Matters arising from the statement by The Minister Of Justice And Constitutional Development on the efficiency of courts
 
Made in Parliament on 9 September 1999

5. ISSUES RELATING TO WOMEN AND CHILDREN

  • Juvenile Justice Project

In 1995, the Government of South Africa ratified the convention on the Rights of the Child. In so doing, the Government committed itself to a range of obligations aimed at establishing and protecting the rights of children. The National Plan of Action identified the need for the development of a comprehensive juvenile justice system - a system that will deal separately with children in conflict with the Law and one which is sensitive and responsive to the needs of children. The Law Commission is finalising their investigations in this regard. However, the Department has already initiated, in line with the output from these investigations, a project to deal with such a new juvenile justice system. The project has committed funding from both Sweden and the UNDP and will contribute to a transformed integrated service delivery system based upon the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and relevant international human rights instruments.

  • The Domestic Violence Act

The following critical activities have been identified for completion before implementation of the Act and are all receiving urgent attention:

  • Subordinate Legislation -
    In respect of Regulations and a Proclamation containing a proposed date of implementation
  • Policies and Instructions -
    National Prosecution Policy and Directives
  • Training -
    SAPS, Prosecutors. Clerks off the Court, Magistrates, and Social Workers.
  • Administrative systems -
    SAPS, Health, Welfare
  • Communications Plan
    Media publicity material, Education department

R20m has been allocated from the Department's budget for service of process. For training, Justice College and SAPS require R 922 000 of which R 330 000 is available. An additional business plan has thus been developed to procure donor funding to meet the provisions of the Act.

  • Maintenance System

It should be noted in general, that a maintenance system working group is investigating the accessibility of maintenance services country-wide. The re-engineering of the Maintenance system, in line with the provisions of the Maintenance Amendment Act, is presently underway. Information and statistics is presently being collated in an attempt to develop a realistic planning base from which to formulate a business plan. A workshop to assess and deal with the information gathered in this regard, will be held on 29 October 1999. The targeted date for the completion of the planning processes is 30 November 1999 and implementation should commence soon thereafter. Automation of maintenance offices were re-prioritised and have received substantial attention (see IT section hereunder).

6. TRAINING AND HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

In view of the high premium the Ministry and Department is placing on training, various specific training initiatives are receiving continuos attention, including the following which are highlighted:

a) New Legislation

Three important acts which will be enacted by or during 2000, in terms of the Constitution, namely the Administrative Justice Act, Open Democracy Act and the Promotion of Equality Act (together with the Employment Equity Act (which has already been promulgated) will radically change the way organs of state operate and provide services to the public. The different Acts impact significantly on each other and will therefore be dealt with together in one training programme. Training programmes will soon be presented on a national and decentralised basis to different occupational groups within the Department.

b) Mediation

The Department has discerned the need for the training of judges, magistrates and departmental officials in mediation skills as part of a national drive to make justice more accessible, and to bring our judicial skills in line with that practised in developed countries. The effect hereof will be to assist in the provision of a more inexpensive, accessible and speedier system of justice. The project will commence in October 1999 and will form part of the Department's annual national work programme.

c) Court Interpreters

Developmental programmes for Court Interpreters are presently underway - at Justice College, Technikons and various Universities - in order to enhance their skills, increase representivity in the profession and ultimately to ensure equal access to justice.

d) Fast-Track Training of Prosecutors

The project involves the training of legally qualified persons - not in the service of the Department - as candidate prosecutors. The National Director of Public Prosecutions has indicated that this form of initial training should become the rule rather than the exception and such training is thus being provided.

e) Lay Assessors Training

Phase 1 of lay assessor training in terms of a project in this regard has been completed under the DANIDA support project. Further programmes have been planned - in line with the Lay Assessors' Training Manual.

f) Violence Against Women

A training programme of Judicial Officers has been implemented in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. A programme in respect of gender sensitivity, diversity and social context training is being managed by Justice College.

