Discussion on Final Draft

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


20 January 2000

Documents Handed Out:
"{Promotion Of} Access to Information" Bill (OPD 107)

The parties caucused in the morning, met to discuss the Administrative Justice Bill in the afternoon and in the evening began to run through the final draft of the Open Democracy Bill. They worked through the definitions and reached Clause 16A before adjourning. Only minor changes were made to the definitions and to the rest of the clauses. Adv de Lange submitted a new version of Clause 4A(4). The Committee agreed to accept his version and the previous version was deleted.

Evening session
Members of the African National Congress (ANC) stated they were in favor of including {or relevant authority} in (i) of (c), and {or business} in (ii) of (c).

"evaluative material"
The Chair reminded members that Option 1 for "evaluative material" was the option of the ANC, while Option 2 to delete the definition was put forth by the Democratic Party (DP).

All members agreed on the definition of "head", "health practitioner", "Human Rights Commission", and "individual’s next of kin" as stated.

"information officer"
The committee agreed to remove {2} referring to ‘Schedule 2’ in both parts of (a)(i). It was also agreed that {or department} could be deleted from (a), (i), and (ii). The Chair stated that (b) and (c) were "catch all" clauses.

"internal appeal"
Adv de Lange stated that Option 1 to include "internal appeal" was the preference of the ANC.

All members agreed on the definition of "international organisation", "Minister", "notice", "Object of this Act", "official", and "person" as stated.

"personal information"
Members decided that "gender" would be included in (a), and "or" would be removed from (e), but "or preferences" in (e) would be included.

"private body"
It was decided that "or has carried" will be included in (a) and (b) of this definition.

"public safety or environmental risk"
Mr Smith (IFP) suggested that "intended" be used instead of "{which is present in food {or beverage OR or drink}} in Option 1 for (c). The Chair said that the change would be made, and voting on the options would occur the following day.
The committee had no problems with the definition of "public body" as stated.

The Chair stated that he felt the committee had shown a preference for Option 2 of this definition. The members agreed that Option 2 was the preferred definition.

"relevant authority"
Adv de Lange informed members that this definition would appear in the Bill if the option to include internal appeals was chosen. Mr Jeffery (ANC) raised concern over "mayor of the municipality" in (c) of Option 1 . Ms Chohan-Khotha (ANC) agreed with Mr Jeffery (ANC) stating that in most municipalities, there are councils, and so it should be changed to read "mayor of council". The Chair said that this definition will stand over.

"request fee"
Adv de Lange stated that this definition had been moved to (22)1 as per Ms Chohan-Khotha’s earlier request. The committee agreed to the change.

The Chair said that Option 2 for (a) had previously been agreed to, and that the only remaining decision was which of the 3 options for (b) to choose. The Chair summarized that Option 1 for (b) was the DP option, which excludes public bodies, Option 2 was the ANC option, which includes public bodies, and Option 3 was the Inkharta Freedom Party (IFP) option and includes only parastatals. He reminded the committee that this definition must be read with Clause 49: Right of access to records of private bodies. Mr Smith (IFP) stated that he was willing to remove his Option 3. The Chair hoped that members of the DP could be persuaded to choose Option 2.

"subversive or hostile activities"
Adv de Lange stated that Option 2 for this definition will fall away if 40(2) and 40(3) are not used.

All members agreed on the definition of "third party", and "this Act" as stated. The Chair also stated that "working days" will remain if internal appeals are included in this Bill, otherwise it will be deleted.

Clause 2: Interpretation of Act
The Chair stated that all of the options listed under (2) were submitted by members of the Democratic Party (DP). He asked if they would like to make any amendments to their options. They replied that no amendments needed to be made.

The Committee agreed to Clause 3: Act applies to record whenever it came into existence and Clause 4: Records held by official or independent contractor of public of private body as stated.

Clause 4A: Act not applying to certain public bodies or officials thereof
Adv de Lange suggested that a new 4A(4) be put in place of the current 4A(4) that reads:
"Subsection (1) must not be construed as excluding Cabinet and its committees or individual members of Parliament or of a Provincial legislature from the operation of the provisions of the definition of a requester in relation to a private body, section 49, and all provisions related thereto."

