South African Police Amendment Bill: finalisation & voting

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19 August 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

19 August 1998

Documents handed out:
South African Police Amendment Bill [B39-98] - access from
Amendments agreed to (See appendix)

The Chairperson of the Safety and Security Committee, Mr R Molekane (ANC) began the meeting by encouraging the finalisation of the Bill. After welcoming Dr Geldenhuys, Adv. Du Plessis, Adv. Brandt and the State Legal Advisor to the meeting, he asked Dr Geldenhuys to take the members through the amendments made by the department to the Bill.

Dr Geldenhuys noted that the amendments before the members had been agreed upon at a previous meeting. The amendments were as follows:
1. Section 64C redrafted to include a new subsection (c)
2-4) The term "supervision" replaced throughout the Bill by "oversight"
5) Section 64K(1) redrafted to include "subject to the direction of a member of the Executive Council"
6-7) Simple grammatical amendments
8) The replacement of subsection (c) of Section 64Q, dealing with the transitional arrangement for Durban.
9-10) Mere technical amendment, s75 changed to s72

Mr Molekane then asked for comments on these amendments, and the committee agreed to deal with them in the order set out by Dr Geldenhuys:
Amendment 1
Dr Geldenhuys clarified the matter, explaining that a new subsection (c) would be added and that consequently the existing (c) would become (d) and so forth.
The committee agreed unanimously to the amendment.

Amendments 2, 3 and 4
The committee agreed upon the insertion of "oversight" in place of "supervision".

Amendment 5
The Chairperson for the Select Committee on Security and Justice, Mr Moosa (ANC), raised concerns about the wording of the clause. He felt the inclusion of "subject to the direction" tied the Provincial Commissioner down in a rather unfortunate way. He suggested the section be rephrased as "in consultation with Members of the Executive Council".
Mr Gibson (DP) however preferred the current wording of the section. The committee members then discussed the matter and the impact that various rephrasings of the section would have on its meaning. There was concern that if "subject to the direction of the members of the Executive Council" was included that operational matters would be adversely affected as the Executive Council would have to be in agreement before actions could be taken. Mr Matthee (NP) also raised the concern that the Executive Council would be able to effectively control the Commissioner. Mr Moosa felt that the problem with the existing format was that it cut out the role of the MECs. However he continued that he was uncertain whether one could tie down the Commissioner on operational issues by making his actions subject to the MECs control entirely. Dr Geldenhuys allayed most of the fears of the committee members, and the amendment as it stands was agreed upon by the members.

Amendments 6 and 7
The committee agreed upon the simple grammatical amendments.

Amendment 8
Members raised questions about the possible ambiguities surrounding the use of "was" in Section 64Q. Dr Geldenhuys had no fixed feelings on the matter and referred it to the State Legal Advisor. The State Legal Advisor said the use of "was" made no real difference, that it was merely grammatical. Mr Moosa agreed with him, stating again that it was simply a matter of tense.

Dr Geldenhuys said the critical word in the section was "immediately", and that the section in the Act would have no meaning unless the Act was in operation. Thus he felt the use of "was" was not problematic.

In response to Mr Moosa’s question, Dr Geldenhuys replied that the amendment would not alter the date in the clause of 30 September 1999.

Amendments 9 and 10
The members agreed that the matter was simply one of numbers, there was no opposition to the amendment.

There was thus agreement by the members on all the amendments contained in the Departmental document.
Further Discussion
Mr Molekane then opened the discussion to any other problems the members had with the Bill:
Section 64E(c)
Mr Gibson suggested that visible policing should be included in s 64E(c). He felt that the public was in favour of it and that its inclusion in the Bill would send an important signal. Mr Molekane said the matter had been discussed before in Mr Gibson’s absence, but nevertheless invited further discussion.

Dr Geldenhuys felt that visible policing was perhaps one of the cornerstones of crime prevention, and that its inclusion in the section would serve merely as emphasis. Furthermore he said its inclusion could indeed be problematic as the courts would then define crime prevention as not including visible policing.
Mr Matthee suggested the use of "...crime prevention, particularly through visible policing." but again Dr Geldenhuys found this problematic. Ms Kondlo (ANC) felt that the section should be left as is, and that members were merely wasting time on the matter.

Section 64L
Mr Gibson raised the issue of national standards. He felt that different towns would have different needs and budgets and that what was needed for a big city would not be necessary in a small town. He was concerned that national standards were too prescriptive, and would make it impossible for some towns to maintain standards.

There was general agreement by the members that national standards were indeed necessary to maintain certainty and avoid past abuses. Dr Geldenhuys said the standards would be practicable, and that their object was not control or centralisation of the Police Service. He continued that municipal policing was a historical step, and that the public should be informed of what to expect. He felt this was an important reason to have a uniform system throughout the country.
In response to questions from Mr Moosa, Dr Geldenhuys replied that the setting of standards was a policy issue and that accordingly the Minister would be involved. He continued that, if members desired, the standards could be tabled in Parliament. Members were in agreement that the procedure should be left as is, and that the standards should not be tabled in Parliament.

In response to a question about Municipal Police procedure, Dr Geldenhuys referred members to Section 64C which states that other provisions of the Act apply to Municipal Policemen. He said that in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, Municipal Policemen would be obliged to take arrested person to SAPS
stations as soon after arrest as possible.

Mr Ncube (ANC) then enquired as to the position of past members of SAPS or members who had taken severance packages, and whether they could join the Municipal Police Service. Dr Geldenhuys answered that there would be specific entrance requirements, but that prohibition of those who had taken severance
packages would be in contradiction with agreements made about severance packages. He continued that such persons could not be reappointed in the public sector, but that the Municipal Police Service was a matter that fell under local authority. Accordingly he felt that amendment of the Bill would perhaps be unconstitutional.

Mr Molekane then lead a motion that legislation was desirable to amend the old South African Police Bill. His motion was seconded. The members were in unanimous agreement regarding all the amendments to the Bill. Mr Moosa noted that the NCOP was not voting on the matter as it was not formally before the NCOP. The Bill was thus passed with amendments.



Amendments agreed to [B39-98]

The Portfolio Committee agreed to the following amendments:




1. On page 4, after line 53, to insert the following paragraph:

(c) ensure that traffic policing services by the municipality are not prejudicially affected by the establishment of the municipal police service;

2. On page 8, in line 18, to omit "supervision" and substitute "oversight".

3. On page 8, in line 21, to omit "supervision" and substitute "oversight".

4. On page 8, in line 30, to omit "supervision" and substitute "oversight".

5. On page 8, in line 44, after "shall" to insert:

, subject to the directions of the member of the Executive Council.

6. On page 10, in line 30, to omit "under" and to substitute "as contemplated in".

7. On page 10, in line 34, to omit ''under'' and to substitute ''as contemplated in''.

8. On page 14, from line 22, to omit paragraph (c) and to substitute:

(c) Any person who was a member of the Durban City Police immediately before the South African Police Service Amendment Act, 1998, took effect, shall continue to be a member even if that person does not comply with the training requirements for appointment as a member of a municipal police service established under this Act: Provided that the person shall cease to be a member with effect from 1 October 2003, unless he or she complies with the training requirements for appointment.

9. On page 14. from line 46 to omit "75" and to substitute "72".

10. On page 14, from line 47, to omit "75" and to substitute "72".


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