In this virtual meeting, the Parliamentary Legal Advisor informed the Committee had taken a number of decisions in terms of the Bill. First, it had decided to exclude provisions relating to early childhood development. Later, it decided to exclude all provisions that were not directly related to foster care parenting or gave effect, at least directly, to the North Gauteng High Court decision around the issue of comprehensive foster care parenting.
In respect of the latest decision, the Bill needed to be technically amended in such a manner that what was left was the ‘12 surviving clauses’. These clauses were taken directly from the Bill as introduced but directly responded to two things. Firstly, the issue of the judgement which the Committee decided to prioritise to comply with. Secondly, the consideration by the Department as implementors of this legislation of what would suffice in the interim in order to fulfil the direction of the North Gauteng High Court in respect of foster care parenting.
Members of the opposition argued that the Committee had previously agreed to deal with 13 clauses and not 12 as presented by the Legal Advisor. They pointed out that in the previous meeting there had been discussion around sections 21 and 24 also being included in the Bill. They motivated that the Committee could not only look at the Bill with the deadline in mind. Section 21 had to do with the social circumstances of children. The law the Committee was busy with was not just about meeting a deadline. The members needed to apply their minds in terms of why the clause needed to be incorporated.
There was a request to verify the minutes of the previous meeting to check what the Committee had decided on in this regard.
The ANC stated that section 21 was an issue that required the Committee to embark on a thorough public participation process. The Committee would have to go back and embark again on a public participation process. For the Committee to meet the deadline of the North Gauteng High Court, it should not include section 21 in the Bill. Section 21 should be rejected as part of the other clauses that were rejected, which could be considered at a later stage in the form of a Committee Bill. That would give the Committee an opportunity to embark on a public participation process and consider all the other factors that surrounded section 21. For the purpose of progress, it argued that agreed section 21 should be put aside and rejected. It could form part of a Committee Bill, which may be considered by the Committee at a later stage.
The Legal Advisor said that after the Committee had decided to adopt this document it would be formalised into an A-List. The A-List would be presented to the Committee in the next meeting. Subsequent to the Committee agreeing with what was presented, the Bill would then be transferred into the B-version. This was the final Bill that would be accompanied by a report to the House.
The Chairperson opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.
Members of the Committee, support staff and legal advisors introduced themselves.
The agenda was presented to the Committee.
Parliamentary Legal Advisor’s input outlining the process
Adv Nathi Mjenxane, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, Constitutional and Legal Services Office (CLSO), briefed the Committee on how the meeting was to proceed in terms of the rules. The process of the meeting was outlined.
This legislation had been before the Committee for a while and the Committee had deliberated extensively on its provisions. The Committee had taken a number of decisions in respect of how it wanted to proceed, as empowered by the rules. The Committee had taken decisions around early childhood development. The Committee had decided to separate from the Bill all those issues dealing with early childhood development. That was the first decision taken by the Committee in respect of this Bill. At that moment the amendment process had begun in the Committee. All of the clauses relating to early childhood development would be removed.
Further deliberations and considerations happened on the Bill which were informed by the extensive public consultations, which had been done by the Committee. Yet another decision was taken by the Committee after due deliberations. The Committee amended the Bill again by separating all those issues in the Bill which were not directly related to foster care parenting or gave effect, at least directly, to the North Gauteng High Court decision around the issue of comprehensive foster care parenting being provided for in this legislation.
In respect of this latest decision, the Bill needed to be technically amended in such a manner that what was left was the ‘12 surviving clauses’. These clauses were taken directly from the Bill as introduced but directly responded to two things. Firstly, the issue of the judgement which the Committee decided to prioritise to comply with. Secondly, the consideration by the Department as implementors of this legislation of what would suffice in the interim in order to fulfil the direction of the North Gauteng High Court in respect of foster care parenting. That was the latest decision which left the Committee with the 12 surviving clauses. These were the clauses which would be presented to the Committee today, emanating from the previous Committee meeting.
