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HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
25 May 2007
FILMS AND PUBLICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL: PARTY SUBMISSIONS
Chairperson: Mr H Chauke (ANC)
ANC submission on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill
ACDP submission on Films and Publications Amendment Bill
Films and Publications Amendment Bill [B27-2006]
Films and Publications Act
De Reuck v Director of Public Prosecutions (Witwatersrand Local Division) and Others (Full Constitutional Court Judgement)
The Committee heard the submissions by the African National Congress and the African Christian Democratic Party. Other parties had been unable to discuss the legislation with their caucuses, and thus made no submissions. The Democratic Alliance members walked out of the meeting after the Chairperson refused to stall proceedings because they were not prepared to make a submission. The ANC proposed a number of changes to the principal Act of 1996, that they emphasised would necessitate consequential changes while the ACDP’s submission focussed on Sections 16 and 24 which dealt with the media exemption. The Committee hoped that those amendments that were acceptable would be incorporated in the B version of the legislation which it hoped to adopt the following week. Central to the discussion was how to ensure that the press was completely exempted from pre-classification.
The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee had reached the stage whereby parties and members could make their own submissions, informed by the information and opinions they had heard during the public hearing process.
The African National Congress (ANC) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) had already made such submissions and other parties would that day have opportunity to make their written or oral submissions. The legal drafters would then be requested to draft the B version of the proposed legislation, which the Committee would then consider and perhaps agree to as the final version of the Bill.
Ms S Kalyan (DA) said that she had understood that the amendments contained in the ANC and ACDP proposals would have been formulated in a Committee bill which members would have considered at that day’s meeting.
She informed the Committee that the Democratic Alliance (DA) rejected the Amendment Bill (A/B) completely and would only possibly support the clauses that dealt with the Internet. The DA could suggest no amendments “because pre-publication classification was just unconstitutional”.
The Chairperson was surprised that the Internet clauses were the only ones the DA was satisfied with and that they rejected even those clauses that proposed better governance of the Film and Publication Board (FPB).
Ms Kalyan explained that the DA felt that the 1996 legislation was adequate. They agreed that child pornography should be eradicated but felt that the provisions of the recently passed Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) legislation, the Equality Act and other criminal legislation already catered for the remedies proposed in the A/B. Should members of the media disregarded their codes of conduct disciplinary and criminal action could be taken. The provisions contained in the A/B were unnecessary because they overlapped with already existing legislation.
The Chairperson pointed out that the sexual offences legislation had been passed two days earlier while the A/B had been before the Committee for almost a year now.
Ms Kalyan believed this to be an irrelevant point.
The Chairperson said that he had to accept the DA’s position.
Ms I Mars (IFP) said that the IFP would consider the draft bill at their next caucus meeting.
Ms Kalyan thought it necessary to point out that the DA had had extensive consultation with legal experts who agreed that the Constitutional Court judgement in the Tasco Luc de Reuck case as the benchmark. She had not had time to read the case in full, but thought that the precedent it created and the principle behind it provided sufficient protection.
The Chairperson asked what the judgement had found.
Mr M Swart (DA) replied that the essence of the case was that the legitimate possession of pornographic material was not a defence. He felt that in the light if the De Reuck judgement, Mr Beukman’s proposals would not stand the test of time.
Mr F Beukman (ANC) said that that morning’s events reminded him of Friday mornings in the motion court when opposing sides often said that they were not ready to proceed! He too had thought that parties would table their input that day and that the legal advisors would thereafter draft the B version of the Bill, which the Committee would then discuss at their next meeting.
He felt that the official opposition’s input did not fully address the merits of the Bill. Many changes had for instance occurred in the areas of technology, governance requirements and the management of films and publications since 1996. The objects contained in the original Bill made clear that child protection was of utmost importance and that was of importance to the ANC too. One could not only base one’s argument on the protection of freedom of speech but had to take all other relevant aspects into account too.
