Please note: 1) The Divorce Amendment Act was eventually gazetted well after hours on 14 May 2024, when it came into force 2) Parliamentary papers have confirmed which Bills are now ready for presidential signature and which still require National Assembly concurrence 2) a media statement has explained why the NCOP has deferred consideration of the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill to 16 May 2024 3) On 16 May 2024, parliamentary papers confirmed that the Public Procurement Bill and Statistics Amendment Bill (reflecting changes made by the NCOP) were passed by the National Assembly and therefore completed their passage through Parliament.   

The Presidency has issued a media statement announcing that the Divorce Amendment Bill has been signed into law. Unfortunately, the status of the new Act will not be apparent until it has been gazetted. However, once operationalised it will align the principal statute with a June 2022 Constitutional Court ruling – recognising Muslim marriages and safeguarding the interests of Muslim women and the children of Muslim marriages should such a marriage be dissolved.

The National Assembly passed one Bill revised by the NCOP and with which the National Assembly committee concerned has since concurred:

  • the Housing Consumer Protection Bill’s ‘D’ version (intended to ensure adequate protection for housing consumers and more effective home building industry regulation)

The Older Persons Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version (not yet available) was also passed and is ready to be sent to the NCOP for concurrence. As a section 76 piece of legislation with implications for the provinces, it will probably be allowed to lapse – to be revived under the next post-elections Parliament, when more time will be available for a robust public participation process in the provincial legislatures. Among other things, the Bill provides for removal of older persons to temporary safe care without a court order, as can be seen from its originally tabled version

The NCOP has passed five more Bills without recommending any changes:

  • Division of Revenue Bill (providing for the equitable division of revenue raised nationally among the national, provincial and local spheres of government)
  • Gold & Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account Defrayal Amendment Bill (giving effect to an agreement between National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank)
  • South African Institute for Drug Free-Sport Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version (aligning Act with World Anti-doping Agency code requirements)
  • National Nuclear Regulation Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version (aligning the Act with International Atomic Energy Agency best practices
  • Preservation & Development of Agricultural Land Bill’s ‘B’ version (among other things intended to discourage/prohibit the subdivision of high-potential cropping and grazing land)

All six Bills will be sent to the President for signature.

The NCOP has also passed two Bills with changes requiring concurrence from the National Assembly:

  • draft ‘D’ version of the Public Procurement Bill (seeking to create a single framework for regulating state procurement, in line with all related constitutional requirements)
  • the Statistics Amendment Bill’s ‘B’ version (intended to facilitate improved co-ordination between data providers and users)

Published by SA Legal Academy Policy Watch

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