The process of the meeting entailed the Parliamentary Legal Advisors presenting the Bill, the entire 12 clauses, to the Committee. This incorporated the foster care matrix, which was the public commentary as well as responses of the Department. Deliberations from the Committee would then ensue on the Bill. The Committee would then decide on which way to go in respect of the Bill as introduced and the subsequent deliberations. The support staff would then compile an A-List, which would result from the deliberations and decisions of the Committee today.
The Chairperson asked for the Department to comment on the process of the meeting as outlined by Adv Mjenxane.
Adv Luyanda Mtshotshisa, Specialist: Legislative Drafting and Review, DSD, said that what had been presented by the Parliamentary Legal Advisor was what should be the process to be followed today.
The Chairperson asked for the State Law Advisor to provide a comment.
Adv Lisa Naidoo, Senior State Law Advisor, said that she agreed with the process. A long meeting had been held on Monday surrounding these clauses. The process as described by Adv Mjenxane had been agreed to.
The Chairperson said that the legal advisors had managed to give the Committee the process and the procedure on how the Committee should proceed. The previous meeting adjourned while the Committee was dealing with chapters. It was raised by one of the members to rather use the chapters than the clauses. The Committee agreed to only deal with the 12 clauses that had already been discussed because it still had to do other clauses as had been agreed. After the Committee dealt with these clauses it would be able to tell the High Court about what had been agreed to by the Committee. The Committee would then check to see how it could proceed on the other clauses because the Bill was not only 12 clauses. The Bill had many clauses that would have to be dealt with. When the Committee submitted the Bill, it needed to make sure that it had already discussed the clauses and agreed on them.
Ms A Abrahams (DA) asked a question for clarity. She remembered the discussion also being around sections 21 and 24. section 24 had been pointed out, the Committee had agreed to it and therefore the total was 13 clauses. That was her recollection of the previous meeting. Ms Masango had indicated that the Committee should have been working from the matrix and had nothing to do with clauses. She wanted clarity on sections 21 and 24.
Mr D Stock (ANC) said that the presentation by the legal team was comprehensive and gave the Committee information about the way forward. The Committee had been dealing with this matter for quite some time. The Committee had extensive opportunity to deliberate on this matter. He discussed sections 21 and 24. In the previous meeting, the Committee had a number of deliberations and views around it. When the Committee agreed that it was not going to consider all the clauses, the explanation and clarity from the legal team were that if the Committee had to consider all the clauses then it would not be able to meet the deadline of the North Gauteng High Court. The Committee considered the matter and agreed to only consider the clauses that were foster care related in order to meet the deadline. The Committee was not throwing out throwing some of the clauses, like sections 21 and 24 and all other clauses that were in the Bill as part of the amendment. The Committee was not throwing out those clauses. The Committee would then have a separate process in the form of a Committee Bill which would then be the second amendment of the Children’s Amendment Bill. That was his understanding. He urged Members to be patient with one another.
He discussed the clauses that were foster care related. The explanation that was given to the Committee in a number of meetings by the legal team was that there were clauses that were not going to survive that the Committee would reject. The legal advisors explained the issue of rejection. It was not to say that the Committee was throwing away the clauses. It was just a legal term that was used in terms of Parliamentary processes. The Committee was rejecting all the clauses and sticking with the 12 surviving clauses for it to meet the court deadline. He discussed section 21. In the previous meeting, the legal team said that section 21 needed a public consultation process on its own because it dealt, to a large extent, with the issue of adoption. The issue of adoption was not an automatic right of the parent. That clause needed to be subjected to a thorough public participation process. For the Committee to bring it into the 12 clauses would be quite problematic. He supported the 12 surviving clauses that would be presented by the legal team in the meeting. He appealed to the members on the issue of the other clause that did not find expression in the 12 clauses. He appealed to Members to not delay the Committee further. The 12 clauses needed to be dealt with so that the Committee could comply with the court process. The Committee would then embark on a separate process to consider the other clauses that were rejected. That was the clarity that he wanted to share.
