ATC230906: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Correctional Services Amendment Bill [B14 – 2023], dated 06 September 2023
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Correctional Services Amendment Bill [B14 – 2023], dated 06 September 2023.
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having considered the Correctional Services Amendment Bill [B14 – 2023], reports the Bill without amendments.
The Committee reports as follows:
- On 4 December 2020, in Sonke vs The President of the Republic of South Africa and Others, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment, in an application for confirmation of a declaration of constitutional invalidity by the High Court of South Africa in the Western Cape, that sections 88A(1)(b) and 91 of the principal Act were inconsistent with section 7(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996. The court held that the impugned provisions are constitutionally invalid to the extent that they fail to provide adequate level of independence to the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS).
- The Constitutional Court suspended the declaration of constitutional invalidity for 24 months to afford Parliament an opportunity to enact remedial legislation, that is before 4 December 2022.
- Because of numerous delays, the Bill could not be introduced to Parliament within the stipulated 24 months. This necessitated the Department of Correctional Services to request an extension from the Constitutional Court which was granted for a further 12 months ending 4 December 2023.
- On 2 June 2023, the Correctional Services Amendment Bill, 2023, was introduced and referred to the Committee for consideration and report. The Committee was briefed by the Department of Correctional Services on the contents of the Bill on 05 September 2023.
- The Bill seeks to amend the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998 to align it with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and the Sonke judgement to provide for an adequate level of independence to the JICS, and matters related thereto.
- In response to a call for public comment, the Committee received a total of four (4) written submissions from:
- Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
- African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum
- Detention Justice Forum, and
- South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR).
7. The Committee held the public hearings on virtual platform on 30 August 2023, where the following organisations made oral presentations:
- South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
- African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum, and
- Detention Justice Forum.
8. The Department responded to submissions on 30 August 2023 and the Committee deliberated on 5 September 2023. Whilst the Committee supports the bill as introduced, it urges the Ministry to introduce the related Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services Bill. This bill will deal with the functioning of JICS.
Report to be considered