr Shozi answered that clause 5 of section of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill was not open-ended, because the age limitation was 21 years. The proposed amendments to clause 2 of section 120 did not focus only on social workers who worked with children, but actually highlighted possible teacher abuse too. In fact, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) was a Council that dealt with sexual offences between teacher and child, and it would need to resort to the Bill as well. ‘Historical offences,’ as referenced for section 120, subsection 5 of the Children’s Amendment Bill, was retrospective, in that if a person had committed an offence or murder against a child during the five years preceding its enactment, that person would automatically be deemed unsuitable to work with children.

The interim order that clause 2 of section 151 of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill could be explained as follows: if one approached the court for the first time, the court would give one an interim order date, but the social worker should submit the matter for review before the next date had expired, so that the court could have an opportunity to review the matter before the next expiry date, and either confirm or dismiss the interim order. One could rest assured that consultations with sister departments were done intensively.

The amendment of clause 1 of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill would incorporate state adoption social workers who would be providing a service to the community that the state was meant to. There were previously constraints, because the access of adoption processes had been limited to only private social workers.

The Chairperson advised that provision for the provinces should be made. The age restriction of 21 years would not be viable for children who came from poor backgrounds, because many of them did not start school at a young age. What would be the consequences for those aged 21, who were still in the school system, but were asked to leave? That would be the time that they required support the most, so they could not be abandoned then. Would they be placed in alternative accommodation? Also, what exactly did the ‘lack of financial implications’ mean?

Mr Khawula asked what the legal definition of a child was.

Mr Shozi replied that no financial implications would occur for the implementation of the proposed amendments to section 150, 151 and 152, because they had emanated from court judgments, which were in force and so being implemented. However, there would be unprecedented costs regarding the involvement of state social workers in the adoption process, because they had been previously excluded from the adoption process. The new expense would primarily be for the training of the provincial social workers. The legal definition of a child was any person below the age of 18 years.

The Chairperson said that destitute persons were not able to care for themselves by the age of 18 years, neither were they prepared for life by age 21, hence the concern about the age limitation for those in foster care at the age of 21, because they may not be ready by then. A link with other Acts should perhaps be made. 

Mr Khawula said that yesterday (15 September), approximately 20 000 social workers had marched to the Union Buildings to see the Office of the Presidency and Treasury regarding their issues, and one of the concerns had been the lack of adequate budget. There were financial measures that the DSD had taken in the interim to absorb social workers, but the increased absorption had been subject to National Treasury granting the DSD more funds. NSFAS was responsible for allocating R200 million in bursaries for candidates that had applied through DSD for social work studies. DSD had requested of NSFAS to reduce the intake of new candidates for bursaries, and to grant the money for DSD to use for the employment of social work graduates instead. Even though R200 million would not take the vision far, it would assist with recruiting social workers, as opposed to merely funding their studies. The motivation behind this was that the National Contractor Development Programme (NCDP) had mandated about 57 000 social workers nation-wide, but the country had only about 13 000 to 14 000 of them employed. The outcry and memorandum from social workers was that they were not treated like other social service workers, such as educators and nurses, and these were cumbersome challenges that the DSD had had to resolve, especially since it was said that social workers were not treated as an important social service rendered by the government. Even though the sole mandate of employment creation was not within the scope of work of the DSD, ultimately it did become an indirect responsibility if recruitment of those who had been trained was not catered for. Therefore, the DSD had requested of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development to ask Treasury to increase the allocated budget, and would appreciate it if the Select Committee would do the same.


Ms Musa Ngcobo-Mbere, Acting Deputy Director General: Welfare Services, DSD, addressed the issue of foster care backlog. There was a two-phase process, of which phase one had been completed and phase two was currently being conducted. Both phases had been given targets. The Minister of Social Development had appointed a committee to deal specifically with hotspots within the backlog of the foster care system in the country. The backlog had to a large extent been reduced, but it was being found that the targets were ‘moving targets’, because as soon as one matter was resolved, more children would be introduced to the system.

