20 March 2019

South Africa: National Assembly Passes Several Bills

As the fifth Parliament concludes its work in the next few weeks, it is pushing ahead by passing essential laws which are in line with the Constitution's values.

On Tuesday, during its plenary sitting, the National Assembly passed the Public Audit Excess Fee Bill, Public Service Commission Amendment Bill, as well as the Films and Publications Amendment Bill.

The Public Audit Excess Fee Bill seeks to provide that the specified excess of the audit fee of certain categories of organs of state, payable to the Auditor General, as envisaged in the Public Audit Act, 2004, is if the stated conditions are complied with, a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund.

The Public Service Commission Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Public Service Commission Act to clarify the procedure with regard to the renewal of the term of office of a commissioner.

Further, to provide for a commissioner to act as the chairperson when both the chairperson and deputy chairperson are absent or for any reason, unable to act as chairperson.

The Films and Publications Amendment Bill, on the other hand, seeks to amend the Act so as to align the definition of child pornography.

It will also decriminalise the online distribution of adult content on all platforms including digital platforms and to provide for the establishment of a co-regulation system that will allow for accreditation by the Board of independent classification bodies to classify their own digital films, games and publications.

Furthermore, the National Assembly also agreed that amending section 25 of the Constitution - to make expropriation of land without compensation as a legitimate option for land reform - should be left for the sixth democratic Parliament to conclude.

Also agreed today were reports recommending appointments to the Board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and immediate removal of the Chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

The 6th democratic Parliament will be established after the 8 May elections.

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