Prevention of Organised Crime Amendment Bill: discussion

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Justice and Correctional Services

14 February 1999
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Meeting report

JUSTICE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 February 1999
PREVENTION OF ORGANISED CRIME AMENDMENT BILL: DISCUSSION

Documents handed out:
Portfolio Committee Amendments to Prevention of Organised Crime Amendment Bill [B2-99]
Letter from the Banking Council of South Africa


Minutes
The Chairperson, Mr De Lange, convened the meeting and said the focus would be on a review of the Portfolio Committee’s amendments to the Prevention of Organised Crime Amendment Bill [B2-99]. The Chairperson called on Mr Smit, of the South African Law Commission, to go over the amendments.

Mr Smit read through the document, noting each amendment and asking for comments or questions.

Mr Maree (NNP) pointed out that page 4 of the document changes Section 1, subsection (3), paragraph (a), and defines the circumstances under which a person "ought reasonably to have known or suspected a fact …" Mr Maree contends that a person either has knowledge or they don’t, but government and the police shouldn’t be trying to assess if someone ought to have known something.

The Chairperson suggested that Mr Maree read the clause in the context of the overall Section, and that if he did he would understand the rationale for the wording.

Mr Smit continued reading the amendments.

Mr Hofmeyr (ANC) said that on page 5 of the document, the amendment to Section 2, subsection (1), paragraph (a), which is currently split into subparagraphs (i) and (ii), should be combined into one subparagraph. (The subparagraphs in the amendment currently read: (i) receives or retains any property derived, directly or indirectly; and (ii) knows or ought reasonably to have known that such property is derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity.)

As there was no objection to Mr Hofmeyr’s suggestion, the Chairperson asked Mr Smit to include that change in the revision of the document.

Mr Smit continued reading the amendments.

Mr Maree (NNP) called attention to amendment to Section 5 of the principal Act (on page 7 of the document) which reads: "Any person who knows or ought reasonably to have known that another person has obtained the proceeds of unlawful activity." He suggested that the clause ought to include any person who is "suspected" of knowing, in order to raise the standards of behaviour required of the wrongdoer to avoid culpability.

Mr Hofmeyr (ANC) replied that the term "suspicion" is primarily used when it comes to transactions. In reporting transactions the issue comes into play because one wants to cast a wider net in terms of investigating people; but in terms of the context of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, the wording can’t be that broad.

The Chairperson asked Mr Smit to make a note that "suspicion" and "knowledge" are clearly defined in the definitions clause of the Bill.

Mr Smit continued reading the amendments.

Mr Mzizi (IFP) interjected as Mr Smit was discussing page 9 of the document, which was a semantic change to the Afrikaans version of Section 7, subsection (6) of the Act, intended to bring the Afrikaans wording in line with the English. Mr Mzizi asked for clarification of the change.

Mr Smit answered that they have simply added the word "must" in Afrikaans in order for the Afrikaans reading to be the same as the English. Mr Mzizi had no more concerns, and Mr Smit continued reading the amendments.

Mr Maree suggested that the amendment to section 7 of the principal Act (on page 9 of the document) be reworded to make it more readable. Currently he meaning of the sentence is not clear.

The Chairperson agreed and asked Mr Smit to reword the sentence for the next meeting.

Mr Smit continued reading the amendments.

The Chairperson interrupted on page 25 of the document, with a question in reference to the insertion of section 69A. The Chairperson asked if the Auditor-General would oversee the account set up to accommodate forfeited and seized items under the terms of the Bill.

Mr Smit replied that he did not believe oversight was provided for in the Bill.

The Chairperson asked Mr Smit to check with the Department of Finance regarding how the account would be audited. As there were no more concerns or comments on the document, the Chairperson moved to the letter from the Banking Council to the Committee. He said he had had a nice conversation with Mr Tucker, Chief Executive of the Banking Council, who had expressed his regrets on the inappropriate behaviour of members of the Banking Council at the Justice Committee’s last meeting. The Chairperson read aloud the letter from Mr Tucker to the Committee (see document).

The Chairperson asked Mr Smit to make changes to the amendments as suggested by the Committee, and to follow up on the other issues raised. He set the next meeting for 17 Feb at 10am. The meeting was then adjourned.

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