Ms M Sukers (ACDP) said that the law made a material impact on the reality of children that were in foster care. The Committee had heard in the public hearings where parents and grandparents had spoken of the circumstances that impacted children that were in the care of relatives or in the care of guardians. The Committee could not only look at the Bill with the deadline in mind. Section 21 had to do with the social circumstances of children. The Committee needed to view clauses that were before it in real-time as Members were on the ground in constituencies. The law the Committee was busy with was not just about meeting a deadline. Members needed to apply their minds in terms of why the clause needed to be incorporated. The Committee needed to keep in mind the budgets that were available and what it meant if the Committee put it in that unmarried fathers took responsibility for the children that they had fathered.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) said that she was a bit taken aback. She thought the Committee had left the meeting last week agreeing to remove 1(e) to add 1(q), section 21 and 24. If that was no longer the case then she wondered what the status of the minutes of the previous meeting would be. It was clear that the Committee had agreed to those four amendments. Section 21 had nothing to do with adoption. Section 21 was consulted on very widely. It was widely agreed on in terms of the submissions. Section 24 was merely a technical amendment. It was the members’ job as lawmakers to question what were the clauses that spoke to the North Gauteng High Court ruling. The members had identified 12 but this was also a Committee that needed to do justice to a project that was before it. The Committee could say that it felt that these two amendments should also be included. The members were not asking for a floodgate of amendments to be included. All of the members had agreed on that twelve. It was suggested that only two amendments be added. It was not a floodgate of including all the other amendments that had been rejected. Certain members wanted to include section 24, which was a technical amendment, and section 21 which was an important amendment and had been taken through public submissions. It had received so much support. It was not necessary for the Committee to subject it again for public submissions. What were the status of the previous meeting held and the minutes because she left the meeting thinking that the Committee would remove 1(e) to add 1(q), and consider sections 21 and 24? That was what she came to today’s meeting prepared to do. The Committee also needed to give its own input into the process and could not just leave it to the Department. She pleaded that it was not adding, not delaying. She hoped that she had made her point.
Ms Abrahams said that she knew the Committee was pressed for time but if not now, then when? This Committee still had to do the Fundraising Amendment Bill. There was an Older Persons Bill. There was the Victims Support Services Bill. If not now with just these minor amendments, that were largely supported, then when would the Committee get around to doing it?
The Chairperson said that she was unsure what was going on in the meeting now. She was present at the previous meeting and could not remember the removal of 1(e). She was unsure.
Ms K Bilankulu (ANC) said that the reason why the Committee was present today was the issue of the court judgement. The Committee was not supposed to be here. The members were supposed to be seated at home. The Committee decided that if they were together then maybe the members would understand each other better. The Committee had asked for an extension. It was like whenever the Committee met something else was brought up that would delay the Committee more. The Committee was going to deal with section 21 but why could it not deal with the 12 clauses first in order to make the deadline of the High Court? Then the Committee would consider everything. The issue of section 21 had mostly been raised by the Fathers 4 Justice. There were a few fathers that were going from one province to the other in order to make an impact on what they wanted to say. She was not saying that what they had raised was of less importance. The Committee needed to consider the rest. She was happy that some members suggested that the Committee needed to engage this thoroughly. She did not think that thoroughly meant now. It meant that the Committee needed to give it time. She supported the issue raised by the Chairperson. Could the Committee not first deal with the 12 clauses? Saying that the Committee was going to deal with the 12 clauses did not mean that the Committee was no longer going to entertain section 21. The Committee should give its focus to the issues that were before the court, for now. That was her understanding.
Ms J Manganye (ANC) said that she remembered very well when the Committee spoke about section 21. The Committee needed to look at and balance the matter. The people in the rural provinces had mentioned the issue of unmarried fathers. The Committee would deal with everything that it had received from all the provinces where the Committee had visited. She said that there needed to be a balance. Balance did not mean that the other clauses were thrown into the dustbin and that certain clauses had a preference.
