ATC151022: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill [B20 – 2015], dated 21 October 2015
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill [B20 – 2015], dated 21 October 2015
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services (the Committee), having considered the Criminal Matters Amendment Bill [B20 – 2015], (National Assembly – section 75), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 75 Bill, reports the Bill with Amendments [B20A- 2015]
The Committee further wished to report as follows:
- The Bill is intended to build safer communities by addressing the threat and damage that the theft of metal causes to essential infrastructure that is used to provide or distribute basic services to the public.
- The Committee wishes to highlight that criminal activity of this kind poses substantial risk to public safety, electricity and water supplies, communications and transportation, among others.
- The Committee is of the view that the legislation is pressing as the level of essential infrastructure-related crimes in South Africa is unacceptably high and increasingly involves organised syndicates. In the Committee’s view, we must act decisively to combat this form of criminal activity that disrupts the provision of basic services, relating to energy, transport, water, sanitation and communication. These disruptions are not only costly but impact on the daily life of people in South African who must do without water or electricity, for example.
- Given the impact of this form of criminal activity, the Bill also introduces strict conditions for the granting of bail for those accused of committing these kinds of offences, as well as making minimum sentences applicable on conviction.
- During its deliberations, the Committee considered proposals to extend the scope of the Bill to include loss, damage or the tampering with of essential infrastructure that provides other basic services - health and education, for example. The Committee believes that there is merit in the proposal but is concerned that this would delay the Bill, which is considered urgent. The Committee, therefore, requests the Ministry to look into the proposal and to report to Parliament on the outcome of its findings within twelve months of this Report.
Report to be considered
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