Justice Department Provides Update on Bills

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The justice and constitutional development department has provided status reports to the justice committee in Parliament on various bills currently before the committee.

Progress reports were provided on the:

• Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill
• Protection from Harassment Bill
• Protection of Personal Information Bill
• Traditional Courts Bill
• State Liability Amendment Bill

In terms of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill, it was tabled in Parliament in March 2009.

Public hearings were held in August last year. The department provided responses to submissions received in September and October.

In October and November stakeholder departments briefed the committee on their readiness to implement the proposed legislation.

Deliberations on the bill have started.  Clauses 1 to 16 of the bill were dealt with on 2 and 3 November 2010. Clauses 17 to 48 must still be dealt with.

The committee is to receive a briefing from the international organisation for migration to determine the extent of trafficking in South Africa.

In November last year, the committee expressed disappointment at statistics provided by various departments due to a lack of synchronisation.

According to the department the national prosecuting authority is preparing a document for the committee outlining its proposal for definitions on trafficking and the offence of trafficking in persons.

As regards the Protection of Personal Information Bill, it was tabled in Parliament in August 2009.

The portfolio committee was briefed by the department on the bill in October 2009. Public hearings were held in October 2009.

The committee set up a technical working committee (TWC) last year to deliberate further on the bill. The TWC has so far met on three occasions with the last meeting in August last year.

The department highlights key issues in the status report raised during deliberations on the bill.

In terms of the Traditional Courts Bill, it was tabled in Parliament in April 2008. A first briefing took place in May 2008. Public hearings were held in the same month.

The present committee was briefed on the bill in September 2009.

No deliberations on the bill have yet taken place. However, the committee released a report just prior to the April 2009 general elections. It was adopted by the committee and the national assembly.

In terms of the Protection from Harassment Bill, the department briefed the committee on its responses to submissions received during public hearings on the bill in November 2010.

The bill was tabled in Parliament in February 2010. The department briefed the committee in August.  Public hearings were conducted in October.

As regards the State Liability Amendment Bill, the committee will shortly be inviting comment on the bill.

It was tabled in Parliament on 4 February 2011.

The constitutional court gave Parliament 12 months in which to pass legislation that ensured that court orders against the state for money were honoured.

The court made its judgement in 2008. However, a number of extensions have been granted.

The court ruled that section three of the act was inconsistent with the Constitution.

Parliament now has until 31 August 2011 to pass the legislation. 

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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