Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill & National Cannabis Master Plan: DoH briefing; Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill: public hearings; with Deputy Minister

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Justice and Correctional Services

24 August 2021
Chairperson: Mr G Magwanishe (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video              Part 2

In a virtual meeting, the Committee received a Department of Health presentation on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, and an oral public submission on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill.

The Department of Health’s input on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill incorporated contributions from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and the South African Medical Research Council. It proposed nine amendments to the Bill’s preamble and definitions, including to central definitions like that of the term “cannabis.” Many of the amendments aimed to clarify the legality of various means of consuming cannabis – such as vaping, as well as smoking – and to reconcile the Bill with the Medicines and Related Substances Act, which regulated some cannabis products.

The Department’s primary concern was that the Bill did not provide sufficient protection for children and other people in the vicinity of cannabis users. It was also concerned that the Bill would lead to increased cannabis use among adolescents. It therefore recommended that the Bill should make it a Class C offence to smoke cannabis in the presence of a non-consenting adult; a Class B offence to smoke cannabis in the presence of a child; and a Class A offence to give or sell cannabis to a child, or to fail to protect a child from accessing cannabis. The Department also worried that the Bill would increase the risk of motor vehicle crashes, increase demand for mental health and substance abuse treatments, and possibly even facilitate a slippery slope into widespread abuse and illicit trade. It proposed that these risks should be addressed by implementing broader social programmes alongside the legislation. These programmes should increase the capacity of the police and of mental health and drug treatment facilities; educate the public on the harms of cannabis use; and improve population-level monitoring and reporting of cannabis use and associated harms.    

The Committee had invited the Department partly because it was involved in implementing the National Cannabis Master Plan. In this regard, the Department reported that it had amended the schedules to the Medicines Act, removing cannabis from Schedule 7 and inserting cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into Schedules 4 and 6 respectively. However, low-THC and low-CBD products, as well as some complementary medicines, would not be scheduled and regulated under the Act. The Department also planned to review the Medicines Act and the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, and to develop a policy for protecting vulnerable parties against the harms of cannabis use. Members asked for more information about the Cannabis Master Plan, but the Chairperson reminded them that the Committee would be meeting with two other departments on the same subject the next day.

Members asked for detailed explanations about the regulatory framework that would be applied to cannabis-related products and about how medicinal use would be distinguished from private use. They were also particularly concerned about the psychosocial and developmental effects of cannabis use on children and adolescents, and asked how departments planned to incorporate educational and social policies into the implementation of the legislation. Members asked to be sent extensive supplementary information and research. Although two days of public hearings on the Bill were scheduled for the following week, one Member expressed doubt that the Committee would be able to finalise such a complex and technical bill before the end of the term. The Chairperson was unhappy that interdepartmental cooperation had failed to ensure that the Department of Health’s concerns about the Bill were accommodated during the drafting process.

The public hearings on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill began with a single submission from the Centre for Child Law. As the first applicant in the Constitutional Court case whose outcome had precipitated the Bill, the Centre was largely supportive of the amendments. It proposed two changes to better protect the privacy of victims, witnesses, and offenders. First, it proposed elaborating on the wording of Section 154(3) to clarify that the legislation prohibited the publication of protected information on social media and electronic platforms, as well as by any other manner. Second, it proposed removing a burdensome provision in Section 154(3B) that required accused persons, witnesses, and others to apply for a court order if they wished to reveal or publish their own identity. The Centre believed that this should be required only if there was a prior court order authorising the protection of the person’s identity. 

The Committee discussed a draft of its very busy programme for the rest of the parliamentary term. Identified as its priorities were, in order of urgency: the finalisation of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill; the finalisation of the gender-based violence bills as amended by the National Council of Provinces; and appointments at the Information Regulator. The Committee considered it mandatory to complete these three processes by the end of September. Time permitting, it would also process the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill and the Legal Practice Act regulations. 

Meeting report

Apologies and agenda  

Dr W Horn (DA) conveyed an apology from Adv G Breytenbach (DA), who was at the dentist.

The Chairperson said that he had also received an apology from the Committee’s new ANC member, who was unwell.

Mr R Dyantyi (ANC) conveyed an apology from Mr X Ngola (ANC), who was at the doctor and would join the meeting late.

The Chairperson said that there were three items on the agenda: a presentation by the national Department of Health (NDOH) on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill (CPPB); a submission from the Child Law Centre as part of the public hearings on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill (CPAB); and consideration and adoption of the Committee minutes.

