Copyright & Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills: DTIC & CLSO response to Negotiating Mandates

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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee met in-person to hear the responses prepared by Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Services Office (CLSO) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) on the Performers' Protection Amendment Bill and Copyright Amendment Bill provincial mandates.

It was noted that there might be the possibility of inserting the wording “dramatic work” into the bill. The Committee was advised that should that be the case; Parliament would need to conduct another round of public consultation. Members were encouraged to lobby provinces to insert those wordings into their provincial mandates. 

Due to time constraints and the lengthy presentations, Committee Members did not have sufficient time to thoroughly engage on the presentation content. A Member insisted that Committee Members should be given adequate time to engage on those two bills. The same member raised a concern that there are a lot of inputs from provinces that the bills disregard. He suggested getting a second opinion on the bill from a different legal person since the legal team has been dealing with this bill since the fifth Parliament.

The Committee agreed to re-convene on 6 June to deliberate on the bills.

Meeting report

The Chairperson greeted all members and outlined the meeting agenda. The Committee would receive responses from Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Services Office (CLSO) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) on the provincial negotiating mandates in relation to the Performers’ Protection and Copyright Amendment Bills. The Committee would then have until 13 June to deliberate and vote on those negotiating mandates. The Committee will vote on the E list of the bill on 20 June.

Presentation by Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Services Office (CLSO)

Adv Charmaine Van der Merwe, Senior Legal Advisor, CLSO, briefed the Committee on the responses prepared by the CLSO.

The briefing content can be referred to in the attached slides.

Discussion on the insertion of “dramatic work”

Adv Van der Merwe recommended the Committee to think about the insertion of wording “dramatic work” into the bills. If it does, it should do so now since it will add to the processing of this bill and so there can be consultation etc. Also, an election year is approaching and “we have a constitutional deadline that this bill will now deal with” [verbatim]. This will lengthen the process.

The Chairperson asked since “dramatic work” came from public hearings, would it require another round of public consultation?

Adv Van der Merwe responded that the Committee would have to undertake another round of public hearings in that case since the insertion was suggested by one or two members and the legal unit crafted the suggestion into the wording that the public has never seen. Because of that, it would have to unfortunately go through another round of public hearings.

The Chairperson asked if provinces are obliged to hold another round of public hearings in addition to the one that would be held by the Select Committee.

Adv Van der Merwe replied that she was unsure about that. However, the Constitutional Court - in its judgement - was clear that this committee can outsource its duties to provinces for public consultation, but it also is the select committee’s responsibility to ensure that provinces complete the public participation. However, she clarified that it is not a legislative requirement for provinces to have public hearings on the inserting wording.

Another official in the CLSO emphasised that should the wording “dramatic work” be inserted into the bill and the Committee has not undertaken public participation or without the consensus of provinces, the bill could end up with a constitutional challenge. There were precedents where additional wording was inserted into bills in order to enhance the quality of bills. In those instances, Members could lobby provinces to insert those wordings into their provincial mandates. She suggested Members do the same on this bill because the Committee certainly did not want to spend more money and resources to have more public hearings.

The Chairperson said the issue would be parked for the committee to come back to.

Mr J Londt (DA, Western Cape) suggested to the Chairperson that the Committee should rather discuss this matter before moving on to the DTIC’s presentation as it would otherwise not have sufficient time for Members to engage on important issues around the bill.

He raised a concern that there are a lot of inputs from provinces that the bill disregards. He suggested getting a second opinion on the bill from a different legal person since the legal team has been dealing with this bill since the fifth Parliament.

He also expressed his concern that the 24-month clause which stated that the bill would come into effect after the 24-month period lapsed. He said that it might be infringing on the President’s constitutional prerogative.

The Chairperson understood Mr Londt’s point but pointed out that the DTIC also has a responsibility to respond to provincial submissions. So he would allow the Department to present its responses before the Members’ discussion.

Presentation by DTIC

Dr Evelyn Masotja, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Consumer and Corporate Regulation Division, DTIC, took the Committee through the department’s responses to provincial negotiating mandates.

Details of the responses can refer to the presentation slides.

Mr Londt interjected during the presentation and stated that he was unhappy that the presentation had taken too long and that it was exactly as he had pointed out earlier; that Members would not have enough time to engage on the bill.

The Chairperson instructed the presenter to focus on the socio-economic impact assessment and then be fast with the rest of the presentation slides since Members could read them from the slides.

Mr Londt complained about the insufficient time given to Members and reiterated that the valid points which provinces had raised were ignored.

The Chairperson said that the Committee should allow the presenter to continue and then schedule another meeting to discuss those issues around the bill on 6 June.

Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape) supported the chair’s suggestion.

Discussion on the way forward

The Chairperson outlined the way forward on the bill.

He explained that in the past he could request from the Office of the Chair and book the venue for a whole day. It is not possible to request more time at present because Members were busy with the budget debates. He suggested extending the engagement around the bill to 6 June.

Ms H Boshoff (DA, Mpumalanga) suggested that given the importance of the bill, the meeting can even begin at 8 or 9am.

Some members said that it would not be possible since they have whip meetings, joint standing committee meetings as well as intelligence committee meetings.

It was decided that the meeting on 6 June would be held virtually.

The Committee decided that it would defer the meeting with Tourism on 6 June and set the meeting from 9am to 1pm to entirely focus on deliberating on the bill.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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