Mr Beukman emphasised that the ANC would not support a bill that was unconstitutional. The party’s submission proposed substantial changes to the A/B tabled in October 2006, and responded to the issues raised by the parliamentary as well as the state legal advisor. The ANC was concerned with protection of children but also with the improvement of the governance of the FPB. The DA argued that the 1996 legislation was sufficient, when in fact it suffered from serious deficiencies as far as governance arrangements were concerned.
Kgoshi Morwamoche (ANC) said that the Committee should not deviate from its legislative mandate and procedures; Parliament was not the Constitutional Court. The Committee had submissions from the ANC and the ACDP. These should be subsisted to the legal advisors and drafters and the process should continue from there.
Mr M Sibande (ANC) said that although the different parties represented different constituencies, they all had to work together. He was concerned about the DA’s outright and apparently uninformed rejection of the Bill.
Ms Mars proposed that the Committee considered the different parties’ proposals.
The Chairperson felt that the proposals some parties had made would make the Bill more workable. He thought it unfortunate that some parties had not had the time to prepare their own or even read others’ proposals.
Mr Beukman presented the ANC’s proposal, which made a major change to the objects of the principal Act in that they deleted broadcasting from the range of areas the legislation would regulate. This deletion had been informed by the Committee’s interaction with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). In addition to this change the ANC proposed a number of changes that Mr Beukman emphasised would necessitate consequential changes.
Ms Mars interrupted the presentation to point out that it presented a dilemma as she would have to take the amendments back to her party; she could not agree to the AN proposals without letting her study group consider it first.
The Chairperson was shocked that after two days earlier having agreed that Members would take the ANC and ACDP documents and discuss them with their parties and to formulate their own submissions. He reminded Members that the Committee had to make decisions about the Bill, but agreed that those who had not had a chance to discuss it with their caucuses would be given opportunity to do so.
Ms Mars thought that the Committee should take note of the fact that she had attended back-to-back meetings every day and had thus had no occasion to speak to her caucus or her study group. Smaller parties had to cover a large number of Committees and were incapable of performing as larger parties did.
The Chairperson could not understand how after proposed that the Committee proceeded with the ANC presentation.
Ms Kalyan required clarity on how that day’s meeting deliberations would be approached. She wondered whether other parties would be allowed to give input or whether they would listen to what the ANC had tabled “and that’s that”.
She interrupted the Chairperson as he tried to respond, saying the she had heard him say that parties had been given time to discuss the matter, but the DA had had other items on their agenda “and this was not one of them”. They did not discuss the matter at caucus but she had “discussed it extensively with other people.” She was interested in knowing what her role as a member of the Committee would be that day.
The Chairperson was curious as to what Ms Kalyan expected the Committee to do considering that the DA had no submission to make.
Ms Kalyan quite agitatedly explained that when she made her input other members of the ANC spoke up and said that they felt the DA’s approach incorrect. She again asked what the role of the opposition would be in the Committee that day.
The Chairperson responded that if the opposition had not prepared a submission, their role would be to listen to and amend those submissions that would be made.
Ms Kalyan took exception to the comment that they were not prepared. She asserted that although she did not have a written submission, she was prepared. She asked whether the meeting was to be an ANC study group or a Committee meeting.
The Chairperson carefully explained that the Committee had done everything expected of it. Parties had been making public statements yet the DA was that day unable to produce anything other than an outright rejection of the Bill. He wondered what they expected him as the Chairperson of the Committee to do.
He suggested that they either engage with other parties’ submissions or allow the process to move. He reiterated that parties had received the submissions in due time, and that members ought to be familiar with the bill and the issues surrounding it because they had been dealing with it for quite some time now. He felt that the DA’s failure to suggest alternatives to the matters they disagreed with, could only make sense if that party “had no idea of what was happening”.
DA had on other occasions made statements on the Bill. Certain parties had advanced and prepared their own proposed amendments. Those who were not prepared to constructively comment on the A/B should allow other members to proceed.