Adv S Swart (ACDP) said that there were two days set aside for department input on the CPPB, but only one morning set aside for public hearings. He still held that the public hearings merited more time, given how “far-reaching” the CPPB was. He was not sure whether the Chairperson had considered his views in this regard, but he would like the Committee to discuss it.

The Chairperson replied that the issue had been considered, and invited the Committee secretary to elaborate.

The Committee secretary said that Adv Swart’s view had been considered, and the Committee programme had been adjusted accordingly. The plan was now to hold two days of public hearings on the CPPB next week. The Committee was still awaiting permission to sit on Thursday and Friday, but an updated programme would be circulated to Members once permission had been received.

Adv Swart said that he would also like to know how many organisations had been invited to make submissions and how many had made written submissions, but that could be discussed later.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should consider the updated programme in its entirety after completing the rest of its business.

Adv Swart agreed.

The Chairperson said that NDOH had been invited to the meeting because the Committee had thought that it needed to hear from the lead departments in the National Cannabis Master Plan. Those departments could give the Committee a broad understanding of the content and implementation of the Master Plan. Members would recall that, in a meeting last year, the Committee had decided that it did not want to see a “silo approach” to the Master Plan’s implementation. Implementation would be broad, with various departments contributing in various ways. The Committee was also involved through the CPPB.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had therefore invited three departments. NDOH, which led the regulatory systems pillar of the Master Plan, would present in the current meeting. The next day, there would be presentations from the Department of Trade, Industry and Cooperation (DTIC), which was responsible for the industrialisation and commercialisation of cannabis, and from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), which was the overall leader of the Master Plan. Because of time pressures, the Committee could not meet with all relevant departments before the public hearings on the CPPB next week, but it would be able to get a broad understanding of how government was approaching the cannabis issue.

NDOH input: Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General: Health Regulation and Compliance, NDOH, said that he would present jointly with Adv Kgorohlo Moabelo, Director: Legal Services, NDOH, who had been intimately involved in the CPPB. Ms Mokgadi Fafudi, Regulatory Compliance Manager, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), was also present.

Dr Pillay said that the presentation combined NDOH input with contributions from SAHPRA and from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), so that the Committee would not have to solicit independent responses from those entities. NDOH had also received a request last night to include input on the Cannabis Master Plan. It had extended its presentation accordingly, but he apologised for having been unable to send Members the additional slides in advance.

Dr Pillay said that NDOH supported the decision to decriminalise cannabis for private use. From the point of view of human rights, it was inappropriate to imprison cannabis users and waste state resources. However, NDOH held that the CPBB – and possibly other laws, regulations, and policies – should be amended to further protect children and others against the various risks created by cannabis use.

Amendments to the preamble and definitions

Adv Moabelo said that NDOH suggested the following amendments to the definitions in clause 1 of the CPBB:
- Amend the preamble;
- Amend the definition of “cannabis” to make it narrower;
- Amend the definition of “cannabis concentrate” to make it wider;
- Delete the definition of “cannabis product”;
- Delete the definition of “consumption”;
- Amend the definition of “harvest” to exclude post-harvest processing;
- Amend the definition of “hemp,” so as not to define it as a “plant”;
- Amend the definition of “possess in private” to exclude authorised health products; and
- Amend the definition of “smoke.”

Adv Moabelo said that the definition of “smoke” was particularly important. The CPPB’s current definition ignored the growing “heat-not-burn” market, for example in vape products. The tobacco industry was innovative in developing new products that could also be used to deliver THC. Between the definitions of “smoke” and of “consumption,” the CPPB should clarify the status of public cannabis use, whether by smoking or by other means.

Other amendments were intended to reconcile the CPBB with the Medicines and Related Substances Act, which currently regulated THC and CBD products.

Insertion of new clause 2

Adv Moabelo said that clause 1(2) of the CPBB appeared to be misplaced, because it dealt not with a definition but with the application of the CPBB’s provisions. NDOH therefore recommended that it should be moved to a separate clause 2.

Moreover, this application clause should contain a new provision to specifically exclude any activity that was permitted or authorised in terms of the Medicines Act (see slides). This would help avoid unintended consequences.

Clinical implications of the CPBB  

Dr Pillay said that NDOH, along with the SAMRC, was concerned about the following potential consequences of the CPBB:
- Increased cannabis use among adolescents, with attendant developmental and psychosocial risks;
- Increased risk of substantial exposure to second-hand cannabis smoke among non-smokers;
- Increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, given the effects of cannabis on motor functioning;
- Increased demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment; and
- “A slippery slope,” with illegal cannabis trade and abuse becoming widespread.

