A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
JUSTICE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 March 2006
OFFICE OF CHIEF STATE LAW ADVISOR, LEGISLATIVE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT BRANCH, STATUTORY LAW REVISION UNIT: BRIEFINGS; DEPARTMENT REPORT ON REPEAL OF BLACK ADMINISTRATION ACT: BRIEFING
Documents handed out:
Department’s presentation: Legislative and Constitutional Development
Office of the Chief State Law Advisor presentation for period 20005/06
South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) presentation
Statutory Law Revision by SALRC
South African Law Reform Commission publications completed: 1994 - 2005
South African Law Reform Commission current research programme
Committee Report on Repeal of Black Administration Act and Amendment of Certain Laws Bill
Report on issues raised by Committee on Repeal of Black Administration Act Bill
Department Legislative Programme as at 1 February 2006
Position of Acts, 8 March 2006
Summary of Report on Position of Acts, 8 March 2006 [see Appendix]
Chief Master's Report
Presentation by the Justice College
The Office of the Chief State Law Advisor, and the Department of Justice's Legislative and Constitutional Development Branch and Statutory Law Revision Unit briefed the Committee on their structure, activities, challenges and objectives. Members raised numerous issues including provision of legal advice to municipalities, the position of the Chief State Law Advisor, vexatious lawsuits against the state, the status of draft legislation dealing with the judiciary, legal fees, and cleaning up the country statute book of superfluous legislation.
The Committee received feedback on the issues they had raised on concluding deliberations on the Bill to repeal of the Black Administration Act. The Principal State law Advisor pointing out that certain pieces of subordinate legislation had to be substituted before the Act could be formally and entirely repealed. A report on the required legislation would be forwarded to the Committee in due course.
The Committee was briefed by the Chief Master and the Justice College. The Moseneke judgement was politically very powerful but was making life difficult for the Master’s Office. The Office did not have the capacity to deal with all the issues that had arisen as a result of the judgement. The Guardian’s Fund had grown tremendously and this was a cause for concern. A lot of you people were dying leaving even younger beneficiaries. A lot of people did not do proper estate planning. It might be helpful for banks to establish a sort of Mzantsi account for estate planning purposes. It was important to guarantee that people would get good quality services in all service points.
The Committee was concerned that the Justice College intended to transfer part of its budget to the Chief Justice for the training of magistrates. The Committee was never informed of the decision to transfer the training of the magistrates to the Chief Justice.
The Committee raised the following issues, amongst others:
- What role should the Public Investment Corporation play on relation to the Guardian’s Fund.
- How the Department would deal with the order to reinstate Mr M Tshishonga.
- How rampant was theft in the Office
Presentation by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor
Mr E Daniels (Chief State Law Advisor) presented a report on the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor to the Committee, providing an overview of how the state attorneys performed over the past year, focusing on the achievement of objectives, and challenges faced.
The report stated that Legal Liability, Legal Process and International Affairs now reported directly to the Director-General: Justice, with the end result that the Chief State Law Advisor would perform only those functions that it had historically performed.
The Office fulfills two functions, namely scrutiny, drafting and certification of legislation and the provision of legal advice to the state at a national level. At a secondary level, the Office provides internal training and to other state departments. Its primary objective was to assist the national government, although assistance was also provided to provinces and municipalities on request. The Minister of Justice had requested the Office to explore the possibility of extending services to municipalities. A report and proposed plan of action would soon be submitted to the Minister.
There were presently two offices, one in Cape Town which dealt with the function of scrutiny, drafting and certification of legislation, and the other in Pretoria which has dealt with a total of 655 legal opinions, international agreements and regulations during this past year.
The Office had identified and prioritised the development and enhancement of skills and establishing a legislative drafting unit. The Office had achieved its objective of creating a dedicated pool of legislative drafters and legal advisors who could provide the state with professional and reliable advice and drafting services. One of the challenges faced by the Office was the enhancement of such skills.
The Office was fully representative of the demographics of the country.
In terms of statistics on matters, difficulty had been experienced in collating such information from all the relevant offices. There was a 7.5% decrease in new matters, an increase in time spent per matter and a decrease in the number of High Court appearances (27.7%).
