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PRIVATE MEMBERS LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS AND SPECIAL PETITIONS STANDING COMMITTEE
22 June 2005
MAGISTRATES’ COURTS AMENDMENT BILL: DISCUSSION
Acting Chairperson: Mr S Mshudulu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Mr Joubert’s legislative proposal for Magistrates’ Courts Amendment Bill
Advocate Schmidt’s legislative proposal for the Admission of Advocates Draft Amendment Bill
The Committee considered the outstanding Magistrates’ Court Amendment Bill, because the previous meeting had lacked a quorum. The Committee agreed that the Bill would be referred to Department of Constitutional Development and Justice Portfolio Committee for comment.
The Committee had initially been scheduled to consider Advocate Schmidt’s legislative proposal for the Admission of Advocates Draft Amendment Bill as there was not time to deal with both bills.
Mr L Joubert (IFP) briefed the Committee on his legislative proposal that aimed to curb the selling of poor people's homes to pay the debts owed to ‘loan sharks’. The legislation would provide judicial oversight over loan sharks attaching Reconstruction and Development Project (RDP) houses. Mr Joubert's initial idea had been to amend that the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944 to specify that a house purchased by government funds up to a certain value (for instance R16 000), should be exempt.
The Chairperson said the main purpose of the Bill was to address the deficiency in section 66(1) of the Act, that stated that the sheriff could attach fixed property in the absence of sufficient movable property to satisfy a court judgement granted in favour of a judgement creditor. The envisaged amendment sought to oblige a Magistrate to consider all relevant circumstances, especially that of the judgement debtor, when ordering a sale in execution under section 66. The Committee decided that the Bill was desirable and had no financial implications for the State.
Members were unanimous in their resolution that Mr’s Joubert’s legislative proposal be referred to the Justice Portfolio Committee as well as Department of Constitutional Development for comment on its desirability.
Members were frustrated that this issue had been delayed unnecessarily, as it was an important and widespread problem. The Chairperson was concerned with the slow pace of all Private Members’ legislative processes and inconsistent meeting attendance by MPs. He suggested that other MPs should be co-opted to the Committee to ensure satisfactory attendance. His view was supported by Ms S Rajbally (MF) and other Members.
The meeting was adjourned.
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