The Parliamentary committee that is processing the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill has extended the deadline for the public to make written submission on the bill until the middle of February.
Minister of State Security Khumbudzo Ntshavheni tabled the bill in Parliament late last year, and already the Inspector-General of Intelligence Imtiaz Fazel, the South African Police Service Crime Intelligence Unit and head of the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (Nicoc) Gab Msimanga made presentation to the ad hoc committee in December.
Msimanga told members of the ad hoc committee that Nicoc should be more independent and ministers must not meddle in its affairs.
Fazel also made several proposals to the provisions on the bill and said his office must be given more powers. Fazel also wanted his findings to be binding.
The bill will establish the domestic branch and the foreign branch as it was the case before the establishment of the SSA many years ago.
Chairperson of the ad hoc committee Jerome Maake said on Monday they have extended the deadline for submissions by the public until February 15.
He said the deadline was initially the end of January, but realised more people still wanted to make submissions.
The committee has, however, received more than 6 ,000 written submissions to date.
“The extension was granted because the advertisement was published during the beginning of the holiday season in mid-December 2023. With the current extension, the advertisement would have run for almost two months, which is sufficient time for the public to make written submissions.
“Unfortunately, the timeline to process the Bill coupled with the Ad Hoc Committee on the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill having to report to the National Assembly by 1 March 2024, implies that no further extensions may be granted.
“To date, the committee has received over 6,000 written submissions,” said Maake.
The ad hoc committee started with public hearings on the bill on Monday.