Instructions had been received to open a state office in Kimberley. Turning to the Constitutional Litigation Unit, he advised that the unit had been involved in approximately 100 constitutional cases since date of inception (2004). There was some uncertainty about its future existence, but it would notwithstanding finalise all current cases.
Various task teams had been established to implement measures for administrative improvement, the establishment of a database of finalised opinions, specialised training and improving response time and proactivity. Despite following the Committee Chairperson’s advice to use a questionnaire to gauge service satisfaction levels, various departments had failed to cooperate.
[Due to the Order Paper indicating an incorrect starting time, the first half hour of this meeting was not minuted. Hence some of the questions in the discussion are not captured although the responses are. This will be remedied by 24 March 2006.]
The Chairperson asked about the legality of providing law services to municipalities in light of separation of powers provisions in the Constitution. Ultimately, municipalities acted mero moto and if they based their actions on opinions from national government level, the potential for litigation existed. There was some concern about conflicts of interest that could result. She asked what the policy on this issue was.
Mr Daniels advised that the Portfolio Committee had previously engaged him about the possibility of rendering services to smaller municipalities.
The Chairperson felt this would have been applicable to smaller municipalities and not Johannesburg Metro because it had the necessary. She requested a written reply from Mr Daniels dealing with the potential pros and cons and the manner in which they intended dealing with conflicts of interest. She stated that municipalities needed advice on a continual basis as they operated very differently from National Government.
On the Chief Litigation Office, the Chairperson understood this to mean an office to deal with matters that had constitutional implications for Government as a whole, for instance overcrowding in correctional facilities. She thought there would be a link between the State Attorneys Offices and the Chief Litigation Office and did not understand it to mean that the Chief Litigation Office would take over from the State Attorneys.
Mr Daniels confirmed that the correct understanding was that the Chief Litigation Office would oversee the State Attorneys.
Ms F Chohan-Khota (ANC) commented that whilst she understood that they were in developing process, she felt that the Committee should have had a report on the issue on page 5. It was therefore unacceptable to not have the statistics ready for the budget report. She stated that it would have been good to see what had transpired in the past. Whilst she understood that one could not always compare different cases, if cases were pending for a long time, the Committee needed to know the status of such matters and the problems experienced therewith.
Mr Daniels apologised, but advised Ms F Chohan-Khota (ANC) that such information had been provided to the Committee last year. He added that he had requested such information but was advised by the respective parties concerned that they do not report to him.
Ms F Chohan-Khota (ANC) stated that it was shocking that such persons had failed to comply particularly in view of reporting to Parliament and especially in relation to accountability. She accordingly requested this report by Friday, 17th March 2006. She said that it was a different story if one did not have the statistics for a particular reason, but then she wished to know why.
Adv C Johnson (ANC) asked why the number of High Court appearances had dropped. Regarding public interest law firms: what were the budget implications, who decided which firm gets briefed and did they not have the necessary in-house capacity? What was the Office’s budget allocation?
Mr T Delport (DA) stated that a number of law firms had been established with the sole purpose of litigating against the state. For instance, in Port Elizabeth, more than 100 cases against the state had been launched. A large number of orders against the state were being granted and he asked for the cost of such orders to the state. One had to determine where state departments were failing in their obligations to the public which resulted in these cases. He asked for more information about the number of cases, their nature and the number of successful applications against the state.
Ms S Camerer (DA) stated that she had made recent enquiries about the Constitutional Litigation Unit from Mr Daniels’ office which had resulted in unsatisfactory responses. She therefore asked Mr Daniels whether he was in charge of the Unit, whether he was permanently employed, what his remuneration was and whether it was "normal" to employ "outside" independent attorneys.
The Chairperson requested Ms Camerer not to make insinuations, but to ask questions directly.
Ms Camerer felt that she had directly asked Mr Daniels to clarify the issues.
Mr M Swart (ACDP) commented that it had been reported that the state was not always complying with orders issued against it. What could the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor do to ensure compliance by the state?
