National Prosecuting Authority, Judicial Matters amendment & Promotion of National Unity & Reconciliation amendment Bills: delib

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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


8 June 1998

Documents handed out:

Promotion Of National Unity & Reconciliation Amendment Bill
Judicial Matter Amendment Bill
National Prosecuting Authority Bill

The National Authority Prosecuting Bill, Judicial Matters Amendment Bill and Promotion of National Unity & Reconciliation Amendment Bill were discussed in the meeting. Voting on these Bills will take place in the next meeting on 10 June 1998.


Mr Hofmeyr from the Justice Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly pointed out the urgency surrounding the Promotion Of National Unity & Reconciliation Amendment Bill (TRC Bill). The delay in readying this bill had been due to translation problems but that NCOP needed to take cognizance of the urgency of the bill.

Mr Moosa contended that NCOP works a 4 week cycle and if legislation needing attention does not reach the committee within that period it must be held over until the next cycle. Mr Hofmeyr explained that the TRC Bill tabled last Tuesday in the National Assembly was necessary because TRC will not be able to finish its tasks before 30 June 1998 when it is legislated to stop. The Amnesty Commission would be unable to finish applications, and the TRC expects applications only to be completed by 30 June 1999. Mr Hofmeyr stated that the Commission had also encountering problems in KwaZulu Natal in processing and investigating victim statements. The Bill proposes that the TRC Commission shut down on the 31 July and that a three month period after that be used to finalise, check, re-check and verify the final report. It proposes also to extend the work of the Amnesty Commission to process the responses to matters before the 14 December but not finalised before 31 July 1998. Included in the Bill is the matter of the President’s Fund which should continue after the life of the commission.

Messrs de Ville, Pienaar and Radue questioned why the Department had not drafted the legislation in time, and why the actual Bill was not before the Committee

Mr de Ville expressed his concern that NCOP could not act as a rubber stamp for urgent legislation as matters had to be taken to his province for approval or debate. Mr Radue said that without the actual Bill in front of him, he reserved feelings regarding the Bill.

Messrs Surty, Gibson and Direko pressed for the TRC Bill to be passed. At this point the Bill was handed out to members. Mr Moosa contended that the process surrounding the passing of the TRC Bill is unacceptable and he would be writing to the Programming Committee, the National Assembly and the President about procedure. Mr Surty supported this proposal and suggested in addition that the NCOP committee receive weekly reports. Mr Moosa closed the discussion on this issue with the hope that after further discussion on Wednesday 10 June the Bill could be voted on Thursday, 11 June 1998.

Mr De Lange briefed the committee on the Bill. There were no further comments on the bill by the committee members.

Mr De Lange (law advisor) clarified issues which seemed unclear in the previous meeting. He mentioned that clause 10 stipulates that the President must appoint the National Directors, and there has been a debate on the citizenship of the National Director. The bill envisages only SA citizens to be eligible for that position. Mr Moosa was concerned about the removal clause and sought to know what happens if somebody is grossly inefficient. Mr De Lange responded by saying that in s177 of the Constitution the word "gross" is not used and that creates problems. Mr Hofmeyr added that they were dealing with a semi-independent body and it must not be made too easy to remove someone from office. Mr De Lange said that the President would determine conditions of service of this office.

Mr Radue (NP) sought clarity from De Lange as to what will happen to the current Attorneys-General. De Lange referred the Committee to clause 43 of the Bill where it is stated that they would be declared to have been appointed by the President as soon as the Act comes into operation. Mr Radue wanted to know if the Minister would not hold meetings with the Directors. Mr Hofmeyr told him that the Bill does not envisage such a situation.

Mr Moosa called for discussion on this Bill .

Mrs. Camerer felt that a vote on this Bill would not be fair until all Attorneys-General are happy.
Mr de Lange will contact them for comment.

The bill was accepted by all present for voting on 11 June 1998.

A briefing was given by Mr De Lange (legal advisor). He pointed out clauses 8 to 10 which deal with amendments to bail laws. Clause 9 deals with the jurisdiction of the police to release on bail. The Chairperson wanted to know if members had anything to ask about the Bill, and in the absence of questions he handed over to Mr Labaschagne (legal advisor) who led them through the amendments.

Mr Labaschagne first gave reasons for the changes in the Bill. He stated that various clauses in the Bill had been deleted, hence the need arose for changes. The purpose of the Bill was to acquire legal services for a trustee acting on behalf of an insolvent estate, in cases where authorisation of all creditors were impossible to obtain.

Mr Labaschagne then went on to highlight some of the clauses. Clause 2 was the imposition of counterfeit money, which was punishable by law. Clause 7 empowers a judge other than the one who convicted an accused to sentence the person, if the convicting judge was not present. Clause 16 stipulates acts punishable by law.

Mr Labaschagne informed the committee that SAPS complained that some companies use in-house security, which was not registered under the Act. It was said that such companies would be exempted from prosecution until SAPS complete their investigation. The Chairperson wanted to know about the "in-house" security. Mr Labaschagne explained that it was when employees were used to protect personnel and the property of that company. However, this was usually an interim measure.

Mr Pienaar wanted to know whether financial interests of companies were considered when the Bill was tabled. The Chairperson responded that finance was not a priority in this instance.

Concerning the use of monitoring devices, Mr Labaschagne said that the word "communication" has been added to "conversation" so as to encompass all forms of communication.

The Chairperson, Mr Moosa, informed Mr Hofmeyr and the legal advisors that this Bill had not yet come to the Committee because it was put into circulation less than four weeks before this meeting (the committee operates on a four week cycle) and they did not have copies of the Bill at hand. Mr Hofmeyr informed the committee that any amendments which do come up can be accommodated in the second amendment bill. The bill was accepted by all present for voting on Thursday 11 June.

Mr Moosa reminded the committee members that the next meeting would take place on Wednesday 10 June when the TRC Bill and the NPA Bill would come under discussion and hopefully would be ready for voting on Thursday 11 June.


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