Election of Chairperson; Draft Committee Programme

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Justice and Correctional Services

02 July 2019
Chairperson: Mr G Magwanishe (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee congratulated the Chairperson on his election, and proceeded to consider its approach to handling the programmes of the Sixth Parliament.

Members agreed that the Committee should ensure the integrity and functionality of the justice system to gain the confidence of the entire public. Sub-committees should be created to deal effectively with the Committee’s massive workload. It should come up with clear-cut programmes in the medium term to prevent a backlog and unnecessary complications. All Members should be aware of all correspondence with the Committee so they could collectively take unanimous decisions on the matters raised. The Committee should ensure that the Executive performed its duties, especially in respect of amendments, or proposals of amendments, to all Constitutional Court judgments of concern. All Committee meetings should receive adequate media coverage.

The Committee would develop medium-term programmes after a briefing by key role players. It was agreed that the creation of sub-committees was laudable and acceptable, provided the Portfolio Committee itself was actively in charge of them. The Chairperson should work with the Speaker of the House on matters relating to the Executive.

Meeting report

A Member congratulated Mr G Magwanishe (ANC) on his election as Chairperson of the Committee. He said there were mixed feelings within society regarding the justice system of South Africa. The Committee, led by the Chairperson, must therefore formulate policies and measures that ensured the entire society had confidence in the justice system. It also had to ensure the functionality and consistency of the government.

Mr S Swart (ACDP) also congratulated Mr Magwanishe on his election, and directed the Committee's attention to its workload/programmes and the possibility of having sub-committees to ensure their effective execution. He pointed out that other committees, such as the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) had sub-committees, especially when the workload was massive. The Committee should meet to discuss the Budget Vote Report before the Budget debate was held on 16 and 17 July. He suggested that the Committee give ample time for various governmental entities to make presentations before it. This would give it the opportunity for active and effective engagements. He drew the Committee's attention to the meeting scheduled for 3 July, where the Minister of the Department of Justice and Correctional Services would present various bills to the Members. The Committee should be meticulous in the consideration of the bills, and revisions should be made where necessary.

Mr W Horn (DA) supported Mr Swart's suggestion on the creation of sub-committees to handle specific Committee programmes. He lamented the lack of clear-cut medium-term programmes as one of the shortcomings of the Fifth Parliament, which had caused a backlog and the transfer of left-over programmes to the Sixth Parliament. The current Parliament should avoid this anomaly in order to function optimally. He urged the Chairperson to handle the correspondence of the Committee correctly, and should actively inform all Members. This would allow them to subsequently take unanimous decisions on all correspondence. This was in line with the principle of best practice.

Mr R Dyantyi (ANC) supported the proposal that the Committee should schedule a date to discuss the budget of the Department. He also endorsed the establishment of sub-committees to deal with the workload, provided they were effectively controlled and managed by the Portfolio Committee. He cautioned, however, that minority parties may be disadvantaged if sub-committees were formed. In response to the perspectives of Mr Swart and Mr Horn on the programme of action, he said that the Committee would come up with its programmes after the Minister's address, as well as media reports.

Adv G Breytenbach (DA) also congratulated Mr Magwanishe on his election as Chairperson, and supported Mr Swart's opinion on the establishment of sub-committees. The Committee must be meticulous during its interactions with various entities, considering the fact there were new officials at the helm of affairs and there were serious matters to resolve in certain instances.

Mr Swart expressed concern about some Constitutional Court judgments, and suggested that the Committee should be able to amend or propose amendments to them. It should ensure that the Executive made effective and timely decisions to correct some of the anomalies associated with Constitutional Court judgments. He urged the Committee to develop a working relationship with the Chief Justice in order to address some of the challenges and restore the public's confidence in the Committee, as well as the justice system.

Mr Dyantyi suggested that the Chairperson liaise with the Speaker of the House on matters relating to the Executive.

Adv Breytenbach said that Committee should look for more a appropriate venue for the meeting.

Mr Swart said Committee meetings should receive adequate media coverage and should be televised, as matters discussed would be of national interest.

Chairperson’s response

The Chairperson commented that all Members were in agreement regarding major matters that affected the work of the Committee. He agreed with the creation of sub-committees to deal with specific issues. He promised to consider all inputs from the Members to ensure optimal performance of the Committee.

He said that the Committee would come up with programmes for the rest of the year after being briefed by role players. It would meet to consider the Budget Vote Report before the Budget debate was held. It would take the matter of correspondence seriously in order to engage actively with every Member. He encouraged all the Members to prepare for the hard work the Committee had ahead. 

He promised to consider all inputs from Members.

The meeting was adjourned



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