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PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SAFETY AND SECURITY
19 November 2003
FIREARMS CONTROL ACT 2000 DRAFT REGULATIONS: TABLING
Documents handed out:
The Implementation of Firearms Control Act, 2000 - Draft Regulations
The Chair asked members about the problem he had experienced with the Chairperson of the Chairperson of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, Mr J Jele. He had sent frequent letters excusing himself from attending Committee meetings. They suggested that the Minister of Safety and Security should be notified of Mr Jele's behaviour.
The Committee was then briefed on the Draft Regulations to the Firearms Control Act Dr P Jacobs, Assistant Commissioner of the South African Police Service, said that once the Draft Regulation process had been finalised, the Bill could finally be implemented. He proposed that the draft be made available for public comments for the last time and be placed on the websites of the South African Police Service and the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG).
Dr Jacobs said an opportunity for comment on the draft could be granted until 5 January 2004, and those comments could be discussed at the first meeting of the Committee in 2004. If the draft regulations were approved in time, the Firearms Control Act 2000 Regulations would be published on 17 March 2004 and the Act could be promulgated on 1 July 2004.
The Chair expressed his dismay at the conduct of the Chairperson of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, Mr J Jele.
Mr D Gibson (DA) said that as South Africa was a Constitutional Democracy, all politicians were accountable to attend meetings in Parliament. The Chairperson's misconduct was a matter of concern and the DA had continually received letters of complaints about his conduct of authority. He had forwarded a recent letter of complaint to the Chairperson of Committees.
Adv Swart said that he had received numerous calls from people about the "closed door policy of Mr Ngeli". He said that there were constitutional documents that bound the Chairperson to attend meetings.
The Chair agreed and suggested he meet the Minister urgently so that by the following week a decision could be made on how to deal with the negative attitude displayed by the Chairperson
In the following discussion about the Draft Regulations to the Firearms Control Act 2000, Mr A Maziya (ANC) said that the completion of the Draft Regulations should not be delayed so that the Firearms Control Act 2000 could be implemented.
Adv Swart agreed with the proposal for another round of consultation, instead of public hearings, before the draft was finalised. He was however concerned about the dates proposed for comments on the draft (25 November 2003 - 5 January 2004). Most businesses closed at the end of December or even earlier and that 5 January 2004 was too soon for comments to the draft to be completed. He proposed that a provision be made for comments to continue until 15 January 2004.
The Chair felt that the companies had received ample time to view the Regulations and submit comments. The sooner the Act could be implemented, the better.
Mr Pieter Groenewald (FF) commented that he was in favour of a round of consultations with the public. Mr M Booi (ANC) agreed.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) stated that a thorough consultation had already taken place. There had been complaints about crimes and police being killed on duty. Since this was an instrument to help reduce those incidences, the Draft Regulations should be finalised so that the Firearms Control Act 2000 could be implemented.
Mr Maziya said the right to thorough consultation had lapsed during the time that was allocated for comments. Another round of consultations to the public was a privilege and that 1 March 2004 should be the cut-off date.
The Chair told Dr Jacobs that if there were any changes to the deadline dates, the Committee should be notified in time. Everything should be done to ensure that the Firearms Control Act 2000 Regulations were published on 17 March 2004 and the Act be promulgated on 1 July 2004.
The Chair said the Committee should be sensitive to people with genuine concerns about the Regulations but the principle arguments of the many who did not want the Act to be adopted, had to be disallowed.
The meeting was adjourned.
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