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DEFENCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
14 September 1998
DEFENCE SPECIAL TRIBUNAL BILL: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out
Defence Special Tribunal Bill [B100-98] access from http://www.polity.org.za/govdocs/bills/1998
The Bill was accepted by the committee with some amendments - the most important being the insertion of a two year deadline that can be extended by a presidential proclamation.
The Department of Defence advised that fresh legislation is necessary because the existing legislation lapses in December 1998. The Labour Court will be empowered to sit as a special tribunal.
Mr Marais (NP) wanted to know whether 1(iii) means that the Department of Defence accepts a trade union in the Defence Force, in principle?
Mr Radebe (law advisor) said that there is no policy at present regarding a trade union, but this clause would also refer to the civilians in the department’s employment. The date for completion of rationalisation is still unknown, hence the openness of clause 8 regarding duration. The legislation would be removed from the statutes by the President by proclamation.
Mr Maboba (ANC) wanted to know what the Bill actually addressed? Mr Radebe said that the Bill, with terminological corrections, merely extends the existing legislation, nor would there be additional expense because the infrastructure of the Labour Court is already established.
The chairperson said the committee did not want people thrown onto the street, therefore the committee should not tie the department’s hand so the committee must leave the flexibility of clause 8.
Mr Gibson (DP) stated that the Democratic Party supports the Bill but also has reservations about clause 8. He suggested that since the SANDF is overstaffed, the best means of ensuring that the transition is completed expeditiously is by inserting a two year deadline.
Ms Kota (ANC) said that the transition process is cumbersome and therefore she suggested open-endedness. She was supported by Mr Loots (ANC).
The National Party representatives proposed 31 December 2001 rather than open-endedness.
Mr Yengeni (acting chairperson) offered a compromise because of the need for the legislation. He asked the state law advisor to make suggestions regarding this but the law advisor was unable to do so without stipulating a date.
Mr Gibson proposed that the Act be ceased by presidential proclamation at a date not later than 31 December 2001.
The chairperson opposed the stipulation of a date, but yielded to the NP and DP request for a date stipulation provided the president has the right to extend if necessary. He pointed out that the time frame of the transition had not been decided on by the committee and it would be inappropriate to tie one's hands with a date.
The National Party wanted to consult regarding the date but the chairperson said that compromises had been made on all sides and the National Party should make compromises too.
The parties agreed in principle to the Bill and accepted it without a vote. It will be debated on 21 September 1998 in the National Assembly.
AMENDMENTS AGREED TO: DEFENCE SPECIAL TRIBUNAL BILL
1. In the English text, on page 6, in line 3, to omit "frivolity" and to substitute "frivolousness"
1. That the following be a new clause to follow clause 7.
Duration of Act
8(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2) this Act shall cease to have effect on 31 December 2001
8(2) The President may at any time before the date referred to in subsection (1) and by proclamation in the Gazette declare that this Act shall cease to have effect on any earlier or later on any earlier or later date specified in the proclamation.
8(3) If any proceedings have been brought before the special tribunal before the date on which this Act ceases to have effect in terms of subsection (1) or (2), those proceedings shall be continued and concluded as if this Act had not ceased to have effect.
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