7. AUTONOMOUS STRUCTURES FOR WHICH THE DEPARTMENT IS RESPONSIBLE:

Minister: One of the problems we have in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is that there are many sub-structures for which the Department is responsible, but which operate with a high degree of autonomy. The Legal Aid Board is a good example. It was responsible for approximately two thirds of the unauthorised expenditure on the part of the Department which was recently reported by the Auditor-General.

The various structures such as the Legal Aid Board (LAB) and their inter-action with the Department as well as their accountability, need to be revisited. This requires further attention. However, with regard to the LAB, the following should be noted -

  • the LAB is in a very serious financial difficulty
  • this situation is being managed by the Department (through the Ministry) and Judge Navsa, in conjunction with the Departments of Finance and State Expenditure and the Office of the Auditor-General
  • the crisis has again demonstrated the need to move away from judicare towards an extension of the public defender scheme and other more appropriate mechanisms for legal aid, such as the use of para-legals, clinics (justice centres) etc.
  • the tenure of the Board will terminate at the end of October, 1999. Whilst we are fully supportive of the Board under Judge Navsa, we will propose the appointment of certain additional representatives to make it more representative

Minister: I have decided that I will propose the information of a permanent Forum which will meet regularly and will present the opportunity for the exchange of information, consultation and participation in the formation of policy and strategies.

The Minister's indication that he has decided to propose a permanent forum for the exchange of information, consultation and participation in the formation of policy and strategies, is receiving attention. Various investigations and documents from the Policy Unit will help infuse this process, eg. documentation on the judiciary and legal representation(draft white papers) have already been circulated for comment.

8. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

This report outlines the projects undertaken by the Department (Directorate: IT) from 1- 07-1998 to 20-09-1999. Most of these projects are long term projects, in that they have to be rolled out to all courts in the Department within the budgetary constraints of the Department.

  1. Basic Automation Project

When completed, the project will provide all the normal office automation, including network as well as E-mail facilities. In the long term the courts will be able to participate in the Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) . The prosecutors will then be able to track cases and it will also be easy for the courts to compile statistics. E-Mail will also expedite internal and external communication within the courts and the Department as a whole. Progress in this regard is dealt with hereunder.

  • Phase I: Infrastructure Cabling

42 offices, 21 Chief Magistrate's Courts, 8 Master's offices and 13 Registrar's offices were successfully cabled, with a total of 3403 network points installed.

  • Phase II: Procurement

1500 PCs with 200 printers and 54 file servers were purchased and distributed to 50 different offices (Chief Magistrate Courts, Masters, State Attorney and High courts).

  • Phase III: Networking Infrastructure

The Department has put out a tender to SITA which will cover the LAN installations in the Chief Magistrate's Offices , High Courts, and Master's Offices. Jutastat-Law Reports, E-Mail facilities, Internet and word processing will also be provided to the offices. The process should be completed before the end of this financial year. SITA will also complete the Directors of Prosecution's LAN installation project - thus far 6 offices have been completed.

  1. Maintenance / Deposit Account System Project

The main objective of the project is to replace the old Maintenance/Deposit account system in the five Chief Magistrate's Courts ( Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Durban and Cape Town) and to link up with the banks at a later stage.

  • Phase I: Maintenance roll out

Tremendous progress has been made beyond anticipation in this project and the replacement of the old system in the five Chief Magistrate's Offices was successfully completed before the target date, which implies that these courts will be running on a Y2K-compliant system ahead of the looming "Millennium Bug".

  • Phase II: Deposit Account

The upgrade process has already been completed and the new system will enable the courts to shortly link up with the banks. The system has been rolled out to Pretoria, Durban and Bloemfontein. The remaining courts will be covered before the end of this financial year. The future plan is to roll out this system to those courts that are still on manual systems. Given the fact that the Department has 533 courts around the country, this project will still take a long time to complete. Hopefully, with further funds the process could be expedited.