The Chairperson said that the Committee could not be going backwards and forwards. She would not allow that to happen in the meeting.
Ms P Marais (EFF) said that before the previous meeting was closed what Ms van der Merwe had said was quite correct. The Committee had agreed on the 13 clauses. The one clause had been incorporated. What Ms van der Merwe had said was exactly what had been agreed upon in that meeting before it closed. The Committee agreed that it would discuss those 13 clauses and work it from there. She did not understand why the Committee was discussing the matter again because the Committee had decided on it and agreed on it. Now the Committee was going back and forth again. She was unsure.
Ms Sukers said that she had made her argument based on lawmakers applying their minds to the social circumstances and why it was important. What Ms van der Merwe had said was correct. She would then ask for the minutes to be recalled because the Committee had agreed on that. The Committee had agreed to reject 1(e) and include 21. One could not look at the parental rights of unmarried fathers within the Fathers 4 Justice advocacy group alone. The Committee needed to weigh it against what it had heard in the public hearings. There was no objection to it. It was important for the Committee to do this. She emphasised the fact that laws were lived out in real time. One could not just be academic about it and say that the Committee needed to finish it and get to the deadline. The Committee needed to look at what it meant. People’s lives would be impacted by the legislation. It was the Members’ job to do that.
The Chairperson said that the Committee did not need a workshop for now. She thanked Ms Sukers for reminding the Committee.
Ms B Masango (DA) said that section 21(a) had to do with allowing the Children’s Court to issue certificates. The Committee agreed in the last meeting to do that. Fathers 4 Justice was just one of the organisations that raised this issue. Even the people that applied to the court, that the Committee was trying to respond to now, such as the Children’s Institute, the Centre for Child Law, the Commission for Gender Equality and all those other organisations had submitted on this issue. She agreed with the Member that said the Committee should refer to the minutes of last week because she was stunned by what she had been hearing.
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) said that she was not part of last week’s meeting. The Chairperson needed to guide the meeting because the Members were saying different things. Some members were saying that certain things were said in last week’s meeting. The Chairperson needed to guide the meeting so that the Committee proceeded with what the Parliamentary Legal Advisor had advised at the beginning of the meeting.
Ms L Arries (EFF) said that she was covered by what the previous speakers had said. The Committee was wasting unnecessary time. The Committee should go back to the minutes because it would reflect last week’s decisions. The Committee Secretary should provide the Committee with the minutes otherwise, the Committee should change the agenda in order for the Committee to adopt those minutes. If that decision was taken it meant the reflection of this meeting was not a true reflection on what the Committee had decided last week. For there to be progress in this meeting, the Committee should go back to those minutes. The Committee was going forwards and backwards and not getting a true reflection of what the Committee had decided last week.
Mr Stock said that he wanted to correct what he said earlier on. Ms van der Merwe was correct. Section 21 did not deal with adoption. It deals with the custody of the children. He wanted to correct it for record purposes. He noted that the Committee had proposed and moved for the agenda. The Committee was now dealing with the last item on the agenda, which was the deliberations. He was not sure if members were aware of that. He understood because the Chairperson was trying to be democratic. He understood that the Chairperson wanted to be democratic and wanted to hear the different member’s points, but it went on and on. He appealed to the members as part of his proposal so that the meeting could progress. He proposed that the Committee go back to following the agenda. The Chairperson was just about to allow the legal team to present to the Committee. Adv Mjenxane had indicated that there were 12 surviving clauses. He proposed that the Committee go back to that process, and then the legal team would present to the Committee. Once the team had presented to the Committee then the Members would get an opportunity to deliberate. If there was a clause, whether it was section 21 or section 24 or any other clauses that members felt should also be included as part of the surviving clauses then the Committee could deliberate on and persuade each other as to whether the clause should survive. Or the Committee could reject the clause and agree that it should be dealt with at a later stage. He made that proposal so that the Committee moved according to the agenda. The Committee needed to deal with the presentation and then the Members would have an opportunity to deliberate.