Mr Daniels stated that he considered himself a patriot and supported the actions of his Department. With the changing of the guard in 1994 and the restructuring of the Department of Justice, he had accepted the Chief State Law Advisor position without question. On the issue of state attorneys appearing in the High Court, some of them declined to do so for capacity and workload reasons. Appearances in the High Court were listed as a success in 2004. Improvements were expected in 2005, but this was not the case. This failure could have been due to non-compliance with the change in internal governance policy.
On litigation against the state, Mr Daniels argued that this bordered on the unethical and had been raised with the Law Society of South Africa. Many of these matters could have been resolved without resort to the courts. In one instance, certain attorneys shared the same office floor with pension consultants who were briefing these attorneys. A full report had been requested from the State Attorneys. The state also did not always oppose the applications. It often took a long time to investigate social development issues, but litigation was often launched before the conclusion of the investigations.
Mr Daniels said that instructions had now been received to defend against bogus grant claims which amounted to about 100 per month. He felt that the establishment of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) would resolve many of the problems associated with social grants and the flood of applications against the state would decrease significantly.
Mr Daniels pointed out that it was not unusual for state departments to keep private practitioners on retainer as they needed experienced litigators. State departments had twenty-four hour access to practitioners on retainer and they were therefore very well paid.
Mr Daniels stated that his personal assistant categorically denied speaking to Ms Camerer. In fact, Ms Camerer had spoken to the receptionist who had explained the reason for his absence. He confirmed that the Constitutional Litigation Department Unit reported directly to him.
Mr Daniels advised the Committee that in respect of the Constitutional Court reference, he had immediately asked for a report relating to that matter. He had established that a junior lawyer had assisted unsupervised by a senior.
Mr Daniels further commented that he had no intention to undermine the independence or the authority of the Courts.
Mr Daniels advised that the matter proceeded to Court on the 22 April 2006. In terms of this matter the applicant was challenging the State Liability Act, which he was of the opinion was without foundation. He said that the matter pended on the applicant’s attorney’s interpretation of the Act. As regards the delay in settling claims, this was due to bureaucratic processes.
Mr Daniels confirmed that he had held discussions with the Law Society of South Africa about vexatious applications against the state, but that the number of unsettled claims was relatively small. On welfare grant matters, a large number of judgments had been granted against the state, but grants had not been paid because of continuing investigations.
The Chairperson reiterated that information requested by the Committee should be submitted by Friday, 17 March. The report on providing services to municipalities should be submitted as soon as reasonably possible.
Legislative and Constitutional Development Branch presentation
Mr Deon Rudman (Chief Director) briefed the Committee on the composition of the branch, its budget, the Chief Directorate: Law Reform, the Chief Directorate: Legislative Development and the Chief Directorate: Constitutional Development, their respective responsibilities, personnel capacity and programmes (see document)
Ms Camerer asked about the status of the draft Superior Courts Bill and the Constitution 14th Amendment Bill.
Mr Rudman advised that the draft Superior Courts Bill had been resubmitted to the Committee. The Constitution 14th Amendment Bill had not yet been introduced.
Ms Camerer asked for more detail on the terms of reference referred to in the presentation. What was the Department concentrating on, what was being reviewed, by whom and how long would it take? In particular, she queried whether the Legal Practice Bill would realistically be implemented this year.
Mr Rudman advised that the terms of reference were decided by Cabinet which also requested legislative reviews. On the Legal Practice Bill, various discussions had been held with the Minister and they were waiting for the go-ahead. This should happen towards the end of the year.
Ms Camerer asked how appointments at the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) were made.
Mr Rudman advised that a meeting was held yesterday. A number of Commissioners had resigned and others’ terms of office expired on 18 April 2006. Therefore new appointments had to be made and the Department would assist in this process.
Mr L Joubert (DA) asked whether the reasoning behind the increase of sheriffs’ jurisdiction was to break the monopoly of Magistrates.
Mr Rudman advised that the idea was based on legislation approved by the Committee, with transformation being the pivotal motivation.
Mr Joubert also asked about the review of sheriffs’ and attorneys’ fees, and the discrepancy between attorneys’ and advocates’ fees for appearances in the same court.
The Chairperson stated that attorneys’ fees were prescribed whereas advocates’ fees were regulated in accordance with their own rules.
Mr Joubert raised the same query about the review of witness fees.
