ATC131107: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Judicial Matters Second Amendment Bill [B 51 – 2013], dated 06 November 2013

Justice and Correctional Services

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the Judicial Matters Second Amendment Bill [B 51 – 2013], dated 06 November 2013

1.             The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development resolved to initiate a Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill that creates a legislative framework that expressly authorises the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development to designate any court as a sexual offences court exclusively for the purposes of the trial of any person or other proceedings arising for the alleged commission of a sexual offence. The Committee complied with Rule 238 (1) by tabling a memorandum in the National Assembly on 19 June 2013.

2.             The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development requested and was granted permission by the House to introduce legislation amending the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007. (See Minutes 31-2013 dated 20 June 2013 at 2935).

3.             Prior notice of the Bill’s introduction was given in the Government Gazette, No 36645, dated 9 July 2013, and an explanatory summary of the draft Bill was published in the same Gazette. The Gazette also contained an invitation to interested persons and institutions to submit written representations before 26 July 2013. Four written submissions were received and considered by the Committee.

4.             The Committee considered and took into account the submissions received and the Department’s responses to these in its deliberations. The Committee also resolved to change the short title of the Bill from Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill to Judicial Matters Second Amendment Bill to address concerns relating to its clumsiness.

5.             The Bill amends section 66 of the principal Act and requires that national instructions and directives addressing manner in which officials of the South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Departments of Health and Social Development must carry out their responsibilities and duties in relation to designated sexual offences courts be prepared. These must be submitted to Parliament within six months of the relevant regulations are made. The Committee, however, is concerned at the length of time this may take and any related delays. It, therefore, urges the relevant functionaries to prepare the necessary instructions and directives in the meantime.

6.             The Committee, in accordance with Rule 243, reports that it has introduced the Judicial Matters Second Amendment Bill [B 51 - 2013] (National Assembly- sec 75) by submitting a copy of the Bill to the Speaker.

Report to be considered.

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