ATC110615: Report on Protection from Harassment Bill [B1-2010]

Justice and Correctional Services

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Protection from Harassment Bill [B1-2010], dated 15 June 2011:


The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the Protection from Harassment Bill [B1-2010], reports the Bill with amendments [B1A-2010].


The Committee further reports as follows:


1.       The Bill, as introduced, sought to make several amendments to legislation in its Schedule. The Committee believes that, of these, the following are of a substantive nature: Section 384 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1955; section 60 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977; and the proposed provision inserted after section 4 of the Domestic Violence Act, 1998, that creates a mechanism to subpoena or warn witnesses to attend court proceedings. The Committee is of the view that, procedurally, it is undesirable to make such amendments, which are not merely consequential, in the Schedule to a Bill. It, therefore, suggests that the Department includes these amendments in the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, which the Committee is aware is being prepared for introduction to Parliament soon.


2.       During its deliberations, the Committee considered whether the behaviour of a complainant, who initiates an application for a protection order against harassment on the basis of a false statement, should be criminalised. The Committee, however, understands that there is no corresponding provision in the Domestic Violence Act, 1998. The Committee, however, is of the view that this aspect needs further investigation. The Committee, therefore, requests the Minister to look into the matter and report to Parliament on his findings within 24 months of this report being adopted by the National Assembly.


Report to be considered.


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