At this point the DA members walked out of the meeting.
Mr Beukman then proceeded with the presentation.
About ten minutes into the ANC’s presentation the Chairperson allowed Ms Mars to explain that she would be leaving the meeting for a short time because she had a previously arranged appointment. He added that he wished the “other ones” that had walked out of the meeting good luck and said that he would deal with that matter at a later stage.
Mr W Skhosana (ANC) thought that the ANC should at some point address the DA’s walk-out.
Although he accepted the Committee Section’s explanation for the misunderstanding, Mr S Swart (ACDP) who had arrived late, was disappointed that he had not been informed of the change in venue and time of the meeting.
The Chairperson invited Adv Swart to make his presentation and to present the additional comments he had said he wanted to make. He informed him of the DA’s walk-out and reiterated his surprise at their inability to contribute to the process considering that they had been debating the matter in the National Assembly. He was shocked that they could not even manage to make a one line constructive comment that showed that they had taken the public view into consideration, or that they had applied their minds to the matter. He thought it amazing that after dealing with the A/B for almost a year a party held no other view other than that of an outright rejection. He realised that one had to accept each party’s view but pointed out that the rest of the Committee had a responsibility to ensure that the A/B was dealt with as soon as possible.
Adv Swart said that there were a number of matters that had not been covered in his submission.
He felt that the ANC’s proposal went some way to reach the exemption, but did not quite retain the press’ exemption. In terms of their Section 16(1) any person may request that a publication be classified. This had not before applied to newspapers. The ANC proposed that Section 16(2), the mandatory classification clause, should not apply to the printed press. He felt that read with the Section 24A(2), the printed press was however brought back under the ambit of classification and that presented a potential problem.
Adv Swart felt that if it was the ANC’s intention to retain the exemption for the printed media it should be through Section 24B. He agreed that it would be a good idea to exempt the printed media but thought that the way he had formulated it in the ACDP’s proposal was better since it made it clear that the printed press was still subject to the clauses that referred to the penal offences of child pornography. Put under Section 16(2) as in the ANC’s submission any person could still lay a complaint or require that a newspaper or magazine may be classified.
Section 16 was a vital section. Subsection 1 allowed any person to lay a complaint. Until now the printed press was excluded from this provision. Subsection 2 was the mandatory classification clause from which the printed media had also always been excluded and the majority party was arguing that the exemption should apply only there. The printed press was also always excluded from the post publication classification of Subsection 3. In his opinion the ANC proposal did not argue for a limited exemption subject to the child pornography penal provisions of Section 24. As the proposal stood subsections one and three allowed for requests for classification before or after publication. He felt that Section 24(c) of ANC proposal retained the classification that the press was exempted from under Section 16(2). He believed that the ACDP proposal was straightforward enough to address the concerns.
Mr Beukman thought it would be useful if the parliamentary legal advisor could comment on the constitutionality of the two proposals.
Mr Iyavar Chetty (FPB: Head: Legal Section) did not think that the ANC proposal contained the difficulties Adv Swart had outlined in his presentation. Section 16(1) dealt with lodging complaints and had nothing to do with prior restraint. He pointed out that the public had the right to lodge complaints irrespective of whether such a provision existed or not. At the moment the complaints went to the Press Ombud and the real matter of concern should be how those complaints were addressed. In his opinion Section 16(2) made clear that newspapers were exempt from prior restraint. If a complaint about a newspaper were made under subsection 1, the FPB would have to refer it to the appropriate authority, which in the case of newspapers was the Press Ombud. The press had been concerned about the possibility of them being regulated by the FPB. Subsection (2) allayed those fears. If a newspaper committed an offence, it would be dealt with by the police and not the FPB. As far as the Board was concerned newspapers were exempt from classification.
Adv Swart felt that according to the ANC’s formulation any person may request that a newspaper be classified. The clause thus provided for a classification mechanism and not for a complaints mechanism.