The Chair also stated that in light of a new 4A(4), Option 1 for 4A(1a) would have to be changed to read:
(a) the Cabinet and its committees and individual members of Parliament or of a Provincial legislature;

and that {a record of} be included in 4A(1). All members agreed to the amendments. Option 2 for 4A(1a) will remain as an option.

The committee agreed to Clause 5: Application of other legislation prohibiting or restricting disclosure as is stated.

Clause 6: Application of other legislation providing for access
It was suggested by a member of the committee to delete the word "other" from both 6(a) and 6(b). All members agreed to the deletion. The Chair noted that this clause had to be done in conjunction with Clause 92: Application of other legislation providing for access and Schedule: Part 1 (Section 6(1)). There were no concerns raised over the Schedule. Regarding Clause 92, all members supported including {OR promotes} in both 92(1a) and 92(1b). No decision could be made as to whether to use "substantially" or "materially" in 92(2). Ms Chohan-Khotha (ANC) proposed that both terms be deleted, so that it would read "is more onerous than the manner in which access may be obtained in Part 2 or 3 of this Act." All members were in support of the proposal. It was also agreed to delete the other proposed insertion in 92(2).

Clause 7: Act not applying to records required for criminal or civil proceedings after proceedings’ commencement.
The committee agreed to this clause with the following three changes:
1) the deletion of {criminal or civil discovery in respect of} in 7(1a).
2) the deletion of {such criminal or civil proceedings, as the case may be, have commenced} in 7(1b)
3) with {access to} included, and {the purpose referred to in paragraph (a)} deleted in 7(1c)

Clause 8: Part applicable when performing functions as public or private body
Many options were put forth on how 8(1) should be phrased. It was decided to leave the options that were presently given. With general agreement by the members, the Chair asked Ms van Schoor to take all the members suggestions into consideration and see if some other more agreeable version for 8(1) could be drafted.

The Chair said that Clause 9: Objects of Act will stand over.

Clause 10: Guide {by Human Rights Commission} on how to use Act

The committee unanimously agreed to delete {by Human Rights Commission} from the title of this clause. Ms van Schoor suggested that with this type of Act, it is recommended that under Option 1 for 10(1), a period of 18 months is more suitable than a period of 6 months. The Chair asked if all members would be in favor of the 18 month period for this option. All members were in favor.

No members of the committee had any problems with Clause 11: Right of access to records of public bodies as stated. The Chair also noted that they will be bringing back Clause 12: Act not applying to certain public bodies or officials thereof.

Clause 13: Body deemed as part of another public body
Mr Smith (IFP) asked that (13) be changed to read:
"For the purpose of this Act, the Minister may, on his or her own accord or on the request of the relevant public body or bodies, or a body referred to in (c), in the prescribed manner by notice in the Gazette -".

Mr Smith (IFP) felt this would be more specific to include the reference to a "separate public body; or forms part of a public body." The Chair asked that the change be made.

Clause 15: Manual on functions of, and index of records held by, public body
The Chair asked the committee whether they wanted to include {OR this Act} in 15(1). It was agreed to that it could be deleted.

Clause 16: Voluntary disclosure of records {OR Availability of certain records OR Records automatically available}
Adv de Lange stated that he was in favor of using "Voluntary disclosure and availability of certain records" instead of either of the proposed titles. Mr Smith (IFP) suggested that a more appropriate title for this clause might be "Voluntary disclosure and ‘automatic’ availability of certain records" The Chair felt that Mr Smith’s (IFP) title was more appropriate. No members objected to the new clause.

Adv de Lange asked if any members wanted to leave in {referred to in paragraph (a) or (b)(i) of the definition of "public body" in section 1}. Members agreed it could be deleted.

Clause 16A: Information in telephone directory
Mr Jeffery (ANC) thought that 16A(1) should delete "the national department responsible for communications", and be replaced with "the General Communications and Information Services". It was agreed that the change be made.

The meeting was adjourned.


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