The CPBB acknowledged most of these concerns, but additional measures were needed to fully address them. NDOH held that the CPBB should be amended to:
- Make it a Class A offence to give or sell cannabis to a child, or to fail to protect a child from accessing cannabis;
- Make it a Class B offence (rather than Class C) to smoke cannabis in the immediate presence of a child;
- Make it a Class C offence (rather than Class D) to smoke cannabis in the immediate presence of a non-consenting adult; and
- Define “immediate presence” in the above with reference to a specific distance.

Moreover, when the CPBB was implemented, attention and resources should be dedicated to:
- Training and equipping police to detect and prosecute cannabis-impaired driving;
- Mental health and drug treatment services;
- Public education on the harms associated with cannabis use; and
- Population-level monitoring and reporting of cannabis use and associated harms.

National Cannabis Master Plan

Dr Pillay said that NDOH’s primary role in the Cannabis Master Plan was to make amendments to the schedules to the Medicines Act, which he discussed in turn. Cannabis had been removed from the schedules, but tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) had been added separately.

NDOH also planned to:
- Develop a policy on protecting adolescents and mental healthcare users against the effects of cannabis use;
- Review the Medicines Act more broadly; and
- Review the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act.

(See Presentation)


Dr W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) said that there was no way to monitor children’s exposure to cannabis. There was no way to know whether children were present while adults smoked cannabis inside a house. Was there another way to protect children from the effects of exposure to cannabis smoke, especially inside their homes?

Dr Pillay replied that, due to such concerns, NDOH proposed that the CPPB should specify that someone smoking cannabis had to maintain a specific distance from any children in the vicinity. One expected adults who were smoking – even if they were smoking tobacco – to maintain a reasonable distance, so that children were protected from second-hand smoke. 

Mr Horn said that the NDOH presentation had been helpful, because it had focused on how cannabis use should be regulated in circumstances in which Parliament was required, by a court judgement, to allow and facilitate private cannabis use. 

Mr Horn noted that, in line with the Cannabis Master Plan, NDOH had amended the Schedules to the Medicines Act to include THC and CBD products (see slides 2-3). Had NDOH considered the implications of this? What framework was NDOH using to square the scheduling status of cannabis-related substances with the private use of cannabis? Would the decision to schedule these substances not be attacked, on the basis that it could ultimately obstruct private use of related products? He was not advocating against the scheduling of these substances, but he was wondering whether NDOH’s amendments to the schedules were consistent with the current draft legislation.

Dr Pillay replied that the intention of the CPPB was to separate private use from medicinal use. NDOH supported this. The CPPB should not prevent SAHPRA from doing its work around medicinal products, which might require a different approach. Ms Fafudi could elaborate on how the schedules were managed.

Ms Fafudi said that cannabis products could be accessed for private medical treatment through SAHPRA’s controlled compassionate use programme. Under this programme, a product needed for medical treatment could be made available on a patient-named basis, through Section 21 authorisation. So there was “no need to panic” on the issue of private medical use – SAHPRA had made provisions for this.

Ms Fafudi said that the amendments to the schedules had arisen from the Constitutional Court judgement, as well as from engagement with various stakeholders. Through the latter, SAHPRA had observed that cannabis was a growing industry, perceived to have great potential. In terms of its mandate, which came from the Medicines Act, SAHPRA had needed to examine how cannabis was controlled both domestically and internationally. Internationally, South Africa belonged to relevant United Nations (UN) treaties: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. South Africa was therefore obliged to ensure that it regulated the supply of cannabis, which qualified as a narcotic substance.

Ms Fafudi said that the schedules to the Medicines Act had been amended to remove cannabis from Schedule 7’s list of controlled substances. THC and CBD had therefore been added to the schedules separately so that they could be regulated. Products that were regulated by SAHPRA were accommodated by one of three frameworks: complementary medicine, orthodox or allopathic medicine, or medical devices. However, the exclusion notices in the schedules allowed for some cannabis-regulated products to fall outside of SAHPRA’s ambit. Low-THC cannabis, known as hemp, had been removed from the schedules entirely. This was so that DALRRD could immediately leverage hemp production – which was “low-hanging fruit” – in its initiatives to commercialise cannabis.

