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DEFENCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
4 August 2006
PROHIBITION OF MERCENARY ACTIVITIES AND PROHIBITION AND REGULATION OF CERTAIN ACTIVITIES IN AN AREA OF ARMED CONFLICT BILL [B42-2005]: DELIBERATIONS
Chairperson: Ms T Tobias
Documents handed out:
Final version of Bill
Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Prohibition and Regulation of Certain Activities in Areas of Armed Conflict Bill [B42-2005]
The Committee went over the final version of the Bill which incorporated all its proposed amendments. Members of the opposition were reminded of the recorded agreements on the Bill and that the Committee had worked hard to finalise it as a Committee and not as members of different parties. The Bill will be finalised in the week of 14 August 2006.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had deliberated on the Bill for six months and it had heard as many submissions as possible. She was satisfied with the process and the conduct of members. The Bill in her opinion was "tight".
Ms Carin Booyse, State Legal Advisor, went over the final draft of the Bill which incorporated all the proposed amendments agreed on by the Committee.
Mr R Jankielsohn (DA) said that he had thought that the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) would be coming to address the Committee and he requested that the finalisation of the Bill not be rushed.
The Chairperson responded that perhaps a tape should be re-played to refresh Mr Jankielsohn's memory. It had never been said that the NCACC would address the Committee.
Mr Jankielsohn stated that certain changes that he thought had been agreed upon, had not been addressed. He referred to the addition of the phrase "to a party to an armed conflict" after the term "(c) security services" in the definition of assistance or services in Clause 1. He requested that they be given time - until after the weekend - to look over the final version of the Bill.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee had never agreed to this suggestion that he was now raising. The Committee had reached consensus on those matters and he was now taking the Committee unnecessarily backwards.
In reply to Dr G Koornhof (ANC) pointing to an omission in Clause 15(3)(b), the Chairperson said that the omission had been agreed upon and needed no discussion.
Adv H Schmidt (DA) stated that there seemed to be another committee operating behind the scenes that overruled the decisions taken by this Committee. One should not allow this Committee to be dictated to by some State Law Advisor or Department.
The Chairperson stated that she had never allowed the majority view to rule or govern the Committee. The approach she had always taken had been that matters must be discussed until consensus was reached. Ms Booyse had also not "invented" any drafting that she was not mandated to do by the Committee.
Mr J Groenewald (FF+) asked if the Defence Study Group of the ANC had agreed to the final drasft? What was wrong with going over the Bill over the weekend?
Mr O Monareng (ANC) commented that the process had been started in good faith. To create the perception that there had been an attempt to gag debate was uncalled for. It was also a pity that Mr Jankielsohn had joined the process only towards the end. It was a pity that the focus of the Democratic Alliance and Freedom Front Plus had been somewhere else.
The Chairperson asked why committee members were addressing each other as DA, ANC and so forth? This had not been the case in the past six months. What was the excitement now?
Mr Schmidt referred to Clause 4(2) and asked how did they determine a contravention of the criteria in Clause 9? It would obviously be political affiliation that came into play. The NCACC was filled with political appointees and they would use political judgement and there would not be any recourse. All Ministers were also appointees of the President and so any form of appeal would still yield no results.
The Chairperson stated that Mr Schmidt was now talking about the NCACC and not Clause 4(2). He was taking the Committee backwards. He had also left out the role of Intelligence Services. She said that members should differentiate between what was being discussed here, in the Bill, from the role of the NCACC. Mr Schmidt should stop raising issues haphazardly
Mr Schmidt argued that the powers assigned to the NCACC in this Bill should be removed.
Mr Booi asserted that these issues should not be reopened. He pointed out that Mr Shmidt had actually not been involved in the process and he had hardly attended the meetings.
Mr Monareng stated that as a matter of process the Committee had agreed to have a short meeting.
Dr Koornhof stated that members could not legislate "their fears".
The Chairperson stated that she would not allow speeches nor perceptions to be discussed. Members should only bring up issues pertaining to the Bill. She thanked the State Law Advisor, the Department of Defence and all stakeholders for their cooperation during the lengthy processing of the Bill. The Committee would vote on the Bill in the week starting 14 August 2006.
The meeting adjourned.
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