Protected Disclosures Act: Practical Guidelines for Employees; Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill: proposed amendments

NCOP Security and Justice

01 November 2023
Chairperson: Ms S Shaikh (ANC, Limpopo)
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Meeting Summary

In a virtual meeting, the Select Committee on Security and Justice adopted the Amendments to the Practical Guidelines for Employees on Protected Disclosures in terms of section 10(4)(b) of the Protected Disclosures Act, No 26 of 2000. It noted that it had been briefed on them the week before.

The Select Committee adopted the proposed Committee amendments to clauses 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill [B9B-2018]. One of these amendments was to reduce the maximum sentence from eight to five years.

Opposition party members formally tabled proposed alternative amendments for the penalties clause and to introduced a definition of hatred but those proposals were voted down.

Meeting report

Committee Report on Amendments to Practical Guidelines for Employees on Protected Disclosures
The Chairperson explained that in terms of s10(4)(b) of the Protected Disclosures Act, any amendment to the Practical Guidelines for Employees must be submitted for Parliament’s approval before it is published in the Government Gazette. The Committee had been briefed on the amendment in the 25 October meeting and now Members needed to decide if it would adopt the Committee Report approving the amendments.

The Committee adopted the Committee Report with no objections.

Read: ATC231101:Report of the Select Committee on Security and Justice on the Amendments to the Practical Guidelines for Employees, submitted in terms of section 10(4)(b) of the Protected Disclosures Act, 2000 (Act No. 26 of 2000), dated 1 November 2023

Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill [B9B-2018]
The Chairperson reminded the Committee about the 25 October deliberations where there had been support amongst Members that maximum sentencing should be reduced from eight to five years. There was also the majority view that there was no need to define hatred as the definition was contained in the Qwelane judgement as well as in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA).

The Chairperson emphasised that the Bill could not be delayed any further. She sought further deliberation from Committee members.

Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) requested that his submission of proposed amendments be formally tabled, considered and voted on.

He proposed that the Committee should formally deal with the sanction as well as a definition on hatred. After that, the Committee could move on to discuss the document that was circulated.

Mr T Dodovu (ANC, North West) suggested that the Committee should vote on the submission by Mr Michalakis only once the Committee proposed amendments had been considered by the Committee.

Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) agreed with Mr Dodovu.

The Procedural Officer advised the Chairperson that the Committee could go through the clauses and could deal with any proposals that have not been covered by the Committee. However, there has to be a formal proposer and seconder to those proposals.

The Chairperson asked Mr Michalakis what he wanted the Committee to formally consider.

Mr Michalakis replied that his submission document had been submitted to the Committee three days ago. He wanted his submission to be treated like any other submission from a member of the public. But if the process dictates that he needs a seconder to bring up those proposals formally, he can find a seconder.

Mr Michalakis stated that he would not be satisfied if his submission was to be recorded only as a dissenting view in the Committee report. He thus requested to have his proposed amendments dealt with.

Committee proposed amendments: briefing by Department of Justice & Constitutional Development
Ms Sueanne Isaac, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, confirmed that the DoJCD document reflected what had been discussed in the 25 October meeting.

Mr Henk Du Preez, DoJCD State Law Advisor, took the Select Committee through the Committee proposed amendments.

Committee proposed amendments: voting
The Select Committee agreed to vote on the amendments.

Mr Michalakis indicated that since he had not received the caucus mandate from his party, Democratic Alliance, he would like his vote to be recorded as abstained.

The proposed amendments to Clauses 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 were all adopted.

The Committee noted the DA’s abstention from voting on each of those clauses.

During the adoption of clause 6 which dealt with maximum sentencing, Mr Michalakis asked the Chairperson in terms of procedure, if the Committee should deal with his proposed amendment before adopting the clause amendment.

The Chairperson replied that she had thought the Committee would go through the Committee proposed amendments process and then deal with his point after that. She nevertheless permitted Mr Michalakis to formally table his proposed clause 6.

Mr Michalakis noted his proposal for Clause 6: Penalties was:

(3) Any person who is convicted of an offence referred to in section 4 is liable, in the case of—
(a) a first conviction, to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment; and
(b) any subsequent conviction, to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

Mr Michalakis’s proposed amendment on clause 6 was seconded by Mr C Smit (DA, North West).

Mr Michalakis, Mr R Badenhorst (DA, Western Cape), Mr Smit, Mr Motsamai voted "aye".

Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga), Mr Dodovu, Ms M Bartlett (ANC, Northern Cape) and Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng) voted "nay". [PMG note: Voting not fully recorded in this report]

As there were an equal number of supporting votes and opposing votes, NCOP Rule 155(2)(c) was applied: if there is an equal number of votes on each side of a question, the chairperson must cast a deciding vote in addition to a vote as an ordinary member.

The Chairperson's casting vote was "nay".

Mr Michalakis’s proposed clause 6 was not carried.

Mr Michalakis’s proposal for a definition of hatred was:

“hatred” means an extreme emotion of detestation, enmity, ill-will and malevolence towards members of an identifiable group; predicated on the destruction of such group; and which leads to the direct and intentional vilification and ill-treatment of members of such group.

Ms Bartlett, Mr Dangor, Ms Maleka, Ms Ndongeni (ANC, Eastern Cape), Mr E Mthethwa (ANC, KZN) and Mr Dodovu voted against this proposal. [PMG note: Voting not fully recorded in this report]

The definition of hatred proposal was not carried.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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