Ms Fafudi explained the amended Schedule 4 of the Medicine Act to illustrate how the framework and exclusion notices worked. CBD was now a Schedule 4 substance, which meant that it was only available through pharmacies and other authorised facilities, and that any CBD products had to be authorised and registered by SAHPRA. However, CBD was not thereby a prohibited substance, and products containing CBD could be sold on the market once they had received SAHPRA approval. There were also two exclusion notices, which excluded certain CBD products from Schedule 4 status. First, complementary medicines were excluded if they met certain criteria. They had to provide a maximum daily dose of 20mg of CBD and a maximum of 600mg of CBD per sales pack; and they had to make no medicinal claims – only general health enhancement, health maintenance, or minor relief claims. If a complementary medicine met these criteria, it was not considered a Schedule 4 substance, and the product would be enabled. Second, the schedule excluded cannabis products whose CBD content was less than 0.0075%. These products could be made available as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and in other forms, and – provided they were not health-related – would not be regulated by SAHPRA. This was set out clearly in the Cannabis Master Plan. SAHPRA was working closely with the DALRRD, DTIC, the Department of Small Business Development, and other stakeholders to ensure that the Master Plan’s regulatory framework facilitated access to low-risk and non-medical cannabis products.

Ms Fafudi said that the supply of cannabis-containing products – whether raw cannabis or processed cannabis-based products – would be contingent on a quota that would be allocated by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a UN body. South Africa also had to submit quantity data to the INCB every three months, reporting on every stage, from harvest to production to consumption of the final product. This was in line with international frameworks. A key purpose of the Cannabis Master Plan was to ensure that South Africa’s cannabis policy – including in its commercialisation and industrialisation aspects – imposed clear regulations which could be communicated with the UN. It was important to ensure that new legislation and regulations did not result in a collapse into illicit activities – there always had to be oversight and control. 

By way of conclusion, Ms Fafudi said that SAHPRA, in collaboration with NDOH, had a framework for allowing the commercialisation of medical cannabis through licensing and permits. Through the Cannabis Master Plan, SAHPRA would extend access to cannabis-related products which complied with its requirements. However, SAHPRA’s mandate was to ensure the quality, safety, and efficacy of all health products that entered the market. With the emerging cannabis market, SAHPRA intended to ensure that, even as it expanded access to cannabis products, it maintained the quality, safety, and efficacy of those products. 

Adv Swart thanked NDOH for the very helpful presentation. He said that the ACDP was “deeply concerned” about certain aspects of the CPPB. It agreed with NDOH that the CPPB did not sufficiently address the social harms caused by cannabis, and particularly by its main psychoactive component, THC. One also had to bear in mind the severe budgetary constraints under which NDOH was currently operating. Though this legislation was required by an order of the Constitutional Court, would it exacerbate challenges in public health?  

Adv Swart said that the effect of cannabis on adolescents was very important. The Committee had to carefully examine the two risks raised by Dr Pillay: the psychosocial effects of cannabis on children and adolescents, and its effects on their cognitive development. This was not sufficiently addressed in the CPPB – the CPBB defined anyone over the age of 18 as an adult, but, as Dr Pillay had said, brain development continued until the age of 25. He wanted NDOH to provide the Committee with additional information on this crucial issue. For example, the presentation referred to research that had been conducted on short-term cognitive effects among adolescents. It also mentioned local research about the effects of cannabis use on demand for psychiatric services – the risk of which, as NDOH said, was “not negligible.” He wanted to review this research. Also, NDOH’s presentation had only dealt with the Master Plan in summary form – the Committee wanted to hear further details. In short, he urged NDOH to provide as much information as it could, so that the Committee could make informed decisions.

Dr Pillay replied that much of the research cited in the presentation had come from the SAMRC. He would engage the SAMRC and supply the information to the Committee in writing, through NDOH’s parliamentary liaison officer, to assist in its deliberations.

Adv Swart said that he welcomed NDOH’s distinction between THC and CBD – he thought that would be important going forward.

Adv Swart asked how the country could and should address the cannabis-related challenges that it faced. Historically, the problems had been addressed from the perspective of criminal justice. Clearly, however, prisons were overcrowded. Instead, the problems had to be addressed from the perspective of social development, health, and education. It would be helpful for NDOH to explain how education would be used, both by NDOH and by other departments, to address problems associated with cannabis use, especially among adolescents. He hoped that members of the public who were present in the current meeting would also comment on this during the public hearings – it would be interesting to hear their views. How should South Africa address this societal problem, especially insofar as it posed a psychosocial and developmental risk to adolescents?