The Chairperson said that one wanted to ensure that witnesses were paid a decent fee for testifying and not create obstacles. This explained the reasoning behind having set fees for expert witnesses.
Mr Rudman advised that they were looking at increasing the witness fees. To this end, a memorandum had been prepared and submitted. He confirmed that they had received representations for further increases.
Mr Swart raised the issue of a legislative costing unit and to what degree it was operational. Would it be able to properly cost new bills?
Mr Rudman said that they had established a costing unit, but some staff had since resigned. They were currently looking at filling the vacancies.
Mr Swart also enquired when the Sexual Offences Bill and Child Justice Bill would come into effect as his party had been accused of causing delays in their implementation.
Mr Rudman advised that the suggestions by the Committee on the Sexual Offences Bill had been drafted would be resubmitted shortly. The same applied to the Child Justice Bill.
Mr Solomon (ANC) asked who decided that an area should have more than one sheriff and whether the Board of Sheriffs had been consulted.
Mr Rudman advised that the Minister decided on the areas after receiving advice from the Board of Sheriffs.
Mr Solomon also asked about the status of the Muslim Marriages Bill.
Mr Rudman said he was not involved with that particular bill. The Law Reform Commission had prepared an evaluation report to advise the CGE. The Commission has however produced legislation dealing with all religious marriages, and it would be necessary to see how this legislation tied in with the work of Law Reform Commission. This issue was not on their programme for the current year, but once finalised would go to the Minister.
The Chairperson advised Mr Rudman that the Committee had its own priorities and had hoped to prioritise the Sexual Offences Bill. She stated that the Black Administration Act "seemed to be coming to a head", but it was necessary to expedite some of the other matters so that they can deal with them in the meantime before dealing with the Sexual Offences Bill when it was tabled.
Ms Camerer commented that expectations had been created on the Sexual Offences Bill for more than two years and that this could not continue for another year. She added that it would be helpful to get a copy of the judges’ memorandum of comments on the Superior Courts Bill.
The Chairperson and Ms Camerer became embroiled in an argument on this issue.
The Chairperson stated that it would be improper to distribute the memorandum without judges’ consent. The judges had been given an open invitation to submit their views to the Committee but had chosen not to. It was inappropriate for Ms Camerer to act as spokesperson for the judges. She added that was outrageous to question why all judicial views had not been expressed in the draft legislation.
Ms Camerer stated that she was not purporting to act on behalf of any party - she was only relaying what she had heard from Justice Dennis Davies who had advised people at a workshop that the latest draft did not incorporate the recommendations of the judges. She merely asked whether it was possible to get a copy of the memorandum to assess the validity of Davies’ statement.
The Chairperson said that Ms Camerer could not expect the Department to give her a copy of a confidential memorandum. Ms Camerer should not have raised the issue.
Mr Rudman pointed out that a report had been approved that identified the jurisdictional areas of sheriffs. Vacancies were accordingly advertised and recommendations made. The process was still ongoing. Once the draft rules had been approved (and promulgated), the selection process would start. The Committee that considered the draft rules was formed by members of the High Court, Magistrate’s Court and the Sheriffs Board. The rules were submitted to the Minister and tabled in Parliament once approved. The same process applied to rules governing the conduct of sheriffs.
South African Law Reform Commission presentation
Mr William Henegan (Chief Director: Statutory Law Revision Unit) advised the Committee that the emphasis in the current investigations of statutory law was on compliance with the Constitution. However, all redundant and obsolete provisions identified in the course of the current investigation would also be recommended for repeal.
Mr Henegan said that, following the endorsement by Cabinet on 9 July 2004, high priority would be given to reviewing discriminative provisions in the legislative framework that could result in discrimination as defined by Section 9 of the Constitution. The review would also address unfair practices as a result of these legislative provisions. All state departments would be requested to participate in and contribute to the investigation as a matter of urgency.
Mr Henegan stated that legislation on the South African statute book was not confined to primary or national legislation but included remnants of legislative enactments passed by the provincial legislatures, governments of the former self-governing territories and the so called "homelands", as well as the respective subordinate legislation. The focus, as a starting point, would be on national legislation and would be extended to other areas as more capacity became available.
