ATC081020: Report onNational Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill
1. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill [B23 – 2008] (National Assembly – sec 75), dated 20 October 2008:
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill [B23 – 2008] (National Assembly – sec 75) referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill with amendments [B23A – 2008].
The Committee further reports as follows:
1.1. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Bill was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice & Constitutional Development, which was required to confer with the Portfolio Committee on Safety & Security. The South African Police Service Amendment Bill [B30 – 2008] was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Safety & Security, which was required to confer with the Portfolio Committee on Justice & Constitutional Development. As the two Bills are interrelated, the two Committees worked together on both Bills.
1.2. To make fuller sense of this report, it should be read with the report on the South African Police Service Amendment Bill [B30 – 2008].
2. Public Participation
2.1. Although the South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Bill and the NPA Amendment Bill are section 75 Bills, the Committee decided that, in view of the importance of and public interest in the Bills, we should organise extensive public hearings, not just in the National Assembly, but the provinces as well, in co-operation with the NCOP Security and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee. The hearings were not just on the Bills, but on the proposed new integrated criminal justice system (CJS) as well.
2.2. However, very few people commented on the proposed new CJS. The Committee proposes to undertake further public hearings on the new CJS and report back to the public on progress regarding what has come to be known as the “Scorpions Bills” before the end of the year.
3. Visit to the DSO and SAPS
3.1. The Committee also visited the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) and the SAPS organised crime-fighting units to report on progress on the Bills, hear their views, and encourage them to co-operate in implementing the Bills and ensure that the new organised crime fighting unit to be located within the SAPS works effectively. The Committee appreciates the concerns of the DSO staff about moving into the new unit. The Committee feels that the DSO staff should not prejudge the new unit but give it a chance to develop. We suggested to the staff who do not wish to move to consider going into the unit for a year or so before making a final decision.
4. Processing the Bill
4.1. The Parliamentary Research Unit and Committee Content Advisor presented a comprehensive report on every submission received and the Committees went through the report fully.
4.2. The Committee drew in two representatives each of NPA and SAPS, and two technical advisors from civil society organisations to assist in the processing of the Bills. We express our appreciation for their participation.
4.3. As the NPA Amendment Bill emanates from, and is closely linked to, the provisions of the South African Police Services Bill, the Committee identified the broad principles or characteristics of an effective crime-fighting unit which would impact on both Bills. The principles and the 5 different models are set out in an earlier report and are also summarised in the report on the South African Police Services Amendment Bill.
5. Investigating Directorates
5.1. The Bill provides for the deletion of section 7 which established an Investigating Directorate, known as the DSO. A decision was taken to delete all provisions relating to the DSO and to effect all consequential amendments.
5.2. The newly substituted section 7 simply reverts to the previous position, i.e. as it was prior to the establishment of the DSO. The section provides that the President may establish two Investigating Directorates in the office of the National Director, by way of proclamation.
5.3. The Committee is of the view that the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development should seriously investigate whether there is any need to allow for these two Investigating Directorates, and the Department should report back to the Portfolio Committee on Justice & Constitutional Development within 6 months from the commencement of the new term of Parliament in 2009.
6. Transitional Provisions
6.1. The transitional provisions provide that as from the fixed date Special Investigators are transferred to the SAPS and become members of the SAPS. Other administrative and support personnel of the DSO may be transferred to the SAPS, as agreed upon between the National Directorate and the National Commissioner.
6.2. Employees may only be transferred to the SAPS with their consent. Those who do not want to be transferred may be offered a transfer to a reasonable alternative post or position in any government department, in the NPA (but in a post other than that of special investigator), or be offered a severance package.
6.3. Those employees who are transferred to SAPS will remain entitled to all rights and benefits and continuity of their employment.
6.4. Pending investigations must be transferred to and continued by the new unit, in accordance with a mechanism determined by the Minister of Justice & Constitutional Development and Minister of Safety & Security.
6.5. The Committee will ensure that it exercises effective oversight over the implementation of the transitional provisions and monitors the progress made in this regard.
Report to be considered.
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