  1. Integrated Justice System/SITA

The Department is also making its mark on the Integrated Justice System which comprises the Police, Justice, Correctional Services and Welfare. The processes that are currently taking place in the IJS cannot be ignored as they have an impact on the Department. The Department is about to start the re-alignment process and is geared to position itself in order to join SITA within the next two years.

  1. Pre-Trial Services : Application System

The Pilot project has been completed, however, the Consortium, which did the IT development, has made a proposal to the Department to donate the code to the Department. This process is currently in the development phase and is receiving attention. Phase I of the system is currently running in Johannesburg and Mitchell's Plain Magistrate's Courts, whilst Phase II of this system is still incomplete and is currently being tested in the Durban Magistrate's Court.

  1. Y2K Project

The project( awarded to Phambili Technologies) has mostly focussed on mission-critical systems: computer equipment and software operating systems . The mission-critical equipment relates to all PCs and laptops that are connected to the LAN/WAN, including the file servers and the routers plus the operating systems( NT,Novell,Win98 and Word Processing Packages). The Y2K project was divided into the following phases:

  1. 1: Assessment
  2. 2: Planning
  3. 3: Remedial actions
  4. 4: Internal Testing
  5. 5: Implementation
  6. 6: Post Implementation
  7. 7: Contingency Plan
  • The conversion of hardware and software to Year 2000 compliant
Phase Percentage Completion
Phase1: Assessment 100%
Phase2: Planning 100%
Phase3: Remediation 100%
Phase4: Internal Testing 100%
Phase5: Implementation 100%
Phase6: Post-Implementation 75%

The 75% on the last phase was caused by various management problems experienced at our various sub-offices, however, good progress has been recorded and the Department will be Y2K Ready before the end of this year.

(Computer hardware statistics as contained in the Phambili Technologies Report -

The project commenced on 11 January 1999 and was completed on 31 March 1999. According to Phambili's report, 224 offices were audited with a total of 2 360 computers. 372 of these computers were replaced, 494 upgraded with Corel 8 and the hard drives of 314 PCs were upgraded to 6.2 GB, 1020 upgraded with Y2k cards and 131 operating systems were upgraded to WIN 98. In addition, 20 file servers were replaced due to fact that they could not be made Y2K compliant and 9 Routers were also upgraded. These figures give a total of 2 360 computers that are now Y2K compliant. If the new computers from the Automation Project are added to these figures, that gives the Department a total of 3 860 computers that are Y2K compliant. However, computers that are used for typing only and are not connected to the LAN/WAN, do not form part of the mission-critical equipment, as do laptops. They will therefore not have any effect, to the date roll-over problem after the year 2000.)

  1. Video Conferencing

This is a joint project between the Department of Justice and the Department of Correctional Services. The aim of the project is to cut down on the backlog of cases by swiftly disposing of postponements via video arraignment, thereby making the process faster and reducing the possibility of awaiting-trial prisoners escaping. Though the pilot project investigation was successful, a test case which was held on the 14 October 1998, at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court, was unsuccessful. However, the Department is pursuing the matter further and is giving attention to the provision of legislative measures in our law so as to be able to use the latest technology. It is important that our law should keep up with technological advances.

9. LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS THE MATTERS RAISED BY THE MINISTER

Extract of Minister's Statement Nature of Problem Departmental Project Action Plan &
Financial Implications
Time Frame
1. "In Johannesburg there are different problems. The magistrates' court is a large building with many court rooms, but they stand empty most of the time because there are not enough magistrates to keep them operating. There are 8 regional magistrate posts vacant out of a complement of 32. This means that a quarter of the regional courts cannot operate and the backlog of cases awaiting trial have reached crisis proportions.". An indirect contributory factor to this state of affairs could be related to the statutory requirements concerning appointments.

A part of the problem with the appointment of magistrates has been identified as the cumbersome prescribed statutory procedures relating to the appointment of magistrates.

