Cybercrimes Bill: Finalisation; Committee Programme

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Justice and Correctional Services

04 November 2020
Chairperson: Mr G Magwanishe (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

 17 Jun 2020

ATC200617: Report of the Select Committee on Security and Justice on the Cybercrimes Bill [B 6B – 2017] (National Assembly – sec 75) (introduced as Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill [B 6 – 2017]), dated 11 June 2020

07 Nov 2018

ATC181107: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill [B 6-2017] (National Assembly – section 75), dated 7 November 2018

In this virtual meeting, the Committee on Justice met to consider the Amendments made to the Cybercrime Bill by the National Council of Provinces. The Amendments were presented by the Legal Advisors from Parliament and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

As the Committee had already voted on the Bill, the intention of the meeting was to determine whether, after the corrections made the officials, the Bill was in line with what the Committee had voted for. The Committee determined that for the sake of integrity, diligence and its commitment to the legislative process, the legal advisors should appraise Members of every single amendment, both substantive and non-substantive.

The most significant amendments related to improved definitions that had been discussed at the public hearings held by the National Council of Provinces. The intention was to make definitions clearer and more specific so that no misinterpretation could arise. A significant amendment, although it did not change the content of the Bill, was to clause 16. The Amendment also resulted in many consequential amendments. At the NCOP public hearing, many inputs raised the matter of gender-based cybercrimes. Intimate images on cyber were intimately linked with gender-based violence in the modern climate. Non-binary phrases referring to a “person” were introduced in order not to link the conditions of the Bill to a specific gender. The NCOP requested that the Bill be more inclusive rather than referring only to “he” or “she”, especially when it came to genital parts. For example, the clause referred to “a female person, transgender person or intersex person” and to “they” or “them”. It was intended to be fully inclusive. The Act would be the first ever non-binary Act.

Generally, amendments tended to be grammatical or technical with the main intention being to make the Bill more readable, to improve clarity and to avoid any misinterpretation. The Committee approved the amendments and declared the Bill ready for presentation in the National Assembly.

