NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AGREES TO EIGHT MATTERS AT SITTING TODAY

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

Today’s sitting is the penultimate as the National Assembly rises tomorrow bringing to conclusion the work of the National Assembly during the 5th Parliament.

In democratic countries such as South Africa, Parliament plays a critical role as elected officials become the voice of ordinary citizens. It is therefore essential that all laws passed, are in line with the Constitutional principles and promotes the values ofhuman dignity, equality, non-racialism and non-sexism.

As such, 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 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 seeks to amend the Act so as to align the definition of child pornography, to 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. Further, to provide for an effective penalty regime in support of, amongst others, the co-regulation approach.

The National Assembly today 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 6th democratic Parliament to conclude.

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

The Ad Hoc Committee to Amend Section 25 of the Constitution made this recommendation in its report to the National Assembly. The multiparty committee first met on 12 February. By 13 March, when it finalised its report, the committee had received a series of briefings on the issue from land reform and legal experts (including former Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs).

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).

Source: Parliament

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