The Chairperson wondered whether the word ‘classification’ should not perhaps be replaced with a term referring to complaints that the public would be able to make.
Mr Chetty agreed that that section should read that any person had the right to lodge a complaint that a publication be considered for classification.
Adv Swart interjected to point out that that formulation was worlds apart from what was contained in that section. The idea of classification was at the centre of the debate.
Mr Tsietsi Sebelemetja (DHA: Acting Director Drafting) was of the opinion that in Section 16 (1) the words “in the prescribed manner” indicated that there would have to be regulations that would indicate how the classification would be done.
The Chairperson interjected to ask for greater clarity as far as who would be subject to classification.
Mr Sebelemetja explained that Section 16(2) dealt with classification while Section 16 (1) merely indicated the process that would be followed in implementing subsection 2.
Adv Swart pointed out that Section 16(3) actually set out the procedure. It did not speak about a publication being sent to the classification committee. It did not speak of it being taken to the Press Ombud. He felt that there was no way that Section 16 (1) could be read as a complaint mechanism to be referred to the Press Ombud; it was a clear classification proceeding. The formulation not only presented constitutional difficulties but one also had to consider whether was desirable because to amounted to the classification of the press. He felt that despite there having been an attempt to remove the mandatory classification under Section 16 (2), Section 16 (1) and (3) still applied to the media.
Mr Beukman said that the ANC heard the Member’s concerns. He felt that the construction Adv Swart had created argued that there would be pre-classification of the press.
Adv Swart interjected to point out that he understood that Section 16(2) referred to pre-classification. He felt that the proposed Section 16(1) and (3) called for classification.
Mr Beukman pointed out that newspapers were exempted and could print their material. He wondered when Adv Swart felt the public would have opportunity to call for classification.
Adv Swart pointed out that in terms of the ANC formulation of Section 16(1) and member of the public would be able to request that any publication being distributed could be classified.
The parliamentary legal advisor, Ms Refilwe Mathabathe thought that there was a possibility that Section 16(1) could be interpreted such that newspapers would still be subject to classification. She pointed out that it was not obligatory however. She had not thought of the possibility that a newspaper could be gotten hold of before it was published and had only considered a scenario whereby a newspaper decided to have itself classified. She agreed that pre-classification amounted to censorship, because the process took long and could result in newspapers deciding not to publish a particular story at all. The ANC proposal would not compel newspapers to submit stories for classification.
Adv Swart conceded that that was one possible reading. He thought Mr Chetty had incorrectly pointed out that what was contained in Section 16 was a complaint mechanism.
The Chairperson wondered how an ordinary person would be able to have something classified.
Ms Shokie Bopape Dlomo (CEO: FPB) thought it important to clarify the process according to which the FPB currently dealt with complaints. Considering the number of publications in the country it would be impossible for the FPB classify everything proactively and on a daily basis. They had however put in place an appropriate mechanism and that was currently provided for in the Act.
The FPB only dealt with a publication if a complaint was actually lodged. As soon as a complaint was received issues of independence and the classification committee started to play a role. Only the classification committee was able to determine age appropriateness and give consumer advice on any material. The matter would thus have to be referred to a classification committee in any case.
The Chairperson wondered how that impacted on newspapers.
Ms Bopape Dlomo explained that the public had the right to complain. If the FPB received a complaint it had a responsibility to classify the material and to respond to the complainant. Most of the time the classification happened post-publication and dealt with how the publication should have been distributed.
The Chairperson requested her to make specific reference classification that involved newspapers.
Ms Bopape Dlomo said that the current Act did not address newspapers classification.
Mr Chetty said that Section 16(2) made clear that newspapers were exempt from any regulation by the FPB. This provision would have to be applied whenever there was a complaint about a newspaper. Even if there had been no Section 16(1) and t FPB received a complaint it would have referred the complaint to the authority that dealt with newspapers i.e. the Press Ombud. He did not think that the FPB was resisting any changes that would emphasise that newspapers were exempt from classification. He thought that in light of Section 16(2) any complaint in terms of Section 16(1) could not be dealt with because newspapers were exempt full stop.