Regarding the extended Child Support Grant (CSG), it was hoped that foster care would be handled differently, because some cases were not traditional foster care services, but derived from family members fostering orphans in their family. In fact, 80% of South African children in foster care were in a family-related foster care system. Yet according to the Children’s Act, children who were in family-related foster care were meant to stay in such care on a permanent basis until the age of 18 years. However, evidence had shown that the provinces were not enforcing it. Even presiding officers were reluctant to place children in the permanent care of family members, because it had not necessarily meant that the children were in safe care. Therefore, safety was a challenge for permanent placement, and was the cause of the provinces holding a review every two years to decide if the foster children were to remain in their allocated foster care.

It should be highlighted that once children were placed in permanent foster care, they were still monitored. The DSD had therefore suggested that the auxiliary social workers should assist with the monitoring workload, while the social workers would focus on the placement of children and their court cases. The DSD had also encouraged the legal adoption of children in the foster care system, because it would help reduce the backlog. In fact, many fostered children in South Africa were informally adopted, especially if the child was raised by the foster parent/s from infancy until 18 years of age, because adoption was assumed and the child was deemed as a legitimate family member. However, the adoption process was not formalised, and so in the event of death of the foster parent/s that particular child would have no legal rights of ownership. However, since the bond and attachment already existed, the legality of adoption to advantage the fostered child was encouraged, and it would benefit the adopting families to be eligible for the relevant social grants and other packages -- for instance, adopted children could attend a no-fee school. It was understood that culturally, children had been fostered or informally adopted for decades, and formalised adoption was considered a Western phenomenon, but to legally protect the children, it should become imperative that formal adoption took place.

The Chairperson commented that the two-year review to decide between continued temporary and permanent accommodation was a matter that had needed to be addressed to the provinces. One concern was the example of a grandfather who had done the right thing and had legally adopted his six grandchildren. As a result, he had received the grants for them. However, he had been under the impression that the grant money had belonged to him for looking after them, and had not been allocated for their needs. Thus, when the children had asked for money for toiletries or cosmetics, they had been refused, although the children had known that he had received money for their welfare. What would be done in a situation like that? Perhaps the misuse of grants had been the motivation for the reluctance of the provinces to change a temporary foster situation to a permanent adoption, and would prefer the two-year review. If so, the DSD should address those prospective challenges with possible resolutions or intervention measures when informing the Provinces.

Ms B Engelbreacht (DA, Gauteng) queried the statement that the NCDP had mandated 57 000 social workers nation-wide, yet only 13 000 to 14000 were employed. What was DSD doing to change the situation for recruitment to make up for the shortage of social workers in the system? What was DSD doing to stimulate more auxiliary social workers as well? 

Mr A Sarupen (DA, Gauteng Provincial Legislature) commented that the provinces were given budgets to ensure that bursaries were granted for students of social work. Yet it had been witnessed in two provinces that subsequently they had not budgeted to absorb the social work graduates into the system. Since bursaries and training had been given, but because no budget for their recruitment had been made, it would ultimately impact on the overall implementation of some of the Bills and service delivery. Thus, when addressing the shortage of social workers, this maladministration of budgeting should be taken into consideration.

What had been the rationale behind Clause 4 to amend section 171 of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill? An insertion had been: (f) by the substitution for the subsection (5) of the following subsection: “(5) If the provincial head of social development transfers a child or a person referred to in section 176(2) from a [secure care child and youth care centre] more restrictive form of alternative care to a less restrictive [child and youth care centre or to the care of a person] form of alternative care, the provincial head of social development must be satisfied that the transfer will not be prejudicial to other children in the less restrictive alternative care.” What would constitute as the circumstance of ‘restrictive care’, and why had it been inserted as an amendment?

The Chairperson commented that the issue of lack of absorption of social workers into the system after graduation was a matter of poor planning. The need for more funds could be communicated to Treasure, but this could prove futile if the social workers were educated, but unemployed. It should be better planned, so that those who received bursaries were budgeted for recruitment as well. This could be achieved if, for a period of time, training and bursaries ceased and the funds allocated to them were utilised for employment instead. The Treasury could increase the budget of the DSD, but ultimately it would not be enough, because the poor planning may cause problems for Treasury later on.

