Race against time to fix flawed laws
Cape Town - Parliament is in a race to fix some of the flawed laws it has passed in order to meet a deadline set down by the Constitutional Court.
In June last year the apex court handed down a judgment which confirmed a ruling by the Western Cape High Court which declared that the Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill (PAIA) was invalid.
It found, among other things, that the PAIA was inconsistent with the Constitution as it failed to provide records, preservation and reasonable disclosure of information on private funding of political parties and independent candidates.
The court ordered Parliament to make changes within 18 months.
This also comes after the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) had also noted that 12 laws needed to be fixed urgently and a few to be corrected before the end of this year.
Their argument was upheld by the Concourt which in November 2017 gave Parliament 24 months to correct all the defective laws it said breached sections of the Constitution.
With only a few months left before the deadline, Parliament has yet to consider some of the amendments with the PMG saying committees were already under pressure.
“A concern was expressed that the Constitutional Court will increasingly read in provisions in legislation if the deadlines are not adhered to,” the PMG said.
It added that there should only be exceptional circumstances when it comes to Parliament not meeting its deadline.
Meanwhile, the PAIA was recently referred to the justice and correctional services portfolio committee.
The public has been given until the end of August to make submissions on the bill, which will have to be passed within four months.
It also comes at a time when another new bill, the Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Bill, is on its way to Parliament.
On Thursday, the National Assembly programme committee heard that the chief state law adviser had certified the amendment bill.
The Cabinet approved the submission of the bill to Parliament in line with the judgments of the Constitutional Court, which declared sections of the legislation constitutionally invalid.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill has yet to be revived after it lapsed in May.
Last year, Parliament had sought an extension from the Concourt after it did not meet the October 2018 deadline.
In September 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered the national legislature to amend the Ipid Act within two years.