Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill: proposed amendments; with Deputy Minister

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16 November 2022
Chairperson: Ms T Joemat-Pettersson (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


In a virtual meeting the Parliamentary Legal Advisor took the Committee through the A-list of the Committee's proposed amendments to Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill. They looked at the B-version of the Bill in which all of these proposed amendments had been included. Thereafter the Committee adopted the A-list. The DA, EFF, NFP and ACDP indicated that they reserve their rights to vote on the Bill until it is reported on in the National Assembly. The B-version of the Bill will be adopted on 18 November 2022 after which it will go to the National Assembly for adoption and then the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence. The Committee expressed appreciation towards all stakeholders that took part in the process and highlighted the impact of the public participation process and the fact that the processing of the Bill was not rushed.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister and members of the public. This meeting is convened to deal with the A-list that contains the changes that the Committee made to the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill (POCDATARA Bill). After this meeting, the changes as adopted will be put into the Bill and it will then become the B-version of the Bill which will be adopted in its totality on 18 November 2022. The Committee is not legally allowed to do the A-list and adopt the B-version on the same day. The Committee’s report on the Bill will also be adopted on the 18 November 2022. After 18 November 2022 the Bill will go to the National Assembly for adoption and then the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence.

She said that in the next week the Committee will have a physical meeting on the crime statistics. The Minister was supposed to release the crime statistics on 11 November 2022, but he indicated that the statistics will be released on 22 November 2022 since the Minister has to join the President at the physical meeting of the NCOP and the President will only be doing the closing remarks on 18 November 2022. The Committee will deal with the Mashale and Free State SAPS matter on 30 November 2022. This has become quite a complicated matter because of media coverage and the matter has also been raised by Mr H Shembeni (EFF) for quite some time. By the time that this meeting is convened, the Committee will have the relevant documents.

The Chairperson said that the Parliamentary Legal Advisor, will take the Committee through the A-list. The stakeholders who gave inputs and those that made submissions during the public participation process were invited to this meeting. These inputs have been tremendously important and has made a significant difference to the Bill.

Ms Nicolette van Zyl, Committee Researcher, noted that Ms Isaac and Mr Shaun van Breda, Senior State Law Advisor, will present the proposed amendments to the Committee.

Portfolio Committee Proposed Amendments to POCDATARA Bill
Ms Sueanne Isaac, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said that she will go through each amendment to ensure that it captures what the Committee had agreed to. She presented the A-list and B-Bill simultaneously so that the Committee could have a visual representation of where the amendments will be slotted into the Bill. The presentation reflected changes made to clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 17, 18, 20, 22 and 24. Substantial amendments included, Clause 1 where the definition of ‘crypto asset’ was added and the definition of ‘property’ was substituted.

In Clause 20, Section 24A was added and includes subsections (1) to (10). Subsection (1) reads as follow: “A member of the Directorate, of or above the rank of Brigadier, may apply to a High Court, by way of an ex parte application to a judge in chambers, for the issuing of an order in terms of which an electronic communications service provider, whose electronic communications service is used to host a terrorism publication, is directed to take-down or disable access to such a publication.”

Mr Shaun van Breda, Senior State Law Advisor, Office of the Chief State Law Advisor, noted the proposed deletion of the current Section 24A, which provides for the application of decryption directions. The Department’s reasoning for deleting that section from the Bill is because such applications are already provided for in Section 21 of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act (RICA).

The Chairperson gave the Committee the opportunity to ask questions or make comments.

Mr A Whitfield (DA) acknowledged that the public participation process has borne fruit and noted the work done by the Committee. He said that the DA reserves its right on this Bill and the A-list as there are still some concerns in spite of the tremendous ground that has been covered.

Dr P Groenewald (FF+) said that the FF+ also reserves its rights.

Mr H Shembeni (EFF) said that the EFF reserves its rights.

Mr M Shaik Emam (NFP) said that the NFP reserves its rights.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) said that the ACDP reserves its rights.

The Chairperson noted that Ms Z Majozi (IFP) was not in the meeting but that she would be requested to indicate if the IFP reserves its rights.

The Chairperson moved to adopt the A-list. The A-list was adopted by the Committee..

Closing remarks
The Chairperson said that inputs from the public have made a significant impact on the work of the Committee and they have certainly been included in the proposed amendments. There were matters that remained on which the Committee could not reach consensus. She respects the differences in the views of political parties. She showed appreciation towards the work of the Committee, political parties, the Minister and the Ministry and all other parties that participated and gave an input. The Committee looks forward to engaging with the Ministry on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Amendment Bill.

She said that the A-list was adopted to avoid the greylisting of South Africa and the Chairperson will follow up to ensure that it is tabled in the National Assembly for adoption before Parliament rises on 2 December 2022. The Committee has met its deadline without feeling rushed and she emphasized that she has not steamrolled this Bill through Parliament. The concurrence of the NCOP will also be done as soon as possible. The Chairperson reminded the Committee that there will not be a meeting on 22 November 2022 when the Minister releases the crime statistics, but the meeting will take place on 23 November 2022.

The Deputy Minister, Mr Cassel Mathale, thanked all stakeholders and staff for their inputs during this process. The Department is looking forward to working with the Committee on the IPID Amendment Bill.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Nicolette van Zyl-Gous, Parliamentary Police Researcher for her hard work and the manner in which she assisted the Committee in processing the Bill. She thanked the Committee Secretary Ms Babalwa Mbengo. She said that everyone cannot be named but emphasized that all inputs into this process was appreciated by the Committee.

The Committee adopted the minutes of 2 and 9 November 2022 without changes.

The Chairperson thanked the Department and all members for being present and adjourned the meeting.


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