Renaming of High Courts Bill: Adoption; Draft Committee Report: Discussion

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Justice and Correctional Services

27 May 2008
Chairperson: Mr Y Carrim (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Justice advised the Committee that it had been able to confirm that the Judge-President of the North West's comment on the naming of the Court at Mafikeng was correct, as this Local Municipality had been renamed. The Committee adopted the Motion of Desirability and Bill. The Report, however would stand over for approval on the following day because the Committee suggested inserting wording expressing concern that the jurisdiction issues still remained outstanding.

The Committee considered and adopted its second quarter revised programme. It was noted that the DSO Bill would be considered in conjunction with the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs and that public hearings were likely to start in the week commencing 23 June.

The Committee read through the draft report on the Budget vote for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. This Report was still in draft, and several points were raised. The Committee would regard this also as an exit report for consideration by the new Committee. The Chairperson felt strongly that the public should be more actively engaged, to restore the confidence of the people.

Meeting report

The Chairperson tabled the Committee programme. He noted that the traditional courts sub committee had been formed, consisting of five NGO activists, 5 traditional leaders, himself, Mr Joubert and Mr Magwanishe, and Mr J Sibanyone (if available).  He would like to have a facilitator. This would be a closed meeting.

A draft had been done in respect of the Child Justice Bill, and the sub-committee dealing with that wished to call a meeting on the following afternoon. This was for noting.

This Committee and the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs would be conferring on the DSO Bill, and public hearings were likely to start in the week of Monday 23 June, for full days. The nature and level of the participation would need to be discussed; it was possible that a small multi-party team could sit. The ANC felt that there must be maximum participation, and it was felt that the overhaul of the entire Criminal Justice system needed to be brought forward.

Mr Jeffery noted that the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill was due for a first reading this week. He was not sure whether the police Bill had been introduced; the debate would only be able to go ahead if that latter Bill was certified today. It would not be possible to deal with the removal without this having been done.

The Chairperson noted that he had not had anything to do with this tabling. He would be meeting with the Chief Whip later that day.

The Chairperson reported back on the progress of other reports and matters.
Committee Draft Report on Budget Vote 21
The Chairperson noted that it would not be possible to vote on this report; it would be voted on in the following week. He acknowledged the excellent work of researcher Ms Christine Silkstone. He stressed that this report must be considered together with the Annual Report of the Department of Justice.

The Chairperson thought that the opportunity for exchange with the Department had been too short. He indicated that only the previous Friday had the Department sent through the written replies to questions.
Members discussed various paragraphs and emphases in the report. This would be dealt with in the new draft.

The Chairperson said that this report could be regarded as an exit report. He felt strongly that the public should be consulted in matters of criminal justice. Parliament needed to win over the public's confidence and create a meaningful space for their comment.

The Chairperson felt that before the next elections there should be a closed meeting between senior officials from the Department and the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.


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