The meeting concluded with Committee business discussions in an attempt to find time for the three Bills awaiting the Committee’s attention.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson greeted the Committee Members and the presenters.  The Committee would be dealing with the Cybercrimes Bill. The intention was to check that there had been no substantive changes to the Bill as a result of technical amendments made by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The Committee needed to ensure that the Bill was substantially the same Bill that the Committee had approved before it had gone to the NCOP. He hoped that it would be ready for programming in the House the following week. The delay had been due to a lot of technical issues, language corrections and problems with the printer but the Committee was duty-bound to take a re-look at the Bill to ensure that it was still in line with the Bill that the Committee had agreed on.
The Chairperson noted that the second item was the Committee Programme that had been discussed the previous day but Members had required time to reflect on some of the important matters. The intention was to adopt the programme at the meeting.
The agenda was adopted by the Committee.
Discussion relating to the process for approving the final copy of the Cybercrimes Bill
The Chairperson took the Bill as read as Members had agreed to read the Bill prior to the meeting. He indicated that he would go page-by-page to determine whether or not the Bill was correct. If not, the Committee would determine a programme of action. If the Bill was fine, it would go to the Programming Committee.
Mr W Horn (DA) stated that, as a general point of reference, he was happy to check the layout of the document and the misprints, errors, etc. but when the Committee had voted in favour of approving the amendments made by the NCOP, no one was able to provide a detailed document on the amendments that the NCOP had made so that the Members could see what the Bill looked like as a result of the amendments made.  It was the first time that he had dealt with such a situation. It would be very difficult to go through a 60+ page document and determine whether it contained all the amendments that the Committee had agreed to propose to the National Assembly for adoption. He was not sure whether he was just checking grammatical format. That he could do but he was not in a position to agree that the document contained the NCOP amendments unless he was furnished with a document from the NCOP.
He admitted that it was a difficult situation and the Committee would have to decide whether or not to take the officials on their word that all the amendments had been effected. However, if it was the duty of the Committee Members to check the document, Members would have to sit with two documents and check line-by-line.
The Chairperson asked whether Mr Horn was saying that the Committee should rely on the officials to have effected all amendments.
Mr Horn stated that the situation had to be debated. He asked whether it would be a proper reflection of the Members’ duties in that regard. He added that he was not in a position to compare the changes made by the NCOP as he did not have a document showing those changes. He felt some discomfort in putting all his faith in the officials.
Adv G Breytenbach (DA) supported the points made by Mr Horn. She made it clear that her position was no reflection on the competency of Adv Sarel Robbertse, Legal Advisor at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD). She trusted him implicitly but the Committee could not devolve responsibility for the Bill, nor could the Committee blame anyone else if something went wrong with the Bill. The Committee was responsible for dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s.
Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) suggested that Dr Barbara Loots, Legal Advisor in the parliamentary Office for Constitutional and Legal Services (OCLS), should indicate the changes that had been made to the Bill and that Members could check those against the final version of the Bill.
The Chairperson agreed that it would be useful for Dr Loots to take the Committee through the changes because she had been involved in working on the Bill. Adv Sarel Robbertse was also in attendance and could assist.
The Committee agreed to the proposal.
Dr Loots explained that Adv Robbertse could inform Members of policy-related amendments while she could say which clauses had been opened by the NCOP. She could focus on the areas that the NCOP had worked on. Adv Robbertse could offer some inputs.
The Chairperson suggested that Ms Loots lead the discussion.
Dr Loots emailed a copy of the Bill containing highlighted clauses, showing the changes made, to the Secretary to flight on the screen.
Dr W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) asked exactly what was expected of the Committee following the changes by the NCOP. What was the process?
Dr Loots noted that it was a section 75 Bill and for that reason, no C-list or D-Bill came from the NCOP Committee. The NCOP had sent a report with the clauses with which it was unhappy and recommendations for changes. With that request, a mandate was received by OCLS to develop a D-Bill containing those clauses. That was the product emailed to Members by the Secretary. The Office had tried as best it could to make the adaptations requested by the NCOP. As a section 75 Bill, the final decision rested with the Portfolio Committee.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had already voted on the Bill and so the intention of the meeting was to determine whether the corrections made by the officials were in line with what the Committee had voted for.
Presentation of the Cybercrime Bill
