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SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
9 November 1998
TOBACCO CONTROL PRODUCTS AMENDMENT BILL & REFUGEES BILL: VOTING
The committee voted on the Tobacco Control Products Amendment Bill and the Refugees Bill. Both Bills were agreed to, without amendments.
Tobacco Control Products Amendment Bill [B117F-98]
The members reported on their mandates from the provinces:
Eastern Cape: in support of Bill
Free State: in support of Bill
Gauteng: in support of Bill
Kwazulu Natal: abstained, they did not have a mandate as yet.
Mpumalanga: in support of Bill
Northern Cape: in support of Bill
Northern Province: in support of Bill
North West: in support of Bill
Western Cape: against Bill
Refugees Bill [B135B-98]
Adv. Malatji (Chief Director of Legal Services at the Department of Home Affairs) gave a briefing on the Refugee Bill. He was accompanied by Mr Arbee (Chairperson of the Refugee Appeal Board).
Adv. Malatji said it was the first Bill on refugees in South Africa. He briefed the committee on the six chapters in the Bill, highlighting certain clauses.
People who had committed genocide, a crime of a political nature, a war crime or a crime against humanity would not receive refugee status, according to clause 4.
Part of the powers and duties of the Standing Committee for Refugees Affairs, in clause 11, would include liaising with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) or non-governmental organisations.
If refugees were not satisfied with the decision to refuse refugee status, they would be able to lodged an appeal with the Refugee Appeal Board, in clause 14.
Chapter 3 dealt with the application for asylum. Before a person was recognised as a refugee, an asylum seeker permit would be given, pending the outcome of the application for asylum, according to clause 22.
In clause 24, the refugee status would rest with the Refugee Status Determination Officer.
The Standing Committee would review a decision made by the Refugee Status Determination Officer. A representative from the UNHRC could make written or oral representations to the committee, according to clause 25.
In clause 27, the refugee would have all the rights as a South African citizen after the status had been given.
If children were unaccompanied, the Child Care Act, 1983 would be enforced. This Act would also apply to mentally disabled children, according to clause 32.
In clause 36, if an erroneous granting of refugee status occurred, it would be withdrawn.
After the briefing the Chairperson, Dr Cwele (ANC, Kwazulu Natal), asked for questions of clarification.
Mr Mnisi (DP, Gauteng) indicated that subsection 4(1)(d) did not comply with other conventions signed by the country. He also thought that the 30 days were too long for restriction of detention, in clause 29.
Mr Arbee replied that subsection 4(1)(d) had taken into account the Conventions, as seen in clause 6. Regarding the time period for restriction of detention, it was found to be a reasonable maximum amount of days according to international standards.
Ms Tyobeka (ANC, Eastern Cape) wanted to know why refugees would be entitlement to primary health and education. Refugees were entitled to basic rights as South African citizens, said Mr Arbee. However this would only be temporarily. When the country, which the refugees had fled from, stabilised they would be sent back.
Mr Makoela (ANC, Northern Province) asked how much leeway a person had before applying for refugee status. The person had to apply within 14 days, responded Mr Arbee.
The committee voted on the Bill. It was agreed to without amendments.
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