Mr Henegan advised that the focus would be on national legislation with particular reference to the grounds for discrimination as per Section 9 of the Constitution. In order to do this it was imperative that a database of all statutes remaining on the statute book since 1910 was established. This must be accompanied by the revision of a key statute, namely the Interpretations Act [No. 33 of 1957].
Mr Henegan confirmed that to achieve this end, a proposed working methodology had emerged, and a feasibility study carried out.
Mr Henegan confirmed that an amount of R3 million per year for the next three years had been made available for the purpose of the investigation into statutory law revision with the possibility that additional funds would be made available after that period.
The Chairperson asked about legislative intentions with regards to domestic partnerships.
Mr Henegan advised that a report would be submitted by the end of this year on that issue in light of recent case law. The report would deal with two types of partnership, namely heterosexual partnerships and same-sex partnerships. The report would make recommendations on both types of relationship.
Mr Joubert asked whether, in relation to the review of the Interpretation of Statutes Act, the deliberations of Parliament would be fully considered.
Mr Henegan advised that he would make the report available to the Committee for comment and scrutiny, if desired, once it had been finalised.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee would not be able to comment as a whole, but individual Members could comment in their personal capacity.
Mr Solomon asked, regarding the 300 pieces of outdated legislation, whether any pertained to the Justice Department, and whether the Justice Department had refused to take responsibility for it. He also queried whether this had impacted on the administration of justice.
Mr Henegan stated that the Justice Department had "a clean bill of health" in this regard. These pieces of legislation were not particularly problematic, and originated from before 1961. The Committee should not be too concerned as a lot of the legislation was outdated and should have been repealed. The history of the statute book had been badly managed leading to this problem. For this reason, skills transfer would be effected and proper management of the statute book implemented.
The Chairperson said it was imperative to institutionalise the way forward and that there must be mechanisms in place to isolate and identify these issues before they went to court. Legislation evolved continuously and proactive identification of superfluous statutes was necessary.
Mr Henegan advised that they would have to look seriously at developing an electronic database across departments. Although he was not sure how to do it, it would enhance sound management of the statute book.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee assist in this regard as it was necessary to maintain a depository of knowledge and management of constitutional matters.
Justice Department Report on the Repeal of the Black Administration Act
It was noted that the Department had been requested to report back on certain issues raised by the Committee in relation to the Repeal of Black Administration Act.
Mr Komana Molathoko (Principal State Law Advisor) advised the Committee that suitable substitute legislation was required before the Black Administration Act could be repealed formally. Progress had been made on legislation dealing with the judicial functions of traditional leaders and traditional courts currently provided for in Sections 12 and 20 and the Third Schedule of the Black Administration Act, as well as on matters currently regulated by Section 22(7) and (8) of the Act. Progress had also been made in the investigation of the proprietary rights of other categories of women in relationships not recognised by the Marriage Act of 1961.
As per the instructions of the Committee, the Department confirmed that it had forwarded the table of identified subordinate legislation to all role players who may possibly be responsible for the administration of such subordinate legislation.
The Chairperson commented that this report would first have to be studied before Members discussed it.
Presentation by the Chief Master
Mr Hassen Ebrahim (Chief Master) made the presentation. He said that the he was appointed in October last. He professed that he had not yet had full grasp of all the issues relating to the Office. The Moseneke judgement was politically very powerful and had a very big impact on the Master's Office. The Office did not have the capacity to deal with all the issues. The workload of the office had increased as a result of the judgement and this had also impacted on resources. The workload was expected to increase this financial year. The full impact of the judgement had not yet been felt.
He said that the number of businesses that went insolvent normally told how the economy was doing. Given the buoyant economy and reasonable rates the number of businesses going insolvent was expected to go down.
The Guardian's Fund was standing at R3, 7 billion and this was cause of concern. Since 2002 the Fund had increased by a very big over 100%. A number of young people were dying. The fund had been forced to make a number of payments. The problem was that the payments were not made monthly but after six months due to staffing problems in the office. A lot of money came from the Govt Employees Pension Fund. People had very low skills of dealing with their estates. Most of the beneficiaries in the fund did not have biological parents. Some members of family often made claims with altruistic motives but in some cases the motives ended up being opportunistic. Some of the people were not even appointed as legal guardians of the beneficiaries.
