SA National Assembly approves two Bills and one Legislative Proposal

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa
South Africa’s National Assembly at its House sitting has this morning gave the go-ahead to two Bills and a legislative proposal from the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to amend the Immigration Act.

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs proposed amendments to the Immigration Act to revise and align certain provisions in section 34 – concerning detention of illegal foreigners for purposes of deportation – with sections 12(1) and 35(2)(d) of the Constitution. The amendments, which follow the Constitutional Court judgment of 29th June 2017, will ensure that any illegal foreigner detained under section 34 of the Immigration Act is brought before a court in person within 48 hours from the time of arrest or not later than the first court day after the expiry of the 48 hours. The Bill will also provide that detained illegal foreigners must appear in person in court to challenge the extension of their detention. The declaration of invalidity was suspended for a period of 24 months from the date of the order to enable Parliament to correct the defect.

Rule 273 (1) of the National Assembly’s Rules (of 26th May 2016), empowers committees of the Assembly to introduce Bills in the Assembly through legislative proposals. The legislative proposal to amend the Immigration Act, given the go-ahead this morning, will now go through the normal procedure for consideration of Bills, including public participation.

The National Assembly’s morning sitting also approved the Public Audit Amendment Bill and the National Research Foundation Amendment Bill and these will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

The Public Audit Amendment Bill, adopted on 22nd May 2018 by the Standing Committee on the Auditor General, proposes to give the Auditor General of South Africa the powers to recover financial losses incurred through unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure, among others.

Specifically, the amendments will allow the Auditor General to take remedial action to ensure that losses which the state incurs are, where possible, recovered and to refer certain suspected irregularities for investigation; empower the Auditor General to perform international audit work and conduct performance audits and align the Auditor General’s governance arrangements to current best practice.

The National Research Foundation Amendment Bill seeks to amend the National Research Foundation Act of 1998. This Act provides for promotion of research and extension and transfer of knowledge in various fields of science, technology and indigenous technology and established the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The Amendment Bill, among other things, provides for the Minister of Science and Technology to determine national policies, to issue policy guidelines for their implementation and to declare institutions conducting research as research institutions. The Amendment Bill also extends the functions, powers and duties of the NRF.

At its sitting this afternoon, the National Assembly is scheduled to consider the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill.