Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill [B110-98]; Maintenance Bill [B72-98];Domestic Violence Bill [B75B- 1998]: adoption

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Justice and Correctional Services

30 October 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report



30 October 1998

Documents handed out
Maintenance Bill [MAN 59]

Committee Resolution to accompany the Maintenance Bill [MAN 60]
Memorandum on the Objects of the Maintenance Bill [MAN 61] (see appendix)
Domestic Violence Bill, final draft [DOM 47]
Maintenance Bill [MAN 59]

Resolution of Domestic Violence Bill (final published version)
Resolution of Recognition of Customary Marriagesg (final published version)

The committee held final discussions on the Domestic Violence Bill, the Maintenance Bill, the Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill and the resolution to accompany the Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill, and passed the latter three documents.

Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill [B110 – 98]

The Committee agreed to the Bill [CSM 16] and passed it once the accompanying resolution had been drafted to its satisfaction.

Maintenance Bill [B72 –98]
The Chairperson, Mr De Lange (ANC) read the resolution and the committee made small technical changes to it. The Committee then considered the Bill.

Mr De Lange noted that there was no reference to the Constitution in the preamble and asked Mr Basset (law adviser) to insert one. The Committee agreed to amend clause 9 to make the meaning clearer. Mr De Lange drew the committee's attention to the omission of what appeared as clause 10 in the previous draft, which was a proposal by the Counsel of the Bar which the committee had rejected because of lack of time to properly consider it. The committee agreed to amend clause 11(a), replacing 'prescribed allowance for subsistence and for expenses to travel to and from the court' with 'prescribed allowance for subsistence and for travel to and from the court'. Mr De Lange referred to clause 47 (the enactment clause) and noted that (2) provides for different sections to come into operation at different times, saying this is to allow smooth implementation of the Act. He asked Mr Bassett to explain this in the resolution.

The committee agreed to each section of the Bill, then passed the Bill and the resolution subject to the changes Mr Basset was instructed to make.

Domestic Violence [B75 – 98]
The committee considered the definition of 'domestic relationship'. Mr Moosa (ANC) questioned why co-residence is not a requirement in some relationships within the definition. Mr De Lange answered that if the relationship has a domestic nature, co-residence is not required, and that even casual sexual relationships come within the definition of domestic relationship.

The committee then discussed the definition of 'Domestic Violence', failing to reach agreement on whether 'threat', 'imminent harm' or 'harm' should be a requirement in the definition. Some members considered that 'threat' would make the definition too wide, for instance Mr Hofmeyr suggested that if a person smashed a plate on the floor then the damage to property plus the threat caused would bring this behaviour within the definition of domestic violence and he did not think that was appropriate. Some members considered that 'imminent harm' would cause confusion because the term 'threat of imminent harm' is used extensively throughout the Bill, and some members considered that 'harm' made the definition too narrow.

The Committee expanded the definition of domestic violence in the Bill. Briefly, domestic violence includes behavior that harms the health or safety of an individual. As amended, the violative behavior must harm or cause imminent harm to a complainant.

The Committee removed the phrase, "the provisions of" in clause 6(7) of the bill.
The Committee substituted "and" for "or" in the phrase "health and wellbeing" in clause 7(2).

The Committee deleted portions of clause 13(2). In clause 13(2), the Committee deleted "within the available resources of the Department of Justice" and "in respect of which costs are attached".

Finally, the Committee rearranged clause 18(3) for the sake of clarity. After "Act No. 68 of 1995", the Committee added," with which its members must comply," and removed "for its members to comply with".

Prevention of Organized Crime Bill
The Committtee reviewed the revisions and approved clauses 56, 57, 59, 61, and 79 of the Bill. The Committee agreed to remove the phrase "or at any time thereafter " in clause 57(1). The Committee agreed that the revised clause 56 is acceptable. Clause 56 deals with notice of suspicion concerning property. The Committee removed "17(2) " and "30" from clause 59(1) of the Bill. The Committee substituted "a restraining" with "an anti-dissipation" in clause 61 of the Bill.

Appendix 1:

1. The considerations which gave rise to the introduction of the Bill are set out in the Preamble.

2. The Bill, amongst others, makes provision for the following:
* The appointment of maintenance investigators and the determination of the
powers and functions of these investigators.
* The setting of core guidelines regarding the duty of parents to support their
* The payment of maintenance from money owed or accruing to persons against whom maintenance orders have been made.
* The making of maintenance orders in the absence of persons who have a duty of support in appropriate cases, known as orders by default.
* The civil execution of arrears in terms of a maintenance order.

3. Since the Bill cannot be regarded as a bill to which the procedure set out in section 74 or 76 of the Constitution applies, the Bill must, in the opinion of the Department of Justice and the State Law Advisers, be dealt with in accordance with the procedure prescribed by section 75 of the Constitution.

The monitor left the meeting at 4.30pm.



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