Mr Beukman commented that in analysing legislation, subclauses were not read in isolation. A court would look at Section 16(1) and (2) for clarity on what the meaning was.
Adv Swart said that if Mr Chetty was correct there should be no objection to make clear the exclusion of publishers under Section 16(1).
Mr Beukman did not think that that would present a big problem but felt that Section 16(2) mentioned a referral.
Ms Mathabathe said that the Committee needed to decide what it wanted to exempt newspapers from. If they chose the ACDP option they would be exempted from all the provisions except Section 24. The ANC’s proposals excluded them from the provisions of Section 16. She felt that if the Committee went with the latter it would be necessary to add a sixth subsection saying that newspapers were exempt from the provisions of that section.
Mr Beukman said that the ANC wanted to ensure that newspapers were exempted; that intention was made clear in Section 16(2).
Adv Swart said that his proposals made it very clear and accommodated the objectives of the A/B, which were aimed at preventing child pornography. He suggested that the exemption in Section 23(3) be kept, but that it was made subject to the clause dealing with child pornography in Section 24B. He felt that the ANC proposal would have an indirect legal implication. While there might be a clause that said that the press was excluded from Section 16, Section 24 still made them subject to penal provisions should it be sent for classification. The easy solution would be to keep the exemption in Section 23(3). In that way the objectives of the Bill to deal with child pornography would be met very clearly. He did not know whether the press would be happy with such a formulation but said that he did not think that that was the Committee’s problem. At the moment the press was not subject to the child pornography clause that was contained in Section 27 of the Act. The ACDP proposal made very clear that they would be subject to the penal provisions and that any complaints that were received would be referred to the Press Ombud. If it were placed in Section 16 the impression would still be that they were trying to classify the media.
The Chairperson implored Members to restrict themselves to the proposed amendments and not include the A/B in their deliberations.
Adv Swart said that the ANC proposal removed the general exemption from Section 23(3). The ACDP suggested that the section be retained and that it was made subject to child pornography offences.
Mr Beukman pointed out that the Newspaper Press Union no longer existed and that the ANC proposal included a new definition of newspapers that included online publications.
Mr Beukman wondered whether the ACDP could accept if newspapers were mentioned in Section 16 (1) too.
Adv Swart felt that his approach made it clearest because it kept the exemption of the newspapers from the ambit of the legislation. He would have to think about Mr Beukman’s proposal.
Adv Erasmus proposed that any person may request that a publication other than a newspaper be considered for classification be included Section 16(1). Section 24B(2) could then include publications referred to in Section 16(1) or (2). This made clear that there was no pre-classification.
Mr Chetty thought that it was clear that Section 16(2) referred to those publications for which submission for classification was mandatory. Newspapers were already excluded from these provisions. He pointed out that there was a lot of illegal distribution. It was important therefore that the phrase “or would have been so classified” be included to provide for these illegally distributed materials. If the idea was to protect children then it was important to include that irrespective of whether it was classified or not, it was illegal to distribute certain types of materials. Section 16(2) already excluded newspapers. He agreed with Adv Erasmus’ proposed inclusion but pointed out that the public would still be able to complain.
Mr Beukman thought the inclusion important because one would then clearly understand what the objectives of the Bill were.
The Chairperson agreed that one could make clear that complaints had to be lodged with the press ombud.
Adv Erasmus pointed out that in the current formulation Section 16(1) did not include the word “complaints”. If one said that any person may request that a publication other than a newspaper be classified, one could not then request that a newspaper be classified.
Section 16(1) of the Act dealt with complaints concerning an application for classification. That was not how it was dealt with in the proposal, which spoke of classification and was aimed at exempting newspapers.
