The Standing Committee on Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport met to discuss the process for dealing with the Customary Initiation Bill and Customary Marriage Amendment Bill. Members agreed to set aside 23 September 2020 for virtual public hearings on the Bills. The final day for making written submissions would be 28 September 2020.
The Chairperson stated the Committee would be conducting virtual public hearings on the Customary Initiation Bill and Customary Marriages Amendment Bill. Advertisements would be placed in regional and community newspapers and social media. The Committee would engage with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, municipalities and relevant Members of Parliament so that they could distribute information about the public hearings to their constituencies. He said he would inform the relevant Select Committee of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) that the Committee would submit its negotiating mandate during the first week of October 2020.
Mr G Bosman (DA) wanted to know if the Members had to decide immediately on the date for the public hearings.
Ms L Botha (DA) suggested the Chairperson and the procedural officers should proceed with the logistics for the public hearing.
Mr Ben Daza, senior procedural officer, advised the Committee to take a collective decision about the date of the public hearing. The date of the hearing and deadline for written submissions should be included in the advertisement.
Mr P Marais (FF) reminded Members they were dealing with customary law. Public hearings should involve communities that were most affected by the Bills. Some people were not affected by customary law and would not understand the implications of the Bills. It was important to listen to black communities and get their opinions on the matter because this law was not of general application, but of particular application.
The Chairperson stated it was important not to preempt what the comments and inputs would be. The date for the virtual hearing would be within the parliamentary constituency period. He suggested 28 September 2020 for the virtual hearing and 30 September 2020 as the deadline for written submissions.
Ms Botha indicated 28 September had been set aside for an oversight visit by the Committee.
The Committee then unanimously agreed that 23 September 2020 should be the date for the virtual hearing from 09h00 to 13h00. The deadline for written comments and submissions would be 28 September 2020.
Mr Daza wondered if smaller community newspapers would be considered for the placement of advertisements. The Saturday Argus and Weekend Burger were the newspapers that were usually used for reaching the whole province. He said the Department of Social Development had in the past used these two major newspapers for placement of advertisements.
Ms Botha said the Committee should identify dominant newspapers that were read in the districts.
Mr Marais added that advertisements should be in the three official languages of the Western Cape. The Committee should think of people who did not speak English.
Mr Bosman suggested the procedural officer should engage with the Department of Social Development about reaching the broader masses and resolving the language issue.
Mr Daza indicated all the advertisements would be in the three official languages of the province. The Vukani newspaper would also be considered for the placement of the advertisements.
The Chairperson said he would try to contact the chairperson of the NCOP Select Committee dealing with the Customary Initiation Bill and would inform the Committee Members of the outcome of the communication.
The meeting was adjourned.
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