Using a copy of the Bill in which the changes requested by the NCOP had been highlighted as the working document, Dr Loots showed Committee Members where amendments had been made to the original Bill approved by the Committee. She assured the Committee that the cosmetics had not altered the meaning in any way.
Clause 1
Following public input, the word “article” was expanded to include everything relevant to the word, e.g. data, data storage, computer programme, etc. and did not unintentionally exclude a scenario. The word “article” was then contextualised to show the connectedness of such material.
The inclusion of the definition of Constitution was for plain language purposes and to make the Bill more readable by avoiding the need to repeat the full Constitution each time.
Subclauses 1.4, 1.5, 1 6, 1.7, 1.8
The definitions relating to electronic communications were refined to align with the Electronic Communications Act, following a request by such services providers at the NCOP public hearings (see here and here) as they needed more clarity as to what their roles were and what their obligations were in terms of the Act.
Subclause 1.17: “Responsible Party” required greater clarity to provide certainty of scope and so was linked to the definition in the SAPS 1995 Act. In terms of the Cybercrimes Act, SA police officials play a significant role in the enforcing of the Act. The proposal clarity was made by SAPS during the public comments process.
Subclause 1.20
A “specifically designated police official” was added. In paragraph (c ) “from the designated judge” was changed to “of the designated judge” as that was the correct legal terminology.
Subclause 1.21(2)
The change was to make it clear that specific sections of the Cybercrimes Act had to be read within the context of the Protection of Personal Information Act. The intention was to clarify the scope.
Clause 2
Subclause 2.2:“Unlawful Access”: the NCOP found the phrasing confusing, so a grammatical change was made to the clause. “Unlawful access” was clarified but there was no substantive change to the clause.
Clause 3
Subclauses 3(2) and (3): The subclauses were amended to bring clarity and to contextualise who the subject was. The drafting principle was to indicate who was responsible first – then the state the act – and then the consequence for wrong doing. The clauses were re-written to follow that sequence. At the end of subclauses (2) and (3), it was eventually clear whether a person could be found guilty or not.
Clause 4
Section 2(1) or (2) – throughout the Act the pronouns “he” and “she” had to be changed and made non-binary. The Act would be the first ever non-binary Act. It was the first Bill in Parliament that addressed the gender issue. The Act was intended to be inclusive and referred to male, female or transgender persons.
Clause 5
After line 54, a final line was inserted to assist with the phrasing of the clause: ‘‘held in a computer system or a computer data storage medium.’’
Clause 6
Subclause (2) was a definition that was added for purposes of that section only as the NCOP called for clarity. Confidentiality of information was critical.
Clause 7
Subclause 7(3): a definition specific to that section regarding passwords, etc. was added.
Adv Robbertse said the definitions were in the B-Bill but the NCOP required greater clarity and to facilitate reading of the clause, but the definitions did not add anything different to what was in the original clause approved by the Portfolio Committee.
Dr Loots concurred that plain language was used to ensure that there was no room for misinterpretation.
Clause 8
Dr Loots noted that clause 8 was rephrased to ensure readability and clarity.
Clause 10
Clause 10 was rephrased to ensure readability and clarity and to leave as little as possible for misinterpretation.
Clause 11
Clause 11 was rephrased to ensure readability and clarity.
Clause 13
A definition of “disclose” was added for clarity but was applicable to subclauses (a), (b) and (c) in that section only as, during public hearings, it was determined that the clause was unclear about the required disclosure.
Clause 14
The clause related to the understanding of “disclosure” was restructured for readability.
Clause 15
Subclauses (a) and (b) relating to damage to property were restructured to use the word “disclosure” and to improve readability.
Clause 16
Clause 16 was a contentious clause that had been changed from the B-Bill version approved by the Portfolio Committee. At the NCOP public hearings, many inputs had raised the matter of gender-based cybercrimes. Intimate images on cyber were intimately linked with gender-based violence in the modern climate. Non-binary phrases referring to a “person” were introduced in order not to link the conditions of the Bill to a specific gender. The NCOP requested that the Bill be more inclusive rather than referring only to “he” or “she” when it came to genital parts. For example, the clause referred to “a female person, transgender person or intersex person” and to “they” or “them”.
Consequential amendments were made throughout the Bill to accommodate the non-binary approach.
Clause 18
The clause was restructured using inclusive gender phrasing.
Clause 19
Correction of spelling error: “find” corrected to “fine” and restructured for readability
Clause 20
Dr Loots stated that there was a great deal of input from the Department as to how the clause and subsequent clauses be written. The Department had required that amendments be informed by the policy.
