BRANCH: LEGISLATIVE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The Business Unit: Legislative and Constitutional Development consists of three Chief Directorates, namely, the Chief Directorate: South African Law Reform Commission, the Chief Directorate: Legislative Development and the Chief Directorate: Constitutional Development. The functions of the various Chief Directorates are briefly explained below.
Chief Directorate: South African Law Reform Commission:
The South African Law Reform Commission (“the SALRC”) is an independent statutory body, established by the South African Law Reform Commission Act, 1973 (Act 19 of 1973). The SALRC and its Secretariat are responsible for research in respect of the law of South Africa with a view to advising the Government on the development, improvement, modernisation and reform of the law of South Africa in all its facets by performing, among others, the following functions—
- executing the law reform programme of the SALRC by conducting legal research, including legal comparative research, by developing proposals for law reform and, where appropriate, by promoting uniformity in the law;
- preparing legislative proposals;
- establishing a permanently, simplified, coherent and generally accessible Statute Book, complying with the principles of the Constitution;
- consolidating or codifying any branch of the law;
- assisting the Parliamentary Committees during the deliberation of draft legislation emanating from the SALRC; and
- advising Ministers and State departments in respect of proposed legislation and recommendations of the SALRC.
The Rules Board for Courts of Law, established by the Rules Board for Courts of Law Act, 1985 (Act 107 of 1985), and its Secretariat are responsible for making and amending rules for the superior and lower courts. The Secretariat of the Rules Board for Courts of Law resorts under the Chief Directorate: South African Law Reform Commission. In particular, this component performs the following functions—
- evaluating and investigating proposals and representations regarding the relevant rules;
- preparing draft amendments to the relevant rules; and
- rendering an administrative support service to the Board.
Chief Directorate: Legislative Development:
This Chief Directorate is responsible for the investigation, preparation and promotion of amending and new legislation in Parliament and the preparation and promotion of the required subordinate legislation, which have a bearing on the line functions of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development as well as for related matters. In particular, this component performs the following functions—
- evaluating and investigating primary and subordinate legislative proposals and representations, including those of the South African Law Reform Commission;
- preparing primary and subordinate legislation, including the development of supporting documents;
- assisting and advising the Parliamentary Committees in the promotion of legislation;
- reviewing fees and tariffs prescribed by legislation;
- representing the Department and providing inputs at workshops, seminars and conferences, where the expertise of members of the component is required or in respect of matters relating to investigations of the component; and
- advising the Minister in respect of legal issues relating to the functions set out above.
Chief Directorate: Constitutional Development:
The Chief Directorate has the responsibility to promote, amend, maintain and develop the Constitution and its values. This will be accomplished by -
- ensuring total implementation of the Constitution;
- reviewing the constitutionality of all legislation;
- reviewing and amending the Constitution to accommodate new developments;
- monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Constitution; and
- promoting constitutional literacy and awareness.
The Chief Directorate also has the responsibility to promote and maintain the independence and effectiveness of Chapter 9 Institutions that were established to support and strengthen constitutional democracy. The Chief Directorate will, through legislative and other measures, assist and protect these Institutions to ensure their independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness. This will be achieved by -
- facilitating the budgetary process and assisting in the financial arrangements of these institutions;
- promoting proposals emanating from their reports;
- evaluating and investigating legislation establishing Chapter 9 Institutions; and
- promoting and maintaining communication channels between Chapter 9 Institutions and State departments.
1. The term “Chapter 9 Institutions” refers to the Public Protector, the South African Human Rights Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality that were established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution to strengthen constitutional democracy in the Republic.