Amendment of section 9 of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1944, to do away with unnecessary statutory requirements relating to the appointment of magistrates, which will also bring the position of magistrates in this regard into line with judges of the High Court. Promotion of required amending legislation in Parliament.

(Funds are available to promote the legislation in Parliament.The implementation of this legislation will have no financial implications)

June 2000.
2. "The civil section of the Johannesburg court is also experiencing serious difficulties as it battles to cope with the ever-increasing case load generated by the commercial power-house of the Witwatersrand. A few months ago there were many hundreds of applications for default judgments waiting to be heard, causing unacceptable delays of months for creditors, whilst the debtors often disappear." A contributory factor to this state of affairs could be related to numerous cumbersome civil processes that are prescribed by the Rules of Court and which could be eliminated, to some extent, by the use of electronic facilities, where this could be done on a pilot project basis, eg in Johannesburg.

The Rules Board for Courts of Law Act, 1985, does not allow the Rules Board for Courts of Law to make rules for different magisterial districts which could be applied on an experimental basis, as is the position with the High Courts.

Amendment of section 6 of the Rules Board for Courts of Law Act, 1985, to enable the Rules Board to make rules of court for certain magisterial districts which will facilitate the use of electronic equipment. Promotion of required amending legislation in Parliament.

(Funds are available to promote the legislation in Parliament)

End of 1999/

Beginning of 2000.

3. "The Chief Justice recently reported to me that the backlog of cases in the Supreme Court of Appeal had reached crisis proportions - seven hundred cases, he said, are waiting to be heard by a bench which numbers seventeen judges and is unable to dispose of more than about 120 cases a year. That means something like a five year waiting time for appeals to be heard by this court, which is absolutely unacceptable.". A contributory factor to this state of affairs could be related to the statutory provisions in the Supreme Court Act, 1959, relating to appeals to the Supreme Court of Appeal. Amendment of sections 20 and 21 of the Supreme Court Act, 1959, relating to appeals to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which will reduce the number of appeals to the Supreme Court of Appeal. These amendments are incorporated in the Superior Courts Bill, 1999. Promotion of required amending legislation in Parliament.

(Funds are available to promote the legislation in Parliament.The implementation of this portion of the Bill will have no financial implications)

End of 1999/

Beginning of 2000.

4. "Government has accepted the need to build Constitutional Hill at a cost of approximately R127 million. At the same time we are required to refurbish and expand the facility of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein at the cost of about R80 million. In the meantime we are also required to establish seats of the High Court in all the nine provinces in line with the recommendations of the Hoexter Commission which Cabinet has accepted. That will entail building new courts in the Northern Province and Mpumalanga.". Legislation is required to give effect to the rationalisation of the Superior Court as contemplated in the Constitution, which, amongst others, requires the establishment of a High Court in each province. At this stage the Northern Province and Mpumalanga do not have High Courts. The Department has on its legislative programme for 1999 a Superior Courts Bill, 1999. A Bill has already been drafted and submitted to the Ministry. The Portfolio Committee on Justice has also held public hearings on the draft Bill on an informal basis. Promotion of the Superior Courts Bill, 1999, in Parliament.

The establishing of new High Courts in the Northern Province and Mpumalanga will have substantial financial implication. However, if the principle of establishing a High Court for each province is accepted the State will have to meet the financial demands in order to give effect to this. It should also be borne in mind that this rationalisation process is required by the Constitution and a successful court structure and a sound judicial system supporting the judiciary constitute the cornerstones for the success of a constitutional state.

End of 1999/

Beginning of 2000.


LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME 1999: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: 20 SEPTEMBER 1999

A. BILLS THAT REQUIRE URGENT ATTENTION AND THAT MUST BE FINALISED AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE DURING THE 1999 SESSION OF PARLIAMENT

SHORT TITLE REMARKS (PROGRESS)
1 Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, 1998 [B132B--98]

(To regulate the detention of juvenile offenders.)

