Report of the Portfolio Committee on
Justice and Constitutional Development on the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment
Bill [PMB 6 - 2013], dated 12 February 2014
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development (the Committee), having considered the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill [PMB 6 – 2013], (National Assembly – section 74), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 74 Bill, reports as follows:
1. The Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill [PMB 6 – 2013], a private member’s bill, was tabled and referred to the Committee on 30 July 2013.
2. The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, so as to provide for a new appointment mechanism and constitutional provision for the removal of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). The Bill also aims to remove the ambiguity found in section 179 as between the independence guaranteed in subsection (4) and the Justice Minister’s “final responsibility” in subsection (6) by removing subsection (6).
3. The Committee met with the sponsor of the Bill, Hon. M Smuts, MP, on 5 November 2013, who briefed the Committee on it.
4. On 4 February 2014, the Committee considered public submissions received on the Bill and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s responses to these.
5. On 5 February 2014, after deliberating on the Bill, the Committee adopted a motion that the legislation is not desirable.
6. Views of the minority
A minority of members present (Democratic Alliance and Congress of the People) felt that the Bill is desirable and necessary because it addresses and resolves concerns about the independence of the NDPP and the National Prosecuting Authority first articulated by then President Motlanthe, former Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Surty and members of the Ad Hoc Committee which considered the removal of Adv Vusi Pikoli as NDPP.
Report to be considered.