The Chairperson said that Mr Stock was the last Member to speak on this item. She said that Mr Stock had read her mind. She was about to give a ruling on what it was that needed to happen. She heard the proposal from Ms Hlongo and Ms Arries. No one was against that proposal, but Mr Stock had covered exactly what they wanted. She responded to the Members asking for the minutes. The Committee Secretary was not present in the meeting today because she was writing exams. She did not think that the Acting Secretary would have the minutes. She noted that even in the House when there was a disagreement the Speaker of the House would request and go back to read the minutes and records. The Speaker would come back to the meeting and report what it was that was the outcome, especially in a situation like this one. She asked for the members to be patient. She was about to hand over to the legal advisors in terms of dealing with the chapters. Thereafter, the Committee would have to get those minutes. She asked the Acting Secretary to request the minutes and records so that it could be seen what it was exactly the Committee had agreed upon. It would mean that the Committee may have to recede whatever it had agreed on in the first deliberation, in terms of the 12 clauses. She wanted to give the Department an opportunity to present the chapters that the Committee needed to deal with. This would not be the last meeting. The Committee would be dealing with this again and again. The Committee would definitely have to get the minutes and the records. She understood that the media present was recording each and everyone, through the deliberations and input. The Committee would not get the minutes today but in the next meeting. The Committee would then have to reorganise the schedule of the meetings.
Finalisation of deliberations and inputs on the Children’s Amendment Bill [B18 – 2020] (clause by clause)
Adv Mjenxane noted that the presentation did not include the clause that amended section 21 of the Act. The 12 clauses were presented to the Committee. The proposed clauses were put before the Committee for consideration and deliberation. The legal team would then go on and do any further work that was required. Subsequent to last week’s meeting, amendments were made to the 12 clauses to include the matrix, which was the public input as well as the responses of the Department to the questions raised by the public. Adv Mjenxane read through clause 1 of the surviving 12 clauses. Clause 1 contained (a), (h) and (q). Clause 1(e) had been excluded because it had not been consulted on.
Ms van der Merwe asked a question for clarity. Adv Mjenxane had adequately captured the deletion of 1(e) as discussed in the last meeting. He had also adequately captured the inclusion of (q). Why when in the last meeting the Committee resolved to include an amendment to section 21 was that not included? Where was the thirteenth clause? She wanted guidance from the legal team.
Adv Mjenxane responded that the clauses that had been captured here were based on the notes that the legal team had taken. The notes captured the discussion as the legal team understood them. Clause 21 had been in the Bill as introduced. It was not part of the 12 clauses which were put forward by the Committee in the last meeting. Therefore, the decision around it was not clear.
Adv Mtshotshisa said the understanding was that the meeting last week stopped before the finalisation of this particular document. There was still more to be discussed around clause 21 at the end of that meeting. The fact that 1(q) was there was because there was no controversy around it. Everyone was in agreement on how it should be applied. At the end of the presentation, the legal team would look at any other clauses that the Committee felt should be discussed, including clause 21. Other clauses could be added if that was the decision of the House.
Ms Abrahams said that she could not continue in the meeting until the verbatim minutes of the last meeting were presented before the Committee. She asked to be excused from the meeting.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was done with clause 1.
Adv Naidoo addressed the members and told them that this document was a working document. It was the Members who instructed the legal advisors on what was included and what was removed. This document was for discussion purposes to assist the legal advisors with the unique situation of subtracting from the initial Bill as introduced. It was still a working document. The Parliamentary Legal Advisor, the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor and the Department was not saying that this was the final version. It was still the Committee’s decision. It was still up to the Committee to instruct the legal team to make any changes. The document was just a guide because this was a unique situation. The Bill as introduced was not limited to only one area of law dealing with the children’s foster care system.