Mr Magwaza replied that the issue of social workers had become a challenge, because when democracy had begun there had been sufficient money for the noble plans that the government had, and people were trained and recruited into the system. It should be remembered that the social work degree was a four-year course. Just because current graduates were not being recruited, it did not mean that the first and second year students could be left abandoned of sponsorship. The problem arose when midway, National Treasury cut the funds that had allowed recruitment, but maintained the funding of bursaries. The planning had been good, because a conscientious decision had been made to continue training social workers to meet the national target and address the shortage. Economic issues had impacted on the ability to recruit those trained. One avenue of resolution was the savings of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), and another was to stop the granting bursaries and utilizing those funds for the employment of graduates instead. However, if the intake of bursaries was, hypothetically, stopped for 2017 for  first year students, the other fourth, third and second year students would still require their studies to be sponsored, because the DSD was obligated to carry their funding through to its completion. Planning should not be conducted as though funding would always be limited. Many avenues were being looked at to resolve the issue of limited funding, inclusive of talks with SASSA and the Department of Education, to incorporate social workers into the schooling system again.

Ms Ngcobo-Mbere said that the DSD had conducted a study on the issue of attending to the needs of children, and the study had confirmed that there were enough social service workers on the ground, inclusive of social workers. The DSD at the provincial level would therefore want to optimise the workforce, ensure a clear role clarification, and assist the social workers to do the work, resulting in teamwork between the primary and auxiliary social workers, and neither would work in isolation.

To explain the rationale for the ‘restrictive’ and ‘less restrictive’ amendment behind the clause 4 to amend section 171 of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill, when the Children’s Amendment Act had been ratified, the system of ‘child and youth care centres’ had been created. It could have been a temporary safe care centre, a childrens’ home, a school of industry or school of performance. The child was meant to have been assessed and appropriately placed when introduced he/she would be appropriately relocated. The programmes would then provide for the child which various youth care centres had to offer. Therefore, the child was meant to work with social workers, both inside and outside the system, who would both assess and move the child as required, so that once the child came out of the child and youth centre, the child would be ready to be accepted by the community and the allocated family.

It should be clarified that permanent placement had not meant that the child was permanently left with the designated family and no monitoring had occurred. For instance, in the example that the Chairperson had used, an auxiliary social worker was meant to have supervised the family and the children should have been able to have complained that they had been denied their social grant for their toiletry needs, and so the social worker could have intervened in the situation of the misused grant. If a change of placement needed to occur, even after adoption, the social worker was meant to investigate and recommend to the court the need for the relocation of the child. The Court order was not meant to come to an end after two years, which entailed a return to court to renew it, because renewal was applicable if conflict had existed.

The Chairperson commented that it had been said that social workers had felt that they were not treated as importantly as other social service workers, and perhaps that could be the reason why they did not appear to supervise as assuredly as they should. Also, it had been said that there was a backlog of about 43 000 social workers nationally, and the question had been how the discrepancy of demand could be met with supply. Yet the Acting Director General: Welfare Services had just said that there were sufficient personnel on the ground, which was a direct contradiction. If there were sufficient social services personnel, why were so many more social workers being trained? The points highlighted should be resolved by the DSD before the amendments to the Bills were ratified.

The Committee Secretary noted that the Select Committee would brief the Provinces between 2 and 4 November to deliberate the amendments of the Children’s Second Amendment Bill. Public hearings would be held in the provinces for two weeks, from 8 November and 14 November.  The final meetings would be in the weeks of 22 and 29 November. In addition to the public hearings in the provinces, Parliament had given Committees a mandate, whereby all proposed bills and amendments should be advertised in newspapers, other print media, on the Parliamentary website as well as in social media, to provoke public participation.

The Chairperson asked if DSD had personnel in all of the nine provinces to support the relevant Committee Members.

Advocate Nkosinathi Dladla, Chief Director: Legal Services, DSD, assured the Committee that the legal services division would provide support to the Select Committee Members when they went to the provinces regarding the implementation of the amendments of the Bills.

The Chairperson asked that the legal personnel who would be giving the support should be well capacitated regarding the subject matter, and preferably specialists in the field, because it reflected badly on MPs if educated, but ill-informed individuals, were advising them. The MPs were responsible for the political implications, but the legal personnel should know the technical implications. Once the Provinces had confirmed the dates, these would be communicated to the DSD.

Adv Dladla assured the Chairperson that quality legal service would be guaranteed.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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