The Committee deliberated on the proposed amendments to the Second-Hand Goods Bill – most of which were minor amendments – following the public hearings of 4 March.
Telkom presented its submission on the Bill that they hoped would help in addressing the problem of copper theft in the industry. They suggested that the definition of a dealer be extended to cover a person who deals with the sale of second hand copper on a once-off basis. They requested that the police be given the power to enter premises especially where there was a suspicion that a crime was about to be committed.
Proposed Amendments to Second-Hand Goods Bill
Assistant Commissioner Philip Jacobs (Head Legal Support: Crime Operations Legal Division: SAPS) took the Committee on a clause by clause consideration of the proposed amendments to the Bill, following the public hearings of 4 March. All the clauses, except 4, 6, 11, and 28 were accepted without any discussion on them.
Clause 4 Application for registration
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) noted that to expect industries to print a lot of documents every day would be a burden, especially when they already have electronic copies of the documents. She also noted that the Retail Motor Industry Association had complained about the requirement to register every premises.
Dr Jacobs responded that even motor vehicle dealerships had files for each customer which were for the purpose of keeping business records. The Act would therefore not be creating any new burden on the dealers. Only those dealers and premises that were found wanting, would be penalised.
Clause 6 Information on application by person other than natural person
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) noted that the Committee had earlier agreed to replace the term “management” with the term “director” in clause 6(1)(d).
Clause 11 Termination and cancellation of registration
Ms Van Wyk stated that the provisions of clause 11(3) would be weakened with the substitution of the word “must” with “may”.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the use of the word “may” gives room for human error, especially when a particular dealer has a good and honest explanation for any such error.
Mr S Mahote (ANC) stated that there was no reason to pass a law that would provide for people to make mistakes. Laws ought to be strict enough to compel members of the public to conduct themselves in the right manner.
Clause 28 Identification by police official
Ms Van Wyk noted that proactive policing was not mentioned in the Bill, and that it should be stated clearly that a register must be inspected at a particular time in order to compel the police to act.
Ms Kohler-Barnard wondered whether the regulations would apply to auctions. She also noted that Department of Trade and Industry might have to be consulted to help unravel the problem of stolen goods sold outside the country.
Ms Van Wyk asked whether provision could be made to cover the sale of second hand goods on the internet.
Dr Jacobs responded that electronic sale of second hand goods had been considered. However, the Bill still required that such dealers must be registered and have specific business premises.
The Chair assured members that the various proposed amendments and those not yet captured would be included as agreed. She asked Dr Jacobs and his team to facilitate this before the next meeting of the committee.
The Committee granted Telkom another opportunity to present their submission on the Bill despite failing to respond to the Committee’s earlier invitation to present at the public hearings of the 4 March. The Chair said that the Committee frowned upon this and advised that they take future appointments with the Committee more seriously.
Dr Andrew Barends, Group Executive: Telkom, stated that their company looked to the new Bill to help in addressing the problem of copper theft in the industry, as this continually affected business. He suggested that the definition of a dealer be extended to cover a person who deals with second hand copper on a once-off basis. He recommended that clause 11(3) which dealt with termination and cancellation of registration be extended.
He noted that clause 22(2) which dealt with dealer records, it was not clear whether it was the particulars of a director or an employee that should be given. Dr Barends also suggested that clause 29(1) be extended to give the police power to enter premises especially where there was a suspicion that a crime was about to be committed. Also, clause 30 which dealt with the power of entry, search, seizure and sealing-off by the police, be extended to cover persons of a questionable character found roaming around premises of dealers.
Mr M Moatshe (ANC) asked what Telkom was doing about addressing the problems of copper theft.
Dr Barends responded that they had alarm systems on their networks. However, because of the kind of environment in which they operated, it was very difficult to apprehend the copper thieves most of the time.
The meeting was adjourned.
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