The Office had a huge component of temporary staff. It had not been able to increase its staff in a systematic way. It was engaged in right sizing its staff. The increase in the workload was making it difficult to determine the right size. There was a need to build capacity and to remove uncertainties around the future of temporary employees. The Office was not getting the best out of the temporary staff because most of them were on very short-term contracts. There was a need for a Master's Academy to provide training for the staff.
He highlighted a number of issues that required attention. There were problems with accommodation in the office. The location of the Master's offices did not necessarily have to be near a High Court. The Office did not owe its existence to a High Court. In some cases the offices were not located where they should have been and this should be reviewed.
The issue of service points management was very important. It was important to guarantee the quality of service in all Magistrates' Courts or service points. It was difficult to guarantee that people would get the best service possible at this stage because some offices did not even the required skills. It was important to focus on core people. The office had in the past found it difficult to focus on the vulnerable. The Master acted as a regulator in the process of the winding up of estates. Compliance was a major issue in this regard.
The Office had the management of the Guardian's Fund as one of its objectives and this was wrong because it did not have the competency to do so. Its main responsibility was to look after the interests of the beneficiaries but not administering the Fund. The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) was better suited to administering the Fund.
There was a need to reform legislation relating to curatorship, estates and rescues. The government was encouraging people to be concerned about rescuing and not liquidating business that were going under. There was a need to reform policies. One of the fundamental questions to be asked was what were the roles of the Master. Did the name "Master" resemble everything that masters did? The office should benchmark and blueprint itself with what was happening across the world.
Mr Ebrahim stressed the need for proper stakeholder management. The office should interact with the civil society, the legal profession and banks and trust companies. Why should the office only interact with people after they had died? The legal aid board could perhaps give some help on estate planning. It might be better if banks were to create a Mzantsi account for estate planning. Social welfare entities should also be engaged.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had never received a presentation as good as this. The value of the Chief Master was something that had been missing in terms of leading and governing the structure. It seemed that the Chief Master had made a good start and the Office seemed to know where it wanted to go. The Committee would be happy to guide the office on the way forward. The Office must consult as far as possible and the Committee would be very supportive particularly when it came to staffing requirements. It should continue its interaction on its vision because it had not yet consulted all the stakeholders. The service points statistics were not reliable because the influx of cases was still to continue. There was a need for a debate about the location and quality of service at certain points. It was not acceptable to have people doing work that they were not qualified for. There was some capacity in some courts. The question of quality should be balanced with the question of access. If there were problems in relation to staff, the Office should plan around that instead of turning people away and expect them to travel 60 kilometres to go and collect a little amount of money. It was important to have the number of estates that were below R50 000 that the Office was dealing with. The Master's Office had been a neglected area as far as planning in the Department was concerned. Things should change with better planning and statistics.
Ms S Camerer (DA) said that one was coming to a situation where the leadership of the Office would regularly. She asked if the Chief Master saw himself staying in the office for some time. The Office looking at beefing up its staff given number of deaths in places such as the KwaZulu-Natal province. The Western Cape had different problems She asked if the Office's approach to solving its problems took into account the different needs of provinces. In relation to the Guardian's Fund, she asked if there were any measures to curtail the huge cases of theft especially given the growth of Fund. She also asked the presenter to elaborate on the role he would want the PIC to play in relation to the Fund. The Department had been ordered to reinstate Mr M Tshishonga. She asked how this issue would be resolved.
Mr Ebrahim agreed that provinces were different. The demographics, types of estates and number of insolvent businesses were all different. The issue of accessibility of areas was also different. In northern cape the offices were many kilometres away from each other. He said that he had a lot of stories about theft in the Office. So far he had dealt with a number of cases and those who were involved had been dismissed. He did not have an impression of large syndicates operating in the office. People who had made allegations about large-scale thefts had not been able to prove them. The controls in the Office were less than perfect and there were weaknesses but it was doing the best it could to ensure that everything run smoothly. The problem was that in some cases people labelled everybody they did not like as racist or corrupt.