Ms N Maseko-Jele (ANC) said that adv Swart’s remarks covered her concerns, because she was also worried about the effect of cannabis on the development of adolescents. She would also await additional information from NDOH.

The Chairperson reminded members of the public that they would have the opportunity to contribute during the public hearings, which would be held next week. The current discussion, however, was restricted to Members and the delegated government officials.

Adv Swart said that members of the public were posting many comments on the virtual platform’s chat function, and he hoped the Committee would engage with those comments during the public hearings.

Adv Swart asked Ms Fafudi for more information about SAHPRA’s Section 21 programme and its application to cannabis products. Were all cannabis-related products – that is, all products that contained either CBD or THC – considered medicinal and evaluated by SAHPRA for Section 21 authorisation? He had noticed that Ms Fafudi had distinguished between cosmetic products and health products. The separation of hemp into its own category was also an important issue that the Committee would deal with, but currently he was interested in the status of CBD and THC products. He presumed that Schedule 4 products sold at pharmacies, such as those containing CBD, did not require Section 21 authorisation – since CBD was less serious than THC. The Committee might have to engage further with NDOH once it had a better understanding of the health implications of the CPPB. 

Ms Fafudi replied that currently, there was no registered product in South Africa which contained cannabis material, THC, or CBD. Instead, people who wanted to use those substances for medical purposes could do so through the Section 21 application process. Their applications were facilitated by the health practitioners who treated them. The Section 21 compassionate care programme was currently the only way to access cannabis-related health products, because there were no such products authorised for sale on the market.

Ms Fafudi said that the distinction between health products and other products was complicated and difficult to explain concisely. Under the schedules to the Medicines Act, SAHPRA regulated certain active pharmaceutical products and raw materials, as well as health products. Raw cannabis contained both CBD and THC, so cannabis-based products – even if they were cosmetics – were generally regulated by SAHPRA. However, the schedules set out exclusion criteria under which certain products counted as low-THC or low-CBD. These low-THC and low-CBD products would be regulated by DALRRD, not SAHPRA. That is, SAHPRA would not regulate those products whose THC and CBD contents were under the thresholds set out in the schedules. On the other hand, SAHPRA did monitor all cannabis-based products that exceeded the thresholds, because SAHPRA and NDOH had to report to the INCB on the consumption of such products. According to international standards, cannabis itself qualified as a narcotic substance. SAHPRA had to ensure that domestic production and consumption of cannabis products complied with the quotas allocated by the INCB.

Ms Fafudi concluded that any cannabis-based product – whether a health product, foodstuff, or cosmetic – had to be reviewed, to ascertain whether or not it fell within SAHPRA’s regulatory mandate. Through the Cannabis Master Plan, SAHPRA was engaging with relevant stakeholders, including the broad public, to explain this framework of local and international control.

Adv Swart said that he appreciated Ms Fafudi’s explanation of a complex issue. This was not a terrain that the Committee usually traversed, but Members had to understand it very well. He was also reading helpful written comments on the chat function from members of the public. He understood that the Committee had limited time, and he wanted SAHPRA to provide a written explanation of the process.

Adv Swart had one further question. Was he correct that the Section 21 process regulated access, by any practitioner, to any medicinal THC or CBD product? Did SAHPRA know what the costs of that process were? How many applications had SAHPRA received, and how many had it approved? This information could be provided in writing later, but it was important for the Committee to examine the issue further.  

Ms Fafudi said that SAHPRA would have to compile a full response and provide it in writing. Currently, Section 21 authorisation was required for access to medicinal cannabis and CBD or THC products. This was because SAHPRA had not registered any such product for sale on the market. However, as she had said, the amendments to the schedules did include exclusion notices. Certain low-CBD and low-THC products were explicitly excluded from the schedules, and therefore did not count as medicines. Because of this, they did not fall into the SAHPRA framework, and could be made available.

Ms Fafudi said that low-CBD complementary medicines were also covered by an exclusion notice. However, because they advertised themselves as complementary medicines, they still fell within SAHPRA’s complementary medicine framework. That is, they had to apply for a license, submit to SAHPRA evaluation, and meet SAHPRA’s criteria for complementary medicines. Again, this was to ensure the public’s safety, and to protect the public from products that falsely claimed to treat certain conditions. Any products that made medical claims – including complementary medicines – had to be monitored, tested and evaluated by SAHPRA.

The Chairperson asked Dr Pillay whether the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJCD) had not given NDOH the opportunity to raise its concerns during the drafting of the CPPB.