Bill to be reintroduced into the new Parliament. Minister's instructions are awaited.

(HDW)

2 Open Democracy Bill, 1998 [B67--98]

(To give effect to section 32(2) of the Constitution.)

Bill introduced into Parliament - referred to an Ad Hoc Joint Committee of Parliament.

(SWA)

3 Superior Courts Bill, 1999

(To provide for the rationalisation of the Provincial and Local Divisions of the High Court, so as to bring it into line with the provisions of item 16(6) of Schedule 6 of the Constitution.)

Premiers were invited to comment on the recommendations in the First interim Report of the Hoexter Commission. Cabinet Memorandum informing Cabinet of Commission's recommendations served before Cabinet Committee on 28/5/97. Draft Bill has been submitted to bench for comments. Draft Bill has been submitted to the State Law Advisers. Portfolio Committee has already held public hearings on draft Bill. Comments are to be summarised. A revised draft Bill and Cabinet Memorandum were submitted to Minister recently for his decision.

(DRW)

4 Administrative Justice Bill (Project 115)

(To give effect to section 33 of the Constitution, dealing with the right to administrative action which is lawful, reasonable and professionally fair.)

The South African Law Commission approved a report and draft Bill on Administrative Justice on 13/8/99. The report was submitted to the Ministry on 6/9/99. Bill submitted to State Law Adviser on 9/9/99 and served before Cabinet on 15/9/99. Bill was referred to Cabinet Committee for consideration on 22/9/99.

(SALC)

5 Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Bill, 1999

(To prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination (section 9(4)) of the Constitution and to give effect to the Convention Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination.)

Bill was submitted to Cabinet Committee on Social and Administrative Affairs on 25/8/99. Revised Bill served before Cabinet Committee on 8/9/99 and will again serve before the Cabinet Committee on 22/9/99.

(HDW)

6 Prevention of Organised Crime Second Amendment Bill, 1999 [B41--99]

(To make provision for the retrospective application of Chapter 6 of the Act.)

Bill approved by Parliament on 3/9/99.

(DRW)

7 Directorate for Special Investigations Bill, 1999

(To provide for the establishment of a Specialised Unit in order to gather intelligence on, investigate, and promote the prosecution of specified categories of offences.)

A comprehensive draft Bill was submitted to the task team on 16/9/99. (DRW)

B. BILLS THAT ARE URGENT AND SHOULD BE FINALISED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE ONCE THEY ARE READY FOR PROMOTION

SHORT TITLE REMARKS (PROGRESS)
1 Juvenile Justice Bill (Project 106)

(To provide for a new juvenile justice system.)

The South African Law Commission published a discussion paper for comments. Closing date for comments was 31/3/99. The indication from the Law Commission is that its report in this regard will be finalised in December 1999. (SALC)
2 Sexual Offences Amendment Bill (Project 107)

(To provide, inter alia, for the review of existing statutory and common law offences relating to sexual offences, as well as the procedural aspects of sexual offences cases.)

A discussion paper containing proposed legislation for the reform of the substantive law was approved for publication by the South African Law Commission on 12/8/99. A draft discussion paper containing draft legislation for the reform of the procedure is currently being finalised for consideration by the Law Commission. It is envisaged that the report of the Law Commission will be finalised during the second quarter of 2000.

(SALC)

3 Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Amendment Bill, 1999 (Project 105)

(To regulate the monitoring of conversations and communications by persons, bodies or organisations rendering a telecommunication service, more specifically cellular services.)

A draft Bill, as contained in the South African Law Commission's issue Paper in this regard, was submitted to the State Law Advisers. It was, however, decided that the Law Commission should continue with its investigation in the normal course of events, with particular attention to the submissions made by the service providers. The Law Commission considered a draft report on 13/8/99. The Law Commission recommended the consolidation of the proposals and existing legislation. A report and integrated draft Bill will be considered by the Law Commission during October 1999.

