ATC230912: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill [B 7 – 2023], dated 8 September 2023

Justice and Correctional Services

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill [B 7 – 2023], dated 8 September 2023


The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, having considered the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill [B 7 – 2023]] (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 [B7A – 2023].  


The Committee reports further:


  1. The Bill was introduced on 30 March 2023 and referred to the Committee for consideration and report.
  2. In response to the call for public comment, the Committee received eight (8) written submissions, three of which were from the Women’s Legal Centre addressing different aspects of the Bill:
  • Media Monitoring Africa.
  • Law Society of South Africa (LSSA).
  • African Criminal Justice Reform.
  • Women’s Legal Centre.
  • Adv J Prinsloo, SC.

    3. The Bill proposes to amend numerous Acts administered by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. The proposed amendments are intended to address practical and technical issues of a non-contentious nature.

4. The Bill proposes amendments to the following Acts:

  • Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944 (Act No. 32 of 1944).
  • Administration of Estates Act, 1965 (Act No. 66 of 1965).
  • Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977).
  • Matrimonial Property Act, 1984 (Act No. 88 of 1984).
  • Sheriffs Act, 1986 (Act No. 90 of 1986).
  • Intestate Succession Act, 1987 (Act No. 81 of 1987).
  • Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act, 1990 (Act No. 27 of 1990).
  • National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998).
  • Debt Collectors Act, 1998 (Act No. 114 of 1998).
  • Domestic Violence Act, 1998 (Act No. 116 of 1998).
  • Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000).
  • Protected Disclosures Act, 2017 (Act No. 5 of 2017).
  • Judges’ Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act, 2001 (Act No. 47 of 2001).
  • Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004).
  • Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007).
  • Superior Courts Act, 2013 (Act No. 10 of 2013).
  • South African Human Rights Commission Act, 2013 (Act No. 40 of 2013).
  • Legal Aid Board Act, 2014 (Act No. 39 of 2014).
  • International Arbitration Act, 2017 (Act No.15 of 2017).

5. The Bill also proposes to repeal the common law crime of defamation. However, the proposed amendment does not affect civil liability under the common law in the case of defamation.

6. The Committee particularly welcomes the insertion of new sections 57B, 57C and 57D into the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, as these provisions will assist to clear the names of those who earned criminal records after having paid admission of guilt fines for breaching Covid-19 lockdown regulations. Specifically:

6.1 Section 57B proposes that the Minister may declare that certain categories of offences do not result in previous conviction against the accused and provides for the expungement of minor offences, as well as certain offences committed in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002); and

6.2 The proposed new section 57C seeks to provide for the expungement of the criminal records of persons whose names appear in the records of the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service after having paid admission of guilt fine for offences. The objective of the amendment is to also provide for automatic expungement of the criminal record.



Report for consideration