Adv Robbertse stated that there had been concerns raised that information was stored on data information systems. The public raised concerns regarding the ambit of clauses dealing with malicious communications which had given rise to the changes to the definition of an electronic communications provider. The original Bill referred to an electronic communications provider as a person in control of a private electronic communication system. The NPA raised concerns in the NCOP about the orders to protect complainants and the setting aside of an order. Those issues led to the amendments in clause 20.
Clause 21
The clause dealt with obligations on the electronic service providers to furnish certain particulars to a court - the clause was substantially in line with the Domestic Violence Act. Subclauses 21(5) and (6) were inserted to provide for an order of the court to request electronic communications service providers to provide certain information regarding the hosting of electronic communications on their systems.
Dr Newhoudt-Druchen asked to raise a question of clarity.
The Chairperson requested all Members to note their questions until the presentation was complete.
Adv Robbertse explained that a court could ask for additional information related to a third service provider that disclosed a data message but the message had been routed through another service provider.
Clause 22
The clause dealt with Orders of Finalisation of criminal proceedings. The biggest amendment related to the procedure through which an electronics provider could approach a court to set aside an order to remove malicious communication. Both the NPA and the electronic service providers had requested such a procedure be included.
Adv Robbertse explained that Chapter 3 related to jurisdiction and most amendments were effected to cater for better readability and amendments at the request of the NPA.
Clause 24
In subclause (1), the phrase “court of the Republic” was changed to “court in the Republic” and in (f) the word “ordinary” was changed to “ordinarily”.
Clause 26
The clause addressed the standard operating procedures. Subclause 1 referred to the Minister who had to, in consultation with relevant parties, issue standard operating procedures. The timeframe for that to happen was increased from six months to 12 months for purposes of practicality.
Clause 27
The heading to the clause read “Application of this chapter” but the substantive provisions in clause 27 referred to the Criminal Law Procedures Act of 1997. The heading was changed in line with the substantive issue: “Application of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1997”. That change did not affect the intention of the Bill.
Clause 32
Subclause 4: a provisor was added, following a submission to the Select Committee by SAPS, to set out the conditions under which the police were afforded the power to seize data without a warrant. It was similar to section 22 of the Criminal Procedures Act as that was the context in which SAPS functioned.
Clause 33
A provisor aligned the SAPS functions as in clause 32.
Clause 39
39(2): an amendment was made following a presentation by DoJ&CD. Protection for persons providing secret information was removed as such protection was already provided for and it was not necessary to refer to other legislation that provided protection.
Clause 40
The heading was incorrect as the clause did not deal with “archived communication-related information”. That reference was omitted from the heading of clause 40.
Clause 41
The clause was redrafted to address gender-specific references. The amendment was effected by the NCOP.  Because the definition of “article” had been amended in clause 1, the long reference to article was taken out to make the clause more succinct.
Clause 42
Subclause 42(1): following public hearings, the subclause was restructured for clarity and readability.
The clause was made more succinct to avoid misinterpretation.
Clause 43
Subclauses (1) and (3) were amended to indicate who was responsible for the action referred to in the clause, i.e. (1) a police official and (3) a judge.
Clause 44
Consequential amendments were made following the rewriting of the definition of “data”. It also clarified the requirements for an application for a disclosure of data direction and extended the ambit of the application to data that was on a computer system, as was clarified during the public hearings.
Clause 48
Subclause 48(1): a cross reference had been corrected. In the B version, the reference had read “7” but had to be “9”.
Subclause 48(4)(a): an amendment had inserted the requirement that a prosecutor’s request for assistance had to have the Cabinet Member’s approval.
Subclause 48(4): Consequential non-binary changes were made.
Subclause 48(7): unnecessary alternatives were taken out of the verb.
Subclause 48(8): The sequence was changed as per clause 3 and emanated from the definition of a specifically designated police official along with the SAPS cross-reference. It was a consequential amendment.
Clause 50
Subclause 50(3): a technical cross-reference was made, making the meaning clearer. Subsection 2(b) changed to subsection 2.
Clause 51
Subclause 51.2(a): a cross-referencing amendment. In the B-Bill, the paragraph referred to “this Act”. That was amended to identify the specific section of the Act, i.e. section 1(a) or (b).
Subclause 51.3(iv): “or” was changed to “and” so both chapter 4 and 5 were applicable, not one or the other.
Clause 53
53.6(b)(1): Grammatical changes- “assistance were” changed to “assistance was”.
Clause 53
The ‘Sandwich Provision’ (when the provision starts and ends with a list) was corrected to ensure accurate reading. Repetition was cleaned up.
Clause 54
The inclusion of the definition of “electronic communications service or electronic communications network” required a consequential amendment.
Clause 55
The use of the American spelling was changed to South Africa/British spelling, i.e.  program was changed to programme. The South African Police “Services” was corrected to “Service”.
Clause 59