Adv Swart thought that that Section 24 of the ANC proposal still brought newspapers into the ambit of classification. He did not think that that would be desirable.
Adv Erasmus said that newspapers were exempt but if they contravened the Act they were subject to the offence provisions. They did not have to submit for classification however if they were requested to submit and went ahead to publish child pornography in any case, they would be guilty of an offence. He emphasised that one wanted to exempt the printed media from pre-classification but not from the offence provisions of Section 24.
The Chairperson had been concerned that if newspapers distributed child porn the public would only have recourse to the Press Ombud. He felt strongly that no one should be exempt from the offences and believed that Section 24 provided for that.
Adv Swart felt that Section 24 went much wider, and also covered the offences under Section 16 (2) from the newspapers were meant to be exempt. Section 16(2) was thus made subject to Section 24.
Ms Mathabathe said that her understanding was that the objective of the Bill was not only to prevent child pornography but also to protect children from exposure to pornography. She thought that Section 24A(2) provided for these concerns but felt that publications should be excluded and assumed that their inclusion was an oversight.
Mr Chetty explained that that clause meant that only a distributor of a film had to register. The distributor of a publication did not have to. The fact that they were not registered did not mean that they could distribute inappropriate or prohibited material. They were still subject to the adult premises requirement. Only film distributors and exhibitors needed to register.
The Chairperson wondered why publishers were mentioned to begin with.
Mr Chetty responded that films had to be registered and hold a license. Publications did not have to be registered with the FPB but could not distribute X18 material without a license.
Ms Mathabathe pointed out that that was not how it came across.
Mr Beukman wondered whether the FPB could also give input on Section 24.
Adv Erasmus proposed that Section 16 (1) be amended to read:
“any person may request, in a prescribed manner, that a publication, other than a newspaper, which is to be or is being distributed to the public be classified in terms of that Section.”
The Chairperson concurred.
Mr Beukman felt that the inclusion in Section 16(1) would deal with any uncertainty sprouting from Section 16(2). It also dealt with the problems in Section 16(3).
Adv Swart still would have preferred his proposal to be used but would consider the one just proposed.
The Chairperson wondered whether the provision would pass constitutional muster.
Ms Mathabathe responded that if the intention was to exclude newspapers from Section 16, the ANC proposal made it very clear.
Adv Swart felt that the issue of hate speech was a matter that was of great concern to the ACDP.
The Chairperson commented that in China there was an attempt to classify the Bible because some people were concerned that it contained sex and violence.
Adv Swart felt that in the present formulation of the above-mentioned section the Bible might have to be classified. He suggested that the drafters should stick to the wording contained in the Constitution.
Mr Beukman suggested that Adv Swart considered the ANC’s definition if “identifiable characteristic”.
Adv Swart said that his concern was that if a pastor spoke out against homosexuality and the media or a Christian magazine printed that speech, they would fall subject to the provisions of the sections as well as to the penal provisions. That was unacceptable to the Christian community.
He reminded the Committee that the second part of the test for hate speech was that one could indicated ones religious views but that they may not constitute incitement to cause harm. This part was not included in the proposed amendment. He recalled that Mr Chetty had admitted that bringing people who spoke out against homosexuality under the provisions of the Act had been part of the intention.
Mr Chetty said that classification was the context of the legislation. The FPB felt that any expression or advocacy of hatred based on any characteristic should not be allowed. He agreed with Adv Swart that the “incitement to cause harm” phrase could be included without imposing any hardship on the FPB and its efforts to ensure that advocacy of hatred was not permitted.
Adv Swart felt that the words should be included consistently throughout the legislation were reference to hate speech was made.
The Chairperson appreciated the ACDP’s contribution and commented on “other parties” that did not participate as fully.
Adv Swart continued his exploration of the proposed amendments and said that he was really struggling with the context of the schedules being included in the A/B and felt that an audit needed to be done in that regard.