(SALC)

4 Administration of Estates Amendment Bill, 1999

(To provide for the rationalisation of the laws regulating the administration of estates.)

Working document was distributed for comment on 11/12/98. Comments are still being evaluated. At the last meeting with the Minister when the Legislative Programme was discussed, the Minister indicated that this legislation should, if at all possible, also attempt to address the discrimination found in the administration of estates, possibly by making section 18(3) of the Administration of Estates Act, 1965, applicable to all estates under a certain value, irrespective of race. The Minister indicated that a decision on whether to include this in the rationalisation legislation or not would depend on when the Law Commission, which is dealing with the harmonisation of the common law and indigenous law including an investigation of the Administration of Estates Act, would be in a position to bring out an interim report in this regard. The indication from the Law Commission is that it would be in a position to bring out an interim report but this would not be finalised in time to proceed with amendment in the 1999 session of Parliament. The Department is in a position to proceed with the rationalisation legislation should the Minister so wish, wherein it could be indicated that further legislation to address the above discrimination is being looked at. A memorandum, Cabinet Memorandum and draft Bill were forwarded to the Ministry on 15/9/99 for submission to Cabinet.

(DDW)

5 Judges' Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, 1999

(To--

* further regulate the gratuities of Constitutional Judges; and

* rationalise the remuneration and conditions of employment of Judges.)

A working document was submitted to Minister on 9/2/99 for approval to distribute document. Working document distributed for comments on 13/4/99. Still awaiting the comments. A request for a legal opinion regarding the constitutionality of a reduction in the salaries, allowances and benefits of Judges has been forwarded to the Chief State Law Adviser on 30/7/99. Received legal opinion on 15/9/99. Way forward to be determined.

(SALC)

6 Amendment of Customary Law of Succession Bill, 1998 (Project 90)

(To harmonise customary law of succession with the common law.)

Bill was introduced into Parliament on 31/8/98 on a "fast-track basis" - referred to Portfolio Committee where certain problems were identified in submissions to the Portfolio Committee. It was decided to refer the matter back to the South African Law Commission for it to continue with its investigation in the normal course of events. However, the processing of legislation is currently being dealt with by the Chief Directorate: Transformation and Equity. Representations by the Gender Commission to refer the investigation to the South African Law Commission is currently under consideration by the Minister.

(SALC)

7 Prevention of Crime Fund Bill (Project 82)

(To create a fund for the compensation of, amongst others, victims of crime.)

A draft discussion paper on the question of sentencing, which will include placing victims of crime at the centre of the criminal justice system, is being prepared by the South African Law Commission. The Law Commission has indicated that its report in this regard will be finalised during the second half of 2000.

(SALC)

8 South African Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill, 1999

(The Bill makes provision for--

* the changing of the name of the Commission;

* empowering the Commission to accept additional funds; and

* bringing the principal Act into line with the new Constitution.)

Department of Constitutional Development has been approached in connection with a possible amendment to the Constitution. Bill served before the Cabinet Committee on 16/7/97. Resubmitted to and approved by Cabinet Committee on 30/7/97. Bill submitted to State Law Advisors on 5/8/97. Cabinet on 13/8/97 held Bill in abeyance pending discussions between Minister and Minister of Finance. Letter forwarded to Minister of Finance on 16 October 1998. Received comment from Minister of Finance on 5/7/99. Forwarded to Human Rights Commission on 6/7/99. HRC's comment received on 22/7/99. A memorandum in which it is suggested that a meeting be arranged between the Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Chairperson of the HRC has been forwarded to the Ministry on 29/7/99.

(DDW)

9 Cross-Border Insolvency Bill, 1999 (Project 63)

(To provide for effective mechanisms for dealing with cases of cross-border insolvency.)

A memorandum, Cabinet Memorandum and draft Bill were submitted to the Ministry on 13/9/99. Bill will serve before the Cabinet Committee on 22/9/99.