The changes to the clause on regulations came about as a result of a briefing to the Select Committee by the DoJ&CD. The content remained the same as the Bill passed by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services. Small amendments were made to what had been proposed by NCOP, such as the addition of a comma.
(xx)(ii): the word “provided” was substituted for “ submitted” to be in line with clause 52.
Short title and commencement: the reference to the Cybercrime Act was changed from 2019 to 2020 as per standard practice.
References to Cybercrimes Act "2019" amended to "2020" in the Schedule.
Act No 51 of 1977, Criminal Procedure Act, 1997: after the NCOP amendments paragraph b(iii) had been renumbered to paragraph c.
“Offences were” changed from singular to plural: “offence was”.
Act No 105 of 1997 Criminal Law Amendment Act: the same amendments were made – paragraph b(iii) had been renumbered to paragraph c.
“Offences were” changed from singular to plural: “offence was”.
Act No 70 of 2002 Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication related Information Act:
Section 4(iii)(b) relating to recording of communication was moved as a technical correction.
Section 7: dealt with real time communication (e)”an offence” was sandwiched and so was moved.
Section19(e): provision of archive-related information –was amended similar to section 17 of RICA.
Act No. 32 of 2007 Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act:
Adv Robbertse submitted that the current amendments did not actually differ to a large extent from Bill-B. The amendments had largely been dealt with in sections 20, 21 and 22 in the Bill. Another amendment included changes to definitions, e.g. “disclosure” but that had been approved by the NCOP. Adv Robbertse went through each technical and grammatical error.
Adv Robbertse concluded that those were all amendments made by the NCOP to the Cybercrimes Bill that had been approved by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.
Dr Newhoudt-Druchen asked about clause 21. The presenter had said that subclauses (5) and (6) were new. Did that mean that those subclauses had not been in the B-Bill?
Regarding clause 24(f)(i), she asked why “ordinarily” (resident) was used and not “ordinary” (resident).
Mr X Nqola (ANC) noted that there had been no fundamental changes to the Bill. All changes made were regarding rephrasing of words, corrections of definitions, grammar, typographic changes, punctuation, and changes to ensure concurrence with other national legislation. He had not found any fundamental alterations. The Constitution required the Committee to either approve the amendments or reject the amendments and pass the Bill without the amendments. He believed that the changes had not changed the provisions of the Act as approved by the PC and so the Committee report to the National Assembly in terms of section 75 of the Constitution would be an endorsement of the minor alterations made by NCOP. The amendments simply improved the legislation and made it easier to implement.
Mr Nqola proposed that the Committee adopt the Bill with the amendments made by the NCOP.
The Chairperson suggested that the questions asked by Dr Newhoudt-Druchen should be responded to first.
Response by the Legal Advisors
Dr Loots stated that she would defer to Adv Robbertse as those amendments had been made following the public hearings before the Select Committee.
Adv Robbertse believed that the meaning of “ordinary and “ordinarily” meant the same thing. He explained that “ordinarily” was changed to adhere to the general provisions of the statute book. “Ordinary” could be used but a language expert had informed him that “ordinary” was incorrect and so he had made the change. The meaning was “commonly resident in the Republic”.
Regarding 21(b) (5) and (6), Adv Robbertse agreed that the subclauses were not in the Bill approved by  the Portfolio Committee. The subclauses were inserted to extend the ambit of the provisions relating to the provisions of information provider by an electronic service provider. The previous clause had only referred to location-related information but, obviously, in cyberspace there was a lot of hosting and one did not always know where the communicator was situated. Where an electronic communications service provider had a complainant as a client, the provider had certain information at his disposal about another electronic service provider and had to disclose that information.
Subsections (5) and (6) also related to an order that a court could grant. The rule of court was that the court could not make an order that was not enforceable. In that case, the information obtained from an electronic service provider indicated to what extent an electronic service provider could implement the protection order by the court. What was required, amongst other information, was to confirm whether the electronic communications service was used to host the data message in question or whether a third electronic communications service provider was used to hold the data message and to provide the court with an assessment of whether or not the electronic communications service provider to which the order was addressed would be in a position to remove the data message, remove the link to the data message or to disable access to the data message. The amendment had been proposed by the NCOP to give effect to what the electronic communications service providers had requested.
Adv Robbertse agreed that the protection order had to be enforceable.
The Chairperson requested that the Committee address Mr Nqola’s proposal that the amended version of the Cybercrimes Bill be adopted.
The motion was seconded by Ms Mofokeng.
The Chairperson called for any objections or disagreement but there were none.

