Tagging of Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill: Committee Report (Closed Meeting)

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Justice and Correctional Services

16 March 2007
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

16 March 2007

Chairperson: Ms F Chohan-Kota (ANC)

Relevant documents:
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill [B50B- 2006] as adopted by Committee
Memorandum on the Objects of the Bill
Committee Report on Adoption of Bill - November 2006
Business Day article, 17 November 2006: De Lange decries ’amateurish advice’ (Appendix)

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill [B50B- 2006] was adopted by the Committee on 10 November 2006. Due to a tagging dispute (see Appendix) the National Assembly rejected it, referring it back to the Committee for consultation with Parliament’s Joint Tagging Mechanism committee. The dispute arose because parliamentary legal advisors deemed that the bill was a mixed bill, containing provisions dealing with both national and provincial competences. A bill should deal only with national or only with provincial competences.

This meeting to discuss the Committee's Report on the tagging issue was
closed to the public and this report is not yet available to the public.

De Lange decries ’amateurish advice’
by Wyndham Hartley Parliamentary Editor: Business Day, 17 November 2006

CAPE TOWN — Deputy Justice Minister Johnny de Lange launched a stinging attack on Parliament’s legal advisers, describing their work as “amateurish and unprofessional” after their intervention delayed the passing of the long-awaited Sexual Offences Bill yesterday.

After years of gruelling work, the bill came before the National Assembly only to be referred back to the justice committee because it dealt with issues which were within the competence of provincial health departments.

Parliamentary legal advisers said that because of this health element in the bill, it would have to be processed through a different procedure. The bill, which completely rearranges the legal geography around sexual crimes in SA, provides that rape victims be provided with post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, at state cost if they comply with certain conditions.

It also, for the first time in SA’s legal history, makes it possible for men to be deemed raped as well as making forced oral sex to be a crime of rape.

The PEP clause had now baulked the process of the bill almost at its last hurdle. “This decision is based on wrong legal advice,” said De Lange. The quality of legal advice in Parliament simply “got worse and worse.” On top of the ruling that the bill could not pass through Parliament, he said the justice department had not even been consulted on the issue. “This is crazy and this legal advice is amateurish and unprofessional.”

De Lange said that the bill contained issues that were of national competence and one issue of provincial competence.

De Lange said the bill was so complex that it could not be split. He said the test had always been about the “dominant purpose” of the bill and this was about the national competence of justice. “This is again going to mean we will have to wait months to get this bill on the statute book.”

ANC deputy chief whip Andries Nel moved a motion that the bill be referred back to the committee. This was approved.



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