(DDW)

C. BILLS THAT SHOULD BE FINALISED DURING THE 1999-SESSION OF PARLIAMENT IF TIME PERMITS

SHORT TITLE REMARKS (PROGRESS)
1 Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, 1999 [B 7-99]

(Automatic Reviews)

Bill introduced into Parliament on 27/01/99. Bill withdrawn from Parliament on 11/03/99. Minister instructed that a revised Bill be drafted. A revised Bill has been drafted and comments invited from interested parties. Comments have been received and evaluated. The Bill has been adapted where necessary and will be submitted to the Minister shortly.

(WC)

2 Access to minor children by interested persons (Project 100)

(To make provision for, and to regulate access to, minor children by grandparents and other interested persons.)

A memorandum, Cabinet memorandum and Bill were submitted to the Minister . The Minister wants to discuss the issue with the Minister of Welfare. It is intended to introduce the Bill as soon as possible.

(WA)

3 Rationalization of Legal Practitioners Bill, 1999

(Rationalisation of the attorneys', advocates' and state attorneys' professions.)

A committee consisting of representatives of the ALS, BLA and NADEL has been appointed to investigate the rationalization of the attorneys' profession. It is intended to introduce the Bill as soon as the committee's recommendations are received.
4 Magistrates' Courts (Appointments) Amendment Bill, 1999

(To bring the qualifications provisions of magistrates into line with those of the High Court judges.)

To be investigated. Minister also wants to discuss the matter with the Planning Unit. Memorandum to the Minister is being prepared.

(SWA)

5 Public Interest and Class Actions (Project 88)

(To make provision for the institution and conducting of public interest and class actions.)

Bill submitted to Minister on 9/3/99. Minister queried whether the institution of these actions should not be limited to certain prescribed circumstances. The South African Law Commission provided comments in this regard to the Minister. The Minister's instructions on the submission of the Bill to Cabinet are awaited.

(WA)

6 International Arbitration Bill (Project 94)

(To regulate international arbitration in South Africa.)

Bill submitted to Minister on 31/3/99. The matter approved by the Cabinet on 28/4/99. The English text of the Bill was referred to the State Law Advisers on 10/5/99 for certification. The Afrikaans text is being prepared.

(HLC)

7 Magistrates' Courts Amendment Bill (Project 111)

(To regulate the jurisdiction of Magistrates' Courts in constitutional matters.)

The report of the South African Law Commission in this regard was submitted to the Department on 10/5/99. Report is to be evaluated. The Minister recently indicated that before the report is published, Cabinet must be approached. A memorandum, Cabinet Memorandum and draft Bill will be submitted to the Ministry shortly.

(DDW)

8 Limitation of Legal Proceedings Against Government Institutions Bill, 1999 (Project 42)

(To regulate the institution of legal proceedings in respect of debts against government institutions.)

Bill was submitted to Minister on 8/3/99. Cabinet approved the introduction of the Bill into Parliament on 31/3/99. The Bill has been referred to the State Law Advisers for certification. Revised Bill received from State Law Advisers on 20/7/99. Memorandum to obtain Minister's approval for publication of Bill in Government Gazette has been forwarded to the Ministry on 30/7/99. Minister's approval is awaited.

(WB)

9 Establishment of Family Courts Bill, 1999 (To provide for the establishment of a family court structure which will deal with matters such as divorce, maintenance, child care and family violence.) Matter is subject to further discussions with interested parties. The matter is to be taken forward by a task team which will submit a report to the Minister.

(SWA)

10 Judicial Service Commission Amendment Bill, 1999

(Providing for a complaints mechanism regarding judicial officers.)