Clause 16(4) of the A/B spoke of refused classification. These were contained in schedules 5 and 9. All the schedules have been included but certain of the exemptions attached to them not contained in the A/B. He wondered why all the defences had not been included.
The Chairperson pleaded with Adv Swart not to ask for reasons but to make proposals that members could either agree or disagree with.
Adv Swart requested the drafters to find a way of inserting the defences particularly the ones that related to religious expression into the A/B.
Mr Chetty pointed out that there had been a slight oversight in the provision the member was referring to. Matters that were of public interest were provided for and religion was seen as just that. He did not think that it would be a problem to include religion as a defence.
Adv Swart felt that one had to take care not to limit some of the defences.
Mr Beukman proposed the inclusion of “matters of public interest” under the definitions.
Mr Chetty thought the proposal an excellent way of addressing the member’s concerns and would enabled the FPB to apply it in practice.
Ms Mathabathe understood that it would be defined in line with Schedule 10(2)(a).
The Committee agreed to include the additional definition.
Adv Swart recalled that Mr Chetty had explained to the anti-pornography grouping that what previously had been classified XX, was now classified X18. He was concerned about this reclassification and thought that perhaps the Committee should suggest that the provisions related to explicit sexual conduct, explicit infliction or the explicit effect of extreme violence, domestic and sexual abuse went back to an XX classification.
The Chairperson thanked Adv Swart for another straightforward suggestion that would assist in eradicating pornography.
Mr Chetty commented that the FPB would appreciate any proposals that would result in a tightening up of the legislation.
Adv Swart wondered whether all the procedural aspects have been dealt with in the ANC document and asked whether the inclusion of appeals to the Supreme Court should not also be reconsidered.
Mr Beukman said that the ANC study group had discussed the matter in detail. They were comfortable with the fact that in terms of the current legislative framework a person could lodge a complaint and get a remedy. They felt that satisfactory administrative justice were available.
Ms Mathabathe did not understand how the provision Adv Swart had referred to could ever have been included in the principal legislation. According to the High Court Rules one could not lodge an appeal from an administrative body to the High Court. There was no procedure providing for such an action.
Adv Swart saw that the ANC document excluded broadcasters from Section 24. He wondered whether that exclusion addressed ICASA’s concerns sufficiently and whether the ANC proposal satisfied constitutional concerns in this regard.
Mr Beukman responded that the ANC had considered ICASA’s two submissions and were satisfied that they had catered to ICASA’s needs.
Adv Swart wondered why there was such urgency to have the legislation finalised and adopted.
The Chairperson explained that the Committee had other work to do. The legislation had been with the Committee for almost a year.
Adv Swart understood that, but felt that MPs had to understand the implication of what they were doing. The Chairperson had been very indulgent of members’ concerns that day.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would discuss the way forward once they had received the draft B version.
Adv Swart quipped that the sexual offence legislation took five years to complete!
The Chairperson said that he wanted the Committee to take more time to deal with the challenges that were facing the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The Committee had not focused much time on that. They had to keep the DHA accountable and should make sure that they implemented their programmes. The Department now had a new director general and the Committee had to engage with him on the urgent matters facing the Department.
He commented that the DA had spent the whole year attending meetings simply to reject the bill. The ACDP, that was a much smaller party, had virtually no research capacity and little funds, yet managed to make a “wonderful contribution”. A party that called itself the “official opposition” however, could hardly deal with the Bill. He wondered what that party would do if it was running the country! He had found the DA’s action very disappointing.
Mr Beukman thought it important to bear in mind that the Committee had set itself targets as far as, not only the FPB but also DHA and particularly aimed to ensure that the financial accountability and governance arrangements of the cluster they were responsible for were in order. The ANC was not willing to compromise on governance, administrative and financial compliance.
The Chairperson mandated the drafters to prepare the B Bill for tabling in the Committee that Tuesday. He was satisfied that the Committee had managed to give the initial proposed legislation greater meaning and thanked all contributors for their input.
The meeting was adjourned.