With regard to the role of the PIC, he said that the money in the Fund came from Treasury and the Government Employees Pension Fund. IT was transferred to the Guardian's Fund upon the death of a public servant and went to the PIC for investment. The process essentially involved shuttling money between different accounts and there were better ways of doing this. He said that the Director General and the CFO were better placed to answer the question relating to Mr Tshishonga.
Ms C Johnson (ANC) asked what was the number of beneficiaries under the Guardian's Fund.
Imam G Solomon (ANC) said some of the offices were in chaos with files lying in the corridors.
Mr Ebrahim replied that the volumes of work were increasing beyond the Office's capacity. In some offices files were lying in corridors. The Office had contracted a company to deal with file management and this involved the company taking files to an offsite storage facility. In some cases it was very difficult to find files due to lack of basic administration skills. The chaos would remain until the Office had obtained the required capacity. He concluded by saying that there had been some improvements and that the Master's Office environment was very difficult.
Presentation by the Justice College
Ms Jacqui Ngeva (Head: Justice College) made the presentation. (See document attached). Justice College was a training arm of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development that focused on training mostly personnel employed in the judicial institutions of South Africa. This institution did not keep up with the changes that took place in the South African society since the democratisation of the country, and it had become essential to transform this institution.
The Chairperson said that the presenter should provide a written report on why the Committee was not furnished with the presentation document in advance. It was very difficult for members to read the document within a short period of time and be expected to make a meaningful contribution to the discussion. She asked what the presenter meant when she said that the College would give part of its budget to the judiciary.
Ms Ngeva replied that she was referring to the money that the college used to train magistrates. Magistrates were moving from the College to Judiciary and part of the budget would go with them. The Minister had written to the Chief Justice and indicated that the Chief Justice should take over the training of magistrates.
The Chairperson wondered how the College had started planning when the policy and legislation were not yet in place. The committee would require a full report on the planned transferred of the budget. She wondered if the transferred of the budget would be legal.
Dr T Delport (DA) thought that discussions were taking place between the Minister and the Chief Justice and it was difficult to say to them let's wait for the policy and legislation to be in place.
Ms Camerer said that this was a strange way of being informed about major developments. This was a major policy and was undesirable for the Committee to be informed in this way. There should be a full presentation on how the process was going to evolve. There was no way to assess this properly without a proper presentation.
The chair asked presenter to provide full report on the matter. She did not remember any discussions around removing magistrates from the college.
The meeting was adjourned.
SUMMARY OF REPORT ON POSITION OF ACTS 8 March 2006
1996: All Acts fully implemented (11) except for
- section 11 (confessions) of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act, 1996 (Act 86 of 1996); and
- section 13 (cost orders) of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act, 1996 (Act 86 of 1996) - P 4.
1997: All Acts fully implemented (15).
1998: All Acts fully implemented (13) except for
- the provisions relating to the further regulation of lay assessors as provided for in the Magistrates' Courts Amendment Act, 1998 (Act 67 of 1998) - p 10;
- the amendment of rules to facilitate the appointment of more than one sheriff in an area, as provided for in the Sheriffs Amendment Act, 1998 (Act 74 of 1998) - P 11;
- the provisions relating to maintenance investigators as provided for in the Maintenance Act, 1998 (Act 99 of 1998) - P 13; and
- sections 6 and 20 of the Witness Protection Act, 1998 (Act 112 of 1998) and the regulations -
1999: All Acts fully implemented (3).
2000: All Acts fully implemented (6) except for
- The Code of Good Administrative Conduct in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (Act 3 of 2000) - P 15;
- The provisions of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act relating to the promotion of equality, 2000 (Act 4 of 2000) - P 15; and
- The Guide contemplated in the Protected Disclosures Act, 2000 (Act 26 of 2000) - P 16.
2001: All Acts fully implemented (10).
2002: All Acts fully implemented (13) except for
- The Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act - p 20. The Act, with the exception of sections 40 and 62, came into operation on 30 September 2005 and sections 40 and 62(6) will come into operation on 30 June 2006. -p20
2003: All Acts fully implemented (7) except for
- The Judicial Matters Second Amendment Act, 2003 (Act 55 of 2003) - P 23.
2004: One Act implemented. -p24
2005: One Act has been partially implemented. -p24
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