The Cybercrimes Bill, as amended by the NCOP, was unanimously adopted by the Committee and would be submitted to the National Assembly.
The Chairperson thanked Dr Loots and Adv Robbertse for the work put into the amendments. He thanked them for ensuring that all issues had been addressed and the Committee had no fear that the Bill would be returned with a need for amendments. In future, when an amendment was made by the NCOP, all technical and grammatical corrections should have been done before the Bill was presented to the Committee.
Committee Business
Committee Programme
The Chairperson stated that one of the decisions to be made about the Committee Programme was whether the three Bills awaiting the Committee’s attention should be processed together but Mr Horn had proposed that one Bill be addressed at a time.
Ms Mofokeng seconded the proposal.
The Chairperson noted that there was an agreement that each Bill be addressed one at a time. He noted that some of the Bills were quite long and some might not be completed by the end of the month. Depending on how the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) crafted the responses, the PC might have to deal with some vexed constitutional issues. The Committee would only have a sense of that once Members had seen the responses.
The programme also referred to a briefing by Correctional Services and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) but the NPA had not been ready. The matter was quite weighty but if the Committee could get the collaboration right, a lot could be achieved in the Criminal Justice System. The Committee had, the previous day, agreed that the Deputy Minister of Corrections Services and the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development should lead the process so that each Department did not do its own thing. The Committee wanted an integrated presentation. The Committee would also have to include other stakeholders, particularly the Judiciary which was an important stakeholder. He proposed that the Departments be given time and the matter be deferred to the following year.
Adv Breytenbach suggested that before or after the briefing the Committee should consider calling experts in civil society to address the Committee on gangsterism, both inside and outside of prison, as it was a very complex problem and she did not think that the Committee would solve the problem without a better understanding of gangsterism both inside and outside of prison and how the one correlated with the other. She would appreciate input by subject matter experts before the Committee finalised its proposals in that regard.
The Chairperson agreed that it was fortuitous that there was a postponement as the Portfolio Committee should do some preparation before meeting with the Department and the NPA and should identify other stakeholders. The Committee should do thorough preparation and should look at a presentation from the subject experts. The matter was not going to be solved with one action. The collaboration was not a silver bullet and there would be an ongoing need to work on the problem. It needed a programmatic approach. He agreed that when the Committee addressed the matter in 2021, it would have inputs from the subject experts.
The Chairperson took that as an agreement that that matter would be deferred to 2021.
He asked the Committee Secretary whether all Departments had confirmed their state of readiness for the meeting that coming Friday.
Committee Secretary Siyabamkela Mthonjeni stated that he had contacted all the departments involved and they had all said that they were preparing presentations for Friday: the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Departments of Social Development, Health, Justice and Constitutional Development, Higher Education, Basic Education, Communications and the NPA. He had requested the presentations of each entity by the end of business that day so that Members would have time to prepare for the meeting.
The Chairperson thanked the Secretary. He stated that from Tuesday the following week, the Committee would get responses from DoJ&CD.
The Chairperson drew the Members’ attention to Friday 13 November 2020 when the Committee would have dealt with the Legal Practice Amendment Bill. What had necessitated the proposal for the Bill was the fact that the Chief Justice was meant to report to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services by the end of the month, i.e. the end of November, but he was not in a position to meet the deadline as a result of Covid and other related matters. The challenge was that the Committee had not received an approval from the Speaker to proceed with the matter to the House and, according to parliamentary rule 275, the Committee had to give the public three weeks to process the Bill and then it had to follow processes and go to NCOP, and then to the President for assent and that could not be done in the next month, so the Bill would not meet its intended objective. He proposed that the matter be dropped because the issue of public participation was a cornerstone of law-making. Processes could not be circumvented.
He requested the views of Members.