The Chairperson said that the Committee understood these processes. She thanked Adv Naidoo for emphasising the point. The matter had been explained clearly by the advisors that it was not finalised but that it was rather a discussion document. The Committee was not yet busy on the final thing.
Ms Manganye said that the Committee had done well since it had started with the Bill. In the second meeting, the Committee looked at which clauses were related to the North Gauteng High Court. That was why the Committee was here today. The Committee members were the ones who said that they wanted this done. All the members were part and parcel of what the Committee was doing today.
Adv Mjenxane proceeded and read through the rest of the 12 clauses which would be included in the Bill.
Short title and commencement
This Act was called the Children’s Amendment Act, 2020, and comes into operation on a date determined by the President by proclamation in the Gazette.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had been deliberating this since she was two years old and now she was six years old. The Chairperson asked Members to give input.
Mr Stock appreciated the amendments that had been presented by the legal team. It was an inclusive presentation which encapsulated the views of the Parliament Legal Services, the Departmental legal services as well as the State Law Advisor. The Committee had been presented with a consolidated document of the views of the different legs of government. The proposed amendments presented to the Committee were not new amendments. The documents had been circulated to members and consolidated. He agreed with the amendments that had been proposed through the presentation by the Department. He was in full support of the proposed amendments.
Ms Hlongo said she was in support of the proposals from the legal advisors.
Ms Manganye said that this was not the first time that the Committee had gone through this document. The Committee had deliberated on it. She had no hassles with what the legal advisors had agreed on. The Committee had agreed on the document. She fully supported the proposed amendments.
The Chairperson asked if there were any contrary views?
There were none.
That meant that the Committee agreed accordingly as it had discussed and deliberated before. Today the Committee had agreed with what the legal advisor had presented. The Chairperson asked what the next step would be?
Adv Mjenxane discussed the NA Rules in relation to a quorum for decision-making. The Committee could not make decisions in respect of this matter because there was no quorum. There needed to be at least one-third of the Committee Members to deal with the matter the members were dealing with now. The Committee was able to deliberate on the Bill as it had done in the meeting. The only difficulty was in taking a decision on this matter. In terms of the rules there needed to be a simple majority of Members of the Committee to make a decision. There were six members present and the total number of Members was 11. He read for the Committee’s consideration rule 162 (3). ‘When a committee has to decide a question and a quorum in terms of Subrule (2) is not present, the Chairperson may either suspend business until a quorum is present or adjourn the meeting’. Those were the options of the Committee. He asked the Committee Secretary to guide the Committee in terms of how many Members were present in the meeting and how many members were on the Committee.
The Chairperson said that the Committee knew that information already. The Members were 11 in total and the members present and discussing this matter today were six. Was the Committee a quorum according to the rules?
The Committee Secretariat and legal services deliberated on whether there were enough Members present for the Committee to make a decision on the proposed amendments.
The Chairperson asked the legal services to report back on what had been agreed.
Adv Mjenxane said that the rules were consulted in order to properly advise on this matter. The analysis of rule 162 suggested that the Committee met the quorum to make a decision in respect of its business today. Therefore, the next step would be for the Committee to make a decision on what the legal services had proposed as well as deliberate on some of the issues that had arisen in the Committee, including the issue of clause 21. The Committee could make a decision in respect of that issue as well in order for the process to be properly concluded and then for the Committee to go into the A-List.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would have to look at the programme on when it needed to meet and look for other clauses, including clause 21.
Ms Manganye said that if the Committee agreed on the document, then it agreed. The Committee would then deliberate on section 21. It would stand if the Committee agreed.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was a quorum because there were six members out of 11, according to rule 162.
Adv Mjenxane said that it was now up to the Committee to decide on the document and the matters that had arisen during the discussion, which was the issue of section 21.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was going to discuss the issue of section 21, considering the advice of the legal advisors.
Mr Stock discussed sections 21 and 24. Those were the two sections that some of the members wanted to be included. He asked if both sections could be spoken of together?
The Chairperson replied that the Committee would be dealing with section 21 only.