The JSC recommended that a complaints procedure in respect of judges and magistrates should be provided for in legislation. The JSC has appointed a task team which will submit draft proposals in this regard. In October 1998, the JSC decided that the Department of Justice must prepare legislation for discussion on 19/3/99. Legislation is being prepared. Draft Bill submitted to the Ministry on 15/4/99. The Minister has indicated that the matter should be dealt with by the Directorate: Parliamentary Legislation and has requested that the Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committee and Select Committee should co-operate in this regard. Draft Bill is being revised.

(WB)

11 International Criminal Court and Related Matters Bill, 1999

(To facilitate South Africa's accession to the Statute on the International Criminal Court. Consideration is also being given to the possibility of extending this Bill to give effect to United Nations' Security Council Resolutions pertaining to gross human rights violations, for example the International Tribunals which have been established in respect of Rwanda and Yugoslavia.)

Legislation is being prepared by the State Law Advisers.

(HDW/ DDW)

12 Community Courts Bill, 1999 (Project 90)

(To give legislative effect to the framework drafted by the South African Law Commission in this regard.)

The Law Commission approved a discussion paper on community dispute resolution structures on 12 August 1999. The discussion paper was released on 8/9/99 for general information and comment.

(SALC)

13 Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, 1999

(To give statutory recognition to Pre-Trial Services.)

Legislation to be drafted. Comments have been requested from role-players. Comments are awaited.

(SWA)

D. BILLS WITH A LESSER PRIORITY

SHORT TITLE REMARKS (PROGRESS)
1 Report on Surrogate Motherhood (Project 65) Final Report by an Ad Hoc Committee finalised on 11/2/99. A memorandum discussing the Committee's recommendations has been forwarded to the Ministry during June 1999 (it is recommended that the South African Law Commission be requested to draft appropriate legislation). Report Tabled in Parliament on 17/3/99. Legislation to be prepared.
2 Maintenance Bill, 1999 (Project 100)

(Review of the maintenance law.)

The South African Law Commission is reviewing the maintenance law. It is intended to introduce the Bill as soon as the Law Commission's recommendations are received. The investigation is being held in abeyance pending the implementation of the Maintenance Act, 1998, in order to enable the Law Commission to evaluate and monitor the Maintenance Act, 1998.

(SALC)

3 Control of Unreasonableness or Oppressiveness in Contracts or Terms Bill (Project 47)

(To regulate stipulations in contracts and the rectification of contracts.)

Report of the South African Law Commission is being considered by the Department. Cabinet Memorandum to be submitted to the Minister shortly.
4 Regulation of Sexual Realignment Bill (Project 52)

(To regulate the consequences of sexual realignment.)

Report of the South African Law Commission is being considered by the Department.
5 Legal Aid Amendment Bill, 1999

(To restructure Legal Aid Board and system i.t.o. recommendations of Legal Aid Forum.)

Awaiting the White Paper on Legal Aid.

(

SOUTH AFRICAN LAW COMMISSION: PROGRAMME

Project
number
Title Priority rating
8 Steps aimed at making the common law more readily available D
25 Statute law: The establishment of a permanently simplified, coherent and generally accessible statute book D
59 Islamic marriages and related matters A
63 Review of the law of insolvency A
73 The simplification of criminal procedure A
82 Sentencing A
85 Aspects of the law relating to AIDS B
90 Harmonisation of the common law and indigenous law A
94 Arbitration A
95 The admissibility of computer-generated evidence C
96 The Apportionment of Damages Act, 1956 C
100 Family law and the law of persons
* Maintenance
A
101 The application of the Bill of Rights on the criminal law, criminal procedure and sentencing A
105 Security legislation A
106 Juvenile Justice A
107 Sexual offences A
108 Computer related crimes C
109 Review of the Marriage Act A
110 Review of the Child Care Act A
112 Sharing of pension benefits B
113 The use of electronic equipment in court proceedings C
114 Publication of divorce proceedings A
115 Review of administrative law A
116 The carrying of firearms and other dangerous weapons in public or at gatherings A
117 The legal position of voluntary associations A
118 Domestic partnerships B
119 Uniform national legislation on the fencing of national roads C

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