Dr Pillay replied that he was not sure whether the draft Bill had been circulated to NDOH, but it had not been circulated to the individual NDOH officials who were present in the meeting.

The Chairperson asked DOJCD to comment.

Adv Sarel Robbertse, State Law Adviser, DOJCD, said that there was an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) whose mandate was to consider cannabis-related issues. The CPPB had been drafted in consultation with that IMC, which contained, among other entities, the South African Police Service, the Department of Social Development, and NDOH. So the CPPB had been brought to NDOH’s attention. Furthermore, he thought that after the CPPB had been finalised, the Minister of Justice had sent it to the various departments, including NDOH, to solicit comments. DOJCD had taken all responses into account. He was not sure whether Dr Pillay had been part of that process personally, but he thought Ms Fafudi belonged to the IMC.

The Chairperson said that when Parliament received a bill from a department, it assumed that the bill represented the views of the executive. The executive had to ensure, through its own processes, that it “spoke as one” on legislation. He encouraged NDOH and DOJCD to confer with each other to reconcile their views. 

Dr Pillay noted the Chairperson’s suggestion. He had not been a part of the consultation process on the CPPB, although some of his colleagues might have been.

The Chairperson said that he had wanted to know whether NDOH had been consulted, not whether Dr Pillay had been consulted personally.

Dr Pillay said that Adv Moabelo could confirm whether he had participated in the consultation process.

The Chairperson said that he thought there were areas where NDOH and DOJCD were not far from agreement. The departments should confer before the Committee began clause-by-clause deliberations.

The Chairperson thanked NDOH for the presentation, which had led the Committee to “think deeply” about the legislation. The CPPB was quite technical, especially in its definitions. NDOH should provide in writing the information that Members had requested, because it would assist the Committee’s clause-by-clause deliberations and would also provide helpful background knowledge during the public hearings.

He said that at the next day’s meeting, DALRRD would lead a presentation on the Cannabis Master Plan, which would consider some of the issues raised during the current meeting. It would be quite a comprehensive presentation – there was the commercial side, the industrialisation component, the health component, the education component, and even the innovation component, led by the Department of Science and Innovation. The Committee also wanted to find out what had been done to implement the Master Plan so far. After that, there would be public hearings on the CPPB. Currently, the Committee had scheduled two days for public hearings – from morning to evening – but it would be guided by the number and length of the comments it received. It would try “by all means” to ensure that it finalised the CPPB and sent it to the National Assembly before the end of the parliamentary term, so that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) could begin its process.

Adv Swart said that members of the public were expressing concern in their comments on the chat function that rural farmers would not be able to make submissions on the CPPB in the prescribed timeframe. He was sure that the Committee would consider this, to ensure that everybody had the opportunity to participate.

The Chairperson replied that the CPPB had been advertised twice. The public had first been invited to comment last year. The Committee had then extended the deadline, because Eastern Cape farmers had complained that they could not participate within the original timeframe. However, the Committee could discuss that issue when they discussed the public hearings.

Mr Swart said that he had been referring to those who had made written submissions, but he thanked the Chairperson for the explanation.

The Chairperson excused the NDOH delegates from the remainder of the meeting.

The Committee adjourned for a short tea break.  

Centre for Child Law submission: Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill

Ms Karabo Ozah, Director, Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria, made an oral submission on behalf of the Centre for Child Law, as part of the public hearings on the CPAB. She said that the Centre’s submission was brief, which reflected the Centre’s general satisfaction with the CPAB. The Centre was pleased that DOJCD was amending the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) to align it with the Constitutional Court judgement in Centre for Child Law and Others v Media 24 Ltd and Others. The CPAB was crucial to ensuring that the identities of child victims, witnesses, and offenders were protected, thus minimising trauma and stigmatisation.

Ms Ozah said that because the Centre had been the first applicant in the court case, it had contributed indirectly to the Constitutional Court’s judgement and, in turn, to the wording of the CPAB. However, it wished to propose “refinements” to the CPAB, which it hoped would clarify the wording of the law and thus strengthen the protection of child victims, witnesses, and offenders.

Proposed insertion: The meaning of “publish”

Ms Ozah said that Section 154(3) of the CPA provided that nobody should “publish in any manner” the information contemplated in the subsection. However, the Centre worried that the section might be construed by the public or by the media to refer only to publication in traditional forms of media.

The Centre recommended inserting an amendment, so that Section 154(3) would prohibit publication “in any manner, including on any social media or electronic platform.” 

