Public Protector Conditions of Service; Criminal Laws (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill

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Justice and Correctional Services

23 February 2004
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Meeting report

JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
24 February 2004
PUBLIC PROTECTOR CONDITIONS OF SERVICE: PROPOSED AMENDMENTS; CRIMINAL LAW (SEXUAL OFFENCES) AMENDMENT BILL


Chairperson
: Adv. J De Lange (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill - as of 24/02/03
Letter from Public Protector requesting an adjustment to conditions of service
Public Protector Service Conditions

SUMMARY
The Committee could decide whether to pass the requested amendments without the views of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. The Committee felt that it would also be helpful to have the conditions of employment of a Judge of Appeal so that they would be able to see as to what the Public Protector is requesting. Essentially the Public Protector seeks to have his allowance made equal to those payable to a Judge of Appeal. He also requested for an allowance to help him pay for domestic help at his residence in Pretoria.

The latest working draft of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill was handed out but not discussed. The Chair stated that this is a working document only and does not represent the views of the Justice Portfolio Committee.

 

MINUTES
The Chair explained that the Public Protector had written a letter to the Minister of Justice requesting the Minister to approach the relevant parliamentary committee with the request that certain adjustments be made to his conditions of service. The Minister had forwarded the letter to the Justice Portfolio Committee without showing whether he agreed or disagreed with the proposed amendments.

Some allowances the Public Protector is entitled to and proposed amendments thereto
The Public Protector is currently entitled to a non-taxable allowance of R3 500 per annum. The proposed amendment seeks to increase it to R4 925 per annum with an annual increase of 5%.

The Chair felt that the Public Protector had approached this issue in a wrong way. He stated that this allowance had been given to judges by the apartheid government. The amount had never been changed because the idea was never to change it.

The entertainment allowance stands at R2 250 and the proposed amendment would increase it to R3 165 per annum with an annual increase of 5%.

The Public Protector had requested that the current settlement allowance of R3 500 should be increased to R5 600 per month. He proposed that this allowance should be adjusted from time to time in accordance with the settlement allowance payable to a Judge of Appeal residing permanently at the seat of the Court.

The Public Protector also requested a new allowance in the form of an allowance equal to the minimum wage as determined by law, plus 20%, to be paid to the Public Protector for the payment of domestic help at his residence in Pretoria.

The Public Protector also requested that the transport and subsistence allowance payable to him should be equal to the compensation paid to a Judge of Appeal.

The Chair felt that unless the Committee had the views of the Ministers of Finance and Justice, it would be difficult for it to try and consider the matter. If the Committee did not get the views of the relevant Minister by 25 February 2004, it would pass a resolution to say that the issue would have to be re-tabled together with the Ministers' views in the new Parliament. It would he helpful to have a memorandum from the Department of Justice indicating the various changes that have been made in the salaries and allowances of Judges of Appeal.

Mr. J Jeffrey (ANC) agreed that a memorandum indicating the various changes would be very helpful. It would also enable members to see if Judges of Appeal receive an allowance for the payment of a domestic worker as they are in a similar position of having to relocate to Bloemfontein. There is also the need for a look at the packages of the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, the Auditor General and other Chapter Nine institutions. The review of the Public Protector's package would impact on these positions, hence the need to have a look at all of them.

Mr. Masutha (ANC) asked if the Public Protector's proposed amendments would also apply to Judges of Appeal. He asked for clarity on whether what is requested is a complete review of the remuneration structure.

The Chair replied that the Public Protector is asking that his package should be like that of an Appeal Judge. He was asking for more than what a Judge of Appeal gets due to the new allowance he has requested. On whether Public Protector is asking for a complete review of the remuneration structure, the Chair felt that all that is requested is that there should be uniformity.

Mr. Masutha pointed out that the Public Protector Act says that the salary of a Public Protector may not be less than that of a judge and this means that a Public Protector may be paid a salary equal to that of an ordinary judge.

The Chair replied that a political decision had been taken that a judge in this context means a Judge of Appeal.

Adv E Allers (Department of Justice) indicated that in 1995 Parliament had determined a salary of R294 000 per annum but in 1996 it had been changed by a Resolution of Parliament to read an annual salary at a rate equal to that of a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Mr. Masutha said that the Resolution addressed the issue of salary and not other conditions hence they are being brought before the Committee now.

The Chair said that the other conditions had been dealt with but the Resolution had not stated that they could be increased annually. The requested amendments would make it possible for the allowances to change from time to time. However he felt that it would not be advisable to state that the allowances would change annually by 5%.

The meeting was adjourned.

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