Mr Stock discussed section 21. In one of the meetings when the Committee had the opportunity to deliberate on the inclusion or exclusion of section 21, Ms Manganye had captured it very well. There was the group Fathers 4 Justice that followed the Committee’s programme throughout the country. Ms Manganye had warned the Committee to be careful about the issue of exclusion because there might be other cultures that might be excluded from this matter. It was an issue that required the Committee to embark on a thorough public participation process. Like the issue of the custody of children was not an automatic right. The Committee would have to go back and embark again on a public participation process. He was of the view that in order for the Committee to meet the deadline of the North Gauteng High Court it should not include section 21. The Committee should exclude it. It should be rejected as part of the other clauses that were rejected, which could be considered at a later stage in the form of a Committee Bill. That would give the Committee an opportunity to go into detail and embark on a public participation process and consider all the other factors that surrounded section 21. The issues raised by Fathers 4 Justice were fundamental and critical issues. He had said in a previous meeting that he was sympathetic to the issues raised by Fathers 4 Justice. However, the Committee needed to process certain factors thoroughly. When section 21 was being considered the Committee needed to take into consideration all the other factors surrounding it. He raised the issue of a participatory democracy and members of the public having their views heard in the legislation-making programmes. The fact that Fathers 4 Justice was following the Committee meant that it was saying the same things all over where they were following the Committee. It was not like different stakeholders saying the same thing from time to time. It was the same stakeholder following the Committee for each and every meeting. It was saying the same thing over and over. Fathers 4 Justice was one of the stakeholders that followed the Committee and said the same thing. If section 21 was included, then it was because the Committee had considered one stakeholder amongst the rest that was left out. For the purpose of progress, section 21 should be put aside and rejected as well so that it could form part of the Committee Bill which may be considered by the Committee at a later stage.
The Chairperson said that section 21 was rejected according to what Mr Stock had said. It needed thorough consultation. In the public hearings, it had been said that the chiefs needed to convey the message to the communities. A father from the Free State said that he did not dispute the responsibility of parenting, but one had to pay the damages and then be allowed to take care of the children. People had also raised that some fathers were not working. Mr Stock had summarised the issue well. The Committee should reject it for now and then it could do a thorough consultation process on the matter. The Chairperson asked if there was anyone else who wanted to say something contrary?
Mr Stock said that the Chairperson had raised a very important point in terms of the chiefs and the cultural issues as it related to section 21. The Bill needed to also take into consideration the Chiefs. The Bill needed to go further, and it should be consulted by the National House of Traditional Leaders. The consultation process would delay the overall process even further.
The Chairperson agreed that there was the House of Traditional Leaders at a national level.
Ms Manganye said she supported what Mr Stock had said. She commented on what the Chairperson had said. It was not only in the Free State. It had occurred in Limpopo, North West and in Mpumalanga. Those were the provinces that had raised concerns. Section 21 needed to be put into context. The Committee did not dispute Fathers 4 Justice. However, for now, the Committee rejected section 21.
Adv Mjenxane said that after the Committee had decided to adopt this document the legal services would go formalise it into the A-List, which would be the amendments formalised. That would be presented in the next meeting of the Committee. Subsequent to that the Committee would then have to agree with what was presented. Then the Bill would be transferred into the B-version, which was the final Bill that would be accompanied by a report to the House. The B-version was what the Act would look like when passed. After the B-version was presented and the Committee agreed with it, it needed to be accompanied by a report that would come out of this whole process. The report would reflect everything that had taken place in the Committee up until this stage.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had to reject section 21 and then take it further. The Committee could even consult the House of Traditional Leaders because provinces that disagreed with section 21 wanted people to show remorse and pay something for the damages. That was the reason for the rejection. The Chairperson noted that section 24 was already part of the 12 clauses that the Committee had agreed on. The Chairperson asked the legal team what the next step would be?
Adv Mjenxane said that the legal team would formalise the A-List and bring a revised draft Bill.
The meeting was adjourned.
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