Proposed amendment: Protection beyond 18 years and upon conclusion of proceedings

Ms Ozah said that the Centre welcomed Section 154(3B) as amended. It would ensure that protection of identity continued beyond the conclusion of criminal proceedings and beyond the 18th birthday of relevant persons. However, the provision required that such persons had to apply for a court order if they wished to reveal their own identity. This requirement was unnecessarily cumbersome.  

The Centre held that an accused, a witness, or other person contemplated in subsection 3(a)(iii) should be able to publish or reveal their own identity without needing a court order, except if there had been a court order authorising its protection.

(See Presentation.)


The Chairperson said that he took it that Members were satisfied with the Centre’s presentation, since none had questions. He invited DOJCD to respond, though DOJCD would respond fully to all public submissions on a later occasion.

Ms Kalay Pillay, Deputy Director General: Legislative Development, DOJCD, said that DOJCD appreciated the Centre’s submission. It would consider it and contact the Centre if it required any further information. The substance of the submission would be addressed in DOJCD’s input to the Committee.

The Chairperson excused the DOJCD delegates from the remainder of the meeting.

Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes

The Committee considered its draft minutes dated 17 August 2021 and 18 August 2021.

The minutes were adopted, with one correction to spelling.

Committee programme

The Committee secretary took Members through the Committee’s updated programme for the parliamentary term. The Committee was processing the CPPB, the CPAB, and the gender-based violence (GBV) bills, and it had to aim to finalise the CPPB and CPAB by 24 September.

The current proposed programme contained:
- 25 August: DALRRD and DTCI input on the CPPB;
- 26 August: Magistrates Commission on disciplinary matters, and DOJCD responses on CPAB;
- 27 August: Department of Correctional Services (DCS) on fourth quarter performance and budget reprioritisation plan;
- 31 August: Public hearings on the CPPB, and briefing on NCOP amendments to GBV bills;
- 1 September: Public hearings on the CPPB, and deliberation on GBV bills;
- 2 September: Deliberation on GBV bills and CPAB, and Committee reports;
- 3 September: DCS on high litigation costs;
- 7 September: Deliberations on Information Regulator vacancies;
- 8 September; DOJCD responses on CPPB;
- 10 September: Information Regulator short-listing, DCS on education in correctional facilities, and Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services on fourth quarter performance;
- 14 September: Deliberations on CPAB, and finalisation of GBV bills;
- 15 September: Deliberations on CPAB and CPPB;
- 16 September: Deliberations on CPPB, and Committee reports;
- 17 September: DCS on fire-prevention measures and impact of unrest;
- 21 September: Information Regulator interviews;
- 22 September: Information Regulator interviews;
- 23 September: Deliberations on the CPPB;
- 24 September: Committee reports; and
- 28 September: Deliberations on Traditional Courts Bill, with external legal advice.

The Committee secretary said that the programme was very busy. The Committee was applying for permission to sit during several plenary meetings, and would hold several full-day meetings. The programme would also be subject to change. For example, given the level of public interest in the CPPB, discussion of the GBV bills would probably be postponed, so that two full days could be dedicated to public hearings on the CPPB next week.

The Chairperson pointed out that a meeting was scheduled for the Heritage Day holiday.

The Committee secretary said that he would reschedule that meeting.

The Chairperson said that Members had received a letter about Ms Judith van Schalkwyk, a Kempton Park chief magistrate who was planning to review a Magistrates Commission decision against her. The Magistrates Commission was scheduled to brief the Committee on Thursday, but should the Committee proceed with that briefing? It would likely need to be briefed again later if the review application was heard at the high court. So the question was whether the Committee should solicit two briefings, or only one single briefing once the review was completed. Members might not have had time to consider the issue yet, because the letter had only been sent to them that morning, but they should think about it.

Dr Newhoudt-Druchen said that the meeting on Thursday was scheduled for 9 a.m., but the parliamentary programme scheduled party caucuses from 10 a.m. Should the Committee meeting begin during the plenary sitting at 2 p.m. instead?

The Chairperson agreed that the Committee could not infringe on party caucuses, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., so the Committee meeting would have to take place after the caucuses and during the plenary.

On the Magistrates Commission briefings, Mr Swart said that he had not yet read the relevant letter, so he did not have a strong preference. The Chairperson seemed to be suggesting that the Committee should proceed with the briefing on Thursday. He would not object to that, and would accede to the views of other Members.

