Proposed Constitution Amendment Bill & Special Petitions: discussion

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

15 March 2000

Documents handed out:
Letter from Deputy National Commissioner, L J Eloff (Appendix 1)
Rule 235-236 of NA Rules, June 1999 (Appendix 2)

Mr P Hendrickse (Chairperson, ANC) announced that a decision was taken by the Committee to discuss special petitions in the absence of the members of the public. This is done to protect the right to privacy of the Members of Parliament because questions of personal nature are often asked when the petitions are heard.

Mr V Ndlovu's Proposal (IFP) on the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Amendment Bill
The Chairperson said a reply from Minister P Maduna has been received stating that their request for comment could best be dealt with by the South African Police Services. Comment had been received by the National Commissioner of South African Police Services. The Committee was of the opinion that the letter from the Commissioner must not be discussed pending feedback from the Portfolio Committees of Justice and Constitutional Development and Safety and Security.

The Committee had a closed session for the special petitions.

Appendix 1:
FROM :J Eloff
Deputy National Commissioner: SAPS

TO: Mr PAC Hendrickse
Chairperson : Standing Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions

Your letter dated 7 February 2000 refers.
By direction of Minister SV Tshwete I wish to inform you that the Department has considered the Bill and can unfortunately not support it.

The effect of the proposed amendments will not be in the best interest of policing in the Republic. The disadvantages which will result there from, will far outweigh any advantages it may have. Comment on the Bill is set out below.

Crime syndicates in South Africa are increasingly operating across borders be it international national or provincial borders. It is essential that an integrated approach is followed to combat this phenomenon. This approach necessitates shared information and intelligence multi-disciplinary teams, shared resources and flexibility of funds, across provincial borders.

Crime combating initiatives have taught us that intensified police actions sometimes displace certain crimes to surrounding areas, which necessitate a broader geographical approach which cuts across provincial borders. Crime information and crime pattern analysis have brought to light that certain crime phenomena can be geographically pinpointed (geographic areas / zones which cut across provincial borders) for combating purposes. Once again this requires an integrated approach where the sharing of intelligence and resources is critical to the successful combating of these crimes.

The regular incidence of "crime/public order hot spots" in South Africa has necessitated an approach whereby personnel and resources (including budget) have to be shifted from one province to another to stabilise the areas. This requires centralised control and certain national capacity such as a Special Task Force and Public Order Policing Reaction Units. The comments above have resulted internationally in the increased centralisation of the control over policing. Belgium is one the latest examples hereof. A variety of functions performed within a police service cannot be "decentralised" cost effectively. Examples hereof are the Criminal Record Centre, Forensic Science Laboratory, Special Task Force, Information and Systems Management, Central Firearm Register and Crime Intelligence analysis.

The operational functions in the Service have been decentralised to the lowest possible levels with sufficient provision for political oversight and monitoring. it is essential that policing standards are set and monitored at a national level to ensure effective and efficient service delivery to all communities in South Africa. Fragmentation of the Service into provincial police services is likely to lead to different standards and a shortage of skills in certain areas. The following practical problems would be experienced:
- Disparities in relation to service delivery, skills, service conditions and benefits, access to resources, information, etc. would develop.
Personnel would have fewer career opportunities.
- Certain provinces would not be able to establish a police service which reflects the community at all levels.
- Costly duplication of functions and information Systems.

Dr T Geldenhuys and Assistant Commissioner FJ Burger will be able to make written and/or oral submissions to the Committee.

Signed by SAPS Deputy National Commissioner, J Eloff.

Appendix 2:
Referral of proposals to committee
(1) The Speaker must refer the member's memorandum to the Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions.

(2) The Committee must consult the portfolio committee within whose portfolio the proposal falls.

(3) If the Committee after such consultation is of the view that the member's proposal warrants further investigation, but that it may have financial implications for the State request the Speaker to refer the member's memorandum that may be significant enough to affect its desirability, the Committee must request the appropriate portfolio committee to report on the financial implications of the proposal.

(4) After considering the member's memorandum and the portfolio committee's report, if there is such a report, the Committee must recommend that permission either be —
(a) given to the member to proceed with the proposed legislation; or
(b) refused.

(5) If the Committee recommends that the proposed legislation be proceeded with, it may —
(a) express itself on the desirability of the principle of the proposal;
(b) recommend that the Assembly approve the member's proposal in principle; or
(c) recommend that permission be given subject to conditions.

Consideration of legislative proposal by Assembly
(1) The Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions must table in the Assembly the member's memorandum and the Committee's recommendation, including any views of a portfolio committee on the financial or other implications of the proposal.

(2) The Speaker must place the Committee's report together with the member's proposal on the Order Paper for a decision.

(3) The Assembly may —
(a) give permission that the proposal be proceeded with;
(b) refer the proposal back to the Committee or the portfolio committee concerned for a further report; or
(c) refuse permission.

(4) If the Assembly gives permission that the proposal be proceeded with, it may, if it so chooses —
(a) express itself on the desirability of the proposal; or
(b) subject its permission to conditions.


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