September 24, 2018

SANDF called up to...play pirates. Read more Parly Briefs here

Notes from the House publishes a regular column of briefs from behind the scenes in Parliament. This is not fake news – though you may be forgiven for thinking it could be.

SA to fulfil its international defence duties – fighting pirates

A letter from President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces informs members of the Council of the extension of the employment of the Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in fulfilment of their international obligations, this time in the service of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Their role will be to monitor and counter piracy in the Mozambique Channel.

If you were wondering where that idea came from, specifically the role of maritime defence of the SADC, it is right there in section 201(1)(c) of the Constitution. But why deploy 200 members of the defence force for a year to fight pirates off the coast of Mozambique? How many pirates are there?

Hate speech will land you in jail – where you belong

Vicki Momberg, you won’t be alone for much longer. The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was tabled in Parliament in March, and if passed into law will make jail time the norm for those who still think they can use racial slurs or commit hate crimes that are found to be racist or hateful. It allows for a fine or imprisonment for up to three years for any person convicted of a hate crime.

You’de think 23 years post-apartheid that can’t still be necessary.

But here’s where it gets even weirder. Human rights groups have raised concerns about the Bill, saying that it could impact on the freedom of speech and media freedom.

Oh please.

After first being introduced in October 2016, more than 75,000 public submissions were received on the Prevention of Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill and now it’s off to the Justice Committee, who we hope will do its job.

High-level Panel reaches even higher

Remember the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change, which spent 21 months traversing South Africa to find out from citizens what they think has worked post-apartheid, and what hasn’t.

Not surpringly, tens of thousands of people had lots to say about present-day government, not all of it flattering. A very thick book was released in November, amid appropriate fanfare, and then...nothing.

Until now.

In March, Parliament decided to establish a Subcommittee on the Report of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change. So far the composition and size of the Subcommittee has been decided: Eight members, three from the ANC, two DA, one EFF, one IFP and, according to the report, “1 FF plus 1”, which could mean one or two from that party depending on how you read it. The Co-chairpersons of the Subcommittee are A J Nyambi (ANC) and C T Frolick (surprise, also ANC).

There will be a Council of five members (comprising ANC three members and official opposition two) and it will make recommendations on the processing of the key findings of the HLP Report of the HLP, which must differ from the recommendations of the HLP itself, because those have already been made. Read the thick book. It has some really good ideas on how to fix things.

Expect even more good ideas on 15 May when the Subcommittee is due to report to the Committee.

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  • Author: Moira Levy
Last modified on Monday, 23 April 2018 20:50

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Notes from the House is an independent weekly email newsletter that tracks and monitors Parliament in its role of holding government to account and passing legislation to improve people’s lives. It aims to bring you the news from Parliament that you don’t get elsewhere. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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