Adv Swart said that he appreciated that the Committee had a lot of work, and that completing its work would require it to meet during plenaries. However, as ACDP whip, he had to attend plenaries. He therefore had to note his apologies in advance, although he would try to move between Committee meetings and plenaries as much as possible.

Adv Swart said that he had previously indicated that he had concerns about the Legal Practice Act regulations. The Committee had received comments from the National Bar Council, and it would need to consider the issue before endorsing the regulations. 

On the CPPB, Adv Swart said that he appreciated that there were now two full days set aside for public hearings. He wanted to receive a list of the submissions received and, as soon as possible, a list of who had been invited to make oral submissions. He assumed that Members would be sent copies of all the written submissions. Though he appreciated the Committee secretariat’s work on the programme, he doubted that the Committee would finalise the CPPB within the next month, given its complexity. The Committee was only just beginning to grapple with the many challenges associated with the CPPB.

Ms Maseko-Jele said that she noted and welcomed the changes to the programme. However, Friday’s Subcommittee meeting took place during Women’s Parliament. The women who belonged to the Subcommittee would have to note their apology in advance. Given the situation of South African women and the problem of GBV, they had to honour their commitment to attend Women’s Parliament – it would be inappropriate for them to be unavailable.

The Chairperson asked what time Women’s Parliament would take place.

Ms Maseko-Jele replied that she thought it would begin in the morning, because it was a full-day event. Ms Newhoudt-Druchen might be able to confirm.

The Chairperson said that he would discuss the issue with Mr Dyantyi, who was the Subcommittee Chairperson. He doubted that the Subcommittee would have a quorum if the women did not attend. However, it was also important to keep in mind that a Subcommittee meeting had been postponed last week, so this would be the second postponement. Would an evening meeting work?

Ms Maseko-Jele replied that she was flexible. As long as she could attend Women’s Parliament, she was happy to attend a Subcommittee meeting afterwards.

Dr Newhoudt-Druchen said that Women’s Parliament would begin at 10 a.m. The top item was GBV progress reports, and she agreed that it was important for the women to attend to that.

The Chairperson said that the Subcommittee meeting could either be postponed or moved to the evening. An evening meeting might not be ideal for the women, after a full day in Parliament. On the other hand, if the meeting was postponed, the two lost Subcommittee meetings would have to be made up for somehow. The Committee would consider it, working with Mr Dyantyi and the Committee secretariat, and update Members when a decision had been made.

The Chairperson ranked the Committee’s priorities for the current parliamentary term. Its first priority was to finalise the CPAB in order to comply with the Constitutional Court judgement. The deadline was in December and it still had to go to the NCOP. When the Sixth Parliament had begun, Members had promised that Constitutional Court judgements would be complied with. The Committee’s second priority was to deal expeditiously with the NCOP amendments to the GBV bills. He had heard that the NCOP had mostly made technical and consequential amendments, such as around the use of binary language. The Committee’s third priority was to fill the Information Regulator vacancies, since the Information Regulator’s term would end in November. The Committee also had to factor in the challenges with the screening process that it faced every time it held interviews. It would monitor that process closely to ensure that the Committee was able to make the deadline.

The Chairperson said that these were the three matters whose completion was mandatory if the Committee was to consider its work this term a success. By the time Parliament adjourned, the CPAB should be on the way to the NCOP, and the GBV bills and Information Regulator appointments should be on the way to the President for assent and approval. Other Committee priorities, time permitting, were the finalisation of the CPPB and the Legal Practice Act regulations. But the extent to which the Committee worked on those other matters would depend on its progress towards its top three priorities. The Committee also had to ensure that it made up for any Subcommittee meetings that were postponed. The Committee had agreed that the Subcommittee should not be “treated as a stepchild,” and it had to be given the space to recover the time it had lost.

The Chairperson asked whether Members agreed.

Ms Maseko-Jele agreed. 

The Chairperson said that the Committee programme would clearly be a “living document.” However, the Committee secretariat would ensure that an updated programme was presented every week, taking into account how things progressed – for example, the programme would depend on how soon the NCOP sent its amendments to the GBV bills. Members would be updated on all changes and amendments.

The Chairperson concluded that the programme was tightly packed. In fact, its programme next term would be equally packed. Next term, in the last quarter of the financial year, the Committee would receive departments’ annual plans for 2022/23. After that, it would process the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. The Committee had decided to invite public comment on the Bill – he thought the advertisement would be published that weekend, and submissions would be open for a month. The Committee would decide later whether to deal with that Bill at the end of this year or early next year.

The meeting was adjourned.


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