The Committee agreed with the proposal.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee was waiting for the Ministry because the Committee had agreed that before adopting the Budget Review & Recommendations Reports (BRRR), the Minister had to come before the Committee and deal with issues relating to the DoJ&CD about which Members had serious concerns, as well as the Department of Correctional Services. The date of 18 November 2020 had been suggested in the programme but the date was not feasible because the Minister would be answering questions in the National Assembly on that day.  Members also had to be in the House as they had questions to put to the Minister. Between 18 and 24 November, the date for adopting the BRRR, the Minister had to appear before the Committee.
Regarding the Correctional Matters Bill, the Chairperson noted that the Committee had received a briefing the previous day and the Committee staff members were in the process of preparing for public comments. The aim was to hold public hearings from 1 December 2020. However, the Committee also had to deal with the Gender-Based Violence Amendment Bills. He did not want the Committee to bite off more than it could chew. 
The 1 to 3 December 2020 workplan contained public hearings that would be influenced by the comments received and the public hearings would be influenced by the number of comments received, how substantive they were and how long it took the Department to respond to those comments. However, the Committee had to bear in mind that the deadline set by the courts was 21 May 2021 and Parliament did not sit until after the SONA in February 2021, which left very little time for the NCOP to process the Bill before 21 May 2021. The work had to be done but it was probable that the Bill would be adopted the following year.
The Chairperson noted that Adv Swart was on the Programming Committee which would be meeting the following day to make a decision regarding the adjournment of Parliament. At present, Members did not know if Parliament would adjourn on 26 November or at the end of the first week of December 2020. If Parliament adjourned in November, the Chairperson requested that Members make themselves available in the first week of December 2020.
He called for comment.
Ms Mofokeng asked about the advertisement relating to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
The Chairperson noted that there had been one vacancy in the SAHRC but thereafter the Deputy Chairperson had passed away so there were two vacancies now. The Committee had not received a referral from the Speaker regarding the second vacancy but it would like to do the two appointments together. The Committee could prepare the advertisements but it was difficult to publish advertisements just before the festive season started as people complained about advertisements in December. It would be preferable that both vacancies be advertised together as the Commission was experiencing serious issues of capacity. The Committee should move with speed to fill the positions.
Ms Christine Silkstone, Committee Content Advisor, informed the Committee that the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill had only been referred to the Committee as a JR 159 Bill, which was only a draft bill for information purposes. Until the Committee received the formal Bill, it could not advertise the Bill for public comment. That would delay the processes.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was hardworking, both Members and staff, but the Members did not get the support required. He did not want the Members to have to sit in December because people had not done their work. Firstly, the Committee had to push the Department to get the Bill and now it had not been properly referred. Everyone was pulling his or her weight in the Committee because the Members were there to serve the people, but some people were not doing their work. He did not want to expect people to sit in Parliament in December because some people had not done their work.
Committee Secretary Vhonani Ramaano agreed with Ms Silkstone on the matter of the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill.
The Chairperson requested him to inform those people who were delaying the Bill that they were holding up the Committee and it was not acceptable.
Ms Silkstone added that the Bill was still with the Executive and not yet with Parliament.
The Chairperson responded that he did not care who was responsible for not allowing the Committee to do its work. Those people should not expect the Committee to wait longer than the first week of December to receive the Bill. If the Act was not ready in time for the court deadline, people would want the Committee to use taxpayers’ money to hire lawyers to go to court to make arguments that did not exist. He asked the Secretary to request the Department of Correctional Services to do its work. The Committee was not going to be running after the Department every day. If the Department wanted to be irresponsible, it should not make the Committee seem irresponsible.
Dr Newhoudt-Druchen wondered, as it was currently early November, whether the Committee could push for the publication of the advertisement for the vacancy in the SAHRC in the last two weeks of November. She believed that people would still read the newspapers at that time of the year.
The Chairperson agreed. The Committee would be working with the Speaker to get the referral so that the advertisement could go out and the vetting could take place before the Committee returned.
Closing Remarks
There being no other business, the Chairperson closed the meeting.
 The meeting was adjourned.


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