South African Judicial Education Institute Bill: deliberations

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Justice and Correctional Services

16 October 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 October 2007
SOUTH AFRICAN JUDICIAL EDUCATION INSTITUTE BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Chairperson:
Mr Y Carrim (ANC)

Documents handed out:
South African Judicial Education Institute Bill [B4-2007]

Audio recording of meeting

SUMMARY
The Chairperson noted that the purpose of this meeting was to give input and discuss with the drafters the remaining clauses of the Bill. A new definition was to be written for “retired judge”.
In Clause 5(2) the Committee agreed that the reference to Operations Officer should be removed as it was preferable to have a Chief Financial Officer, similar to other institutions. Clauses 6 to 8 were agreed upon. Clause 9(1)(a) was redundant and 9(1)(b) was considered too vague. Clauses 9(1)(d) and (e) were approved. Clause 9(2)(b) was approved. Clause 10(1) and (2) (i) and (ii) were approved. Clause 10 (2)(iii) should be removed. The wording of Clause 10(b)(i) was to be reworked, since the Committee felt that the Council should not appoint administrative staff. Clause 11(1) to (4)(a) were approved. Clause 11(4)(b) was unclear, and the drafters were asked to find out why it was included. Clauses 12(1) to (7) were approved. In Clause 12(8)(a) there was a technical amendment. Clause 14 was approved, and so were clauses 16 to 19. The Committee would meet further to consider the reworked clauses in due course.

MINUTES
South African Judicial Education Institute Bill (the Bill): Deliberations
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the objective of the meeting was to engage further with the drafters on the Bill. The Chairperson had asked the drafters to come up with a new definition for “retired judge” as the current definition was not suitable.

Clause 5(2) (c)
The Committee asked why the Institute was not to have a CFO like every other organisation, and if they did have one, what would be the relationship between the CFO and the Operations Officer. All Members of the Committee agreed that the Operations Officer should not be included in the Bill.

Clause 9(1) (a)
The Committee agreed that this clause seemed rather redundant.

Clause 9(1) (b)
The Chair asked for the clarification of the meaning of “particular aspects”.

Mr Johan de Lange, Principal State Law Advisor, Department of Justice, replied that this term encompassed issues such as ethics, education or racism within the judiciary, to name a few.

Mr L Joubert (DA) remarked that the clause was too vague, and did not specify who was supposed to perform the actual oversight.

Mr de Lange agreed with Mr Joubert.

The Committee agreed that the clause should be removed.

Clause 10 (2)(iii)
The Committee agreed that the wording of this clause was mundane and redundant and should be removed.

Clause 10 (b)(i)
Mr G Magwanishe (ANC) and the Chairperson remarked that it was not appropriate for the Council to appoint administrative staff. They agreed that the Council could oversee the appointments of senior staff, who would then appoint the administrative staff.

Mr Joubert agreed, and he suggested inclusion of a clause that in effect said that the council could delegate its powers.

Mr de Lange agreed and he went on further to point out that there was contradiction between this clause and 11(3)(a)

The committee agreed that the reference to the power of the Council to appoint administrative staff should be taken out, and be replaced by reference to overseeing the appointment of staff, and that it should be clear that the power to appoint administrative staff should be delegated downwards.

Clause 11(4)(b)
Mr Magwanishe remarked that he had problems with this clause, essentially because the judge would be getting a double salary. His first salary was the salary that attached to his lifetime appointment as a judge, and the second related to his appointment as a director. He felt in principle that this was not right.

Ms M Mahlawe (ANC) remarked that she had understood the clause to mean that the judicial officer should be a magistrate, as magistrates could resign their posts and then would take up the position of director full time.

The Chairperson asked why this provision required a director to be a judicial officer, because his initial understanding of the clause was the same as Ms Mahlawe. He agreed that if the judicial officer was to be a judge there were some problems, such as the double salary issue raised by Mr Magwanishe, and the fact that judges were not supposed to do administration work. Moreover, he did not relish the idea that perhaps a judge as director might be required to account for fraud or some other issues that cropped up with administration.

Mr de Lange agreed that there was a problem, since being a director was a full time job and it would not be possible for a judge to perform both this and his task as a judicial officer.

The Committee decided to flag the issue and asked the drafters to go back and ask why the judiciary decided to put in this provision.

Clause 12(8)(a)
Imam G Solomon (ANC) remarked that they should change the wording of “on” to “in” and the Committee agreed.

The Committee then summarized its deliberations on the clauses.

The following clauses had been agreed to and should be retained in their current wording:
Clauses 5(2) (a), (b), (d)-(e)
Clauses 6, to 8
Clause 9 (1)(d) to (e)
Clause 9(2) (b)
Clause10 (1), (2) (i) and (ii)
Clause 11(1) to (4)(a),
Clause 12 (1) to(7)
Clause 14
Clauses 16 to 19

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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